The Pentagon’s new nominee to head the US Central Command is expected to draw scrutiny for a controversial record that includes outlandish comments and alleged disregard for Iraqi civilian life. On Thursday, Marine General James Mattis was tapped to replace General David Petraeus, who took over as the top US commander in Afghanistan following the ouster of General Stanley McChrystal last month. As head of Camp Pendleton’s 1st Marine Division in Iraq, Mattis played a key role in the two US assaults on Fallujah in 2004. The assaults killed hundreds, if not thousands, of Fallujah residents, displaced thousands more, and destroyed much of the city. Mattis later dismissed almost all of the charges against eight accused Marines involved in the November 2005 massacre of twenty-four unarmed Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha. Of the eight Marines originally charged in the case, only one still faces prosecution. In February 2005, Mattis was reprimanded after he told a public event that he enjoys fighting in places like Afghanistan because "it’s fun to shoot some people." He said, "You know, it’s a hell of a hoot…I’ll be right upfront with you, I like brawling."