General Mattis speaks: Don’t think of vets as victims, do support U.S. involvement abroad and political compromise at home
- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There recently was a kerfuffle because General James Mattis, the retired Marine officer and aphorist, made some comments that seemed to some people to doubt the existence of PTSD.
I think his comments on PTSD got misinterpreted a bit. He wasn’t saying that PTSD doesn’t exist, he more was protesting the use of PTSD to portray vets as victims. He was telling them to be proud of their service.
On U.S. involvement in the world, he wrote in his prepared remarks that "American retreat is not a change that is welcome[d] by thoughtful elements."
On domestic politics, he wrote that in order for our government to function, we need compromise, which he called "a fundamental necessity at the heart of democratic government."
I always find General Mattis interesting and thoughtful. I still wish he had become the commandant. His defenestration at Centcom was I think the worst move the Obama administration has made in the area of military leadership. It was his ouster that made me stop and wonder what these people thought they were doing.
Marc Lynch is associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, where he is the director of the Institute for Middle East Studies and of the Project on Middle East Political Science. He is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. He is the author of The Arab Uprising (March 2012, PublicAffairs).
He publishes frequently on the politics of the Middle East, with a particular focus on the Arab media and information technology, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, and Islamist movements.| Marc Lynch |