The Last Man: An Interview with Vince Flynn

Vince Flynn is the author of fourteen thriller novels, every one of which has hit the New York Times bestseller list, and all but one of which feature Flynn’s no-nonsense, politically incorrect, scourge-of-Islamic-evil, protagonist Mitch Rapp. Flynn is so clued in to our national security apparatus that his books have actually been put on security review by the Pentagon before being released, and used by the Secret Service to modify their protocols. One high-ranking CIA official has even told his people, “I want you to read Flynn’s books and start thinking about how we can more effectively wage this war on terror.”

I received an advance copy of Flynn’s latest, The Last Man, which releases November 13. A typical Flynn page-turner, it revolves around the kidnapping of a valuable CIA asset in Afghanistan, and Mitch Rapp’s mission to retrieve him.

Mark Tapson: The Last Man is your thirteenth novel to feature Mitch Rapp. What is it about him that you think resonates with so many readers?

Vince Flynn: I go back to that Churchill quote, “We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” Most Americans know there are bad people out there who want to do bad things and hurt Americans.

When I sat down to create the character, I’d graduated high school and college in the ‘80s, and I had seen the rise of Islamic radical fundamentalism and also the decline of communism. So I thought, what’s going to be the next big threat? And I thought these crazy, racist, bigoted Islamofascists were going to be the problem, and we’d better go on the offensive. This sounds harsh, but I thought we’d better start killing them before they kill us. I think a lot of Americans would prefer it if they could live their lives and have somebody like Mitch Rapp go over there and take care of these problems before they get to our shore. Unfortunately our politicians don’t often have the stomach to handle these problems that way.

MT:    Speaking of politicians, not only are Presidents Clinton and Bush both big fans, but you’ve heard now that even Obama may be. Are you surprised that a politically incorrect character like Mitch Rapp has fans on both sides of the political aisle?

VF: I’m not sure I buy into the Obama rumor, but I’ve heard where Governor Romney has said multiple times that he’s been reading Vince Flynn novels, so I know he’s a fan. I always try not to get into specific political policies. I don’t want to be one of these Hollywood types who run around shooting off their mouths and pissing off half their fans. So I try to stay out of the political stuff. My fans don’t care what my opinion is about Obamacare. But when it comes to the national security front, I’m all in.

I was very disappointed and critical of these senators now in this administration that ran around for seven of the eight Bush years undercutting Cheney and the CIA for years on Guantanamo and were naïve enough to parrot talking points like “Guantanamo is the greatest recruiting tool we ever gave al Qaeda,” which lacks a fundamental understanding of Islamic radical fundamentalism. Guantanamo doesn’t motivate them one way or another. Then the Obama administration takes over and says they’re gonna shut it down in a year. And here we sit four years later and it’s open, because there’s no other option. And you’ve never heard any of these people – John Kerry, Harry Reid, none of these people – stand up and say, “We apologize, we were wrong, we should’ve been more unified on national security.”

In terms of understanding our enemy, what happened in Pakistan last month was probably the most illustrative example of what we’re up against, when the 14-year-old girl was shot. All she wanted to do was get educated. And these animals from the Taliban, when they found out she had survived their attack, they issued another statement that said, “We’re gonna make sure we kill her this time.”

It’s very naïve to associate our values with somebody else’s. I have a lot of liberal friends who thought that if we just get Bush and Cheney out of the White House and replace them with liberal Democrats, that that part of the world would love us and our problems would go away. And I told them, “You don’t understand what we’re up against. These people hate homosexuals, they hate women’s rights, they hate Jews, Christians, everybody that doesn’t buy into their fundamentalist, radical view of Islam. They hate us so much they’re willing to kill themselves and a lot of innocent people in the process, and they don’t lose a wink of sleep over it.”

I hate when, in discussions about Islamic fundamentalism, Americans get all sheepish and say, “Who are we to judge? They’re different from us.” That’s a bit like Northerners in the ‘50s and ‘60s saying, “Who am I to judge the KKK?” It’s so gutless. When a group recruits a Downs Syndrome child to go into a bazaar and blow himself up and a bunch of other Muslims, we need to stand up and say, “These people are evil and twisted, and no amount of understanding why is going to solve the problem.”

MT: Your new book deals with the rise of what we’re all too familiar with now, “green on blue” attacks in Afghanistan. How do you think our whole “winning hearts and minds” approach to the war there is working? What’s the sense you get from your military and intelligence contacts as to how they feel we’re progressing in what used to be called the war on terror?

