James “Mad Dog” Mattis is the announced nominee by President-elect Donald Trump to serve as secretary of defense in the coming administration.
Mattis, a recently retired Marine Corps general who last served as commander of U.S. Central Command, is a revered figure by fellow members of the U.S. armed services. At a rally on Thursday, Trump described the general as the “closest thing we have to Gen. George Patton,” who was best known for his military leadership during World War II.
He entered the military in 1969, and has served in several theaters of warfare, including the Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The Marine Corps Times called him the “most revered Marine in a generation.”
Far from a rough-and-tumble leader, alongside “Mad Dog,” his intellect has earned Mattis the “Warrior Monk” moniker. And he’s spoken some epic quotes over the years.
Here are nine of the absolute finest quotes from James “Mad Dog” Mattis:
- “The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some assholes in the world that just need to be shot.”
(Speech to Marines at al Asad)
- “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f--k with me, I’ll kill you all.”
(To Iraqi military leaders shortly after second Iraq War’s beginning)
- “Marines don’t know how to spell the word defeat."
(A favorite slogan of Mattis’)
- “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet."
(Advice to soldiers before second Iraq invasion)
- “The most important six inches on the battlefield is between your ears.
(A favorite intellectual thought of his)
- “Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.
(Advice to all Marines)
- “No war is over until the enemy says it’s over. We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.
(One of the more controversial thoughts by Mattis)
- “I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for 10,000 years.
(A word of advice to enemies)
- “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up there with you. I like brawling.”
(In a 2005 panel discussion about fighting the Taliban)
And a little bonus content that is well worth your time — the general’s message to his 1st Marine Division as they prepared to enter combat in Iraq.
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Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for CR. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel