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20 February 2017


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Great catch. Very, very funny


b claims to have military expertise. I don't. You don't. Maybe that's why this caught my attention:

McMaster seems to tend to argue and act independently. He will not follow the policy (and orders?) his boss sets.

The last sentence is a curious assumption.

Among one of the earliest things that drew my attention in Pat's writing here, was that there are limits to following order. Seems that was related to VN. A rule originating there? But obviously that is the main task of a soldier. Is speaking one's mind, within whatever limits equal acting independently?


WRC! I've missed you.


Col. Lang,

Oh, sorry.



Good idea; thanks very much!



"b" told me here long ago that he had been an oberleutnant in the Bundeswehr. mike is a retired USMC senior NCO I believe. My observation about their experience is that however great they are as auto-didacts in the military field a lack of actual experience in senior headquarters leaves a lacuna difficult to fill. This lacuna can often lead to making judgments that are based on a lack of information but that seem appealing on the surface. As to your question about "orders," this has always been a tradition in the US Army. Example in the WBS/CW was a major of cavalry in a New York Regiment who was ordered by Phil Sheridan to burn a small town in the Shenandoah Valley from which shots had been fired at patrols. Major Stevens went to look at the place, talked to the locals and returned to tell Sheridan that he would not burn the town. The town is now named Stevens City. whether or not the ethos is the same in the USMC is unknown to me. I have had marines say some strange things to me about "orders." pl


thanks, Pat.

I wish I had time to go back to your article and check what it feels like now.

More generally, I found the c-span juxtaposition of Zbig and McMaster interesting. I guess I would have seen things differently two decades ago. Wouldn't even have watched it, probably.


Willaim R. Cumming

Thanks and would have voted for Jeff Sessions! I personally met him when he was U.S. Attorney for the S. District of Alabama. Perhaps we should reflect on another past Alabama U.S. Senator, Hugo Black, who revealed only after confirmation to SCOTUS that he once was a member of the KKK. The real father of a strict construction of the Constitution on SCOTUS, Black will long be regarded as one of four justices fathering major SCOTUS theory. Plse see recent Book SCORPIONS IN A BOTTLE (2014?!

Willaim R. Cumming

The position of the Deputy Secretary in the Treasury is very powerful and often the real COO in the Department. And the next most important job in the Department is the Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy!

And thanks for the welcome back!

Willaim R. Cumming


Willaim R. Cumming

Thanks for the welcome back! Gone in part on a 4000 mile road trip to the Dakotas.




Did you read Frank N Newman’s book? He was Deputy Secretary of the US Treasury under Clinton. Brilliant book. Only 87 Pages. It’s called Freedom From National Debt. Dispels all the bullshit arguments I read here about how our money works. Clear-headed. Logical. Might be arcane for some, but you would love it. I actually went to your website, chasing you because I feared lightning might have striked and you were gone. Really, really glad to see you’re here.

My best regards.


Gone in part on a 4000 mile road trip to the Dakotas.

What did you do? Go back and forth? lol

Just ribbing you.


it’s Nine Scorpions in a Bottle I think, isn’t it?

William R. Cumming

Thanks and thanks for the NEWMAN book reference. Had no knowledge of it!

William R. Cumming

No interstates!

William R. Cumming

Thanks P.L. IMO intelligence corrupted in Washington. Could be wrong of course!


That's the best kind of road trip! Did you drive thru the Badlands? Did you see the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD?

Corny as the architecture is (and it really is!) I really liked it. Classic Americana Kitsch writ large. My favorite thing was the exterior murals, all made out of grains and crops.

William R. Cumming

An historical footnote, perhaps of interest and perhaps not. The Attorney General does not sit by statute (the NSA of 1947, as amended) does not sit on the NSC. Two Ag's (RFK and Ed Meese) were Ex Officio members. All other AG's have only sat from time to time. Former Senator Hollings of S.C. came within one-vote in the U.S. Senate from adding the AG by statute to the NSC.

By internal delegation, DoJ/OLC reviews all Executive Orders of the President for form and legality under E.O 11030. Not known if this correct under President Trump!

Not all NSC's have had a General Counsel.

Under the NSA of 1947 the primary purpose of the NSC is the integration of foreign, military, and domestic policy to protect the NATIONAL SECURITY of the UNITED STATES.

The term NATIONAL SECURITY is nowhere defined in the U.S. Code IMO!

William R. Cumming

NO and no! But I did see the monument to Norwegian-Americans on the Iowa side of the Iowa/Minnesota border.

William R. Cumming

IMO somewhat surprised that none of the BOOMER PRESIDENTS tried to comprehensively revise the NSA of 1947, as amended. Still time for President Trump of course.

Also am I correct that of 800 staff over 50% military detailees still on Active Duty?

Eric Newhill

Pursuant to the convo on the newer thread (Trump's Tuesday) about McMaster being a contradiction to Bannon re; Islam as a whole a threat/culture clash (Bannon) versus only allegedly "un-Islamic/Islam-perverting" radicals being the problem (McMaster), do you think it possible that McMaster is a product of - or at least influenced by - the COIN school of thought in this? Is he wired by his culture to reflexively seek the winning of hearts and mind approach?

Is he playing the politically correct card on this topic so as not to alarm potential allies? Would the Arabs (KSA/Gulfies) - who are supporting IS - see him as a tool for doing so?

Is he just being reasonable in his public utterances since, obviously, we can't fight a war against 1.2 billion Muslims?

I am puzzled by McMaster's statements. The Army 8th Air Force did not make a distinction between moderate Germans and radical Nazis. Curtis Lemay was merciless to all Japanese. Vlad Dracula was one of the most effective counter forces to expansionist Jihadi hordes. I have not seen COIN work in the MENA in any substantial lasting way. Does McMaster really believe that a COIN approach to IS and AL Qaeda can eventually work, especially given all of their backing by gulfie allies and by a substantial proportion of the Muslim population? Or is the idea to try to just keep the whole situation at a dull roar?


Eric Newhill

I think he is trying to manage the PR threat. pl

Eric Newhill

Thank you. Understood. I think you are right about that.

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