- The Washington Times - Monday, September 9, 2019

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis said Sunday he regrets airing his criticisms of Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden in his upcoming book, adding he would have held back if he knew Mr. Biden would run for president.

In an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Margaret Brennan read him an excerpt from his new book “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead,” in which he harshly criticizes the former vice president.

“You wrote, ‘He exuded the confidence of a man whose mind was made up, perhaps even indifferent to considering the consequences were he judging the situation incorrectly,’” Ms. Brennan said.

“Well, I was writing a history book at that point, Margaret, because I started writing this book in 2013,” Mr. Mattis replied. “Had I known the former vice president was going to run for office, I assure you I would not have probably been that forthcoming.”

“Are you raising questions about his judgment?” Ms. Brennan asked.

“I think the Obama administration, President Obama’s administration had made the decision to leave Iraq despite what the intelligence community was telling us what would happen,” Mr. Mattis said. “They were very clear that an al Qaeda-associated group would rise, that the Iraqi government, the Iraqi people, the Iraqi nation was in a post-combat, pre-reconciliation phase. We needed to keep our influence there a little longer.”

Mr. Mattis has refrained from criticizing President Trump in either his book or his press interviews after resigning in December amid a disagreement over Mr. Trump’s decision to pull troops from Syria.

When asked whether he thought his resignation halted the troop withdrawal, Mr. Mattis said, “I’ll let the historians sort that out.”

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