Mattis Set to Retire?

Gen. James N. Mattis has been in the news again, because he is Gen. James N. Mattis. The man who has long walked a colorful tight rope between philosophical warrior and risk-embracer finally has called it quits says one source. Mattis says he’ll pack it in during November. This happens to coincide with the time Corps commandant and rival Gen. James T. “Not in my Corps” Conway finally relinquishes the throne.

So what’s up with the Mattis retirement? He says he’s going back to Washington State. He told author Steven Pressfield there would be no memoirs, no tell-alls.

Pressfield recently followed Mattis to Afghanistan and describes the experience in four blog entries. They are worth the read. Also appearing recently was a very long Slate article on Mattis and the war in Afghanistan.

But information about the four-star brawler checking out is contradicted by The Marine Corps Times, which several days ago reported that Mattis simply wrote, “At this rank, my future is up to the DOD leadership/Cdr in Chief, so I’ll see what, if anything, they intend for me to do.” This seems more plausible, though we are reasonably sure Mattis will continue to say whatever comes to mind to anyone who will listen until a decision is made or he’s tired of talking.

Will he be the next CMC?

Conway’s successor has not yet been named, and we’re sure a few may be jockeying for the brass ring. Has Conway made recommendations? If so, is Mattis one of them? Doubtful. Would anyone listen to Conway following his public meltdown over homosexual policies at DoD? Doubtful.

Since November 2007, Mattis has headed the Norfolk, Va., -based Joint Forces Command, a backwater and snoozer of a job until he arrived. He has labored to get the disparate entities moving toward some common goal. His priority has been Afghanistan. He has made frequent trips to see and hear firsthand what commanders on the ground have to say.

Mattis came to public if not critical prominence in 2005 when he was quoted saying “I like brawling,” and “It’s fun to shoot some people,” during a panel discussion. The quotes were out of context, but these words have resurfaced over the years. We found them in an unlikely place – Facebook.

Jim “I like Brawlin’” Mattis has a Facebook page, and it’s not very good. Putting aside his 1,100 or so followers and the weak content, Mattis apparently recycles his own material. We found a recent posting that retreads the infamous San Diego quotes. Odd.

Will Mattis make Top Bull Dog or will Conway finally come out on top in the Testosterone Monologues? Mattis— we like the legend, but we are concerned about the man.

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