Trump to Nominate Gen. James Mattis Secretary of Defense

Will need special permission from Congress because he only retired from the armed forces in 2013.



President-elect Donald Trump says he will nominate retired Gen. James Mattis as defense secretary, CNN and the AP report. Mattis retired from the Marines in May 2013, last serving as the head of U.S. Central Command, responsible for military operations in the wider Middle East, from Egypt to Kazakhstan.

Mattis served in the first Persian Gulf war, the Iraq war and the Afghanistan war, and was involved in developing the counter-insurgency strategy in Iraq. "They want us to become racist and to hate every Iraqi," Mattis told troops in 2007, according to a Los Angeles Times profile at the time. "You're going to be tested, and there are going to be some tough times."

"Every time you wave at an Iraqi civilian, Al Qaeda rolls over in its grave," he told them.

If Trump does nominate Mattis, the Congress would have to grant him an exemption—a 1947 law prohibits any former member of the military from serving as defense secretary who had not been retired for at least seven years. Only George Marshall, who served as defense secretary under Harry Truman from 1950 to 1951, after serving as secretary of state from 1947 to 1949, has previously received such an exemption.

Earlier this year, Mattis was floated as a potential independent presidential candidate. "It's been going on for 15 months. Since coming back from overseas, this is more of a foreign country than the places overseas," Mattis said, according to "I don't understand it. It's like America has lost faith in rational thought."

Mattis was replaced at Central Command in 2013. He reportedly didn't get a phone call ahead of the announcement about his being replaced as head of Central Command, although a spokesman for the Pentagon said at the time Mattis was aware he would be replaced and by who. Mattis was believed to have been replaced because his views on the threat Iran pose didn't match the Obama administration's.

"Nothing I believe is as serious in the long term in enduring ramifications in terms of stability, and prosperity and some hope for a better future for the young people out there than Iran," Mattis argued earlier this year at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "It remains the single most belligerent actor in the Middle East."

Nevertheless, he was not in favor of discarding the Iran nuclear deal. "We are going to have to recognize that we have an imperfect arms control agreement," he argued. "What we achieved was a nuclear pause, not a nuclear halt. We're going to have to plan for the worst."

Mattis was also a supporter of Secretary of State John Kerry's efforts at an Israeli-Palestinian peace process, saying Kerry was "focused like a laser beam" and that a two-state solution was a priority.

"I paid a military security price every day as the commander of CentCom because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel," Mattis said at a security forum in Aspen in 2013, shortly after retiring, "and that moderates all the moderate Arabs who want to be with us, because they can't come out publicly in support of people who don't show respect for the Arab Palestinians."

In 2010, Mattis was profiled in Slate for a series on risk-taking. He was described as an "evangelist for risk" driven by two principles:

The first is that intellectual risk-taking will save the military bureaucracy from itself. Only by rewarding nonconformist innovators will the services develop solutions that match the threats conceived by an enemy that always adapts. The second is that technology cannot eliminate, and sometimes can't even reduce, risk. Mattis warns about the limitations of sophisticated weapons and communications. They can be seductive, luring military planners into forgetting war's unpredictable and risky nature, leaving troops vulnerable.

An announcement about secretary of state may be made soon too—former U.S. ambassador to the U.N John Bolton meets with Trump tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is working hard to expand the executive branch's power to wage war around the world before handing the White House over to the Trump administration.

NEXT: A "Dread Pirate Roberts" Was Using a Silk Road Account Even After Ross Ulbricht Was Arrested, Says His Mother Lyn Ulbricht

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  1. Chuck Norris tells General Mattis jokes.

  2. Well he doesn’t sound like a complete nutjob.

    Which, considering even the low bar Trump has to meet, is a bit of a relief.

  3. Sounds like a bloviating windbag.

  4. Rahhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    1. No. It’s: HOOrah

      1. Only in the Navy

      2. There is no “H”

      3. There is no “H”

      4. There is no “H”

  5. Mattis seems OK to me… so long as he has never called a soldier who couldn’t pack his gear girlish in some way.

    I don’t know how the chain of command works. Does he get to fire the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, on his first day?

    1. I know what’s in the article; seems to have some valid comments re: ‘miracle weapons’, and an understanding of ME politics.
      So long as Trump keeps him focused on US defense, well…

    2. (…please please please please please please please…)

    3. Right? Everyone knows packing is the one thing female soldiers can do.

    4. Well, there’s this (ganked from my son, a Marine vet who sees Mattis as SecDef as the only possible upside to a Trump presidency):
      “When you men get home and face an antiwar protester, look him in the eye and shake his hand. Then wink at his girlfriend, because she knows she’s dating a pussy.”

