After a distinguished career spanning more than three decades in the military, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn was sacked in 2014 as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).
When he asked the director of national intelligence James Clapper, who came to deliver the news to him, if his forced retirement had anything to do with his leadership of the agency, the answer was “no.”
“I knew then it had more to do with the stand I took on radical Islamism and the expansion of al Qaeda and its associated movements,” Flynn wrote in a first-person account published by the New York Post. The account specifically calls out how the “intel system (has become) way too politicized.”
Flynn, who is reportedly one of the names surfacing as a running mate for Donald Trump, outlined his strategy for defeating America’s “global enemy,” who he defines as an alliance of secular dictatorships (North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela) with Iran and other radical Muslim countries and organizations such as the Islamic State, Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Of the alliance, he says, “That’s a formidable coalition, and nobody should be shocked to discover that we are losing the war.”
However, Flynn believes the enemy can be defeated. He says they must be fought on both the battlefield and politically, especially through combating jihadist doctrines.
“On military battlefields, we have defeated radical Islamic forces every time we have seriously gone after them, from Iraq to Afghanistan,” he says. “Their current strength is not a reflection of their ability to overwhelm our armed forces, but rather the consequence of our mistaken and untimely withdrawal after demolishing them …
But defeat on the battlefield is not enough, according to Flynn. It is a known tenet of groups like the Islamic State that they view their battlefield successes as a nod of approval from Allah.
Flynn explains this doctrine, saying, “Defeat on battlefields does great damage to their claim to be acting as agents of divine will. After defeating al Qaeda in Iraq, we should have challenged the Islamic world and asked: ‘How did we win? Did Allah change sides?’ We need to denounce them as false prophets, as we insist on the superiority of our own political vision. “
In terms of the secular dictatorships that Islamists are allied with, the same strategy applies. “Is North Korea some sort of success story?” he asks. “Does anyone this side of a university seminar think the Cuban people prefer the Castro’s tyranny to real freedom?”
Flynn worked more than 33 years in Army intelligence, including coordinating on-the-ground operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. His colleagues included General Stanley McChrystal, General David Petraeus and Admiral Mike Mullen.
His book about the subject, The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies, is due to be released Tuesday.