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Senate Confirms Gen. James Mattis as Defense Secretary By 98-1 Vote

New York's Kirsten Gillibrand the lone no vote.

U.S. Marine CorpsU.S. Marine CorpsThe Senate voted this evening to confirm retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to the post of defense by a 98-1 margin. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who was nominated for attorney general, did not vote. The lone no vote came from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who said she was concerned about civilian control of the military. Mattis retired in 2013, last serving as commander of the United States Central Command, which covers Southwest Asia, the Middle East and Egypt.

Among his first actions, President Trump signed a law passed by Congress earlier this month that provided a waiver to permit Mattis to lead the Defense Department despite having left the armed services less than seven years ago, as a 1947 law requires. Previously, only Truman nominee Gen. George Marshall needed a waiver, just a few years after the law was first passed.

Mattis said at his his confirmation hearing last week that his goals were to "strengthen military readiness, strengthen our alliances in league with our diplomatic partners, and bring business reforms to the Department of Defense by instilling budget discipline and holding our leaders accountable." He also said he wanted to keep U.S. armed forces "the best equipped and most lethal force in the world."

Mattis also identified Russia as among the "principle threats" in the world today, breaking away from comments made by Trump on the campaign trail and while he was president-elect, and expressed support for the Iran nuclear deal. Russian President Vladimir Putin was "trying to break the North Atlantic alliance," he said of Russia's relationship with and attitude toward NATO, an alliance Trump criticized on the campaign trail. He told the Senate he explained his thoughts on Russia to Trump.

"I would consider the principal threats to start with Russia, and it would certainly include any nations that are looking to intimidate nations around their periphery, regional nations nearby them, whether it be with weapons of mass destruction or, I would call it, unusual, unorthodox means of intimidating them, that sort of thing," Mattis said, describing some the tactics Russia used in its invasion of eastern Ukraine and seizure of Crimea. "And at the same time, as the chairman has pointed out, we face now an era where we're going to be fighting the terrorist threat. I mean, that's simply a reality, we are going to have to address that one."

Mattis insisted the U.S. abidie by the Iran nuclear deal, which the Trump administration could choose not to enforce. "I think it is an imperfect arms control agreement, it's not a friendship treaty," Mattis said. "But when America gives her word, we have to live up to it and work with our allies."

Mattis also said he wouldn't have accepted the nomination if he thought President Trump "would not be open" to his advice, and said he'd be candid with the president and Congress. He said the U.S. "shouldn't be turning to the military to answer all of our problems in the world."

Mattis said he wanted to accelerate the strategy against ISIS, while Republicans in Congress have not yet talked about any kind of new authorization for the use of military force or other reassertion of Congressional war powers.

Mattis will be one of three retired generals in Trump's inner circle, along with John Kelly, expected to be confirmed later this evening, and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

Photo Credit: U.S. Marine Corps

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  • The Fusionist||

    Yes, yes, that's fascinating, but consider this:

    Hollywood takes on the President: Chrissy Teigen is 'sickened,' Rosie is in mourning, and Shia LaBeouf says he is launching a four-year protest as celebs attack Trump on his inauguration day

    "President Trump came under attack on social media as he was sworn in to office on Friday

    "Many of the same celebrities who criticized Trump during his campaign attacked him during his inauguration

    "Chrissy Teigen wrote that she was 'sickened' by what she saw and then revealed she would be attending the Women's March on Washington this Saturday in DC

    "Rosie O'Donnell, who one week ago called for martial law to stop President Trump from taking office, made her Twitter account dark

    "Shia LaBeouf meanwhile will be launching a four-year protest in response to Trump's election"

  • John||

    Shia LaBeouf meanwhile will be launching a four-year protest in response to Trump's election"

    Its not like he gets any parts. So he will have time on his hands.

  • Tyler.C||

    Shia LaBeouf meanwhile will be launching a four-year protest in response to Trump's election"

    So he will stop acting? We can only hope.

  • Pan Zagloba||

    It was an uneven movie, but after seeing Fury I wouldn't mind him making more stuff. Just, not in any capacity other than actor.

  • King's Ransom||

    War Daddy was the star of Fury not that dipshit

  • Ted S.||

    Spencer Tracy was the star of Fury. Sylvia Sidney wasn't too bad, either.

  • King's Ransom||

    Never seen that one, is it worth watching?

  • Paulpemb||

    There's going to be so much winning. You'll get bored with all the winning.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Revenge of the Film Actors Guild.

  • ||

    Seven Days in January

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Nice.

  • Pompey:何 Class Mothersmucker||

    What I noted from the Scott Pruitt confirmation hearing is that Gillibrand's most distinguished M.O. is to emote and to emote hard. I have nothing else to add.

