“Mad Dog” Departs

It’s disconcerting enough when the most level-headed and trusted member of an administration is nicknamed “Mad Dog.” It is positively terrifying when that individual concludes he can no longer restrain the actual madness of the President he serves. But that is where America finds itself today.

The full text of General Mattis’ resignation letter is eye-opening.

Mattis quit after the Child-In-Chief ignored his advice and that of the Pentagon and State Departments, and decided (evidently after consulting his “gut”) to pull American troops unilaterally out of Syria. This rash move leaves our Kurd allies at the mercy of the Turks who have threatened to eliminate them; it endangers Israel; and it plays directly into the hands of Iran and Russia.

A Washington Post column was one among the many pointing to the strategic consequences of Trump’s abrupt and foolhardy move, and Mattis’ departure:

From the day Jim Mattis took over the Pentagon, he was seen by Washington and the world as a safeguard against a president addicted to chaos and animated by a different moral code.

At home, he was the seasoned battlefield commander who was willing to check Trump’s often-impulsive instincts when it came to deploying force. As long as Mattis was at the helm of the Pentagon, Republicans and Democrats trusted there was someone who would fight to ensure military actions weren’t taken on a whim.

Overseas, Mattis was perhaps the only Trump administration official who had the unconditional trust of America’s closest allies.

In his resignation letter, Mattis described the “resolute and unambiguous” leadership style that he had tried to bring to his position, particularly when dealing with threats posed by countries such as Russia and China.

Unstated, but implied, was that Trump’s erratic and impetuous approach to foreign policy isn’t up to the threats America faces.

The implications of Mattis’ resignation, underscored by the unprecedented language he employed when he submitted it, are deeply worrisome. Mattis has been one of the very few members of Trump’s administration widely perceived to be competent and honorable. His departure will make it much more difficult for partisans to ignore the damage Trump is doing to America’s standing in the world community, and his constant, dangerous assaults on global stability.

In an administration that has seen unprecedented turnover, Mattis’s conclusion that he could no longer work with Trump is likely to alter the course of the administration’s foreign policy more than any other departure.

In Europe and Asia, Mattis often traveled in Trump’s wake and calmed allies who were unnerved by the president’s threats to abandon allies who didn’t pay more for their defense. His decades of service and commitment to alliances reassured allies who were put off by Trump’s tendency to kowtow to strongmen, such as Russia’s Vladi­mir Putin or Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and insult traditional partners in Canada and Great Britain.

It is highly unlikely Trump will find anyone even minimally qualified who is willing to replace Mattis. (As one of my favorite bloggers, Juanita Jean, noted in her inimitable way, “Trump, you have no Secretary of State, no Attorney General, no Chief of Staff, no Secretary Defense, no border wall, and you probably don’t have a winkie. All you have left is the little Nazi-guy with the spray on hair.”)

Most of the people who were willing to join this administration have proved to be grifters, incompetents and/or outright thieves. A few, like Mattis, evidently concluded that duty to the country required subordinating concerns about working for an ignorant and manifestly unfit President.

Republican politicians who justified their public support for Crazy Town by reassuring themselves that people like Mattis would control the nuclear button, and Congressional Republicans willing to go along with a loony-tunes President in order to get those deficit-ballooning tax cuts for their rich patrons need to face up to the facts: America is being endangered daily by a mentally-ill narcissist who knows absolutely nothing about government or foreign policy,  is uninterested in learning, and unwilling to listen to people who do actually know something.

Congressional Republicans have been consistently willing to put party above country, and  must be held equally culpable for the incredible damage being done by this rogue administration. History will not be kind to them.


