GUEST POST: Zinke is all about his own glory

by Josh Manning

Manning is a combat veteran and serves on the leadership team of Common Defense, a group of progressive veterans joining together to affect political change. You can follow him on Twitter @joshuamanning23 

In 2007, I was in Iraq in a support role with the U.S Navy SEALs. Even though I was in the Army, they treated me well and eventually I felt like I was a member of this special team. Toward the end of this short sprint of a deployment I received a coin from the commander of the unit. It is among my most prized possessions because of the words on the back. They read: “Remember who you are and what you represent.”

Remember who you areI think about this all the time and recently posed this question to Representative Ryan Zinke because, as you may have heard, he was a SEAL. Of course I received no response. However without his answer I think you can imagine what he would say by looking at his character.

Over the weekend I communicated with a few members of the SEAL community, one of whom is a longtime and well-respected member. A lifelong Republican, he reached out to me because he could not stomach Zinke overstating his SEAL career. He told me Don Pogreba was on the mark two years ago when he put a spotlight on Zinke’s departure from the military under adverse terms. The military phrase for what happened is “fraud, waste, and abuse.” Those are stark terms because we are told to keep a watchful eye on spending taxpayer money. Those with authority are entrusted to use government funds wisely since they have ready access to a lot of money.

The Navy nudged Zinke out because he had abused its funds to travel to Montana. Zinke said this was to set up a base in Montana for training, but that ignores SEALs train mostly at their well-built and supplied bases on the east and west coasts. If they need to train in the mountains then they can just take a few weeks and do so. This is demonstrated by Dalton Fury in “Kill Bin Laden” where another special operations group travelled to our own Bob Marshall Wilderness to train for Afghanistan. It served them well and like all of Montana’s public lands you can just show up and go. Also, if Zinke had come here to start a training area then it would have cut off access. But what he really wanted to do here was set up his next life and he used military funds to do this. Well, until he was caught.

That was not the first time Zinke has put his needs above the ethical choices in front of him. Zinke has placed those of us who were given special access in a very awkward place. He has broken the terms of Non-Disclosure Agreements, which operators and intelligence officers sign to protect the sanctity of the sensitive national security programs they serve.

Think about that. People call Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning (no relation) heroes while others feel they are traitors. Zinke is no different, except he has used what everyone else holds sacred to sell his brand. During that 2007 deployment, a senior enlisted leader once yelled at an Army officer with loose lips and told him, “The first rule of fight club is you don’t talk about fight club.” Zinke has not just talked about “Fight Club,” he has bragged about it. He has made a lot of his former comrades upset because he is using that for personal gain. The commander of these forces recently warned about the consequences of this.

Ryan Zinke BusBut these violations of ethical and moral codes are nothing new to Zinke. He has called himself a Montanan yet lives mostly, probably all of the time, in Santa Barbara, California. He promotes himself ahead of Montana’s interests to either gain national stature or rank. He does not care about what happens here, he cares how his ticker reads during every Fox News appearance. In the Army I learned the sacred value of selfless service. Navy SEALs live by this too but Zinke has gone far astray.
I have spoken with numerous people over the past few months about Zinke and the military-minded folks have called him a “fraud” and laughed at the stories he has told them. Zinke has bragged about the number of people he has killed. This is sickening. Everyone deals with death and war in their own way but if you know a veteran ask them if they openly brag about the people they have killed. Every day I wonder if I asked the Air Force to bomb the right building or sent men into danger to grab the right target. I got that coin because no one died when I sent small teams of operators onto buildings at 2 a.m., cloaked in darkness with a million armed people below them. You do not brag about that, you stand in awe of it. If people died then you wonder if it was worth it.

Ryan Zinke photoI have spent the past few months wondering why Zinke has tied his wagon to the Trump train. It has been especially odd because that train is headed for a major electoral catastrophe. Over the past few weeks it has made increasing sense. Zinke’s record as a Navy SEAL is equitable with Trump’s success selling “Trump Steaks.” Both are a scam; set forward to promote a brand that is empty behind its apparent glory and fireworks. Once the smoke clears, you are left wondering if the whole show was really worth it. It was not.

He is the same as in Congress as he was as a SEAL. This is not a surprise. He has ignored a mantra he supposedly held dear: “The deed is all, not the glory.” He has no deed but he wants all the glory.

There is a very simple way to call out this scam—please do not check his box on the ballot. Send him back home to California so he can be an analyst on Trump TV. Let this election return people to where they should be.

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42 Comments on "GUEST POST: Zinke is all about his own glory"

  1. Interestingly, the Santa Barbara News just endorsed Trump.

  2. Living part-time in Santa Barbara? So where does this asshole actually live-I can’t find a legitimate address for him in Montana.

