Jim Mattis, the former Secretary of Defense, is now saying he regrets the harsh words aimed at former vice president Joe Biden in his recent memoir, “Call Sign Chaos.”
While appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Mattis said he would have been more sensitive in his descriptions of Biden had he known the former vice president was going to be running for president.
Margaret Brennan read a quote from Mattis’ book that criticized Biden for allegedly not listening to military officials when it came to a withdrawal of troops from the Iraq War.
“He exuded the confidence of a man whose mind was made up, perhaps even indifferent to considering the consequences were he judging the situation incorrectly,” Mattis wrote in his book about the former vice president.
Mattis responded to the passage by revealing that he had begun writing his “history book” in 2013, long before Biden made it clear that he had the intention of seeking the presidency.
“Had I known that the former vice president was going to run for office, I assure you I would not have probably been that forthcoming,” Mattis said.
Always the straight shooter, Mattis still did not waver on his feelings about the Obama administration’s handling of the Iraq War.
“I think the Obama administration, President Obama’s administration, had made the decision to leave Iraq despite what the intelligence community was telling us would happen,” Mattis said.
“The intelligence community was very clear,” he added. “They forecasted the rise of a group ― you and I know it as ISIS, and we should have taken their advice on board.”
As for what he would have done had he been the final decision maker on the Iraq War, Mattis said the withdrawal should have been a slower process to ensure the country could transition to peace.
“We needed to keep our influence there a little longer,” he said, “and draw down year by year, not draw everyone out at one time.”
Check out Mattis’ full “Face the Nation” segment below:
Many in the mainstream media were hoping that Mattis’ memoir would provide more ammunition to go after the Trump administration and President Donald Trump, but Mattis’ book mostly focuses on his time working with Barack Obama and George W. Bush. He said he will speak more openly about the Trump administration when the “time’s right.”
“I don’t believe that if you leave an administration over a matter of policy … that you then get out and start talking in what we commonly call a kiss-and-tell now,” Mattis said last week at a Q & A session with the Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haas.
He added, “I don’t think it’s the right thing to do.”
Mattis co-wrote his memoir, which was released on September 3, with Bing West, a former assistant secretary of defense and combat Marine. The book covers his military career, as well as his work with past White House administrations.
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