Profile image
Story Views

Now:
Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:
Total:

19 Unforgettable Quotes From Gen. James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis

Monday, July 22, 2013 7:19
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

(Before It's News)

On Tuesday night, the Marine Corps announced via twitter General James N. Mattis’ plans for retirement this spring after four decades of service.

 

Mattis, currently CENTCOM commanding general, is an icon of sorts in the Marine Corps, and arguably the most famous living Marine.

Skip to the quotes >

Mattis himself dismissed rumors that he would be nominated to a post overseeing NATO if General John Allen wasn’t cleared of the Jill Kelley scandal. Yet the announcement of his retirement followed promptly after the exoneration of Allen.

#Marine Gen. “Mad Dog” Mattis plans to retire this spring after four-decades of service to the Corps ow.ly/h1nyb

— U.S. Marines (@USMC) January 23, 2013

There are various ideas floating around concerning his possible exodus from active duty — Tom Ricks seems to think Mattis is being forced out for asking tough questions about Iran, or for advocating a smaller global footprint for the U.S. military.

Regardless, the loss of Mattis would be a blow to the morale of the Corps. One Marine officer we spoke with agrees, saying “skilled company grade [officers] and NCOs with multiple deployments … said they would have decided to stay in based solely on the news of Gen Mattis’ appointment [as Commandant]. Love him or hate him, but that’s not nothing.”

It’s been a long road for Mattis, one in which the media often paints him as a cold-anesthetized killer. The reality is that he’s also a beloved leader, a thoughtful, sober strategist, and a caring father figure to every young service member he encounters.

An account by John R. Guardiano, a former Marine who not only met but conversed in depth with Mattis, sums up the general’s character best.

As published in The American Spectator:

Both the left and the right are wrong about Marine Corps Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis. He is neither the Jack Nicholson caricature of a Marine depicted in the 1992 movie A Few Good Men nor the callous and mad eccentric depicted by George C. Scott in the 1970 movie Patton.

And Gen. Mattis didn’t just talk the talk; he walked the walk. He led from the front. Indeed, on at least one occasion that I know of, the General was bloodied from a firefight or improvised explosive device while out on patrol with junior, enlisted Marines one-third his age. That’s what makes Gen. Mattis such a great warrior: He truly respects and cares for his Marines.

“Guardiano,” he told me, “I don’t give a damn about the officers. If they don’t like what they’re doing, they can get on a plane and leave the Corps — go back where they came from. But I do care deeply about those 18- and 19-year-old Lance Corporals out on the frontlines.”

We’ve gathered some of his best quotes, taken from this San Diego Union-Tribune profile, unless otherwise specified.

 

“You cannot allow any of your people to avoid the brutal facts. If they start living in a dream world, it’s going to be bad.”

Mattis has often talked to Marine leaders about staying sharp.

The “dream world” he alludes to is a reference to a complacent attitude — one that can cost lives if troops aren’t vigilant.

“If in order to kill the enemy you have to kill an innocent, don’t take the shot. Don’t create more enemies than you take out by some immoral act.”

As a co-author of the military’s counter-insurgency manual (with David Petraeus), Mattis has often spoke about following the rules of engagement and being disciplined among a ruthless enemy.

“I don’t lose any sleep at night over the potential for failure. I cannot even spell the word.”

The General is confident in his abilities and that of his Marines — he led the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade into Afghanistan in 2001, the 1st Marine Division into Iraq in 2003, and led an operation into Fallujah in 2004 dubbed “Operation Vigilant Resolve”, and helped to plan the later “Operation Phantom Fury.”

“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”

One of his “words to live by” for his Marines in Iraq, which was a call for his troops to remain vigilant and never let their guard down even in the company of those who seem friendly.

In a country where insurgents would blend into the local populace with ease, it was good advice.

“You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up there with you. I like brawling.”

Some Mattis quotes don’t come without a degree of controversy, including this one.

Said while speaking about his time on the ground in Afghanistan, he was later counseled by his boss Gen. Hagee, who said “he should have chosen his words more carefully.”

“I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f* with me, I’ll kill you all.”

After the initial Iraq invasion, “Chaos” (his radio callsign) sent home his tanks and artillery and used the “carrot and the stick” with Iraqi tribal leaders.

