Patterico's Pontifications

9/15/2018

NYT: Mattis on His Way Out?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:03 pm

I’m almost done with the Bob Woodward book, and one thing it makes clear is that Jim Mattis is a calming influence in the Trump administration. When Trump wanted to do something stupid — like pull troops out of South Korea or Afghanistan, or kill a critical trade deal with South Korea — Mattis would step in and talk Trump off the ledge, calmly and respectfully.

Which makes this report extra distressing:

Back when their relationship was fresh and new, and President Trump still called his defense secretary “Mad Dog” — a nickname Jim Mattis detests — the wiry retired Marine general often took a dinner break to eat burgers with his boss in the White House residence.

Mr. Mattis brought briefing folders with him, aides said, to help explain the military’s shared “ready to fight tonight” strategy with South Korea, and why the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has long been viewed as central to protecting the United States. Using his folksy manner, Mr. Mattis talked the president out of ordering torture against terrorism detainees and persuaded him to send thousands more American troops to Afghanistan — all without igniting the public Twitter castigations that have plagued other national security officials.

But the burger dinners have stopped. Interviews with more than a dozen White House, congressional and current and former Defense Department officials over the past six weeks paint a portrait of a president who has soured on his defense secretary, weary of unfavorable comparisons to Mr. Mattis as the adult in the room, and increasingly concerned that he is a Democrat at heart.

Mattis is often the voice of reason in the room. Woodward describes how Trump repeatedly questioned the need for Special Access Programs that would allow the U.S. to detect a North Korean nuclear launch in seven seconds from South Korea, rather detecting it 15 minutes after launch from Alaska. People would explain it, again and again, but Trump never seemed to understand. Trump asked this and many other stupid questions in one meeting, causing Mattis to explain: “We’re doing this in order to prevent World War III.” The gathered officials in that meeting were frustrated, as Woodward describes:

Among the principals there was exasperation with these questions. Why are we having to do this constantly? When is he going to learn? They couldn’t believe they were having these conversations and had to justify their reasoning. Mattis was particularly exasperated and alarmed, telling close associates that the president acted like — and had the understanding of — “a fifth or sixth grader.”

Mattis is the adult in the room, and Trump is indeed the fifth- or sixth-grader that Mattis says he is, according to Woodward’s book. And we can’t afford to lose another adult. Back to the NYT:

The fate of Mr. Mattis is important because he is widely viewed — by foreign allies and adversaries but also by the traditional national security establishment in the United States — as the cabinet official standing between a mercurial president and global tumult.

“Secretary Mattis is probably one of the most qualified individuals to hold that job,” Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in an interview. His departure from the Pentagon, Mr. Reed said, “would, first of all, create a disruption in an area where there has been competence and continuity.”

Bad, bad news. I hope we make it through this guy’s administration without him blundering us into a major war.

UPDATE: In the interest of completeness, I should note that Mattis claims: “The contemptuous words about the President attributed to me in Woodward’s book were never uttered by me or in my presence.” John Kelly has said something similar about the things attributed to him. (The book also quotes Rex Tillerson as calling Trump a “fucking moron” as widely reported by others. Tillerson has never denied that.)

I don’t believe Mattis or Kelly. I think they have decided that keeping their positions is more important than telling the full truth about everything they have said about Trump. But I should note their denials.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

157 Responses to “NYT: Mattis on His Way Out?”

  1. such good news

    our sad little military needs grown up supervision by serious-minded people

    and then we can start cleaning up the corruption

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  2. In another memorable scene from Woodward’s book, Trump is railing against his generals for resisting immediate and total withdrawal from Afghanistan, and Mattis dryly observes ‘the quickest way out is to lose’.

    Dave (226325)

  3. failmerica lost in afghanistan many many times over already

    it’s pitiful and embarrassing (simultaneous)

    and super-expensive too

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  4. Why is the adult to room ratio always fixed at 1.0?

    Munroe (5211aa)

  5. Anyone know a viable strategy for Afghanistan that has a reasonable chance for success, I’ll ignore whether Matt is said those statements for now.

    Narciso (a27830)

  6. you have to love how arrogant narcissistic boy general jimmy mattis thinks it’s beneath him to “explain his reasoning”

    the pentagon has an unfailing knack for promoting these smarmy preener types

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  7. De nuclearization must be pursued, Woodward is a,fool if he really thinks Obama was interested in that.

    Narciso (a27830)

  8. Why is the adult to room ratio always fixed at 1.0?

    It’s not fixed to one, really.

    Woodward’s accounts are sympathetic to most of Trump’s people, even those like Bannon with whom Woodward surely disagrees on every matter of substance (it’s obvious that Bannon was one of Woodward’s most important sources, if not THE most important).

    Apart from Trump, the only other person who really comes across in a consistently negative light is tariff shill Peter Navarro.

    Dave (226325)

  9. Woodward believes in the Iran deal, like a holy trail, he doesn’t make connection to what else this enabled from Syria to north africa.

    Narciso (a27830)

  10. Trump’s abandonment of our allies on Iran may have given his cultists the satisfaction of sticking it to Obama, but it will also accelerate the Iranian nuclear program.

    Dave (226325)

  11. Sorry but Trump is right.

    And this nonsense we are safer by having Troops literally everywhere is pure nonsense to feed the military industrial complex.

    Bob the Builder (564d53)

  12. #lol, #10 is pure gaslighting

    Bob the Builder (564d53)

  13. These guys always always always default to more military everywhere all the time.

    Everything else is reverse engineered around empire building these Napoleanic types luv.

    Bob the Builder (564d53)

  14. Now the Taliban realizes they have all the time in the world, and legitimatinv then as an equal partner is problematic, then so is retreating.

    Narciso (a27830)

  15. because Sen.Jack Reed democrat R.I. says so…

    mg (8cbc69)

  16. If Mattis and Pompeo called a special cabinet meeting, I’m sure it would get interesting.

    Kevin M (e9a4b1)

  17. I am very glad that the Supreme Court is not 6-3 liberal, and with Hillary it would have been. But the cost of that seems to have spun out of control.

    Kevin M (e9a4b1)

  18. “… talk Trump off the ledge, calmly and respectfully.” made me laugh, all things considered.

    For sure it’s what our only choice as President of the USA needs more of.

    I wonder if Mattis ever called Trump a congenital liar, dishonest, a serial liar or that kind of stuff?

    Fred Z (05d938)

  19. A badger-headed baboon? An orange-skinned pansy? A creepy p*rn john?

    nk (dbc370)

  20. I would trust the NYT for accurate reporting on the cost of drapes, and who ordered them, and not much else.

    Munroe (860a49)

  21. in mortal danger
    in shadows a psychopath
    step into the light

    nk (dbc370)

  22. move for impeachment
    or mebbe just annulment
    then reparations

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  23. and super-expensive too

    It’s expensive at $45 billion a year, but it would be a lot more costly if the Taliban returned to power. They have not unsworn their allegiance to al Qaeda and have made new alliances with the Islamic State. We have less than 10,000 pairs of boots on the ground, so the Afghans are doing most of the heavy lifting. It would be foolish for Trump to withdraw, and would confirm that he learned nothing from Obama’s cut-and-run from Iraq.

