Friday, February 04, 2005
War as a sporting event?
FLASHBACK: Top US Marine General: 'It's Fun To Shoot People'
The Pentagon Thursday defended a Marine Corps general who told an audience this week that it was "fun to shoot some people," as he discussed fighting insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mattis, who led troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, made the remarks Tuesday in San Diego, California during a panel discussion on military tactics in Iraq, telling the audience it was "fun to shoot some people."
"Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. You know, it's a hell of a hoot. ... I like brawling," said Mattis, the commanding general of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Virginia.
"You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil," Mattis said. "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."
The audience laughed and applauded after he made his remarks, which were shown on US television.
The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps General Peter Pace, defended Mattis when asked about the remarks at a Pentagon press conference Thursday.
In a statement, the Marine Corps commandant, Hagee, called Mattis "one of this country's bravest and most experienced military leaders. While I understand that some people may take issue with the comments made by him, I also know he intended to reflect the unfortunate and harsh realities of war," Hagee said. "Lieutenant General Mattis often speaks with a great deal of candor."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on the Pentagon to discipline Mattis.
"We do not need generals who treat the grim business of war as a sporting event," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. "These disturbing remarks are indicative of an apparent indifference to the value of human life."