Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Does Obama have national security problems or information flow problems?

So Thomas Ricks over at Foreign Policy posted about  retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn's recent swipe at the White House foreign policy, Ex-DIA chief Flynn goes into opposition against Obama Administration on ISIS, commenting:
It is striking to me how many security officials have gone public against this administration after leaving. This is not a normal pattern, and by this point amounts to a non-partisan indictment of how Obama’s White House has dealt with a variety of national security issues. Among other things, it makes me appreciate the restraint that the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, must be exercising on a daily basis.
It could be.  Or might this be an effect of the aggressive position the Obama Administration has taken towards internal leaks?  Obama has been the most aggressive since Nixon in going after leaks.

By not allowing civil society to discourse on viable but unconfirmed information and criticisms ("leaks") are we harming our ability to properly get to the correct policies? Should critics be able to float information in public without threat of being thrown in jail when they disagree with higher ups? Do we end up getting better outcomes when the public has more information during the debate than after the fact?

Ricks may be correct, that Flynn and others, are an indictment of the Obama tactics in the quote unquote War on Terror; but maybe they are sending a more Hayekian signal about information flows within the national security apparatus?