BREAKING: Portraits in Courage, Jim Mattis Edition

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for “making a mockery of the Constitution” in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was “appalled” at the president’s response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.

And of course it doesnt matter NOW, after you’ve let the monster out of the cage.

I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled. The words “Equal Justice Under Law” are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.

When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.

We must reject any thinking of our cities as a “battlespace” that our uniformed military is called upon to “dominate.” 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. 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.

James Madison wrote in Federalist 14 that “America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat.” We do not need to militarize our response to protests. We need to unite around a common purpose. And it starts by guaranteeing that all of us are equal before the law.

Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that “The Nazi slogan for destroying us…was ‘Divide and Conquer.’ Our American answer is ‘In Union there is Strength.’” We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics.

Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. 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.

We can come through this trying time stronger, and with a renewed sense of purpose and respect for one another. The pandemic has shown us that it is not only our troops who are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of the community. Americans in hospitals, grocery stores, post offices, and elsewhere have put their lives on the line in order to serve their fellow citizens and their country. We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Park. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution. At the same time, we must remember Lincoln’s “better angels,” and listen to them, as we work to unite.

Only by adopting a new path—which means, in truth, returning to the original path of our founding ideals—will we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad.

Amazing how these cowardly fuckers find their spine after they’ve left the 4th Reich and when it will do us no good. Lord Damp Nut will say that he’s just another ex-employee with a grudge.

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14 Responses to BREAKING: Portraits in Courage, Jim Mattis Edition

  1. James Mattis

    *(rubbing his hands) Come out, damned spot! Out, I command you! One, two. OK, it’s time to do it now.—Hell is murky!—Nonsense, my lord, nonsense! I am a soldier, and yet I am afraid? Why should we be scared, when no one can lay the guilt upon us?—But who would have thought the old man would have had so much evil in him?”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Redhand says:

    I give him a bit more credit than that. His pushback DOES help, even if late.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. donnah says:

    I agree that it’s late, but not too late. Mattis making this statement will make a difference with others in the military and it will likely send Trump into orbit. And at least Mattis didn’t wait until after the election to speak up.

    I’m glad he did it and I hope it makes a difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dennis Cole says:

    I’m sensing a kind of “call-out” to his former cohorts at the Pentagon, that they ought to be firmly, entirely convinced they’re on the right side of what’s about to go down, because it’s come time to choose sides, so choose well and wisely.

    Fence-straddling is just not gonna happen during this revolution, so get ready to make like a frog, and jump.

    And if we fail to prevail, then I hope to never see “Mad-dog” lined up against a wall and shot for those comments.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Redhand says:

      I agree. FFS, he even called out the 82nd Airborne and they were initially instructed to include bayonets in their kit. His insane, violence-porn fantasies and racial hatreds drove him over the edge, and (and I don’t use the phrase lightly) the people took to the streets.

      I honestly haven’t seen anything like this since I was a college student at the Univ. of Md. and the Kent State National Guard killings occurred. The whole country was convulsed in protest. I wasn’t a street protester or anything, but my campus dorm was near Rt. 1, and when I looked out at the crowd blocking the highway and saw the line of Swat type State police pushing them back onto the campus with their shield wall, you could just tell that something bad was going to happen. Hell, there was even a helicopter overhead, with an eerie searchlight running along the line between students and soldiers.

      I don’t know what triggered it off, but the cops charged and there was the sound of chaos outside my closed dorm room. The smell of tear gas was in the air, and I went from my room to open the front door of the dorm to look outside. The instant I did a policeman about 30 feet away saw me and threw a tear gas canister right at my head! He missed and I went back to my room and locked the door!

      A little while after that male and female students crowded into the dorm. Many of them were crying from having been hit, or just in shock and all of them were struggling with tear gas exposure. We had a communal bathroom a couple of doors down from me, and I remember seeing some girls putting their heads in the sinks and running water on their faces and in their hair to get the gas residue off. I was all of 20 years old and it made an impression, shall we say.

      So you can imagine that seeing the military police manhandle the peaceful protesters in Lafayette Park, and the tear gas flying and the helicopters in the air brought back memories.

      On another level I’m sad but happy it’s come to this. I’m happy because my biggest fear during the Trump years has been that the American people had lost their spirit, and when all else failed, they wouldn’t even “take it to the streets.” I feared that we had lost the spark of freedom and the will to stand up to looming tyranny, and wouldn’t push back. I am happy to see that I was wrong.

      This has been a long post, but let me close by saying that I think Trump is toast at this point. I think he will go down to an absolutely crushing defeat this November. If the stupid bastard had even a lick of sense, he would resign now in exchange for Pence pardoning him, and get the fuck out of D.C and try to disappear. But he won’t.

      I hope the reckoning for him and the whole GOP will be ferocious and just. This Land needs a major dose of righteous justice, Old Testament-style, against him and the scum who have enabled him. It’s time we got our Country back.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. osirisopto says:

    Damn. If only he had been in a position to do something about it at some point in time.

    Oh, well waddayagonado.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. buckobear says:

    Compare and contrast dep’t: Matthis’ comments and observations vs SecDef “just call me Mike” Esper rescinding his order to send home the 82nd Airborne soldiers.
    Mattis rises far beyond his distinguished service as an Amarican and a Marine. Esper rises to his knees to kiss trump’s orange ass.
    As Tengrain would say, #2 pencils only …………


  7. spotthedog says:

    I don’t think “Mad Dog” was one of the vicious dogs Trump referred to recently, but I think he’s feeling the bite.


  8. vertalio says:

    Mattis shouted out to the officer corps that POTUS is a Nazi, and they will need to think hard about following orders from above from now on.
    I welcome all allies at the moment, no matter how flawed. We know how fascists behave. We only have this one chance to defeat them or it will become so very much worse.

    Liked by 1 person

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  10. you know, Lord Dampnut, when everyone who leaves your administration ‘has a grudge’, perhaps the problem does not lie with THEM…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dennis Cole says:

    One more thing about fence-straddling? You make an excellent target up there…

    Liked by 1 person

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