This is coolbert:
With regard to the comments of General Mattis, it seems that what he said is very mild indeed. Expressing his true and probably correct sentiments in what he felt was an open manner.
This seems to be a similar situation as the Army General [commanded the Army Ranger force during it's combat with the Somalia militia in the Mogadishu combat of 1992] who also recently spoke before a church gathering and commented about how the current anti-terrorist war is in his opinion a war between his GOD and the GOD of the enemy. And how his GOD [the general's GOD] would win because his was more powerful. A lot of hay was made about this too in the media. And it seems that both men got a dressing down from their military superiors, but were NOT removed from their positions.
[The Army general purports to have pictures taken over Mogadishu the day of the battle between the Army Rangers and the Somalia militia that shows the devil hovering over the battlefield. And when seeing this picture, you do see in the photo what appears to be a smudge of smoke that to me takes the form, somewhat, of a witch riding a broomstick [maybe someone sees something else, that is what it looks like to me]].
Neither of the comments made by either General seems at face value to violate Article 88 or Article 134 of the UCMJ [these would seem to be the most pertinent Articles that would apply in either situation]. So neither General would face courts martial consequences. Article 88 states that no military person may criticize a member of Congress or the President. And Article 134 states that any action or speech that has the effect of causing indiscipline within the ranks is punishable under UCMJ. Article 134 violations usually demand a palpable effect. The speech causes a lack of discipline. Nothing of the sort seems to have occurred in the case of these two officers.
Nonetheless discretion is the better part of valor, or so it seems when General officers speak in public. Especially in this time of recording devices and mass media communication. You have to be careful of what you say. It can be and will be taken out of context by the wrong crowd, or interpreted in the wrong manner by the wrong crowd, and a frenzy will be created. A good officer can be lost at the wrong time for innocuous and what turns out to be ill-timed statements.
It seems that U.S. Marine Corps General officers from time to time have made a habit of making comments that some would regard as intemperate.
Such as the remarks of H.M. Smith about Army troops on Saipan ["yellow gutless cowards that froze in their foxholes"], or "Chesty" Puller ["retreat Hell, we are just advancing in another direction"].
And of course the famous General Smedley Butler. Twice winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor. A man who served with great distinction and courage. When running for the Senate in 1932 [after his retirement of course], Butler wrote an acerbic book that stated that his Marines had been badly abused over the many years and used mainly to further the interests of U.S. commercial enterprises and nothing more [Haiti, Nicaragua].
It was noted by observers that during his over thirty year career, Butler had himself led troops in many of these instances where Marines "were used to protect commercial interests". And yet not once did Butler even raise a peep of dissent. It seems that only upon retiring did General Butler's brain once regain it's senses and had the truth revealed to it. Butler did NOT win his Senatorial campaign.