...Counsel of warriors
This generation of generals has seen a lot of combat. A long-time colleague notes that after retiring from the Marines, Mr Mattis spent months on a cross-country road trip, quietly visiting the families of troops killed on his watch. He is not anti-war, but is conscious of war’s limits. One of his favourite quotes, from Will Rogers, a newspaper columnist in the 1920s, notes that many foreigners are more comfortable with an imperfect government of their own choosing than with a perfect one imposed by American Marines. Mr Mattis has called his countrymen “an idealistic people bound by pragmatism”.