Some Great General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis Quotes

President-elect Donald Trump selected retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to be secretary of defense.


Mattis is something of a legendary figure in the US military. Viewed as a warrior among Marines and respected by members of other services, he has been at the forefront of numerous engagements.

If you look back on his storied 44-year career leading Marines in battle, and the many colorful quotes he has given over the years, it’s pretty easy to see why.

If you want defeat ISIS, you need this guy to be in charge of things.

Here are some of Mattis’ best sayings.

  1. “If in order to kill the enemy you have to kill an innocent, don’t take the shot. Don’t create more enemies than you take out by some immoral act.”
  2. “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.”
  3. “The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some ass-holes in the world that just need to be shot. There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim.”
  4. “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”
  5. “I don’t lose any sleep at night over the potential for failure. I cannot even spell the word.”
  6. “A country that armed Stalin to defeat Hitler can certainly work alongside enemies of Al Qaeda to defeat Al Qaeda.”
  7. “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’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. Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up there with you. I like brawling.”
  8. “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.”
  9. “Marines don’t know how to spell the word defeat.”
  10. “The most important 6 inches on the battlefield is between your ears.”
  11. “In this age, I don’t care how tactically or operationally brilliant you are, if you cannot create harmony — even vicious harmony — on the battlefield based on trust across service lines, across coalition and national lines, and across civilian/military lines, you need to go home, because your leadership is obsolete. We have got to have officers who can create harmony across all those lines.”
  12. “Find the enemy that wants to end this experiment (in American democracy) and kill every one of them until they’re so sick of the killing that they leave us and our freedoms intact.”
  13. “Treachery has existed as long as there’s been warfare, and there’s always been a few people that you couldn’t trust.”
  14. “Fight with a happy heart.”
  15. “You are part of the world’s most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.”
  16. “For the mission’s sake, for our country’s sake, and the sake of the men who carried the Division’s colors in past battles — ‘who fought for life and never lost their nerve’ — carry out your mission and keep your honor clean. Demonstrate to the world there is ‘No Better Friend — No Worse Enemy’ than a US Marine.”

And here are some of the things people who served with him have to say:

  1. Mattis has often been praised by senior leaders at the Pentagon as both a strategic thinker with an encyclopedic knowledge of history, and an incredible leader. (That reputation was earned over a 44-year career in the Marine Corps, where he rose to the highest rank of four-star general, eventually retiring as the top leader of US Central Command in 2013.)
  2. Before he took that job, then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates praised him as one of the most formidable “warrior-scholars” of his generation. “General Mattis is one of our military’s foremost strategic thinkers and combat leaders,” he said.
  3. Adm. Michael Mullen, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters of Mattis: “I watched him interact in NATO at the highest levels, diplomatically, politically, on very sensitive subjects. I have great confidence” in his skills.

Mattis isn’t just admired by the top brass. His interactions with junior troops over the years has earned him legendary status among active-duty and veterans alike. To see what they have to say about him, Click Here.

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