    Paul Montagu (9dcfd2)

  24. I think my favorite quote of Woodward’s book is at the start of the first chapter, which covers Trump’s first flirtation with running for president, as the 2010 midterm elections loomed.

    Citizens United honcho David Bossie had a meeting scheduled with Trump, and called up Steve Bannon, who was also working on political films at the time.

    “Can you come with me up to New York?”

    “For what?”

    “To see Donald Trump,” Bossie said.

    “What about?”

    “He’s thinking of running for president,” Bossie said.

    “Of what country?” Bannon asked.

    Dave (445e97)

  25. Afghanistan war has gone on so long that people born after Sept. 11 can now enlist

    us military lol

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  26. homely girls need love
    long wars make young men lonely
    thanks Afghanistan

    nk (dbc370)

  27. I thought that Mattis released a statement stating that Woodward’s book was fiction.

    BuDuh (3a0b82)

  28. Shh they are watching the gorilla channel,

    Narciso (1eb37e)

  29. I hope we make it through this guy’s administration without him blundering us into a major war.

    President Trump wanted to pull our pitiful hapless tatters out of Syria, cause they’re wasting money to no effect there sad sad sad. (How many chemical weapons attacks are these dorks gonna stage anyway. Does that trick work like an infinite number of times?)

    But Jimmy boy pitched a fit like a teen-age he-she what got told he couldn’t go to a Troye Sivan concert.

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  30. I wonder if Mattis ever called Trump a congenital liar, dishonest, a serial liar or that kind of stuff?

    Nah, you’re mixing up your Trump confidants. That was Trunp’s lawyer John Dowd. (Dowd’s actual term for Trump was “a fucking liar.”) Mattis is the one who said Trunp’s understanding of issues was that of a fifth or sixth grader.

    Patterico (9fe1a9)

  31. “The contemptuous words about the President attributed to me in Woodward’s book were never uttered by me or in my presence. While I generally enjoy reading fiction, this is a uniquely Washington brand of literature, and his anonymous sources do not lend credibility.

    “While responsible policy making in the real world is inherently messy, it is also essential that we challenge every assumption to find the best option. I embrace such debate and the open competition of ideas. In just over a year, these robust discussions and deliberations have yielded significant results, including the near annihilation of the ISIS caliphate, unprecedented burden sharing by our NATO allies, the repatriation of U.S. service member remains from North Korea, and the improved readiness of our armed forces. Our defense policies have also enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress.

    “In serving in this administration, the idea that I would show contempt for the elected Commander-in-Chief, President Trump, or tolerate disrespect to the office of the President from within our Department of Defense, is a product of someone’s rich imagination.”

    https://dod.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/1619961/statement-by-secretary-of-defense-james-n-mattis/

    BuDuh (fc15db)

  32. Jimmy either lied to Woodward or he’s lying now

    who know who lies like that?

    cowards

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  33. Saying the quotes/books are fiction is not the same as saying Woodward lied. He could be accurately reporting what a source quoted Mattis as saying, and Mattis denied it. There may also be a difference between “I never said contemptuous words” or “I never said those words.”

    DRJ (15874d)

  34. Dowd told TIME in a statement he did not refer to Trump as a “liar” or tell the president he was likely to end up in an “orange jumpsuit” if Trump agreed to an interview with Mueller, as described in the Post‘s description of the book.

    “There was no so called ‘practice session’ or ‘reenactment’ of a mock interview at the Special Counsel’s office,” Dowd said

    http://time.com/5386203/donald-trump-jay-sekulow-john-dowd-mock-interview/

    BuDuh (fc15db)

  35. Mattis denies a LOT of things though

    it’s an ongoing pattern with him

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  36. What about saying that you never uttered the attributed contemptuous .
    words, DRJ?

    That is a very specific denial that goes directly to comments like , “Trump’s understanding of issues is like that of a 5th or 6th grader.”

    BuDuh (fc15db)

  37. Trump is just the kind of guy who would swallow everything the media Iagos say and turn against his own people because of it.

    nk (dbc370)

  38. Mattis is not “his own people”

    Mattis is a sleazy dishonorable deep state water-fetcher

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  39. I understand why 99% of Trump supporters say Deep State, but I know you can spell “federal bureaucracy”, happyfeet. “Industrial-military complex” too.

    nk (dbc370)

  40. I have to run put I would like to post this rule for consideration:

    Another rule: you may get called on your untrue statements, and there may be consequences for failing to man up and apologize if you’re wrong. Recently, I have become more aggressive about forcing people who made nasty and untruthful comments to either back up their statements or apologize. I have rid myself of a handful of total jerks this way. The scenario goes something like this: jerk commenter says “Patterico is always saying [insert something I never said].” In such cases, I tell them that they have a choice: prove their assertion (which of course they can’t) or apologize and retract (which, for people of a certain mindset, is unthinkable). This technique has rid me of about five people who were constantly lying about me. It’s fun holding liars to account. Keep that in mind if you’re contemplating making an angry and sloppily thought out accusation about things I have said.

    That leads me to the key principle: DO NOT MISCHARACTERIZE OTHER PEOPLE’S POSITIONS. Also, do not mischaracterize other people’s positions. One more thing: do not mischaracterize other people’s positions.

    Few things are more corrosive to honest discussion than constantly having to say: “That’s not what I said. Nope, that’s not what I said either. Nope, you’re still misrepresenting what I said.”

    Mattis has said the he has not uttered the contemptuous statements that Woodward attributed to him. Is he not entitled to the same reasonable consideration that Pat rightly deserves.

    Until Woodward proves his assertion, I find it to be invalid as a basis for anything in the revamped comment section.

    I have to go to work.

    BuDuh (fc15db)

  41. “put” should have been “but” and I also wanted to suggest that since Dowd denied saying what Woodward attributed to him, I think he should get the same consideration.

    BuDuh (fc15db)

  42. sorry i was in a hurry this morning’s getting away from me

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  43. I agree the impression Mattis was trying to get across is that he denies he said those words about Trump, and maybe he didn’t. Maybe he did not say anything derogatory about Trump and he intended his statement as an unqualified denial. But IMO he did not do that specifically. Instead, his denial is qualified by the words contempt and contemptuous, leaving the door open to the possibility that he said something but he did not say it with contempt.

    For instance, Mattis would be correct saying: “DRJ has a fifth or sixth grader’s understanding of military strategy compared to the Joint Chiefs,” but it doesn’t mean he felt contempt in saying that or even that he thinks it is surprising or disrespectful.

