New national security adviser doesn't believe in radical Islamic terrorism

President Trump's new national security adviser doesn't believe that it is "helpful" to say the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism."

President Trump's newly appointed national security adviser has told his staff that Muslims who commit terrorist acts are perverting their religion, rejecting a key ideological view of other senior Trump advisers and signaling a potentially more moderate approach to the Islamic world.

The adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, told the staff of the National Security Council on Thursday, in his first "all hands" staff meeting, that the label "radical Islamic terrorism" was not helpful because terrorists are "un-Islamic," according to people who were in the meeting.

Wrong.  The tens of thousands of people fighting in the "Islamic State" and al-Qaeda and Boko Haram and Hamas and Hezb'allah are radical Muslims.  To pretend that they are not Muslims is to deny who the enemy is, and to give comfort to Muslim governments like Pakistan and Iraq and Afghanistan who are on the fence about confronting radical Islamists in their own rank.

In his language, General McMaster is closer to the positions of former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Both took pains to separate acts of terrorism from Islamic teaching, in part because they argued that the United States needed the help of Muslim allies to hunt down terrorists.

So we are now back to the Obama-era policy of refusing to say who the enemy is?

I don't blame General McMaster for his Obama-style views.  I blame Donald Trump.  He and his staff did a terrible job of vetting for this position, especially since an eminently qualified candidate, John Bolton, was available.  McMaster's view of the fight against radical Islam should have been the very first question that Trump asked him.  Now it looks as though Trump didn't ask the question at all.

It reminds me how President Trump promised on the campaign trail to bring back waterboarding "and worse" for terrorists, and then hired General Mattis as his secretary of defense.  After that, Trump seemed surprised to learn that Mattis was against it.  Well, so much for another campaign promise.

This has not been his only bad pick.  This week, he had to fight Betsy DeVos, his own secretary of education, who reportedly wanted the federal government to force schools to let disguised boys into girls' bathrooms.

Donald Trump campaigned for president saying he knew how to hire the best people.  Some of his picks, like Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Scott Pruitt at the EPA, have been excellent.  Others, like George Soros minion Steve Mnuchin at Treasury and now a national security adviser who won't say "radical Islam," are terrible.  I think we could get the same results using a dart board or a roulette wheel.

Ed Straker is the senior writer at

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