17 of the most legendary quotes from James Mattis, the four-star Marine general who just resigned as Trump’s Defense Secretary

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis walks past saluting cadets as he arrives for commencement ceremonies at West Point on May 27, 2017.

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US Secretary of Defense James Mattis walks past saluting cadets as he arrives for commencement ceremonies at West Point on May 27, 2017.
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REUTERS/Mike Segar

  • James Mattis announced his resignation as President Donald Trump’s Defense Secretary on December 20.
  • The four-star Marine general served in Trump’s Cabinet for the first two years of his administration.
  • An intellectual man, he has amusing, enlightening, and often funny quotes.

Outgoing Defense Secretary James Mattis was legendary long before he agreed to join President Donald Trump’s Cabinet.

The retired four-star general spent 44 years in the US Marine Corps, working his way up to Commander of US Central Command.

He’s been called “Mad Dog” Mattis (a nickname he detests), “Warrior Monk” (because he’s such an intellectual), and is beloved and respected by fellow Marines.

Mattis also has some of the best quotes of any general around. Here are 17 of his best.

This post is based on a previous story by Paul Szoldra.


On meeting new people:

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Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

On collateral damage:

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Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

On taking a life:

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Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

Warning US enemies:

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Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

On foes opposing the US military:

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Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

On failure:

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Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

On the business of war:

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On defeating Al Qaeda:

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On the US Marines:

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Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

On using your head:

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Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

On presentations:

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Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

On leadership:

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Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

On fighting for democracy:

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Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

On treachery:

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Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

On thinking things through:

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Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

On what it means to be a US Marine:

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Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

On combat:

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Jenny Cheng/Business Insider