H.R. McMaster is New NSA

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Going from Flynn to McMaster feels like going from Beetle Bailey to Jack Ryan. But I don’t know much about him.

He is, importantly, full of degrees and the author of Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam, based on his PhD thesis.

How do we do from a marginal Putin stooge/Russian asset/whateverthefuck to a highly qualified and possibly super ethical choice in one fell swoop? How does someone like McMaster accept an appointment like this if there isn’t something wrong with him?

I do have a hypothesis to explain part of this: Trump’s first choices for everything, including all those that Trump’s fellow Republicans approved so gleefully, were mostly Bannon choices. That would make sense given Bannon’s stated goal of wanting to destroy the state. For the few such appointments that either self destructed or that somehow managed to not get confirmed by the Sycophants who call themselves Senators, the second choice is, simply, not Bannon’s.

Just a suggestion. If you have a better explanation, let’s hear it.

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16 thoughts on “H.R. McMaster is New NSA

  1. I like your hypothesis. And as to who made the choice… do you think, or are you implying that perhaps the professionals in the intelligence and security community might have given ill Donniy an offer that he couldn’t refuse?

  2. His primary thesis in his book seems to be that Vietnam was lost because LBJ didn’t pay enough heed to the military leaders who wanted to ramp up the war immediately – 500,000 plus troops and pedal to the metal. He blames the president for being concerned with “short term political goals” here at home and the military leadership for not making themselves heard, and eviscerates McNamara for (as McMaster sees it) telling LBJ what he wanted to hear instead of what he needed to hear, and for ignoring the military’s own simulations that repeatedly showed their preferred approach ending in a long slide to stalemate in Vietnam (and not passing that on to LBJ).

    I don’t know what, if anything, the thrust of his book says about his current view of the military’s role, but: if he still has a hard on about the importance of having the President listen to the advice of the military, there could be some interesting times with Trump.

  3. If the IC community is making this pick then the bait to Trump is only going to be take the pick and we’ll only let enough info out to force your resignation. Don’t take the pick and we can let out enough to have you charged with treason. They’re holding back intel because they know he and his team are a direct line to Putin. After all Drumpf wants a share of that $500B + Arctic oil/gas field that Tillerson and Putin want to develop.

  4. dean: “He blames the president for being concerned with “short term political goals” here at home and the military leadership for not making themselves heard”

    It’s been a long, long time since I’ve read the book, but my impression when I did was that he blamed McNamara far more than LBJ. But that might’ve just been confirmation bias on my part 🙂

  5. How does someone like McMaster accept an appointment like this if there isn’t something wrong with him?

    I am informed that McMaster is still on active duty, which means that for him the alternative to accepting the position is involuntary retirement. IOW, he felt he couldn’t say “No.”

  6. @#7:

    He may have been harder on MacNamara than LBJ, but I don’t think the “percentage” difference was that large. His view was that military leaders have as their duty to get their message to the civilian leadership, not to craft their message to meet leadership’s expectations. His views (IMO) on LBJ and MacNamara were

    – LBJ was too distracted with “minor” and “short term” goals to focus effectively on the war
    – MacNamara was derelict in his duty for not conveying the facts about the war that were possessed by the military to LBJ

    He may view being derelict in duty as worse than LBJ’s “distractions”.

