DeM Banter: since we have been talking about bold leadership…I imagine this is too bold? Of course this might only be Tom Ricks’ opinion…thoughts?
January 21, 2013
Special Report With Bret Baier (FNC), 6:00 PM
BRET BAIER, FNC HOST: Back here at home, it appears one of the military’s top leaders is being forced out of his post for, perhaps, doing his job a little too well. National security correspondent Jennifer Griffin is live tonight with details. Jennifer, what do we know?
JENNIFER GRIFFIN, FOX NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Bret. Insiders say CENTCOM commander General James Mattis increasingly made the White House nervous and that, privately, he butted heads early on with national security advisor, Tom Donilon, over Iran.
Author Tom Ricks, reports Mattis is being pushed out several months early at a crucial point in terms of planning vis-a-vis Iran, a view confirmed by those close to the CENTCOM commander.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEN. JAMES MATTIS, CENTCOM COMMANDER: Iran offers the greatest long-term challenge in the region. Iran presents the most significant regional threat to stability and security. (END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: General James Mattis has been in charge of war fighting in the Middle East since August 2010. Nicknamed “Mad Dog,” he led the Marines in Iraq where he once told a group of tribal elders, quote, “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I am pleading with you, with tears in my eyes. If you (blank) with me, I’ll kill you all.”
Tom Ricks, who recorded the exchange in his book “Fiasco,” now writes Mattis is being pushed out of CENTCOM for asking too many questions about a possible strike on Iran. Quote, “Like what do you do with Iran once the nuclear issue is resolved and 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 says this about the president’s national security pick so far: “I’m still a fan of President Obama, but I am at the point where I don’t trust his national security team. They strike me as politicized, defensive, and narrow. These are people who will not recognize it when they screw up and will treat as enemies anyone who tells them they are doing that. And that is how things like Vietnam get repeated. Harsh words, I know, but I am worried.”
That, according to Tom Ricks. The Pentagon strongly disputes claims that Gen. Mattis is being pushed out. Spokesman George Little knows that on average, combatant commanders serve 2.7 years. Mattis will have led CENTCOM for 2.6 years in March when he is set to be replaced — Bret.
BAIER: OK. Jennifer Griffin, thank you.