Retired Marine General Jim Mattis is the latest former Trump administration official to cash in on his government service by writing a book that’s a thinly veiled critique of the president.
The former defense secretary, who only made it halfway through Trump’s first term before bailing out, is now all of a sudden an expert on America’s political divisions.
“What concerns me most as a military man is not our external adversaries; it is our internal divisiveness,” Mattis writes.
Really? Well, as a military man, you are paid to worry about our “external adversaries.” That’s your job. Is Mattis really concerned that we are headed for some kind of civil war?
“We all know that we’re better than our current politics,” he writes in an excerpt of a new memoir published in The Wall Street Journal. “Unlike in the past where we were unified and drew in allies, currently our own commons appears to be breaking apart.”
Not sure what he means by our “current politics” but it’s a good guess that he’s not talking about the Democratic presidential race. Mattis is still in a tizzy over Trump and clearly is concerned that his service in the administration will be a blight on his good record.
Hence, the new book — an attempt at damage control and to let everyone know he doesn’t approve of how Trump is governing or running the military.
Mattis resigned amid a dispute over Trump’s pulling troops out of Syria but he goes much further in his new book.
In another shot at Trump, Mattis writes that “a leader must display strategic acumen that incorporates respect for those nations that have stood with us when trouble loomed.”
No doubt this kind of writing will secure Mattis a spot at the Washington elite dinner parties and a few guest appearances on CNN.
But it does little to explain why Mattis even agreed to be defense secretary in the first place for a president he didn’t even know. He writes only that when a president asks you to serve, you take the offer.
Mattis probably should have given it more than a second thought. He served honorably in the armed forces but defense secretaries have traditionally been civilians, often politicians. Maybe he didn’t know what he was getting into by agreeing to Trump’s offer.
“Nations with allies thrive,” he writes. “And those without them wither. Alone, America cannot protect our people and our economy. At his time we can see storm clouds gathering.”
Cue the ominous music.
Mattis was undoubtedly a strong military leader and deserves credit for that. But spare us the cliche-ridden critique of our society.
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