John Bolton and his mustache are not going to be national security Advisor to President Donald Trump after all, though he will apparently serve in some as yet unnamed capacity. Instead, the president has named Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, a real soldier/scholar who is steeped in counter-insurgency strategy. McMaster is quite willing to tell the bureaucracy and his political masters no if he feels that it is warranted, an excellent quality for someone who will sit at the right hand of the president.

McMaster is well known as the author of a study of the Vietnam War entitled “Dereliction of Duty” in which he made a convincing case that the responsibility for America’s defeat resides in the Joint Chiefs of Staff and not, as is widely supposed, on the shoulders of President Lyndon Johnson and other Washington politicians.

The standard myth is that the political leadership tied the hands of the military. McMaster suggests that the military leadership at the time had no clue as to the details of the conflict or how to win.

McMaster’s other claim to fame stems from his service in Iraq. In 2005, while the Coalition forces were beset due to the insurgency. McMaster was in command of a regiment in a town called Tal Afar then in the grip of jihadis. Using a combination of force and a strategy that involved showing respect for local people and their customs, McMaster’s regiment managed to tamp down on the violence to a great extent.

His exploits caught the attention of General David Petraeus who had McMaster assigned to him as an aid and used some of his ideas for the Surge that broke the back of the insurgency.

McMaster’s experience and ideas will almost certainly serve the United States in good stead in its most immediate national security problem, the destruction of ISIS. But the terrorist army that has created a little slice of hell on Earth in the Middle East will be just one of the problems that McMaster will have to help deal with.

Rest assure that another adult has joined the Trump administration, much to its and America’s benefit.

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