Intelligence community takes down Flynn. Alinksy on means vs ends

Flynn broke the law. So did the leakers. How you view what happened probably depends on your political viewpoint. Glenn Greenwald thinks IC destroying Flynn was mostly vindictive. I think it was they saw him as a serious threat, didn’t have many options, so they used the weapons they had. They also sent a clear message that attacking them will have consequences. Flynn is now smoking rubble.

Saul Alinsky on means vs ends. 1), 2), 5), 6), and 9) are especially relevant to the leakers and Flynn.

1) One’s concern with the ethics of means and ends varies inversely with one’s personal interest in the issue, and one’s distance from the scene of conflict
2) The judgement of the ethics of means is dependent upon the political position of those sitting in judgment
3) In war, the end justifies almost any means
4) The judgement of the ethics of means must be made in the context of the times in which the action occurred and not from any other chronological vantage point
5) Concern with ethics increases with the number of means available
6) The less important the end, the more one engage in ethical evaluations about means
7) Success or failure is a mighty determinant of ethics
8) The morality of a means depends upon whether the means is being employed at a time of imminent defeat or imminent victory
9) Any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical
10) You do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments


Gen. Flynn has many enemies throughout the intelligence and defense community. The same is true, of course, of Donald Trump; recall that just a few weeks ago, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer warned Trump that he was being “really dumb” to criticize the intelligence community because “they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”

It’s very possible — I’d say likely — that the motive here was vindictive rather than noble. Whatever else is true, this is a case where the intelligence community, through strategic (and illegal) leaks, destroyed one of its primary adversaries in the Trump White House.

But no matter. What matters is not the motive of the leaker but the effects of the leak. Any leak that results in the exposure of high-level wrongdoing — as this one did — should be praised, not scorned and punished.

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