    DRJ (15874d)

  44. I just wanted to say something snide about Trump supporters. It’s been a couple of days, at least, since I last did, and I’m feeling the withdrawal.

    nk (dbc370)

  45. whatever Jimmy said, the record shows he’s not lifting a single one of his poncey little fingers to do anything about the rampant corruption at the sleazy disgraceful pentagon

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  46. Maybe the military sees Afghanistan and the cross-national ISIS infestations as part of special forces training.

    “Michael Yon was one of the first correspondents to report the tide in Afghanistan shifting to the Taliban’s favor. As he described it, the country had devolved into a “consummate narco-state” and “a hunting lodge for our special operations forces.” He added, “Since the Afghan campaign has been largely a special forces war from the beginning, we have been able to transition with great secrecy from near victory, to abysmal performance, to what has now become a sustainable human-hunting resort.”

    steveg (a9dcab)

  47. Until Woodward proves his assertion, I find it to be invalid as a basis for anything in the revamped comment section.

    It’s one thing to misunderstand or mischaracterize what public officials (or books about public officials) say. They aren’t here for us to ask, so discussion focuses on highlighting issues, finding relevant information, making an argument, and letting readers decide for themselves. But if the standard is to require proof or agreement before discussing things, there won’t be much to discuss and that doesn’t help us inform ourselves.

    It’s completely different to mischaracterize arguments with people you are talking to in this forum. It can happen but if you have them here to ask what they mean, that should be the first step in the discussion.

    DRJ (15874d)

  48. UPDATE: In the interest of completeness, I should note that Mattis claims: “The contemptuous words about the President attributed to me in Woodward’s book were never uttered by me or in my presence.” John Kelly has said something similar about the things attributed to him. (The book also quotes Rex Tillerson as calling Trump a “fucking moron” as widely reported by others. Tillerson has never denied that.)

    I don’t believe Mattis or Kelly. I think they have decided that keeping their positions is more important than telling the full truth about everything they have said about Trump. But I should note their denials.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  49. He added, “Since the Afghan campaign has been largely a special forces war from the beginning, we have been able to transition with great secrecy from near victory, to abysmal performance, to what has now become a sustainable human-hunting resort.”

    yes yes and it’s only gotten worse on narcissistic feckless Jimmy Mattis’s watch

    America is a joke in Afghanistan EVERYBODY’S laughing at failmerica’s silly bungling

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  50. BuDuh has a good point about Mattis’s denial and I have included it. I think relating it to the rules about comments is wrong for the reasons DRJ has explained.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  51. I don’t believe Mattis or Kelly. I think they have decided that keeping their positions is more important than telling the full truth about everything they have said about Trump.

    I thought Mattis was quitting?

    BuDuh (fc15db)

  52. Frankly, it would be generous to say I have a fifth grader’s understanding of military strategy, but you get my point.

    DRJ (15874d)

  53. Well, the voting electorate of 30 states desperately wanted a non-PC, unconventional President…or just anyone….ANYONE….who was NOT Hillary Clinton. When this is the priority over experience, tested knowledge (not to be confused with opinion), and disciplined temperament….the result is 4 years of blurry-eyed commenters wanting to see 4D-chess versus the reality of tic-tac-toe.

    Being rich is not an especially useful qualification for President. Being obnoxious and reactionary are not qualities that make our political system work better. Being unprepared and shooting from the hip are not the currency of great leadership. Most of Trump’s instincts are dreadful: tariffs, Muslim bans, imagining new and great trade deals, implausible border walls, exploding NATO, abandoning a unified front against Iran, military parades, and his campaign rhetoric of bold increases in federal infrastructure and “policing”. He’s been saved by people like Pence, Mattis, Kelly, and Haley….reeling him in.

    There is nothing conservative about abandoning tried and true lessons of great leadership and personal character. Gambling on a beauty-contestant-grabbing casino owner is not conservative. Less business regulations are good, lower corporate rates are good, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh are good….but let’s not lose sight that a dozen other candidates could have delivered that….and simultaneously made us proud…

    AJ_Liberty (165d19)

  54. I think that simply stating that a person is a liar as a defense goes to the heart of the rules.

    Mattis tells the truth when you deem necessary and he lies when you deem necessary.

    Dowd doesn’t work for Trump anymore, why is he lying now but not then?

    I will be leaving your site, Patterico. I tried once before but I came back. I will be more firm about it this time. We have different ideas on fair debate.

    Thank you for indulging me.

    BuDuh (fc15db)

  55. I think the reports are that Trump is souring on Mattis.

    DRJ (15874d)

  56. The military likes to keep the tip of their spears bloodied. Perhaps the unspoken thought is there is no better training for combat than combat.

    These quotes from a Mattis speech to Marines seems to connect thoughts Michael Yon had

    Mattis had this advice, according to longtime reporter Thomas Ricks: “The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some assholes in the world that just need to be shot.”

    Mattis elaborated, “There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, cunning, obedience and alertness, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim. It’s really a hell of a lot of fun. You’re gonna have a blast out here!”

    steveg (a9dcab)

  57. We discuss to try to get to the truth or at least understand the issues. If we never talked about topics where public people claim someone lied about them, we could never talk about Obama or Hillary or Holder.

    DRJ (15874d)

  58. speaking of bumbling weirdos check out Rick Perry

    silly monkey went to Russia to beg beg beg them to produce more oils

    while failmerica’s sanctioning the Russian oil industry!

    The complications in Perry’s overture are obvious. Washington, which has levied numerous crippling sanctions against Russia over a number of issues, ranging from its annexation of Crimea to Moscow’s meddling in U.S. elections, now needs Moscow’s help to reign in spiraling global oil prices. It’s a pivot from merely trying to pressure long-time ally Saudi Arabia over its oil production plans, particularly since the new OPEC, non-OPEC partnership, with Russia, has for all intent and purposes replaced what OPEC could do on its own in the past but has lost, the ability to sway and control global oil prices.

    To those in Russia it could also appear to be a dubious message. Sanctions are still in place on Russian oil and gas exploration projects necessary to grow the country’s oil and gas production – the very assistance that Perry is asking for. Russia’s natural resources ministry has already admitted that sanctions have hampered the country’s oil and gas exploration ambitions.

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  59. steveg,

    After 9/11, some felt we would rather fight them there than here at home. I still feel that way.

    DRJ (15874d)

  60. Perhaps the unspoken thought is there is no better training for combat than combat.

    they’ve been at constant war for almost 20 years with very very little to show for their efforts though

    and there’s a lot of dead and maimed soldiers what deserve better than what the corrupt and ineffectual US military leadership has done on them

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  61. Speaking of Trump staff who are on the way out or already out, Manafort’s guilty plea is another sign of a president who hires bad people and, when he happens to hire a few good ones, their tenures are imperiled.

