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Pentagon taps Mattis to take over Central Command (+the best war poster)
Tampa Bay/St. Pete Times ^ | 7-9-10

Posted on 07/10/2010 9:01:47 AM PDT by STARWISE


In his book Fiasco, The American Military Adventure in Iraq, Thomas Ricks writes, "Small, slight and bespectacled, Mattis didn't fit the Hollywood image of the fire-breathing Marine commander.

But retired Marine Col. Gary Anderson, himself a widely respected officer, commented, 'I think he's the finest combat leader we've produced since Korea.'

Mattis genuinely seemed to thrive on the noise and confusion of battle. He adopted 'Chaos' as his call sign when he took the Marines into southern Afghanistan in the fall of 2001 and kept it when he led the Marine part of the invasion force for Iraq in the spring of 2003.

After the invasion he sent home his tanks and artillery pieces and went to Iraqi military leaders in each area his troops were in. 'I come in peace,' Mattis recalled telling them. 'I didn't bring artillery. But I'm pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f--- with me, I'll kill you all.' "

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: centralcommand; genmattis; marine; military
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I was going to say that this guy remids me of Patton, and then you called him Pattonesque!

21 posted on 07/10/2010 10:17:06 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic (Southeast Wisconsin)
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To: xzins
You know, I have seen you trolling every single Mattis thread this week trying to dump on the man, who I happen to know personally.

You clearly have no clue as to what you are talking about, so please shut up and get informed before you post your drivel again.

22 posted on 07/10/2010 10:20:24 AM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner (Sarah Palin has crossed the Rubicon!)
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Don’t waste your time listening to xzins. He is clueless about both the UCMJ and the complex inner workings of the Haditha case, and has some kind of ax to grind with Mattis, who is the closest man we have to a modern day Patton.

23 posted on 07/10/2010 10:22:28 AM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner (Sarah Palin has crossed the Rubicon!)
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To: Oldexpat

He has ruffled some DOD/DC feathers ...


Ironically, however, part of Mattis’s appeal to many people may be the things he has said that landed him in trouble.

In late 2001, after leading Marines into southern Afghanistan, he famously said that “we own a piece of Afghanistan,” prompting defense officials to cringe.

In 2005, he said that it was “fun to shoot some people,” referring to insurgents in Afghanistan. “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil,” Mattis said. “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.” Mattis got into hot water for those comments, as well.

But Gates said Thursday that those incidents are in the past and that he is comfortable with the lessons that Mattis took away from the episodes.

“Obviously, in the wake of the Rolling Stone interview, we discussed this kind of thing. And I have every confidence that — that Gen. Mattis will be — will respond to questions and speak publicly about the matters for which he is responsible in an entirely appropriate way,” Gates said.

But Mattis also is known for understanding the nuances of counterinsurgency, embracing the mantra early on when he led forces in western Iraq that American troops can be “no better friend, no worse enemy.”

Read more:

24 posted on 07/10/2010 10:22:51 AM PDT by STARWISE ( The overlords are in place .. we are a nation under siege .. pray, go Galt & hunker down)
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To: Virginia Ridgerunner

Thanks for your input.

25 posted on 07/10/2010 10:24:56 AM PDT by STARWISE ( The overlords are in place .. we are a nation under siege .. pray, go Galt & hunker down)
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To: Virginia Ridgerunner; xzins

Thank you, I got all the way to the bottom of the thread before I found someone calling that idiot out. I served under Mattis (yes, xzins, his name is spelled with two t’s) in Iraq in 2003, when he was commander of 1st Marine Division, and had the pleasure of meeting him on several occasions. Mattis is one of the best generals the Marine Corps has had in years. I put him right up there with General Al Gray.

xzins, you’re going to have to post some evidence to explain your hatred of him.

26 posted on 07/10/2010 10:26:30 AM PDT by Echo4C (We have it in our power to begin the world over again. --Thomas Paine)
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To: Oldexpat
I doubt it. After getting passed over for Commandant in favor of Amos, Mattis was planning to retire very shortly along with General Conway.