  7. Oh Trumpeter against “Faux News”!… me thinks thou protesteth too mucheth! And!… as the reason for your recent White House buffoonish “Faux News protestation” revolves around the “Faux Media’s” recent “Russian collusion revelations” involving Michael Flynn (and, which sparked Flynn’s “resignation”!), I thought it appropriate to offer up what you– OBVIOUSLY!– don’t want others to know about…
    Inasmuch as FORMER National Security Adviser Michael Flynn “resigned” after media PROOFS emerged of his COLLUSIVE COMMUNICATIONS with Russian Officials DURING this just past U.S. Federal Election (the which, you are now FEIGNING INDIGNATION!)!… or Flynn could have– and can presently!– legally challenge this “TORTIOUS LEAK”!… this NOW PROVES that the claims of YOUR INVOLVEMENT in COLLUDING WITH RUSSIA/ PUTIN TO UNDERMINE HILLARY CLINTON (AND, THE DNC!), A-R-E R-E-A-L (as YOU, OBVIOUSLY, had close ties with Flynn– and knew what Flynn was up to!)! And so, this then makes YOU, Trumpeter, a TRAITOR (as TECHNICALLY REVEALED in, “So what are we supposed to do now?”, by Keith Olbermann!)! And so!… FINALLY!… we can now arrest your *ss! Unless!… and of course!… you, and/ or Flynn can PROVE that the info released re Michael Flynn is “FAKE NEWS”!… and, on other grounds, is T-O-R-T-I-O-U-S!
    In other words!… FAUX NEWS WHINER!… get your BIG MOUTH into a Civil Courtroom, and put your FAUX NEWS ALLEGATIONS DOLLARS where your “BLOWHOLE” is!
    And folks!… failing to arrest Trump on grounds of RUSSIAN COLLUSION, places the ENTIRE American Intelligence machinery under suspicion of either UTTER INCOMPETENCE, or TRAITOROUS INDIFFERENCE to the safety and security of the American people!… AND!… to the safety and security of the GLOBAL COMMUNITY! And moreover!… if Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster is unwilling– OR UNABLE!– to place as P-A-R-A-M-O-U-N-T the evidence linking Flynn and Trump to TRAITOROUS COLLUSION with Putin and with Russia, then McMaster needn’t bother unpacking!… and he should seek out his “political pipedreams, and fortune”, somewhere else!
    And thus, and so!… the recent sociopsychopathic circumlocutory obfuscation emanating from the lips of Rep. Devin NUNSENSE, Chairreignor of the House “Intelligence Committee”, is MOST GALLING!
    Frankly, his “AUTHORITATIVE INTIMATION” smacks of the same BULLSH*T EXCUSES offered up by critics of Julian Assange, afterupon Assange’s revelation that innocent citizens were killed in U.S. Military efforts to capture the “bad guys”! Rather than admit to the TRAITOROUS ACTIONS of Michael Flynn… and thereby, Donald Trump!… NUNSENSE would prefer to CLOAK these actions under the “slight-of-hand” of FAKE NEWS, and CRIMINAL SPYING against Michael Flynn and Donald Trump! And in the same manner that sundry have attempted to CLOAK the MURDEROUS ACTIONS of sundry members of the U.S. Military during the outset of Assange’s famous WikiLeak of AMERICAN MILITARY MURDERS! And it remains to be seen whether a Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster will be following in the same footsteps as those of Rep. Devin NUNSENSE!… or, whether he will AWAKEN TO THE REALIZATION that his WOULD-BE boss is “forensically predisposed”, a cad, and, is deserving of JAIL TIME!
    The involvement of Devin NUNSENSE notwithstanding, we’ll soon learn of the full nature of Flynn’s communications!… and, of Trumpeter’s complicity!… with, or without the assistance of Trump’s new PET Security Advisor! The TRUTH W-I-L-L “win out”! And!… Flynn didn’t “resign” over N-O-T-H-I-N-G!… if it was N-O-T-H-I-N-G, he would have had the sense to “do battle”! But!… because the “INTRApersonal heat”– at least!– was on, he decided to “cut and run”! And which brings to mind the words within Proverbs 28: 1… and which reads:… “The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” [NIV]
    And so… Why did Michael Flynn flee?… Why was he unsettled by mere “FAKE NEWS”? Well!… the answer rests– in part!– between his ears!… within his CONSCIENCE! And simply put, he didn’t like what he had allowed (and thus, sought to end the “INTERNAL CONFLICT”!)!… and/ or!… he was so overwhelmed by the media PROOFS offered up, that he had BUT ONE CHOICE to mitigate/ to end the STEADFAST PRESSURE of media, and public scrutiny!
    As I’ve indicated above, Michael had– and has!– every opportunity to challenge any TORTIOUS IMPUGNING of his character (and ditto, for the Trumpeter!)!… of his “defense” of his past dealings with Russia, and with Hillary’s campaign and the DNC! But since he has chosen to reject challenging any “TORTIOUS ASCRIPTION”/ “external claims” re his past dealings with Russia, and with Hillary’s campaign and the DNC!… and thereby, has rejected standing up for his “vision” of a “SECURE AMERICA”!… we can be safe in assuming, that he was– and is!– WRONG for the job of SECURITY ADVISOR! And with that rejection, he has cast a shadow on his WOULD-BE boss!… and on the role his WOULD-BE boss has played, in the matters now under CONSCIONABLE INVESTIGATION elsewhere! And hence the reason, for the recent quickly mounted White House Press Office “MAGIC SHOW”, T-O D-U-P-E T-H-E D-U-P-A-B-L-E!
    Lastly, on the matter of the revelations of Julian Assange… Julian Assange will be vindicated for his uncovering of the truth re sundry U.S. Military Strategic “Tactical Operations” that saw the wrongful deaths of innocent civilians, in the same manner that sundry were vindicated in the uncovering of the truth about the My Lai Massacre (see, Wikipedia!)! And!… DARE A-N-Y-O-N-E suggest today, that revealing the truth about what happened at My Lai, was a BETRAYAL of the interests of America, and of American Security!
    Please!… no emails!

  8. “LBJ was too distracted with “minor” and “short term” goals to focus effectively on the war”

    LBJ was certainly focused on his domestic policy, such as medicare, civil rights act of 64, etc. There’s a lot of evidence that he deferred to McNamara regarding the war. McNamara, in “the fog of war”, tries to pretend that, well, things were foggy where some people would argue that he’s simply being dishonest and disingenuous. He was certainly aware that the rosy picture he presented was fiction. I think LBJ’s biggest mistake was the trust he put in McNamara which led him to delegate the execution of the war largely to him. And of course McMasters was harsh on the Joint Chiefs, too.

  9. I agree dhogaza with you thank you. These folks that seethe hate and anger our part of this countries problem. The Vietnam war was very bloody and cruel. Agent orange and the skin burning bombs disgusting. Watch the movie “Hearts and Minds” and then get back to me. Frickening disgusting. I was a teenager and the movie was so appalling and disgustingly painful.

  10. David Halberstam’s “The Best and the Brightest”
    Neil Sheehan’s “A Bright Shining Lie”
    Colonel David Hackworth’s “About Face”

    McMaster didn’t really add anything we didn’t already know.

  11. Eric Lund (#8): I am informed that McMaster is still on active duty, which means that for him the alternative to accepting the position is involuntary retirement. IOW, he felt he couldn’t say “No.”

    He’ll have to retire soon in any case. He’s only got room for one more ribbon! (ducking…)

  12. About that reading list: I assume Gen. McMaster was trying to keep the number of titles to a minimum — a wise policy. A good military leader will be very busy, even in peacetime. And of course everyone has their favorites.

    But regarding the Vietnam War, I find it puzzling that the list doesn’t include The Betrayal by Lt. Col. William R. Corson, USMC. Col. Corson was one of the few commanders to succeed at what was called “pacification” — winning the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people. In the book, he told enough truth about our failure in that war that when he submitted the manuscript, as regulations required, the Marine Corps moved to courtmartial him. (A public outcry prevented this.)

    Here’s my review.

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