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February 04, 2005

The Warrior and the Gerbil

Picture this.

Imagine a group of 18 year old American kids; snotty, insolent, spoiled (even the ones from poor backgrounds; by world standards, we're all spoiled rotten), used to being held to low expectations, triained by a media society to expect instant gratification. Beyond that, they're products of an educational system spawned in the anti-militaristic seventies that exalts self-esteem but has forgotten self-respect, which misses the point on character, and has tried to train them - especially the boys - to be non-competitive, docile and feminized. They're products of a society where the notion of "service" is foreign. They're the children of the "Me" generation, swaggering around with their pants around their thighs and their underwear up to their armpits, ignorant of history but up to the minute on Allan Iverson and Paris Hilton.

Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to teach them - the one percent of them that choose the military - how to endure brutal privation, obey orders that can range from arbitrary to insane without trivial question, and at the end of the day to compete in the toughest match there is, modern, man vs. man combat. Not with video-game consoles and missiles, but with rifles and grenades and sheath knives, at ranges so close you can see, and sometimes touch, or be splattered by, your enemy. And then, you must lead them into a fight for their lives, and the lives of their squad-mates.

On top of that, you must teach them something their fathers and grandfathers never had to learn; to switch from lethal focus to compassion, or at least prudence, instantly. In the heat of battle. Where a mine or a sniper or a suicide bomber could be around every corner.

Any takers?

James Mattis is.

Lt. General James Mattis commanded the First Marine Division in Iraq, during the march to Baghdad, the longest overland push in the history of the USMC. He's got a long history as the kind of warrior you want to have defending you.

Oh, yeah - he talks trash:

According to an audio recording of General Mattis's remarks obtained by The Associated Press, he said: "Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. You know, it's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right upfront with you, I like brawling."

He added, "You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil."

General Mattis continued: "You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."

Lots of it:
The general is no stranger to controversy. After marines under his command seized an airstrip in Afghanistan at the start of the war against the Taliban, he declared, "The Marines have landed, and we now own a piece of Afghanistan."

The remark grated on Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who with other Pentagon officials considered the remark impolitic given the administration's stated goal that the United States was freeing Afghanistan from the tyranny of the Taliban, not seizing land in a Muslim nation.

I find it amazing that a media that lionizes sports figures and pop music stars who talk the kind of smack that makes Mattis' remarks sound almost innocent, can then turn around and take offense when a man whose job is to teach our shiftless 18-year-old boys to be 19-year-old men, and lead them into battle, talks in a manner that speaks to those same rough-hewn fighting men (and women), rather than 55-year-old former anti-war protesters who work as news executives or bureaucrats.

Read The March Up, by Bing West and Ray Smith; the story of Mattis' drive on Baghdad, it shows Mattis is a measured, even compassionate a warrior as can be imagined.

This rhubarb shows us a number of things:

  • There's a gulf in perception between our society's chattering classes and its warriors. Read Mattis' actual remarks, including the context (absent from most headlines, and certainly from most leftyblogs' treatment of this flap); you know he knows who he's talking about; you know he's not talking about indiscriminate, joyful mass-murder.
  • This incident highlights another key difference; our military - and, I argue, "red" America, the part that's serious about the challenges that face our nation - thinks in terms of tangibles. Function is more important than form. The chattering classes - the left, "silly America", the fantasy-based community - obsesses over The Message. It's the Gospel According to Clinton; the Message is the Medium, as well as the Goal and the Product. It's better to look good than to feel good - or maybe better to say the right thing than do the right thing.
The kicker? Five will get you ten that there's not an Afghan or Iraqi that doesn't understand exactly what Mattis is saying.

As we've seen pretty clearly in this past week, the chattering classes could learn a lot from the Iraqis. And General Mattis, for that matter.

George Patton also got into a lot of trouble for running his mouth off. Like Mattis, he was no fool; he knew what he was doing. He was leading Americans to do something Americans hate; put themselves into a uniform and, forgoing the routines and rewards of civilian life, to go overseas to fight a war that 48% of the population supports either not well or not at all, to risk their lives and be underpaid for it, to sleep in the mud and go days without sleep and to occasionally have to tourniquet the stump of your buddy's leg and throw a grenade into a roomful of other guys who'd gladly do the same to you, and maybe come home in a box in the bargain. Patton, and Mattis, understand; they're leading Americans to be something Americans are, naturally, not; warriors.

On that count, Mattis has delivered, and in epic portion.

But, again, to a good chunk of our chattering classes, "delivery" isn't as important as "appearance".

Posted by Mitch at February 4, 2005 07:55 AM | TrackBack
Comments

Mitch--

All that was missing was the "That is all." at the end.

Excellent and thank you.

