National Security

Michael Anton speaks

Featured image Michael Anton is the author of the famous “The Flight 93 Election” article, a powerful statement of the case for supporting Donald Trump’s candidacy. Until recently, he served as deputy assistant to the president for strategic communications on the National Security Council. When Gen. McMaster was replaced as NSC head, Anton left the White House to return to teaching and commentating. “The Flight 93 Election” piece appeared in “American Greatness.” »

An “unbelievably small, limited” strike?

Featured image In 2013, when the Obama administration was trying to convince Congress to authorize an attack on Syria to enforce its “red line’ against Assad using chemical weapons, Secretary of State John Kerry promised that the attack would be an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.” He often used the word “degrade,” rather than “destroy,” to describe the impact of the contemplated attack on Syria’s chemical weapons program. Kerry received plenty »

Joltin’ Bolton

Featured image I tend to be an early riser, and I hate wasting time in traffic. Combine these two facts, and you’ll see why it was typical that during my many years in Washington I would arrive at the office in the morning sometimes as early as 6:45 am. And invariably I would be the second person to arrive. Always there ahead of me was the person in the office right next »

Military service by transgender individuals, Gen. Mattis speaks

Featured image The Trump administration has overturned the policy of its predecessor on military service by transgender individuals. The reversal of policy, including the limited instances in which the prior policy will be honored, strikes me as sound. However, I lack the expertise to have a view that should be taken seriously by others. The same is true of the judges who, in another sign that the country is headed in the »

Tom Cotton to CIA?

Featured image John noted last night that, according to strong rumors, Sen. Tom Cotton will resign from the Senate and succeed Mike Pompeo as head of the CIA. Pompeo, according to the same rumors, will become Secretary of State. I’d rather see Cotton in the Senate than at the hornets nest across the river in Langley (and, frankly, the hornets nest of the Trump administration). However, I think I understand why he »

Dems spin Niger as Trump’s Benghazi, Part Two

Featured image I wrote here about the attempt of Democrats to spin the Niger ambush into President Trump’s Benghazi. Other than the fact that both events occurred in Africa and resulted in four American deaths at the hands of terrorists, there is no material resemblance between the two. The ambush of military patrols is a fact of life. The killing of a U.S. ambassador, after pleas for beefed up security were ignored, »

Fake news about H.R. McMaster?

Featured image Yesterday, PJ Media published a disturbing report about H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s national security adviser. It said that at a meeting during the week of August 27 at the White House, McMaster brought with him Mustafa Javed Ali, NSC Senior Director on Counter-Terrorism. According to PJ Media’s report, Ali has been described by a senior administration source as being “opposed to Hezbollah’s designation as a terrorist organization.” The Israelis reportedly »

John Bolton on how to exit the Iranian nuclear deal

Featured image John Bolton says that in late July, Steve Bannon asked him to draw up a plan to exit the Iran nuclear deal. Although candidate Trump had repeatedly complained about the deal, President Trump, through two certifications to Congress, had twice declined to pull out of it. Moreover, according to Bolton, no option to remaining in the deal had been presented to Trump. Today, Bolton published his plan on NRO. The »

Trump resists temptation to give up in Afghanistan

Featured image In an outstanding speech tonight, President Trump announced that the U.S. will not pull out of Afghanistan, but instead will fight with less restraint and more military forces. Trump needed to do two main things in his speech: (1) explain why he was breaking his campaign promise to abandon Afghanistan and (2) distinguish his approach to the fight from President Obama’s. Accomplishing the second objective would help make the breach »

McMaster’s Obama holdovers, a second look

Featured image I’ve been critical of H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s national security adviser, and I continue to have reservations about him. However, I now believe that one of my posts on the subject was unfair and needs to be revisited. The post in question discussed Obama administration holdovers on McMaster’s staff. It was based on an article in the Daily Caller by Richard Pollock and Ethan Barton. Throughout the post, I tried »

McMaster’s Obama (don’t call them) holdovers

Featured image According to the Daily Caller, about 40 of the 250 officials on the National Security Council (NSC) are Obama administration holdovers. Their boss, H.R. McMaster, has instructed that these folks not be called “holdovers.” This might make sense from a team-building perspective. But since I’m not part of the team, they will be referred to as holdovers in this post. The Daily Caller’s Richard Pollock and Ethan Barton profile some »

Left-wing Dem backs McMaster [UPDATED: Media Matters weighs in]

Featured image Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, voiced his support for H.R. McMaster today. He attributed criticism of the national security adviser to the Russians. “They may not like his policies, what he’s advocating with the administration, or they may just be seeking to sow further discord among Trump administration officials, feeling that that would weaken the administration,” he opined. Schiff should know about trying to »

Is DOJ Going Soft On Leaks?

Featured image This morning on Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about the administration’s determination to stop leaks, including criminal leaks that damage national security. The key question here is whether DOJ is willing to go after reporters who publish classified information in violation of the Espionage Act. As Scott has written, there is no obstacle under current law to prosecuting reporters and editors. But Rosenstein seemed »

When Bush begged the Times

Featured image Yesterday in “Is the Times a law unto itself?” I wrote that President Bush begged then New York Times managing editor Bill Keller not to publish the Pulitzer Prize-winning story by James Risen and Eric Lichtblau disclosing the existence of the National Security Agency’s Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP). Bush made his plea at a meeting with Keller, Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. and then Times Washington bureau chief Philip Taubman »

McMaster’s supporters push back

Featured image National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster came in or criticism after he fired three staff members, all of whom are strongly pro-Israel and forceful opponents of the Iran nuclear deal. I gave voice to some of that criticism here. McMaster’s supporters are pushing back. Among them, at least for the time being, is President Trump. Hugh Hewitt characterizes McMaster’s critics as “a tiny slice” of “the alt right” and a »

McMaster purges pro-Israel, anti-Iran deal Trump loyalists

Featured image National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has fired three staff members in recent weeks. The three are Ezra Cohen-Watnick, senior director for intelligence; Derek Harvey, the NSC’s top Middle East adviser; and Rich Higgins, director for strategic planning. All three were aligned with Steve Bannon. Michael Warren of the Weekly Standard discusses the purge here. Glenn Thrush and Peter Baker of the New York Times discuss it here. Neither the Standard »

An attack by Trump “on the whole LGBT community”?

Featured image That’s how (minus the question mark) Steven Petrow, a gay Washington Post columnist, characterizes President Trump’s decision to reinstate the ban on transgender people in the military. This characterization tells us plenty about what’s wrong with leftist identity-politics. The question of whether transgender people should serve in the military is first and foremost a decision about how best to defend America militarily. The purpose of our armed forces is not »