President Trump may be trying to, belatedly, make it appear Defense Secretary James Mattis was fired. But the Marine General is trying to do the honorable thing and make it appear—on the surface, anyway— as an “it’s just time” resignation.

But his letter of resignation indicates that what we have is Mattis resigning under protest. Mr. Trump’s sudden decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria—something Russia and Iran desperately desired—was opposed and resisted by Mattis.

In many ways, over the past two years, Mattis has been the most solid rock in the chaotic Trump administration. As in “rock solid.” A brilliant, decent warrior of principle, an intellectual defense thinker widely respected throughout the military services. Early indications are that what we have here is that Mattis finally just got a gut-full of Trump, with Syria the last straw, so he did the honorable thing in an honorable way.

By any reasonable analysis, chaos in the Trump administration figures to increase with Mattis gone—at least in the short to medium term.  And with many Americans, plus friends and allies around the world, worries about our country’s defense and national security are bound to increase.

Read Mattis’ full letter here or below.