  1. seems the safegards of our present democracy are barely holding on,RBG just had to leave here sick bed to stop action a scotus,mattis is battle weary,the demos have started to push aside what we voted for,but are harden by the recent past. maybe we should be tired of the next ones ,this next election,demand we,the people of all walks, anyone,even those who are kept from voting,start asking quetsions,to those who seek office, and i dont mean beat around the bush answers,we want answers,not rehashed speaches about the same subjects over and over.they have decided they wont town hall,or be asked questions,then it should be a demand they step down immediatly,and the ones who do,put them on record,or get booted out..My total respect for Justice Ginsburg,she holds that seat,no matter what. Mattis ,we did a deep hold our breath,and thanks sir,your courage and work,will be forever in our respect.but I feel congress will hold trump in check. his laundry list(laundering list) may have him sidelined. sure he can talk his talk, but now lets hold some respect for those who just didnt give in. make a public statement,trump is unfit to be anything more than a roach.and let u.s.tell these world leaders and the ones victimized by trump and our present congress, were going to cover thier needs,til theyre gone in 2020. we should at least as a nation show some due respect to those who are respecting u.s. and show the world this will be the last time we will tollerate a congress and president who doesnt respect the world,and u.s.and keep America truly what it is, a democracy for all who came here,and fought for it,like our friends above..

  2. p.s. im in Mcallen texas as i write,hey,no wall, sweet… ill be visiting with locals here.and tasting the tex mex food. sweet,sleep well trump,America can hear your temper tantrum..hehehehe
    hey congress.the grinch is alive and well at trumps world…give him coal

  3. Did Mr Putin give Donny an order to get out of the middle east?
    Is there any logical reason for Donny’s actions this week?
    Did anyone OTHER than Putin think this was a good idea?

  4. I have tried in vain to find a copy of General Mattis’ resignation letter to print out, to even send to myself as an E-mail. This is a vital document of historical importance in this time of America’s apparent idiocy during Trump’s mis-administration. It is a glimmer of sanity in this insane world of White Nationalism, anti-everything and anti-everyone but a select few white male Republicans. It is especially important that our allies and our enemies alike should read this document in full to dispel the belief that all Americans are enthralled by the tantrum-throwing child in our White House. He has, with his threats of military desertion of our allies in Syria and Afghanistan, under his lie that we have defeated ISIS, placed us as a nation in a precarious position in the world today. If Trump’s best friends among our known enemies take advantage of our weakened position at this time; who of our allies will remain with us?


  5. Now what? What happens on March 1, the day after Mattis officially leaves office? Who replaces him? John Bolton, the ultimate hawk?

    I’m hoping that General Mattis has some connections to our active military leaders that will tackle president Combover before he blunders into destroying the world.

  6. Just for the sake of clarity, Mattis’ nickname is “the Warrior Monk.” It is widely known that he hates the “mad dog” name. At least one opinion writer has said that it is Trump who is the “Mad Dog.” I would encourage everyone not to adopt Trump’s distorted language about what this general is, and of what a general should be.

  7. The only thing clear in Trumps behavior this last week is that the closer Mueller’s investigation gets to him, the crazier Trump gets. It isn’t so much that he draws attention to himself, as it is that he draws attention away from revelations about his past actions. OR… he’s just plain nuts.
    Either way, what the future will condemn of this period in history will be the Republican Party and its elected officials who saw what was happening and did nothing to stop it.

  8. In my fantasy world the Kurds, Turkey, and Iraq meet to carve out a territory called Kurdistan near the Iraq/Turkey border. In the real world, I forsee Erdogan sending his army to wipe out the Kurds in Syria. Then Erdogan will be faced with an even greater danger, ISIS.

    Peace may never come to the middle east and the roots of this disaster go back to the period after WWI, when the Europeans were as blind to reason as 45 is today. The man who knew what was the right thing to do was T.E. Lawrence. The lessons of history seem never to be learned.

  9. On the other hand, Obama should have withdrawn from Syria a long time ago right after Putin stepped in and pointed out that the USA was working with the same rebels we were attacking in other Middle Eastern countries.

    The Kurds?

    Have you fallen for the “compassionate humanitarians” peddled by our propaganda media?

    We’re providing Saudi Arabia with billions in weapons so they commit genocide in Yemen.

    Our international policy has been interventionism for a long time meaning our involvement there is selfish. We use NATO as a cover–not as allies. As soon as Trump blew up our allies over money and security, even Angela Merkel went to Putin to strike a deal. They’ve been adversaries since the Berlin Wall divided her country.

    Good riddance to Mad Dog. Trump is a nationalist which means he doesn’t care about any other country but the USA. And in matters of creeping interventionism as foreign policy, it’s a good thing.

    Don’t get caught up in the Faux Resistance or Anti-Trump movement that you lose sight of the good his self-centered instincts provide to us.

