Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Flynn Simply Unfit

The NSA's close association with neocon Michael Ledeen should raise all kinds of alarm bells, especially for those who had placed their hopes in a Trump presidency because so many neoconservatives and Iraq war advocates had opposed his election.

Print Friendly

Lobelog 

No doubt many of you have read the front-page Sunday New York Times article about Trump’s National Security Advisor-designate Michael Flynn entitled “In Security Pick, ‘Sharp Elbows’ and No Dissent.” And no doubt those who did were struck by the anecdote about Flynn’s stunning demand, after the storming of the U.S. compound in Benghazi, that his subordinates at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) find proof that Iran had a role in the attack. As noted by the Times’ reporters,

Mr. Flynn, whom President-elect Donald J. Trump has chosen to be his national security adviser, soon took to pushing analysts to find Iran’s hidden hand in the disaster, according to current and former officials familiar with the episode. But like many other investigations into Benghazi, theirs found no evidence of any links, and the general’s stubborn insistence reminded some officials at the agency of how the Bush administration had once relentlessly sought to connect Saddam Hussein and Iraq to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Indeed, that reminder made sense. According to the article, Flynn “connected immediately” with Michael Ledeen after meeting him around 2010 due to a similar worldview, including “the belief that America was in a world war against Islamist militants allied with Russia, Cuba and North Korea.” They connected so well that that they co-authored a book published just five months ago entitled The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies, which The Washington Post’sCarlos Lozada discussed in a highly critical and timely book review late last month.

Among the Neocons

I ordered the book from my local library last week, and I can tell you that Lozada was actually being charitable. Over the coming days and weeks, I and other contributors will offer further examples of Flynn’s off-the-wall views. For now, I’ll just note that Flynn and Ledeen believe that those Islamic militants are allied not only with Russia, Cuba, and North Korea, but also with China, Syria, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, just in case you underestimate the size and breadth of the enemy that the United States and Judeo-Christian civilization faces.

Ledeen, of course, is a fantasist and conspiracy theorist (or cynic) and neocon of the first order. Ledeen is now with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. But in the run-up to and immediate aftermath of the Iraq invasion, he was based at the American Enterprise Institute and served as a consultant to Doug Feith’s policy shop at the Pentagon, the one responsible for similarly “proving” that Saddam Hussein was behind September 11 and/or al-Qaeda. When it became public shortly after the invasion that Ledeen was the one foreign policy analyst that Karl Rove regularly consulted, I wrote a piece detailing his history, including his long-time and prominent advocacy of the completely discredited claim that the KGB was behind the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II, the so-called “Bulgarian Connection.” Then there was his role in the Iran-Contra scandal. That Ledeen could now return as a top adviser to a man occupying quarters adjoining the Oval Office is one of the scarier prospects of a Trump administration.

Flynn’s compatibility and close association with Ledeen should raise all kinds of alarm bells, especially for those who had placed their hopes in a Trump presidency because so many neoconservatives and Iraq war advocates had opposed his election. So far, however, it seems that public opposition to Flynn’s appointment is confined primarily to mainly liberal organizations, and religious, anti-Islamophobic, and anti-war groups. Fifty-three such groups signed a public letter sent to Trump Monday, which is posted below. One can only hope that, as people learn more about the worldview shared by Flynn and Ledeen, that number will grow and span a much broader spectrum of opinion.

Flynn Letter

Dear Mr. President-elect,

We are organizations representing millions of Americans, writing to express our deep concern with your appointment of Lt. General (Ret.) Michael Flynn to the position of National Security Advisor. While deserving respect for the time he has served our country in uniform, we feel General Flynn is unfit for serving in this critical post. His appointment will damage America’s standing in the world and pose a threat to our national security.

The United States faces complex national security challenges that necessitate serious, measured leadership. The National Security Advisor is a critical role. Considering General Flynn’s deeply troubling history of bigoted and deceitful statements and his alarming ties to foreign governments, it is clear he is a completely inappropriate choice to serve in the most senior national security position in the White House.

General Flynn has repeatedly made Islamophobic statements and peddled anti-Muslim conspiracy theories. He has written that “fear of Muslims is rational” and said that “Islam is a political ideology” and “a cancer” that “hides behind being a religion,” and continuously peddles the nonsensical fear of “Shariah law” spreading in the United States. On social media, he shared a blatantly anti-Semitic tweet. General Flynn’s repugnant statements show a lack of respect for the rights and dignity of Muslims and make him unfit for this post.