      1. Depends on the wuss’ GF; not sure you’d wan’t to wink at a lot of them.

        1. You know that a pretty substantial chunk of IVAW types are either complete phonies or never deployed, right?

      2. So, your son is an idiot?

        1. New handle, same idiocy. Fuck off.

  6. Mike Tirico adds nothing to a broadcast.

    1. Warren,
      Turn off the sound. The games better that way. Turn it back on for the times then don’t show the ref signaling the infraction.

    1. Polite and professional.

    2. Why am i just now seeing that?

  7. So, the other thread is, like, two threads ago, so:
    RE: Obama rescheduling marijuana before he leaves office. Wasn’t I party to a bet about that? Pretty sure I chose the “no way in hell” side, but I seem to recall it was modified to just donate to reason either way. Anybody have better memory or ability to mine the archives?

    1. Reason gets a lump of coal this year to fire the steam-powered server, or money if they promise to hire real web hosting instead of Robbie’s nephew with Radio Shack hardware.

      1. Thank you, Sevo, for your opinion. It does not, however, answer my question.

        1. You can do a google search by [ commenter handle].

          1. Thanks, muffbomber

            1. Doesn’t work. Just pulls up reason stories that mention Denver

                1. Fuck. [ DenverJ]

                  1. All I get is drew Cary stuff, and even that is only in headlines. Reason needs a comment global search.

                1. And beaten by a second. Damn.

                  1. Thanks to all you people that were hard at work while i was drinking

                    1. Don’t thank me.

                      I was just doing this.

                    2. So, the best was 20 that he wouldn’t, and he hasn’t, yet. So, yay, my whiskey, beer, and pot fund hasn’t been hit, yet.

                  2. And beaten by a second. Damn.

                    To be fair, I somewhat passive-aggressively linked to the search whereas you linked to the page itself.

                    Also, it was 41 seconds, to be exact.

                    1. Goddammit Reason, change your collation to utf8mb4 (also, screw MySQL for being stupid).

                      Maybe my emoji will work this way:

                      Also, it was 41 seconds, to be exact.

                    2. GODDAMMIT REASON, why have a “preview” button if it’s not actually going to, you know, preview what will display on the page?

                      I am in no mood for your shenanigans, squirrels.

                    3. I tried to tell you guys: A lump of coal.

          2. Or, Reason could just implement a comments system that’s more advanced that 1992-era Usenet.

  8. Mattis is a good general and a good pick-if Patton and Eisenhower got a bit tipsy off pilfered German riesling and ended up with a kid he’d be it.

  9. Way off topic. I read the reason comments daily but do not comment that often. This is just a share of an experience that I had yesterday evening.

    Last night my neighbors 4 year old had a bad seizure. He had never had any ype of medical problem before. My little boy boy is also 4 years and we live way out in the country. My boy and my neighbors boy are great friends. They shoot bb guns, wrestle, and all other types of country boy general fun together.

    A helicopter landed in my pasture last night to take my neighbors boy to little rock to arkansas children’s hospital. I’m not trying to tell a sob story, however I watched a little boy that could just have easily been mine loaded on a helicopter strapped to a gurney. It’s the first time I have cried in a decade.

    As of this morning, the little boy is awake after being sedated all night and there is no indication of what triggered the seizure. Who knows I guess. I have had my neighbors older kids at my since ever since while his parents stay with him.

    I guess there really is no point to this story other than Lachowsky had the shit scared out of him. Kind of a rambling post I’m sure, but I figure sharing it wouldn’t hurt.

    1. Sorry. I hope it all turns out okay.

      Give your kid a hug.

      1. Thank you. I’m liberal with hugs to my kid. Last night I slept with him. Haven’t done that in a couple years, but I figured what the heck. I did find that a 6 foot 3 in guy like myself doesn’t fit worth a damn in a kids bed.

    2. Stories like that remind me how human life is both fragile and robust at the same time. The special needs school I volunteer at has a 17 year old student that was hit by a car while cycling to school. A tall, smart and handsome kid one day and the next he’s a brain damaged kid who can’t speak properly and uses an electric wheelchair. Facing our fragility helps us overcome the fear. Sorry to hear about your neighbor.

      1. Human life is both fragile and robust.
        Perhaps no more true words have ever been spoken.

    3. Its late night hit and run, ramblings allowed. Hope they find the cause, and it is treatable.

    4. I went through a similar thing with my 6 year old grand daughter 2 years ago.

      Three days after her 6th birthday she wound up in the emergency room with diabetic ketoacidosis. Her blood glucose level was above 500. We didn’t know she was diabetic, but I knew something was wrong for a couple months before she was diagnosed. She was airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles that night and she spent the next four days getting her blood sugar level under control. Needless to say her life and my life and my daughter’s life has been forever altered. She is doing well now, but diabetes is a terrible disease.