  10. “Don’t get caught up in the Faux Resistance or Anti-Trump movement that you lose sight of the good his self-centered instincts provide to us.” Really?

    This is like saying, “Yes, but look at what Hitler gave us… the Volkswagen and the autobahn.”

    Open your eyes, Todd. Take a hard and honest look at the destruction of the land, the greed, the lies, the abuse of children, the divisiveness, the disregard for the law, the penchant for violence. Your continued defense of Trump says more about you than you know.

  11. Turkey. Let’s not forget in December 2016 Trump said he had a “conflict of interest” in Turkey because of Trump Istanbul, consisting of two co-joined towers and a shopping center. As recently as August 2018, there was a popular movement urging that his assets (license-partnership) be seized there because of some U.S. sanctions on select individuals.

  12. Trump’s impulsive move to leave Syria not only places our Kurd ally at risk in its fight against ISIS, but also opens up the mideast to Russian and Iranian domination. Also at risk is Israel and, ultimately, our own country. Can’t happen here? Think 9-11 by now-embolden terrorists. Thanks, Don. I knew he would do almost anything to change the subject from his soon to be crashing and burning, but this?
    Mattis, who represents 70 years of working with allies the world over from the Marshall Plan to and through NATO in order to bring some postwar stability to flash points like those in the mideast and eastern Europe, has thrown in the towel, and when a man of his stature throws in the towel, that tells us that things are really bad back at the Oval Office. It may be that we cannot wait for impeachment and/or indictment; we may have to go for the 25th to stop this fruitcake from destroying the world.
    Trump is cornered; he is on the cusp of being totally unmasked as investigations of everything he has ever done are about to hit the fan. How he will react given the immense powers of his office should be a worry for all of us, but the question should be how we will react to his reaction. I’m thinking the Twenty Fifth.

  13. For JoAnn and to allow Mr. Smekens to read it again before he so blithely dismisses the “warrior monk”(thank you, Mr. Davis) as a mad dog. He is called the warrior monk because he reads and seems to have some perspective on the history of conflicts going back thousands of years, something the erstwhile narcissist who occupies the WH and goes by his gut (read what the bank balance will be) when making decisions. What did Mr. Erdogan promise him after their phone call? Has he talked to his good friend, Bibi, since then? Did Vlad promise to destroy the tapes?
    What a sorry state our state is in. We have elected another sycophant to represent us in the Senate, a yes man who seemingly has hitched his wagon to the dark money that is driving us to authoritarian rule or worse, an internal civil war. Does anyone really think that DT won’t call on his hard core, gun toting, bible thumping, rapture awaiting, ignorant cult to rise up in his defense? We are teetering on the edge. Will we fall in spectacular fashion or fade into further chaos as the sea levels rise and the storms of all kinds intensify? That is the only question in my view.


  14. Like many of President Agent Oranges communiques they end being nothing more than hot air balloons: Mexico will pay for the Wall, better health care plan once ACA is destroyed, etc.

    CNN and MSDNC who hardly if at all mentioned Syria for years have quickly pivoted with a new script. Since a withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan is President Agent Orange’s idea the pundits and “experts” were quickly handed a script warning of the dire consequences of a premature withdrawal.

    The FOX, CNN and MSDNC suits, pantsuits and skirts sitting their collective butts far from any battlefield danger introduce all the twisted thinking they can muster. President Agent Orange is allowing Putin to win, he is gifting Iran with a victory, Assad will now step up attacks against some puppet insurgency, the Turks will attack the Kurds in Syria.

    Since Bush the Younger invaded Iraq for no good reasons, any debate on the deploying and/or maintaining of US Forces there have been off the table. Congress like they did with the Gulf of Tonkin resolution back in LBJ’s time handed Bush the Younger, Obama and now President Agent Orange a virtual blank check for World Wide War.

    If President Agent Orange has stimulated a debate on our military expansionism – Good.

  15. Donald Trump is the most boring individual I’ve ever seen and/or heard. How can we get everybody to stop talking about him? All he wants is to be noticed. Eliminate that and maybe he’ll go away.

