The recent resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis reminds us that serving the nation at the strategic level is not an amoral activity, nor a place where realism pushes ethics off the stage or where Machiavelli is more useful than Aristotle. A lot has been written on the meaning of Secretary Mattis's resignation pointing out, correctly, that his was a principled resignation. But few say exactly what those principles are.
For me, a close reading of his resignation letter and understanding his reasoning can reveal how closely related are the strategic and the moral.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford appeared to dismiss reports that President Donald Trump has ordered the withdrawal of some 7,000 U.S. service members from Afghanistan as "rumors" during a USO holiday event on Monday.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis abruptly resigned following President Donald Trump’s sudden decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, but that didn't stop the Department of Defense from releasing his holiday message to U.S. service members.