Speak the truth!: It is apparent that those in the service portion of the US military (as opposed to the political arm) speak the truth. General Mattis' comments are only the last in a long line.
Varifrank has a few more from other generals in our history.
To continue the meme, I offer you various comments from anonymous and/or lesser known military commanders; some being quite recent. Sorry for the length, but they're all pretty good, even if (I suspect) some are apocryphal. Thanks to my buddy in the USNR.
"The 'L' in CENTCOM stands for leadership
"At this Command, we have written in large, black letters: DNR (Do Not
Resuscitate) on the back of our security badges." Maj (CENTCOM)
"'Leaning forward' is really just the first phase of 'falling on your face.'" Marine Col (MARFOREUR)
"I am so far down the food chain that I've got plankton bites on my butt."
"None of us is as dumb as all of us." Excerpted from a brief (EUCOM)
"We're from the nuke shop, sir. We're the crazy aunt in the closet that nobody likes to talk about ..." Lt Col (EUCOM) in briefings
"Things are looking up for us here. In fact, Papua-New Guinea is thinking of offering two platoons: one of Infantry (headhunters) and one of engineers (hut builders). They want to eat any Iraqis they kill. We've got no issues with that, but State is being anal about it." LTC (JS) on OIF coalition-building.
"The chance of success in these talks is the same as the number of "R's" in "fat chance..."" GS-15 (SHAPE)
"His knowledge on that topic is only power point deep..." MAJ (JS)
"Ya know, in this Command, if the world were supposed to end tomorrow, it would still happen behind schedule." CWO4 (EUCOM)
"We are condemned men who are chained and will row in place until we rot." LtCol (CENTCOM) on life at his Command
"Right now we're pretty much the ham in a bad ham sandwich..." GO/FO
"If we wait until the last minute to do it, it'll only take a minute."
"The only reason that anything ever gets done is because there are pockets of competence in every command. The key is to find them ... and then exploit the hell out of 'em." CDR (CENTCOM)
"I may be slow, but I do poor work..." MAJ (USAREUR)
"Cynicism is the smoke that rises from the ashes of burned out dreams." Maj
(CENTCOM) on the daily thrashings delivered to AOs at his Command.
"WE are the reason that Rumsfeld hates us..." LTC (EUCOM) doing some standard, Army self-flagellation
"Working with Hungary is like watching a bad comedy set on auto repeat..." LCDR (EUCOM)
"I finally figured out that when a Turkish officer tells you, "It's no problem," he means, for him." Maj (EUCOM)
"Never in the history of the US Armed Forces have so many done so much for so few..." MAJ (Task Force Warrior) on the "success" of the Free Iraqi Forces (FIF) Training Program, where 1100 Army troops trained 77 Iraqi exiles at the cost of, ...well, ...way too much...
"Our days are spent trying to get some poor, unsuspecting third world country to pony up to spending a year in a sweltering desert, full of pissed off Arabs who would rather shave the back of their legs with a cheese grater than submit to foreign occupation by a country for whom they have nothing but contempt." LTC (JS) on the joys of coalition building
"I guess the next thing they'll ask for is 300 US citizens with Hungarian last names to send to Iraq..." MAJ (JS) on the often-frustrating process of building the Iraqi coalition for Phase IV
"Between us girls, would it help to clarify the issue if you knew that Hungary is land-locked?" CDR to MAJ (EUCOM) on why a deployment from Hungary is likely to proceed by air vice sea
"So, what do you wanna do?"..."I dunno, what do YOU wanna do?"..."I dunno, what do YOU wanna do?," etc. COL (DIA) describing the way OUSD(S) develops and implements their strategies
"I'll be right back. I have to go pound my nuts flat..." Lt Col
(EUCOM) after being assigned a difficult tasker
"I guess this is the wrong power cord for the computer, huh?" LtCol
(EUCOM) after the smoke cleared from plugging his 110V computer into a 220V outlet
"OK, this is too stupid for words." LTC (JS)
"When you get right up to the line that you're not supposed to cross, the only person in front of you will be me!" CDR (CENTCOM) on his view of the value of being politically correct in today's military
"There's nothing wrong with crossing that line a little bit, it's jumping over it buck naked that will probably get you in trouble..." Lt Col
(EUCOM) responding to the above
"Never pet a burning dog." LTC (Tennessee National Guard)
"Ah, the joys of Paris: a unique chance to swill warm wine and be mesmerized by the dank ambrosia of unkempt armpits.." LCDR (NAVEUR)
"'Status quo,' as you know, is Latin for 'the mess we're in...'" Attributed to former President Ronald Reagan
"We are now past the good idea cutoff point..." MAJ (JS) on the fact that somebody always tries to "fine tune" a COA with more "good ideas"
"Nobody ever said you had to be smart to make 0-6." Col (EUCOM)
"I haven't complied with a darn thing and nothing bad has happened to me yet."
"Whatever happened to good old-fashioned military leadership? Just task the first two people you see."
"Accuracy and attention to detail take a certain amount of time."
"I seem to be rapidly approaching the apex of my mediocre career." MAJ
"Much work remains to be done before we can announce our total failure to make any progress."
"It's not a lot of work unless you have to do it." LTC (EUCOM)
"Creating smoking holes (with bombs) gives our lives meaning and enhances our manliness." LTC (EUCOM) at a CT conference
"Eventually, we have to 'make nice' with the French, although, since I'm new in my job, I have every expectation that I'll be contradicted." DOS rep at a Counter Terrorism Conference
"Everyone should have an equal chance, but not everyone is equal."
