February 22, 2006

U.S. General Says It Is 'Fun to Shoot Some People'

U.S. General Says It Is " Fun to Shoot Some People "


Lt. Gen. James Mattis, who commanded troops in Iraq (news - web sites) and Afghanistan (news - web sites) and is slated to be portrayed by star actor Harrison Ford in an upcoming Hollywood movie, made the comments at a conference on Tuesday in San Diego, California.

"Actually it's quite fun to fight 'em, you know. It's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up front with you, I like brawling," Mattis said.

"You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil," Mattis said during a panel discussion. "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."

In a statement, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee praised Mattis as "one of this country's bravest and most experienced military leaders."

"While I understand that some people may take issue with the comments made by him, I also know he intended to reflect the unfortunate and harsh realities of war," Hagee said.

"Lt. Gen. Mattis often speaks with a great deal of candor. I have counseled him concerning his remarks and he agrees he should have chosen his words more carefully," Hagee added.

Maj. Jason Johnston, a Marine spokesman at the Pentagon (news - web sites), said Hagee did not plan disciplinary action against Mattis. Johnston declined to specify how Hagee had counseled Mattis.

During a Pentagon briefing, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld did not criticize Mattis' remarks, saying, "I have not read his words. I don't know what he said precisely or the context."


'THE RIGHT EXAMPLE'


Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, lauded Mattis' record and leadership.

Without explicitly criticizing Mattis, Pace told the briefing, "First of all, all of us who are leaders have a responsibility in our words and our actions to provide the right example all the time for those who look to us for leadership."

Mattis, formally promoted to three-star general last month, heads the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, at Quantico, Virginia.

In November 2001, Mattis proclaimed, "We have landed and we now own terrain in south Afghanistan," after Marines took over a desert airstrip. The comment ruffled feathers at the Pentagon, where officials were uneasy with a U.S. general talking about owning Afghanistan.

In Iraq, he commanded the 1st Marine Division during the 2003 invasion and subsequent counterinsurgency operations.

Mattis was ordered to lead an assault on the Iraqi city of Falluja in April 2004 after the slaying and mutilation of four American contractors, but U.S. leaders halted the offensive and withdrew his Marines before a decisive showdown. He wrapped up his service in Iraq in August, a spokeswoman said.

In November, Marines under different command seized control of the city after the U.S. presidential election.

Ford has been pegged to play the role of Mattis in the film version of an upcoming book "No True Glory," an account of the April battle for Falluja written by Marine veteran Bing West.

Senior Pentagon Intelligence official Lt. Gen. William Boykin referred in 2003 to the struggle against Islamic extremists as a battle with Satan. In a speech, Boykin referred to a Muslim fighter in Somalia, and said, "Well, you know what I knew, that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol."

The Pentagon inspector general concluded in August that Boykin should face "appropriate corrective action," and a senior Army general said in October said unspecified action had been taken against Boykin.

WASHINGTON - A Marine Corps general with battle awards is being counseled to watch his words more carefully after publicly observing that "it's fun to shoot some people."

Lt. Gen. James Mattis, a career infantry officer now in charge of developing ways to better train and equip Marines, also made fun of the manhood of Afghans during comments Tuesday while speaking at a forum in San Diego.

On Thursday, Gen. Mike Hagee, the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, issued a statement of regret about Mattis' remarks, saying they reflected "the unfortunate and harsh realities of war."

According to an audio recording, Mattis had said, "Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. You know, it's a hell of a hoot. ... It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right upfront with you, I like brawling."

He added, "You go into Afghanistan (news - web sites), 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."

His comments evoked laughter and applause from the audience. Mattis was speaking during a panel discussion hosted by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, a spokeswoman for the general said.

Gen. Hagee's statement said, "Lt. Gen. Mattis often speaks with a great deal of candor. I have counseled him concerning his remarks and he agrees he should have chosen his words more carefully."

"While I understand that some people may take issue with the comments made by him, I also know he intended to reflect the unfortunate and harsh realities of war," Hagee's statement added.

Among Marines, Mattis is regarded as a fighting general and an expert in the art of warfare. Among his decorations are the Bronze Star with a combat distinguishing device and a combat action ribbon, awarded for close-quarters fighting.

He is currently the commanding general of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va., and deputy commandant for combat development.

Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it was up to Mattis to address his own comments, but he added, "All of us who are leaders have a responsibility in our words and our actions to provide the right example all the time for those who look to us for leadership."

Pace spoke to a Pentagon (news - web sites) press conference. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said he had not read Mattis' words and deferred to Pace

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil liberties group, called on the Pentagon to discipline Mattis for the remarks.

"We do not need generals who treat the grim business of war as a sporting event," said the council's executive director, Nihad Awad. "These disturbing remarks are indicative of an apparent indifference to the value of human life."


Subject: Marines return to Iraq
Letter to All hands,



We are going back into the brawl.
We will be relieving the magnificent soldiers fighting under the 82th Airborne Division.
Whose hard earned successes in the Sunni Tiangle have opened opertunities for us to exploit.
For the last year, the 82th Airborne Division has been operating against the heart of the enemy's resistence. It's appropriate that we relieve them: when it is time to move a piano, Marines don't pick up the bench - we move the piano.
So this is the right place for Marines in this fight.
Where we can carry on the legacy of Chesty Puller in the Bananas Wars in the same complex enviroment that he knew in his early years.
Dhoulder to shoulder with our comrades in the Army,
Coalition Forces anf the maturing Iraqi Security Forces, we are goinfg to destroy
the enemy with precise firepower while diminishing the conditions that create
adversarial relationships with the Iraqi people.
This is going to be hard, dangerous work.
It is going to patient, persistent presense.
Using our individual initiative, courage, moral judgment, and battle skills, we build on the 82rd Airborne Division victories.
Our country is counting on us even as our enemies watch and calculate, hoping that America does ot have warriors strong enough to withstan discomfort and danger.
You, my fine men, are going to prove wrong - dead wrong, You will
demonstrate the same uncompromising spirit that has always caused the enemy to fear America's Marines.

