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Date Posted: Tue, February 08 2005, 14:12:55
Author: Jeff Northridge
Author Host/IP: dialup-4.246.90.196.Dial1.SanJose1.Level3.net / 4.246.90.196
Subject: Lt. General James Mattis (USMC)
In reply to: Larry Lusk 's message, "Re: Some Feeble Answers" on Mon, February 07 2005, 15:57:38

Howdy Larry and Wayne Gregory;

Certainly, LGN Mattis made a poor choice of words when he described the killing of the enemies of the U.S. as being "fun" and the media immediately pounced on it as if he were some kind of homicidal maniac while ignoring the context in which it was said. He was speaking to a primarily military audience as a combat commander from the point-of-view of the general staff of an entire Marine Expeditionary Force and not from the point-of-view of the individual Marine who actually pulls the trigger.

I don't know about the rest of you guys, but when I had to kill enemy soldiers in Vietnam, it was not a pleasurable experience at all. I don't feel proud about it, but I don't feel guilty about it either; it was just my job. At the time, it was more sobering than anything else. Looking back on it 35 years later, I kind of feel sad about it--not because they are dead, but because it had to come down to an "either-them-or-me" situation in the first place.

Maybe things were "fun" for the general staff in Saigon who were moving little pins around on maps and keeping tabs on the weekly body counts, but for the grunts, "fun" was a 24-hour stand down, a letter from home, playing a game of poker, teasing each other, etc. Firefights did not qualify as "fun".

Nevertheless, I would much rather serve under a gung-ho commander like LGN Mattis who sticks his foot in his mouth occasionally than a wishy-washy, indecisive, politically-correct commander who can't make up his mind what to do. During WW II, GEN Patton also made some outrageous remarks, but who would you rather serve under, GEN Patton or GEN Clark?

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