VF: “Hearts and minds” is a noble effort, and it’s gonna pay off in certain parts of the country, and there’s no way we’re gonna be able to penetrate it in other parts. Post-pullout, I think Afghanistan’s gonna look a whole lot like it did before the war started. We’re gonna see skirmishes, there’s gonna be flareups, and it’s gonna be a tribal battle that will bleed that country for decades to come because this is who they are. I hate to say that they’re not just gonna lay down their weapons and get along, but this is a country that’s in such dire need of modernity, and it’s not gonna happen overnight, maybe not in our lifetime. Overall, “hearts and minds” is not going to work, because the Taliban, al Qaeda, these other groups, they don’t want it to work. Their minds are so small that they think it’s a good idea to shoot a 14-year-old girl who wants to go to school.

Now in terms of the war on terror, you won’t hear them say it out loud, but they’re pretty proud of what they’ve done, the men and women of the Special Forces community, intelligence community, and law enforcement. They’ve managed over the last eleven years to make sure we’ve avoided another major terrorist attack. They’ve come pretty close to batting a thousand. Now, the Benghazi thing was an absolute disaster and a national embarrassment. But that’s a situation like in my books, where comfortable bureaucrats back in Washington are saying no to the men in the field. And I think it’s pretty embarrassing that we can’t get any straight answers. Most embarrassing is that the press isn’t looking for any answers.

MT: CBS Films picked up the rights to the Mitch Rapp character to develop what will hopefully be a movie franchise. Did you meet with any resistance trying to find a home for Rapp and your books in left-leaning Hollywood?

VF: Oh absolutely. Mitch Rapp is the single biggest-selling male thriller character today who hasn’t had a major motion picture. These books have sold very, very well, but we could not get anyone in Hollywood to lock on, especially during the Bush-Cheney years. They wouldn’t touch it. Hollywood misses a lot of opportunities because they don’t play to the whole marketplace.

People often ask, “Why do you think this franchise is so successful?” A lot of reporters and lawyers write novels and then wonder why they aren’t that successful, and I say, “It’s because your heroes are reporters and lawyers, and the public finds that hard to swallow.” In my series, the heroes are the men and women of the Secret Service, the CIA, Special Forces, the whole national security apparatus. And the villains are, shockingly enough, Islamic radical fundamentalists, which the public has a very easy time believing. No matter how much the mainstream media would like to think otherwise, the public actually gets it. The secondary villains that I have are politicians and bureaucrats. It’s very easy to build a story around that because it’s reality.

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  • Chezwick

    FLYNN: "No matter how much the mainstream media would like to think otherwise, the public actually gets it."

    Well, surely the public gets it far more than the MSM or Hollywood do. But go to any university and interview the young people and you'll find a significant percentage who have thoroughly imbibed the culture of denial.

    • Lee Poteet

      And that would be because our education system is broken from the top to the bottom and we don't really have an educations system anymore. What we have is a one party indoctrination system that we don't dare to defund and replace, especially as it takes public money and uses it to fund the political left. If you want a real education in this country and most of the English speaking countries you have to do it for yourself by reading the classics of Western civilization and thinking about them. The last is the hardest part because we have repressed thinking and substituted 'feeling.'

    • pyeatte

      College kids are just that, kids. They may be teachable, but they are terribly insecure and easily manipulated, intimidated and led by much older people intent on controlling their thoughts and logical development. That explains people like Nick Berg, and how he couldn't believe he would die until he felt the malignant Islamic savages sawing off his head. You can watch the video on You-Tube – every American should see it and try to realise how evil these animals are. They are truly worse than the Nazis, and would repeat their atrocities times ten.

  • Docky Musicy

    There are so many mozzys on this planet daily that now you can factually see them from space…..i’m sure…..and the b l o o d-stain too….archeologically the islam-bloodstain has only been around for just a mere 1400 years. Time to can it!!..

    Afganistan was a peaceful and fantastic buddhist country till islam slimed in with green flags and dirty rivers of blood and arabic. The planet should invite the Great Dalai Lama to return to his true Buddhist country of his roots pre-islam. Afganistan should be given back to the buddhists who were forcibly ejected or slain by islam in the pre-koran burning age.
    Afganistan should henceforth be called GreaterTibet.

    Do all the planet's muslim-zombies even know the ultimate islamic-allahpeace-truth??
    Moremad-the-dirty arab’s LAST dying words lovingly recorded by his illiterate tribe…"Until The Last Koran Has Been Burnt And Last Emir Is Hanged By The Entrails Of The Last Imam……There Will Be No Peace On Earth".
    eh you muslim-zombies please do your own dirty work…get busy. Like asap !!!

