Securing Tomorrow: A Conversation with Gen. James Mattis (Ret.) and David Ignatius

The Washington Post Live welcomed General James Mattis (Ret.) for a conversation with Washington Post associate editor and columnist David Ignatius.
They discussed Mattis' bestselling book, "Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead," where he shares lessons from his life of service in the military, leading a quarter of a million Marines in three wars. Mattis also discussed politics in America, the Afghanistan Papers and a threat assessment of Iran, Afghanistan, and North Korea.
The Securing Tomorrow series presents Washington Post columnist David Ignatius in conversations with the biggest names in national security, intelligence and defense.
This week, The Washington Post published the Afghanistan Papers, a years-long investigation that revealed senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign. Responding to the investigation, General James Mattis (Ret.) said the difficulty of Afghanistan was understood very early. ‘I have a hard time seeing it as all that revelatory…The idea that there was any kind of an effort to hide this perplexes me.’
  • Dec 13, 2019
One article of impeachment against President Trump alleges he tried to leverage a White House meeting and military aid, sought by Ukraine to combat Russian military aggression, to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into launching an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. When asked about the withholding of aid to the Ukraine, former Secretary of Defense General James Mattis (Ret.) said, ‘I’m not going to comment on the legitimacy of how this happened...I don’t have the inside scoop on it’
  • Dec 13, 2019
On a potential military confrontation with Iran, Gen. James Mattis said, “We’re up against a revolutionary regime, and the people [in the Iranian government] we have access to don’t have the power to make decisions…Our problem is not the Iranian people, it’s the regime.
  • Dec 13, 2019
General James Mattis says he supports President Trump’s efforts to seek peace with the Taliban. But when asked if he believes it would be appropriate to invite Taliban leadership to a signing ceremony at Camp David, Mattis said, “I don’t want to speculate that far ahead. The Taliban is not proven trustworthy, so in this case, instead of trust and verify. I’m going to have to go with verify, then trust.”
  • Dec 13, 2019
Gen. James Mattis, who generally steers clear of politics, shared his thoughts on the state of politics in our country and what he believes leadership at the highest level should look like. “Someone who is steeped in history, and is a good listener, and understands how you build a sense of common cause, build teams and bring people together.”
  • Dec 13, 2019
General James Mattis said it’s important that Americans remember that they are worth the service that military service personnel provide. ‘You’re worth it, ok. Let’s get back to acting like we’re worth it because we know deep down inside how lucky we are to be in this country right now.”
  • Dec 13, 2019
Gen. James Mattis (Ret.)
Former Secretary of Defense
Interviewed by David Ignatius
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