Montana Politics Ryan Zinke

If This Story Wasn’t About Ryan Zinke, You Wouldn’t Believe it

Montana’s humblest public servant Ryan Zinke is very excited about a chance to let voters know for the first time that he was, in fact, a Navy SEAL. So eager is he that he’s generously let Scott McEwen attach his name to a book that Zinke wrote, one that will no doubt humbly and demurely detail his exploits in the Navy, timed for release before the November elections purely accidentally.

That was the plan, at least, until those dastardly villains at the Department of Defense got involved. In an interview with Sofrep News, Zinke claimed that the book was being delayed because of his outspoken criticism of the Obama Administration. In a press release one hopes is not reflective of the writing quality of the book itself, Zinke whines:

  • I have been outspoken publicly, in Congress, and in the manuscript of the current administration, and its former Secretary of State now running for president, in the handling of various matters of international and national importance, including Benghazi and various matters in the Middle East;
  • I am concerned that the book is being delayed in review and approval because this administration and its endorsed candidate will be displayed in a light differently than they would like by a former military commander and current member of Congress;
  • Ultimately, while any politically motivated delay is clearly wrong, if proven to be the case, this behavior is in violation of the statute under which it was created, and the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution. I am equally concerned that if allowed to take place with others in the future, it may also have a “chilling effect” under the 1st.

Zinke wasn’t as concerned about slow movement during the 2014 Congressional campaign, when he just couldn’t seem to ever get his entire military file released. Two years later, he still hasn’t released his full record, which would detail the travel money violation that some in the military argue derailed his career. One assumes that delay was not a vile attack on the First Amendment.

This is also hardly the first time that Zinke has hurled baseless accusations at the Department of Defense.

Most egregiously, he shamelessly exploited the death of an American serviceman in Afghanistan. Back in January, his office attacked the Department of Defense suggesting on third-hand accounts that people there were responsible for the death of Sergeant First Class Matthew McClintock. Since then, Zinke has neither held an investigation nor apologized for the easily discredited attack.

Let’s also not forget his defense of a soldier convicted of murder—on the basis of testimony from the rest of his platoon.

Congressman Zinke likes to remind us that politics have no place in the military, despite his complete inability to separate the two in his life. His book, which he says offers nothing classified, is little more than another attempt to politicize his military service, as is this latest attack on the Department of Defense. Perhaps Congressman Zinke, if he is truly as concerned about the war in Afghanistan as he claims to be, should put aside his vanity project and his attacks on the DoD until after the war, to let them focus on their real job.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.


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Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, 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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