10 Quotes on War and Peace from General James “Mad Dog” Mattis

10 Quotes on War and Peace from General James “Mad Dog” Mattis

As one of the foremost military leaders in recent history, James Norman Mattis is worth listening to. A former Marine Corps four-star general, Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis commanded U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan, and the Iraq War. With so much front-line experience, when Mad Dog speaks about war and peace, it’s well worth tuning in and taking everything he says to heart.

Immoral Acts

Mad Dog was adamant about harming innocents during wartime.

“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.”

There is no question Mad Dog knew that killing innocent people was never justified, whether during peacetime or wartime.

Have a Plan

There was no question that Mattis was a fan of remaining vigilant.

“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”

It’s hard to hear, but something Mattis frequently said to his Marines in Iraq to remind them that vigilance could save their lives.

Enemy of my Enemy

James Mattis was a student of history and learned from the mistakes of others.

“A country that armed Stalin to defeat Hilter can certainly work alongside enemies of Al Qaeda to defeat Al Qaeda.”

It’s clear that Mattis was a student of history and knew that in wartime, sometimes the enemy of your enemy could be your friend.

Marine Corps Toughness

Mattis frequently reminded everyone about the toughness of Marines.

“Marines don’t know how to spell the word defeat.”

As someone who joined the Marines when he was 19, Mattis knows exactly about the mental and physical toughness of the Marine Corps.

Use Your Brain

Jim Mattis
Mattis frequently told the Marines that their greatest weapon was their brain.

“You are part of the world’s most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.”

Written by Mattis the night before the Iraq invasion began, Mattis knew that during wartime, your brain might be the best weapon you have available.

He Comes in Peace

Jim Mattis
Mattis was a no-filter kind of Marine who said exactly what he meant.

“I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you [mess] with me, I’ll kill you all.”

Mattis knew you wanted peace during peacetime, but it was game on if peacetime turned to wartime.

US Marines

The US Marines could be your best friend or your worst enemy.

“Fight with a happy heart and a strong spirit…Demonstrate to the world there is no better friend, no worse enemy than a U.S. Marine.”

Written in the same letter the night before the Iraqi invasion, Mattis was clear that the Marine Corps was ready and prepared to take the fight to the enemy.

Think First

Another quote from Mattis indicates his belief that using your brain is your best asset.

“The most important six inches on the battlefield is between your ears.”

Mattis firmly believed that thinking remained a Marine’s best chance at success during peacetime and wartime.

Enemies Vote

Mattis quickly reminds everyone that a war isn’t over until everyone says it’s over.

“No war is over until the enemy says it’s over. We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.”

There is no sugarcoating the reality that ending any battle has to be two-sided for it to be successful.

Be the Hunter

As a Marine, Mattis believed his troops should always be on the hunt and never the hunted.

“Be the hunter, not the hunted.”

These words very much sound like a member of the Marine Corps who knows that it’s better to be on the hunt during wartime than to sit and wait for the enemy to find you.

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