His record for both erudition and steadiness of battlefield nerves are not in question. He has a PhD in history, wrote a 1997 book about how LBJ, Robert McNamara and the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the mid-1960s made a disaster of US involvement in Vietnam. In 1991, he led a tank force in the 23-minute Battle of 73 Easting during the Persian Gulf war, destroying 28 Iraqi tanks, 16 personnel carriers and over 30 trucks. In 2005, his unit won a battle against al-Qaida in the Iraqi city of Tel Afar by setting up small outposts throughout the city and living among the populace, gaining the residents' trust and thereby getting important intelligence.
It seems he views Russia far more warily than Trump or a lot of people among Trump's inner circle and supporters, telling Hugh Hewitt in a MSNBC interview that Putin's a very bad actor.
As Noah Rothman at Commentary points out, the accusations are getting throbbingly outlandish:
I certainly sat up and took notice of w hat those dismissals have brought out in someone I've long admired, Caroline Glick:
Soon after the firings, the critical articles and posts about McMaster ramped up, several of which have White House sourcing. Caroline Glick, a conservative columnist at the Jerusalem Post, posted on her Facebook page late on August 2 that McMaster is “deeply hostile to Israel and to Trump” and implied he was sympathetic to Islamist ideology. Citing senior White House officials “aware of his behavior,” Glick wrote that McMaster “constantly refers to Israel as the occupying power and insists falsely and constantly that a country named Palestine existed where Israel is located until 1948 when it was destroyed by the Jews.”Wow!
I read the linked Facebook post, and she paints a most unflattering picture.
There is, it appears, another side to the story, though:
Israeli officials responded to mounting allegations that US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is anti-Israel, saying that these were blatantly false and he was a staunch supporter of the Jewish state.
“Anyone who meets McMaster among us and is in contact with him is constantly impressed by how pro-Israeli he is,” an unnamed Israeli security official told the Haaretz daily on Saturday. “The connection with him is excellent.”
The officials also noted that during US President Donald Trump’s recent trip to Israel, McMaster’s held a lengthy meeting with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, and highlighted his regular contacts with Defense Ministry officials.Then there are the comment threads under each of these articles, and the Twitter exchanges about it all.
You know what I see going on?
We have lost all sense of nuance in this world.
Look, I want to know more about where McMaster really stands on Israel, and I'm dismayed that he has signed off on these every-90-days assessments of whether Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA, when the damn thing needs to be scrapped, yet this afternoon.
But you'll notice something about all those who say McMaster is indisputably a blackguard: They have cast their lot with Trump, and see him as an effective president. Glick, Breitbart, Frontpage. While I completely understand the desire to eradicate any vestige of Obama policy, which was indisputably anti-Israel and pro-appeasement of Iran, this readiness to paint someone of McMaster's experience and intellectual depth as the equivalent of Jimmy Carter or Walt and Mearsheimer, this insistence that one size up a figure on the public scene in ten minutes and come to a conclusion impervious to further consideration is the essence of what makes post-America such a brittle place.
Finally, something that Trump's water-carriers need to face squarely is that McMaster continues to enjoy the endorsement of Squirrel-Hair himself .
The odd think about the purist insistence on litmus tests coming from Trump's slavish devotees is that there is no discernible doctrine by which to gauge whether someone is sufficiently on board with "the agenda."
It may be that the balance sheet for McMaster eventually necessitates cutting him loose, but at this juncture, in a White House trying to get its bearings after some of the wildest upheaval ever seen in an administration, it might behoove us to take a deep breath, let a few things play out, and remember that there are degrees of these things, and not to ascribe villain status to those who don't fully live up to what we're looking for in key foreign-policy figures.