General Mattis’ Audacious Mission
By Ehsan M. Ahrari
January 10, 2017
A lot of printer ink must have spilled over Donald Trump’s wisdom nominating retired Marine Corps General James Mattis, and whether he will be a good Secretary of Defense. I do not claim to know General Mattis, but I met him for a luncheon meeting at the NATO School in Oberammergau, Germany many years ago. I found out through my Marine Corps contact that he and I were going to be at the NATO School for speaking engagements. I sent a message through his aide to ask whether he would like to sit in my lecture to a large group of senior Iraqi military officers and civilians. He could not, because of the scheduling conflict, but he graciously asked me to join him for lunch. The NATO School protocol arranged for me sit across the table from him.
We had a pleasant conversation. He asked me several questions about Iraqi politics and other strategic issues affecting that country and the Arab world. I was both surprised and humbled to see that he pulled out a notebook and took notes. I have no clue what he wrote down. However, at the end of the conversation, he looked at me with a smile and said, see, I not only listen but also take notes!http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/01/10/general_mattis_audacious_mission_110608.html