“I like brawling”

“Inside the Headquarters” from time to time chronicles the world of the uberjoint: Marine Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis has been tapped to head U.S. Joint Forces Command. Yes, that General Mattis.

Flashback to 2005: Mattis made several comments during a panel discussion in San Diego. Though not in context here, he was speaking on recent combat operations.

As reported:

“Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot.”

“It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up there 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.”

It seems few will refute that Mattis is one of the most qualified warfighting flags serving today. And he’d have to be to have survived what could have spelled the end of a career for a lesser talent. The Corps’ commandant and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs stood by their man — probably with good reason, according to one senior officer. Superb combat vet and leader are only part of the story, he says. Mattis is known as the “warrior monk.” (More on that later.) Adding to the aura: Reportedly an Iraqi wanted to know when he (Mattis) was leaving. As Mattis tells it, “I said I am never going to leave. I told him I had found a little piece of property down on the Euphrates River and I was going to have a retirement home built there. I did that because I wanted to disabuse him of any sense that he could wait me out.”

Legend? It has been reported actor Harrison Ford will portray Mattis in “No True Glory: Battle for Fallujah” due out in 2008. Few can lay claim to that. Mattis is expected to appear before the Senate Armed Services committee for a confirmation hearing in coming weeks, according to sources. Will the “Ford factor” give him an edge? Sounds like he might not need any help.

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