While the mainstream media is primarily interested in what his new book has to say about President Donald Trump, former Defense Secretary James Mattis has quite a lot to say about top Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden as well…and it’s not all that complimentary.
In “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead,” Mattis delves into his frustrations with the Obama administration and their decision to pull troops out of Iraq – prematurely, in Mattis’s opinion. This poor decision, which went against everything the Pentagon was advising at the time, allowed for a fresh eruption of violence in the region and the loathsome emergence of the Islamic State. And Biden, we learn, was front and center when it came to masterminding that regrettable withdrawal process.
At the time, Mattis was in charge of U.S. Central Command, a tenure where he bore witness to “duty and deceit, courage and cowardice, and, ultimately, strategic frustration.”
“In Washington, the debate swirled throughout 2011 about how many, if any, U.S. troops should remain in Iraq,” Mattis recalled. “Central Command, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the new defense secretary, Leon Panetta, who had replaced Bob Gates, continued to recommend to the White House retaining a residual force, as did Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”
But giving this advice to the White House, he said, was like “talking to the wind.” Obama was determined to carry through on his campaign promise to end the war in Iraq, and he’d handed his vice president the job of getting it done. Mattis said that when he warned Biden not to trust Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the vice president appeared not to take him seriously.
“Vice President Biden and his assistants listened politely. But as we spoke, I sensed I was making no headway in convincing the administration officials not to support Maliki. It was like talking to people who lived in wooden houses but saw no need for a fire department,” Mattis wrote. “I found him an admirable and amiable man. But he was past the point where he was willing to entertain a ‘good idea.’ He didn’t want to hear more; he wanted our forces out of Iraq. Whatever path led there fastest, he favored. He exuded the confidence of a man whose mind was made up, perhaps even indifferent to considering the consequences were he judging the situation incorrectly.”
Instead of taking Mattis’s advice to heart, Biden grew arrogant.
“Maliki wants us to stick around because he does not see a future in Iraq otherwise,” Biden told Mattis at the time. “I’ll bet you my vice presidency.”
Mattis lamented: “Iraq slipped back into escalating violence. It was like watching a car wreck in slow motion. All of this was predicted — and preventable.”
Ever afterwards, Biden would take credit for getting American troops out of Iraq, seemingly oblivious to what our swift withdrawal left room for in the Middle East. Now he wants to be the commander-in-chief?