Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Mattis for Marine commandant (and one captain’s account of Amos being booed)

Best Defense is in summer re-runs. This item originally appeared on February 18, 2014. Given the problems facing the Marine Corps, it seems to me that a smart move would be for President Obama to make James Mattis the Marine commandant. He has only been retired for a short while, and he has an impeccable ...

Official USMC photo by Sgt. Joseph R. Chenelly
Official USMC photo by Sgt. Joseph R. Chenelly
Official USMC photo by Sgt. Joseph R. Chenelly

Best Defense is in summer re-runs. This item originally appeared on February 18, 2014.

Given the problems facing the Marine Corps, it seems to me that a smart move would be for President Obama to make James Mattis the Marine commandant. He has only been retired for a short while, and he has an impeccable reputation for integrity. The move would be both popular with Marines and the right thing. That's a solid combination. And it would be the right thing to do by Mattis, too.

Meanwhile, a recently resigned Marine captain writes something that I find stunning about a service that prides itself on its discipline and cohesion:

Best Defense is in summer re-runs. This item originally appeared on February 18, 2014.

Given the problems facing the Marine Corps, it seems to me that a smart move would be for President Obama to make James Mattis the Marine commandant. He has only been retired for a short while, and he has an impeccable reputation for integrity. The move would be both popular with Marines and the right thing. That’s a solid combination. And it would be the right thing to do by Mattis, too.

Meanwhile, a recently resigned Marine captain writes something that I find stunning about a service that prides itself on its discipline and cohesion:

I’ve been watching my former Commandant’s troubles with a combination of shame and grotesque humor. I have nothing groundbreaking to share, just an anecdote. At my last Marine Corps ball, this past November, after returning from one of the last full-battalion deployments to Helmand, I watched (again with half frown, half stupid grin) 900 Marines and some of their dates actually boo Gen. Amos when he appeared in his annual video…. this is just one story, but I’d have to guess he’s the first commandant to be mocked and hated by his own Marines to such a degree. I resigned my commission because of my complete lack of faith in the Corps’ administrative processes, and I definitely will not be disappointed when Gen. Amos departs, but at this point it’s all just gotten embarrassing.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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