GOOD

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis takes dead aim at Trump in a must-read essay

U.S. Secretary of Defense / Flickr

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis didn't last too long in the Trump Administration. Last December, he resigned after disagreeing with President Trump over his decision to withdraw from Syria.

In his resignation letter he wrote that his "concrete solutions and strategic advice, especially keeping faith with our allies, no longer resonated" and that the president has "the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned" with his own.

Since his resignation, Mattis has been relatively silent about his brief stint in the Administration, but now he's come forward with an eloquently-written essay published in The Wall Street Journal that offers level-headed criticism of Trump.


The essay is from his new book "Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead," due September 3.

Mattis' most damning critique is calling Trump a "polemicist" — a person who attacks someone else with written or spoken words — rather than a serious leader. He says that Trump's lack of "strategic acumen" has left the U.S. in a dangerous position on the world's stage.

RELATED: 'How do we save this f--king planet?' A 7-point response is giving people hope and some clear answers.

"A polemicist's role is not sufficient for a leader," Mattis wrote. "A leader must display strategic acumen that incorporates respect for those nations that have stood with us when trouble loomed."

"Returning to a strategic stance that includes the interests of as many nations as we can make common cause with, we can better deal with this imperfect world we occupy together," Mattis continued. "Absent this, we will occupy an increasingly lonely position, one that puts us at increasing risk in the world."

U.S. Secretary of Defense / Flickr

In the essay, Mattis admits that he held on to his position "as long as he could."

"Using every skill I had learned during my decades as a Marine, I did as well as I could for as long as I could," Mattis wrote. "When my concrete solutions and strategic advice, especially keeping faith with our allies, no longer resonated, it was time to resign, despite the limitless joy I felt serving alongside our troops in defense of our Constitution."

Mattis also lamented the current state of American politics that has been ushered in by Trump.

"What concerns me most as a military man is not our external adversaries," he wrote. "It is our internal divisiveness. We are dividing into hostile tribes cheering against each other, fueled by emotion and a mutual disdain that jeopardizes our future, instead of rediscovering our common ground and finding solutions.

"On each of our coins is inscribed America's de facto motto, 'E Pluribus Unum' — from many, one," he said later. "For our experiment in democracy to survive, we must live that motto."

It's worth noting that the essay says nothing positive about the president.

One wonders if Mattis' words will have any effect on Trump's popularity within his own party. When Mattis left his position, he had a 51% approval rating among Republicans and a 75% approval rating with members of the U.S. military.

While Trump has been criticized by many for being unfit for office, can there be a more dire warning that when the same criticism comes from a man who was trusted to defend the nation?

Politics
Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

Keep Reading Show less

September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
Health