My colleague Barbara Slavin writes:
Eli Lake of the Daily Beast reports that Gen. James Mattis, the head of US Central Command, unsuccessfully sought permission to send a third US aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf region in January in an effort to deter Iran from escalating tensions in the Gulf.
While I have the utmost respect for Lake’s reporting skills, the story may have misconstrued Mattis’s views when it describes him as a hawk who as Lake puts it, “has often found himself the odd man out — particularly when it comes to Iran.”
In fact, Mattis, despite his nickname “Mad Dog Mattis,” is a prudent planner who seeks to prevent any incident with Iran in the Persian Gulf – and to make sure that if one occurs, it does not spiral out of control. Continue reading