Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Chaos on Chaos

 

Retired general and former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, call sign Chaos, denounced President Trump’s riot response in a statement published in The Atlantic, upon which of course ensued reciprocal disparaging comments. Was he right? Does his statement have merit? Here are takes from the Washington Times and The Hill, two news sources not considered full-blown Leftists. Following is Mattis’ full statement (bold emphases mine), and my take:

I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled. The words “Equal Justice Under Law” are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.

When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.

We must reject any thinking of our cities as a “battlespace” that our uniformed military is called upon to “dominate.” At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict—a false conflict—between the military and civilian society. It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part. Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them.

James Madison wrote in Federalist 14 that “America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat.” We do not need to militarize our response to protests. We need to unite around a common purpose. And it starts by guaranteeing that all of us are equal before the law.

Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that “The Nazi slogan for destroying us…was ‘Divide and Conquer.’ Our American answer is ‘In Union there is Strength.’” We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics.

Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.

We can come through this trying time stronger, and with a renewed sense of purpose and respect for one another. The pandemic has shown us that it is not only our troops who are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of the community. Americans in hospitals, grocery stores, post offices, and elsewhere have put their lives on the line in order to serve their fellow citizens and their country. We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution. At the same time, we must remember Lincoln’s “better angels,” and listen to them, as we work to unite.

Only by adopting a new path—which means, in truth, returning to the original path of our founding ideals—will we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad.

Some Facts

There was no executive abuse at Lafayette Square. From our own Ricochet Link Library group posted recently by @misthiocracy:

According to D.C. police:

  1. a) They did not shoot tear gas at protesters. Those were merely smoke canisters.
  2. b) They did not know that the President was walking towards the church. Rather, the police were responding to being attacked with rocks.

Mattis refers to the nationwide rioting as “a small number of lawbreakers,” a patently untrue assertion in scope and effect on law-abiding Americans. A quick review of this website and listen to this podcast with genuine experts (CIA/police) illustrates how wrong Mattis is.

From President Trump’s Rose Garden remarks (on video here starting around 32:00) regarding nationwide rioting/looting/arson, calling Antifa domestic terrorists, he makes the following clear:

  • He recognizes the injustice of George Floyd’s death, and the mob drowning out voices of peaceful protesters (who he specifically allies with).
  • Some state/local governments have failed to protect Americans from rioting thugs; police were physically attacked and precinct overrun
  • Military deployed when states do not protect their citizens until violence has been quelled, and in DC which was overwhelmed.

Further Thoughts

Donald Trump is the President in my lifetime whose actions display the most concern for law-abiding, working-class Americans. “Uniting” Americans, particularly under Obama, has meant allowing lawless groups such as Antifa to grow in strength and numbers to harm American lives and property. James Mattis’ accusation that current rioting is a consequence of Trump’s 3-1/2 years in office is unsubstantiated drivel I would have thought beneath a man supposedly fond of reading the classics. In case we were insufficiently alarmed at the danger Donald Trump poses to America, he invoked the Nazis like a properly woke deposed SecDef.

Just a guess, but I bet it was seeing military officers in a photo op that really bent James Mattis. Big whoop, nothing new in politics and certainly not a constitutional crisis. Dubya, who also recently saw fit to expound, had a rather famous photo op with some firemen and a bullhorn.

None of this, however, is why my respect for James Mattis is in the basement as of this little gem of a public statement. It’s impossible to fathom that a Marine general does not know insurrection when he sees it. I have heard him speak eloquently about befriending foreigners who want an end to strife. Yet in his statement, there is not one shred of compassion or recognition of the devastation Americans across the country have experienced at the hands of lawless rioters, looters, arsonists, and murderers.

Out of respect for what James Mattis has done for the US, I searched for and clicked on his statement to read with an open mind. I finished thinking it’s a good thing the man is no longer in charge of anything important, and disappointment that we can now add Chaos to the long list of diatribes we have seen and heard against the man who promised to protect Americans if their mayors/governors would not, and endless pronouncements as to the rights and privileges of “not-so-peaceful” protests.

