Peter asked General Mattis what he thought when he met Hake at Camp Pendleton in December 2003 and heard the idea for Spirit of America. Here’s what the General said:
General Mattis: “Peter, here’s the bottom line. America has two fundamental powers. One is the power of inspiration. The other is the power of intimidation. Those of us in uniform are in an intimidating role up against the enemy. But we now fight wars among innocent people, among populations that need to be on our side if we’re going to win. There is where America’s power of inspiration comes to bear. And that’s why you want to reach out across the cultural divides … and make common cause with people.
This [Spirit of America] was going to give us a nongovernmental organization that was unapologetically not neutral … they were on our side … like the Special Forces we almost had to pinch ourselves that we had somebody [Jim Hake] with this concept that could bring it to bear.”