With North Korea only the hottest crisis now facing President Trump, we’re glad he’s just re-emphasized his faith in his national security adviser. The campaign to drive H.R. McMaster off the White House island is built on a pack of lies.
“He’s my friend, and he’s a very talented man. I like him, and I respect him,” Trump noted Thursday. As well he should.
The smears against Gen. McMaster range from the categorically false to the absurd: He’s supposedly hostile to Israel and soft on Iran, a “globalist” opposed to president’s core agenda: all bull, all based on anonymous gossip.
Yes, he has eased out several staffers hired by his predecessor, Gen. Mike Flynn. So what? He’s entitled to his own team. (Flynn may also have overestimated some folks’ fitness: Journalism isn’t great experience for national-security work.)
And take a look at the closest thing to a specific charge against McMaster: that he cleared Obama-era NSA Susan Rice in the “unmasking” scandal.
Ironically, this started when a Trump-critical columnist Eli Lake reported that McMaster had renewed Rice’s security clearance despite reports that her “unmasking” efforts may have facilitated leaks to cause trouble for Team Trump.
In fact, McMaster merely signed a pile of routing forms renewing the clearances of all past national security advisers — forms that were prepared by one of the staffers he’s now let go.
The fact is that McMaster, a career military man, is as non-ideological as it gets. Yes, he’s been cautious about killing the Iran nuclear deal — but only because it’s not clear that’s wise, since so much of the damage has already been done. (And both Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis agree.)
Crucially, he’s also creative: As a colonel in Iraq in 2004, he invented the counter-insurgency tactics that later became the blueprint for the Bush surge, which finally turned the tide against al Qaeda.
Above all, he…