"You can get drunk enough to do most anything, but you have to realize going in that there are some things that, once you sober up and realize what you have done, will lead you to either grab a 12-gauge or stay drunk for the rest of your life."
"Once you accept that a dog is a dog, you can't get upset when it barks." Lt Col (USSOCOM)
"That guy just won't take 'yes' for an answer" MAJ (EUCOM)
"Let's just call Lessons Learned what they really are: institutionalized scab picking."
"I can describe what it feels like being a Staff Officer in two words: distilled pain." CDR (NAVEUR)
"When all else fails, simply revel in the absurdity of it all." LCDR
"Never attribute to malice that which can be ascribed to sheer stupidity." LTC (CENTCOM)
"They also serve, who sit and surf the NIPR." CPT (CENTCOM)
"I hear so much about Ft. Bragg. Where is it?" "It's in the western part of southeastern North Carolina." LCDR and CPT (EUCOM)
"I've become the master of nodding my head and acting like I give a sh_t, and then instantly forgetting what the hell a person was saying the moment they walk away." Flag-level Executive A$$istant
"Mark my words, this internet thing is gonna catch on someday." LTC
"You're not a loser. You're just not my kind of winner..." GS-14 (OSD)
"He who strives for the minimum rarely attains it." GS-12 (DOS)
"If I'd had more time, I'da written a shorter brief..." Maj (EUCOM)
"I work at EUCOM. I know bullsh_t when I see it." LTC (EUCOM) in a game of office poker
"You only know as much as you don't know." GO (EUCOM)
"I'm just livin' the dream..." EUCOM staffer response to the question, "How's it going?" or, "What are you doing?"
"I'm just ranting...I have nothing useful to say." LTC (EUCOM)
"Why would an enemy want to bomb this place and end all the confusion?" GS-14 (EUCOM)
"Other than the fact that there's no beer, an early curfew and women that wear face coverings for a very good reason, Kabul is really a wonderful place to visit." LTC (CENTCOM)
"It was seen, ...visually." LTC (EUCOM) during a Reconnaissance briefing
"Let me tell you about the benefits of being on a staff..." "This should be a short conversation." LtCol to Lt Col (EUCOM)
"Hello gentlemen. Are we in today or are you just ignoring my request?" GS-15 (DSCA) in an email to EUCOM staffers
"After seeing the way this place works, I bet that Mickey Mouse wears a EUCOM watch." Maj (EUCOM)
"Your Key Issues are so 2003..." CPT (CJTF-180) in January 2004
"USCENTCOM commanders announced today that they intend to maintain their presence in Qatar "until the sun runs out of hydrogen," thus committing the US to the longest duration deployment in human history. when asked how they planned to maintain the presence in Qatar for a projected length of 4 to 5 billion years, planners said "we're working on a plan for that. We don't have one yet, but not having a plan or an intelligent reason to do something has never been much of an impediment for us in the past; we don't foresee it being a big show stopper for us in the future either."
Among the options that were being discussed was an innovative program to "interbreed" the deployed personnel. "We are going to actively encourage the military members in Qatar to intermarry and raise children that will replace them in the future. Sure, it may be a little hard on some of our female service members, since there are currently are about 8 men for every woman over there, but we expect that to be OBE as the sex ratios will even out in a generation or two. In any case the key to the plan is to make these assignments not only permanent, but inheritable and hereditary. For example, if you currently work the JOC weather desk, so will your children, and their children, and their children, ad infinitum. We like to think of it as job security." CPT
"That's FUBIJAR." COL (CENTCOM), Fu--ed Up, But I'm Just a Reservist...
"I keep myself confused on purpose, just in case I am captured and fall into enemy hands!" GO/FO (CENTCOM)
"Does anybody around here remember if I did anything this year?" LTC
(EUCOM) preparing his Officer Evaluation Report support form
"I'd be happy to classify this document for you. Could you tell me its classification?" GS11 (EUCOM) in an email from the Foreign Disclosure office
"Nothing is too good for you guys...and that's exactly what you're gonna get..." LTC (EUCOM) describing the way Army policy is formulated
"The only thing that sucks worse than being me is being you..." LTC
"I have to know what I don't know..." Col (CENTCOM) during a shift changeover briefing
"No. Now I'm simply confused at a higher level..." Foreign GO/FO when asked if he had any questions following a transformation brief at JFCOM
"I'm planning on taking the weekend off...notionally..." LT (EUCOM) midway through a huge, simulated command exercise
"I've heard of 'buzzwords' before but I have never experienced a 'buzz sentence' or a 'buzz paragraph' until today." Maj (EUCOM) after listening to a JFCOM trainer/mentor
"We've got to start collaborating between the collaboration systems." "Our plan for the Olympics is to take all the ops and put it in the special room we have developed for ops." GO/FO (EUCOM)
"Did you hear that NPR is canning Bob Edwards?" "Why? Did they catch him standing up for the National Anthem or something??" COL to CDR (EUCOM)
"Not to be uncooperative, but we're just being uncooperative." CDR
(EUCOM) in an email response to a request for information
"He cloaked himself in an impenetrable veneer of terminology." Lt Col JFCOM describing the Jiffiecom alpha male
"Transformation has long been the buzzword for those that are dispossessed, dispirited and disillusioned..." Chaplain (EUCOM), allegedly.
"There are more disconnects on this issue than CENTCOM has staff officers" GO/FO (EUCOM)
"Is that a Navy or a Marine admiral?" MAJ (EUCOM)