President Obama's former top military intelligence official has launched a scathing attack on the White House's counter-terrorism strategy, including the administration's handling of the ISIL threat in Iraq and Syria and the US military's drone war.
In a forthcoming interview with Al Jazeera English's 'Head to Head', retired US Lt. General Michael Flynn, who quit as head of the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in August 2014, said "there should be a different approach, absolutely" on drones.
"When you drop a bomb from a drone… you are going to cause more damage than you are going to cause good."
Flynn was a senior intelligence officer with the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which is responsible for the US military's secretive and controversial drone program in countries such as Yemen and Somalia.
Asked by Al Jazeera English's Mehdi Hasan if drone strikes tend to create more terrorists than they kill, Flynn – who has been described by Wired magazine as "the real father of the modern JSOC" – replied: "I don't disagree with that", adding: "I think as an overarching strategy, it's a failed strategy."
"What we have is this continued investment in conflict," the retired general said. "The more weapons we give, the more bombs we drop, that just… fuels the conflict. Some of that has to be done but I'm looking for the other solutions." – Al Jazeera, July 16, 2015
Retired generals frequently land jobs with Wall Street or defense contractors, through which they can convert their military knowledge into substantial income. At least one is going a different direction, though. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn appears uninterested in a lucrative second career.
We can presume this because Flynn is saying things that aren't likely to earn him any job offers. Where others see revenue potential, he sees fuel for further conflict. U.S. drone strikes create more terrorists than they kill and the 2003 Iraq invasion was a "strategic mistake."
Given how rare such views are among senior U.S. officials, one might think the news media would report them eagerly. They aren't, perhaps because he stated them to a ritually impure outlet like Al Jazeera TV. His prerecorded interview will air July 31 and promises to be very interesting.
When August arrives, will Washington's compliant media report that one of Obama's own top generals says drones are a "failed strategy"? They will if they are interested in promoting a healthy public debate.
In other words, don't hold your breath. The corporate-owned TV networks and national newspapers know who keeps the dollars flowing. Rebel generals who don't toe the party line are not on the list.