Many in the conservative media are urging President Trump to fire his national security advisor, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster. McMaster should be fired forthwith, but the reasons being argued are subsidiary to the primary reasons McMaster has to go.
The debate over McMaster has been framed in terms of his loyalty to Trump. Though loyalty to the president is important, McMaster’s ideology and bad judgment are what make him unfit for the position.
For eight years the Obama administration relentlessly politicized everything it touched. Those dedicated to Obama’s ideology were embedded in every agency at every level.
Obama’s failures are numerous and highly damaging to our national security. His State Department produced an awful arms agreement with the Russians, tried desperately to pressure Israel into an untenable peace agreement, and proudly signed Obama’s nuclear weapons deal with Iran.
Obama’s Defense Department supported the massive spending cuts Obama engineered. Those cuts are the source of the readiness crisis we now face which, for example, leave about 70% of Marine Corps F-18s unfit to fly combat missions. Moreover, the Pentagon never took a stand against Obama’s Iran deal or his dangerous Russian strategic weapons deal.
The Pentagon failed to alert American forces on the anniversaries of 9/11 (on one of which the Benghazi attacks occurred) and dedicated itself to fighting climate change and social experimentation such as admitting women to special forces and welcoming transgendered people. The army secretary ordered commanders to compromise readiness in favor of lactation needs of serving soldiers.
How far down the politicization of the military penetrated was demonstrated in 2015 in the rebellion of dozens of Central Command’s intelligence analysts who had been ordered to change their findings to match Obama’s political decisions regardless of the facts.
The military became divided between those who supported Obama’s way of war — denying Islam had anything to do with terrorism, cutting military spending, and withdrawing American influence wherever it became noticeable — and those who could not get promoted to high rank.
In the Obama White House, the central political organization was the National Security Council, which became a sort of politburo, pushing Obama’s ideology, agenda, and falsehoods around the government and media.
For example, within about a dozen hours of the Benghazi attacks, the CIA had produced talking points for administration officials saying that the Libyan diplomatic outpost and CIA annex had been attacked by terrorists. That’s where NSC intervened.
Obama and Hillary Clinton wanted to spin a story against the truth. They called in UN Ambassador — later National Security Advisor — Susan Rice, who had heard from Ben Rhodes, then the deputy national security advisor for strategic communications. In an infamous memo, he changed the infamous Benghazi talking points to mislead the American people and claim that there were demonstrations, not planned terrorist attacks, that erupted in riots.
Their objective — as stated in their contemporaneous emails — was to claim that the Libyan intervention wasn’t a major policy failure by Obama. Rice, five days after the attacks, went on four Sunday political talk shows to tell that obvious lie.
Rice established herself as a champion liar then (and afterwards), for a time even exceeding Hillary Clinton’s reputation. Time after time, Rice and her staff tried to spin the facts away to help Obama.
President Trump’s first national security advisor, retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, didn’t last long enough to reform the NSC staff and rid it of the Obama loyalists. The holdovers from Rice’s staff, one source tells me, number in the dozens. Trump’s second advisor, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, has been there for months but hasn’t removed most of the Obama hirelings. Several dozen remain, many in positions of significant responsibility.
There are four people in positions of responsibility in the NSC who have been identified by a source as people who had been “direct reports” to Rhodes — i.e., who worked under his direct supervision — who McMaster has protected and retained. They are: Abigail Grace (Special Assistant), Fernando Cutz (NSC Director for South America), Andrea Hall (NSC Senior Director for WMD, Terrorism & Threat Reduction), and Merry Lin (Director for Global and Asia Economics).
Why would any national security advisor working for Trump not rid the NSC of these people immediately and the dozens of others as soon as he could? One source told me there are over fifty such holdovers on the NSC staff.
None of the four — and the other holdovers — should remain employed at the NSC. Every one of them should be viewed as a political operative dedicated to thwarting whatever Trump wants to do.
