Thomas Ricks has a piece in Foreign Policy (a subscription only site) warning that the Obama Administration is firing Marine General James Mattis, the current head of Central Command. Why? Because he had the audacity to push back against chicken hawks (civilians who have not served in the military) that are eager to go to war with Iran. According to Ricks:

Why the hurry? Pentagon insiders say that he rubbed civilian officials the wrong way — not because he went all “mad dog,” which is his public image, and the view at the White House, but rather because he pushed the civilians so hard on considering the second- and third-order consequences of military action against Iran. Some of those questions apparently were uncomfortable. Like, what do you do with Iran once the nuclear issue is resolved and it remains a foe? What do you do if Iran then develops conventional capabilities that could make it hazardous for U.S. Navy ships to operate in the Persian Gulf? He kept saying, “And then what?

Inquiry along these lines apparently was not welcomed — at least in the CENTCOM view. The White House view, apparently, is that Mattis was too hawkish, which is not something I believe, having seen him in the field over the years. I’d call him a tough-minded realist, someone who’d rather have tea with you than shoot you, but is happy to end the conversation either way.

Those are the kinds of questions that no Generals asked Bush before launching the ill-fated invasion of Iraq.

Ricks makes the same point. Military leaders, good ones at least, have the duty to ensure that civilian leaders understand the consequences of initiating a war and the full costs required to sustain a campaign in order to achieve victory. To put this in biblical terms, it is called “counting the cost.”

Mattis’ role in the invasion of Iraq is portrayed in part in Evan Wright’s book, GENERATION KILL (full disclosure, Evan is a friend and his book is terrific).

Evan discussed General Mattis with NPR’s Alex Chadwick back in 2005. You can listen to the link here.

Mattis is a solid, sound General. Doing his job to protect his Marines and Soldiers and, ultimately, his country.

Ricks goes on to put his finger on the heart of the problem with the Obama Administration:

But I am at the point where I don’t trust his national security team. They strike me as politicized, defensive and narrow. These are people who will not recognize it when they screw up, and will treat as enemies anyone who tells them they are doing that. And that is how things like Vietnam get repeated. Harsh words, I know. But I am worried.

This is remarkable criticism from Ricks. He is a longstanding Obama cheerleader. He is right to note that the civilians surrounding Obama reflect their boss–they bring limited experience to national security and have no military experience. Most probably have never fired a firearm. It is a weak, dangerous group and, confronted with the likes of Mattis, can only soil themselves and push Mattis out the door in hopes of replacing him with a toady willing to drink the Obama kool-aid.

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Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008.
  • foxyladi14

    Great post Larry this country needs more Generals like this man.

  • HELENK2!

    please watch. a veteran stands up for the 2nd amendment

    stolen from the crawdad hole

  • MG6

    stolen from a commenter at crawdad hole

    authenticity of fake

    to me this is a very sad commentary of today

  • HARP2

    Hmm… Shock Claim: Obama Only Wants Military Leaders Who ‘Will Fire on U.S. Citizens’

    • Retired_from_SPOnaj

      Firing on US citizens will not be necessary now that we have 40,000 Chinese-made UN black boxcars equipped with lightweight Japanese-made aluminum guillotines sitting on railroad sidings throughout North Dakota.

    • foxyladi14

      Our only hope is the men and women in our military who are going to say no to orders given to shoot upon the American people.

  • elizabethrc

    Time will be Obama’s greatest enemy. He will accumulate so much bad policy which will negatively affect even his ‘believers’ that enough of them will turn away from him to provide the opening Conservatives need to regain control of Congress. How long it will take is an unknown, but if history is any lesson, people will long for change of the sort Obama didn’t have in mind.
    Already people are feeling the pinch of his onerous regulations, less take home pay, higher food prices and the continuing high gas prices. Even his simpleminded followers cannot deny the pinch to their pocketbooks.
    I wonder what effect the firing of the General has on the military at large. They can’t be happy with the crew in place in the WH. I am also intrigued by the hugely significant purchases of guns that’s taken place recently. People are scared, but American backbone is showing itself and Obama is missing the message they’re sending him. Even the most managed takeover of our Constitutional rights by him will meet with solid resistance.
    Obama is putting into place people who seem destined to challenge America’s greatness, not enhance it.
    The comments I’ve heard and read concerning yesterday’s speech confirm that it was divisive, harsh and confrontational. In one breath he says name calling must stop, but it was and is he who calls the rest of us “the enemy”. This is a man who makes one bad decision after another and being this drunk on power will ultimately not end well for Obama.

    • Hokma

      “Obama is putting into place people who seem destined to challenge America’s greatness, not enhance it.”

