President-elect Trump is in the process of filling out his cabinet.
One of the plum positions is Secretary of Defense.
And the emerging favorite is a choice conservatives will love and liberals will hate.
All signs point to President-elect Trump offering the position of Secretary of Defense to General James “Mad Dog” Mattis.
Trump says he is “seriously considering” Mattis for DoD, says he asked Mattis about waterboarding, was surprised he didn’t favor it.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) November 22, 2016
Mattis has a long and storied resume.
He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1969.
He worked his way up the chain of command to lead the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines during the first Persian Gulf War.
During the war in Afghanistan he commanded the 7th Marine Regiment.
And he led the 1st Marine Division in the Iraq War.
In 2010, he was promoted by Barack Obama to serve as the Commander of United States Central Command.
He was later fired from that position for opposing Obama’s disastrous Iran policy.
In a disgraceful move, Obama sacked Mattis without even notifying him by phone.
Mattis only learned of his removal because an aide passed him a note.
Thomas Ricks wrote in a foreignpolicy.com blog post:
“Why the hurry? Pentagon insiders say that he rubbed civilian officials the wrong way — not because he went all “mad dog,” which is his public image, and the view at the White House, but rather because he pushed the civilians so hard on considering the second- and third-order consequences of military action against Iran. Some of those questions apparently were uncomfortable. Like, what do you do with Iran once the nuclear issue is resolved and it remains a foe? What do you do if Iran then develops conventional capabilities that could make it hazardous for U.S. Navy ships to operate in the Persian Gulf? He kept saying, “And then what?”
Ricks also noted that Mattis strongly opposed Obama’s reckless nuclear deal with Iran:
“A particular point of disagreement was what to do about mischief Iran is exporting to other countries. Mattis is indeed more hawkish on this than the White House was,”
Conservatives would be thrilled with the selection of Mattis in a Trump administration.
His reputation as a tough-as-nails commander is burnished by both battlefield successes and a deep caring for the soldiers under his command.
ABC News reports on a cross-country trip Mattis took after his retirement in 2013:
“When Gen. James Mattis retired from the Marine Corps in 2013 after a 41-year career, he planned a cross-country route back to his home state of Washington from his friend’s country cabin.
“The route he chose was dictated by the Gold Star Mothers he had to visit along the way,” says his longtime friend, retired Marine Maj. Gen. Michael Ennis, who first met Mattis in 1972, when they were both new officers. “He spent almost two weeks on that cross-country drive, zig-zagging to get to as many as he could to personally talk to them.”
“He personally wrote hand-written notes to every parent whose son or daughter was killed under his command,” said Ennis. “He cares deeply. He also works very hard to keep his Marines from being killed unnecessarily.”
Ennis described Mattis, who is a contender to be Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of defense, as a “classic warrior” who “fights to win.”
The selection of Mattis would give Trump a Secretary of Defense who would be respected by the armed forces, repudiate Obama’s failed Iran policy, and cheer his base of supporters.
To many, it looks like a win on all counts.