Mattis also quoted from the classic 1963 work by Fehrenbach, which explained in heartbreaking detail how America was woefully unprepared for the Korean War in the 1950s. “ ‘You may fly over a nation forever, you may bomb it, atomize it, pulverize it and wipe it clean of life. But if you desire to defend it, if you desire to protect it, if you desire to keep it for civilization, you must do this on the ground the way the Roman legions did: by putting your young men in the mud.’ " Mattis said. “I would only modify it today by saying, ‘by putting your young men and women in the mud.’ ”
The famous Fehrenbach quote comes from Chapter 25, “Proud Legions,” which can be found online here.