Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Field of Fight by Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn (Review)

Field of Fight by Gen. Mike Flynn cover
Available on Amazon

The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies

Paperback: 915 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press ()
ISBN-13: 978-1250106223
Kindle: NNN KB
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (July 12, 2016)
ASIN: B0191K3HE0
Available on Amazon

How to Fight Jihad - and Win

When I posted about this as a new release, I saw that it is only about 180 pages and just four chapters so I figured it wouldn't take too long to finish it. I didn't count on it being so densely packed with information. In fact I wish it were longer and that Gen. Flynn or his co-author Michael Ledeen had given a bit more background to some of the events that Gen Flynn describes. It would help a layman like me, I think.

The beginning is disarming enough - in Chapter 1: The Making of an Intel Officer we learn that Gen. Flynn was once a bit of a delinquent - he dropped out of college as a freshman in college with a very low GPA to be a lifeguard. But he played a lot of basketball, which he was good at, and an ROTC instructor he played with saw something in him. The instructor wrangled a 3 year ROTC scholarship for Flynn on the promise of good grades. I wonder if that guy ever thought the kid he played basketball games would become a general one day.

The chapter outlines his early career, including his first deployment and The Incident at Grenada, the unexpurgated version of which I bet is very interesting. And he talks about how he learned that intelligence failures are common in our history, and often arise from the simple fact that no one wants to be the bearer of bad news to the boss. And the boss doesn't want to hear bad news or deliver bad news to the public. So war reports will say that we are winning - until we aren't.

The next chapter, War Fighting, is about Iraq and Afghanistan, where Flynn worked with Gen. Stan McChrystal, of whom he thinks very highly. There's a lot of detais about the wars themselves, but what struck me is this insight: "The basic principle of guerilla warfare is that the people on the ground determine the outcome of the conflict." The general population decides who will win, simply by throwing their support to that side.

The third chapter, The Enemy Alliance, is where Gen. Flynn really goes un-PC. He says that Iran is the lynchpin of a working coalition that includes North Korea, China, Russia, Syria, Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Nicaruaga. And we are also under attack from ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbolla, and many other terror groups. And part of the reason that these terror groups are strong is that they are getting help and from the military and itelligence services of the hostile countries.

Finally, in the last chapter, How to Win, Gen. Flynn basically implies that the only way to win is to treat this like we it is a world war, which it is. The whole country has to be part of the effort. Second, we have to engage violent Islamists wehere ever they may be, no safe havens. Third we must decisively confront the states and groups that sponsor the terrorists. And last we must wage an ideological war against Radical Islam.

If we had someone like Gen. Flynn leading this war, we might actually win it.

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