The tragedy of James Mattis

The tragedy of James Mattis


Defense Secretary James Mattis has immersed himself in the thinking of the Roman philosopher-emperor Marcus Aurelius. It is his misfortune that he has wound up in the service not of someone like that meditative Stoic, but instead for someone who resembles Marcus Aurelius’s woebegone son, the Emperor Commodus.

Mattis really wanted his old friend and comrade Bob Harward at the White House. With that opportunity gone, I have to wonder how long Mattis will “tolerate ignorant persons, and those who form opinions without consideration,” to quote Marcus Aurelius.

I think it will be perhaps a year before Mattis heads back to the eastern Washington state food bank where, until the election, he volunteered.

Photo credit: Department of Defense