Via Free Beacon:

Defense Secretary James Mattis sees the U.S. military as more than just an arm of the country’s national security policy, an observation the retired Marine Corps general made when recounting to troops an assassination attempt he survived during the Iraq War.

Mattis was with a small group of Marines in Iraq when a Sunni Arab man was captured planting a bomb on a road nearby. Told the captured insurgent spoke English, Mattis offered him a cigarette and coffee, after which the man told him that he resented the American soldiers in his country.

The man then asked Mattis a surprising question, the Associated Press reports.

“General,” he asked, “if I am a model prisoner do you think someday I could emigrate to America?”

For Mattis, the question represented America’s power to inspire.

“I bring this up to you, my fine young sailors, because I want you to remember that on our worst day we’re still the best going, and we’re counting on you to take us to the next level,” he said. “We’ve never been satisfied with where America’s at. We’re always prone to looking at the bad things, the things that aren’t working right. That’s good. It’s healthy, so long as we then roll up our sleeves and work together, together, together, to make it better.”

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