    White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders hastily sought to put distance between the plea agreement and the president, stating: “This had absolutely nothing to do with the President or his victorious 2016 Presidential campaign. It is totally unrelated.”
    As it was with the president’s tweet three weeks ago, the White House is once again way out on a limb.
    The grain of truth in Sanders’s claim is that most, though not all, of the criminal conduct to which Manafort admitted preceded his work for the Trump campaign, and none directly implicates the campaign itself or Trump. But it is only a grain. For one thing, Trump constantly boasted of hiring the “best people”—and even in March 2016, when Manafort first joined the campaign, it was clear that he was superlative chiefly in influence peddling on behalf of unsavory characters close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. His questionable reputation and murky relationships with former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska were matters of public knowledge long before the campaign began.
    […]
    And it gets worse for the president. Manafort has admitted to committing crimes while serving as Trump’s campaign manager, although those crimes were not committed in his capacity as campaign manager or on behalf of the campaign. Manafort was found guilty in Virginia on, among other charges, a bank fraud allegation involving conduct that the indictment describes as continuing through May 2016—the second month of Manafort’s formal involvement with the Trump campaign. But as part of his plea on Friday, Manafort admitted to the charges against him in his Virginia trial on which the jury hung, including charges of bank fraud that took place between April and November 2016—that is, during the time in which he led the Trump campaign. He also admitted that during his time as campaign chairman, he had still not met his disclosure obligations under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), incurring criminal liability.

    That was one of the questions I had, whether Manafort had to go back to trial on those ten counts that hung jury. Turns out Manafort plead guilty to them as well.
    One other thing. According to Ms. Wheeler, Mueller has $46 million of Manafort’s money, subject to Manafort’s cooperation, so no more complaints about the cost of the Mueller investigation because it’s paid for. Justice, and karma.

    Paul Montagu (9dcfd2)

  62. Manafort’s guilty plea is another sign of a president who hires bad people

    the dirty fascist nevertrumpers like the kkk bush klan did everything in their power to threaten career-ending consequences to people who would work for president trump’s campaign

    and remember the corrupt gestapo FBI had already cleared Manafort several times over

    the only reason they proceeded with the selective political prosecution of Paul Manafort was because he worked for President Trump’s campaign

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  63. Is he not entitled to the same reasonable consideration that Pat rightly deserves.

    Unless Mattis decides to write a comment in a Patterico thread, the answer to me is “no”. The commenting rules are about–or at least should be about–how commenters relate to each other. How commenters and bloggers write about public figures is a separate issue.

    Paul Montagu (9dcfd2)

  64. Mueller has $46 million of Manafort’s money, subject to Manafort’s cooperation, so no more complaints about the cost of the Mueller investigation because it’s paid for. Justice, and karma.

    corrupt cowardly Bob Mueller has robbed dozens of people of their future earnings ability, which means they won’t be paying significant taxes in the future, and it’s very likely the earning ability of their children will suffer as well

    like Putin’s secret police, the sleazy gestapo FBI ruins a lot of lives

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  65. BuDuh,

    This is how discussions should work. Patterico has an opinion. You believed Mattis’ denial was important so you pointed that out, and Patterico added it to his post so readers would have that information, too. The discussion process works because it helps provide context and helps us form opinions of our own.

    DRJ (15874d)

  66. Mueller obtained that money on behalf of the government, hf. Manafort failed to pay taxes on his foreign earnings. According to the plea, the unpaid taxes are over $15M.

    DRJ (15874d)

  67. Exactly, Paul 64. Succinctly said.

    DRJ (15874d)

  68. when you take money out of the productive private sector and give it to the corrupt US federal government, you destroy wealth and capital and we’re all poorer for it

    and why do we need a corrupt ex-marine special prosecutor to do the job of the IRS

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  69. “The military likes to keep the tip of their spears bloodied.”

    We’ve had 16 years of exit-seeking in Afghanistan…throwing a life-line to regional powers to just wait us out. We’ve been trying to hand things off to NATO…erroneously arguing that the Taliban was a spent force and that NATO was up to the task. Obama gave the Taliban the timeline…and then a big draw….with the predictable result of a deteriorating security situation. What’s never been tried is a commitment to a sustained U.S. military presence. Once the Taliban sees we are not leaving, then we have some negotiating leverage…with Pakistan too. We willingly accept a pro-longed military presence in Korea, Japan, and Germany….yet now it’s somehow different and unacceptable. Afghanistan cannot return to being a terrorist sanctuary….that is no less in our national interest than helping man the 39th parallel in Korea. If Trump wants to deliver tough truths….how about start with Afghanistan….

    AJ_Liberty (165d19)

  70. and remember the corrupt gestapo FBI had already cleared Manafort several times over

    Did the FBI clear his campaign staff before Trump was elected? I know they reportedly warned him about Russian infiltration but I do not know if they investigated his campaign staff. Do you have a link?

    DRJ (15874d)

  71. “so no more complaints about the cost of the Mueller investigation because it’s paid for. Justice, and karma.”
    Paul Montagu (9dcfd2) — 9/16/2018 @ 8:46 am

    Mikhail Khodorovsky surrendered literally billions as a result of his politically motivated prosecution. That’s a much more impressive ROI. Surely, we can do better than Putin.

    But, Mueller is still running up the tab so give him time.

    http://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/406881-lisa-page-bombshell-fbi-couldnt-prove-trump-russia-collusion-before-mueller

    Munroe (09c8f4)

  72. they never even pretended to investigate Manafort for Russia Collusion (cause that’s a dirty FBI hoax)

    the corrupt trash at the FBI are doing political prosecutions

    just like they do in Putin’s Russia

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  73. Seriously, hf, forget Trump and Manafort for a minute. Does the FBI do clearance investigations on campaign staff? I thought that was only for staff of elected federal officials and federal employees.

    DRJ (15874d)

  74. Manafort was paying other people down the line like say certain Israeli officials to lobby the Obama administration, and certain reporter’s like ben Shapiro, who were concerned about swoboda the successor party to the oun, that had ministers in the first post madam regime.

    Narciso (d573e4)

  75. Mikhail Khodorovsky surrendered literally billions as a result of his politically motivated prosecution. That’s a much more impressive ROI. Surely, we can do better than Putin.

    That’s an example of what happens to a Russian oligarch if he doesn’t bend the knee to Putin. Deripaska, on the other hand…

    Paul Montagu (9dcfd2)

  76. Manafort was a gangster who thought he could get himself some political protection by helping Trump get elected President. Because he saw his crooked chickens coming home to roost even way back then. I don’t feel sorry for him. If for nothing else, he was the one who persuaded the GOP pezzonovantes to give Trump an uncontested convention.

    nk (dbc370)

  77. The plea lists most of the companies and people that Manafort paid. He was more interested in buying luxury homes and doing business with expensive rug dealers, art dealers, and landscaping companies. His politics seem focused on who would pay him.

    DRJ (15874d)

  78. Speaking of bad hires, expect Hurricane Brock to follow Hurricane Florence. Only with the best and most serious people. Top-of-the-line professionals.

    Paul Montagu (9dcfd2)

  79. Furthermore it resembles the Malaysian grapevine influence scheme against Anwar Ibrahim, do I need to name who was involved on the right in that effort, that malathir has subsequently repudiated.

