Trump: Let Secretary of Defense James Mattis Pick His Own People!
The other night, in a cursory conversation with a friend who had been a distinguished combat helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War, he asked me whether I envisioned any potential problems within Trump’s new administration. With no hesitation, I replied that Gen.James Mattis [JM] would have significant problems with the transition team, if in anyway they undermined his authority to select individuals who would best serve him and this nation.
Little did I realize that on January 7, 2017, news would come out that Mattis was annoyed by Trump transition team because they chose a billionaire businessman named Vincent Viola, without the approval of Mattis. Was I surprised by this type of haphazard assignment?
For some time now, I have been critical of the Trump transition team which had evicted a few managers until they obtained the services of Kellyanne Conway, a very talented individual. Yes, Trump and his team are going to make a few mistakes along the way to the White House.
Apparently appointing a billionaire businessman, Vincent Viola, to become Secretary of the Army without the consent of Mattis was a significant miscalculation. I don’t know Viola but from the Wikipedia he appears to have a very distinguished background. He graduated from West Point and even went through the Ranger School where he then served in the 101st Airborne Division of Fort Campbell. Subsequently, Viola made a killing developing high frequency trading instruments on the New York Mercantile Exchange [NYMEX].
Viola’s predecessor Lou Goodman said the following about him:
“Even if he did not know what he was talking about, he sounded like he knew what he was saying.” [Wiki]. One could infer that this man is a bit of a ‘bull-shitter’.
I don’t know Mattis or Viola.
However, I do know about how different personalities mesh or do not mesh together. This predictive capacity is part of what makes someone a successful “regime changer,” or a ‘regime stabilizer’. One does not have to be a psychiatrist to realize that a highly educated and introspective/ pensive individual like General Mattis, who commanded hundreds of thousands of men during different wars and peace time, would never tolerate any outside interference within his own command and control structure.
Mattis carefully honed his polymath skills over decades of varying kinetic encounters. Like the medical profession, he had to make choices that involve life and death decisions in a split second. Leaders like him tend to determine who will work with them and when. He will not brook any interference, especially one that co-opts his own choices for key positions in the DOD.
If I were in the Trump transition team, I would carefully decide right now whether Viola or Mattis is more important to the future of a more efficient, smaller fighting force.
Mattis correctly models his career after my own military idol, General George Marshal, who defied FDR when he was ordered to enter WWII, completely unprepared. Marshall was the prime architect for two completely different successful wars: one against Japan and the other against Nazi Germany [both culminated within four years].
Potus Trump: please don’t mess with Gen. James Mattis!
“Mad Dog” could turn out to be a “junkyard dog”! He personally represents the voice of millions of us war veterans! Eleven millions of us are not wrong!