Mat­tis re­mem­bers Korea in mem­oir

The Korea Times - - NATIONAL -

— In a mem­oir pub­lished Tues­day, for­mer U.S. De­fense Sec­re­tary Jim Mat­tis re­mem­bered Korea from his own ex­pe­ri­ence in the Ma­rine Corps to U.S. in­volve­ment in the Korean War.

The book, “Call Sign Chaos: Learn­ing to Lead,” comes about nine months af­ter Mat­tis re­signed from his post due to pol­icy dif­fer­ences with U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

He fo­cused on shar­ing the lessons he learned from his four decades in the Marines, rather than air­ing his griev­ances to­ward the cur­rent com­man­der-in-chief.

The re­tired gen­eral also pro­moted his be­lief in the value of al­liances.

“In my first dozen years in the Marines, I com­manded two pla­toons and two com­pa­nies, de­ploy­ing to thir­teen coun­tries on a half dozen ships,” Mat­tis wrote. “Ev­ery­where we sailed, at ev­ery land­ing and ev­ery ex­er­cise in for­eign coun­tries, I was in­tro­duced to the enor­mous value of allies. In Korea, their marines served as my ad­vis­ers and proved their tough­ness in the freez­ing hills.”

Af­ter re­turn­ing from Iraq in 2003, he said, North Korea was high amongst his pri­or­i­ties.

“I fo­cused on re­fur­bish­ing our hard-used equip­ment and kick­ing train­ing sched­ules into high gear,” he wrote. “I was fo­cused on North Korea. I al­ways choose the tough­est threat to train against.”

In crit­i­ciz­ing U.S. pol­icy in Afghanista­n, the gen­eral used South Korea as an ex­am­ple of suc­cess­ful U.S. in­volve­ment in a post-war coun­try.

“The ex­am­ple of South Korea is in­struc­tive,” Mat­tis said. “Since the cease-fire in 1953, we have kept tens of thou­sands of U.S. sol­diers there. Our large troop pres­ence and steady diplo­macy safe­guarded the trans­for­ma­tion of that war-torn coun­try from a dic­ta­tor­ship into a vi­brant democ­racy. But it took forty years.”

“In Afghanista­n,” he coun­tered, “we were un­will­ing to de­vote the re­sources and time needed to trans­form the coun­try, decade by decade, into a thriv­ing democ­racy.”

Mat­tis also made sev­eral ref­er­ences to the suc­cess­ful In­cheon land­ing op­er­a­tion over­seen by Gen­eral Dou­glas MacArthur on Sept. 15, 1950.

“When the Korean War broke out, in 1950, Gen­eral Dou­glas MacArthur ig­nored Washington’s ad­vice and or­dered the Marines to land be­hind the North Korean army and seize Seoul, the en­emy-held cap­i­tal of South Korea,” he wrote.

“MacArthur’s bril­liance in Korea lay in mov­ing the Marines hun­dreds of miles by sea to land in the rear of the un­sus­pect­ing North Korean army, and re­sulted in far fewer friendly ca­su­al­ties.”

In another pas­sage Mat­tis de­scribed the op­er­a­tion as hav­ing “re­versed the Korean War vir­tu­ally overnight.”

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