During the course of the 2016 presidential campaign, many people pointed out that Donald Trump seemed to take a sort of sadistic pleasure in making people the victims of his power. While other politicians usually try to talk about lifting people up, Donald Trump repeatedly took clear joy in tearing people down.
Now, Donald Trump is President Elect, and some people have hoped that, as President, maybe Donald Trump won’t be that bad. Perhaps, they speculate, all of Trump’s apparent brutality was just a bit of political theater, intended to show voters that Trump can be a tough guy. They’ve hoped that, soon, we will see evidence that as President, Donald Trump will be perfectly reasonable.
Those hopes were dashed last night, when Trump nominated James Mattis to be the next Secretary of Defense. Like Donald Trump, Mattis has a simple world view, in which there are only two categories of people: Bullies and victims. Mattis decided long ago that he wanted to be a bully. He thinks it’s fun.
This isn’t an interpretation of what James Mattis probably thinks. It’s what Mattis himself says. The following is a verbatim quote straight from the mouth of Mattis: “There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, cunning, obedience and alertness, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim. It’s really a hell of a lot of fun!”
Could there be a misunderstanding? Might James Mattis have meant something else?
No. The love of smashing victims is something that Mattis has spoken about repeatedly. Over and over again, Mattis has said that he thinks war is “a hoot” and that killing people is “quite fun”. On a separate occasion, Mattis was talking about war when he declared to a crowd, “Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people.”
For a Secretary of Defense to want to seek out war, like it’s a good piece of fun, is exceptionally reckless. However, James Mattis doesn’t understand that. He describes himself as entering every political situation with a plan to literally kill his opponents. He presumes from the beginning that the USA should go to war, and has to be convinced otherwise. Mattis says, “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”
James Mattis says that he gets a special kind of joy when people are firing guns in his direction. He says, “There is nothing better than getting shot at and missed. It’s really great.” Normal people don’t feel that way about being attacked with guns. The kind of person who can say things like this with a straight face cannot be trusted with the power of the Secretary of Defense.
James Mattis isn’t just an ideologically flawed choice to be Secretary of Defense. We can’t simply say that there are better choices to lead the Pentagon than Mattis.
James Mattis appears to be psychologically unhinged, and with the mentally unbalanced Donald Trump entering the position of President of the United States, having a loose cannon like Mattis in control of the U.S. military is a terrifying preview of the dark future we now face.