  • Tundra||

    Good choice.

    I'm just looking for more good quotes to use at work. So far he's been a gold mine.

  • BakedPenguin||

    The lone no vote came from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who said she was concerned about civilian control of the military.

    Yeah, the military's been waiting for 230 years to seize control. Stupid bint.

  • See Double You||

    I wonder what she thinks of Eisenhower.

  • John Titor||

    She's full of shit, it's more likely due to Mattis' responses to her rather stupid questions.

  • See Double You||

    Mattis also identified Russia as among the "principle threats" in the world today[.]

    *hopes for rapprochement between the U.S. and Russia diminished*

    I hope Mattis won't be just a continuation of the status quo.

  • R C Dean||

    This is how its done on the Big Stage. Good cop, bad cop, if you will. Russia has to believe it has something to lose by not doing a deal. What they have to lose, now, is Mad Dog getting sicced on them, likely via support for the peripheral nations Russia seems determined to annex.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    All this Russia Russia Russia as the source of leaks, hacking, etc. I've noticed China has been conspicuously absent from any of these stories. Are they no longer trying that sort of thing? They would have an interest in setting the US against Russia (not that it wouldn't happen on its own either)

  • John Titor||

    China can protect it's 'brand' in the United States way more than Russia can. A lot of Western media outlets are partially owned by Chinese companies, and have an interest in maintaining good relations with the government for interviews, access, etc.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    He also has to reassure Estonia, Poland, etc, that he takes the Russian threat to their sovereignty seriously.

  • John||

    But I thought Trump was a tool of Putin? How can this be? The Russians hacked the election didn't they?

  • Ted S.||

    I think it's an unprincipled threat for TEAM BLUE.

  • FD||

    What's the measure of success for tomorrow's march? You can't call victory unless you can keep score? So what precisely are the demands?

  • R C Dean||

    The measure of success?

    How the marchers feel about their pointless gesture.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Unfulfilled.

  • ||

    How much Soros money was lost

  • ||

    Those worried about Cowboy Trump calling out Islamic terrorism remember, here's what his new Sec Def thinks about this.

    GeneraL ( Mad Dog ) Mattis on Solution to Islamic Terror

  • JayU||

    Fuck em all to death?

  • The Fusionist||

    That's Crusty's plan.

  • ||

    Wow. He understands this stuff pretty well.. I don't agree with sticking around the Middle East any longer than we have to, but we could do a lot worse than Mattis.

  • ||

    His point about Sisi was important. When Sisi blamed extremism for negative perceptions of Islam he was of course roundly condemned by various Islamic leaders. That was a golden opportunity for The US Leadership to step in and support him for sticking his neck out.

    It was a giant strategic failure not to have done so, much as not supporting the Green Revolution in Iran was a giant strategic failure.

    We need to have a guy like Mattis around who understands this.

  • ||

    Absolutely. Some of the best allies we could have in this are prominent Muslim leaders taking a stand against Muslim terrorism. It's mind-boggling that other people and organizations who hate these fucks don't get even some friendly statements of agreement from us.

  • Paulpemb||

    "It was a giant strategic failure not to have done so, much as not supporting the Green Revolution in Iran was a giant strategic failure."

    You misspelled 'calculated move on the part of the Obama administration'.

  • R C Dean||

    "But when America gives her word, we have to live up to it and work with our allies."

    America didn't give its word. Obama gave his word. This is like a contract that the corporate charter requires be approved by the Board. Its not binding until the Board votes.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    And even then it's still just the word of the American government, not America.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    In the hotel gym this morning and no remote to be found so I have the joy of CNN's coverage. No sound to tell if they picked up on the Case IH tractors in the parade as being either a U.K. or Italian company.

    Why the fuck does the NYPD a) pipe and drum band, b) what NYC policing mission does a parade in DC fall under, c) why the fuck do they have an official ethnic PD club? Nothing left to cut and FYTW.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Why does the NYPD have a band, but not a choir that sings Galway Bay?

  • The Fusionist||

    They can add Danny Boy for when they're really trying to break a suspect during interrogation.

  • BakedPenguin||

    "The pipes, the pipes are calling..."

  • R C Dean||

    The Senate voted this evening to confirm Marine Gen. James Mattis

    Pretty sure he's retired, you know. It matters, so you might want to correct this in the story.

  • ||

    It matters more than people think.

    The main mechanism by which the militarists in Japan were able to first dictate to, then outright seize control of, the government during the 20s & 30s was by getting a small provision passed in the waning years of the rule of Emperor Meiji saying that only active-duty officers could fill the posts of minister of the Army or minister of the Navy.

