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Gen. James Mattis: Iraq War Was a 'Strategic Mistake'

Image: Gen. James Mattis: Iraq War Was a 'Strategic Mistake'

Gen. James Mattis (AP Photo)

By    |   Monday, 05 Dec 2016 02:01 PM

Retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, President-elect Donald Trump's pick for Defense Secretary, called the 2003 invasion of Iraq a "strategic mistake," in an audio recording obtained by The Intercept.

Mattis was a key commander during the Iraq invasion — leading the 1st Marine Division and later overseeing the retaking of Fallujah in 2004.

According to The Intercept, his comments were made last year at a conference for global security professionals in Anaheim, Calif. A participant in the conference turned over an audio recording of Mattis's speech to the website.

But Mattis, who is known to be blunt, apparently hid his personal views from the troops when he addressed them on the eve of the invasion, the website said.

He urged them to "fight with a happy heart and strong spirit" to unseat a dictator who "murdered the Iraqi people . . . and threatened the world with weapons of mass destruction," according to The Intercept.

During the conference, Mattis sounded concerned his comments about the war would get out publicly, the website added.

"Dave, is this being — going out to the media," he is heard asking on the tape, per the website. "It could be recorded, but is that for internal . . ."

A spokeswoman for the conference noted there were several thousand people in attendance.

The Intercept added Mattis has yet to publicly question former President George W. Bush's decision to go to war.

The New York Times called Mattis "outspoken" and "hard-charging" and noted Trump has called him "the closest thing we have to Gen. George Patton."

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Retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, President-elect Donald Trump's pick for Defense Secretary, called the 2003 invasion of Iraq a "strategic mistake," in an audio recording obtained by The Intercept.
james mattis, iraq war, strategic, mistake
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2016-01-05
Monday, 05 Dec 2016 02:01 PM
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