Washington, DC – The United States turned a new page in the history of serving the nation and the definition of honorable discharge from defense services with an announcement of the retirement of US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis “with distinction, at the end of February”, by President Donald J. Trump in a tweet on Thursday (December 20).
Trump tweeted that General Mattis “was a great help to me in getting allies and other countries to pay their share of military obligations.” He did not name a successor, but said one would be appointed shortly.
But in a resignation letter dated December 20, 2018 received within minutes by the Pentagon journalists (including IAT) from General Mattis to his Commander in Chief, President Trump, the General stated his willingness to step down which in English means to resign.
In his resignation letter, the retired four-star Marine Corps general detailed his reasons for “stepping down” from his position and aligning it with his retirement date to facilitate the search for a replacement to avoid a vacuum in command.
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Mattis described his views on “treating allies with respect” and using “all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.” Defining his “one core belief” about leadership of the alliances, General Mattis gave examples like “NATO’s 29 democracies demonstrated that strength in their commitment to fighting alongside us following the 9-11 attack on America,” and the latest, “The Defeat-ISIS coalition of 74 nations is further proof.”
Citing names of hostile nations without mincing words, General Mattis said, “It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model – gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions – to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies. That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.”
“My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances,” General Mattis further explained in his resignation letter.
Listing his aforementioned strong beliefs and global perspectives in the defense arena, General Mattis said, “Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”
The effective date for the resignation will be February 28, 2019, to give the president and the department enough time to find his replacement and to be nominated and confirmed. The General also pledged his “full effort to a smooth transition.” “I very much appreciate this opportunity to serve the nation and our men and women in uniform,” Mattis concluded.
Within the corridors of power in Washington DC, especially the Pentagon, the abrupt decision of President Trump to withdraw troops from Syria, is echoing as a clear reason for precipitating the resignation of the Defense Secretary Mattis, the last remaining member of a retinue of top military brass once fondly addressed as “my generals” by Trump.
President Trump liked to call General Mattis, a highly respected , the 68-year-old general among defense personnel and civilians alike, by his detested nickname, “Mad Dog.”
The news of sudden decision to pull out from Syria and now the resignation of General Mattis was received with shock and anger by the lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, from South Carolina, who earlier sparred with President Trump over his decision to pull US troops from Syria, tweeted that it was “with great sadness” that he learned of Mattis’ resignation, who he described as “one of the great military leaders in American history.”
On the other side of the aisle, Democrat Senator Chris Murphy, from Connecticut, tweeted calling the (Secretary of Defense) Mattis resignation a “national security crisis.” “A Secretary of Defense quitting over a public disagreement with a President whose foreign policy he believes has gone off the rails is a national security crisis,” Murphy tweeted, adding, “No way around it.”