    Seems like no big deal. But by withholding any candidates until the gov't capitulated to their aims, they could force any prime minister's gov't to fall by not being able to form a cabinet.

  • Ted S.||

    Retired judges like Mr. Napolitano should be called Mr., too.

  • Rob5||

    Mattis is retired, but he has not given up his commission as an military officer, which continues 'at the pleasure of the President.'
    On the other hand, Napolitano has vacated the the office of 'judge,' so he no longer rates the title.

  • AFSlade||

    You are misunderstanding "at the pleasure of the President." It's not lifetime conscription, even for officers, Rob. Not trying to be a pedant, but I've litigated this particular issue against the US govt (the Navy in particular). There was another case where the Navy decided that it could unilaterally and "indefinitely" extend several officers who had resigned at the end of their obligation because of that specific clause. That's nonsense and would make the President a monarch.

  • John||

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/su.....=anonymous

    Another car plows into pedestrians. Must be another Amish.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Damn Dutchmen.

  • The Fusionist||

    paywalled, but cops say it's not terrorism, FWIW.

  • John||

    Just a mystery. We will never know.

  • The Fusionist||

    Snark aside, I don't know, I was just posting the first non-paywalled article I could find.

  • Calidissident||

    The guy appears to be of Greek descent. It seems unlikely he was an Islamic terrorist.

  • John||

    He is a Muslim.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new.....chase.html

    He identifies as a Greek Islamic Kurdish in his facebook page.

    I can't believe a Muslim would do this either. It is just shocking.

  • The Fusionist||

    That facebook posts looks like regular crazy, not ISIS crazy.

  • The Fusionist||

    But what do I know, I haven't seen either up close.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Hmm... they do doughnuts clockwise in Australia.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Did Senator Sorority Girl offer an explanation, or was it just, "Ugggh, I can't even!"

  • Crusty Juggler||

    It's because he hasn't been retired for long enough. There is a law against it, so in that respect she has a point.

  • ||

    Shall we look at her voting record the last 8 years and assess her consistency?

  • Drake||

    I think it was because Mattis said mean reality-based things about chicks in the Infantry.

  • ||

    For all the bloviating they do, the Senate sure loves to roll over and vote for the President's nominees other than judicial appointments.

  • The Fusionist||

    At least we have a SecDef nicknamed "Mad Dog."

  • ||

    It's not really about this nominee in particular, but I just wish that the Senate would treat these votes as more than a rubber stamp in general.

  • See Double You||

    They do. They treat these hearings as an opportunity to grandstand and brag about it to their constituents.

  • Tyler.C||

    Well Washington kinda made the cabinet thing up. It's not in the Constitution, so I think that's why the Senate gives more leeway on this than on judicial appointees

  • The Late P Brooks||

    NATO, an alliance Trump criticized on the campaign trail.

    And, asking them to contribute more is exactly the same as calling for dissolution.

  • John||

    Unless American taxpayers fun the European welfare state, the terrorists have won.

  • Karl Hungus||

    Trump inaugurated; Rosie O'Donnell dead in what is suspected to be a suicide; autopsy video leaked:

    https://youtu.be/7X0hq0ug9q4?t=10s

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Under-reported section of Mattis' hearing:

    Secretary of Defense nominee James Mattis really doesn't care who people sleep with, especially in the military.

    He dismissed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's question about LGBT members of the military during his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday, saying, "I've never cared."

    "Do you believe that allowing LGBT Americans to serve in the military or women in combat is undermining our lethality?" Gillibrand asked.

    "Frankly, senator, I've never cared much about two consenting adults and who they go to bed with," he replied.

    It's taken how long to receive an answer like that?

  • ||

  • John Titor||

    Among the top books chosen, Mattis recommended "No True Glory" by Bing West, "Battle Ready" by Tom Clancy, Sun Tzu's "The Art of War," ten of the most difficult books to read of all time, and The Bible. Marines, however, were only assigned four coloring books.

    "Four? Good Lord, that's unfair," said Lance Cpl. Anderson Malcolm, a Marine infantryman who proudly displays his "good enough degree" on his barracks room wall.

    Bahahaha.

  • Pan Zagloba||

    God damn it, I'm gonna lose my weekend to that site.

    Obama issues 'farewell' Presidential drone strikes

    With less than 20 days left in office, a nostalgic and misty-eyed President Barack Obama today put his signature on his administration's last batch of "farewell" drone strikes.

    "When we've been told that we don't have enough intelligence, there will be heavy civilian casualties, we'll severely destabilize our allies, or we'll wind up killing Americans without a trial, all I can say, is 'Yes we did!' and 'Yes we can!'" Obama told a small group of CIA employees who were on hand to witness the event.

