Richland native and former Secretary of Defense James Mattis wrote an excoriating piece about his former boss, President Donald Trump.

"He tries to divide us" is one of many stinging rebukes of the President over his handling of protests and that troops should not be used as a "bizarre photo op" for the President.

From the piece in The Atlantic:

"I have watched this week's unfolding events, angry and appalled. The words 'Equal Justice Under Law' are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand, one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values -- our values as people and our values as a we must reject and hold accountable those in office who make a mockery of our Constitution."

"Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people -- does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership."

The former Secretary of Defense said, "We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children."

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Mattis continued, "When I joined the military some 50 years ago I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution...never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the constitutional rights of their fellow citizens, much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief with military leadership standing alongside."

"We must reject any thinking of our cities as a 'battlespace', and that our uniformed military is called upon to 'dominate'. We should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions by state governors. Militarizing our response as we witnessed in Washington D.C. sets up a conflict, a false conflict between the military and civilian society. It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part."

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