In a video message delivered to his constituents to commemorate the anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the United States, Representative Zinke managed to make this absurd claim about the 19 men who hijacked the planes that day:
These cowardly attacks murdered 2,977 innocent civilians and nearly 5,000 troops in the subsequent War on Terror.
That’s frankly a steaming pile of bullshit on so many levels it’s difficult to know where to begin.
Let’s start with the numbers. Presumably, Zinke is referring to those killed in the Iraq War when he says nearly 5,000, as 4,492 fatalities have occured there since 2003. To argue, however, that the 9/11 attacks were responsible for the War in Iraq is to ignore a decade of unraveled lies and misrepresentations by the Bush Government that wanted war in Iraq, no matter the absence of justification. Those who attacked the United States on 9/11 were not from Iraq, not funded by Iraq, and not connected to Iraq, something even Dick Cheney would now probably admit, but a detail that seems to have escaped the notice of our Congressman.
Even worse, though, ZInke managed to overlook the fact that over 2,300 American military deaths have taken place in Afghanistan since 9/11, not including them in his tally at all. Though how the Afghan War was and is being conducted is certainly open to debate, at least the initial efforts there were connected to the attacks on the United States. It’s simply astonishing that, in his maudlin video and statement, Representative Zinke did not remember the sacrifices of those service men and women who have died in America’s longest war.
And let’s not forget that those wars built on lies have cost hundreds of thousands of innocent lives in the Middle East.
Is it simply too much for Congressman Zinke and his staff to research the number of those killed in the “War on Terror” or remember the deaths of those who have been lost in Afghanistan when making a politically-motivated video to commemorate the 9/11 tragedy? Too much to ask that they scrap one more self-promotional paragraph about his military service and talk about the real costs of the endless wars he seems to support?
I know that some people seem to believe that his military service makes Represenative Zinke immune to criticism on questions of national security: the media has ignored his role outing Navy SEAL Team 6 after the bin Laden raid, his repeated, almost obscene efforts to distort his military record, his association with people calling for an armed revolt against the government, and his tendency to self-promote, when he should self-reflect, when it comes the the real costs of the decade of disastrous wars we initiated after 9/11.
But his service does not make Zinke immune to criticism; it makes it all the more difficult to understand how he’s incapable of understanding the enormous costs we all paid for his War on Terror: human lives, international credibility, wasted opportunities. And it makes it almost impossible to understand how now, sitting in his air-conditioned, publicly-financed video production studio, he could forget the very men and women who died in the wars he is pretending to commemorate.