Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis has long been viewed as the single dab of glue just barely keeping the Donald Trump administration from falling apart. But now that Trump has fired a number of civilian advisers in rapid fashion and seems to be running out of scapegoats, he’s now targeting General Mattis and his top military advisers in insulting fashion. Let’s just say that Mattis isn’t taking it particularly well, setting up yet another major potential personnel shift.
Donald Trump has decided that his inability to magically win the unwinnable Afghanistan War in his first six months in office is a sign that the top brass of the U.S. military is incompetent. NBC News reports that during a meeting with Mattis and others, Trump opined that he could get better military advice by asking random troops how to win the war (link). Trump’s assertion that the top military brass don’t know anything didn’t go over well with Mattis, who was “visibly upset” at Trump afterward.
The past sixteen years have proven that there is no way to “win” in Afghanistan, and that the only two options are to continue to stalemate or withdraw. During the campaign, Donald Trump insisted that he could magically win the war in Afghanistan immediately, and also promised that he could wipe out ISIS immediately, while providing no plans of any kind for achieving these goals. Now that he’s found Afghanistan as unwinnable as the last two Presidents have, he’s trying to scapegoat military leaders – which raises the question of whether they’ll stick around.
In the past two weeks the White House has seen the ouster of its Chief of Staff, its Communications Director, its Press Secretary, and three top National Security Council officials, among others. Now that Donald Trump is trying to scapegoat his military leaders, and offending his most capable cabinet member in the process, he may end up needing a new Secretary of Defense as well.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report