Last night’s (5/22/17) The Fresh Air program was enlightening, for those of us who want to keep up on the soap opera playing itself out within the corridors of Washington.
I wonder if anyone wants to discuss how power and pressure changes the players?
How once strong individuals along with once rock solid ethics seem to get dissolved away, when Power dangles in front of the ambitious.
To me National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster seems to be the current prime example of this Shakespearean tragedy unfolding
in a once proud strong defender of our Constitution and way of government and the absolute need for honesty in gathering and assessing facts.
“Churchill, Orwell And The Fight Against Totalitarianism”
Interview with Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Tom Ricks
... Tom Ricks has covered these men and is going to talk with us about them. Ricks is a former Pentagon correspondent for The Washington Post.
He’s written five books about the military and America’s wars. His best-seller about the Iraq War, titled “Fiasco,” kind of became the title of the war itself.
Now Ricks writes the blog The Best Defense for Foreign Policy magazine.
General Flynn, I think, rose to levels above his level of competence, is a very naive man, not well-informed about the world despite being an intelligence officer.
And I wasn’t surprised to see him flame out very quickly. ...
General Mattis is almost the opposite of General Flynn. Mattis, who’s now the secretary of defense, is one of the more thoughtful people I’ve ever met in uniform or out. ...
McMaster is from a generation after Mattis. McMaster was a captain in the 1991 Gulf War and actually led a cavalry troop in one of the key battles in the ‘91 war ...
Near the end of that talk, he touch on the need for honesty ....
It’s been sad for me to watch McMaster in recent weeks because he’s a thoughtful man as well - more emotional, more big and physical than Mattis
but an intellectual himself. He wrote a very good book, called “Dereliction Of Duty,” about the Vietnam War and the failures of American generals
to tell the truth to American politicians, especially President Lyndon Johnson. And so it’s almost Shakespearean to see McMaster in the White House
as the national security adviser faced with the same situation, in many ways, that the Vietnam generals had. And when it’s his job to get up and speak truth to power,
instead he appears, in recent days, to have stood up and shielded the president from the truth and dissembled about the truth rather than insisting on the truth.
And I think that…
GROSS: Specifically, what are you referring to? ...
GROSS: And you think that’s what he’s doing now is trying to kind of protect the president or protect the morale of the administration.
RICKS: Yes. And I think he failed to see that his job is not to protect the president. It’s to protect the nation.
And what I fear General McMaster has done in recent weeks by coming out and seeking to protect the president is not his job.
He shouldn’t protect the president. He should protect the nation.
And I fear that through his recent actions, he has enabled President Trump to continue to operate in this very reckless, ignorant way.
Now, I think what McMaster thinks he’s doing is the best he can do in that situation. What I fear he doesn’t see is he’s enabling it to become worse.
GROSS: So you’ve written that you don’t think that McMaster will dutifully defend President Trump for long. Why do you think that?