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Donald Trump's Defence Secretary Gen James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis In Quotes

'If you fuck with me, I’ll kill you all.'

02/12/2016 12:28 | Updated 02 December 2016

President-elect Donald Trump says he will nominate retired General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis to be his defence secretary.

Gen Mattis has a reputation as a battle-hardened, tough-talking Marine who was entrusted with some of the most challenging commands in the US.

The 66-year-old is a Marine Corps general who retired in 2013 after serving as the commander of the US Central Command.

Mattis also goes by the nicknames ‘Warrior Monk’ – a reference to his lifelong, childless bachelorhood and ‘Chaos’ – Mattis’s call-sign in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here are some of his more colourful bon mots... 

  • On how much fun it is to shoot people
    Alex Wong via Getty Images
    In 2005 he told a San Diego forum “it’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up front with you, I like brawling.  
    “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they don’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.”
  • On being asked to tone it down...
    Bryan Steffy via Getty Images
    After being rebuked for his comments, Mattis is reported to have revised his views thus: “There are some people who think you have to hate them in order to shoot them. I don’t think you do. It’s just business.”
  • On making allies
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    After leading the Marine part of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Gen Mattis went to Iraqi military leaders in each area his troops were in, Washington Post writer Thomas E Ricks wrote.  
    Mattis told them: “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I’ll kill you all.”
  • Keeping the killing impulse professional
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet,” was among further advice he gave his Marines in Iraq, Ricks also recalled.
  • On how much he hates Iran
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    “The Iranian regime, in my mind, is the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East," Mattis told the Military Times in April. He added: “For all the talk of ISIS and Al Qaeda everywhere right now… they’re a very serious threat. But nothing is as serious in the long-term enduring ramifications, in terms of stability and prosperity and some hope for a better future for the young people out there, than Iran.”
  • And he's not keen on Russia either...
    Alex Brandon/AP
    Mattis is likely to be at odds with Trump on Putin. He is said have accused Russia of trying to ‘break NATO apart’ via its annexation of Crimea and continued involvement in eastern Ukraine.
  • On what he holds dear...
    Denis Poroy/AP
    “There is nothing better than getting shot at and missed. It’s really great.” This statement was attributed to Mattis by the official Twitter account of the US Marine Corps.
  • He doesn't believe in failure
    Alex Wong via Getty Images
    "I don’t lose any sleep at night over the potential for failure. I cannot even spell the word."
  • On torture...
    Carolyn Kaster/AP
    Mattis opposes torture as a form of interrogation and is credited with changing Donald Trump’s view of it.  
    "He said, 'I've never found it to be useful,'" Trump told reporters at the New York Times , describing the general's view of torturing terrorism suspects.

    He added Mattis found more value in building trust and rewarding cooperation with terror suspects: "'Give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I'll do better.'"

    He added: "I was very impressed by that answer.''
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