AMY GOODMAN: We begin today’s show looking at Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who has announced he’s resigning at the end of February, while publicly rebuking President Trump’s foreign policy. Mattis resigned one day after President Trump ordered the withdrawal of all 2,000 US troops from Syria and on the same day reports emerged that Trump has ordered the withdrawal of about 7,000 troops from Afghanistan. That’s about half the current US force there.
In his resignation letter, General Mattis, four-star general, implicitly criticized President Trump’s foreign policy. He wrote, “My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances,” unquote.
Mattis went on to say, “Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position,” he said. In the letter, Mattis did not make a direct reference to Syria, but he did call out Russia and China.
The New York Times reports Mattis is the first prominent Cabinet member to resign in protest over a national security issue in almost 40 years.
Much of the Washington establishment expressed shock over Mattis’s resignation. Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia said, quote, “This is scary. Secretary Mattis has been an island of stability amidst the chaos of the Trump administration.” Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida responded to Mattis’s resignation, saying, “It makes it abundantly clear that we are headed towards a series of grave…