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The James Mattis Resignation Letter

Rogue Valley

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The James Mattis Resignation Letter / Courtesy of the The New York Times

This is not a "retirement" letter as Donald Trump claimed yesterday in a tweet. At approximately 7am ET on 20 December 2018, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis called the White House and requested a same-day conference with President Trump. Secretary Mattis arrived at the White House at roughly 3pm ET and was ushered into the Oval Office. He tried his best to dissuade the CinC from unilaterally withdrawing US forces from Syria. Trump would not be moved. Livid, Sec. Mattis then explained to Trump that the US Kurd allies in Syria would be slaughtered by Syrian government, Turkish, and ISIS forces. Again, Trump was unmoved. After arriving back at the Pentagon, Secretary Mattis immediately released the letter below to the American public. Clearly, he already had this resignation letter in his back pocket when he went to the White House. Gen. Mattis is always prepared, and he obviously is familiar with the narcissism of Donald Trump.

More than a letter of resignation, it is mainly a rebuke. What he is saying between the lines is that Trump policy goes against everything he has cherished during 40 years in the US military. He rebuked Trump for disrespecting and trampling on US allies. Mattis knows all too well that our foreign allies are the first line in keeping the US mainland safe. Gen. Mattis also rebukes Trump for ignoring the increasing dangers of Russia and China to US security, and for cozying up to "malign actors" (such as Erdogan and Dutarte) who are anathema to core American values.

The letter below should be shocking to every American regardless of political stripe. I cannot recall another similar rebuke from a Defense Secretary to a sitting President. According to Gen. Mattis, Trump clearly holds ideas that are foreign to everything the General had learned and experienced in four decades of US military service. The disrespect of our intelligence services, the disrespect for our allies, Trumps ego-military-parade, Trumps moves against LGBT in the military, the North Korea debacle, the Helsinki debacle, Trump ordering US troops to the southern US border for political reasons, the abrupt US withdrawal from Syria by Trump without previously discussing it with anyone, and Trumps later admission that he is also removing 50% of US forces from Afghanistan. In effect, Trump is ceding the Middle East to America's enemies ... Assad, Putin, Khamenei, and Hezbollah. In such a power vacuum, radical Islamist groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda will reconstitute and flourish. They will certainly claim in recruitment literature that they forced the Great Satan to run away like a whipped puppy. Secretary Mattis could no longer abide a president that is increasingly harming the nation he loves and cherishes. Gen. Mattis stated he was proud to have served the country and her people, but tellingly refrained from saying that he was proud to have served under this particular Commander in Chief.

Who will replace Secretary Mattis? Who would even want to? But Trump will find someone. A loyalist. A nasty ideologue like Stephen Miller who agrees with Trumps worldview and will never ever disagree with Trump.

I pray for my beloved America. You should also.
 

Rogue Valley

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The letter:

Dear Mr. President:

I have been privileged to serve as our country’s 26th Secretary of Defense which has allowed me to serve alongside our men and women of the Department in defense of our citizens and our ideals.

I am proud of the progress that has been made over the past two years on some of the key goals articulated in our National Defense Strategy: putting the Department on a more sound budgetary footing, improving readiness and lethality in our forces, and reforming the Department’s business practices for greater performance. Our troops continue to provide the capabilities needed to prevail in conflict and sustain strong U.S. global influence.

One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships. While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies. Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States should not be the policeman of the world. Instead, we must use all tools of American power to provide for the common defense, including providing effective leadership to our alliances. NATO’s 29 democracies demonstrated that strength in their commitment to fighting alongside us following the 9-11 attack on America. The Defeat-ISIS coalition of 74 nations is further proof.

Similarly, I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours. It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model — gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions — to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies. That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.

My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.

Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position. The end date for my tenure is February 28, 2019, a date that should allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed as well as to make sure the Department’s interests are properly articulated and protected at upcoming events to include Congressional posture hearings and the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in February. Further, that a full transition to a new Secretary of Defense occurs well in advance of the transition of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September in order to ensure stability within the Department.

I pledge my full effort to a smooth transition that ensures the needs and interests of the 2.15 million Service Members and 732,079 DoD civilians receive undistracted attention of the Department at all times so that they can fulfill their critical, round-the-clock mission to protect the American people.

I very much appreciate this opportunity to serve the nation and our men and women in uniform.

Jim N. Mattis
 

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Mattis was clearly stating that Trump disrespects our allies, serves the needs of authoritarians and makes the world a more dangerous place.

Republicans must now decide once and for all where they stand. They can no longer rush into elevators in order to avoid answering reporters' questions. Also no longer allowed: "deeply concerned" tweets that suggest Congressional Republicans have no power to control the President's behavior.
 

Mycroft

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The James Mattis Resignation Letter / Courtesy of the The New York Times

This is not a "retirement" letter as Donald Trump claimed yesterday in a tweet. At approximately 7am ET on 20 December 2018, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis called the White House and requested a same-day conference with President Trump. Secretary Mattis arrived at the White House at roughly 3pm ET and was ushered into the Oval Office. He tried his best to dissuade the CinC from unilaterally withdrawing US forces from Syria. Trump would not be moved. Livid, Sec. Mattis then explained to Trump that the US Kurd allies in Syria would be slaughtered by Syrian government, Turkish, and ISIS forces. Again, Trump was unmoved. After arriving back at the Pentagon, Secretary Mattis immediately released the letter below to the American public. Clearly, he already had this resignation letter in his back pocket when he went to the White House. Gen. Mattis is always prepared, and he obviously is familiar with the narcissism of Donald Trump.