  3. Go to: Zinke Research Report (689 pages).
    2003-2006 Owned home in Imperial Beach.
    2008-09-11-13 Snowfrog Property repetitively changes hands, between him and LLC. Couple times at end of Tax Year.
    The point is them that know aren’t saying.
    And Montana mainstream media has consistently offered us voters grossly insufficient information about his Residency, his business and political associates.

  4. Good article. Being ex-mil doesn’t always equate with having honor or integrity. John Kerry’s the perfect example.

    • Would you care to give some examples that are not culled from extreme right wing media like fox and rush Limbaugh? By the way, Richard may have been harsh, but it is true about Zinke in my humble opinion and probably many other Montanans

      • “A basket full of deplorables” would be the correct description.

        “A man’s admiration for absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him.”
        ― Alexis de Tocqueville

        • Well, yes, de Tocqueville was quite the inquisitive mid-19th century French sociologist.

          He came to America primarily to study the prison system. He eventually did study other aspects of the new nation, and he makes for interesting reading today.

          Nonetheless, de Tocqueville’s points are often usable, cherry-pickable for another persons beliefs, wherever rooted, sorta like the Bible is quoted for the needs of a point not so well thought out or maybe conveniently thought and needing some form of validation.

          On the suggested evils in admiration of absolute government:

          Many early Americans, John Adams for one, favored it. Jefferson, who loved the French Revolution, vigorously opposed it. (de Tocqueville’s parents were jailed during the French Revolution.)

          Absolute government has had its place and profound purpose in America.

          It took an absolute and resolute national government to hold the nation together in the 1860s, after the founding fathers (politicians all) refused to even talk about the irony of slavery in the new, free United States much less address the moral issue of its inhumanity constitutionally.

          It took an absolute and resolute national government in the 1960s to vanquish the will of a Southern white tyranny, a malicious and artificially self-enfranchised majority, who for 100 years while the rest in the nation turned their heads, filled baskets full with deplorables.

          • And you could say it took an absolute and resolute national government to create the racial unrest that exists today north and south of the Mason Dixon line.

            • Your thought is interesting. Could you clarify it, expand on it?

            • No, it didn’t take an absolute and resolute national government. It took an entire society built on bigotry, racial domination, and vicious determination to maintain that. It took a democratic republic, led by people of character and humanity, to forestall the destruction of the entire country by those forces of racial supremacy. It’s still going on today.

              • To Ken and Claud, it’s worse today. The plantation owner has been replaced by Uncle Sam. In 1960 75% of black children were born into two parent families which one was employed. Today 25% are.

                You can say that separate drinking fountains, back of the bus seating, white only restaurants in some southern locations were the scourge of the nation but contrast that with no jobs, substandard education, drug addiction, fatherless children, and the increased chances you’ll be murdered walking down to the Quick Mart.

                • I agree, if you are thinking the problem is economically rooted in Uncle Sam’s failure to support more aggressively opportunity for career employment and not just a job. But, who is Uncle Sam? He is We the People. One elected official wants to spend tax money on infrastructure to boost employment while another doesn’t want to do that. This is something life finding the house ablaze and coming to a debate stalemate on whether to call the fire department.

              • Well, now, it did take an absolute and resolute national government in the 1960s to vanquish and entire society built on bigotry, racial domination, and vicious determination to maintain it. Social and political change came about only after national legislation and federal action. The South would not have changed back then without Civil Rights legislation passed by the Congress and signed by the president.

                I do agree with you that a desires for racial supremacy — but ethnic, social, and religious supremacy, too — are remaining cancers in America life today.

                I will never forget seeing Susan Gianforte standing hatefully before the Bozeman City Commission to oppose and denounce the proposed LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance.

    • If you are referencing Kerry’s Winter Soldier testimony before Congress, you have a small argument. There were some “veterans” who claimed to have seen atrocities, but since they did not actually serve, they corrupted the entire pool.
      But then there is the winning of the Pulitzer Prize by the Toledo Blade in 2004 for its expose of the Vietnam atrocities. See, http://www.toledoblade.com/special-tiger-force/2004/04/06/Blade-wins-Pulitzer-Series-exposing-Vietnam-atrocities-earns-top-honor.html
      So make sure you have the facts before speaking.
      And by the way, Kerry served in the River Rats. A very dangerous role during the war. Where did your friend Trump serve (other than worrying about getting vd)?

  5. I remember once when Zinke came to Baker, where I live, and spoke about what he was doing as our representative. In what was somewhat of a surprise to me, Zinke took up the topic of veteran’s benefits unprompted, arguing that too many veterans were getting benefits for disabilities that were not really that disabling. He said that the veterans would be better off working. They were getting welfare when they didn’t really deserve it.

