Hasty Ruminations

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Friday, February 04, 2005

Modern Day Idiot

Remember in the movie, "Patton", when General George Patton slapped a soldier? It appropriately kept Patton from higher command, but I thought that he should have received a greater punishment. I had command of a Navy ship, and the frustrations of command are familiar to me, but there is no excuse for behavior like that, in my opinion.

Now the U.S. Marine Corps has their own Patton, in Lieutenant General James Mattis. LTGEN Mattis commands Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va., and he is Deputy Commandant for Combat Development. A three star general. He's the one who said (on camera), and I quote from an audio recording, "Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. You know, it's a hell of a hoot. ... It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up front with you, I like brawling... 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.''

There is no context that "this is wrong", or "here is the attitude we are up against". No; it's just "fun".

Well, I didn't spend all of those years in the Navy, and encourage my son to fly in the Navy (he's in the Persian Gulf right now) just so this modern day idiot can shoot his mouth off on camera, and tell a bunch of young men and women that it's fun to shoot people, and it's ok by Mattis.

So, here is a chance for Secretary Rumsfeld to vindicate George Bush for not firing him twice before. Correct the lax handling of Patton by busting Mattis to Captain, and kicking him out of the Marine Corps. And the Commandant, who agrees with Mattis, can do it smartly, or he can go with him, as far as I am concerned. If Rumsfeld won't do it... then let's find a SECDEF who will.


  • At 10:39 PM, Blogger brendalove@gmail.com said…

    Part of me thinks he was probably just kidding around and talking junk but I cannot believe that someone would have such incredibly bad judgement when speaking in public. Or is he just that incredibly stupid?

  • At 11:43 PM, Blogger Greg Finnegan said…

    Not stupid; incredibly arrogant, and immature in the ways of society and totally convinced that he's right and those who disagree can go to hell. So, we need to expose him to some of that hell for the example value to others.

  • At 10:57 PM, Blogger Mellie Helen said…

    Makes one wonder what Mattis does "for fun" when he's on leave. * shudder *

  • At 1:51 AM, Blogger Greg Finnegan said…

    Now THERE's a chilling thought!

  • At 1:43 PM, Blogger brendalove@gmail.com said…

    I bet all those Marines think he's wonderful though! I guess the good Lieutenant has been in the Marines too long, he's forgotten how the civilians are supposed to talk.

    I guess it helps to look at the bright side....at least we don't have Marines protecting us that are busy weeping because Bambi's mom got shot.

  • At 10:44 PM, Blogger Stew Magoo said…


    This general is a former infantryman. He's been decorated for close combat and has seen war, up close and personal. He knows the score. War ain't pretty. It's not supposed to be.

    But to call him an idiot for what he said isn't necessarily right. Calling him an idiot for making the remarks in the forum that he did is wholly appropriate though.

    His comments are not exactly catering to the politically sensitive. But then again, politically sensitive people don't get in the trenches and fight wars now do they?

    Bottom line: he's not a politician. He's a warrior.

    I understand where you're coming from but I think it might bear some scrutiny for context.

  • At 12:35 AM, Blogger Greg Finnegan said…

    Stew, I appreciate your comments. I have seen war up close and pretty personal too, in Vietnam. I'm not going to give you a body count; it was enough to conclude that that is no excuse.

    If all of the General's experience up close and personal brought him to the conclusion that it is fun to kill people, then he needs to be in a white coat somewhere under sedation. It is NOT fun, or admirable, or all inna day's work. My comments focused on the forum he used: "...shoot his mouth off on camera, and tell a bunch of young men and women that it's fun to shoot people, and it's ok by Mattis." If his personal conclusion is that it's fun to kill, then he needs the white coat and adult supervision. If he gets on camera, in uniform (which is what he did), and spouts off like that, then he IS an idiot who is asking for it, or oblivious in his arrogance; and he needs to be taken off the camera, out of the uniform, and given his own white coat and a keeper. If he was just bragging, then he lacks situational awareness (he was on camera!) and, based on what he said, he lacks judgment, and a sense of what's right and what's wrong. You gonna give him some pudding and say well done? If so, maybe we should get TWO white coats! (half grin)

    In all my years in the Navy, including Annapolis, this type of conversation, on the rare occasions I heard it, was always in a bull session at the junior enlisted 18 and 19 year-old level. We'd get senior enlisted petty officers to set the lads straight. This fellow is 40 years beyond that, and what he says is listened to. Do you think that Abu Ghraib happened spontaneously, in a vacuum?


  • At 9:05 PM, Blogger Stew Magoo said…

    We concur on the forum. But not on the content.

    You're still making the assumption that he's serious in his comments. Is it not conceivable that he got comfortable and just started swapping the bull?

    And your postulation that he is arrogant is a miscalculation. I think he used his "bull session" with the press corps to get it off his chest. It's plausable that he thought he was humbling himself by unburdening. Or wanted it to seem that way.

    Point is, he's on the front line of a war on terrorists. If he's getting the job done, who am I to question it? For that matter, who are you to question it?

    *Ducking and running for cover*
    -Stew "enough Devil's advocate, I'm starting to question my own sanity now" Magoo


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