    CIA Director John Brennan joked, "Uncle Sam has his own naughty list, and if you're on it you get more than a lump of coal in your stocking," as the President added to uproarious laughter, "Try one hundred pounds of Hellfire and a Happy New Year."
  • Swiss Servator||

    Oh, Duffleblog is a treasure.

    I wish they had been around when I was deployed.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    Even sympathizers down at The Onion couldn't resist:

    http://www.theonion.com/articl.....ne-f-55100

  • See Double You||

    Yeah, I heard him say that after I clicked John Titor's link above. Made me smile. Too bad Gillibrand didn't shut up after that.

  • King's Ransom||

    All of human history ...it was pure gold.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Mattis insisted the U.S. abidie by the Iran nuclear deal, which the Trump administration could choose not to enforce. "I think it is an imperfect arms control agreement, it's not a friendship treaty," Mattis said. "But when America gives her word, we have to live up to it and work with our allies."

    I respect Mattis' opinion here, but what are we talking about when we say "the Trump administration could choose not to enforce it"?

    Iran had burned through their reserve currency. They are no longer in the position they were--desperate for currency. Our leverage over them is gone--along with the ability to bring back international sanctions as we had them, which is what drove them to the negotiating table.

    Whether Trump chooses not to enforce the provisions of the agreement is immaterial. Those provisions in that treaty were not the leverage that drove them to bargain. That leverage is gone forever now. Obama squandered it in exchange for magic beans.

    I hope no one is reading Mattis' statement as an endorsement of Obama's foolish agreement. Mattis is saying that keeping our credibility requires us to abide by this stupid agreement--now that Obama has foolishly squandered our leverage. Saying that it's spilt milk now is not an endorsement. It's a condemnation.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Might as well work on gearing up for the proxy wars and our response to the nuclear tests when they come--now that Iran has a clear road to nuclear capability, an ongoing program to deliver a nuclear package internationally, and Obama has pulled the teeth out of the NPT.

    There was no reason why Iran should be allowed to enrich their own uranium after they were found to be in violation of the NPT. Obama's only reason for doing so was a misguided commitment to capitulation as a road to peace and a hope for self-aggrandizement. When Iran tests a nuclear device, that'll be Obama's legacy--and when Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan respond with nuclear programs of their own, that'll be Obama's legacy, too.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    NPT is "common sense gun control" applied to nations.

  • The Last American Hero||

    I still don't know what to make of Mad Dog. He doesn't necessarily seem like a bad choice, but I don't see why he's a good choice either. The recent article in the Federalist failed to explain it well other than "the guy expects his orders to be carried out". Great. Is that really any different than anyone who's held the post?

  • Paulpemb||

    He's tough, intelligent, EXTREMELY well-read and respected by the troops (the Marines practically worship this guy). He doesn't put up with bullshit, and takes the job of military readiness seriously. He's not a 'yes man', which I'm sure is one of the reasons why Obama fired him.

    His answers during his confirmation hearing about gays and women in the military bear this out: "As long as they can do the job, I don't care what they have between their legs or where they're sticking it.", to paraphrase.

  • Tejicano||

    He was well known for sharing the burdens of his subordinates. As a general he would take OOD duty (usually a lieutenant's duty, running the guard function for a unit) for Christmas so his junior officers could be at home with their families. When his units deployed he would stay in theater with them through holidays - unlike most other generals who would be back at home.

    I actually expect he will be more likely to be more restrained in getting US troops involved compared to other recent SecDef's - but once engaged I can imagine him pulling out all the stops.

  • DiegoF||

    I would have rejected the waiver for the same reason as my distinguished Senator did. Deeply disturbing to find her being my sole bedfellow on this; disgust with her was actually my "moment of clarity" that touched off my rejection of progressivism for liberalism in the first place.

  • King's Ransom||

    How is it more dangerous to have a recently retired marine as Sec Def than to have the Supreme allied commander as president or any military man as POTUS? It's not the uniform on the man it's the man in the uniform.

  • Chipwooder||

    Flynn was army, not Marines. Just a heads up.

  • Rob5||

    FYI, Flynn is Army, not a Marine.

  • King's Ransom||

    The discussion surround Mattis correct? Flynn is National Security Advisor and yes retired Army General.

  • Tejicano||

    The article said "three Marine generals" and mentioned Flynn as one...

  • King's Ransom||

    Ahhhhh stimmt

  • Paulpemb||

    His 'support' for the Iran nuclear deal was pretty tepid. Basically, his position was 'I opposed the deal and thought it was a bad idea, but now that it's done the United States should keep its word.'

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