Well, the recent remarks made by Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis are making their rounds both with the MSM as well as the Blogosphere. First things first; lets read the entire remark as quoted by the AP:
Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis, an infantry officer who has commanded Marines in both Afghanistan (news – web sites) and Iraq (news – web sites), made the comments Tuesday while speaking to a forum in San Diego about strategies for the war on terror. Mattis is the commanding general of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va.
According to an audio recording of Mattis’ remarks, he 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, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil,” Mattis continued. “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.”
After reading this, I can see why some people are getting upset over it. With that said, I think Gen. Mattis’ statements are indicative of how far we’ve come as a civilization… that is, how far we’ve moved in the right direction!
I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard complaints on how brutal this nation’s history has been. Ask Ward Churchill, the guy who recently found himself (happily) embroiled in controversy over his remarks which called 9/11 victims “little Eichmanns,” and called the suicide attacks which killed 3000 innocent people “gallant sacrifices,” and described the terrorists themselves as “combat teams.”
Mr. Churchill will gladly recount in lurid detail every wrong — real and imagined — performed by this country. And, of course, in some of it he would be right.
The United States has done some horrible things, not the least of which is institutionalized slavery. If you think about it, we could even say that we’ve been, through much of our history, equal opportunity oppressors. We’ve oppressed African Americans, Native Americans, women, children (both born and unborn), Irish Americans, Italian Americans, Jews, Catholics, homosexuals, and I’m sure a host of others.
In my opinion, the US is more guilty than other nations because of our founding declaration, which declared that:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Declaration of Independence, 1776
So, the bedrock principle of this country has been from the beginning that everyone was created equal by God Himself, and that our universal equality is a immovable, incontravertable truth of His creation. At the same time, we continued to allow slavery, the oppression of women, the brutalization of Native Americans, etc., etc., etc.
So, who is more guilty; a person who has been taught all his life that certain people are inferior and whose national beliefs are in line with that teaching, or someone whose national philosophy is that everyone is equal but whom continues to oppress another person or group? By the way, this is a rhetorical question.
But, in this country, we’ve been working hard to bring our cultural norms and our personal and/or corporate philosophies in line with the truth; that all people are created equal and have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as they see fit.
We have, admittedly, a long way to go, but, as a Christian, I don’t believe there is such as thing as perfection on Earth. We need to push towards our highest ideals, but I don’t believe we’ll ever have perfect equality or perfect justice on the Earth. Perfection is something we’ll see with God’s kingdom, not man’s.
With that said, we need to make every effort to achieve those things, and Gen. Mattis’ statements are indicative of how far we’ve come along that road. Why would I say such a thing? Because, the core meaning of his statement is that he, as both a soldier and an American, find the brutal repression of women to be abhorrent.
“You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil,” Mattis continued. “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.”
What can I say, I’m with the General. To those who show no mercy, no mercy shall be given.
Not that I would ever say that “it’s fun” to shoot any human being, even one who brutally oppresses women and children as the Taliban did and as the Sharia system of Islam tends to treat them. But I think the General’s statement was not that he enjoys killing oppressors, but that he SO completely hates these forms of oppression that there is a unique sense of satisfaction in taking them on.
Ask the women of Afghanistan what they think of Sharia law in general and the Taliban in particular, they’ll probably say they have few, if any, problems with General Mattis’ sentiments. After all, under the Sharia system, a woman who begs for money and food in public just to feed her hungry children can be — and were quite often in Afghanistan — thrown in jail.
So, to those who think that it is inappropriate to force our cultural values onto others, in this instance, I quite disagree. I think this is one of those clear situations when we should declare our values to be superior, and that, in fact, we are right and they are wrong in their beliefs. Not only are they wrong, they are SO wrong that we cannot stand by and allow such brutality to continue while we have an opportunity to intervene.
Just from sheer volume of injustices in this world, it’s impossible for us to address them all, but, in Afghanistan, men like General Mattis were able to make a difference and give women there a better future. So, to General Mattis I say; thank you for defending those who were unable to defend themselves and for tearing down a government which brutalized women, children, and anyone who did not believe as they did.
For other great commentary on this whole issue, I would recommend visiting Stonescryout.org. They have links out in all directions on this issue.