11-23: Michael Flynn, Another Look

Wars Cause PTSD. Whether tomorrow, a decade from now, or 30 years down the line, the war experience today will torture a soldier’s mind. It is not necessary, as relative to PTSD, to argue, debate, or fight about our reason(s) for going to war; it is the act of war that attacks the psyche. End the wars, end the suffering.

Will the real Michael Flynn please stand up?

A while back I reviewed David Swanson’s War Is a Lie. Swanson, an unabashed lefty, dug up several interesting, if not confusing, quotes and actions from Donald J. Trump-appointed National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, which occurred during Flynn’s tenure as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Flynn, a former three-star general, played a highly visible role during Trump’s campaign. He unequivocally supported Trump’s position on torture and, during the Republican convention, helped fuel the chant “Lock her up,” aimed, of course, at Trump’s rival, Hillary Clinton. Swanson’s quotes below, therefore, seem incongruous.

What is your position, Michael Flynn?

On Drone Strikes

“We’ve tended to say, drop another bomb via a drone and put out a headline that ‘we killed Abu Bag of Doughnuts’ and it makes us all feel good for 24 hours … And you know what? It doesn’t matter. It just made them a martyr, it just created a new reason to fight us even harder.”

“When you drop a bomb from a drone … you are going to cause more damage than you are going to cause good. The more weapons we give, the more bombs we drop, that just … fuels the conflict.”

Asked . . . if drone strikes tend to create more terrorists than they kill, Flynn . . . replied:

“I don’t disagree with that,” adding: “I think as an overarching strategy, it is a failed strategy.”

On War Itself

“What we have is this continued investment in conflict. The more weapons we give, the more bombs we drop, that just … fuels the conflict. Some of that has to be done but I am looking for the other solutions.”

On the Rise of ISIL

Flynn acknowledged the role played by the US invasion and occupation of Iraq.

“We definitely put fuel on a fire. Absolutely … there is no doubt, history will not be kind to the decisions that were made certainly in 2003. Going into Iraq, definitely … it was a strategic mistake.”

Flynn denied any involvement in the litany of abuses carried out by JSOC interrogators at Camp Nama in Iraq … but admitted the US prison system in Iraq in the post-war period “absolutely” helped radicalize Iraqis who later joined Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and its successor organization, ISIL.

On Prisoner Abuse

Flynn also called for greater accountability for US soldiers involved in abuses against Iraqi detainees:

“You know I hope that as more and more information comes out that people are held accountable … History is not going to look kind on those actions … and we will be held, we should be held, accountable for many, many years to come.”

Swanson’s Rhetorical Questions

  • What impact will “bombing the hell” out of people have?
  • What good will “killing their families” do?
  • Spreading nukes around?
  • “Stealing their oil”?
  • Making lists of and banning Muslims?
  • Is it Flynn’s turn to willfully ignore key facts and common sense in order to “advise” against his better judgment a new president who prefers to be advised to do what he was going to do anyway?
  • Or can Flynn be convinced to apply lessons learned at huge human cost to similar situations going forward even with a president of a different party, race, and IQ?


The illustration at the blog’s top is the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. The blogger is a Vietnam Veteran, 1966-67. He is an author and past state chaplain for a major veterans organization. He welcomes comments on posts and encourages readers to subscribe to PTSDOutreach.com; two points: 1) it is free, 2) posts appear directly in your e-mail in-box.

One thought on “11-23: Michael Flynn, Another Look”

  1. I am very concerned about the relationship Flynn has with Putin. There were many phone calls made during the election to Russia. Also, I found it kind of odd that Flynn was let go and suddenly we have a Russian ship in our waters.

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