    Narciso (d573e4)

  80. pezzonovante = “90-piece” = 90mm Italian artillery cannon = “big gun”/”big-shot”. Popularized in the movie The Godfather.

    nk (dbc370)

  81. He’s the adult in the room, who we cannot afford to lose, but he’s a liar, who thinks keeping his job is more important than truth?

    Tabman (faa655)

  82. So a breach of contract suit, is more in order, but we know what this is,really about.

    Veselnitskaya was allowed into this country and conferred with Glenn Simpson before and after the meet, she retained baker hostedler where are they on the charge sheet.

    Narciso (39957d)

  83. Mattis is not obligated to confirm personal comments he has made about Trump or personal opinions that he has about Trump. It is only our me-centered, social-media-soaked culture that suggests we are owed this information…and that it speaks to Mattis’ integrity.

    AJ_Liberty (165d19)

  84. Interviews with more than a dozen White House, congressional and current and former Defense Department officials over the past six weeks – who all requested anonymity to avoid accountability – paint a portrait of a president who has soured on his defense secretary, weary of unfavorable comparisons to Mr. Mattis as the adult in the room, and increasingly concerned that he is a Democrat at heart.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  85. He’s the adult in the room, who we cannot afford to lose, but he’s a liar, who thinks keeping his job is more important than truth?

    Truth is important and adults should tell the truth. But I don’t think Trump agrees about the importance of truth or, as he calls it, hyperbole/exaggeration.

    DRJ (15874d)

  86. I think Mattis’ denial was for Trump, AJ, not the media or the public.

    DRJ (15874d)

  87. Mattis and Kelly categorically denied that they said it, or was spoken in front of them.

    Seems to me, the onus is back on Woodward to release the recordings. Either they did say it, or it was a juicy detail given to Woodward 2nd/3rd hand by other admin officials.

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to believe Mattis/Kelly here.

    whembly (d40ad5)

  88. typically the presidential candidates and designated campaign staff get clearance checks and briefings once they have won the party nomination. example: http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/30/romney-to-get-intelligence-briefings/

    kaf (0ff60d)

  89. Patterico–

    I need a clarification of the new policy. Would suggesting that happyfeet’s comments on this thread are reprehensible, untrue and cowardly be a violation of your rules?

    Kevin M (e9a4b1)

  90. #60

    I agree.

    I’m fine with killing people like ISIS who need it in their own back yard.

    It sounds off to call it a “hunting lodge” but strip away the mind games words can play and I’m OK with the training our men and women get working out on ISIS and Taliban.

    More on topic, I’m sure Mattis and Trump have had heated exchanges that might make others think Mattis will be fired. Same for John Kelly. Both men are very aware and respectful to the chain of command though.
    It wouldn’t shock me if Mattis quits, but it wouldn’t shock me if he stays either.

    Unlike hf, I like Mattis. He is a good Marine and as Sec Def is better than Rumsfeld

    steveg (a9dcab)

  91. I don’t believe Mattis or Kelly. I think they have decided that keeping their positions is more important than telling the full truth about everything they have said about Trump. But I should note their denials.
    Patterico (115b1f) — 9/16/2018 @ 8:26 am

    Denials are funny things.

    felipe (023cc9)

  92. Mattis and Kelly categorically denied that they said it, or was spoken in front of them.

    Mattis denied that “[t]he contemptuous words about the President attributed to me” were “uttered” by him, or in his presence. He did not deny using different words with substantially the same meaning.

    The passage in question only directly attributes five words to him:

    Mattis was particularly exasperated and alarmed, telling close associates that the president acted like – and had the understanding of – “a fifth or sixth grader”.

    If Mattis had said “ten or eleven year-old” instead of “fifth or sixth grader,” his denial would be formally truthful.

    For another thing, he could have written, not “uttered,” his criticism in a text message or email.

    It’s even possible that the specific words attributed to Mattis in the book were chosen to allow him to truthfully deny saying them as attributed, despite having expressed substantially the same thoughts in slightly different words.

    Dave (445e97)

  93. Echoes of Haig and Schlesinger through ‘The Final Days.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  94. Thank you, kaf. And it makes sense that clearances are required so the nominee/staff can receive briefings. I assume that only happens after the nomination at the Party convention.

    DRJ (46c88f)

  95. How do we go from Mattis to Manafort? It’s almost like there is intentionally misdirection. Lest we selectively forget: Manafort provided top-dollar image consulting for Viktor Yanukovych and his pro-Moscow Ukrainian Party….Yanukovych won but was later deposed and then high tailed it for Russia. Manafort banked a bunch of money through his Russian ties and broke tax laws. To say that there is no reason to follow the money and indict crimes….that it’s the FBI that is corrupt…..seems to play fast and loose with the facts. Manafort is a crook…..Trump should never have hired him, let alone had him as his chief spokesman. It may not show collusion…..but it does show bad judgment

    AJ_Liberty (165d19)

  96. Patterico–

    I need a clarification of the new policy. Would suggesting that happyfeet’s comments on this thread are reprehensible, untrue and cowardly be a violation of your rules?

    I don’t see how a comment can be cowardly. That seems like a shot at happyfeet personally. Untrue is fine. I think reprehensible is fine, especially since that description is apt and correct.

    Patterico (9fe1a9)

  97. I need a clarification of the new policy. Would suggesting that happyfeet’s comments on this thread are reprehensible, untrue and cowardly be a violation of your rules?
    Kevin M (e9a4b1) — 9/16/2018 @ 10:45 am

    I suggest that the above is a reprehensible, and cowardly comment!

    Well, both our comments stand, so….

    felipe (023cc9)

  98. Dang it! I hoped to beat your reply, Patterico.

    felipe (023cc9)

  99. I think that simply stating that a person is a liar as a defense goes to the heart of the rules.

    Mattis tells the truth when you deem necessary and he lies when you deem necessary.

    Dowd doesn’t work for Trump anymore, why is he lying now but not then?

    I will be leaving your site, Patterico. I tried once before but I came back. I will be more firm about it this time. We have different ideas on fair debate.

    Thank you for indulging me.

    Bye.

    Patterico (9fe1a9)

  100. It must be frustrating for the NEA. Fifty years of indoctrination, low expectations and Howard Zinn and the rubes go and elect Trump. Maybe they need to change strategies.

    Kevin M (e9a4b1)

  101. I have never said we need to treat public figures the way we treat each other. BuDuh is stomping off and while I don’t quite understand his reasons it is either because he misunderstands that distinction or he doesn’t like my opinions or some combination of the two.

    Not everybody understands what a blogger says. I have learned that over time.

    Patterico (9fe1a9)

  102. “He’s the adult in the room, who we cannot afford to lose, but he’s a liar, who thinks keeping his job is more important than truth?”

    When he’s allegedly standing up to Trump, he’s an adult.

    When he’s saying something that doesn’t hurt Trump, he’s a liar.

