Naval War College Review

Article Title

Duty at All Costs


In his Dereliction of Duty, H. R. McMaster describes the Joint Chiefs of Staff dur- ing Lyndon Johnson’s presidency as the “five silent men” who cooperated with Johnson in deceit instead of speaking the truth about what was happening in Vietnam. McMaster proffers several explanations as to why these officers re- mained silent: the unwritten code of the military professional to stay out of politics; loyalty to their commander in chief; loyalty to their services; and the belief that they could achieve more good on active duty than by retiring and speaking out.