  • Docky Musicy

    •The most dangerous place on earth for a woman or a child is in a muslim house.
    •Every Friday muslims are re-programmed just in case if by chance any muslim thinks rationally out of the Islamic mental-block-box during the week about the horror and stupidity that is factually islam.
    •The most dangerous place on earth for a woman or a child is in a muslim house.
    Pedophilia is Halal in islam.
    Pedophilia is sanctioned in islam.

    • tagalog

      What's the difference between "Halal" and "sanctioned?"

  • Docky Musicy

    Why doesn't the UN make a law that safeguards
    the rights and life of the ex-muslims ? Why doesn't the UN make a law that
    safeguards the rights and life of the ex-muslims ? Why doesn't the UN make a
    law that safeguards the rights and life of the ex-muslims ? Why doesn't the UN
    make a law that safeguards the rights and life of the ex-muslims ? Why doesn't
    the UN make a law that safeguards the rights and life of the ex-muslims ? Why
    doesn't the UN make a law that safeguards the rights and life of the ex-muslims
    ? Why doesn't the UN make a law that safeguards the rights and life of the
    ex-muslims ?



    Dear readers, what is in the book is one sided story of "Islamic fundamenalis" so on and so forth. But see the to the US claiming harbinger of human rights in the world and "save americans from the Islamic terrorism. Right: Bush invaded Iraq on the plea that Sadam hussain posses "weapons of mass destruction" OK. Sadam has gone.BUT THE AMERICAN AND WESTERN FORCES DID MUCH CRIMES- THEY URINE ON THE DEADBODIES, THEY KILLED CIVILIANS, THEY KILLED INJURRED IN THE HOSPITALS. Is not the US a GREAT TERRORIST.
    Now come to the Afghanistan. Osam is dead. Why the Americans are staying in Afghanistan since last 11 years. In fact Taliban are not defetead. They are fighting with allien INVADORS THE us. tHEY HAVE DONE GENIOUS CRIMES IN aFGHANISTAN.

    • Chezwick

      "Genious" crimes??? Your English overwhelms, D.A.

      There were indeed individual cases of US war-crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, but they were in violation of US policy and most were prosecuted as such. Meanwhile, your fellow Muslims kill and murder innocents both DAILY and DELIBERATELY, with no sanction from Muslim society because said killing is in full accord with Islamic teaching.

    • Drakken

      Dear muslim, continue to wage jihad on us infidels and sooner or later we infidels will wage a Crusade on steroids. Your attempt at claiming victim status for you and your fellow muslims is now starting to fall on deaf ears. Your false religion of blood sacrifice and evil has been a scourge upon humanity since that pedophile pure unadultered evil crawled out of the desert and screwed his first 9 year old. If it wasn't for oil, you savages would still be humping your sheep and goats and selling your daughters to the highest bidder. The only crime we are commiting is that we are playing war with our hands tied behind our backs and are too concerned with your so called civilians, when we should be eliminating your unholy imams and ayatollahs by the mosque full and and any level of support for these savages should be met with a mailed fist. Giving you savages any type of equal status when you are clearly incapable of civilized behavior should only result in putting you and yours under our boot.

    • Ghostwriter

      How about blaming the members of your own community for all the terrorism you've brought us over the years instead of blaming America for it?

  • riverboatbill

    Mitch doesn't give a damn about winning the hearts and minds of evil enemies; those are the target areas he puts his rounds into.

  • tinab

    I have all of Vince Flynn's books and have thoroughly enjoyed them. I am sure there probably is a real "Mitch Rapp" out there – whether it be in the CIA or Mossad.
    I read somewhere a comment from Vince about his thoughts regarding putting a mosque at Ground Zero in NY. To paraphrase him he said …. how many church's are allowed in Saudi Arabia? I thought it was a very interesting comment.

  • Len_Powder

    I emigrated to this country in 1956. Between then and 1966 we never had any trouble identifying and distinguishing between our friends and our enemies. Starting in 1966 the radical Marxists started to redefine who our friends and enemies were: Communist North Korea was a friend; the Chinese Communists were our friends; the 'American Military-Industrial Complex' (i.e., Capitalism) was our enemy; the US Military forces were our enemy; the 'rich' were our enemy; oppressive third-world dictators were our friends. You get the picture.

    Today, these same deluded people think Obama and Socialism are our friends; Islamists and Jihadists are our friends; Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro are our friends; Republicans, Conservatives and the Tea Party are our enemies; Allen West and Michele Bachmann are insane lunatics and our enemies; Big Government and Fiscal Insanity are our friends; entrepreneurs and businesses are our enemies.

    Which camp do they put Mitch Rapp into?

  • Denver778

    RIP Mr. Flynn! I wish peace upon his family. What a great loss.