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James Mattis Shares Story of How Insurgent Who Tried to Kill Him Ended Up Inspiring Him About America

He may be the baddest, maddest dog on the planet, but Defense Secretary James Mattis is sometimes willing to share a heartwarming story every now and again.

And this one certainly spans all of the emotions – ranging from an insurgent trying to assassinate him, to that same person inspiring him about what a great country America is.

Mattis’s story shows that he views the American military as more than just a fighting force – they are a beacon of hope for the rest of the world.

The Defense Secretary told troops a story about how he had narrowly escaped an assassination attempt by an insurgent during the Iraq War. The man tried planting a bomb on a road Mattis and his convoy were set to travel on. Upon learning that the man spoke English, he decided to sit and talk with him.

Mattis offered the man a cigarette and a coffee, then asked him why he did it. The insurgent explained that he resented American soldiers on his land, to which Mattis said he’d no longer be on his own land because he was heading to Abu Ghraib.

It’s what the man said next that offered inspiration to America’s top military man.

“General,” the man asked, “if I am a model prisoner do you think someday I could emigrate to America?”

Mattis told the troops why that one question provided him with hope and inspiration.

“I bring this up to you, my fine young sailors, because I want you to remember that on our worst day we’re still the best going, and we’re counting on you to take us to the next level,” he said.

“We’ve never been satisfied with where America’s at. We’re always prone to looking at the bad things, the things that aren’t working right,” Mattis added. “That’s good. It’s healthy, so long as we then roll up our sleeves and work together, together, together, to make it better.”

Amen. Even at their lowest level, when terrorists despise America, they’d still rather come and live in this country.

Thank you for sharing that story, General Mattis!

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