Archive for the ‘Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster’ category

VIDEO – H.R. McMaster: Muslim Terrorist Groups Are ‘Really Un-Islamic,’ ‘Irreligious’

August 16, 2017

VIDEO – H.R. McMaster: Muslim Terrorist Groups Are ‘Really Un-Islamic,’ ‘Irreligious’, BreitbartAaron Klein, August 15, 2017

TEL AVIV – In a 2014 speech on the Middle East, embattled White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster claimed that Islamic terrorist organizations are “really un-Islamic” and are “really irreligious organizations” who cloak themselves in the “false legitimacy of Islam.”

McMaster’s comments represent views of Islamic terrorism that are diametrically opposed to those espoused by President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly utilized the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.”

McMaster, who serves in a critical national security position, seems to be minimizing the central religious motivations of radical Islamic terrorist groups who are waging a religious war against Western civilization. Indeed, in his speech, McMaster urged the audience to focus on the “human factors” that he says drive conflict while downplaying any religious motivation.

McMaster was speaking at the 136th general conference and exhibition of the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) in a thirty-minute speech reviewed by Breitbart Jerusalem. He addressed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the fight against terrorism.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of McMaster’s speech [emphasis added]. (Comments begin at the 9:08 mark in the above video):

War is profoundly human. What do all of these conflicts have in common? Of course, there are a lot of differences, right? And we have to be sensitive to local differences and realities that drive conflict. But what you see is you see these really irreligious organizations. These criminal organizations, who cloak themselves in this kind of false legitimacy of Islam. But they are really un-Islamic.

They want to portray themselves as patrons and protectors of aggrieved parties. So their strategy has been to pit communities against each other. Get them to fight each other and then come in as patron and protector and gain control of a chaotic situation and then establish control through brutality, through intimidation. Use control of populations and resources to conduct more attacks, more mass murder of innocent people to drive retribution attacks like you saw maybe these Shia militias conduct this execution in the mosque in Diyala province. That is what they want. They want this kind of cycle of violence to accelerate–to get more and more destructive.

McMaster went on to describe what he believes are the motivators of conflict in the war on terrorism, failing to mention religion:

And so the drivers of conflict is what we have to remember. What is driving a conflict? Sometimes when we look at very quick and easy military solutions to problem sets, we are not thinking about what is the nature of this conflict. What is the nature of this war? What are the human factors? Really, people fight, I think, for the same reasons the Greek philosopher and historian Thucydides identified 2,500 years ago: Fear. Honor. You might say sense of honor. And interest. So understanding those human dimensions and being able to affect them is important, and we have to remember that.

The comments are not the only time McMaster has seemingly denied the Islamic motivations of America’s terrorist enemies. In February, CNN cited a source inside a National Security Council meeting quoting McMaster as saying that use of the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” is unhelpful in working with allies to fight terrorism.

In May, McMaster spoke on ABC’s This Week about whether Trump would use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” in a speech that the president was about to give in Saudi Arabia. “The president will call it whatever he wants to call it,” McMaster said. “But I think it’s important that, whatever we call it, we recognize that [extremists] are not religious people. And, in fact, these enemies of all civilizations, what they want to do is to cloak their criminal behavior under this fall idea of some kind of religious war.”

In the speech, Trump eventually urged Muslim-majority countries to take the lead in “combatting radicalization,” and he referred to “Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires.”

Shia and Sunni Islamic terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and the Islamic State each openly espouse Islamic motivations, repeatedly cite the Quran, and claim they are fighting a religious war. Some of the Sunni groups are violent offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks to create a global Islamic caliphate.

Osama bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaeda, infamously cited Quranic scripture and was heavily influenced by Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader, ideologue, and Islamic theorist Sayyid Qatb, considered the Brotherhood’s intellectual godfather. Writing in the New York Times magazine in 2003, author Paul Berman dissected the Quranic origins of Qatb’s book Milestones – utilized by bin Laden as a sort of religious guidebook – as being drawn from Qatb’s massive commentary on the Quran, titled In the Shade of the Qur’an.

Hamas’s original charter repeatedly cites the Quran and other mainstream Islamic texts. In March, Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas leader in Gaza, claimed that “removing the Jews from the land they occupied in 1948 is an immutable principle because it appears in the Book of Allah.” Zahar was referring to the entire state of Israel.

