Friday, December 16, 2016

A CIA Critic in the White House?

Trump NSC appointee Michael Flynn is a critic of the CIA, and of the Osama bin Laden killing. And that makes sense to me . . . .

I read the other day that Donald Trump's choice for national security advisor, Michael Flynn, is highly critical of the CIA, and of the way the Obama administration trampled the law. In fact, it got my attention because he expressed almost exactly the same opinions that I have expressed in this blog.

Michael Flynn, Trump's national security advisor pick (Source: NBC)

It caused me some cognitive dissonance because just a few weeks ago I wrote a piece expressing my deep opposition to Flynn's statements about Islam. (REFLECTION: When people say "the Muslim faith itself is the source of the problem")

And yet here we have Flynn tearing into the CIA:

“They’ve lost sight of who they actually work for,” Mr. Flynn said in an interview with The New York Times in October 2015. “They work for the American people. They don’t work for the president of the United States.” He added, speaking of the agency’s leadership: “Frankly, it’s become a very political organization.”

(Scarry: Here's an idea: SHUT IT DOWN! (Reading the Report on CIA Torture))

Flynn zeroing in on the Osama bin Laden killing:

In killing Bin Laden, he said, “we created a new version of Allah.”

(Scarry: Why Have We Built A Monument To Bin Laden?)

Flynn on the benefit of applying the law:

“What we should have done is shown him to be a decrepit old guy, put him in a freaking cage, in a cell, and put him on trial,” Mr. Flynn added. “Make it a big messy trial, make it global.”

(Scarry: TRIAL OF THE CENTURY: United States v. Bin Laden )

The lesson for me is: in the Age of Trump, we'll have to learn to work with people who speak their minds, and deal with their opinions one by one. We may actually find points of agreement. And opportunity.

Related posts

In the film "The Response," as military judges are debating the fate of a detainee at Guantanamo, one of them says, "Okay, if 9/11 is the measuring stick, are we a great nation because of the blow we took? Or because how we, as a country, respond to that blow? The response matters. Our response defines us . . . . "

(See Why Have We Built A Monument To Bin Laden?)

The U.S. government and its military talk constantly about the new world of "asymmetric warfare" -- which basically boils down to how "unfair" it seems to them that individuals can wield any meaningful amount of power, given how minuscule their numbers or the firepower available to them. But what what we should spend much more time focusing on is "asymmetric policing" -- i.e. the overwhelming power that the U.S. state wields in every encounter with individuals.

(See Too Much State Power? (Asymmetric Warfare and Asymmetric Policing))

The story of the past decade-plus has been the story of the assertion by some that the conception of law that our society has is not sufficient. Simply put, there are those who say that there is a third, "in-between" category of behavior -- and legal status -- that is not civilian (subject to criminal law) and not military (subject to military law and the laws of war). And since there are no rules about how to deal with that third category . . . .

(See Using the Good, Old Criminal Justice System: Worth a Try?