James Mattis: “We Are Witnessing the Consequences of Three Years without Mature Leadership”

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis criticized President Donald Trump for his behavior in response to the protests that erupted after the death of George Floyd, saying he is “the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people.”

Trump “does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us,” Mattis said.

“We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership,” he continued. “We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”

Mattis also had harsh words for current Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s use of the word “battlespace” in reference to American cities. Esper’s comments came as Trump mused about “dominating” and crushing the protests.

“We must reject any thinking of our cities as a ‘battlespace’ that our uniformed military is called upon to ‘dominate,’ ” Mattis said. “At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict—a false conflict—between the military and civilian society.”

He added: “It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part. Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them.”

Wash Post: ‘Trump Can Launch Nuclear Weapons Whenever He Wants’

Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis was often referred to as ‘the adult in the room” in Donald Trump’s White House. With his abrupt resignation on Thursday many people in Washington are expressing alarm.

The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Sen. Mark R. Warner of Virginia called Mattis  “an island of stability amid the chaos of the Trump administration.” Retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) told The Washington Post that “having Mattis there gave all of us a great deal more comfort than we have now.”

However, according to the Washington Post, the Secretary of Defense is not part of the military, and the president can launch nuclear weapons whenever he wants.

The Post wrote:

“The notion that Mattis, a former four-star Marine Corps general, could have blocked or defied a move by Trump to impulsively launch nuclear weapons may have seemed comforting, but it shouldn’t have been. The secretary of defense has no legal position in the nuclear chain of command, and any attempts by a secretary of defense to prevent the president from exercising the authority to use nuclear weapons would be undemocratic and illegal.” read more

Mattis Says War in Afghanistan Must End: ‘40 years is enough’

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has asked the international community to help end the war in Afghanistan. He said  that regional leaders need assistance in their efforts to “bridge longstanding disagreements,” and also pointed out  that conflicts in Afghanistan have now gone on for “40 years.”

Mattis spoke to the news media before a meeting with Indian Defense Secretary Nirmala Sitharaman, saying:

“In Afghanistan, it’s gone on now it’s approaching 40 years; 40 years is enough and it’s time for everyone to get on board, support the United Nations, support Prime Minister Modi, support President Ghani and all those who are trying to maintain peace and make for a better world here. So, we are on that track,” read more

Mattis Says He Will Deploy U.S. Military Forces to Protect 2018 Elections

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the U.S. military may be used to defend against or prevent Russia’s election meddling in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections — but did not elaborate as to specifically how the armed forces would be deployed.

The Military Times reported that Mattis also said he agrees that the order to meddle in the 2016 presidential election came from the top levels of the Russian government itself.

Although he wasn’t specific, Mattis did talk in broad terms about the steps the U.S. military is currently taking and will take this fall to protect the 2018 midterms.

The Defense Secretary indicated that there would be two distinct ways that the U.S. military would play an important role in election protection.

  1. He said that military forces and resources would be used to defend against further meddling by Russia and other foreign hostile powers, and
  2. He said they would make sure that troops are not ensnared by foreign information campaigns.

“U.S. troops are part of protecting the Constitution, protecting the integrity of the elections and protecting what we stand for,” the Defense Secretary said at the Pentagon on Tuesday.

“We are focused on protecting the elections themselves,” he added, “so we’re looking at both this influence peddling and the corrupting, the violating the integrity of the elections, and those activities are in direct support of law enforcement and Department of Homeland Security.”

“We all saw what happened in 2016 when the Russians, and possibly others, but the Russians for certain tried to do both influence operations and actually get in and corrupt some of the election process,” Mattis told reporters. He was speaking after a Pentagon ceremony for British Secretary of State for Defense Gavin Williamson.

In agreeing with official assessments of the U.S. intelligence community concerning the role of foreign governments, Mattis then added:

“I believe it is official Russian support for meddling. However, that is not exclusive. There’s also other activities that went on that perhaps are not directly ascribed to the official Russia. But we watch for all of it and we can trace at least parts of it back to the Russian government.” read more

Troops Say Migrant Camps On Military Bases Is Totalitarianism and a Moral Offense

Raf Noboa, an Iraq War veteran and former Army sergeant, may have said it best:  “America’s military once liberated people from concentration camps. It beggars the mind and our morality that it might be used to secure them.”

“It smacks of totalitarianism,” added Steve Kleinman, a retired Air Force colonel and military intelligence officer.

Kleinman and Noboa are just two of the many active and retired U.S. military personnel who are expressing a sense of moral outrage over the Defense Department setting up detention camps for undocumented immigrants on military bases.

Noboa said he has been shocked by the reports of camps on military bases, saying they represent an “enormous moral offense.”

Another active duty officer of Mexican descent said, “I knew something bad was going to happen. I have always taken President Trump’s rhetoric at face value and right now, I’m not banking on the president having good will towards people of my nationality.” He is stationed at Fort Bliss, an Army base in El Paso, Texas which is one of two bases selected so far to be used as detention camps.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said on Monday that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had formally requested the Pentagon establish the camps at Fort Bliss and at Goodfellow Air Base in San Angelo, Texas.

“We’ll provide whatever support the Department of Homeland Security needs in order to house the people they have under their custody,” Mattis told reporters yesterday. He stressed that the military is only providing logistical support to DHS which deals with immigration issues.

“We’re not going to get into the political aspect. Providing housing, shelter for those who need it is a legitimate governmental function,” Mattis said.

One U.S. official said it was expected that one of the bases would house immigrant families and another immigrant children. Last week,

the U.S. military said it had been asked by the government to get ready to house up to 20,000 immigrant children read more