      I think they are people who not question or second guess Obama. He had to put up with it during his first term and does not seem inclined to even hear opposing views.

      • KenoshaMarge

        Can anyone explain to me why a man who is the “leader” of this country would seek to diminish the image of the country which he “leads”.

        (Note I don’t think obama would make a pimple on a “leader’s ass, but a president is perceived to be the leader of a country so rhetorically he is the “leader” even if he is a very bad one.)

        • Retired_from_SPOnaj

          Perhaps because Mr. Obama doesn’t see himself as the leader of the United States, but rather the historical first leader of the planet. This is because he is so enlightened than other humans.

          • Hokma

            Pat Buchanan wrote a good column articulating the fact that no President has a good second term with the possible exception of Reagan and going back as far as FDR.

            Based on his lack of popularity, his over confidence, the magnitude the economic and world problems, and his insane speech yesterday that Obama is headed for one heck of a fall from power.

            His arrogance and over confidence is something that no other President came into a second term with.

          • KenoshaMarge

            He ain’t doing shit as planetary leader either IMHO. But when you are as in love with yourself as he is you lose the ability to see reality. As have his disciples.

  • Fred82

    You know…….

    I served in 1st Marine Division once upon a time.

    During a large portion of my rather brief time in 1 Mar Div, the CG was a man by the name of James N Mattis.

    Semper Fi sir.

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

    • Retired_from_SPOnaj

      Now I’ve got you time stamped, Devil Dog. I was in the Corps 1974-1982. I left because in the post-Vietnam peacetime Marine Corps of that era, officers spend their time debating important issues like whether a Marine should wear a crew neck green t-shirt, a crew neck white t-shirt, a v-neck white t-shirt, or no t-shirt at all under the camouflage utility jacket. The vehement professional argument against the crew neck green t-shirt was that after several washings, one couldn’t guarantee a uniform shade of green visible in the “V” of the open collar of the camouflage utiity jacket when standing in formation. I remember thinking as I was reading this nonesense in the Marine Corps Gazette, “Unless these guys start thinking about the next war, a lot of of Marines are going to die.”
      So I left the Corps and joined the CIA. Ironically, the Agency sent me to Beirut to “liase” with the MAU that I would’ve deployed with had I stayed in the Corps. So I got to watch my prediction come true as the MAU Hqs billet was blown to rubble. Fortunately, I hadn’t slept there that night as planned because the COS called me back to the station on the other side of the Green Line.
      Fate is a strange thing, indeed.

      • Fred82

        I had a similar experience.

        I joined the Corps right out of High School and hated all of the dog and pony show shit. I didn’t like the paper happy types at all either. I actually loved the camaraderie and deploying overseas to places like Iraq (The only combat zone I ever deployed to).

        Given the crappy job market plus my OK experience with the Corps, especially the actual war stuff like deployments, I looked into going the OCS route once I finished up my Bachelor’s. Pending cuts basically made sure my age disqualified me from further consideration there.

        Though given the apparent return of the “peacetime” military and all of the silliness that goes along with it, maybe not getting selected for OCS wasn’t such a bad thing after all.


    In my lifetime there have been presidents, I did not like and did not vote for. Never until backtrack has there been one that I absolutely despised. he and his minions are the biggest enemy of my country in my lifetime and the democrats put them in the position to do the most harm.

    • KenoshaMarge

      I feel the same way Helen. And the cheering from his fans in the media is the most frightening, to me, of all.
      Many low-information, or just plain stupid, voters never know or understand what is going on around them. They listen to media, nod their heads and think they are in the know. They vote a party line or worship at the feet of some damn politician. My disgust with these fools knows no bounds.

      But for an evil like Obama to thrive it takes a media that worships at his feet like some dimwitted adolescent school boy/girl. A corrupt and biased media that is supposed to “Afflict the powerful and comfort the powerless.”

      People say in the polls that they have little or no use of respect for media and yet most swallow their bullshit on a daily basis.

      Good people are being brought down by mental midgets and it doesn’t appear that there is anything we can do. I am filled with despair.

    • foxyladi14

      I feel exactly the same way Helen.



    new law of the land. question at your peril

    From what I have read this country needs more Generals like this man. He thinks before he acts. He puts the best interest of the country and his men first. That is something the backtrack bunch will never understand

    • Hokma

      Except for Reagan, second terms do not go well for those who get them for one reason or another.

      None have come into a second term with so much failure and an equal amount of arrogance and over-confidence than Obama.

      As a result he headed for one of the most calamitous four years on so many fronts. One could be his own impeachment.