Jim Mattis, the former Marine Corps general and Pentagon chief, has lashed 2020 Democratic front-runner Joe Biden for fueling the rise of ISIS by insisting on the total withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq.
"You may want a war over. You may declare it over. You may even try to walk away from it. But the bottom line is the enemy gets a vote, as we say in the military, and we simply have got to understand that terrorism is going to be an ambient threat," he said in an NPR interview.
As vice president, Biden was tasked by President Barack Obama with overseeing Iraq policy. In his new book, Mattis, 68, argues that Biden, 76, was "indifferent" to the consequences of complete withdrawal - consequences that included "tens of thousands of casualties, plus untold misery for millions of innocents," as well as the kidnapping and beheading of westerners, and horrific terrorist attacks across the world.
"He wanted our forces out of Iraq," Mattis writes in Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead. ”Whatever path led there fastest, he favored. 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."