H.R. McMaster: On his way to becoming a one star general

Historians in the News

To the surprise of many historian H.R. McMaster has been nominated by President Bush for a promotion from colonel to brigadier general.

Only last year critics of the army were saying that McMaster's being passed over twice for promotion indicated army leaders opposed his kind of soldier: strong and independent-minded. An article by Slate's Fred Kaplan in the New York Times Magazine suggested McMaster was passed over because the army didn't want to encourage its colonels to raise questions with the generals about the course of the Iraq War. McMaster is the author of a book on Vietnam that excoriated the army for refusing to stand up to pressure in the 1960s from politicians who misled the country about the course that war took. The book, Dereliction of Duty, was required reading at West Point in the 1990s.

Kaplan's article was criticized by some military historians who noted that it was not uncommon for colonels to be passed over since there are only so many open slots to be filled.

McMaster has seen active duty in the Iraq War as the leader who turned around Tal Afar. His work there was singled out by President Bush. Afterward he provided advice to Gen. David Petraeus, the commander in charge of the Iraq War who has been named the next head of U.S. Central Command.

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