But after the McChrystal thing blew up, Obama and Gates had to swallow their pride and ask him to take on the CENTCOM job after moving Petraeus to Afghanistan. There's no way Mattis is going to boss Petraeus around, so I imagine that deals have been struck with both generals and with the House and Senate Armed Services committees to get themon the job ASAP so that they can pull Obama's fat out of the fire.

27 posted on 07/10/2010 10:28:36 AM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner (Sarah Palin has crossed the Rubicon!)
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To: xzins
Second, he’s Obama’s choice.

No, he's Gates' choice. Obama just wants somebody to save the CENTCOM situation and thereby save his butt politically. Mattis has no love for Obama, but he loves his troops more than he despises the CoC, and that's why he took the job.

28 posted on 07/10/2010 10:30:51 AM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner (Sarah Palin has crossed the Rubicon!)
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To: Virginia Ridgerunner; Lancey Howard; Girlene; bigheadfred; pissant

I’ve been on every thread since the beginning of Haditha. I’ve followed it throughout, and I know what Mathis did and didn’t do. He did not have the courage to stand up and admit to the appearance of UCI, even though upheld by the military appeals court.

Now, your knowing Mathis is no big deal. I know Casey. Think he was an awesome guy. Also think he made some major mistakes. Craddock, Brown, both 4 stars...I worked for them.... and I worked with McChrystal’s brother.

Take your name-dropping home and give it to yo momma.

Hopefully, Mathis will be confined to a desk and a word processor.

29 posted on 07/10/2010 10:31:26 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and proud of it. Those who truly support our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: Virginia Ridgerunner

Obama’s, Gates’ choice

Now, that’s just naive.

30 posted on 07/10/2010 10:32:58 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and proud of it. Those who truly support our troops pray for their victory!)
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Comment #31 Removed by Moderator

To: xzins
Hopefully, Mathis will be confined to a desk and a word processor.

You can't even spell his name right, which proves my point that you have no clue as to what you are talking about, especially since you are clearly no Marine.

32 posted on 07/10/2010 10:40:26 AM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner (Sarah Palin has crossed the Rubicon!)
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Comment #33 Removed by Moderator

To: Echo4C; jazusamo; Lancey Howard; pissant; Girlene; bigheadfred; Ironmajor; RedRover; ...
Mattis personally permitted an opposing lawyer to influence and was personally barred from making further decisions affecting prosecution:

In order for the government to start the process of recharging LtCol Chessani, the Commandant – General James Conway, USMC – would have to appoint a new convening authority (the rank of General) that was not precluded by Col Folsom’s ruling, which was based on Unlawful Command Influence.

Thomas More Law Center: Col Folsom precluded the commands of the I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), Marine Forces Central Command (MARCENT), and General James Mattis, USMC in particular. Whoever is named the new convening authority (the new General) would have to make an independent decision on whether or not to bring new charges against LtCol Chessani. If the General did desire to bring charges, LtCol Chessani would be subject to a new Article 32 Hearing.

Gen Mattis permitted Col John Ewers (Jag) who had already had a position on the Haditha case, and who was a career-maker for other Jags, to influence those who were tasked with lawyering the case. That was the ruling of the trial judge who called "unlawful command influence the mortal enemy of justice."

In short UCI, is railroading the accused. And Mattis' railroading was simply a fit with the greater railroading that was taking place higher up. (Mattis got his 4th star.....)

That's on top of the well-established facts that the Pentagon was playing to the media on this event....a group to covertly push it to desired convictions was set up by the powers that be.


When Pennsylvania Congressmen John Murtha charged eight Marines with “cold blooded murder” and “cover up” at Haditha more than two years ago, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld immediately formed a study group to counter the powerful Democrat’s accusations.

The study group’s analysis of the political and legal situation was used to help decide what course of action to take against eight Marines accused of massacre and cover up by Murtha in the deaths of 24 Iraqis at Haditha, Iraq on November 19, 2005.

The group was briefed by high ranking Marine Corps lawyers sent by Brigadier General Kevin Sandkuhler, Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Also in the mix was Peter M. Murphy, former General Counsel to the Marine Corps--a civilian who counseled Commandants and their lawyers for 20 years, according to retired Marine defense attorney Lieutenant Colonel Colby Vokey.