Posted by: Pete (Alois) at February 4, 2005 11:30 AM

The Commandant of The Marine Corps came on the cable shows.Unbelievable.He told Lou Dobbs that I back my man and what he has to say,this is how you speak to Marines that are going into battle and he is my finest warrior on my general staff.He followed with ,"Noone seemed to worry about our finest fighting general's words when we were fighting the Nazis,did they?"I am so proud to have served as a Marine and to hear those words.I'm sure the CMC was buying the rounds for the Lt Gen that night at the Offices' Club and that evey Marine in the place was buying one for the CMC .Semper Fidelis.

Posted by: ED Viehman at February 4, 2005 11:40 AM

Any who condemn what Mattis said don't understand the first thing about organized violence, and are as useless as a run-of-the-mill pacifist.

Posted by: Will Allen at February 4, 2005 12:50 PM

Pete: Thanks!

Will: In a society where 1% of the people serve, and perhaps a tenth have even a faint comprehension of military life, science and history, that lack of understanding is endemic.

Ed: I'll buy the CMC and LTG Mattis a drink (each) myself if I get the chance (after I pay up the drinks I owe Rocket, Elder and the Captain)

Posted by: mitch at February 4, 2005 01:19 PM

Is the world made a better place by ridding the world of these cowardly and sadistic thugs? Yes! Should anyone who makes the world a better place take joy in their work. Absolutely!

If A=good and B=A, then B=good

To turn a blind eye to evil is to turn your back on goodness. To confront evil IS goodness...


A big thank you to LTG Mattis, the US Marine Corps and all who serve!!!

Posted by: Barry H at February 4, 2005 01:59 PM

Well done.

Thanks.

Posted by: fingers at February 4, 2005 03:24 PM

this shows you wingnuts as you all are, dipraved racisst who live is not as important as profit. Hate is youre creed. The life of an ARAB is not worth as much like an american. I tell my son I well desown him if he joins the army before i let a child of mine work for a racisst like mattis.

Posted by: anna wooten at February 4, 2005 04:27 PM

I can't quite decide whether Anna Wooten is actually a hoax. So many grammar problems, mispellings and issues with punctuation. To say nothing of the fact she, apparently, takes Nick Coleman seriously. Reading her comments, I can't quite believe she's even capable of turning on a computer, let alone comment on a blog. Something's fishy here. Odin? Are you pulling something again?

Posted by: Ryan at February 4, 2005 04:38 PM

"Odin? Are you pulling something again?"

Too funny.

I guess I have a hard time seeing what is so very "racisst" about disrespecting men who slap women around, which is what the LtGen did in his comments. I disrespect all men who beat up women, and I suspect that LtGen Mattis shares my sentiments. But of course, I guess Anna is free to disagree and go on loving the Taliban (dust off that burqa while you're at it, Anna--the LtGen wasn't kidding).

Oh BTW, wee point of fact... the Afghans aren't Arabs. And if you really want to split hairs, the Arabs are white folks just like us. Just sayin'.

Posted by: Pete (Alois) at February 4, 2005 04:50 PM

GENTLEMAN AND LADIES ,AS A FORMER BEEN THERE, NAM TWO TOUR "RECON" ..(MOS 0369)" MARINE , WHAT THE TERRIFIC GENERAL(I WELL KNOW ABOUT HIM PERSONALLY ) SAID WAS NORNMAL RUN OF THE MILL STUFF TO MARINES . FRANKLY THAT WAS NOTHING EVEN CLOSE TO WHAT WE HEAR FAR WORSE THAT THAT NOTHING TALK TO OUR MARINE TROOPS .DUH !
IT'S JUST NOT(IN THE LIBERAL MEDIA ..THANK GOD ) OR EVER HEARD AROUND AND KNOWN BY PACIFIST PC CORRECT ,ANTI ANY WAR ELITIST LIBERAL COLLEGE CAMP-PUSSIES AND COFFEE SHOPS OR LIBERAL MEDIA OFFICES BECAUSE FEW OF THEM HAVE SERVED IN THE MILITARY FOR THIS WONDERFUL COUNTRY AS COMBAT READY BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN ...IN FACT MOST LIBERALS RAIL AGAINST ANY AND ALL MILITARY ..OK , JUST OURS OWN SINCE 1966.
REMEMBER, THEY ALL SHOUT AMERICA IS ALWAYS WRONG (BUSH AND RE PUB'S )AND ANYONE ELSE, UN....PACIFIST PC CORRECT LIBERAL AND THE FRENCH GET IT RIGHT ALWAYS !
HAS ANYONE HEARD OND BAD WORD ABOUT THE BEHEADERS MAKING TV AD'S ON AL JAZZERA TV AS A RECUITING TOOL AND IRAQ AND AFGAN INNOCIENT HUMAN BEING'S BLOWN TO HELL WITH ROAD SIDE BOMBS KILLING ANYONE WHO WALKS OR DRIVES NEAR BYE OR ANY ANGER ABOUT AMERICAN CUT OFF HEADS FROM ANY LIBERAL IN THE MEDIA ? COMPLETE ""SILENCE" !
ALL LIBERALS AND THE LIB. MEDIA ARE LOUDLY SILENT ON THE ENEMIES "NONE" GENEVA DECENT TREATMENT OF THOSE THEY CAPTURE EVEN IN THEIR OWN FILM SHOWN TO THE ENTIRE WORLD WITHOUT QUESTION ....MR. TEDDY KENNEDY ARE YEAH LISTENING ?NAH !HE'S DRUNK ,IT'S SATURDAYOR AFTER 6 O'CLOCK !--
WHAT DID THEY EXPECT FROM A WARRIOR TO OTHER MARINE WARRIORS FACING COMBAT WITH BE HEADERS AND CRAZED TERRORIST THAT BLOW INNOCENT IRAQ AND AFGAN CITIZENS TO HELL AND BEAT THE CRAP OUR OF THEIR WOMEN ?
LET'S PLAY PATTIE CAKE AND HUG THEM AND SAY "CAN'T WE JUST BE TOGETHER AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER !LIBERALS ???????? !

