Memorial Day is a federal holiday that honors and remembers the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. For most citizens it marks the start of summer. Celebrated with backyard cookouts and late evening fireworks throughout our land. A long weekend to gather with friends and family in the warmth of late spring. Some will attend their communities parades to honor our military and it’s rank that has fallen in service to country. Most have not served nor felt the grief that the ultimate sacrifice carries to lost service members’ families: mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters dead and lost to this life. My family is such a family. We know the price of freedom. We understand personnel casualty. For the last eight years Memorial Day is celebrated at Arlington National Cemetery. I will be there Monday. Remembering the life of my brother. The lives of my brothers-in-arms buried near him. The forfeiture of their lives while preserving freedom demands that today’s leadership make due on the cost by upholding their solemn oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”. Foreign and domestic- let that sink in.
General H.R. McMaster is a storied general. As a captain commanding an armor troop during Desert Storm he and his men faced overwhelming numbers destroying an Iraqi Armor Regiment of the Republican Guard. For his bravery and leadership Captain McMaster was awarded the Silver Star. Later, McMaster wrote “Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamera, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam”. Read throughout the military, the book focuses on failure of leadership to speak truth to power. “This angry book, by a former instructor at West Point, focuses on the escalation of the war in Vietnam from 1963 to 1965 and manages to indict just about everybody” wrote Foreign Affairs Magazine. The main point- strong leadership requires a dedication to truth. McMaster’s stellar combat leadership performance leaves no doubt of his faithfulness to country. General H.R. McMaster is a proven patriot.
When named National Security Adviser most gave a sigh of relief. Sanity in the White House. NPR spoke of McMaster “considered a strong choice, that he is both aggressive physically and intellectually, not the kind of guy that would back down to anyone in the White House in terms of staff or otherwise”. A war hero famous for speaking truth to power that will help make us safe in the time of Trump. Then came the firing of F.B.I. Director Comey and the fallout that followed. A Russia meeting in the Oval Office the very next morning. Comments by Trump that Comey is a “nut job” then highly sensitive intelligence passed to Russian meddlers compromising human intelligence gathered from a foreign partner. McMaster was in the room- a party to the conversation- knowing full well the president’s actions represented a breach of trust to our foreign partner- a vital partner in the protection of our interest foreign and domestic. The Washington Post wrote “President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting”. How did McMaster stand up to power? When faced with Trump’s wrong- McMaster went the way of Billy Bush- “We don’t say what’s classified and what’s not classified,” continuing, “What the president shared was wholly appropriate.” Nothing Trump did was “wholly appropriate.” McMaster’s lack of dedication to truth as it relates to Trump’s passing of highly secret intelligence to the Russians is a dereliction of duty. We must challenge and demand that General H.R. McMaster stands up to Trump. “The war in Vietnam was not lost in the field, nor was it lost on the front pages of the New York Times or the college campuses. It was lost in Washington, D.C.” McMaster wrote. Lost in D.C. due to the failures of Washington’s leadership, leadership that McMaster is a part of today.
Will McMaster fall victim to President Trump’s graveyard of falsehoods or will he stand up to this historically unpopular, unwavering and overreaching newly elected president? General McMaster may feel he is the guardian of the Republic from his position of power, but as long as Trump is enabled by others, leaving him in control of our military, the enablers become derelict in their duty while failing their pledge to protect and defend our country from all enemies- foreign or domestic. The eye’s of the fallen are watching. General McMaster must pay the debt to the fallen. He must uphold his oath to protect the country demanding that power speaks the truth.