Murphy and Sandkuhler have since retired.

Vokey was the Regional Defense Counsel for West Coast Marines at Camp Pendleton, California when the Haditha scandal erupted in early 2006. The job of defending the defamed Marines fell on his tiny clan of appointed Marine Corps defense lawyers.

As soon as the SECDEF study group was formed, Marine Corps lawyers began trooping into Rumsfeld's office at the Pentagon while Commandant General Michael Hagee climbed up Capitol Hill to brief the money lenders on the progress of the investigation, Vokey said. 

“The prosecution actually believed – and still believes – it can win a conviction. It oversold that to General Sandkuhler and he believed it,” Vokey said.

The Marine Corps has not responded to a request for comment.

Subsequently the Marines were charged with murder, assault, dereliction of duty, lying to investigators and conspiring to conceal the truth about what happened after a Marine died in a roadside ambush at Haditha.

The four enlisted men charged with pulling the triggers belonged to Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines. Charged with cover up were Kilo’s company commander, the battalion commander, and two staff officers.

Major General Richard A. Huck, formerly Commanding General of the 2nd Marine Division, Colonel Richard G. Sokoloski, former Chief of Staff of the division and later the CoS of Multi-National Forces-West, and Colonel Stephen W. Davis, the former commander of Regimental Combat Team-2, the senior commander at Haditha, all received a “Secretarial Letter of Censure” from Winter on September 5, 2007 instead of being charged with criminal behavior.

Winter was particularly critical of the three senior Marines’ apparent reluctance to respond to multiple requests by Time magazine to reveal what happened at Haditha.

The magazine’s sensational reports claimed a squad of Marines under Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Chessani’s command murdered 24 innocent civilians in retaliation for an IED attack that killed one of their numbers and wounded two others. Afterwards Chessani and his officers covered up the action to avoid recrimination, Time magazine reporter Tim McGirk and others claimed.

“Even when made aware of the serious allegations raised by the Time magazine journalist, your response to higher headquarters was to forward incomplete, inaccurate, and inconsistent materials provided by a subordinate unit, rather than to initiate a thorough inquiry into the incident,” Winter rebuked Colonel Davis.

Vokey said he was informed of the study group during briefings he received from Sandkuhler in June 2006.

“Sandkuhler believed they were all guilty and the case was going to quickly be over. I tried to tell him I didn't think so. I said, ‘General, I don't believe that is correct,’ but he thought that the prosecutors were going to win, that everybody was going to roll over on each other. It didn't happen that way."   

Sandkuhler’s appreciations of the situation were the basis of Rumsfeld’s apparent acquiescence to the Pentagon’s decision to publicly crucifying the Marines in both word and deed, Vokey surmised.

“I was briefed by my boss [Col. Rose Favors], who was briefed by Sandkuhler on Hagee’s presentation to Murtha, Senator Carl Levin and the other Congressional leaders who control the money.”

There was nothing in his [Hagee] remarks about cold blooded murder or massacre or anything like that.”

With Rumsfeld’s endorsement, Secretary Winter launched the biggest and presumably most expensive criminal investigation in US Naval history from Naval Criminal Investigative Service headquarters in Washington, D.C.

“It was unusual from the start,” Vokey said.

The NCIS maintained both a field investigation and an oversight committee in Washington that kept tabs on the progress of the investigation. NCIS officials acknowledged during the preliminary investigation that at least 65 special agents were occupied with the case at its zenith in the summer of 2006.

Caught between Murtha’s scandalous charges and the Pentagon’s burning desire to protect its yawning purse from vengeful Democrats controlling the purse strings, Marine Corps prosecutors sincerely believed the Haditha defendants trying to duck the cross-fire didn’t stand a chance, Vokey said.

“In the summer of 2006 we had two major war crimes trials going on at once (Hamandiyah and Haditha) and it was straining our resources. The Marine Corps wanted to get them over with. Sandkuhler told me he thought it [Hamandiyah] would be over in three or four months and then we could get on with Haditha.”

“Tens years to life, roll over on the other Marines, and get it done," Vokey said.

