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Mattis resignation shakes Washington

by Lynde Langdon
Posted 12/21/18, 08:45 am

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he will soon step down just one day after the White House said it would withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. In a Thursday letter to President Donald Trump, Mattis said he would leave by the end of February. “You have a right to have a secretary of defense whose views are better aligned with yours,” he wrote. Mattis and the president disagreed not only on Syria but also the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. Trump reportedly has the Pentagon developing plans to withdraw up to half of the 14,000 American troops now serving there. Meanwhile, the Taliban has stepped up deadly attacks on Afghan soldiers and civilians in recent months.

Lawmakers from both parties expressed alarm and frustration at Mattis’ departure, saying the United States would suffer without his leadership.

“Secretary Mattis has been an island of stability amidst the chaos of the Trump administration,” tweeted Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “As we’ve seen with the President’s haphazard approach to Syria, our national defense is too important to be subjected to the President’s erratic whims.” Numerous Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Sens. Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Marco Rubio of Florida, and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, joined the chorus of concern.

“Just read Gen. Mattis resignation letter,” Rubio tweeted. “It makes it abundantly clear that we are headed towards a series of grave policy errors which will endanger our nation, damage our alliances & empower our adversaries.” McConnell said in a statement he was “particularly distressed that [Mattis] is resigning due to sharp differences with the president on these and other key aspects of America's global leadership.”

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Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital’s managing editor and reports on popular and fine arts. She lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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  • John Kloosterman
    Posted: Sat, 12/22/2018 03:13 pm

    Mattis was respected across party lines and was almost universally beloved among service members.  There's a story of how, as a general, he took over Christmas night guard duty for a married soldier because he thought the man should be with his family.  He objected to the war in Iraq but nonetheless did his duty.  He's not a man who resigns lightly, and this whole situation just underscores how stongly he disagrees with Trump on the issues outlined in his resignation letter (supporting our allies and resisting autocratic dictators).  This is honestly a bit scary.

  • news2me
    Posted: Sat, 12/22/2018 06:45 pm

    Spoke to a 24 year old Army guy TODAY who has done 2 tours in Afghanistan and 1 in Syria. He said you can't trust Afghanistan people. Very obvious since they shoot our military for helping them. Not the people I would want our country helping. Muslims hate us. When will we learn. The military guy said he is conflicted about pulling out of Afghanistan. Syria is Obama's piece of work. Obama has no military experience but people point to Trump as having no military experience.

    TODAY. Our 31 year old daughter said TRUMP IS DOING A GREAT JOB! 

    Stick that in your pipe and smoke it LIBERALS!!!

  • John Kloosterman
    Posted: Sat, 12/22/2018 07:36 pm

    Sorry... your whole point seems to be focused on what your 31 year old daughter believes?  Your daughter believes Trump is doing well, therefore all other arguments are invalid?  The Afghanistan anecdote kind of goes nowhere and you don't really connect it to Syria or Mattis' resignation at all.