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Montana Politics Ryan Zinke

About that Fawning Story about Congressman Zinke in Stars and Stripes

In a piece that largely focused on his knife collection, Congressman Ryan Zinke offered a few tidbits in an interview with Stars and Stripes that might be of interest to anyone who has followed his rise in Montana and national politics.

On the Osama bin Laden raid, Congressman Zinke returned to his criticism of those who revealed the involvement of Navy SEAL Team 6 in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden:

Q: The mission that killed Osama bin Laden has made SEAL Team 6 more famous than ever. Are there any SEAL missions you really want to tell people about but are sworn to secrecy?

A: I signed disclosures on every one. With bin Laden, I think it should have been just “U.S. special operations forces” who were credited. I think we should have left it there. Over the course of time, it’s been drilled down to individual trigger pullers. …

After bin Laden, the Obama administration released what SEAL Team 6 did. I’ve been very critical of this administration for releasing information, in some cases while special operations were still on target. That is unprecedented.

Of course, on the morning after the raid, before anyone knew that SEAL Team Six was involved, he ran to press outlets all over the country to cover himself in unearned glory, outing his former team and providing specific details about the raid:

State Sen. Ryan Zinke, a retired U.S. Navy SEAL, said Monday that his former unit, SEAL Team 6, led the assault that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan – but that it had plenty of support from other branches of the military and intelligence community.
The team attacking bin Laden’s compound probably had about 40 people, he said, going in by helicopter. Security would have to be maintained on the outside of the building as mission members entered and tried to find the target inside, he said: “You’re on the clock.”

He also took an interesting, and sexist tack on women serving in special operations forces. According to Zinke:

In my career, there have been women operators that I’ve worked with, and I think everyone has their roles and missions…. It is not a question of being tough, it is a question of putting the right person in the right place. Not everyone needs to be a quarterback on a football team. Certainly women have a more significant role in the military than ever before, and I think we will continue to see that. Walter Reed (National Medical Center) has a significant number of women with weight-bearing injuries that have sentenced them to a lifetime of disability, so we have to be cognizant that the anatomy is different, and we want to make sure someone can go through a career without having to have a disability at the end.

That’s a somewhat different approach than his argument from two years ago, in which Zinke argued that women serving in combat missions will cost lives:

Former Navy SEAL commander and Montana State Sen. Ryan Zinke reacted sharply Wednesday to news the Obama administration will drop the prohibition against women serving in military combat roles, warning it is “nearly certain” to cost lives.
A Republican who served in the elite SEAL Team Six, Zinke cautioned that introducing male-female dynamics on the front lines “has the potential to degrade our combat readiness.”

Has Congressman Zinke’s positioned evolved from believing that women serving in combat will kill American soldiers and our military readiness to believing that they just lack the physical strength to carry weight and should be excluded on those grounds? If you’re confused, don’t worry—he will undoubtedly clarify his position by changing it soon.


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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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  • I’m ashamed of Zinke. Protection of classified/Top Secret information should be of the upmost importance.

    “A controversy arose in March 2015, when it became publicly known that Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used her family’s private email server for her official email communications while United States Secretary of State, rather than utilizing official State Department email accounts maintained on Federal government servers. Some experts, officials, and members of Congress contended that her use of private messaging system software, and a private server, and the deletion of nearly 32,000 emails that she deemed private, violated State Department protocols and procedures, and Federal laws and regulations governing recordkeeping requirements. An FBI probe was initiated regarding how classified information was handled on the Clinton server. The controversy occurred against the backdrop of Clinton’s 2016 presidential election campaign and hearings held by the United States House Select Committee on Benghazi.”-Wiki.

    • You do realize, that even if the claims you’re making against Secretary Clinton were valid, despite repeated, expensive investigations, it wouldn’t absolve Zinke of the hypocrisy he’s acting out here, right? It’s not an argument against one person’s bad act to point out that another person has acted badly.

      • Then where’s the FBI investigation of Zinke Don?

        I find it ironic that you’re criticizing Ryan and yet will lend full support to the presumed Dem frontrunner Hillary.

  • AH Swede they found nothing so far……. Nothing! These conservative zombie lies are just that Lies!

    Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.
    ~Mark Twain~

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