If not in individuals then certainly in groups. Particularly in groups of men in which each individual attempts to establish his will as dominant. Each fears failure and loss of affection, and yet the will to dominate causes failure and loss of affection, thus increasing fear. It is a compelling story, made more so The Presidential Psycho-drama of Fear War originates from psychosis. It is a compelling story, made more so by the fact it was written by a career officer on active duty. McMaster does have an axe to grind, but it is one that is sharp to begin with.
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If not in individuals then certainly in groups. Particularly in groups of men in which each individual attempts to establish his will as dominant. Each fears failure and loss of affection, and yet the will to dominate causes failure and loss of affection, thus increasing fear. It is a compelling story, made more so The Presidential Psycho-drama of Fear War originates from psychosis.
It is a compelling story, made more so by the fact it was written by a career officer on active duty. McMaster does have an axe to grind, but it is one that is sharp to begin with. His thesis is that the exclusion of the military leadership from decision-making by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, led to incoherent and contradictory actions that were compounded as the war progressed.
In short his argument is that "The intellectual foundation for deepening American involvement in Vietnam had been laid without the participation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But McMaster also conveys another message, perhaps inadvertently, which is relevant for more than historical reasons, namely that deceit and duplicity have been embedded in the Executive Branch of the government of the United States long before Donald Trump made them so apparent through his political inexperience.
McMaster shows, as have others, that lying to the press and the public about Vietnam was routine for every administration from Eisenhower through Nixon. However this propagandistic lying was the tip of an iceberg of duplicity. All the key players - the President, his staff, successive ambassadorial and military leadership teams in Vietnam, the Secretary of Defence, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and virtually every executive agency involved in the war severally and collectively lied to each other consistently as a matter of policy.
This is more than merely disfuntion. Persistence suggests something systematic, a self-defeating but self-inflicted group-inability to perceive or act on reality. Largely there are institutionalised motivations for this continuing inability to cope with the existential situation. The self-interested departmental rivalries among the military and intellectual arrogance by the civilians running the Department of Defence for example seem endemic.
And not just during the Vietnam era. Certainly the dissonance between domestic political and international military objectives continued to be problematic during US involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. However, what McMaster demonstrates without ever making the point explicit is that the systematic deceit by the administration is not something of narrow historical relevance to the war in Vietnam, or even to the wider issue of the organisational effectiveness of the executive branch.
The central problem arises from attempting to successfully wage any sort of limited but extended warfare in a democratic society. It is a psychotic symptom to act as if this were not the case. American democracy is established on the idea of separation of powers. In itself this concept promotes tension and duplicity, particularly between the President and members of Congress who, as has been shown recently, have no necessary commonality of interests. The next election looms over all decisions.
This separation of powers is also a political fact within the executive branch in which personal ambitions, professional experiences, and abiding animosities and friendships dominate policy-making.
It is not just Trump who has had problems with staff rivalries, embarrassing leaks and dissident agents. In such an environment deceit becomes a necessity for the creation of almost any policy from war, to welfare, to justice.
Perhaps this is true for all forms of government. But the motivating factor which seems to be unique to democracy is fear by the man at the top. A common trait that seems to run from Kennedy, through Johnson and Nixon to Trump is fear, fear of failure, of rejection, of being found to be inadequate, in a real sense of loss of love. Presidents, it seems, are very insecure people. They appear ready to turn psychotic at any moment.
Lying, even when it is unnecessary and irrational becomes the norm. This is the bleak message I take from McMaster. He may be right.
H. R. McMaster
Early life[ edit ] McMaster was born in Philadelphia on July 24, He earned a commission as a second lieutenant upon graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point in McMaster earned a Master of Arts and Ph. His thesis was critical of American strategy in the Vietnam War , which was further detailed in his book Dereliction of Duty McMaster have lunch with service members on July 18,
Dereliction of Duty Reconsidered: The Book that Made the National Security Advisor
McMaster, would bring order and professionalism to the vital office that Flynn—who has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his activities as national security adviser designate—had abused. To generate sound policy, the interagency process led by the national security adviser requires the collegial consideration of a generous range of official viewpoints and perspectives. McMaster; drawing by Siegfried Woldhek Flynn had been unlikely to foster that kind of open conversation. He was a shrill Islamophobe and right-wing ideologue who tolerated no disagreement and recruited acolytes he had groomed in previous active-service positions. As an active-duty soldier, McMaster probably felt compelled to accept the job out of deference to the commander-in-chief—whoever he or she was.
Dereliction of Duty