  16. Why doesn’t Trump put up $5billion of his own money and get Mexico to pay him back. It’s a win-win for all of us: he gets his wall and we get our government back (partially). He even makes money on the deal by charging Mexico interest on the loan.
    Trump focused on two things during his presidential campaign: “build the wall” and “lock her up”. He did, in passing, mention something about creating great health care and ‘We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning’.
    Can you think of anything else he might have promised? I’ll pause here while you think it over… pause…pause…crickets…crickets.

  17. Quote:T Bowers ” Take a hard and honest look at the destruction of the land, the greed, the lies, the abuse of children, the divisiveness, the disregard for the law, the penchant for violence.”

    That is exactly what we have wrought with regard to countries such as Libya,Syria,et al.

    Of course the lives of those people do not matter to the likes of you. Hypocrite. It’s people like those among this forum that will allow a Hitler. Trump is not Hitler. Grow up.Moreover, you’ll bring on a despot because you’ve sold your souls to the MIC because of a Trump Presidency.

  18. In two years of full power Republicans and Trump have only accomplished one legislative thing: the massive wealth redistribution tax cut deficit inflator. The rest is chaos.

  19. Good riddance to Mad Dog? Really??

    Clearly Todd, with all due respect, you have no idea what you are talking about. With Mattis’ resignation we’re losing the last credible firebreak that we have against Trump’s incoherence and, quite frankly, madness in regard to national security policy. It’s either madness or he’s taking his marching orders directly from Putin and Erdogan. This one man wrecking crew and his actions are putting the safety at risk. The only other person that Trump has left that has any real exposure to national security policy is John Bolton which is terrifying at best. Bolton, who has a longstanding reputation as a nearly unhinged neocon and longstanding advocate of the disastrous Iraqi War, is now just another sycophant, towing the Trump-Putin line. He likes his job and being the extreme egotist that he is he will do whatever is necessary to keep it.

    The entire world order, and along with it our own national security, is in grave danger as it is goes through great changes and pressures geopolitically, with nearly none of them being positive. Like it are not that national security is always a work in progress and we have to have experienced and seasoned professionals presiding over it. General Mattis was a great, and given who hired him, inexplicable choice as SECDEF. Those that call him “Mad Dog” clearly do not know much about him as Earon Davis, thankfully, pointed out. General Mattis as a personal library of close to 9000 books and when he was on active duty regularly published a recommended readings list for his fellow Marines and he is always stood out as being both a consummate intellectual warrior but a great leader as well. I’m very happy to say that I have several of those books in my possession.

    The question now is who will replace this man, Jared Kushner?

  20. Truth,

    The reason Trump is not Hitler – he would love to be just that and would consider it an achievement – is that he is too ignorant to plan, strategize, or even plot. All of those require focus and stringing together a series of logical thoughts, a task that is beyond him. Nothing about him has been more consistently evident than his autocratic ambitions, including his almost physical passion for men like Putin, Erdogan, Duterte and even his lover (his word, not mine), Kim Jung Un.

    Please name for me one individual the Western World looks up to who has been the beneficiary of a Trump compliment. Bolton and Stephen Miller don’t count, of course. While you are at it, please name another American leader who has no time for anyone but sycophants, and who demands that cabinet member stroke his fragile ego in public. You might want to also make a list of people Trump wouldn’t dump on a whim if he suspected that they harbored a disloyal thought. While at it, you might want to count the number of times Trump has expressed a concern for an issue without putting it in personal terms. Trump is all about Trump. For him, nothing else of any importance even exists. In his eyes, America has no value except insofar as it profits him. And – be honest here – supporters like you have no value in his eyes beyond absolute obedience.

    There is, I should remind you, no censorship happening on this site. You are free to say whatever you like, regardless of how thoughtless, Anti-American or anti truth it may be.

  21. Terry,you are ignorant to assume one supports Trump if they criticize those at odds with his pull-out of Syria. From your post, It’s obvious you support endless war and the MIC. Trump is correct in getting out of Afghanistan and Syria. If you don’t agree, then feel free to sign up and have your children sign up as well.

    Censorship is alive and well here. Links to Juan Cole and Col. Pat Lang are not allowed here. You should check out their credentials. Of course, for a bunch of foolish Caucasian shut-ins such links would do no good for the foolish who dominate this site. This site is nothing more than DNC agit-prop aimed to influence dimwitted bobble heads. If not,then I would suggest some of you should comment at Col Lang’s or Juan Cole’s site. Of course none of you will bother because you’re know-nothings. And your attempts at both sites will bear this out.