    Learn the rules.

    harkin (fb04fc)

  103. A comment can be cowardly as it is from a place of anonymity. Saying the same thing to Mattis face to face would be brave (especially as he already has a plan to kill you).

    Not that I’m less anonymous or more brave, of course.

    Kevin M (e9a4b1)

  104. Mattis is handling two major efforts, the war against Islamic state, which is going pretty well, except for those incidents in Europe, the media doesn’t even talk about anymore, and the campaign in Afghanistan, which is like the uk in 1841, before the sack of Kabul,

    narciso (d1f714)

  105. As DRJ says, the main reason for the distinction is that we don’t have the public figures here to explain what they mean.

    I would like for Woodward to release his tapes in cases where people deny what they said, but I guess the issue is that sometimes it’s secondhand. For example, the Mattis stuff is definitely secondhand. Mattis did not talk to Woodward. It’s obvious. And I’m so I’m less confident that Mattis is lying than I am that, say, John Dowd is lying when he denies having called Trump a fucking liar. Because Dowd very obviously talked to Woodward, at length. And so when Dowd makes that denial, Woodward should whack him. But Woodward can’t out the people who dished on Mattis and so he probably doesn’t want to release any tapes.

    Patterico (9fe1a9)

  106. Then call his comment anonymous. Why choose the word cowardly when anonymous is what you mean?

    DRJ (15874d)

  107. Isn’t there something in Woodward’s book about a tweet that might have caused NK to think it was about to be attacked but the adults at the pentagon stopped it from being released?

    https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/wjyeaw/trump-twitter-bob-woodward-north-korea

    Does anyone think Trump “drafts” tweets that are reviewed by anyone?

    If so then obvious questions follow like why aren’t they spell checked? The 100 years vs 10 years was most likely a typo so how did that get through the review process?

    If they aren’t reviewed, which is more consistent with what we know, that makes other information in the book suspect.

    frosty48 (6226c1)

  108. Mattis is handling two major efforts…

    The Islamic State is in Afghanistan, so it’s really one effort, a War Against Militant Islamism. Obama didn’t get that, but people like Mattis do, which is why he needs to stay at DoD.

    Paul Montagu (9dcfd2)

  109. When he’s allegedly standing up to Trump, he’s an adult.

    When he’s saying something that doesn’t hurt Trump, he’s a liar.

    Learn the rules.

    harkin (fb04fc) — 9/16/2018 @ 11:16 am

    Do you think you have stated my argument in a way that I would agree with it? I can’t possibly imagine that you do. Therefore you are deliberately misstating my position. Consider this a warning.

    This is a picture perfect example of the type of comment that is not going to be tolerated at this website anymore.

    Patterico (9fe1a9)

  110. Yes, but the Taliban operates almost exclusively in Afghanistan, although they have offices in qatar.

    Narciso (8c497a)

  111. Woodward explained these expected public ‘non-denial denials’ away days ago during book tour interviews as ‘political denials’ to keep their gigs. It’s SOP in DC. They’re certainly not going to confirm publicly on their own, ‘ yes, POTUS is a putz; a five-year old and an idiot’ and keep their gigs. So who do you choose to believe- Mad Dog Mattis, Jarhead Kelly, T-Rex, Philip Francis Queeg, Tammy Faye Huckabee Sanders, or your own eyes and ears and Watergate’s Woodward?

    History rhymes.

    “Goddamn it, when is somebody going to go on the record in this story?!” – Ben Bradlee [Jason Robards] ‘All The President’s Men’ 1976

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  112. Let me be clear about this. Doubling down with a “I can’t imagine what else your argument could possibly be” type argument will earn you at least a week in moderation, if not longer.

    If you want to respectfully disagree with me about the extent to which we think Woodward is likely to be accurate, we can have that discussion. But simply asserting that I am saying that anything that benefits Trump is obviously untrue, and anything that hurts him is obviously true, is quite obviously not my argument. And to act like it is is disrespectful, dishonest, and incredibly annoying.

    I’m going to be honest, harkin. I don’t think you’re going to last very long under these new commenting rules. If I’m right, let’s get it over with.

    Patterico (9fe1a9)

  113. “The world is now in the post-Obama phase of the response to 9/11 with no clear outcome in sight. What is clear is that immigration controversies are fueling what Anne Applebaum calls a rejection of Democracy across the West or a cold civil war depending on your point of view. Worse, surveillance technology has made Big Silicon, once the liberal bastion of the ‘digital frontier’, into Big Brother, the enforcer of hate speech rules and arbiter of truth which has added an element of paranoia to the mix. The video of Google employees vowing never to allow something like Hillary’s defeat to occur again illustrates shows the suddenness with which the civilization’s tools can be turned against it. The ease with which instruments of surveillance and censorship can be directed at the Deplorables instead of al-Qaeda was recently brought home by a video showing a senior Google official vowing to “use the great strength and resources and reach we have to continue to advance really important values”. The unspoken agreement on values at the Google all-hands meeting is a reminder of how easily groupthink can become what Scott Adams called the ‘casual evil’ of self-righteousness.”

    https://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/seventeen-years-later/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  114. Yes, but the Taliban operates almost exclusively in Afghanistan…

    Pakistan, too, and they’re militant Islamists no matter which country they’re in.

    Paul Montagu (9dcfd2)

  115. I will add that I hope I am wrong about that.

    Patterico (9fe1a9)

  116. Does anyone think Trump “drafts” tweets that are reviewed by anyone?

    According to the book, it was an idea Trump floated as an escalation of his Twitter flame-war with Little Rocket Man. He had just threatened Kim with nuclear war in his previous tweet:

    Within the White House but not publicly, Trump proposed sending a tweet declaring that he was ordering all U.S. military dependents – thousands of the family members of the 28,500 troops – out of South Korea.

    According to Woodward, he was talked out of it by McMaster, Mattis, Dunford and Lindsay Graham, among others.

    Dave (445e97)

  117. Kevin M and Patterico, #97: I actually think “cowardly” is a reasonable descriptor, since the person in question can say whatever he likes with impunity. For example, calling Romney a child molester in person would almost certainly result in a Mormon fist to the face. Saying that Romney lacked the courage to stand up to Leftist insults by giving Right wing insults seems odd to me. So I am personally happier with factual discussions (i.e., how Romney handled health care in Massachusetts).

    There is a difference between criticizing a public figure and defaming them—particularly with language that would lead to lawsuits and/or fistfights.

    I remain anonymous for excellent reasons, as several folks here know. But I do not call people with whom I disagree fascists or members of the KKK. Doing so behind anonymity with both frequency and repetition is, to my mind, a valid definition of cowardice. Just my opinion, of course.

    Again, these are choices to be made. I would much rather spend time with discussions of facts rather than insult.

    I have no good solution.

    Simon Jester (e5f6ee)

  118. The gods of the algorithms are indeed vengeful, the alliance run by former firtash lawyer Chertoff, Hayden and co, will not allow crime think, only Woodward s self serving pap.

