Roy Exum: Semper Fidelis, ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis!

Sunday, March 24, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

There was a magnificent article in the Washington Free Beacon last Monday on “the most revered Marine in a generation.”  The much-beloved General James “Mad Dog” Mattis was reportedly forced to retire by the President on Friday after 41 years of duty, sacrifice and ceaseless devotion to America and its people. While I will not dispute Barack Obama is our Commander-in-Chief, I’ll take General Mattis over anybody you can name to protect our wives and children.

Just on Tuesday, he was speaking to some senators in Washington and was asked if the fact we had reduced our aircraft carrier presence in the Middle East from two to one might cause Iran to get feisty. ”No … if it did it would be their biggest mistake and longest day.”

It is widely said that Barack Obama forced Mattis’s departure early because “he rubbed civilian officials the wrong way, and forced them to answer tough questions regarding Iran.” On Friday  General Lloyd Austin, who grew up poor in Thomasville, Ga., before attending West Point, became the first black ever to lead Central Command, replacing Mattis.

Sadly, there will be some who scowl at the race card but anyone who dares look at General Austin’s spectacular military career will be led to believe he’s a very viable replacement, albeit a bit premature. You see, the fiery Mattis was doing a superb job and, if the real truth be told, may also well be the greatest leader of troops since General George Patton and his salty language and dauntless spirit.

I’ll be as bold as to say Marince Corps General James N. “Mad Dog” Mattis may be one of the greatest Americans of our time. And his quotes are the best collection to come from a soldier in 100 years.

His greatest of all time came in 2006 after the invasion of Iraq. He’d already sent his troops and equipment back home but in a parting letter to the remaining Iraqi leaders, he left little doubt in their minds how he felt: “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you (screw) with me, I’ll kill you all.”

I’m telling you, he knows how to lead warriors! Here is solid proof -- one day before the First Marine Division began its assault into Iraq on March 19, 2003, every soldier got this letter from General James L. “Mad Dog” Mattis.

* * *

FIRST MARINE DIVISION

Commanding General’s Message To All Hands:

“For decades, Saddam Hussein has tortured, imprisoned, raped and murdered the Iraqi people; invaded neighboring countries without provocation; and threatened the world with weapons of mass destruction. The time has come to end his reign of terror. On your young shoulders rest the hopes of mankind.

“When I give you the word, together we will cross the Line of Departure, close with those forces that choose to fight, and destroy them. Our fight is not with the Iraqi people, nor is it with members of the Iraqi army who choose to surrender. While we will move swiftly and aggressively against those who resist, we will treat all others with decency, demonstrating chivalry and soldierly compassion for people who have endured a lifetime under Saddam’s oppression.

“Chemical attack, treachery, and use of the innocent as human shields can be expected, as can other unethical tactics. Take it all in stride. Be the hunter, not the hunted: never allow your unit to be caught with its guard down. Use good judgment and act in best interests of our Nation.

“You are part of the world’s most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon. Share your courage with each other as we enter the uncertain terrain north of the Line of Departure. Keep faith in your comrades on your left and right and Marine Air overhead. Fight with a happy heart and strong spirit.

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

s/J.N. Mattis

Major General, U.S. Marines

* * *

Are you kidding? In 2005 he got in trouble with all the liberal types when he blurted, “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 (heck) of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually it's quite fun to fight them, you know. It's a (heck) of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up there with you. I like brawling.”

Of course, he was actually trying to inspire the kids who were going into battle wearing the Globe, the Eagle and the Anchor.  At another time he said, “I don’t give a (darn) 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.”

I just love it. Such spirit is what forged our country. So as General James N. Mattis prepares to attend Palm Sunday church services, allow me to share another ten of the many quotes that will last for centuries:

* * *

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

“The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some (expletives) in the world that just need to be shot.”

“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.”

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

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

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

“There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, cunning, obedience and alertness, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim.”

“No war is over until the enemy says it’s over. We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.”

“There is nothing better than getting shot at and missed. It’s really great.”

“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.”

“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.”

* * *

Oh my mercy, I just love the man. Semper Fidelis, sir, and that’s from a most grateful nation.

royexum@aol.com


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