September 10, 2019 / 2:38 PM / 10 days ago

Reuters hosts Newsmaker with General Jim Mattis and Honorable F.J. “Bing” West

On Monday, Reuters hosted a Newsmaker event in New York with General Jim Mattis and Honorable F.J. “Bing” West, the authors of the newly released book, Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead.

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense General Jim Mattis and Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Bing West participate in a Reuters Newsmaker event in New York, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Gary He - RC115FD958F0

General Jim Mattis and “Bing” West joined Reuters Editor-At-Large Sir Harold Evans for a live discussion about their storied military careers spanning some of the most critical moments in modern U.S. history and covered the lessons learned about the nature of war fighting and peacemaking, the importance of friends and allies and more.

Among the highlights of the discussion:

-On Hong Kong protests, General Mattis said the United States should offer moral support to the demonstrators as the anti-government protests were “not an internal” Chinese matter in Hong Kong. He believed the United States should generally support those standing up for human rights.

-On Taliban talks, Mattis said he was surprised by the news last weekend that Trump had initially invited Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders for peace talks in the United States, which was canceled after the insurgent group claimed responsibility for an attack in Kabul that killed an American soldier and 11 other people.

-“Bing” West spoke about a critical lesson learned with decision making when trying to capture Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. West described how 3,000 Marines were ready to infiltrate and seal off Tora Bora, however there were various chains of commands that Mattis needed to go through before deciding to take any action. West said, “If you have all this hierarchy, but they are not the person on the ground, you have to do with some way of breaking that up.”

-Asked whether General Mattis had confidence in Trump’s leadership, he said that he had “great confidence” in American voters and in the U.S. Constitution.

The full interview can be viewed here

Media contact:

Deepal.Patadia @ thomsonreuters.com

[Reuters PR Blog Post]

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