Gen. H.R. McMaster, President Trump's surprise pick for national security adviser, will speak his mind and not worry if he ruffles feathers at the White House, said author and historian Michael Keane.
Keane spoke to Newsmax recently about several of the prospects mentioned as successors to Gen. Michael Flynn. "Gen. McMaster is fearless," said Keane, whose books on military history include the much-praised "Patton: Blood, Guts and Prayer," and who was once embedded with Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq. "How many officers write books blasting the conduct of the top brass in the service and the civilians in charge and expect to move up?"
McMaster did just that, Keane noted, with his controversial book "Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam."
McMaster writes and documents what a lot of Vietnam veterans said when they came home: that the Johnson administration, notably then-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, did not wage the war in Vietnam successfully. He also faults Vietnam-era military leadership — particularly Gens. Maxwell Taylor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1962-64; and Earle Wheeler, Joint Chiefs chairman from 1964-70 — for not standing up to the civilians over Vietnam and being distracted by the bureaucratic infighting at the time.
In Keane's words, "You don't write books like that if your goal is to keep being promoting and moving up." But McMaster did just that. He went on to earn a Silver Star for leading coalition forces during the Iraqi War of 1991 at the famed "Battle of 73 Eastings." In that battle, McMaster's forces were outnumbered by Saddam Hussein's elite units but overcame them without a single casualty.
Among those pushing for McMaster's appointment were Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who served under him, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
Like Alexander Haig when he served on the National Security Council staff under Richard Nixon, and Colin Powell when he was Ronald Reagan's national security adviser, Lt. Gen. McMaster will not retire from the Army while on Trump's staff. This means that, just as Haig went on to be supreme commander of NATO, and Powell chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, McMaster may be in line for bigger things when he leaves the White House.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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