H.R. McMaster Quotes
“Military operations alone cannot defeat an insurgency because only economic development and political action can address most sources of disaffection. If military operations are not conducted consistent with political objectives or occur without economic development, they are certain to alienate the population further, reduce the amount of intelligence available to [...] security forces, and strengthen rather than weaken the enemy.”
“All descriptions of how near certainty is to be achieved are based primarily on emerging technologies. A Global Information Grid of “persistent surveillance” will gather information and share that information in a networked “collaborative information environment.” Automated systems will fuse that intelligence and make possible “virtual collaboration among geographically dispersed” analysts who will generate intelligence and, ultimately, knowledge. Some even assume that this “robust intelligence” will deliver not only a clear appreciation for the current situation, but also generate “predictive intelligence” that will allow US forces to “anticipate the unexpected." Despite its enthusiastic embrace, the assumption of near-certainty in future war is a dangerous fallacy.”
“If the Chiefs had successfully pressed with the president their position that the United States needed to act forcefully to defeat the North, they might have forced a difficult choice between war and withdrawal from South Vietnam. Through their own actions as well as through the manipulation of Taylor and McNamara, the Chiefs missed their opportunity to influence the formulation of a strategic concept for Vietnam, and thereafter always found themselves in the difficult position of questioning a policy that the president had already approved. The intellectual foundation for deepening American involvement in Vietnam had been laid without the participation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 5”
“In “Flag Plot,” the naval operations room, Anderson became irritated with McNamara’s specific instructions on how to run the blockade. The admiral told McNamara that the Navy had been conducting blockades since the days of John Paul Jones and suggested that the defense secretary return to his office and let the Navy run the operation. McNamara rose from his chair and retorted that the operation was “not a blockade but a means of communication between Kennedy and Khrushchev,”
“The president and many of those who served him were sympathetic to the New Left interpretation of foreign affairs, one that considers so-called Western capitalist imperialism as the primary cause of the world’s problems. “We have history,” President Obama said. “We have history in Iran, we have history in Indonesia and Central America. So we have to be mindful of our history when we start talking about intervening, and understand the source of other people’s suspicions.” An underlying premise of the New Left interpretation of history is that an overly powerful America is more often a source of, rather than part of the solution to, the world’s problems.”
“The over-optimism that energized U.S. foreign policy under the George W. Bush administration contributed to an underappreciation of the risks of action, such as the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The pessimism about the efficacy of U.S. engagement abroad that influenced U.S. foreign policy under the Barack Obama administration led to an underappreciation of the risks of inaction, such as the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011 or the decision to forgo military reprisals for the Assad regime’s mass murder of Syrian civilians with chemical weapons in 2013. Both forms of strategic narcissism were based mainly on wishful thinking and the definition of problems as one might like them to be as a way to avoid harsher realities.”
“Consistency and will are, therefore, important dimensions of strategic competence. But our will is diminished. As our foreign policies swung from over-optimism to resignation, identity politics interacted with new forms of populism. That interaction divided us and diminished confidence in our democratic principles, institutions, and processes.”
- Date of birth: July 24, 1962
- Born: in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The United States.
- Description: Major General Herbert Raymond McMaster is a career officer in the U.S. Army. As of this writing (September 2013) he is commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Ft. Benning, Georgia. General McMaster gained some notoriety in 1997 when his doctoral dissertation was published as 'Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam'. It is generally accepted that the controversy over that book had, at least initially, an adverse effect on his career, as he was passed over several times during the ensuing years before receiving promotion.