Donald Trump has appointed James Mattis, a retired general, as his secretary of defense, according to The Guardian.
Many were curious about who Trump would appoint in the defense position after the military-minded GOP insurgent and president-elect expressed some forceful opinions on the campaign circuit.
Trump promised voters he will crush ISIS, and once declared he would love to send Exxon Mobil to take ISIS’ oil, and then “bomb the s*** out of them,” according to Business Insider.
Trump made the announcement at an Ohio rally during his thank-you tour celebrating his presidential win.
Donald referred to his defense secretary by his nickname, “Mad Dog Mattis.”
“[W]e are going to appoint Mad Dog Mattis as our secretary of defense and we’re not announcing it until Monday so don’t tell it to anybody.”
The Guardian notes that Mattis may need to obtain a special waiver from Congress before he is officially accepted in the position. Mattis has not been out of uniform for the requisite seven years, having retired in 2013, according to ABC.
Mattis retired in 2013, leaving him four years short of the requisite seven years after active duty before commissioned officers may serve as secretary of defense.
The mandatory seven-year break between active military service and appointment as defense secretary apparently exists “to ensure that any incoming secretary has had time to adjust to being a civilian leader rather than a military officer.”
David E. Lewis, a professor of political science at Vanderbilt University, said that the seven-year break requirement is “an important principle in democratic politics just because sometimes the military itself is not the best judge of American foreign policy.”
ABC notes that Congress has approved exemptions before, and may well do so for Mattis. In 1950 President Harry Truman succeeded in getting his selection Gen. George C. Marshall appointed as defense secretary. At the time, the demand was even stricter — officers had to be out of active duty for at least 10 years before heading the Department of Defense.
“The House and Senate passed the George C. Marshall Exemption Act, which made Marshall exempt from the waiting period.”
Military Times states that Mattis probably will not have any trouble getting the exemption.
“Mattis is widely respected on Capitol Hill, and likely won’t encounter any difficulty getting confirmed.”
The left-leaning Guardian notes that many in the Washington establishment hope that Mattis can help to reign in Donald Trump.
“Many in Republican national security circles who opposed Trump have faith that the forceful Mattis can moderate Trump and bureaucratically neutralize Mike Flynn, the president-elect’s pick for national security adviser.”
The report adds skeptically that “Mattis has enough points of policy agreement with Trump to make his integration with the Trump hardliners as strong a possibility.”
Mattis is reportedly known for his quotable quotes, dubbed “Mattisisms” by colleagues in the military.
The tough-talking would-be defense secretary made some particularly famous remarks while he was a senior marine in Anbar, a volatile province of Iraq.
“I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: if you f*** with me, I’ll kill you all.”
The comments were made to a “local interlocutor,” according to the Guardian report.
Mattis also fell out with the Obama administration over his hawkishness on Iran. A writer for Foreign Policy criticized the Obama administration over this, saying that Mattis is simply a realist.
“The White House view, apparently, is that Mattis was too hawkish, which is not something I believe, having seen him in the field over the years. I’d call him a tough-minded realist, someone who’d rather have tea with you than shoot you, but is happy to end the conversation either way.”
Vox reports that Mattis “really, really hates Iran.” Apparently the time Mattis spent serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the 2000s convinced him that Iran was funding Shia militias in Iraq, and therefore that Iran is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans.
“[Mattis] came away from that job with a deeply held belief that Iran’s support for Shia militias in Iraq meant that Tehran was directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American troops.”
Mattis also opposed Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, saying that it would allow the country to expand its influence.
Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence have criticized both Obama and Hillary for their perceived pandering to Iran.
Salon is with Trump and Pence on this — the mag called the Iran nuclear deal drawn up by Clinton and Obama “a travesty.” The report also criticizes Obama for allegedly paying Iran for the release of four American prisoners, violating the dearly held principle that the U.S. government will not be cowed by bullies or negotiate with terrorists.
Obama denied that the U.S. paid ransom to recover the four Americans.
“[T]he Obama administration secretly apparently airdropped $400 million in foreign currency in exchange for the release of four Americans, a move that breaches U.S. protocol and amounts to ransom.”
During a stirring speech on the campaign trail, Vice President-elect Mike Pence told supporters that it was Hillary Clinton who initiated the “disastrous agreement” with Iran. Pence told supporters that Hillary was a shocking negotiator, and that as a result of her actions, the Iranians “got a ransom payment, $150 billion, all we got was a delay in the nuclear ambitions of the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world.”
Pence promised that the situation will change under Donald Trump.
“Paying ransom to terrorist-sponsoring states is emblematic of the kind of weak and feckless leadership that is weakening America and the world. Let me make you a promise: when Donald Trump is president of the United States, we won’t be paying a ransom to terrorist-sponsoring states. They’ll be paying a price if they threaten or detain the American people.”
The New York Post paints a picture of a bumbling Obama administration attempting to secure a good deal with Iran but being bested on every front. Iran is still taking hostages and testing weapons with aplomb, while Obama has “solved the mullah’s cash-flow problem” by sending them all that money, including the $400 million allegedly delivered in exchanged for the release of American hostages, according to the report.
The cash was apparently delivered to Tehran via Beirut.
After they received that U.S. cash, the Iranians “wasted no time seizing six new American hostages,” according to the New York Post.
“In fact, since its inception in 1979, the mullahs’ regime has not spent a single day without at least one American hostage.”
Establishment Republican and war hero John McCain has endorsed alleged Iran-hater Mattis as secretary of defense.
McCain called Mattis “one of the finest military officers of his generation” and welcomed the prospect of Mattis having “an opportunity to serve America again,” reports Business Insider.
[Featured Image By Mark Lennihan/AP Images]