Defense Secretary Jim Mattis listens to a question about Russia from the media at the Pentagon, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, in Washington. Senior American and Russian military leaders met for an unprecedented, face-to-face session somewhere in the Middle East this week to discuss the growing tensions in the competing battles to retake one of the remaining Islamic State strongholds in Syria. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
When it comes to foreign policy, the President has the final say, no matter how strongly his advisors feel. The media don’t seem to understand this and constantly portray any decision Trump makes as dangerous and illegitimate. Somehow, the world hasn’t gone into a nuclear meltdown though. It’s almost like they have no idea what they are talking about?
One such decision was Trump wanting to pull out of Syria. It was enough that James “Mad Dog” Mattis resigned over it. That’s fair. If he couldn’t do the job anymore, I’m not going to criticize him for deciding to move on. The irony of the entire situation is that Democrats, who cheered Obama’s disastrous pull-out from Iraq, suddenly become the hawkiest of war hawks, but I digress.
The current story is that Mattis is writing his memoir and that got the media press corp really excited. You see, because Mattis left on rocky terms from the Trump administration, including a fairly forward resignation letter, the expectation was that he was going to blast Trump.
So you got headlines like The Man Who Couldn’t Take It Anymore from The Atlantic and The Man Trump Wishes He Were from The New York Times. You could almost see the foam forming around their collective mouths. They were about to get another tell all they could fluff for weeks, and if that meant rehabilitating a person they used to hate in James Mattis, then that was a price they were willing to pay.
Then something happened. While Mattis’ book laid into a President, it just so happened to be the wrong President in the media’s eyes. That would be Barack Obama.
The National Review provides some excerpts.
When the Arab Spring came to Egypt in 2011, “I thought we should use quiet diplomacy to urge inclusive government.” Obama instead called for Hosni Mubarak to resign. Mattis writes:
President Obama came out vocally against Mubarak, insisting that in Egypt, “we were on the right side of history.” Having read a bit of history and found that events, good and bad, had been “written” by both good and evil characters, I put little stock in the idea that history books yet to be written would somehow give yearning Arabs what they fervently desired today.
In the spring of 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder revealed an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador on U.S. soil. Mattis urged the White House to make the public case for reprisals against Tehran. He was rebuffed. “We treated an act of war as a law enforcement violation, jailing the low level courier.”
Obama was essentially willing to let Iran get away with anything to preserve his doomed nuclear deal. Mattis also points out his incredible naivete when it came to the Arab Spring, which turned out to be one of the worst things to happen to the Middle East in regards to stability, as fundamentalist Muslims were further empowered.
Mattis was informed he would be relieved of command in December 2012. He writes:
I was leaving a region aflame and in disarray. The lack of an integrated regional strategy had left us adrift, and our friends confused. We were offering no leadership or direction. I left my post deeply disturbed that we had shaken our friends’ confidence and created vacuums that our adversaries would exploit.
The following year, Barack Obama failed to enforce his “red line” against Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons against civilians. “This was a shot not heard around the world,” Mattis writes. He continues:
Old friends in NATO and in the Pacific registered dismay and incredulity that America’s reputation had been seriously weakened as a credible security partner. Within thirty-six hours, I received a phone call from a friendly Pacific-nation diplomat. “Well, Jim,” he said, “I guess we’re on our own with China.”
What is so ironic about all this is that the left, including their media mouthpieces, now constantly attack Trump for supposedly not supporting our allies or causing “confusion.” Yet, when Obama was President, you never heard a peep about that despite the fact that he was consistently selling our partner nations down the river for his own personal delusions and showing absolutely no salient strategy at all.
The Washington Examiner provides another piece from the book.
“While I fully endorse civilian control of the military, I would not surrender my independent judgment. In 2010, I argued strongly against pulling all our troops out of Iraq,” Mattis writes. (Earlier in the book, he recounts a discussion he had on the subject in Baghdad with Vice President Joe Biden, who was in charge of Iraq policy but “ignoring reality” and uninterested in the considered opinion of the general in charge of operations there.) “In 2011, I urged retaliation against Iran for plotting to blow up a restaurant in our nation’s capital. In 2012, I argued for retaining a small but capable contingent of troops in Afghanistan. Each step along the way, I argued for political clarity and offered options that gave the Commander in Chief a rheostat he could dial up or down to protect our nation.”
The commander in chief chose another option: fire the CENTCOM leader.
“In December 2012, I received an unauthorized phone call telling me that in an hour, the Pentagon would be announcing my relief,” Mattis writes. “I was leaving a region aflame and in disarray.”
Isn’t it odd that the media found no fault with how Mattis was dumped, only being given an hour before the Pentagon would relieve him, yet they lost their minds of Comey’s unceremonious firing? It’s almost like there’s a bias there, and because Mattis didn’t end up hitting the “right” target, the excitement for his book vanished overnight. Worse, they are now attacking him.
Opinion: Mattis risks normalizing Trump https://t.co/p6q781WzkZ
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) September 4, 2019
USA Today ran with a story titled James Mattis Promotes a Book that Is Silent About Donald Trump. It’s a Disservice.
Mattis, who left the Pentagon last December after clashing with President Donald Trump over Syria policy, used the phrase in addressing U.S. troops in the field, reminding them of their duty as guardians of the nation’s nearly 250-year-old democracy.
It remains Mattis’ duty as well…
…But Mattis won’t tell us, though his book doesn’t shrink from criticizing past presidents such as George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Because if there’s anyone who knows about service and duty, it’s some “journalist” desperate for another dose of Trump-bashing.
I wish I could run half as fast as the DC press corps sprinting from Sec Mattis' memoirs after they learned it criticized the wrong president https://t.co/nLBwvSMB1g
— John Noonan (@noonanjo) September 4, 2019
And just like that, Mattis is canceled.
No doubt, one day Mattis will choose to talk about his time in the Trump White House. Until that time though, he can look forward to many more chastising editorials accusing him of letting his country down because he refuses to kneecap a current President. Whether you agreed with Mattis’ take on Syria or not, he did the right thing in stepping down and he’s doing the right thing now. None of this is a game. There are real stakes in the world and burning that down simply to give Joe Scarborough, Rachel Maddow, or whoever another hit to keep their TDS high going isn’t the priority.
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