When it didn’t happen the way Sandkuhler anticipated Vokey was fired for assigning “too many defense attorneys” to the Haditha and Hamandiyah defendants.

Vokey was canned in September 2007 by Colonel Rose M. Favors, the Command Defense Counsel of the Marine Corps. She reported to Sandkuhler.

The prosecution called in reservists, brought in support staff, and created a task force to convict the Marines. The Marine Corps spent millions more building a media center staffed by recalled reservists at Camp Pendleton for the court-martials that never were.

Favors reportedly told Vokey that assigning more the one Marine Corps lawyer defense lawyer was unnecessary for them to receive adequate representation.

“We had to literally beg for everything we got,” Vokey said. “The prosecution had all the resources.”

Vokey was quietly reinstated after prominent Marine lawyers both inside and outside the Corps cried foul.

Retired Marine Corps Brigadier General David M. Brahms was among the lawyers enmeshed in the Haditha murder investigation who exploded into anger over Vokey’s firing.

“I am pissed,” Brahms said in September 2007. “The danger here is not malevolence; it is the appearance of evil and the effect upon those in the defense bar.”

Brahms is a Harvard Law School graduate who became the Director of the Judge Advocate Division for three years prior to his retirement in 1988.

Adding to Vokey’s burdens were copious leaks of sensitive NCIS documents that washed ashore at the Washington Post and New York Times.

Despite a defense demand for an investigation to plug the leaks they never stopped until the well ran dry after 14,000 pages of documents reached reporter’s hands, Vokey said. 

Vokey’s defense team suspected the information was flowing from Rep. Murtha’s executive assistant Gabrielle Carruth, a former career NCIS special agent married to an NCIS special agent on duty in Washington. Nothing ever came of their suspicions.

 “The [civilian] defense attorneys complained the newspapers were getting the NCIS reports evidence before they were receiving discovery information,” Vokey said.

Despite the huge volume of evidence revealed in the news accounts and the long laundry list of heinous charges against the defendants, Sandkuhler told Vokey he expected the cases to be completed by the end of 2007 at the latest, Vokey said.

Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, the squad leader and last enlisted trigger-puller facing general court-martial, on reduced charges of manslaughter, is mired in pre-trial disputes between a television network and government prosecutors.

The prosecution claims the 60 Minutes television show has unaired footage of Wuterich implicating himself on a thrice-aired 60 Minutes interview.

Another hearing on the matter is scheduled for Wednesday in Washington.

Wuterich is represented by veteran military defense attorney Neal Puckett and his Washington, D.C. based team of experts. Puckett calls the government’s ploy a “fishing expedition” that merely delays the inevitable exoneration of his client.

Recently, Haytham Faraj, a former Marine major, joined Puckett, Mark Zaid, and Marine Corps Captain Nute Bonner (just transferred to Marine Barracks 8th and "I" in Washington) as Wuterich's defense team. 

Faraj worked for Vokey and was a defense team star during the summer long pre-trial investigations in 2007.

Since being charged in December 2006, six other defendants have been cleared during pre-trial maneuvering and a seventh was acquitted following his court martial at Camp Pendleton.

The government is also appealing the dismissal of all charges against former battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Chessani, cleared early last summer when evidence of improper command influence was revealed during pretrial procedures.

The impact of Murtha’s unrestrained remarks, coupled with media’s specious, sensationalized accounts of the incident, was recently underscored by Iraqi negotiators discussing the future of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between Iraq and the US.

The negotiations reportedly came to a screeching halt last week when the Iraqis refused to budge over demands that US service members be denied immunity from Iraqi prosecution for alleged war crimes in Iraq. 

US and Iraqi officials reportedly reached the impasse because most of the US Marines accused of massacring civilians at Haditha have been exonerated. 

The specious Haditha incident was identified by name during the delicate negotiations in Baghdad to determine whether the United States intends to give up its traditional legal sovereignty over American service members, numerous news reports said.  

The Iraqis want assurances they can exact their own brand of justice on American service members trapped in similar situations.

The US has SOFA agreements in 80 countries that give the US autonomy over disciplining American troops.