      I am crying a little bit as I write this.

      1. My wife died from diabetes. You can live with the disease if you want to. Teach her good eating habits young, and she will be ok.

        1. We are managing it well, but it sort of sucks the joy out of life.

          1. And that’s what you have to avoid. Make life joyful and something that’s worth going to the trouble to have.
            I wrote a bunch of stuff after that, then deleted it. Instill the joy of living, and give her the tools to live healthy, and she’ll be fine.

          2. It does suck, brother. My heart goes out to you.

            My family has a history of diabetes and I can definitely relate. Every time some shit comes up, which is more often as I get older, I ask myself, did I finally get it? You would think that if you got through childhood that you are at least safe from Type 1, but no. A close family member got diagnosed with Type 1 at age 35. As DenverJ says, good eating habits are key. It must become instinctual. Your granddaughter is young. Chances are high that they will have implantable pumps or even artificial pancreases soon and he life will be much easier than diabetics in the past.

            1. I recently learned that a friend/mentor from the ’50s was one of the first to ‘manage’ the disease; I had no idea what that meant at the time. He had other problems, including a wife who was badly injured in an auto accident not long after they were married. You would have never guessed from talking with either of them that their problems were worse than anyone else’s.
              He died some years ago at well over 90. His son tells me that when he went to the doctor, they all said ‘you’re supposed to be dead by now’. He humored them.
              He and she were mentors in several ways; I’ve been lucky in several ways.

              1. Sevo, your comment is the latest on this thread so it gets the response.

                On a libertarian blog I posted a personal story. I received nothing but encouragement and good will. I doubt that my story and subsequent worries would have garnered a mention from the commentarariat elsewhere on the intertoobz.

                This is why reason is good. This is why Libertarians are good people. And fuck everyone who claims that Libertarians are heartless. It’s not true.

                1. You’re certainly more than welcome to my response and I’m sure others more worthy.
                  You’ve never threatened me with any sort of harm at all so I have every reason to support you as I can as a moral agent.
                  Good luck and I hope the worst is nothing more than a bit of a scare.

      2. I am crying a little bit as I write this.

        I fully understand. no shame at all in it.

    5. Pain and fear shared is lessened, joy and hope shared is increased.

      That’ll be 5 cents. 😉

      1. Thanks Mr. Drew. If you were Dr. Drew, I would give you 5 cents.

    6. I’m not religious, so no prayers your way, but all the good wishes i have are yours.

      1. My older brother is atheist as I am. his wife is a staunch catholic. He told me, my wife’s prayers are with you. My hopes are as well. “-)

    7. the little boy is awake after being sedated all night and there is no indication of what triggered the seizure. Who knows I guess.

      Sorry to hear this.

      I am not all that medically-hip about much (*aside from schizophrenia), but i had some childhood friends who also had “Grand Mal” seizures. One ended up living with very-mild and controlled epilepsy his whole life (*took medication and only had 2-3 other seizures the rest of his life – 1 with me while camping, long story)… and the other? nothing ever again. From my limited understanding / what i’ve picked up here and there, its actually fairly common for very young kids to have seizures entirely at random and un-provoked by anything at all. Its just an byproduct of brain-development. They can be significant of a major problem… or they can be nothing at all. Scary stuff, but its best to have faith in human-resilience.

      My own parents had a major scare over me. The maternity ward i was born into was exposed to an outbreak of viral spinal meningitis, and all the babies had to be given spinal taps to see who was going to be ok and who was potentially-fucked. But the taps themselves were very dangerous; docs told my parents they may not know whether i maybe have nervous-system problems, so they should constantly be on guard for exhibited weirdness. We laughed about it when i grew up, but i could tell they had a rough time w/ it.

    8. Although 4 YO is rather old for the sort of thing I’m referring to, many babies have a seizure and then never again their entire lives. 4 YO is on the late fringe of that sort of thing, but it may still well be like that.

      I was holding my baby niece in my lap, with my father (a MD) looking on. Then…,”Did you see that?”, he asked. “Tonic-clonic seizure,” I replied. I’d never seen it in my Pediatrics or any other rotation; you have to get “lucky” like that, and this one was exactly as we were taught, if there were film of it, it’s what they would’ve used to illustrate it. Years later Daddy denied ever having witnessed this. Anyway, she never seized again.

        1. your niece looks like she is doing well. Thanks for the words of encouragement.

    9. Sorry to hear about your neighbor’s kid, but as others have written, these events can be one-offs. When I was 13 or 14, I was eating dinner at the table with family, when I apparently started trembling, then tipped myself and the chair over. I woke up on the floor wondering how I wound up there. A month or so later I got into the SHAPE hospital in Brussels (my dad was in the USAF at the time) for an EEG. No cause was ever found, and it never repeated. Hope the neighbor child recovers as well.