The enemy will try to manipulate you into hating all Iraqis.
Do not allow the enemy this victory.
With strong disipline, solid faith, unwavering alertness. and undimished chivalry to the innocent, we will cary out our mission.
Remember, I have added "First Do No Harm" to our passwords "No Better Friend, No Worst Enemy".
Keep your honor clean as we gain information about the enemy from the Iraqi people.
Then, armed with that information and working in conjunction with the fledgling Iraqi Security Forces, we will move precisely against the enemy elements and crush them without harming the innocent.

This is our test - our Guadacanal, our Chosin Reservior, our Hue City.
Fight with a happy heart and keep faith in your comrades and your unit.
We must be under no illusions about the nature of our enemy and the dangers that lie ahead.
Stay alert, take it all in stride, remain sturdy, and share your courage with each other and the world. You are going to write history, my fine Sailors and Marines, so write it well.

Semper Fidelis,

J. N. Mattis
Major General, USMC
Commanding General
Ist Marine Division


War on Terror
JAMESMATTIS; LTGMATTIS
CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, Iraq(May 21, 2004) -- Leaders of the 1st Marine Division, the Fallujah Brigade and Fallujah's mayor said Thursday that the city is ready for rebuilding.
"I've got my plan and by God, come hell or high water, I'm just going to execute that plan no matter what," said Maj. Gen. James N. Mattis, commander of the 1st Marine Division. "Our end state was all along, if you ask the Marines, was 'no better friend, no worse enemy.' We're going to find a way to turn Iraq back over to the decent people of Iraq."
Mattis, along with Iraqi Gen. Mohammed Latif, commander of the Fallujah Brigade, which is assuming security responsibilities from Marines, and Fallujah's Mayor Muhammed Ibrahim Al-Juraissey, addressed international press in Fallujah yesterday. They touted the success of the transition from street battles to street cleaning and said the future of Fallujah is bright.
Already, four Iraqi contractors are employing more than 700 Fallujans in separate zones in the city for clean-up and restoration after the fighting. Another three contractors will begin work soon, bringing the total cost of the Coalition-led project to $3 million.
"For example, today broke ground on a new hospital wing," Mattis explained. "We got started on that. General Latif just talked to us about a youth center and computers so they can get on the Internet, playground equipment for little kids. So we're going to continue those kinds of projects, things we would have been doing six months ago had there not been someone fighting here."
Fallujah's mayor said the city's most respected authorities, religious clerics, issued written statements condemning the attacks on the four contractors killed in late March.
"The religious leaders came up with a fatwah... and this fatwah denounced the mutilation of the bodies of anyone," Juraissey said. "Just like with any other religion, the Muslim religion denounced this."
He said this is proof Fallujans want to put the incident behind them and focus on the prospects of the future instead of being branded by past.
"When it's time to start with the projects, Fallujah's going to be open for anybody to go there," the mayor added. "Mostly Iraqi contractors will be doing those and the expertise will be by American engineers. They're welcome to do it. The American engineers will be supervising the work of the Iraqis."
Both Iraqi leaders said the security situation has improved significantly since fighting was quelled. There are signs the city's citizens are ready to resume a normal existence.
"Today, I saw six wedding convoys in the city," Latif said. "Everything is normal finally in Fallujah and the all the families have come back to their homes."
Latif said that the peace in Iraq is no small task and ensuring it lasts will hinge upon working hand-in-hand with Coalition Forces.
"We asked the Coalition Forces to help us get construction back and get things back on the trail," Latif said. "Most importantly is that we work together. That is our main goal. And this is going to be an example for all Iraq."
"I agree with General Latif now to say that this city is the calmest city and the most stable city in Iraq," Juraissey added. "I would hope that the steps of peace will be accompanied by the steps of building and construction. Now we are working with the Coalition Forces and the engineers to fix the homes, work on construction of the city."
Projects across the Al Anbar Province, the extent of 1st Marine Division's zone in Iraq, are already starting. A project to repair 48 mosques has started in Ramadi. Marines are leading a project to dedicate $1,200 in renovations to each mosque while employing crews of ten per projects for up to two weeks. All the work is being coordination with local Imams, or Muslim religious leaders.
Still, security remains a concern and for the foreseeable future, Marines will continue to work side-by-side with Iraqi Civil Defense Corps soldiers to ensure safety.
"I think the Fallujah Brigade needs to demonstrate it's got control," Mattis said. "The only way you build trust out here is for us to work together. We've seen it in Husaybah, where we had a dickens of a fight and literally a couple days later, things had changed."
Mattis said it's important for both Iraqi and American leaders to set realistic goals. Not every policy is going to be agreed upon and not every action favorable. The important part, he said, was that both sides were working toward the same goal.
"We have to understand we have a common cause here to restore peace, stop the violence, rebuild Iraq, the Americans get out of the way and move on," Mattis explained. "We don't do that by having two separate armed camps and never mixing the two."
Mattis added that Marines and Iraqi soldiers are already turning the tide against terrorist forces. He said their power base in Iraqi is eroded and they continually find themselves on the run. This is due, he said, to the fact that Iraqis want a more peaceful and stable future.
"I'll tell you right now, I don't get intelligence off a satellite," the general said. "Iraqis tell me who the enemy is. That is very dangerous for Iraqis. You think about how much courage that takes when you've got to live with these murderous bastards."

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