When retired Marine General James Mattis resigned as secretary of Defense, his resignation letter was ... whew. He had finally had enough at the end of 2018, after Donald Trump gave yet another gift to his Turkish and Russian dictator pals, in the form of an abrupt announcement that America was abandoning its allies and pulling out of Syria without any actual responsible plan for doing so. That resignation letter was a textbook example of the "I'm talking shit about Donald Trump without saying his name" genre. In fact, he completely talked around Trump, extolling the value of our relationships with our allies, our need to support NATO, and calling out Russia and China as the authoritarian shitbags they are. It was a good letter.

And after that Mattis mostly stayed silent, sometimes in a jarring and obnoxious way. "If you leave an administration, you owe some silence," Mattis said not long after he quit, citing "the French concept of devoir de réserve," OK sure, whatever.

Well not no more!

Mattis, who according to Bob Woodward's book Fear once said Trump has the intellect of a "fifth or sixth grader," and who really really hates it when authoritarian shitbags use the military as a prop, has decided the time to un-réserve his devoir is right now. Clearly Trump's Monday night Fascist Bible Gassing photo op didn't go over so well with him. We also can't imagine he liked seeing Secretary of Defense Mark Esper show the tiniest hint of independence after Monday night's events, distancing himself from the sordid affair, and then cave the second Trump summoned him to the White House on Wednesday afternoon to kiss the ring. (More on that later today!)

Mattis released a statement through Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic, not long after Esper visited the White House to scratch Trump's belly, and it is big and it is wow. We will reprint it here, interjecting with thoughtful analysis and unthoughtful dick jokes as we see fit.


IN UNION THERE IS STRENGTH

I have watched this week's unfolding events, angry and appalled. The words "Equal Justice Under Law" are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.

In other words, fuck your whining about looting and keep your eye on what matters, which is that the protesters' cause of equal justice is righteous and good and correct, and they have a constitutional right to say what they're saying.

When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.

He's really pissed that troops are being asked to take a giant shit on the oaths they swore. And he's exceptionally pissed that Mark Esper and Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, locked arms with Trump for his little authoritarian shitbag photo op.

We must reject any thinking of our cities as a "battlespace" that our uniformed military is called upon to "dominate."

MARK ESPER, he is quoting DEFENSE SECRETARY MARK ESPER, who said that on the phone with the governors on Monday and then feebly tried to make excuses for it afterward.

At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors.

Which is decidedly the opposite of the fascism Tom Cotton and Donald Trump are trying to impose on the states.

Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict—a false conflict—between the military and civilian society. It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part. Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them.

James Madison wrote in Federalist 14 that "America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat." We do not need to militarize our response to protests. We need to unite around a common purpose. And it starts by guaranteeing that all of us are equal before the law.

You're gonna want to read this next part aloud to your grandchildren, so we put it in bold.

Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that "The Nazi slogan for destroying us…was 'Divide and Conquer.' Our American answer is 'In Union there is Strength.'" We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics.

Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us.

That's right, Mattis noted that "Divide and Conquer" was a Nazi strategy, and then said Trump is the only president he's ever seen who doesn't "pretend to try" to unite Americans, but rather "tries to divide us." If you think that juxtaposition wasn't deliberate, you are a big idiot, because Mattis just compared Trump to Hitler.

RIP Godwin's Law, you had a good run!

We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.

Three years without mature leadership, from a guy Mattis, again, once said has the intellectual abilities of a "fifth or sixth grader," which we think was overly generous.

We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.

Mattis is saying we can make it through, but we have to do it without a president, because we don't have one. If we want to save America, we have to completely go around Trump and ignore his sad fucking existence. And Mattis, the big military guy who's had the nickname "Mad Dog" (which he hates) going back as far as 2004 (we point that out for a reason), takes this opportunity to elevate hospital workers and grocery store workers and post office workers up there on the level with the troops he commanded:

We can come through this trying time stronger, and with a renewed sense of purpose and respect for one another. The pandemic has shown us that it is not only our troops who are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of the community. Americans in hospitals, grocery stores, post offices, and elsewhere have put their lives on the line in order to serve their fellow citizens and their country. We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution. At the same time, we must remember Lincoln's "better angels," and listen to them, as we work to unite.

Only by adopting a new path—which means, in truth, returning to the original path of our founding ideals—will we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad.

Quite a closing, especially the part right there at the end where he acknowledges out loud that we have to do the work to "again" become a country that is worthy of admiration and respect, "at home and abroad." We are not that anymore, because of Donald Trump, is what he is saying.

Whew.

We will note here at the very end, where it belongs, that Inspector Bunker Baby in the White House is predictably upset and tweet-whining unnecessary quotation marks about Mattis and telling stupid lies about how he actually gave Mattis the nickname "Mad Dog" (nope), but in the interest of taking Mattis's advice, we will go around Inspector Bunker Baby like the irrelevant and unwelcome pile of dog shit he is, by not printing the tweets. If you want to see 'em so bad, you know where they are.

[The Atlantic]

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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the senior editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

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