CLEVELAND – Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn told PJM the leaders of Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Kuwait are not condemning radical Islamic terrorism on the world stage and they “need to speak up.”
He also warned that the Obama administration is “playing very defensive ball” against radical Islamic terrorism.
“Where are they? I mean, I try to flip through Sky News Arabia and see some of these other things. Our president steps out and makes a comment. I don’t agree with what he says about what we are doing and how he lacks clarity, but at least our president will get up there and have to say something,” Flynn said in an interview at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
“Where are those guys? Why aren’t they saying, ‘You know what? This is a sick part of our system, we recognize it, we are doing all we can to stop it.’ OK? That’s what I want those leaders to do,” he added.
Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and author of The Field of Fight, said GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump offers “bold” leadership that would question the actions of Muslim leaders.
“We need bold, fresh leadership in Donald Trump to have this type of a conversation to say, ‘Hey, why aren’t you saying something?'” Flynn said.
Flynn, who was on Trump’s list of potential vice presidential nominees, speculated that Iran “won’t step up” because it is still sponsoring terrorism.
“We’re playing defensive ball right now. OK? We’re playing very defensive ball where offensive ball starts is where the Arab world, the Muslim world, across from Morocco to Indonesia, the leaders, not the foreign ministers, the chiefs of defense, not some think tank, but the leaders who are running those countries…stand up and be counted and stop this behavior,” he said.
A reporter from Al Jazeera asked Flynn about Trump’s plan to temporarily ban Muslims from obtaining visas in certain countries to enter the United States. “It’s a religious test?” he asked.
“No. See, this is why you guys are going out of business, OK? Because of the bullshit. So what you have to do is make sure you are really specific about the question you ask,” Flynn responded.
“What we said was Muslims that come from certain countries, we have to understand what is going on, essentially,” he added.
Out of the last 50 years, Flynn said the present day is “probably the most complex time.”
“We have inside of our bloodstream a radicalized segment – small, in terms of the scale of our own country, but big enough to really instill fear – because one person who is a totally true believer can do a lot more than 99 people who are just pacifists and sitting on the sidelines, so we have in our bloodstream right now in this country a problem,” he said.
“There are a lot of Muslims in our country that do not like this particular radicalized ideology and so I am going to tell you I know a lot of these people. They are afraid – some aren’t, some are very brave, some are very intellectually brave – but the majority, just kind of, they don’t want to bothered because ‘I am afraid for my life,’” he added.
PJM asked Flynn, an advisor to Trump, if Congress should formally declare war against ISIS.
“I don’t know. I’m not usually wishy-washy on that. We are at war. I would say the enemy has declared war on us,” he responded. “I think we declare war and we make sure that we understand what winning means, and this is where we have not done a good job. So we have gone off to participate in these conflicts and our conditions for success, that’s all they are, they are not winning, OK? So what does winning mean? It means I’m going to deploy somewhere and I am going to stay there until the war is over.”
In Flynn’s view, radical Islam is “at its worst.”
“I said a week ago there was going to be an attack in Germany because we heard it through their network. Now was it this attack of this kid that did this attempted ax murder yesterday or in the last 24 hours? I don’t know, but the lights are beyond just blinking red. The red light is on and it’s radical Islam at its worst. And this is why I really, really believe that it’s discrediting this ideology but it’s also the leadership of the Muslim world and the leadership in Iran,” he said.
“If they [Iranians] don’t agree with what we see on the world stage, so if they think this is wrong, they think this behavior is sickening and barbaric like the rest of the normal international world, then they need to speak up. And that means the president of Egypt – which he already has, actually – and he’s been very strong about that, and I think we need to really make sure he’s part of a leadership team,” Flynn added.