    Woodward was printing what felt gathered straight from the grand jury, and what he invented as related by holland.

    Narciso (8c497a)

  119. Getting back to the point of the thread, I find that anonymity in the press is used to bludgeon political opponents. That doesn’t mean that Mattis didn’t call DJT names. But like so much these days, it serves a left of center narrative. I just wish DJT wouldn’t help them so frequently and avidly.

    Off topic, the sexual harassment business with Kavanaugh is heating up. And, similar to my statements above, it is so depressing to see folks lining up in support of the accuser, when those very same people were silent when the topic was William Jefferson Clinton.

    So much of our energy is being used to fuel partisanship. It’s sad.

    Simon Jester (e5f6ee)

  120. Does the FBI do clearance investigations on campaign staff?

    i know for President Trump’s staff they put together different operations to *frame* his staff so they would have a pretext to get the rubberstamp FISA court to approve illegal surveillance

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  121. Non-responsive but great effort, hf.

    DRJ (15874d)

  122. Lindsey Graham is many things, many reprehensible things

    but he’s not a lick-lick boy for General Mattis, and I don’t think he’d be all that upset if Mattis were out and somebody more respectable and serious-minded took his place

    (at minimum we need someone who hasn’t steeped in the military sewer their whole life – somebody that understands the real world)

    but yeah Senator Graham had a whole interview on Face The Nations today and he sure didn’t waste time propping up sad dog mattis

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  123. Non-responsive but great effort, hf.

    i see the bigger picture as being paramount to some of the minutiae

    and the big picture says the dirty FBI is rotten to the core, rotten with corruption and cowardice and petulance and a burgeoningly totalitarian mindset

    we have the FBI Putin would have created if he’d been given FBI-creating privileges at the server level

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  124. Who would have run the investigation, peter strzok or perhaps kleinsmiths

    narciso (d1f714)

  125. Tom Cotton’s been suggested as a replacement for sad doggie btw

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  126. I think it is reasonable to point out that Manafort’s Ukrainian connections probably made it easier to target the Trump campaign/administration. Manafort may have craved the chance to be important in the GOP again, or maybe he thought he was in so deep that he needed to affiliate himself with Trump to protect himself from investigation. Ultimately, though, being Trump’s campaign chairman put the spotlight on him and his money. He didn’t ask to be targeted but high-profile scrutiny goes with high-profile positions.

    DRJ (15874d)

  127. Mr. Manafort’s Ukrainian connections only highlight the selective and political nature of the Mueller witch hunt

    as Mr. Tony Podesta knows all too well

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  128. @126. Trump trades up, not down, Mr. Feet; ask Melania.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  129. Dave@117 So Woodward is saying that this tweet was reviewed without making a larger claim about all tweets, or any other tweets?

    That doesn’t help validate it though. Is this the only time this has happened? Why would it only happen once? Wouldn’t this process of having this tweet reviewed imply that the entire tweet stream was calculated? This is being framed as Trump being talked out of it but it seems just as reasonable to frame this as the group debating the best way to manipulate NK with the tweets. Does this mean Trump is going through this process with other tweets? Or no, only this once was the “adult supervision” engaged?

    It seems safer to be skeptical of all of these stories. Why would these high level officials give negative statements to Woodward at all? What’s the upside for them? Some, maybe most, of these are secondhand? Why is there any reason to trust these second hand accounts? Even with names attached we’re still usually dealing with unverifiable hearsay that is often removed multiple steps from the source.

    frosty48 (6226c1)

  130. Not certain of the procedures between Woodward and his publisher but suspect they’re familiar w/his researching style. And somebody w/any ‘red flags’ in management or legal at the publishing house likely perused transcripts or ‘heard the tapes’ for verification before the book went to press as the publisher’s reputation is on the line as well.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  131. So Woodward is saying that this tweet was reviewed without making a larger claim about all tweets, or any other tweets?

    There was no tweet, in this case. According to Woodward, in the process of discussing what to do about North Korea, Trump raised the possibility of sending a tweet about evacuating dependents, and he was talked out of it.

    Elsewhere in the book, Woodward mentions various proposals and suggestions inside the White House to vet Trump’s tweets in a systematic way, but they all foundered on his complete lack of self-discipline and inability to accept criticism.

    Dave (445e97)

  132. I suspect that we’re going to see transcripts of Woodward’s interviews (not tapes, unless the voices are electronically disguised) for some of the more controversial parts, with names of the sources redacted. I also suspect that Trump’s most loyal followers will disbelieve them.

    Paul Montagu (9dcfd2)

  133. Comatose bill Casey, agrees,

    Narciso (ad3ee4)

  134. I also suspect that Trump’s most loyal followers will disbelieve them.

    In-con-CEIV-able!

    Dave (445e97)

  135. @125. O/T. About finished re-reading ‘First Man,’ narciso. Based on Hansen’s own text (some of which are ‘interviews’ actually pulled from post-flight debrief tapes w/NA over his career) no real excuse for ‘flagging the flag scene’ in/t film. Double-checked w/some Hollywood contacts and the consensus is it was purposely downplayed due to some Chinese financing and int’l boxoffice projections for the flick. FWIW, Chaikin’s book is better.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  136. “If you want to respectfully disagree with me about the extent to which we think Woodward is likely to be accurate, we can have that discussion. But simply asserting that I am saying that anything that benefits Trump is obviously untrue, and anything that hurts him is obviously true, is quite obviously not my argument. And to act like it is is disrespectful, dishonest, and incredibly annoying.”

    You said:

    “Mattis is the one who said Trunp’s understanding of issues was that of a fifth or sixth grader.”

    Nothing about Woodward asserting he said it, just saying flat out that Mattis said it.

    And you declared Mattis a liar.

    That really rubbed me the wrong way. It almost seemed disrespectful, not true and annoying.

    If I over-reacted ban me.

    harkin (fb04fc)

  137. Tom Cotton’s been suggested as a replacement for sad doggie btw

    Bet you it doesn’t happen. Cotton has plans which don’t include being a stooge to someone 70 IQ points his inferior.

    Kevin M (e9a4b1)

  138. That may over state it a bit. I’m not sure that Cotton’s IQ is more than 150.

    Kevin M (e9a4b1)

  139. In #17 I said:

    I am very glad that the Supreme Court is not 6-3 liberal, and with Hillary it would have been. But the cost of that seems to have spun out of control.

    And not one person leapt to Trump’s defense. Those barricades are looking pretty empty.

    Kevin M (e9a4b1)

  140. Cotton has plans which don’t include being a stooge to someone 70 IQ points his inferior.

    So why has he been doing it for the last 20-odd months?

    (Full disclosure: I donated to Cotton when he ran for the Senate)

    Dave (226325)

  141. While I’m still here, my IQ was measured at 156 (2nd test was 2 pts higher) in grade school, so don’t put too much faith in that stuff.

    harkin (fb04fc)

  142. #133 anonymous written transcripts don’t make the statements more trustworthy.

