Re­con­sider “Mad Dog” pick

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

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.

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