  22. Truth @ 12:13 pm mentions endless war. Since the end of World War 2 in 1945, the USA has been engaged for the vast majority of time to present in a state of “War”, either directly or via proxies.

    With the exception of the draft during Vietnam, which many were able to escape and evade, the vast majority of Americans have paid little to no attention to the costs in dollars or in human lives. Millions of lives have been lost and shattered by American Military interventions from South-East Asia to the Middle East.

    As Eric Jones, a former US Army soldier and Afghan war combat veteran rightly puts it:

    ‘To interventionists, the US military is used as a strategic fire-and-forget weapon: deploy forces somewhere, then react hysterically to an impending apocalypse when someone calls for the troops to be withdrawn. Both parties are addicted to military force as a first and only foreign policy option.’

    I cannot recall in recent times when our Foreign Policies of Military Adventurism has been a part of an electoral debate.

  23. TRUTH is not true. Just ask Giuliani. The thing that calls itself “TRUTH” on this page is a troll. People like this simply have no understanding of anything except the sound of that gong inside their empty heads. It keeps gonging and gonging its only note.

    Here’s some uncensored message for TRUTH: You’re completely full of shit.

  24. I fear for the Kurds. Past actions by the Turks against the Armenians does not bode well for them.

  25. “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
    Gang aft agley
    An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain
    For promis’d joy!”

    To a Mouse (Poem, November, 1785)
    Robert Burns
    Scottish national poet (1759-1796)

    So then, now we have ‘nought but grief an’ pain for promis’d joy.’ Burns foresaw much in his words of 233 years ago!

    Borrowing from Dickens’ character Tiny Tim, “God HELP us everyone!”

  26. Betty; your Tiny Tim reference reminded me of a long ago memory watching what may have been Reagan’s first public speech after his inauguration. He began, “It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. As Charles Dickens said in his novel, ‘A Christmas Carol'”. I KNEW we were in trouble!

  27. JoAnn,
    It only took 700+ days to get to ‘the worst of times.’ Yeah, we’re in serious trouble! Even some allies don’t love us anymore. DJT’s wrecking ball has done a lot of damage in that short time! And to think that after all that ‘grief an’ pain for promised joy,’ this guy hops AF1 and flies to his rich pals in Florida for Christmas. God HELP us everyone!

  28. Truth,

    I await the name of one decent human being for whom Trump has ever expressed respect or admiration the way he has several of the world’s worst people, such as the White Nationalists in
    Charlottesville or the butcher who runs Saudi Arabia. While you are at it, please provide a list of some of this criminally insane man’s values other than acquiring wealth.

  29. Referring to Trump’s vision of America First, Todd stated “Don’t…lose sight of the good his self-centered instincts provide to us.” To what “good” is Todd referring?

    Not caring about and engaging with other nations is not an option. The “America firsters” tried that in the 1930s, and left us woefully unprepared for a global conflict, into which the US would inevitably be drawn. What happens elsewhere eventually affects the US in one way or another.

    But, Todd does raise a very GOOD POINT. HOW this nation SHOULD be INVOLVED is a legitimate question.

    I find, and have found, many of our nation’s actions troubling. For example, our support of the Saudis, which Trump seems to favor. He has, so far, resisted calling the Saudis to account or withdrawing our support of their actions. Of course, others may not find this particular support troubling, but find other areas of engagement troubling. These differences of opinion should be intelligently discussed.

    Where and how to be involved requires a coherent strategy. No administration’s strategy has ever been “perfect”, and never will be. The past presidents in my lifetime have, at the least, tried to formulate and execute a coherent strategy based upon fundamental American values (rights of the individual, freedom to do and say what one wants as long as others’ freedoms are not infringed upon, freedom of the press and of religious belief).

    The only coherence to Trump’s attempt at a strategy is that each individual “transaction” must, on its own, “benefit” America without recognizing the interrelationships between the individual “transactions”. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Trump is either unable and/or unwilling to think laterally across transactions in order to recognize and understand the nuances of the very complex interrelationships between individual “transactions”.

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