“What we need is a civilian, not a war-monger,” Phyllis Bennis told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell in regards to Trump’s choice for Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis.
Mattis has only retired from the military three years ago, which goes against the law that the defense secretary cannot have served in the past seven years.
A core principle of our democracy is civilian control of the military, Bennis said. But what’s also troubling is General Mattis in particular.
This is a general who hasn’t come out of the war wary of fighting again, Bennis said. “The name ‘mad dog Mattis’ didn’t come out of the sky.”
Bennis adds that Mattis has glorified killing and has said that he loves to kill. “These are not the words of a person who is thoughtful or cautious about going into war,” Bennis said.
Former DOD Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash argued that Mattis has had a significant “cooling off’ period” from the military. But Bennis reminds us that Mattis has been on the board of General Dynamics since his retirement.
“Someone who has spent his years with a corporation like General Dynamics, which is one of the most powerful military corporations, has not left the military behind,” Bennis said.