A former Army Special Forces official is accusing retired Marine General James Mattis, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to be defense secretary, of “leaving my men to die” as soon as they were hit by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2001.
Mattis has not commented publicly on the occurrence, that has been chronicled in an 2011 New York Times bestselling novel, “The Only Thing Worth Dying For,” by Eric Blehm. The novel portrays Mattis as reluctant to help the Green Berets.
His activities, that were not formally inquired at the time, are now likely to get a lot more scrutiny through the retired basic Senate confirmation process.
Trump’s transition group did not respond to request for comment from NBC News. Nor did Mattis, whose retirement in the military means he would need a waiver from Congress to serve as the civilian Pentagon chief.
Mattis is a highly decorated former wartime commander who became renowned for directing the 1st Marine Division’s super fast motion into Baghdad during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.