General Flynn is entitled to differ from the large majority of the American security establishment by opposing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement with Iran. But his advocacy of “regime change” over diplomacy as a means of addressing Iran’s nuclear program is reckless and incendiary. His appointment will send a dangerous signal to all parties to the agreement and the entire world that the United States cannot be counted on to adhere to its obligations under this or other vital international agreements.

Perhaps most alarming, since last summer General Flynn has regularly attended your classified intelligence briefings while also advising foreign governments. He has reportedly leaked classified US intelligence to Pakistan, and his lobbying company, Flynn Intel Group, has ties to Turkish interests close to the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

General Flynn’s appointment as National Security Advisor is a frightening prospect for anyone who values America’s national security and ability to promote stability and prosperity around the globe. We call on you to rescind it immediately.

American Family Voices
American Friends Service Committee
American Values Network
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Americans for Peace Now
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta
Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA
Brave New Films
Brooklyn For Peace
Campaign for America’s Future
Center for International Policy
Center of Concern
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Refugee & Immigration Ministries
Church World Service
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Demand Progress
Desis Rising Up and Moving
Disciples Center for Public Witness
Disciples Home Missions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Division of Overseas Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Florida Council of Churches
Franciscan Action Network
Global Zero
J Street
Just Foreign Policy Military Religious Freedom Foundation
MoveOn.org
National Council of Jewish Women
National Immigration Law Center
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
NIAC Action
Nonviolence International
Pax Christi International
Pax Christi USA
Peace Action
Peace Action Bay Ridge
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Rachel Carson Council
Sojourners
South Asian Network (SAN)
Syrian Community Network
T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
The New American Leaders Project
U.S. Labor Against the War
Unitarian Universalist Association
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
United Church of Christ
Veterans For Peace
VoteVets
Washington Defender Association
Western States Legal Foundation
Win Without War
Women’s Action for New Directions

 

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Although sometimes characterized as a Republican “maverick” for his bipartisan forays into domestic policy, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is one of the Senate’s more vocal hawks.


Former CIA director Michael Hayden, a stalwart advocate of the Bush-era policies on torture and warrantless wiretapping, has been a vocal critic of Donald Trump


The former GOP presidential candidate and Speaker of the House has been a vociferous proponent of the idea that the America faces an existential threat from “Islamofascists.”


David Albright is the founder of the Institute for Science and International Security, a non-proliferation think tank whose influential analyses of nuclear proliferation issues in the Middle East have been the source of intense disagreement and debate.


A right-wing Christian and governor of Kansas, Brownback previously served in the U.S. Senate, where he gained a reputation as a leading social conservative as well as an outspoken “pro-Israel” hawk on U.S. Middle East policy.


Steve Forbes, head of the Forbes magazine empire, is an active supporter of a number of militarist policy organizations that have pushed for aggressive U.S. foreign policies.


Stephen Hadley, an Iraq War hawk and former national security adviser to President George W. Bush, now chairs the U.S. Institute for Peace.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Print Friendly

The Trump administration appears to have been surprised by this breach among its friends in the critical Gulf strategic area. But it is difficult to envision an effective U.S. role in rebuilding this Humpty-Dumpty.


Print Friendly

A recent vote in the European Parliament shows how President Trump’s relentless hostility to Iran is likely to isolate Washington more than Tehran.


Print Friendly

The head of the Institute for Science and International Security—aka “the Good ISIS”—recently demonstrated again his penchant for using sloppy analysis as a basis for politically explosive charges about Iran, in this case using a faulty translation from Persian to misleadingly question whether Tehran is “mass producing advanced gas centrifuges.”


Print Friendly

Trump has exhibited a general preference for authoritarians over democrats, and that preference already has had impact on his foreign policy. Such an inclination has no more to do with realism than does a general preference for democrats over authoritarians.


Print Friendly

The President went to the region as a deal maker and a salesman for American weapon manufacturing. He talked about Islam, terrorism, Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without the benefit of expert advice in any of these areas. After great showmanship in Riyadh, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem, he and his family left the region without much to show for or to benefit the people of that war-torn region.


Print Friendly

Although the Comey memo scandal may well turn out to be what brings Trump down, this breach of trust may have had more lasting effect than any of Trump’s other numerous misadventures. It was an unprecedented betrayal of Israel’s confidence. Ironically, Trump has now done what even Barack Obama’s biggest detractors never accused him of: seriously compromised Israel’s security relationship with the United States.


Print Friendly

Congress and the public acquiesce in another military intervention or a sharp escalation of one of the U.S. wars already under way, perhaps it’s time to finally consider the true costs of war, American-style — in lives lost, dollars spent, and opportunities squandered. It’s a reasonable bet that never in history has a society spent more on war and gotten less bang for its copious bucks.


RightWeb
share