  10. This guy. Goldman Sachs at Treasury. He’s really draining that swamp.

    1. yeah he should totally have appointed someone with no experience or understanding of finance.

    2. Look, IceTrey, we know Trump will be horrible, like every other president or wannabe president of our lifetimes. But, this is the honeymoon period. So we want to wait until Trump actually takes office before we start in on him too much. This is the season to savor proggy tears, my friend, so savor those proggy tears and keep your powder dry.

      1. I mean, right now I don’t think Donald Trump is very good, and I know that Fidel Castro has done some good things for the world, so I’d say he’s proven himself, at least in the long term, to be more favorable,” one student said, pointing to Castro’s health care reforms.

        not to mention the 100% literacy rate, 0% child-mortality, and greatest satisfaction with government services

        1. Mention incarceration rates around here and you’ll seem the same phenomenon of believing authoritarian regime statistics and proggies believing healthcare and literacy statistics.

          1. Oh look, it’s fucking stupid……uh no, it’s REAL fucking stoooooppppiidddd.

            1. I sense much butthurt in this one.

        2. Mandatory in-home medical checkups, at gun point if needed, seem to work well to keep the population healthy.

  11. Beijing warns against Taiwan ties as Singapore tries to free troop carriers in Hong Kong

    I’m not a military strategist, but routing troop carriers through a Chinese port after conducting exercises with one of its primary geopolitical rivals seems… unwise.

    1. and i was just about to compliment you for “curse of carl island”

      1. Isn’t my new handle its own little curse?

        1. Took me a minute to see the “Carl” in the bubbles. Small phone, old eyes.
          But: well done!

          1. My handle is a deliberate microaggression against geezertarians.

            1. “Geezertarians” wins the internet for all of 2016. Yours, or did you nick it from the interns?

                1. I’ve been trying to post something cool for you, but I’m having technical issues. Alcohol may be a factor. But, you know, congratulations.

                2. Original Pirate Material

      2. And I was wondering when/if someone would take note. The Curse of Oak Island is so aggravating and stupid, yet I can’t stop watching.

        Rick: This looks like it could be a Templar Cross or something… [dramatic cut and sound effect]
        Narrator: COULD THERE BE A TEMPLAR CROSS ON THIS STONE? FOR MANY YEARS OAK ISLAND THEORISTS… [that same re-enactment footage they’ve used a billion times plays]

        1. Also, I giggle every time the narrator refers to “Rick and Marty”.

          1. Yeah, I’ve never watched, but a friend does, and tells me stories. Haven’t they already spent more than the treasure would be worth?

            1. Probably — though who knows. And while they started a few years before they got the show so obviously spent a good deal of money then, I have to wonder how much the History Channel and the Nova Scotian taxpayer are kicking in nowadays.

              Also, they have a stake in the company that does tours on the island. I doubt it adds up to a huge amount of money, but obviously the increased exposure has drawn larger crowds.

              Finally, they often are fairly loud and clear about the names of companies providing dive services, drilling, etc. I have to wonder if that’s just a stylistic choice, or if their service providers work at a discount.

              1. Wikipedia:

                On August 2, 2016, it was announced that Nova Scotia Business Inc. approved $1,271,546 in film funding for the production of a 4th season.

                1. Ah, well. There you have it. Treasure hunting as a sustainable business model. Why can’t I ever find some niche scam business model and get rich?

                  1. If you think of one, I can help. I’m broke, desperate, and agreeable to most anything.*

                    *Unless Crusty Juggler is involved.

  12. OK, behold, one unhinged commie cunt.

    Not that you want to or anything.


    Is she bae? Can we get a vote?

    1. If she backs him, prolly a good reason to look elsewhere.

    2. Massholes of a feather, flock…….?

  13. This cop had no imagination. Maybe she was waiting outside for the rest of her terrorist cell to pick her up a football stadium during halftime? See, right there, you’ve got her on loitering with intent to murder thousands of people. Boom. Life without parole.

    What a rookie railroad job.

    1. to pick her up *to blow up* a football stadium during halftime?

      What the heck? Did the NSA automatically delete the terroristy words?

  14. Only George Marshall, who served as defense secretary under Harry Truman from 1950 to 1951, after serving as secretary of state from 1947 to 1949.

    I seem to be still looking for the verb? I think Ed lost it.

    1. You’ll get that verb after a donation to the Webathon.

  15. Other than James Webb, I can’t think of a better choice.

  16. Only George Marshall, who served as defense secretary under Harry Truman from 1950 to 1951, after serving as secretary of state from 1947 to 1949.

    Where’s the verb for the subject of this sentence? It’s unintelligible as is.

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