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In Washington Examiner interview, Jim Mattis concedes he doesn't have all the answers

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Jamie McIntyre

September 13, 2019

MATTIS AND ME: Interviewing Jim Mattis is a challenge these days, in part because he’s everywhere promoting his book Call Sign Chaos and been asked almost everything, in part because of his steadfast refusal to criticize the sitting president directly.

But after I sent an email promising not to ask the same dumb questions but rather completely different dumb questions, Mattis picked up the phone and we had a 30-minute chat. The full interview is in this week’s Washington Examiner magazine, but here are some highlights:


THE QUOTABLE MATTIS: However history ultimately judges Mattis, he will long hold the title of one of America’s most quotable generals. Known for such gems as “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet,” Mattis insists most of his pithy aphorisms were stolen or inspired by someone else.

“‘No better friend, no worse enemy’ is from a Roman general. ‘First do no harm’ is from the physician’s oath. ‘Keep your honor clean’ is from the Marine Hymn,” Mattis said. “I don't have an original thought in my brain, and that's not being overly modest. I just read.”



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