MFSO Opposes Nomination of General Mattis

Military Families Speak Out opposes the nomination by Donald Trump of General James Mattis for Secretary of Defense. Mattis retired from the military in 2013. That means Congress needed to waive rules that require defense secretaries to be civilians for seven or more years after leaving the military to ensure civilian control over the armed forces.  The Senate has already voted to waive that requirement.  Civilian control of our military is fundamental to American democracy.

Donald Trump introduced General Mattis by the nickname “Mad Dog” as if this is someone “cool,” someone to be revered. According to journalist Dahr Jamail, over his career Mattis has shown “callous disregard for human life, particularly civilians, as evidenced by his behavior leading Marines in Iraq and comments he made about enjoying fighting in Afghanistan because ‘it’s fun to shoot some people. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot.’.” (James Mattis Is a War Criminal: I Experienced His Attack on Fallujah Firsthand. Truthout. December 6, 2016, D. Jamail)

“Mad Dog” was a name Mattis received after the 2004 battles of Fallujah in Iraq. More than 5700 civilians were killed. More than 100 U.S. troops died. At that time, white phosphorous, a weapon which, like napalm, burns all the way down to the bone was used. Its use is a violation of international law, as it was used in a city with thousands of civilians. So many U.S. service members who participated in the battles of Fallujah still reel from physical and moral injuries.

In a speech in 2003 Mattis spoke to soldiers about how to behave in Iraq. He said, “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.” The consequences for this hideous attitude have been drastic –widespread hatred toward our service members, hatred toward America – and moral injury for our soldiers and Marines.

Under General Mattis’s authority in 2005 US Marines massacred 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Haditha.  Many members of Military Families Speak Out remember these battles personally because it impacted our own families or families of friends and neighbors. Many of us in MFSO remember when our loved ones were trained or were under the command of General Mattis and deeply resent his cavalier attitude.

Our troops deserve moral leadership.  We call on MFSO members and friends to call your Senator today to tell them to oppose the nomination of James Mattis for Secretary of Defense. 202-224-2131.

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