One more thing I realized after reading Mattis: ordinary, independent thinking Americans are the best judge of when a politician goes too far, and this one will be speaking up if I see Trump taking the military where it should not go. Until then, as you were, General. A nice, cushy spot in a Leftist not-so-newsworthy organization should be opening up real soon if you want it.

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  1. danok1 Member

    Mim526: It’s impossible to fathom that an Army general does not know insurrection when he sees it.

    Minor point: Mattis is a Marine; he was not in the Army.

    • #1
    • June 4, 2020, at 8:13 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  2. Mim526 Member
    Mim526

    danok1 (View Comment):

    Mim526: It’s impossible to fathom that an Army general does not know insurrection when he sees it.

    Minor point: Mattis is a Marine; he was not in the Army.

    Oops Major point, I’d say, and I knew better :-(

    I’ll correct the post. Thanks for reminder.

    • #2
    • June 4, 2020, at 8:17 AM PDT
    • 1 like
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  3. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    Writing for the Atlantic is a sign of TDS. Penning editorials based on fake news is height of TDS. I suppose we have always had idiots as part of institutions, but in the past they were not given the prominent voice. It is like all the dunce caps have been turned into megaphones.

     

    • #3
    • June 4, 2020, at 8:46 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  4. Mim526 Member
    Mim526

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    Writing for the Atlantic is a sign of TDS. Penning editorials based on fake news is height of TDS. I suppose we have always had idiots as part of institutions, but in the past they were not given the prominent voice. It is like all the dunce caps have been turned into megaphones.

    I read Mattis’ statement through several times thinking I must have missed something because it was hard to believe someone of his stature would write something so a) lacking in substance and b) spattered with obvious personal animosity. Maybe Mattis’ beef is not so much the feeling that Trump is a Constitutional threat but a threat to the world order Mattis feels essential, one where the US does not expect much more than camera smiles from ally nations. He seems to have spent much of his time as SecDef travelling the globe assuring said allies that Trump did not really mean what he said.

    The thing that alarmed me most writing the post is that while people like Mattis spout word salad trying to make sure Trump is not re-elected, Americans are increasingly at risk from what he brushes off as “a small number of lawbreakers”. Truth is they are disturbingly organized, well-funded, and off the authorities’ radar as this podcast discusses.

    • #4
    • June 4, 2020, at 9:20 AM PDT
    • 1 like
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  5. OmegaPaladin Moderator

    Mattis is one of the people with enough intellectual heft and credibility to try to make a case against Trump. However, he did not draw on his scholarship or military experience. It’s virtue signalling pap I could get on any college campus. It’s actually disappointing to see someone with such a reputation write such an inane article.

    • #5
    • June 4, 2020, at 9:42 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  6. Mim526 Member
    Mim526

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Mattis is one of the people with enough intellectual heft and credibility to try to make a case against Trump. However, he did not draw on his scholarship or military experience. It’s virtue signalling pap I could get on any college campus. It’s actually disappointing to see someone with such a reputation write such an inane article.

    Exactly. Cheap shots from the peanut gallery. Like he was a raw recruit with no concept of situational reality. Which tells you what utter rot it is if a military tactical whiz has to resort to propaganda to make his case in lieu of laying it out point by solid point.

    • #6
    • June 4, 2020, at 9:50 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. Kevin Schulte Member

    Mattis should look down, then slink off.

    He just soiled himself. Sad 😞

    Makes me wonder if he was one of the early leakers.

    • #7
    • June 4, 2020, at 10:27 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
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  8. Mim526 Member
    Mim526

    I had not realized the degree to which federal buildings/agents were under siege. To my knowledge the extent of it as described by AG Barr in this recent DOJ press conference (starting in the Q&A session around 33:45 mark) has not been reported in the news. Puts an added layer to not only Trump’s use of military to protect federal personnel/buildings and promise to do so elsewhere if governors/mayors did not protect US citizens, but also his very public visit to St. John’s “church of Presidents” following its burning.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-YZlLT6uLc

    • #8
    • June 4, 2020, at 10:04 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
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  9. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Mim526 (View Comment):

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    Writing for the Atlantic is a sign of TDS. Penning editorials based on fake news is height of TDS. I suppose we have always had idiots as part of institutions, but in the past they were not given the prominent voice. It is like all the dunce caps have been turned into megaphones.

