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Trump reportedly called Mattis the 'world's most overrated general' in a chaotic Syria meeting
President Donald Trump belittled his former defense secretary, James Mattis, by characterizing him as the "world's most overrated general," according to a Washington Post report published Wednesday.
The account from numerous officials came during an afternoon closed door meeting with congressional leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House on Wednesday. In the meeting, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer reportedly brought up dissenting views towards the president's decision to withdraw the vast majority of roughly 1,000 U.S. troops stationed in Syria.
The decision to stand U.S. troops down as Turkey launched a military offensive in northeast Syria on October 6, drew bipartisan condemnation, with many lawmakers alleging the U.S. was abandoning its allies against ISIS. Trump defended his decision by downplaying the Kurdish role in the war against ISIS and reinforcing his promise for the U.S. troops to leave the Middle East.
But the meeting went off the rails after Schumer recalled an interview Mattis had with NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. During the interview, Mattis refused to analyze Trump's decisions and motivations for the U.S. withdrawal, but added that "ISIS would resurge" without a continued strategy against the militants.
Trump interrupted Schumer's line of thought, according to The Post, and alleged Mattis was not "tough enough," three officials familiar with the meeting said. Trump reportedly also claimed he had "captured" ISIS and did so faster than what his former defense secretary had predicted.
The meeting ended abruptly when Democrats left after Trump reportedly called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a "third-rate politician," according to the congresswoman. Prior to the Democrats leaving the meeting, Trump reportedly told them, "I hate ISIS more than you," and added, "see you at the polls," in an apparent reference to the 2020 US presidential election.
Mattis, a retired four-star Marine Corps general, resigned in December, citing disagreements with Trump's policy on Syria. In his resignation letter, he said he was no longer able to carry out Trump's policies and that as the commander-in-chief, Trump was entitled to "a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours."
Read more from Business Insider:
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- 'This is just chaos': Retired Marine general condemns Trump's decision to stand down as Turkey launches military attacks in Syria
- The general who led the fight against ISIS says Trump's new policy 'breaks that trust' after years of hard fighting
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‘Take what’s inside and get it outside’ — Air Force psychologist reminds airmen of mental health resources
Kirtland Air Force Base isn't much different from the world beyond its gates when it comes to dealing with mental illnesses, a base clinical psychologist says.
Maj. Benjamin Carter told the Journal the most frequent diagnosis on the base is an anxiety disorder.
"It's not a surprise, but I anticipate about anytime in the population in America, about 20% of the population has some form of diagnosable anxiety disorder, and it's no different in the military," he said.
Leading the way among the anxiety disorders, he said, were post-traumatic stress disorder "or something like panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder."
The DNA of a niece and nephew, who never met their uncle, has helped identify the remains of the Kansas Marine who died in WWII.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that 21-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Raymond Warren was identified using DNA and circumstantial evidence. Warren had been buried in a cemetery in the Gilbert Islands, where he was killed when U.S. forces tried to take secure one of the islands from the Japanese.
The Battle of Tarawa lasted from Nov. 20 to Nov. 23, 1943, and claimed the lives of 1,021 U.S. marines and sailors, more than 3,000 Japanese soldiers and an estimated 1,000 Korean laborers before the U.S. troops seized control, the agency said.
Arizona lawmakers are vowing to fight a plan by the Air Force to start retiring some of the nation's fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack jets — a major operation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — as part of a plan to drop some older, legacy weapon systems to help pay for new programs.
U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a former A-10 pilot, and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., both vowed to fight the move to retire 44 of the oldest A-10s starting this year.
During a press briefing last week, Air Force officials unveiled plans to start mothballing several older platforms, including retiring some A-10s even as it refits others with new wings.
MOSCOW/SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong Un was filmed riding through the snow on a white stallion last year, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on 12 purebred horses from Russia, according to Russian customs data.
Accompanied by senior North Korean figures, Kim took two well-publicized rides on the snowy slopes of the sacred Paektu Mountain in October and December.
State media heralded the jaunts as important displays of strength in the face of international pressure and the photos of Kim astride a galloping white steed were seen around the world.
North Korea has a long history of buying pricey horses from Russia and customs data first reported by Seoul-based NK News suggests that North Korea may have bolstered its herd in October.
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A high-profile local Taliban figure who announced and justified the 2012 attack on teenage Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has escaped detention, Pakistan's interior minister confirmed a few days after the militant announced his breakout on social media.
Former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, who claimed responsibility on behalf of his group for scores of Taliban attacks, proclaimed his escape on Twitter and then in an audio message sent to Pakistani media earlier this month.
The Pakistani military, which had kept Ehsan in detention for three years, has declined to comment but, asked by reporters about the report, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, said: "That is correct, that is correct."
Shah, a retired brigadier general, added that "you will hear good news" in response to questions about whether there had been progress in hunting down Ehsan.