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Friday, February 04, 2005

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If you're wondering about....

....the hullabaloo over Lt. Gen. Mathis' remarks, Chester has it covered in great detail. A lot better than I could. Suffice to say that war is nasty stuff, and if you want to win in war, you send the meanest sonofabitch you can find to lead the troops and then you stand out of the way while he destroys the enemy. That's Mathis.

Here's one of Chester's personal interactions with Mathis.
I was in Egypt in September, 2001, attached to the First Marine Expeditionary Brigade, whose Commanding General was Brigadier General Mattis. We were participating in a training exercise that had taken place every two years since Desert Storm.

I took four or five bulldozers about 20 kilometers out into the desert from the Brigade's base camp, to build a cantonment site for the 1st Tank Battalion over several days. What a great job for a 2nd Lt with only four months in the fleet! It was me, 7 Marines and Seabees, and two sections of the tank battalion's scout platoon for security -- also led by another 2nd Lt -- alone, unafraid, and unsupervised. Awesome.

The main reason why we were alone is because the Egyptians were being rather difficult about US personnel leaving our little part of their massive desert base. They were restricting traffic, requiring passes that were in short supply, etc. So we had to go out and stay with just one visit a day from the tank battalion for resupply purposes.

On the third day, the tank battalion CO came out to check our progress. He said that General Mattis had just met with the Egyptians and told them that if they didn't quit playing their chickens*** games that he would backload the ships and take his F-18s and go home.

Remarkably, the Egyptians' attitudes improved dramatically overnight.
Let the political types hang out at the Pentagon. Send the Lt. Gen. Mathis types out to get the bad guys.

UPDATE: You can find the "serious" version of the story here.