“The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some *******s in the world that just need to be shot. There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim.”

Speaking to his Marines at al Asad, he tried to motivate them to stay sharp and continue the mission.

He ended the speech, telling them in Patton-esque fashion, “I feel sorry for every son of a bitch that doesn’t get to serve with you.”

“We’ve backed off in good faith to try and give you a chance to straighten this problem out. But I am going to beg with you for a minute. I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for 10,000 years.”

Mattis demonstrates that he is willing to extend an olive branch to those on the fence — but always carries the weight of Marine firepower if that doesn’t work out.

“There are some people who think you have to hate them in order to shoot them. I don’t think you do. It’s just business.”

Many Marines look up to Mattis as a cult-like figure. Nevertheless, he will most likely be remembered as a consummate professional.

A Marine officer we spoke with said, “the more I learned about him, the more I saw that the things we were doing right seemed to be associated with his philosophy of command.”

“Marines don’t know how to spell the word defeat”

As a highly-educated four-star General, Mattis probably can spell it, but he wants his Marines to know that they should never let it happen.

“The most important six inches on the battlefield is between your ears.”

He often emphasizes to his troops that they need to be problem solvers, only using firepower as a last result.

“PowerPoint makes us stupid.”

As a top General, we can safely assume that Mattis has had to sit through his fair share of awful PowerPoint briefings.

“In this age, I don’t care how tactically or operationally brilliant you are, if you cannot create harmony—even vicious harmony—on the battlefield based on trust across service lines, across coalition and national lines, and across civilian/military lines, you need to go home, because your leadership is obsolete. We have got to have officers who can create harmony across all those lines.”

Mattis wants educated leaders that can be both book smart and be able to get the job done.

“Find the enemy that wants to end this experiment (in American democracy) and kill every one of them until they’re so sick of the killing that they leave us and our freedoms intact.”

Mattis believes the battlefield is better off being far from American shores.

“Treachery has existed as long as there’s been warfare, and there’s always been a few people that you couldn’t trust.”

In places such as Iraq and Afghanistan, alliances can often shift quickly.

Mattis spoke to Congress on this point after a series of green-on-blue attacks that left military leaders struggling to deal with.

“a country that armed Stalin to defeat Hitler can certainly work alongside enemies of al-Qaida to defeat al-Qaida.”

The General is a student of history and avid reader.

He often stresses the importance of education and training on building effective future leaders.

“Fight with a happy heart.”

Before heading into Iraq in 2003, all Marines of the 1st Marine Division received a letter from General Mattis. In the letter, he spoke candidly to his troops, telling them that “we will move swiftly and aggressively against those who resist, we will treat others with decency, demonstrating chivalry and soldierly compassion for people who have endured a lifetime under Saddam’s oppression.”

“You are part of the world’s most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.”

This line from his 2003 letter to his Marines foreshadows his contribution in 2006 to counter-insurgency doctrine, which stresses battlefield discipline, and protection of the civilian populace.

“For the mission’s sake, for our country’s sake, and the sake of the men who carried the Division’s colors in past battles — “who fought for life and never lost their nerve” — carry out your mission and keep your honor clean. Demonstrate to the world there is “No Better Friend — No Worse Enemy” than a US Marine.”

Mattis uses “never lost their nerve” in his 2003 letter to his men, utilizing a line from the Marines’ Hymn.

He goes on to offer another, telling them to “keep your honor clean.” Mattis, an avid reader of history, wants his Marines to live up to the legacy of past warriors.

You’ve heard quotes from a Marine Corps icon …

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/general-maddog-mattiss-best-quotes-2013-1?op=1#ixzz2ZmfSdrOy

Report abuse

Comments

Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Total 5 comments
  • ☜(☼_☼)☞

    ““There are some people who think you have to hate them in order to shoot them. I don’t think you do. It’s just business.””
    Sociopath killer “rabid dog.”

    • Ben

      It’s obvious, you’ve never been in combat.

    • Josey Wales

      Spit!

    • sootsme

      You, my friend, are right in line for a major learning experience. I hope you survive long enough to profit from it. I feel sorry for any who rely on you for their well being…

    • charlie2dogs

      must be a left wing liberal

Top Stories
Recent Stories
 

Featured

 

Top Global

 

Top Alternative

 

Register

Newsletter

Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.