Mattis Tells Troops: Storm Clouds are Gathering on Korean Peninsula
Secretary of Defense James Mattis stopped by Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba on his Christmas tour, the first visit by a Secretary of Defense since Donald Rumsfeld in 2002. Then he visited Naval Station Mayport in Florida on Thursday, Camp Lejeune and Fort Bragg in North Carolina on Friday. He told troops that being prepared for war gives the best chance of stopping war on the Korean Peninsula. He also stated that “storm clouds are gathering.”
“My fine young soldiers, the only way our diplomats can speak with authority and be believed is if you’re ready to go.”
He stopped short of predicting a war, unlike his Marine Corps Commandant Robert Neller who said a “war is coming” (or a “big assed fight on the horizon”).
He did, however, mention this: “There is very little reason for optimism.”
“Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attemtion to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.” Sun Tzu – The Art of War
The troops were concerned about North Korea at all of the bases visited. Mattis was asked if families were going to be evacuated from South Korea. He stated not yet, but that they had a contingency plan that could get them out on “very short notice.” He also commented that the evacuation of civilians would adversely impact the South Korean Economy. There are 28,000 US troops there.
Troops were also concerned about the Olympics to be held in Pyeongchang County, South Korea, the 9th through the 25th of February, 2018. SecDef Mattis was the ‘voice of reason’ when he responded,
“I don’t think Kim is stupid enough to take on the whole world by killing their athletes.”
Mattis still believes that diplomacy could fix the North Korean issues. At least that’s his outward opinion. But he carefully attempts to make sure his troops understand that all branches of the Armed Forces must be prepared for war.
“I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for 10,000 years.” James Mattis
Featured photo: screenshot of the Secretary during his Christmas Tour