McMaster recently told an NSC staff meeting, “There’s no such thing as a holdover.” That is simply bizarre.
The problem is that McMaster is the ultimate holdover. He comprises a significant threat to national security.
Since March I’ve written that McMaster should not be national security advisor because he believes that Islam has no relationship to terrorism. I pointed out several of his remarks to that effect including a 2016 speech in which he said ISIS is an example of the terrorist “…enemy who cynically use a perverted interpretation of religion to incite hatred and justify horrific cruelty against innocents.”
In that article, I demonstrated that McMaster’s view of Islam is the same sort of politically correct garbage that we’ve been fed since 9/11. There are, I wrote, two schools of Islamic jurisprudence. They believe either that the Koran requires Muslims to terrorize, slay or enslave everyone who isn’t a believer in Islam or that it only permits them to do so.
I concluded that either the terrorists are either the most faithful believers or they have an equal claim to their faith as all Muslims do. In either case, McMaster is profoundly wrong. Anyone whose view of the terrorist threat is so wrong should not be national security advisor.
Obama drove our military and foreign policy in this direction for eight years. In those years, McMaster was promoted by a military system that followed sheepishly in lockstep with the president. No general or admiral resigned on principle.
McMaster is part of the politically correct military who were promoted under Obama for fealty to his politics. Echoing Obama, McMaster has told NSC staff to not use the term “radical Islamic terrorism” because it is inaccurate and unhelpful, insisting that terrorists are “un-Islamic.”
A man dedicated to that PC belief will always advise the president to refuse to fight the Islamist ideology. Mr. Trump, who clearly is not an expert in any matters of national security, has and will continue listen to him. And continue to lose the wars we are fighting.
Contrast that with Trump’s first national security advisor, Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn. Flynn co-wrote The Field of Fight with my friend Michael Ledeen. In the book’s penultimate chapter, Flynn prescribed his formula to defeat the Islamic terror networks. He said defeating them means:
McMaster and Defense Secretary James Mattis produced a strategy for Afghanistan that the president rejected angrily about two weeks ago. The president reportedly did so because it recommended another round of what we’ve been doing unsuccessfully in Afghanistan for almost sixteen years. If the president wants new ideas and a strategy that isn’t a rehash of past failures, he’s not going to get it from those two.
He could have gotten them from Mike Flynn. When Flynn was fired (properly so for lying to the Vice President), Trump was convinced reportedly by Sen. John McCain and disgraced Gen. David Petraeus to replace him with McMaster.
McMaster’s recent actions in firing several top National Security Council staffers proves that his deep-seated faithfulness to the Obama doctrine. He has fired people from the NSC staff who deviate from that doctrine by opposing Obama’s Iran nuclear weapons deal and who have a good understanding of the terrorist threat. He fires those people while retaining the Obama acolytes.
Former CIA director James Clapper admitted last week that both he and Susan Rice were engaged in unmasking the identities of U.S. citizens in 2016. Remember that NSA interception of communications under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act sometimes intercepts communications between foreign agents and people in the U.S. The law requires that the identities of those people are “masked” — i.e., concealed from intelligence consumers — unless those consumers, in specific instances where a national security interest is in play, request that they be unmasked.
Clapper and Rice almost certainly abused their powers to unmask people for the political purpose of spying on Trump’s campaign. Who among the many Obama holdovers among the NSC staff — people who McMaster is retaining — helped Rice do that?
These aren’t just bad decisions by McMaster: they’re proof that he believes the Obamaites who helped the Obama NSC produce lies and may have helped the Rice and Clapper spy on the Trump campaign are essential to his functions.
Last, and importantly, is the fact that McMaster didn’t resign from the army to take the job he holds. He’s a careerist, more interested in getting one final promotion, to full general, than in anything else. He’s sure to write a tell-all book when he leaves the NSC.
That’s the person Trump now trusts with the job of national security advisor. The president continues to do so at our risk.