“The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies,” written by Lt. General Michael T. Flynn and Michael Ledeen, provides a great perspective on the fight against the growing radical Islamic terrorist threat facing the U.S. and the world. The author states that the title “Field of Fight” comes from the ancient Greek poet Homer and his epic, “The Iliad,” which is about a battle involving both men and their gods.
Lt. General Michael T. Flynn has 33+ years of Army and DIA intelligence experience. He has worked alongside General Stanley and General Petraeus, as well as other top warfighting leaders. He held the position of the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), but was asked to resign shortly before he was set to retire. He stood his ground in Washington D.C. against the Obama administration and refused to continue with the approved censored script on terrorism.
He felt the need to bring the “uncomfortable truth” to the surface, and as a result, was dismissed. What is the “uncomfortable truth” that the Obama administration doesn’t want you to hear? Radical Islamic terrorism is more powerful and has greater reach into the Western world than ever before, and we could lose the war if we don’t take action. Lt. General Michael T. Flynn states he wrote this book for two reasons: to show you the war being waged against us and to lay out a winning strategy.
Overall, the book is broken down into four major parts:
- The making of an intel officer
- The enemy alliance
- How to win
Making of an intel officer
Lt. General Flynn’s lengthy experience in the intelligence field over multiple campaigns gives you a perspective on national security, foreign policy, and warfighting that most authors could not provide. The book starts off with his experience as a young electronic warfare platoon leader in Grenada and Haiti. These early deployments and opportunities gave him insight on how important it is to integrate intelligence with operations. These experiences set up his foundation for becoming a good intelligence officer. He also discusses having to transition from planning big tank battles to battling an insurgency. Flynn draws similarities from his earlier campaigns in communist countries to modern radical Islamists. For example, there are similarities between indoctrinating the populace and the broader motivations for ultimate victory. Flynn states that there is no surprise in the alliances between communist states and Islamic radical groups.
Once Army intelligence made the long shift from fighting Cold War opponents to fighting unconventional threats, Flynn started focusing on pattern analysis and the deficiencies in human intelligence and interrogation. The higher he rose in rank, the more he was exposed to “politicalization of intelligence,” which means you don’t deliver bad news to your leaders. He claims that both the Bush and Obama administrations did not want to hear bad news. Specifically, they chose to ignore the Iranian involvement in the Iraq War. By failing to recognize the threats in Iraq, President Obama made the decision to withdraw troops from Iraq, causing the rise in Islamic State and Iranian influence. Intelligence officers often get the job of delivering bad news, especially if they know that an operation will not be successful. One of the hardest things for most intel officers to resist is conforming to the game of keeping your superiors happy by telling them what they want to hear. He asserts that his ability to withstand that temptation is what made him a “maverick” in the intelligence field.
Flynn makes the point that when fighting an insurgency or when involved in guerrilla warfare, there are not true victors. The more successful one is at killing and capturing the enemy, the worse it gets, because this only draws more fighters for the enemy. Armies don’t determine the outcome of the conflict, the people on the ground do. Whoever “the people on the ground” or the residents decide to side with will win the war. So the fight no longer involves fighting the terrorists and insurgents, but instead becomes who can best win over the populace.
Notice two things: their decision is not primarily a political, let alone a moral, preference; and the decision is a self fulfilling prophecy. That’s because they choose their side once they decide who the winners-to-be are. Once they throw their support in that direction, that side gains an unbeatable advantage because “support” means winners-to-be have the critical intelligence and the indispensable manpower they need to win.” (page 39)
Additionally, the author states that General McCrystal was the principle driver in shifting the war in Iraq when he changed the way intelligence was shared. Human intelligence and interrogations grew in importance as the war in Iraq continued. Getting actionable intelligence from interrogations to the decision-makers through advanced communication technology shaped operations in Iraq. Intelligence was now driving operations instead of it getting held back by bureaucratic bottlenecks, eliminating the normal chain of command. This shift in operations put decision-making at the actionable levels and finally, results were being seen. The author states, “We were trying to save our operators, destroy our enemies, and win the damn war.”
The enemy alliance
Lt. General Flynn calls into question our foreign policy in the Middle East, specifically with Iran. For decades, America has ignored the Iranian threat, and the Obama Administration has even entered into a nuclear deal with them. Iran has funded both sides of the war: Iranian Shi’ite militias as well as the Sunni groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS. As the old saying goes, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” which is a simplified way of indicating the underlying cause of the enemy alliance that is rarely acknowledged by the media or the Obama administration. Instead, they are more focused on maintaining a level of political correctness to distract from the truth. Radicalized Islamic groups and governments that support Islamic terrorism will continue to attack us unless we take action. Flynn states that radical Islam is “a tribal cult and must be crushed,” otherwise they will continue to recruit and identify our weaknesses to exploit them.
How to win
There are ways to win against radical Islamic groups and their allies, but if the country or its leadership are not willing to do what is necessary to win the war, there will never be an end to the fighting.
The primary requirement for winning an war is the willingness, determination, and resolve to win and to do the necessary things required for victory. At the moment we have a president who said–incredibly, in my opinion–on November 16, 2015: “What I’m not interested in doing in posing or pursuing some notion of ‘American leadership’ or America winning.”
Lt. General Flynn discusses the recommendations he would make to the leaders we elect who want to know the truth, win, and who are able to truly lead. After all, we are in the current position with the Islamic State because President Obama made a politically motivated decision to leave Iraq prematurely.
As a former intelligence officer, I highly recommend this book. The author provides a clear picture of the current threats America is now facing and will continue to face if we do not seek the truth from our leadership. If political correctness outweighs the importance of eliminating the real threat of radical Islam and the enemy alliance, the fighting will only continue indefinitely. Radicalized Muslims do not need hugs and love like AG Lynch recently suggested. Americans deserve to know the truth about legitimate threats and not have it censored for our own protection. We can no longer continue the charade of false success in the war against radical Islam and its allies.
The book, “Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies,” written by Lt. General Michael T. Flynn and Michael Ledeen, can be ordered on Amazon.