A network of ruggedly handsome Marine Artillerists keeping an eye on the world is an invaluable commodity. LTCOL P over at Op-For alerted me to Tom Ricks’ post this morning over at FP regarding near-legendary Marine General James N. Mattis. Some telling statements from Ricks, an avowed Obama supporter.
CIVIL-MILITARY SIGNALS: The message the Obama Administration is sending, intentionally or not, is that it doesn’t like tough, smart, skeptical generals who speak candidly to their civilian superiors. In fact, that is exactly what it (and every administration) should want.
SERVICE RELATIONS: The Obamites might not recognize it, but they now have dissed the two Marine generals who are culture heroes in today’s Corps: Mattis and Anthony Zinni. The Marines have long memories. I know some who are still mad at the Navy for steaming away from the Marines left on Guadalcanal.
If Ricks is finally admitting to Obama’s “smartest man in the room” act precluding his desire for informed advice, things have gotten damned bad.
…I am at the point where I don’t trust his national security team. They strike me as politicized, defensive and narrow. These are people who will not recognize it when they screw up, and will treat as enemies anyone who tells them they are doing that. And that is how things like Vietnam get repeated. Harsh words, I know. But I am worried.
The rest of us have been for a while, Tom. ”Three bags full” has been the standard answer from senior military leadership regarding the social experimentation, group punishment knee-jerk overreactions to perceived discipline problems, and US Pol-Mil actions (or non-actions) in Libya. Casey with Fort Hood, Dempsey in any number of situations. Mabus bankrupting the Navy for a green-fuel pat on the head. Why would he think such would not bleed over into strategic decision-making?
I don’t know if military action against Iran is the right course or not, but casting away men like Mattis and Zinni (and driving off Jim Jones) won’t do much to get him informed advice. Coupled with the amateur-hour soup sandwich that is Foggy Bottom, the ship of state is running without charts into the shoals. They may make Johnson-McNamara-Bundy look like a well-oiled machine, and George W. Bush look positively like Metternich.