Former Marine Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s current national security advisor, is the author of Dereliction of Duty, a look at how President Lyndon Johnson conducted the Vietnam War.
Last Sunday, the Washington Post’s Carlos Lozada reviewed the 1997 non-fiction book, noting that McMaster hadn’t minced words.
McMaster argues, for instance, that LBJ had a “real propensity for lying.” McMaster also takes Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to task for not telling Johnson hard truths about the war, and going along with what they knew were poor policies.
“McMaster explains how a culture of deceit and deference, of divided and misguided loyalties, of policy overrun by politics, resulted in an ever-deeper U.S. involvement in Vietnam,” Lozada reports.
Lozada then compares the dishonest bubble within which LBJ made decisions about Vietnam to the people around President Trump today, fearing they too will fail to tell the president inconvenient truths or dare risk his wrath by opposing his policy whims.
That tilted Trump focus is the 24/7 obsession of the national press corps.
But this problem isn’t new with Trump. It’s universal.
The wise have long understood that truth is the first casualty of war. If not taken out before hostilities even begin.
It is critical to find people of integrity to work at the White House and tell presidents the unvarnished truth. And even more critical is to pick presidents with integrity to tell the American people — the ultimate decision-makers — the truth.
It’s long past time that U.S. foreign policies be publicly discussed — and decided — by an informed electorate.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.