While there are legitimate arguments about how much these terrorist groups in some cases may utilize an extremist interpretation of Islam, McMaster is clearly downplaying the transparent religious motivations of America’s terrorism enemies.

Reacting to McMaster’s statements on terrorism, Frank Gaffney, founder and president of the Center for Security Policy, told Breitbart News that he believes McMaster is endangering U.S. national security by seeming to scrub Islam as a motivating factor.

Stated Gaffney, “It is no small irony that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster – a man who wrote a book entitled Dereliction of Duty about malfeasant political interference in the U.S. military’s conduct of a war – is now perpetrating the greatest reprise of such dereliction since Vietnam with his insistence that the wellspring for jihadist terror is not authoritative Islam and its supremacist Sharia doctrine. President Trump must treat such incompetence as a firing offense.”

The Deep State’s War on Ezra Cohen-Watnick

March 31, 2017

The Deep State’s War on Ezra Cohen-Watnick, The Point (Front Page Magazine), Daniel Greenfield, March 31, 2017

In totalitarian systems where the media does nothing but churn out propaganda, people learn to read between the lines. You understand what is really going on by inferring what they don’t want you to know from what they do what you to know.

The interesting thing about the current political conflict is which key anti-terrorist Trump figures are being targeted. Flynn was a major target. Then Gorka. The case of Gorka made the targeting obvious. You can tell the targeting when if the first attack fails, they come back with a second one.

Now there’s Ezra Watnick-Cohen. He showed up in the news recently when McMaster attempted to replace him with an establishment infiltrator.

President Donald Trump has overruled a decision by his national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, to sideline a key intelligence operative who fell out of favor with some at the Central Intelligence Agency, two sources told POLITICO.

On Friday, McMaster told the National Security Council’s senior director for intelligence programs, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, that he would be moved to another position in the organization.

The conversation followed weeks of pressure from career officials at the CIA who had expressed reservations about the 30-year-old intelligence operative and pushed for his ouster.

But Cohen-Watnick appealed McMaster’s decision to two influential allies with whom he had forged a relationship while working on Trump’s transition team — White House advisers Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner. They brought the matter to Trump on Sunday, and the president agreed that Cohen-Watnick should remain as the NSC’s intelligence director, according to two people with knowledge of the episode.

Cohen-Watnick was brought onto Trump’s transition team and then the NSC by a leading critic of the CIA: retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was Cohen-Watnick’s boss at the Defense Intelligence Agency and preceded McMaster as national security adviser.

Cohen-Watnick and Flynn “saw eye to eye about the failings of the CIA human intelligence operations,” said a Washington consultant who travels in intelligence circles. “The CIA saw him as a threat, so they tried to unseat him and replace him with an agency loyalist,” the operative said.

Specifically they tried to replace Cohen-Watnick with a woman at the center of the Benghazi mess.

Two sources within the White House tell me that last week McMaster had interviewed a potential replacement for Cohen-Watnick: longtime CIA official Linda Weissgold. Weissgold apparently had a good interview with McMaster, as she was overheard saying as she left the White House she would next have to “talk to Pompeo”—as in Mike Pompeo, the director of the CIA. But Weissgold was never offered the job; days later, Trump himself overruled the effort to move Cohen-Watnick out of his senior director role.

During the Obama administration Weissgold served as director of the CIA’s Office of Terrorism Analysis. She was among those who briefed Congress following the Benghazi terrorist attack in 2012, a team of intelligence and military experts who reportedly earned the nickname “the dream team” within the administration.

In her position at OTA, she was also involved directly in drafting the now infamous Benghazi talking points, which government officials revised heavily to include factually incorrect assessments that stated the attackers were prompted by protests. According to the House Select Committee on Benghazi’s report, Weissgold testified she had changed one such talking point to say that extremists in Benghazi with ties to al Qaeda had been involved in “protests” in the Libyan city, despite the fact that no such protests had occurred there on the day of the attack.

McMaster’s interview of Weissgold last week raised eyebrows beyond the White House, with members of the congressional oversight committees expressing concerns about Weissgold to top officials in the White House and the intelligence community.

If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Now Ezra Watnick-Cohen is at the center of the latest manufactured scandal. 

A Jewish security official has been named as the confidential source of House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) following claims that US President Donald Trump and his aides were swept up in surveillance by US intelligence agencies, The New York Times revealed Thursday.

Citing unnamed US officials, the Times identified the White House official as “Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the senior director for intelligence at the National Security Council.”

