Home>News Center>World

US general: it is 'fun to shoot some people'
Updated: 2005-02-04 14:07

A senior U.S. Marine Corps general who said it was "fun to shoot some people" should have chosen his words more carefully but will not be disciplined, military officials said on Thursday.

Lt. Gen. James Mattis, who commanded troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and is slated to be portrayed by star actor Harrison Ford in an upcoming Hollywood movie, made the comments at a conference on Tuesday in San Diego, California.

"Actually it's quite fun to fight 'em, you know. It's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up front with you, I like brawling," Mattis said.

This recent, undated file photo shows Lieutenant General James Mattis of the US Marines Corps, who the Pentagon (news - web sites) defended after he was quoted as telling an audience this week that it was 'fun to shoot some people,' referring to insurgents in Iraq (news - web sites) and Afghanistan (news - web sites).(AFP/HO/Files)
This recent, undated file photo shows Lieutenant General James Mattis of the US Marines Corps, who the Pentagon
defended after he was quoted as telling an audience this week that it was 'fun to shoot some people,' referring to insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.[AFP/Files]
"You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil," Mattis said during a panel discussion. "You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."

In a statement, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee praised Mattis as "one of this country's bravest and most experienced military leaders."

"While I understand that some people may take issue with the comments made by him, I also know he intended to reflect the unfortunate and harsh realities of war," Hagee said.

"Lt. Gen. Mattis often speaks with a great deal of candor. I have counseled him concerning his remarks and he agrees he should have chosen his words more carefully," Hagee added.

Maj. Jason Johnston, a Marine spokesman at the Pentagon, said Hagee did not plan disciplinary action against Mattis. Johnston declined to specify how Hagee had counseled Mattis.

During a Pentagon briefing, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld did not criticize Mattis' remarks, saying, "I have not read his words. I don't know what he said precisely or the context."


Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, lauded Mattis' record and leadership.

Without explicitly criticizing Mattis, Pace told the briefing, "First of all, all of us who are leaders have a responsibility in our words and our actions to provide the right example all the time for those who look to us for leadership."

Mattis, formally promoted to three-star general last month, heads the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, at Quantico, Virginia.

In November 2001, Mattis proclaimed, "We have landed and we now own terrain in south Afghanistan," after Marines took over a desert airstrip. The comment ruffled feathers at the Pentagon, where officials were uneasy with a U.S. general talking about owning Afghanistan.

In Iraq, he commanded the 1st Marine Division during the 2003 invasion and subsequent counterinsurgency operations.

Mattis was ordered to lead an assault on the Iraqi city of Falluja in April 2004 after the slaying and mutilation of four American contractors, but U.S. leaders halted the offensive and withdrew his Marines before a decisive showdown. He wrapped up his service in Iraq in August, a spokeswoman said.

In November, Marines under different command seized control of the city after the U.S. presidential election.

Ford has been pegged to play the role of Mattis in the film version of an upcoming book "No True Glory," an account of the April battle for Falluja written by Marine veteran Bing West.

Senior Pentagon Intelligence official Lt. Gen. William Boykin referred in 2003 to the struggle against Islamic extremists as a battle with Satan. In a speech, Boykin referred to a Muslim fighter in Somalia, and said, "Well, you know what I knew, that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol."

The Pentagon inspector general concluded in August that Boykin should face "appropriate corrective action," and a senior Army general said in October said unspecified action had been taken against Boykin.

  Today's Top News     Top World News

College girls step into beauty controversy



Trains take the holiday travel strain



RMB no scapegoat for US woes



Japan to talk about end of China loans - media



US knocked for blocking EU arms ban end



Female journalist kidnapped in Baghdad


  Shiite ticket has big lead in Iraq vote
  Diplomats: Iran to allow IAEA access
  Female journalist kidnapped in Baghdad
  Head of oil-for-food may be disciplined
  Wreckage of missing Afghan jetliner found
  Ukraine lawmakers approve prime minister
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  News Talk  
  Are the Republicans exploiting the memory of 9/11?