Posted by: SAM E at February 5, 2005 10:42 AM

GENTLEMAN AND LADIES ,AS A FORMER BEEN THERE, NAM TWO TOUR "RECON" ..(MOS 0369)" MARINE , WHAT THE TERRIFIC GENERAL(I WELL KNOW ABOUT HIM PERSONALLY ) SAID WAS NORNMAL RUN OF THE MILL STUFF TO MARINES . FRANKLY THAT WAS NOTHING EVEN CLOSE TO WHAT WE HEAR FAR WORSE THAT THAT NOTHING TALK TO OUR MARINE TROOPS .DUH !
IT'S JUST NOT(IN THE LIBERAL MEDIA ..THANK GOD ) OR EVER HEARD AROUND AND KNOWN BY PACIFIST PC CORRECT ,ANTI ANY WAR ELITIST LIBERAL COLLEGE CAMP-PUSSIES AND COFFEE SHOPS OR LIBERAL MEDIA OFFICES BECAUSE FEW OF THEM HAVE SERVED IN THE MILITARY FOR THIS WONDERFUL COUNTRY AS COMBAT READY BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN ...IN FACT MOST LIBERALS RAIL AGAINST ANY AND ALL MILITARY ..OK , JUST OURS OWN SINCE 1966.
REMEMBER, THEY ALL SHOUT AMERICA IS ALWAYS WRONG (BUSH AND RE PUB'S )AND ANYONE ELSE, UN....PACIFIST PC CORRECT LIBERAL AND THE FRENCH GET IT RIGHT ALWAYS !
HAS ANYONE HEARD OND BAD WORD ABOUT THE BEHEADERS MAKING TV AD'S ON AL JAZZERA TV AS A RECUITING TOOL AND IRAQ AND AFGAN INNOCIENT HUMAN BEING'S BLOWN TO HELL WITH ROAD SIDE BOMBS KILLING ANYONE WHO WALKS OR DRIVES NEAR BYE OR ANY ANGER ABOUT AMERICAN CUT OFF HEADS FROM ANY LIBERAL IN THE MEDIA ? COMPLETE ""SILENCE" !
ALL LIBERALS AND THE LIB. MEDIA ARE LOUDLY SILENT ON THE ENEMIES "NONE" GENEVA DECENT TREATMENT OF THOSE THEY CAPTURE EVEN IN THEIR OWN FILM SHOWN TO THE ENTIRE WORLD WITHOUT QUESTION ....MR. TEDDY KENNEDY ARE YEAH LISTENING ?NAH !HE'S DRUNK ,IT'S SATURDAYOR AFTER 6 O'CLOCK !--
WHAT DID THEY EXPECT FROM A WARRIOR TO OTHER MARINE WARRIORS FACING COMBAT WITH BE HEADERS AND CRAZED TERRORIST THAT BLOW INNOCENT IRAQ AND AFGAN CITIZENS TO HELL AND BEAT THE CRAP OUR OF THEIR WOMEN ?
LET'S PLAY PATTIE CAKE AND HUG THEM AND SAY "CAN'T WE JUST BE TOGETHER AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER !LIBERALS ???????? !

Posted by: SAM E at February 5, 2005 10:42 AM

"Oh, yeah - he talks trash:"

Oh, HELL no. That's not trash Mattis is talking. Talking trash is when your a$$ can't cash checks your mouth is busy writing.

Sorta kinda like Kerry, Kennedy and the rest of those freaks who aren't fit to lick Mattis' boots clean.

Posted by: Lark at February 12, 2005 10:24 PM
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