Mattis Issues Grave Warning During Confirmation Hearing
UPDATE: The Senate “easily” approved the waiver so that James Mattis could become our Secretary of Defense.
On a day when 3,000+ US troops arrived in Poland – right on Russia’s doorstep – during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Retired Marine General James Mattis spoke of this point in history as being the worst threat to the “world order” since World War II. He stated that “deterrence is critical”- and that means a strong military, and strengthening of American alliances.
He believes that Russia is trying to break the NATO alliances.
“I think [the world order is] under the biggest attack since World War II … from Russia, from terrorist groups and with what China is doing in the South China Sea.” James Mattis
Mattis advocates a strong military not just in terms of readiness, but in terms of the business side of the Pentagon as well.
“If you confirm me, my watchwords will be solvency and security in providing for the protection of our people and the survival of our freedoms.” James Mattis
When he was asked about NATO alliances, he responded,
“…My view is that nations with allies thrive and nations without allies don’t, and so I would see us maintaining the strongest possible relationship with NATO…”
When he was asked if Trump’s rhetoric about those alliances bothered him, he said,
“Senator, I have had discussions with him on this issue. He has shown himself open even to the point of asking for questions going deeper into the issue about why I feel so strongly. And he understands where I stand and I’ll work with the other members of the team, national security team once the senate confirms them to carry these views forward.”
When they asked questions about cybersecurity:
“Senator, I believe that a lot of crises and even wars have started from miscalculations, and while is important that we make clear what we stand for, I think in an area such as you are bringing up, … it is also important that the our adversaries know what we will not tolerate, and by making it clear, you are less apt to have somebody stumble into the situation where now we are forced to take action. That said, putting together a policy like this, it is not something that the Department of Defense can do alone. We have a key role, certainly, but at the same time from our treasury department to the commerce department to our homeland security, we need to get a lot of people in the room, and put this policy together. I realize it is a new domain, but that does not give us an excuse not to address it on the urgent basis.”
From Russia to China and every place in between, the General answered each question with a sharp understanding. If he didn’t know that answer to something, he said so. When Senator Gillibrand tried to make him sound misogynistic and demanded to know whether he would roll back women in combat or LGBT rules, he responded:
“Senator, my belief is that we have to stay focused on a military that’s so lethal that on the battlefield it will be the enemy’s longest day and their worst day when they run into that force. I believe military service is a touchstone of patriots of whatever stripe.”
The Committee met shortly after the hearing to discuss the needed waiver to allow him to serve as Secretary of Defense. Many Senators believe he will be a stabilizing force on the incoming President.
A couple of other notable quotes from the hearing:
“We have to deliver a very hard blow against ISIS in the Middle East so there is no sense of invulnerability or invincibility there.”
“I think it is an imperfect arms control agreement — it’s not a friendship treaty…But when America gives her word, we have to live up to it and work with our allies…It’s not a deal I would have signed.”