Obama’s dismissal of General McChrystal was a serious mistake, as I have argued here at The American Spectator and elsewhere. However, the silver lining in this fiasco has been the promotion of what may well be America’s two greatest living generals: David Petraeus, of course, but also James N. Mattis.
Petraeus has replaced McChrystal as commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan. And now Mattis has been tapped to replace Petraeus at Central Command, where he will oversee U.S. military operations for the entire Middle East and Central Asia, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria and Iran.
This is stunningly good news, which must give our enemies serious cause for concern. Mattis, after all, is a fighting general whose battlefield exploits and historical erudition are not fully known or appreciated. Suffice it to say that he is a better general than Patton ever was. Enough said.
But of course, you don’t hear much about Mattis in the media or the popular culture, because most journalists are liberals and leftists. Thus they haven’t a clue. The study of military history, moreover, is a dying discipline within the American academy.
Instead, the media have ginned up a “controversy” (only in their minds) over some innocuous comments uttered by Mattis five years ago at a professional conference on military transformation. Here’s what Mattis said:
“Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight ’em. You know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right upfront with you. I like brawling.”
Mattis, of course, was expressing a Marine’s natural pride and good-natured clamor for the fight. This is something I explained five years ago in a piece for The American Spectator. Read “Breaking the Warrior Code” and realize why we are fortunate to have generals like James N. Mattis — and why you should discount media-manufactured controversies as the nonsense that they often are.