Defense Secretary James Mattis is having a pretty wild 2018. In January, he visited Asia in an effort to bolster US-Asian counter-terrorism efforts and was treated to a demonstration of Indonesian Special Forces eating snakes alive. On Tuesday, he’s up at Capitol Hill testifying about US nuclear strategy in front of the House Armed Services Committee.
Now anybody familiar with General Mattis knows he wastes zero time and minces no words. And today was not a disappointment. He opened up by ripping Congress’s lax attitude toward another potential government shutdown and their apparent indifference for military members.
“I regret that without sustained predictable appropriation, my present chair today wastes your time,” he said soberly. “Yet we all know America can afford survival.”
James Mattis : “As I testify before you this morning, we are again on the verge of a government shutdown…without sustained, predictable appropriations, my presence here today wastes your time, no strategy can survive without the funding necessary to resource it.” #Budget2018 pic.twitter.com/DAA8FdfFJr
— TrumpSoldier (@DaveNYviii) February 6, 2018
Now I’ve never been a sitting representative before but I’d imagine it’s a pretty bad day when General Mattis — also known Mad Dog, Chaos 6 and the War Monk — comes up from the Pentagon to rain vernacular fire on you. The only thing worse than this would probably be if you had to sit next to Nancy Pelosi messing with her dentures for any stretch of time.
The bottom line is Congress is on Mattis’ naughty list. They already shafted the military earlier this year with a government shutdown. And now that another one is looming — and it all has to do with military spending — well I would be doing everything in my power to keep Mad Dog happy.
But apparently that’s just me. Because Mattis still had to rip dovish lawmakers who’ve been critical of the Trump administration’s push to add a new sea-launched cruise missile to the US defense arsenal near Russia.
“On the contrary,” he told a group of uncharacteristically quiet reps, beefing up the arsenal bolsters the US’s commitment to “non-proliferation, counter-nuclear terrorism and arms control…Any nuclear weapon used any time is a strategic game changer…We do not want even an inch of daylight in how we look at the nuclear deterrent. It is a nuclear deterrent and must be considered credible.”
Let’s get one thing straight here. Since a lot of US lawmakers seem to have forgotten, a refresher on defense strategy 101 may be necessary. Nukes are good. Nukes are not only incredibly badass but they have likely saved scores of American lives. Can you imagine how different the end of WWII might have been if we didn’t have nuclear capability? What our relationship with North Korea, Russia, or Iran might be today? I shudder to think what the world would look like if we suddenly had to live in a denuclearized America. It would not be more peaceful. It would be bloody chaos.
And although the US and Russia are currently in a treaty that limits each nation to 1,550 nuclear warheads and 700 launchers, both countries continue to flex their military muscles. And that’s what Mattis is defending. He’s not saying we’re gonna blow Moscow sky high tomorrow. He’s just saying that, as long as the US is within our limits, flexing our military strength is a peaceful way to remind Russia and other global agitators that the US remains the reigning world military power. Just in case anybody might’ve forgotten.
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