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9210629_sGen. James Mattis, a former Marine and commander of the U.S. forces in the Middle East who recently retired from the military, was known among his subordinates with the unflattering title of “mad dog”, mainly because of the sharp remarks accompanying him throughout the course of his military career. One of the known comments with which he used to lecture his soldiers was “use your mind before using the weapon.” It seems that during the transition from military life to that of civilian the general has lost his ability to sense when expressing this irrational opinion regarding the Iranian nuclear issue.

Recently the general was asked on a live TV show, if he thinks the Israelis will carry out a military action to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Matisse answered without hesitation: “Israel will do it without a doubt”. After giving his assumption – whether it was based on concrete information he had acquired during his military service or wishful thinking – the General through the following into the scene of the global struggle against nuclear Iran with the following curious statement: “Although the U.S. has better military capabilities than Israel, even Americans can’t completely destroy the Iranian nuclear program. I don’t think that anyone currently has the ability to destroy them with a plan deployed like this” he explained.

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Maybe from a military point of view the general was right, but this is the time to ask the next, obvious question: It is very likely that Israel knows U.S. military capabilities, and if the world’s strongest superpower cannot destroy the Iranian nuclear program, why would Israel want to attack Iran and risk a foretold failure that might drag the whole Middle East into a war that even the U.S. cannot win?

Many generals, bound to military etiquette for years, are often considered, in the public eye, as wise, or as “a silent fool who is deemed wise.” However, when the uniforms and decorations are removed from them and they jump into the arena of civil etiquette and out comes the cat (the real general) from the bag (the general’s image). This is probably what happened to General Mattis. It might have been worth it to the general to memorize an ancient phrase which says: “Don’t act (and certainly speak) without premeditation”. General Mattis, who sees himself as wise in his own eyes, must have understood, before blasting such a comment into the ears of the public, that words have meaning and the “barking” sound which accompanied him throughout his career, does not need to be heard any longer .

By Ami Dor-on