    I read Mattis’ statement through several times thinking I must have missed something because it was hard to believe someone of his stature would write something so a) lacking in substance and b) spattered with obvious personal animosity. Maybe Mattis’ beef is not so much the feeling that Trump is a Constitutional threat but a threat to the world order Mattis feels essential, one where the US does not expect much more than camera smiles from ally nations. He seems to have spent much of his time as SecDef travelling the globe assuring said allies that Trump did not really mean what he said.

    The thing that alarmed me most writing the post is that while people like Mattis spout word salad trying to make sure Trump is not re-elected, Americans are increasingly at risk from what he brushes off as “a small number of lawbreakers”. Truth is they are disturbingly organized, well-funded, and off the authorities’ radar SNIP

    Mim526 (View Comment):

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment): Writing for the Atlantic is a sign of TDS. Penning editorials based on fake news is height of TDS. I suppose we have always had idiots as part of institutions, but in the past they were not given the prominent voice. It is like all the dunce caps have been turned into megaphones.

    My comment:

    @mim526 I think many things are very connected. Those of us who have followed just the immigration issue, where there are caravans that came about for two years, and even in places where the population was opposed to caravans along the border in Texas and Calif, there were buses that came from the North to shepherd illegals further into the country. This was a huge organization of people

    There is also a Clinton/Soros connection, among others. This very decent conversation among the two men was that they acknowledge what many of us have known about the FBI – it is one very politicized agency and it is not into hurting the destructive groups that are allied with the Left.

    I posted on another discussion how Xi Jiping in China is boasting that he is the man best equipped to be the leader of the New World Order. That with so many nations having moved into democratically-run governments, now is the time to install the New World Order.

    Is this what Mattis wants – that his hatred for Trump is so intense he wants our nation to become a Mao-ist run communist state, with one third of our citizens embracing communism while the rest of us wait to be assigned to our future lives inside re-education camps?

    • #9
    • June 5, 2020, at 1:20 AM PDT
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  10. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    By the way, I noticed a poll was conducted that showed the 58% of us normal everyday Americans are quite eager to have the military enter the fray and stop the rioting.

    Many of us understand that the National Guard is the better choice – only I don’t think the NGuard has the personnel numbers to handle what is necessary now.

    I also do not understand why the Talking Heads mostly shudder in response to the idea of the military coming into a riot-torn neighborhood and re-installing law and order. Just 10 days ago, the same Talking Heads were insisting how the military might need to spread out across the state of Calif if we started rebelling against the “necessary COVID lockdowns,” or if we stopped wearing our masks.

    • #10
    • June 5, 2020, at 1:41 AM PDT
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  11. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Trump tweeted that one of the things he and Obama both did was fire Mattis.

    • #11
    • June 5, 2020, at 12:42 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  12. Stad Thatcher

    Mattis’ statement comes across as flowery (read “political”) rhetoric instead of straight talk. As one pundit put it, Trump is not trying to unify the country. He’s trying to make it better for everyone. The divisions are political machinations that existed long before Trump. Trump’s election merely caused the left to turn the knob on the shrillness of their discontent to “11” . . .

    • #12
    • June 5, 2020, at 12:54 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Mim526: Dubya, who also recently saw fit to expound, had a rather famous photo op with some firemen and a bullhorn.

     More to the point: the “Mission Accomplished” photo op.

    Then there is that pesky little military officer oath of office “Chaos” seems to have forgotten [emphasis]:

    I ___, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God. (Title 5 U.S. Code 3331, an individual, except the President, elected or appointed to an office of honor or profit in the civil service or uniformed services)

    Somehow this “intellectual” military officer managed to forget his own service’s history and writing on insurgency and missed decades of leftist street thugs getting increasing coordination and funding.

