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Possible Pentagon chief Mattis: a 'Mad Dog' with a big library
Washington (AFP) - General James "Mad Dog" Mattis, who for years oversaw US war efforts in the Middle East and was touted Sunday by President-elect Donald Trump as a possible defense secretary, did not come by his nickname lightly.
Trump tweeted Sunday that the retired commander was "very impressive" when they met Saturday -- "a true general's general."
Mattis, who is 66, commanded a marine battalion during the First Gulf War and a marine division during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In 2010, the tough-talking native of Washington state was named to head the US Central Command.
That gave him authority over troops in Iraq, where he helped develop a counterinsurgency approach before overseeing the US withdrawal, and Afghanistan, where he implemented a troop surge. It also gave him responsibility for an area including Syria, Yemen and Iran.
Previously, he led the US Joint Forces Command and a NATO command charged with preparing the alliance's forces to meet future challenges.
A colorful commander, he earned the nickname "Mad Dog" with his battle-hardened swagger and the sort of blunt language marines are famous for. He has been quoted as saying, "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet."
Mattis's salty language has at times gotten him into hot water, such as when he said during a panel discussion in San Diego, California in 2005:
"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."
He later apologized for those words.
But for all the bluster, Mattis has a cerebral side. He has issued required reading lists to marines under his command, and instructed them that the most important territory on a battlefield is the space "between your ears."
A scholar of warfare, he is said to have a personal library of more than 7,000 volumes. And as a lifelong bachelor, he has another nickname: the "Warrior Monk."
Like Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, Trump's choice as national security adviser, Mattis has been highly critical of the multination agreement reached last year with Iran to curtail its nuclear program.
But while Trump has spoken positively of working with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, Mattis has warned that Moscow wants to "break NATO apart."
Senator John McCain of Arizona, who chairs the Armed Services committee that would hold confirmation hearings for the next defense secretary, told the Daily Beast on Saturday he was a "great admirer" of Mattis.
But to serve as defense secretary, Mattis would need a waiver of a law that bans uniformed military officers from serving in that post for seven years after leaving active duty.
The law is intended to ensure the bedrock notion of civilian control of the nation's military.
Southgate warns England stars to toe the line
London (AFP) - England will not advance as a team if their off-field behaviour continues to cause distractions, new manager Gareth Southgate warned on Thursday.Southgate found himself dealing with a media firestorm last month when it emerged captain Wayne Rooney and other players had stayed up late drinking on a night-off during the international break.While Southgate is reluctant to impose "Draconian" rules, he says England cannot hope to emulate teams like the all-conquering New Zealand rugby… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Major airlines reject re-routes during Nigeria airport closure
Abuja (AFP) - International airlines are refusing to fly to an alternative hub when the only airport serving Nigeria's capital shuts down, forcing travellers to make lengthy detours at extra cost.Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja closes completely for runway repairs on March 8. Domestic and international flights will be diverted to Kaduna, 170 kilometres (105 miles) away.Nigeria's aviation ministry has said the planned six weeks of resurfacing work were needed because the runway,… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Republicans control all of Washington. Why aren't they winning more?
Republicans have a majority in both the House and Senate, and there’s a Republican in the White House. So why does it seem the GOP doesn’t fully control the levers of Washington power?The party hasn’t been able to repeal Obamacare, after all. An upcoming tax package remains a work in progress. Beyond that, the legislative outlook is hazy. Maybe they’ll get around to an infrastructure bill. But that’s far from a sure thing.Like many US chief executives before him, President Trump is discovering… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Super Mario Run: Price, connectivity missteps for Nintendo
NEW YORK (AP) -- Super Mario might be running, but a hefty price tag for a mobile game just won't fly with the masses.The world so far is underwhelmed by "Super Mario Run," which Nintendo released for the iPhone last week. This is no "Pokemon Go," which captivated millions of players in their quest to collect digital monsters at real-world locations. Nintendo's stock price has fallen 7 percent on the Tokyo Stock Exchange since the game's Dec. 15 launch, and the game is rated just 2.5 stars out… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Hot Football Transfer Gossip: Wenger 'ready to snap up' Ibrahimovic, Kante and Xhaka
Boss of Goss Kevin Darling is back and he cannot believe just how much cash the normally parsimonious Arsenal boss seems willing to splash out - apparently Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be incessantly linked with a move to Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. And occasionally, he’ll be linked with a move to the Chinese Super League, West Ham or somewhere silly like Newcastle. Today is merely one of the days he is being linked with Arsenal.It’s convincing though. The Star reports that Gunners… chat_bubble_outline Read More...