>It was back in 2012, while he was still in uniform, that Mattis said that the three gravest threats facing the U.S. were “Iran, Iran, Iran.” In the years since his retirement in 2013, he’s been even more outspoken. He repeated his “Iran, Iran, Iran” mantra last April (in addition to an entirely predictable reference to the Beirut barracks bombing) during an appearance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and then explained himself. Iran, he said, is “the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East,” and not really a nation-state at all but “a revolutionary cause devoted to mayhem.”
>Then, Mattis linked Iran to the rise of ISIS. “I consider ISIS nothing more than an excuse for Iran to continue its mischief,” he said. “Iran is not an enemy of ISIS; they have a lot to gain from the turmoil that ISIS creates.” What Mattis said next was eerily reminiscent of George W. Bush’s claim that because Al Qaeda wasn’t attacking Saddam Hussein, the two must be linked: “I would just point out one question for you to look into,” Mattis intoned. “What is the one country in the Middle East that has not been attacked by ISIS? One. That is Iran. That is more than happenstance, I’m sure.”
>Or maybe not. Mattis’ ISIS-is-Iran claim is breathtakingly short on facts. The Iranians are arming Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, who are fighting ISIS in Mosul, and Tehran has made little secret of its opposition to the Sunni terrorist group. Back in July, Iranian television said its government had uncovered an ISIS plot to set off bombs in Tehran, leading to the arrest of 10 terrorist operatives. “The U.S. has lots of disagreements with Iran,” a senior Pentagon civilian official told me on Friday, “but what to do about ISIS isn’t one of them. We want them defeated, and so do they.”
>In addition, there is Mattis’ decision to join the board of the controversial blood-testing company Theranos. While on active duty, Mattis worked closely with the company.
>At the time, Theranos was a SilicPost too long. Click here to view the full text.