This Letter Written by ‘Mad Dog Mattis’ Completely Dismantles the Media’s Portrayal of the Iraq War
But a letter that recently surfaced puts Mattis — and the media's portrayal of the Iraq War — into context:
"For decades, Saddam Hussein has tortured, imprisoned, raped and murdered the Iraqi people; invaded neighboring countries without provocation; and threatened the word with weapons of mass destruction. The time has come to end his reign of terror. On your young shoulders rest the hopes of mankind.
When I give you the word, together we will cross the Line of Departure, close with those forces that choose to fight, and destroy them. Our fight is not with the Iraqi people, nor is it with members of the Iraqi army who choose to surrender. While we will move swiftly and aggressively against those who resist, we will treat all others with decency, demonstrating chivalry and soldierly compassion for people who have endure a lifetime under Saddam’s oppression.
Chemical attack, treachery, and use of the innocent as human shields can be expected, as can other unethical tactics. Take it all in stride. Be the hunter, not the hunted: Never allow your unit to be caught with it’s guard down. Use good judgment and act in the best interest of our nation.
You are part of the world’s most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon. Share your courage with each other as we enter the uncertain terrain north of the Line of Departure. Keep your faith in your comrades on your left and right and Marine Air overhead. Fight with a happy heart and strong spirit.
For the mission’s sake, our country’s sake, and the sake of the men who carried the Division’s colors in past battles - who fought for life and never lost their nerve - carry out your mission and keep your honor clean. Demonstrate to the world there is 'No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy' than a U.S. Marine."
The letter, which was written to troops under Mattis's command in 2003, paints a picture of a very different military. A military that goes into battle out of necessity rather than pleasure, and treats with respect any who offer the same in return.