Reconsider “Mad Dog” pick
President-elect Donald Trump should rethink his selection of retired Marine Corps Gen. James N. “Mad Dog” Mattis as his Secretary of Defense (“Donald Trump demands waiver for Gen. James Mattis to serve as Pentagon chief,” Web, Dec. 6). In spite of his stellar military service record, Mattis is not qualified to serve as defense secretary.
Statutorily, Mattis is ineligible for appointment unless he is granted a congressional waiver. Amendments to the National Security Act prohibit commissioned officers from serving as defense secretary for a period of seven years after retirement. Mattis has been in retirement for only three years.
Politically, Mattis is inexperienced in civilian politics and diplomacy. Militarily, he has been a knight in shining armor. However, in politics, a knight in shining armor is a person who has never had his mettle tested. In the present climate of wars and rumors of wars, a politically inexperienced president requires a politically experienced defense secretary.
Hence, Mattis is not a wise choice and should not be granted a congressional waiver to serve as defense secretary. Experience matters. That is why there has only been one waiver granted since the passage of the National Security Act in 1947. In 1950, a waiver was granted for the appointment of retired Army Gen. George C. Marshall as secretary of defense. Unlike Mattis, Marshall possessed an exceptional political body of work. Between 1947 and 1949, Marshall had served as secretary of state. In 1947, he had proposed the European Recovery Program, which became known as the Marshall Plan. Later, for his contributions to the economic reconstruction of Europe and the promotion of world peace, Marshall was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.
James “Mad Dog” Mattis is no George C. Marshall.
KEVIN PALMER Martinez, Ga.