34 posted on 07/10/2010 11:17:24 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and proud of it. Those who truly support our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: STARWISE; Virginia Ridgerunner; jazusamo

Not know about Haditha?

see, follow all the links, look for their FR counterparts and i think you’ll see it was meticulously followed over the years by the haditha ping list.

35 posted on 07/10/2010 11:20:06 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and proud of it. Those who truly support our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: Virginia Ridgerunner
If Mattis was pressured from "the top" to enable the Haditha prosecutions, then he disgraced himself by allowing himself to be used that way (apparently for that 4th star). If he was not pressured, and instead acted independently and with full authority, then he disgraced himself by failing to end that political kangaroo court, that obscene fiasco, and stand up for his Marines.

Either way he disgraced himself. There is no escaping or disputing that.

Personally, I'm hoping Mattis has landed back in an environment where his skills are more useful, ie., fighting a war to win. He's in charge now, and there's nothing we can do about it but hope that he can regain the respect of the troops and recover his reputation. His actions going forward will determine how successful he is in that regard.

By the way, the name of the Marine who was killed in the ambush at Haditha was Lance Corporal Miguel Terrazas. His brothers-in-arms did exactly what Marines are trained to do, and responded to that ambush. For their efforts their careers were destroyed and in some cases their families were fiancially ruined.

36 posted on 07/10/2010 11:27:10 AM PDT by Lancey Howard
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I'd like to wade in on this conversation with my own personal observations...

Whatever the "Hollywood image of a fire-breathing Marine commander" might be, anyone who underestimates James Mattis has never been in his presence or followed his leadership. From my experience, Mattis is one of the two finest field generals I've ever known; the other is Alfred Mason Gray.

Like Al Gray, Mattis is also one of the most politically-incorrect and least political officers I've ever encountered. His rise to high command is attributable solely to his incredible success at every single level of command (platoon, company, battalion, regiment, brigade, division and corps/MEF). As a field commander, this tough and demanding sonofabitch stands head and shoulders above his peers in knowledge, experience, vision and results. His official bio is just like the man; there is no fluff there.

If I want to win a war, I want Jim Mattis to lead the fight. Semper Fidelis...

37 posted on 07/10/2010 11:28:27 AM PDT by Always A Marine
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To: xzins
"Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet," was one of the rules Maj. Gen. James Mattis gave his Marines to live by in Iraq.

Mathis' statement to the soldiers was a great sentiment, but the second any of his Marines took that sentiment to heart, he turned on them.

He said it, but he didn't mean it.

It's no wonder Obama decided on him. They are both big on words, but small on action.

"We will not rest until......................................."

38 posted on 07/10/2010 11:28:32 AM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: xzins
Blah, blah, blah...Haditha...blah, blah, blah!

Like I said, stop posting your nonsense until you educate yourself on the case from the UCMJ perspective. Seems to me that the system ultimately worked.

And do you think Mattis enjoyed dealing with that case and overseeing the prosecution of his Marines for killing bad guys, when he would have much rather been out on the battlefield taking the fight to the enemy?

Get a clue!

39 posted on 07/10/2010 11:41:31 AM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner (Sarah Palin has crossed the Rubicon!)
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The whole Haditha thing was an outrage that occurred right before our eyes and is even now still ongoing. We ought to be ashamed we are letting it STILL go on...

We cannot simply sweep this shameful treachery under the rug. It is bigger than any one man. Future lives will be lost because some commander, some officer, some sergeant, some soldier or Marine will hesitate to act for fear of being court-martialed.

It is my own sincere belief that the whole thing was made up by Al Qaeda operatives in the local Iraqi press corps so often used by bigger media types like Time. Time was fed a line of carefully falsified reports that they all to willingly believed. Murtha (may his soul burn in Hell) and the dems then used it to beat down Pres. Bush, Rumsfeld and the military which caused the whole chain-of-command to coward-up and throw out scapegoats. I prayed then that someone would do the honorable thing and fall on their sword rather than have these men go through the HELL they did but the chain-of-command marched lockstep over them.

Gen Mattis sounds great. But he was part of that chain-of-command.

40 posted on 07/10/2010 11:49:15 AM PDT by Alas Babylon!
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