More than a letter of resignation, it is mainly a rebuke. What he is saying between the lines is that Trump policy goes against everything he has cherished during 40 years in the US military. He rebuked Trump for disrespecting and trampling on US allies. Mattis knows all too well that our foreign allies are the first line in keeping the US mainland safe. Gen. Mattis also rebukes Trump for ignoring the increasing dangers of Russia and China to US security, and for cozying up to "malign actors" (such as Erdogan and Dutarte) who are anathema to core American values.

The letter below should be shocking to every American regardless of political stripe. I cannot recall another similar rebuke from a Defense Secretary to a sitting President. According to Gen. Mattis, Trump clearly holds ideas that are foreign to everything the General had learned and experienced in four decades of US military service. The disrespect of our intelligence services, the disrespect for our allies, Trumps ego-military-parade, Trumps moves against LGBT in the military, the North Korea debacle, the Helsinki debacle, Trump ordering US troops to the southern US border for political reasons, the abrupt US withdrawal from Syria by Trump without previously discussing it with anyone, and Trumps later admission that he is also removing 50% of US forces from Afghanistan. In effect, Trump is ceding the Middle East to America's enemies ... Assad, Putin, Khamenei, and Hezbollah. In such a power vacuum, radical Islamist groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda will reconstitute and flourish. They will certainly claim in recruitment literature that they forced the Great Satan to run away like a whipped puppy. Secretary Mattis could no longer abide a president that is increasingly harming the nation he loves and cherishes. Gen. Mattis stated he was proud to have served the country and her people, but tellingly refrained from saying that he was proud to have served under this particular Commander in Chief.

Who will replace Secretary Mattis? Who would even want to? But Trump will find someone. A loyalist. A nasty ideologue like Stephen Miller who agrees with Trumps worldview and will never ever disagree with Trump.

I pray for my beloved America. You should also.

Re: The highlighted part of your post...

Do you have a statement from someone in the White House who describes this scenario?​

Re: The rest of your post...

I'm thinking this is nice spin, speculation, innuendo and hyperbole. Please provide an explanation from Mattis that says your interpretation is the same as his to prove me wrong.​
 

Mr Person

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I'm not sure I'm allowed to post it, but it reminded me of the "**** you I'm out" scene from Half Baked.
 

Rogue Valley

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Re: The highlighted part of your post...

Do you have a statement from someone in the White House who describes this scenario?​

Re: The rest of your post...

I'm thinking this is nice spin, speculation, innuendo and hyperbole. Please provide an explanation from Mattis that says your interpretation is the same as his to prove me wrong.​

You believe what you want, or what Trump tells you to believe. It makes no sense to waste any effort on you.
 

Manc Skipper

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The last adult has left the building. The first year, Trump was content to fiddle with internal policies, leaving international relations to manage themselves, to a degree. The second year, he gained confidence in his own infallibility and meddled abri=oad more, but still listened to calmer reasoned heads. Now that Marttis has realised he has lost any control he had and tet everyone know it, Trump faces the new tyear unfettered. Buckle up, people!
 

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First he states common sense principles for how America has and should conduct itself in global geopolitics, then he drops this bomb:

Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.

That is a scathing rebuke of our idiot President.
 

Rogue Valley

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First he states common sense principles for how America has and should conduct itself in global geopolitics, then he drops this bomb:

Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.

That is a scathing rebuke of our idiot President.

I believe Jim Mattis went as far with Trump as his military training and personal ethics would allow.

The General wants no part at all in the abandonment and slaughter of the Syrian Kurds, America's allies in Syria since the ISIS siege of Kobane in 2014.

I highly doubt Defense Secretary Mattis will sign the Execute Order ordering US forces to leave Syria. Trump will have to find someone else at the Pentagon for that distasteful task.

Turkish fighter jets and artillery will pound Kurdish villages in Rojava (northern Syria) and then the ground troops will enter. Erdogan has said they will toss the bodies into ditches.
 

tres borrachos

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First he states common sense principles for how America has and should conduct itself in global geopolitics, then he drops this bomb:

Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.

That is a scathing rebuke of our idiot President.

You are absolutely right.
 

Mycroft

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You believe what you want, or what Trump tells you to believe. It makes no sense to waste any effort on you.

So. You can't provide anything.

Moving on...
 

beefheart

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One of the cultists here tried to say that Individual 1 fired Mattis.

Oh the delusional world they inhabit.
 

Skeptic Bob

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It is also obvious from the letter that it wasn’t just about Syria. Syria was just the straw that broke the General’s back.
 

JustHanging

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The James Mattis Resignation Letter / Courtesy of the The New York Times

This is not a "retirement" letter as Donald Trump claimed yesterday in a tweet.

Haha, so that's what they told Trump. Mattis made it made it more than one paragraph long so Trump couldn't read it.
 

independentusa

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Mattis was clearly stating that Trump disrespects our allies, serves the needs of authoritarians and makes the world a more dangerous place.

Republicans must now decide once and for all where they stand. They can no longer rush into elevators in order to avoid answering reporters' questions. Also no longer allowed: "deeply concerned" tweets that suggest Congressional Republicans have no power to control the President's behavior.

I have heard that there are Russian trolls on every political message board. I often wonder about Mycroft and Grokmaster.
 

Manc Skipper

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It is also obvious from the letter that it wasn’t just about Syria. Syria was just the straw that broke the General’s back.

Mattis came as close as he could to hinting that the the White House Occupant was not working in the best interests of the USA.
 

Skeptic Bob

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Mattis came as close as he could to hinting that the the White House Occupant was not working in the best interests of the USA.

I wonder if he will end up doing an interview like a Tillerson. I hope so.
 
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