H.R. McMaster, Donald Trump’s new national security advisor, has been called a hero for many reasons. He was credited with executing a big strategical turnabout for American troops in Iraq — a move that won him glowing praise in places like The New Yorker, not generally known for favorable treatment of military brass. But McMaster stood apart in that he was one of their own at The New Yorker — a genuine writer. Not just a soldier but a historian, McMaster published Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam — a seminal deconstruction of the Pentagon follies that cost so many lives in Vietnam. An insider’s insider when he wrote it (as he is now), McMaster’s credentials as a no-nonsense truthteller, uninterested in protecting egos run amok were established publicly by Dereliction of Duty.
McMaster spared no institution or official in exposing the deadly errors and bad thinking — and this independence won him respect instead of blowback. It was a retroactive whistleblowing act, and McMaster’s whistle was piercing. The Wall Street Journal revealed it was “the hottest book among some top brass in the Pentagon.” Here’s what espionage master Tom Clancy and conservative talking head Rush Limbaugh had to say about McMaster’s Dereliction of Duty:
Rush Limbaugh: “Stunning. Go get Dereliction of Duty, a blistering and scholarly expose.”
Tom Clancy: “A fabulous piece of scholarship. This book will open a whole new chapter in our study of Vietnam.”