    The problem is these anonymous statements are poison.

    frosty48 (5ca84a)

  143. “Mattis is the one who said Trunp’s understanding of issues was that of a fifth or sixth grader.”

    Nothing about Woodward asserting he said it, just saying flat out that Mattis said it.

    In comments to a post that noted that the quote was according to Woodward’s book. Given that a) I said in the post that it was Woodward’s assertion, and b) said I believe Woodward, you think I need to continue to insert the caveat in every reference I make, or it’s fair game for you to deliberately distort what I say?

    And you declared Mattis a liar.

    That really rubbed me the wrong way. It almost seemed disrespectful, not true and annoying.

    If I over-reacted ban me.

    So if something I say rubs you the wrong way, that makes it OK for you to deliberately distort what I say?

    Re-read my initial comment. I accuse you of deliberately distorting what I said. The fact that you don’t like what I say doesn’t entitle you to do that.

    You’re on notice of this for the future. The next offense gets moderation.

    Do you understand what you did wrong? It’s not difficult.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  144. Especially for a guy with a 156 IQ!

    Patterico (115b1f)

  145. I suspect that we’re going to see transcripts of Woodward’s interviews (not tapes, unless the voices are electronically disguised) for some of the more controversial parts, with names of the sources redacted. I also suspect that Trump’s most loyal followers will disbelieve them.

    I certainly plan to disbelieve them.

    nk (dbc370)

  146. I guess we’ll just have to disagree.

    IMO you should have said, “Mattis is the one who allegedly/supposedly said Trunp’s understanding of issues was that of a fifth or sixth grader.”

    There was no reference to that in the comment or the comment you copied, the fact you said it in the OP does not matter. Anyone reading your comment without reading the whole post would assume it’s proven that Mattis said it.

    I still don’t get why you declared Mattis a liar without knowing all the facts. At least you updated with his denial.

    If this is another offense on my ledger, so be it.

    No hard feelings, be well.

    harkin (fb04fc)

  147. I found the book unpersuasive on policy matters, of course if he had been right as he was with the sequester in 2013, they would call him senile. Its mote like those bits of the Washington post where felt gave statements about John Mitchell, he had no way of knowing.

    narciso (d1f714)

  148. Does Bob Woodward believe Bob Woodward any longer?

    askeptic (8d10f9)

  149. Anyone reading your comment without reading the whole post would assume it’s proven that Mattis said it.

    I don’t care what someone thinks if they read my comment without reading the post. Reading the post is required for me to care what people say or think in the comments. Holding me to a standard where I must repeat things I said in the post is ridiculous and I won’t adhere to any such standard nor will I waste one second worrying about people who think I should.

    You have evaded the issue of how you distorted my arguments but I guess you’re never going to address it. You’re not building a reserve of goodwill in this thread.

    Patterico (9fe1a9)

  150. I still don’t get why you declared Mattis a liar without knowing all the facts. At least you updated with his denial.

    It’s (obviously) an opinion and I could discuss the reasons for it once you retract and apologize for the false reason you attributed to me. That’s the order things must happen, though. You don’t get an explanation by making up a reason for my opinion — one that you know is not my argument and cannot possibly be my argument — so that I’ll say: no no harkin, my actual argument is this.

    Patterico (9fe1a9)

  151. If Woodward wrote that staff witnessed Trump wandering the White House halls at night in a robe w/a banana split in hand yelling at the mirrors instead talking to the presidential portraits, I’d believe him.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  152. Mattis doesn’t sound like “the only adult in the room”. He sounds like Closed-minded Defense establishment type who doesn’t the imagination to “think outside the box”.

    We must keep doing, what we’ve always been doing otherwise “It’ll be WWW 3!!!”

    The Korean war ended 65 years ago. Why do we still have troops there? Can we withdraw most of them? Why are we STILL Fighting a war in Afghanistan? Why is asking NATO allies to pay their fair share, “Destroying NATO”? Does NATO need to be expanded, if so why?

    rcocean (1a839e)

  153. The Globalists who run DC and the Defense Establishment don’t want to be questioned. They don’t want to change anything. They respond with names when anyone proposes alternate policies.

    Look at McCain – they’re patron Saint. Anyone who disagreed with him on Defense/Foreign Policy was a xenophobe, racist, isolationist, wacko bird.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  154. The Korean war ended 65 years ago.

    No it didn’t. North and South Korea remain at war.

    Why do we still have troops there?

    It might have something to do with the Stalinist lunatic whose million-man army is 30 miles from the capital of one of our allies and trading partners.

    It might also have something to do with the nuclear ICBMs he’s perfected while playing the current administration for suckers.

    Can we withdraw most of them?

    You bet we can! Showing weakness to Stalinist lunatics with million-man armies and nuclear ICBMs sounds like a genius plan.

    Why are we STILL Fighting a war in Afghanistan?

    Because people who want to kill us are still there.

    Why is asking NATO allies to pay their fair share, “Destroying NATO”?

    Nobody said that it was. Insulting our allies names while sucking up to the thug that threatens them is what will destroy NATO.

    Also, what our allies spend on their militaries is virtually irrelevant. Britain is right at the 2% commitment. Germany – the only other military alliance member with significant capabilities, is 1% low. The GDP of Germany is $3.7T. 1% of Germany’s GDP (i.e. the shortfall between what they are spending and what they agreed to spend by 2024) is $37B; that sum is an order of magnitude too small to poison our relationship over it, as Trump has done.

    Does NATO need to be expanded, if so why?

    Putin is aggressively launching military, chemical and cyber attacks against other nations, and supporting rogue states like Syria and Iran. Clearly we need to go back to the successful strategy of containment that won the Cold War, and incentivize coerce them into behaving more responsibly. Obviously replacing Putin’s hand-picked stooge in the White House with a president who will resist Russian attacks instead of covering them up and making excuses for them would be necessary before any such plan could succeed. And Putin knows this.

    Dave (445e97)

  155. To be clear, “contemptuous words” is a reference to the felony he’d have been convicted of under Article 88 were he subject to the UCMJ at the time of the utterance. The General is willing to speak his mind but the idea that he would suddenly display behavior that he would have officers under his command convicted for is quite a stretch. And he has definitely been pushing the officers under his command to enforce the UCMJ more often. If Mattis is saying this didn’t happen, it’s not to protect his job. This is an accusation of criminal, dishonorable behavior for any other General, and Mattis isn’t just any General. It’s a big deal, and no matter how you feel about Trump, you have to really think poorly of Mattis to think this he’s lying about this. I’m willing to believe anyone can disappoint me, but… No journalist in the world is going to convince me they can be trusted more with only a he said/she said against the warrior monk.

    Paul (2f4b77)

  156. > I don’t believe Mattis or Kelly. I think they have decided that keeping their positions is more important than telling the full truth about everything they have said about Trump.

    If half of what I’ve heard in the audiobook of _Fear_ is true, then they are doing a great service to the country by staying.

    We are … insanely lucky, to have public servants like them.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)


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