The book Mattis reads to be prepared for war with North KoreaBreaking News
tags: North Korea, Korean War, Jim Mattis, TR Fehrenbach, This Kind of War
Last Monday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general with a legendary appetite for military history, ticked off a list of book recommendations to a crowd of U.S. Army leaders and supporters — titles that might help them understand command, strategy and the ways war is evolving. But he kept coming back to one book in particular: T. R. Fehrenbach’s “This Kind of War,” a 54-year-old history of the Korean War that’s much better known in military than civilian quarters.
Fehrenbach, Mattis explained during his address to the Association of the United States Army’s Exposition on Building Readiness, reminds us of two essential truths about war: its “primitive, atavistic, and unrelenting nature” and the “absolutely fundamental” importance of boots on the ground, even in an age of drone attacks and cyberwarfare. “You may fly over a nation forever, you may bomb it, atomize it, pulverize it and wipe it clean of life. But if you desire to defend it, if you desire to protect it, if you desire to keep it for civilization, you must do this on the ground the way the Roman legions did: by putting your young men in the mud,” Mattis said, quoting Fehrenbach. “I would only modify it today by saying, ‘by putting your young men and women in the mud.’”
These citations were preludes to Mattis’s final punch. The last question he took from the audience finally addressed the concern on everyone’s mind: As Trump and Kim Jong Un exchange dire nuclear threats, “what can the U.S. military do to lessen the likelihood of conflict on the Korean Peninsula?”
comments powered by Disqus
- Trump administration says joint UNC, Duke Middle East Studies program portrays Islam too positively
- What White Kids Learn About Race in School
- Frederick Douglass photos smashed stereotypes. Could Elizabeth Warren selfies do the same?
- Chronicling New York’s Muslim History
- New Documents Illuminate The University of Texas’s Secret Strategy to Keep Out Black Students
- Women Scientists Were Written Out of History. It’s Margaret Rossiter’s Lifelong Mission to Fix That
- Allen C. Guelzo Reviews Sidney Blumenthal's Latest Installment of His Biography of Lincoln
- What Reconstruction-Era Laws Can Teach Our Democracy: The NY Times Reviews Eric Foner's Latest Book
- Should historians read their own book?
- Cokie Roberts, Pioneering Journalist Who Helped Shape NPR, Dies At 75