Quick Takes: Mad Dog Mattis Attempts to Walk Back Another Potential War Crime

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* Apparently the guy Trump likes to refer to as “Mad Dog” Mattis (otherwise known as the Secretary of Defense) had to reassure our allies that the president wouldn’t commit a war crime.

Before arriving in Baghdad, Mr. Mattis was asked by reporters about Mr. Trump’s remarks during a visit to C.I.A. headquarters last month that the United States should have “kept” Iraq’s oil after the American-led invasion, and might still have a chance to do so.

“We’re not in Iraq to seize anybody’s oil,” Mr. Mattis said during a stop in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

This is not the first time that Mattis has had to deal with a suggestion that the president is considering committing a war crime. He was successful in talking Trump out of using torture.

* It will be interesting to watch how the man Trump just tapped as his next National Security Advisor handles the workings of this administration.

President Trump picked Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, a widely respected military strategist, as his new national security adviser on Monday, calling him “a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience.”…

General McMaster is seen as one of the Army’s leading intellectuals, first making a name for himself with a searing critique of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for their performance during the Vietnam War and later criticizing the way President George W. Bush’s administration went to war in Iraq.

As a commander, he was credited with demonstrating how a different counterterrorism strategy could defeat insurgents in Iraq, providing the basis for the change in approach that Gen. David H. Petraeus adopted to shift momentum in a war that the United States was on the verge of losing.

* Tucker Carlson’s interview with a filmmaker (Ami Horowitz) that prompted Trump to fear-monger about an immigrant crime wave in Sweden featured a clip of two police officers in that country. They have since spoken out about what happened.

Two Swedish police officers were interviewed in the film. Anders Göranzon and Jacob Ekström answered questions about how weapons are becoming more accessible. Horowitz also asked the officers about how crime has spread through cities. But the police officers now say that their answers were taken out of context, and are very critical of how their comments were portrayed on Fox News ”Tucker Carlson Tonight”. ”I don’t understand why we are a part of the segment. The interview was about something completely different to what Fox News and Horowitz were talking about”, says Anders Göranzon…

The excerpt they showed doesn’t say anything, we answered a different question. We don’t stand behind what he says. He [Horowitz] is a madman.”

* Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt also spoke out to make an interesting comparison between his country and the state in which Trump made his remarks.

* Frank Morris tells an important story about the small rural town of Garden City, Kansas which, in the 1970’s, made a decision that kept them from going in the direction of so many other rural communities…becoming a ghost town.

The town’s turning point came in the 1970s, says Sister Janice Thome, when city and church leaders debated bringing in a meatpacking plant…

Those leaders, as she recalls, “said, if we say ‘no,’ then Garden City is liable to become one of these ghost towns, like many other towns. If we say yes, then we’ve got a vibrant economy, but then we’re going to be bringing all of, quotes, ‘those people.’ ”

“Those people,” as in immigrants, mostly poor ones, who don’t speak English, and need significant help getting their footing in a new culture.

“They decided they didn’t want to be a ghost town, so they would say yes, and then they said, ‘OK, are we going to count the people that come in then, as a blessing or a curse?’ ” Sister Thome says.

Viewing them as a blessing won out. And after a lot of persistence, effort and patience, a pro-immigrant ethos has gradually taken root here.

Forty-five years later, Garden City is a vibrant town with a youthful population and an unemployment rate that hovers around 3%.

* Finally, here’s a great synopsis of the first 30 days of chaos.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .