In this hard-hitting and blunt essay, Professor of History Emeritus Michael H. Hunt, from the University of North Carolina, evaluates the career of his former history Ph.D. student (and now head of the National Security Council) Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster. McMaster’s 1997 book, Dereliction of Duty, took aim at the LBJ administration and the Joint Chiefs of Staff for failing to understand and properly deal with the war and insurgency in Vietnam.
Professor Hunt then follows McMaster’s military career through the post-9/11 era, including his counter-insurgency operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Professor Hunt asks if Gen. McMaster, now as head of the NSC, “thinks that U.S. policymakers have been more successful in waging the war on terrorism than they were in Vietnam and whether he actually anticipates a more favorable outcome after a decade and a half of sustained engagement, military and otherwise” in the region.