Chaitanya Jyothi Museum Opening, 2000

In the Name of The Father, and of The Son and of The Holy Spirit, Amen.




Transcript of Secretary Mattis’ impromptu remarks to U. S. Soldiers in Jordan, 25 August 2017:

Believe me, I know you’re far from home, every one of you; I know you could all be going to college, you young people, or you could be back on the block, just grateful.  The only way, the only way this great big experiment you and I call America is gonna survive is if we’ve got tough hombres like you.

If you remember — some of you are too young — on 9/11 we were matched up against an enemy that thought if you hurt us you can scare us.  We don’t frickin’ scare; that’s the bottom line.

We’ll go out here; we’ll fight alongside our friends and allies, and we’re gonna keep right on fightin’ until they’re sick of us, leave us alone.

You’re buyin’ time; you’re a great example for our country right now.  It’s got some problems; you know it and I know it.  It’s got problems that we don’t have in the military.

You just hold the line, my fine young soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines. You just hold the line until our country gets back to understandin’ and respectin’ each other and showin’ it, of being friendly to one another, that Americans owe to one another.  We’re so doggone lucky to be Americans.

We got two powers: the power of inspiration, and you’ll get the power of inspiration back; you have the power of intimidation, and that’s you, if someone wants to screw with our families, and our country, or our allies.

So thanks so much for being out here; you completely took me by surprise.  That’s good; keep the old guys like me guessing.  The only reason I came back, I flunked retirement, okay?  The only reason I came back was to serve alongside young people like you who are so selfless, and frankly, so rambunctious.  It’s a pleasure to be around you all.

You take care of each other out here, okay?  We call ‘em in the Naval, “you take care of your shipmates out here”, okay?  Take care of each other.  It can get old, it can get hot; you can get sloppy, you can get complacent; don’t let it happen, okay.

Thank all of you.  Listen to your NCOs now.

Secretary Mattis addresses the gut feeling of Soldiers: why are we here doing this?  They are neither stupid nor ill-informed.  Hold-the line is as good a raison d’être for doing what they are doing as any.  Reminds me of one CDRs’ advice to his troops during the stupidity of the last administration: consider what you are doing as live-fire training.

Either of those raisons d’être for Soldiering is better than do it because I told you to do it, or, your mother and sister want you to do it, or, your father and friends expect it of you.

Still, both raisons d’être are weak stand-ins for the real need: the grand national strategic objective which has the nation’s sovereignty firmly in view and to which this Soldiering [upon which you guys are engaged] is direct, irresistible advance.  We still need that big objective.  Having that big objective rightly expressed — i.e., rationally connected and tied to growing the roots of USA national sovereignty — would mostly accomplish the recrudescence of inspiration for which Mattis and so many of us yearn.

And both raisons d’être — hold the line and live-fire training — elide a common and necessary aspect — though not a rational raison d’être — of Soldiering and war-fighting: the love of fighting, up close and personal.  Hinderaker’s post on the boxing match last evening expresses that aspect of life, which also is an important aspect of Soldiering but is not itself a component of grand national strategic objectivity.

Jim Mattis embodies the art of Generalship.


Kim Novak
Kim Novak

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