Veterans Voice: A different presidential candidate

Category:  News
Wednesday, April 27th, 2016 at 9:48 PM
Veterans Voice: A different presidential candidate by George Schmidt
General Mattis believes veterans health care should be prioritized when they return.

He may not be the presidential candidate that America deserves, but he could be the candidate that America needs.

General James N. Mattis is making waves on social media and through outlying news outlets. Although Mattis is reluctant to announce a run at the presidency, many are calling for him to do so.

Mattis was speaking to the captured Iraqi army commander when he was quoted, saying, “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes, if you [expletive] with me, I’ll kill you all.”

Mattis has been dubbed “Mad dog” and “Warrior Monk.” The “Mad Dog” derives from his comments about war against the Iraqi insurgents. In 2005, Mattis said, “you go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. 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.”

It is this statement that got him in some hot water with his superiors. He was reprimanded and has since tried to manage his words in public a little better.

Mattis said in January of 2015, “Gains achieved at great cost against our enemy in Afghanistan are reversible. We may not want this fight, but the barbarity of an enemy that kills women and children and has refused to break with Al-Qaeda needs to be fought.”

In March of 2015, Mattis followed that statement by saying, “having dealt with this enemy since 1979…we are up against an enemy that means what they say and we should not patronize them. When they say ‘girls don’t go to school’ you’re not going to talk them out of it…their views of the role of women, their views of modernity, their views of tolerance for people who think differently are fundamentally different than ours.”

In her article for the TheFederalist.com, Rebeccah Heinrichs had this to say about Mattis. “Although his war-fighting prowess is enough to give him notoriety, he is most famous for his tough, colorful talk and his willingness to say unpopular things.”

Heinrichs follows that statement by saying, “Anyone who has spent time with him will tell you that Mattis, although an extraordinarily outstanding man among impressive men, is humble. He does not consider himself better than his subordinates or better than the political class that makes modern warfighting so difficult.”

Perhaps this explains the nickname “Warrior Monk.” Mattis has a bachelor of arts; he majored in history at Central Washington University. He is said to have over 7,000 books in his personal library. Mattis is also known for carrying a copy of “Meditations of Marcus Aurelius” with him on his deployments.

When asked why, he replied by saying, “It was good for me to be reminded that I faced nothing new under the sun…the bottom line is the fundamental impulses, the fundamental challenges, and the solutions are pretty timeless in my line of work.”

The best way to measure a military leader is how he treats his troops. Mattis is known for disregarding the normal trappings for which his rank would have afforded him. Some of those perks would include having meals heated for him and uniforms laid out and pressed, and most importantly, a comfortable bed to sleep in. Mattis had gone without these and would spend the night “on line” with his marines to gain a better perspective on what his marines were experiencing.

In his article for military1.com, William Treseder wrote, “Standing in front of an uproarious crowd in San Francisco, General Mattis spoke from the heart about his country, his Corps, and his fellow veterans. He covered two main topics: the need for America to stay engaged with the rest of the world, and the role of our shrinking military in the 21st century.”

“You’ve been told that you’re broken,” said Mattis. “That you’re damaged goods and should be labeled victims of two unjust and poorly executed wars. The truth, instead, is that we are the only folks with the skills, determination, and values to ensure American dominance in this chaotic world.”

“There is also Post-Traumatic Growth,” Mattis told the crowd. “You come back from war stronger and more sure of who you are.”

Mattis broke it all down by saying those veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are not a lost cause. Much in the way that many people train their body, the brain and the veteran can be repaired. Have you ever worked out to the point of muscle failure? Then the next time you work out that part of your body you are able to do more. In Mattis’ eyes the same is true for sufferers of PTSD.

Treseder concludes his article by writing, “We are now fighting to take control of the narrative that will define the collective military and veteran community. Americans who have never served and lack any empathy for us sit on the sidelines, labeling us ‘heroes’ or ‘broken’ or both, depending on their mood or the latest news reports. Veterans know that we are neither of these things. Leaders like General Mattis are challenging us to find a voice, and tell America who we really are — proud of our service, not defined by it.”

But when we get to the heart of whether or not Mattis will run or even accept the nomination as president, nobody really knows except for himself.

In March, Jamie Weinstein of the Daily Caller quoted Mattis, saying, “Haven’t seen the reports, and I’m quite sure it’s just idle talk.”

When pressed about whether or not he would consider a third party run if drafted, Mattis said he didn’t really want to pursue the line of questioning any further.

“I prefer not to discuss further, Jamie,” he replied. “I think it’s merely idle chatter.”

It is unclear at best if Mattis will run for the presidency, but if he could bring the life lessons that the Marine Corps has taught him, then it potentially wouldn’t be all bad.

“Now from a distance I look back on what the Corps taught me: to think like men of action, and to act like men of thought! To live life with intensity and a passion for excellence.”

George Schmidt is a Staff Writer for The Spectator.

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