The Atlantic

The Quiet Integrity of James Mattis

The secretary of defense did well to protect the military from politicization, against overwhelming force.
Source: Joshua Roberts / Reuters

Since Jim Mattis grounds himself in the classics, it seems fitting to mark his resignation with a passage from Epictetus: “Authentic freedom places demands on us.” The quiet integrity with which he has done his job modeled a stoicism rare in our febrile political climate and sadly lacking elsewhere in the Trump administration. Mattis’s resignation letter may have been his most important act as the United States’ 26th secretary of defense.

His resignation letter did two important things in these fraught times, as the president of the

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