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He encouraged his beloved Marines in Iraq with this advice: “Be polite. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet.” He spoke plainly, from his heart, warning civilian tribal leaders of the Sunni Awakening in Iraq’s Anbar province: “I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us.Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for the next 10,000 years.” Mattis has long been a living legend in the Marine Corps, earning the odd nickname of “the Warrior Monk.” Robert H.Refugees filled the sweaty hold of the ship, clutching their children and meager possessions and often shaking with fear and trauma.This was Mattis’s first real-world experience of war as a Marine.” His competence and level-headedness are so trusted that the president of the United States has given him essentially a free hand to fight America’s wars as he sees fit.Characteristically, in announcing the change of policy toward ISIS from one of “attrition” to “annihilation,” Mattis credited his boss with the decision.Sun-Tzu’s concept of “winning hearts and minds” was a natural fit for Mattis and would serve him well in the wars to come in the East.On July 20, 1978, Captain James Mattis took command of Kilo Company of the Third Marine Battalion of the Third Marine Division (3/3) under the command of Colonel Ken Jordan, a Vietnam veteran.
Yet he continues to defeat it with insight, humor, fighting courage, and fierce compassion not only for his fellow Marines who volunteer to follow him through hell’s front door but also for the innocent victims of war.People perhaps mistake his ferocious aggression for a lack of discipline.Anyone who has served with him will tell you just the opposite: As a field commander, he maintains strict discipline, even discipline, continually striving for “brilliance in the basics.” In his meticulous preparations for the untested “maneuver warfare” that was about to be used in the second Iraq War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, he created a scale model of the battlefield from the border of Kuwait to the objective, Baghdad. A week before the invasion began, he dressed representatives from the dozens of coalition military units in color-coded football jerseys and had them walk through the battle plan as he narrated the maneuvers over loudspeakers to the assembled field commanders.In those days we had the draft, so there was little choice.And then look around and see what else was out there. In Vietnam, the Tet Offensive had just killed 4,000 and wounded 6,000 American soldiers and Marines, so the American military was aggressively seeking new recruits to refill the ranks.