    • #13
    • June 5, 2020, at 1:01 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  14. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Then there is that pesky little military officer oath of office “Chaos” seems to have forgotten [emphasis]:

    I ___, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God. (Title 5 U.S. Code 3331, an individual, except the President, elected or appointed to an office of honor or profit in the civil service or uniformed services)

    Somehow this “intellectual” military officer managed to forget his own service’s history and writing on insurgency and missed decades of leftist street thugs getting increasing coordination and funding.

     

    • #14
    • June 5, 2020, at 1:04 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  15. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Stad (View Comment):
    As one pundit put it, Trump is not trying to unify the country. He’s trying to make it better for everyone.

    “Unify the country” is code for “knuckle under to our demands”. It is nothing more than a rephrasing of “you must go along [with us] in order to get along [with us].”

    • #15
    • June 5, 2020, at 1:05 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  16. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):
    Writing for the Atlantic is a sign of TDS.

    The Atlantic used to be a very good magazine, before it was taken over by the left.

    • #16
    • June 5, 2020, at 1:07 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Rodin Member

    Yes, Mattis really lowered his standing in my estimation. 

    • #17
    • June 5, 2020, at 1:17 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Jules PA Member

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Mattis is one of the people with enough intellectual heft and credibility to try to make a case against Trump. However, he did not draw on his scholarship or military experience. It’s virtue signalling pap I could get on any college campus. It’s actually disappointing to see someone with such a reputation write such an inane article.

    You are right. Matt is changed no minds, but added to the echo. 

    I am saddened to have lost the strength he could add to a truly Just cause.

    • #18
    • June 5, 2020, at 1:58 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. WI Con Member
    WI Con Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    Mattis should look down, then slink off.

    He just soiled himself. Sad 😞

    Makes me wonder if he was one of the early leakers.

    That “Beltway Sensibility” sure goes a long way towards explaining why Iraq & Afghanistan have gone on for 20 years and been such a smashing success.

    Maybe ‘Mad Dog’ doesn’t want to take on the SJW’s from Oberlin & Wesleyan and Portlandia cause he’d lose against them too.

    • #19
    • June 5, 2020, at 2:32 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  20. Mim526 Member
    Mim526

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    Mattis should look down, then slink off.

    He just soiled himself. Sad 😞

    Makes me wonder if he was one of the early leakers.

    I think the level of animosity and disdain for POTUS in his letter makes it a good bet he was one of the cabinet members being counted on for the 25th amendment quorum at least.

    • #20
    • June 5, 2020, at 3:30 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  21. Stad Thatcher

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Yes, Mattis really lowered his standing in my estimation.

    He pulled a McCain . . .

    • #21
    • June 6, 2020, at 6:24 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  22. Rodin Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Yes, Mattis really lowered his standing in my estimation.

    He pulled a McCain . . .

    Precisely. Lord save us from dishonorable honorable men. I am coming to prefer honorable dishonorable men instead. 

    • #22
    • June 6, 2020, at 6:32 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  23. Stad Thatcher

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Yes, Mattis really lowered his standing in my estimation.

    He pulled a McCain . . .

    Precisely. Lord save us from dishonorable honorable men. I am coming to prefer honorable dishonorable men instead.

    I know what you mean. It’s a tragedy when someone good turns bad. But when someone bad turns good, it’s a sign of redemption and should be celebrated.

    • #23
    • June 6, 2020, at 6:34 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  24. Al Sparks Thatcher

    If you leave employment due to a disagreement with your boss, it’s probably a good idea to keep your criticisms to yourself, or in the case of political office where you resign in principle, make one statement about your disagreement and then move on.

    Don’t be that disgruntled employee that can’t go forward with your life. 

    I get that he has contempt for Trump. I understand why. But he’s so incensed he can’t get the constitution right on this issue, and the result is he embarrasses himself.

    • #24
    • June 6, 2020, at 9:07 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  25. Flicker Coolidge

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Yes, Mattis really lowered his standing in my estimation.

    He pulled a McCain . . .

    Precisely. Lord save us from dishonorable honorable men. I am coming to prefer honorable dishonorable men instead.

    You mean like Trump? I can’t read minds, but Trump seems pretty honorable, even deplorable.

    • #25
    • June 6, 2020, at 10:45 AM PDT
    • 2 likes