Not too long ago, University of Kansas head basketball coach Roy Williams announced, for the second time, he was leaving the program for his home school of North Carolina. Many sports pundits feared a future without Williams and suggested throwing unlimited amounts of treasure at him. However, KU leadership made the bold and controversial decision to allow Roy to move on. What came next was an up and coming coach named Bill Self, who would subsequently lead the Jayhawks to 14 straight conference titles and a National Championship. Today, Coach Self is now widely regarded as the top coach in the game.

Change gears towards Washington, D.C., where every week cable news and “political experts” find ways to overreact, negatively critique with hyperbole, chase activism as opposed to facts, and seldom tell the whole story or acknowledge the merits to every decision. All of the narratives are framed in silos, with the big picture and historical frame of reference largely ignored. The manufactured sequence of news described was no more evident than the recent departure of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report MORE’s secretary of Defense, Gen. James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Amazon to challenge Pentagon's 'war cloud' decision in federal court Former Mattis staffer: Trump 'shooting himself in the foot' on foreign policy MORE.


In April, President Trump asked Secretary Mattis to get our troops out of Syria. This request was, from any practical standpoint, ignored, and the decision to part ways with Secretary Mattis made by the President Trump, was anything but hastily determined. The resignation was due to Mattis’ determination to keep soldiers in Syria, despite his commander’s objectives being reached. It was an understandable break. It’s important to keep in mind that Gen. Mattis had only been separated from the military for three years before his nomination - federal law requires a seven-year separation, however the Senate approved the exception. In hindsight, I now better understand the logic behind the seven years of separation. At this juncture in the Middle East, perhaps we are now in need a secretary of Defense, not a secretary of War. 

Our national security goals and objectives in the Middle East were to destroy ISIS and other terrorist organizations that are a threat to our National security. Secretary Mattis should be credited for his many successes - the greatest of these being the complete decimation of ISIS on the battlefield and capture of 99 percent of their controlled territory. He met the task, fulfilled his duty, and served honorably. A job well done.

As leaders, often times we have to say, “Weigh the anchor, full speed ahead,” and be willing to tact into the head winds. While the Middle East has many headwinds awaiting, I for one am glad we have a Commander in Chief whose priority is not just to win wars, but also get our troops home. An indisputable truth of the Middle East is that for the past 3,000 years, and for the foreseeable future, civil war and war amongst neighbors will continue in the Middle East, with or without American presence. We cannot continue to have our troops be drawn into these endless civil and ethnic wars. The cost of our young American lives is simply too high to justify in an endless mission like Syria. In neighboring Iraq, our 5,000 American soldiers have a much safer and more defined perimeter with drones and satellite technology. The United States can provide support for the Kurds from these safe-holds just across the border. Our footprint should remain small, agile, and quick in these conflicts, and only support those who share our country’s priorities, ideals and values.

The President found a Roy Williams for the mission at hand the last two years - it was a success. Now, President Trump will be on the search for a secretary of Defense whose mission objectives always have a clear and precise exit strategy - I trust he will find that person. 

Roger MarshallRoger W. MarshallImproving maternal health with data and care coordination Trump tears into impeachment probe, witnesses in early Twitter spree Republicans storm closed-door hearing to protest impeachment inquiry MORE, M.D. represents Kansas’s 1st District.