On Jan. 20, it will be exactly one year since James “Mad Dog” Mattis was confirmed as the United States’ secretary of defense. In the last 12 months, he’s certainly lived up to his reputation as a “warrior monk” by dishing out sage wisdom while also taking the fight to the enemy.
Mattis’ response to a Marine’s question last month is a perfect illustration of the veteran commander’s dry wit and tenacity… but it might also carry an ominous warning to America’s opponents.
The leathernecks stationed at a remote Marine base in Jordan, named Camp Titin, were excited that the famous former Marine general would be visiting the country, but Mattis was unable to personally visit the outpost.
Nevertheless, Breitbart reporter Kristina Wong offered to deliver messages from the deployed Marines to Mattis when she interviewed him. There was an enthusiastic response.
“Ask him if he has coins,” one Marine suggested, referencing the morale tokens that many commanders carry to give military personnel as personalized rewards for achievement.
“They’re probably blocks of granite! Tell him his Marines love him,” the jarhead added.
Wong saved the question about challenge coins, and asked Mattis directly when she met him.
“(T)he defense secretary smiled and said he didn’t have coins,” reported Breitbart.
“I’m saving money for bombs,” Mattis said.
Has there ever been a more Mattis answer? The secretary of defense “saving money for bombs” is right up there with his famous “knife hand” and its impressive kill radius.
As with many great quotes from the “warrior monk,” there’s a blend of both wry humor and deadly seriousness to his answer. While deflecting the reporter’s question, Mattis also made one thing extremely clear: His mission is to fight and win wars, and that’s exactly what he’s focused on.
It seems to be working. In November, Mattis revealed that coalition forces led by the United States are finally destroying radical Islamic militants in the Middle East.
“Our nations’ dedication to defeating the terrorist enemy is evident in the progress we have made since our last gathering here … 95 percent of the territory once held by ISIS is now liberated, and our partners continue to secure more each day,” he declared.
“Mosul, Tal Afar and Hawijah have been liberated; efforts to liberate the final pockets of ISIS-held territory in Anbar province are progressing rapidly,” he continued.
That’s a welcome reversal after years of the half-hearted Obama strategy, which seemed to largely consist of pretending that the Islamic State group wasn’t a threat while hampering the ability of American troops to actually kill the enemy.
The selection of Mattis as the leader of the U.S. military has proven to be one of the wisest decisions yet in a year of successes… and with luck, 2018 will bring even more “winning” for America’s men and women in uniform.
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