Why would you not believe “unnamed officials”?

But what we are seeing very obviously is some of the shape and texture of the war based on who is being targeted and why. While those doing the targeting are “unnamed”, their targets are named. And that tells us also about those doing the targeting. Any enemy action reveals something about the enemy, his motives, his nature and his goals. That is how wars of this kind must be understood.

Newly Installed NSA McMaster Reassures National Security Staff: No Witch Hunts Coming

February 24, 2017

Newly Installed NSA McMaster Reassures National Security Staff: No Witch Hunts Coming, Washington Free Beacon, February 24, 2017

Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster listens as President Donald Trump makes the announcement at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. McMaster will be the new national security adviser. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster listens as President Donald Trump makes the announcement at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. McMaster will be the new national security adviser. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

To help with this effort, McMaster recommended several books meant to help current White House officials understand his own foreign policy vision.

One senior White House official who spoke to the Free Beacon described the reading list as pleasantly surprising and a vast departure from the former Obama administration’s own national security vision.

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Incoming White House National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster sought to reassure senior Trump administration officials during his first “all hands” staff meeting Thursday, according to those who attended the get together and told the Washington Free Beacon that McMaster informed staffers he does not intend to pursue a major shakeup of President Donald Trump’s national security team.

McMaster, who replaced Michael Flynn following his resignation last week, plans to navigate a vast departure from the Obama administration’s foreign policy vision, according to senior White House officials who described the meeting as “reassuring.” McMaster emphasized that he will not dismantle the team that Flynn had built.

As part of his discussion with White House national security staff, McMaster recommended a comprehensive reading list that included President Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal,” and several other tomes by leading historians about how to get the upper hand on America’s enemies. White House staff are said to have been mostly “thrilled” when hearing about the book list.

Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon about McMaster’s vision, as laid out in the Thursday meeting, expressed optimism about his appointment and pushed back on what they described as false media narratives centered around White House disarray following Flynn’s departure.

“It’s no secret we’ve had a few more all-hands meetings than we intended in our first month—but General McMaster used this event to both reassure the NSC staff and to give us the tools to continue the mission,” said one senior White House National Security Council official who requested anonymity while discussing internal White House meetings.

McMaster explicitly told White House officials that he does not aim to dismantle Trump’s foreign policy team or push out those perceived as still loyal to Flynn. These comments run counter to a recent New York Times report claiming that McMaster is pursuing a massive reorganization of the president’s national security team.

“He made it clear he wasn’t there to grind a political axe or engage in a witch hunt,” the senior White House official said. “He was there to provide leadership, including direction on how to think about the task in front of us.”

To help with this effort, McMaster recommended several books meant to help current White House officials understand his own foreign policy vision.

One senior White House official who spoke to the Free Beacon described the reading list as pleasantly surprising and a vast departure from the former Obama administration’s own national security vision.

In addition to Trump’s “Art of the Deal,” McMaster recommended reading his own book, “Dereliction of Duty,” which catalogues the mistakes that led the United States into a quagmire in Vietnam.

He also requested that White House staffers read Peter Rodman’s “Presidential Command,” which McMaster reportedly referred to as the “gold standard” in foreign policy history. Rodman was an top official in the Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and both Bush administrations.

Senior White House staff are said to have found the mention of the book “very reassuring.”

“It’s certainly encouraging to see General McMaster highlighting his legacy,” one source said.

McMaster went on to further recommend two books by Zachary Shore, a historian and international conflict expert who teaches at the Naval Postgraduate School.

One Shore book, “Blunder: Why Smart People Make Bad Decisions,” was described as “a cautionary tale for the staff” at the White House. The other, “A Sense of the Enemy,” examines methods to overtake rival forces.

Lastly, McMaster recommended staff read an essay by Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan titled, “The Rhyme of History,” which tackles lessons from World War I.

Senior White House officials who took part in the meeting described the reading list as encouraging and part of an effort to restore conservative principals focused primarily on defending the U.S.’s best interests.

The mention of MacMillan’s essay in particular “suggests General McMaster does not consider the 21st century a sort of post-historical bubble, but rather that there is a great deal to be learned from history as we chart our path forward,” said one official who described McMaster as advocating a wholesale reversal from the Obama administration’s vision.

Several historians currently serve on the White House’s national security team, including Col. Derek Harvey, a former advisor to Gen. David Petraeus; Michael Anton, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, and Victoria Coates, a former top aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and art historian.