“Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.”
Mattis, a student of counterinsurgency tactics and strategy, sent this advice to his Marine unit only a few hours before they helped kick off the 2003 invasion of Iraq. “While we will move swiftly and aggressively against those who resist, we will treat all others with decency, demonstrating chivalry and soldierly compassion for people who have endured a lifetime under Saddam’s oppression,” he wrote.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis
When you are commanding, leading [soldiers] under conditions where physical exhaustion and privations must be ignored, where the lives of [soldiers] may be sacrificed, then, the efficiency of your leadership will depend only to a minor degree on your tactical ability. It will primarily be determined by your character, your reputation, not much for courage—which will be accepted as a matter of course—but by the previous reputation you have established for fairness, for that high-minded patriotic purpose, that quality of unswerving determination to carry through any military task assigned to you.
General George C. Marshall, Speaking to officer candidates in September 1941
“Don’t be buffaloed by experts and elites.
Experts often possess more data than judgment.
Elites can become so inbred that they produce hemophiliacs who bleed
to death as soon as they are nicked by the real world.”
Chairman Colin Powell