Secretary of Defense James Mattis’s Iraq “War Crimes”

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

Retired Marine General James Mattis, a man who has served over forty years in the Marine Corps, was sworn in as the US Secretary of Defense in January 2017. Before his confirmation, he was under public scrutiny—for instance, for his controversial comments on “political Islam” at the Heritage Foundation in 2015—but, Dahr Jamail reports, the bigger concern is that Mattis “is clearly responsible for carrying out and/or aiding and abetting in several war crimes.”

The November 2005 Haditha massacre was well documented and received international attention, even if Mattis’s role in it has been largely forgotten. After a roadside bomb attack on a Marine convoy, a group of American soldiers rounded up 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians—including women, children, and elderly people—and shot them numerous times at close range. When the Marines were brought to trial, Mattis was the authority that dismissed the charges against them.

Mattis also played a leading role during the 2004 sieges of Fallujah by US troops. During the April siege, Mattis was head of the 1st Marine Division in Iraq during a time when US snipers targeted women, children, elderly, and ambulances. During the November siege in which over 5,000 Iraqi civilians were killed and buried in mass graves, Mattis oversaw troops responsible for the targeting of mosques, the destruction of hospitals, and the arrests of doctors. Jamail was reporting from Fallujah during these sieges and he could not believe his own eyes. He talked to soldiers that were carrying out these missions and asked them if they knew what they were doing and was met with responses such as, “I’m just following orders.”

Although numerous corporate media outlets, including CNN and Fox News, covered Mattis’s appointment, these stories have not included the details about Mattis’s history in Iraq, which Jamail describes unambiguously as “war crimes.”

Source: Dahr Jamail, “James Mattis is a War Criminal: I Experienced His Attack On Fallujah Firsthand,” Truthout, December 6, 2016,

Student Researcher: Giano Del Curto (Sonoma state University)

Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips (Sonoma State University)