Wednesday, November 23, 2016

James Mattis

Sar Shalom

In assessing president-elect Trump's selection of retired General James Mattis to be the next Secretary of Defense, many supporters of Israel are pointing to statements that Mattis has made regarding the contribution of America's support for Israel to security threats in the Middle East. Not having access to anything directly on Mattis, I'll turn to his co-author of one of the drafts of the 2006 Army-Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Manual, David Petraeus. Similar charges have been leveled at Petraeus, and the Palestinianists have similarly used Petraeus' supposed endorsement of that position to argue against American support for Israel. In the following video, Petraeus, clarifies that statement, a clarification which would likely apply to anything Mattis may have said concerning Israel (apologies for the sound quality of Petraeus' voice).


  1. What statements?

    What charges?

    What's the take-away from this?

    1. I don't have any specific statements from Mattis. However, I have seen elsewhere that the only knock against him is that he has drawn a connection between America's support for Israel and Arab opposition to America.

      Not having direct information on Mattis, I decided to impute his position based on that of Petraeus, who is very similar in approach to military affairs. I don't know if you were able to hear Petraeus speak in this clip (I have heard him more clearly in a similar clip before, but in this one I was only able to hear the questioners voice). Petraeus' point was that the statement about Arab animosity to American support for Israel was just a brief portion of a report on challenges facing Central Command and that the hype about his and his staff's acknowledgement of its existence is a distortion of his views.

    2. I don't like this Mattis guy from my Google search. Could be the Arab countries in which Trump has holdings, or him pleasing the paleo-cons. However, Bill Kristol doesn't seem too sad about Mattis on Twitter, so that's a good sign.

    3. At the start of the Iraq War, Mattis was in charge of the 1st Marine Division. In Fiasco, Tom Ricks characterized him as one of the handful of commanders who understood the situation on the ground and how to do more to counteract the insurgency than to build it. He is roughly of the same approach to military affairs as David Petraeus, but without the political savvy.

      If you think that he was selected because of holdings in Arab countries or to please the paleo-cons, it shows that you have absolutely no clue what you're talking about.

      The one thing I have read is that the generals Trump has turned to have all been dismissed from positions due to conflict with Obama, an assessment that is supported by the other generals Trump is considering. This is somewhat worrisome. For instance, Gates fired Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley in June, 2008 because of a lapse in oversight of the nuclear arsenal. Would you have wanted Obama to stick it in the eye of Bush by naming Gen. Moseley to a senior defense position? While that instinct is leading to consideration of Mattis who was dismissed because he was more hawkish than Obama, it is also leading to the hiring of Michael "Flynn fact" Flynn who was dismissed because of his strained relationship with the truth, an assess that was shared by his military colleagues.

  2. The US, regardless of who is President, regardless of who is the Secy State, is at best, a fair weather friend of the Jews and Israel. 8 years of Obastard has underlined that. The so called 'unbreakable relationship' is a hoax. It's always been a hoax. It's a political fiction that exploits idiot American Jews who are too dull to realize it. The US and Israel have some but not all issues in common. Two countries that, when it works to their advantage can share commonality.

    But through the history of the state of Israel, from THEIR perspective, the US was not an ally during the Eisenhower administration, was neutral during JFK, was nominally an ally during LBJ, was routinely disparaged during Nixon and almost allowed to become extinct. Ford didn't worry, Carter is a Jew hater, Reagan and Bush 1 ran screaming from the mideast to empower Hezbollah. Clinton's efforts, a la Oslo, Camp David, etc. were window dressing for OUR benefit....and Obama is a thug.

    This is not to say we owe them something or they owe us. This isn't a marriage. But let's call it what it is - a relationship borne of situational necessity. If anything, the treatment by Obama has shown Israel that the US isn't indispensable. Israel won't dry up and blow away with the winds if the US decides to do or not do something.

    1. I always held an affection for India.

      I like the people and the food.

      Plus they gave us Buddhism... and thank G-d for that.