    OK, I thought, this might be brave of Zinke, taking on a sacred cow and we should thank him for doing something only a Navy Seal could get away with. He might be right, and some veterans would be better off working, if at all possible, instead of staying home letting a disability take over their life when it doesn’t have to. I, myself, am in no position judge since I have never been in the military.

    What he said next, though, did give me a right to judge.

    The example he used was of drone pilots suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As he spoke, he mocked them, moving his thumbs around as if it was only a video game they were playing. As everyone knows, drone pilots live at home with their families, and they commute to work as if war was an ordinary office job. Fighting the war from thousands of miles away, they suffer none of the hardships of war, and their lives are never at risk. However, they get PTSD at surprisingly high rates.

    It turns out, scientists say, that killing people all by itself, however far removed from the battlefield, can be a very traumatic experience, contrary to what you might expect from the movies of war that Hollywood makes, where people die without emotional conseuence. The people who counsel veterans suffering PTSD have discovered that it often isn’t being wounded, or seeing their friends wounded and dying on the battlefield, which sets it off, but the act of actually killing people. That’s what wakes their clients up at night, screaming, sweating, and shaking–their memories of killing people.

    So yes, drone pilots are getting PTSD, and no, they aren’t faking it.

    What I remember most about Zinke’s visit to Baker is that he just didn’t get it, the idea that killing people can be a deeply traumatic experience. He seemed to be clueless, mystified, by his colleagues’ suffering, suspicious they were faking it. He boasts about all the people he has killed, and maybe he has, but what I find most alarming about Zinke is that their deaths seem to have left him with no emotional scars.

    This is not the kind of person I want representing me. I want someone who has empathy for others, who takes emotional responsibility for the suffering of others, even on the battlefield when it is inescapable, even when it is the enemy. Killing people shouldn’t be easy, but apparently, for Zinke it is.

    • interesting since zinke has an 80% disability rating with the VA yet had no problem running in the spartan race in kalispell a few years back.

  6. Zinke’s PROBLEM is his ARROGANT TONE, like only HE can speak out for veterans, as he’s the TOP Alpha Male Dog, like T-rump says HE is the only one who can save America!

  7. Mr. Manning, with all due respect for your service, aren’t you doing exactly what you’re criticizing Mr. Zinke for? I’m a solid progressive, but I can’t help but notice how much you use these posts to pump up your military career in a manner that appears quite ostentatious. Ironically, the first paragraph of this post, begins with you associating yourself with a special ops team of Navy Seals. Isn’t this exactly the kind of behavior you find so problematic with Zinke? Again, I respect your service, but what ever happened to the silent operators? There’s a reason they put Richard Marcinko in Jail. I agree with you in principle, but my intelligence is a bit insulted by your self-contradictory tact.

    • Use your real name and I will respond to those comments.

      • Ironic: One who utilizes a well-known anonymous blog as a platform to promote themselves among progressives, but then refuses to respond to a progressive critic because they are anonymous.

    • I would say it is not to brag (as he stated), but to give the reader a frame of reference. Having worked with the SEALs, Mr. Manning’s opinion is credible and accounted for by his personal knowledge and experience.

  8. Has he ever explained the feats of valor he performed to earn his Bronze Stars?
    There is difference between the Bronze Star and Bronze Star “V”.

  9. Josh’s what is your “direction for correction” or view on Aleppo as we watch hundreds die every night on TV. And, what about Chicago’s death rate 50 percent higher from the same time last year. 471 deaths. Also, “active shooter incidents.”

    • What’s the point of your question, since none of it has anything to do with Mr Manning’s viewpoint on Rep Zinke?

      Are you, perhaps, just trying to take advantage of any opportunity to do a little bushwhacking?

      • No bushwhacking here Claud.

        • Are you Bill, Big Swede or both?

        • @Big Swede (just coincidence I’m sure that your initials are BS) – Sure looks like Bill’s head peeking out of the bushes, and there seems to be another one right alongside his. Yours?

          • Bill’s my evil twin.

            • @Big Swede – Always nice to have a twin, but which one of you did your mother love more?

              • I am back….lol…and I would like to see a logical answer that would convince me different. No bushwhacking.

                Also, Ask yourself the below and then who will support your choice.

                1. Is America safer than it was 8 years ago?
                2. Dos Hilary Clinton have the honesty and integrity to be the President of the United States.
                3. Who is more likely to hold Washington accountable?

                • Let’s see. First came Bill Brand 1.0, intentionally avoiding reponding to Guest Posts!
                  Now comes Bill Brand 2.0, intentionally asking for response to Bill’s 1, 2, 3!

                  Bill, take a reset. Notice how people come here to contribute!
                  Put on your thinking cap, come back with something to contribute!
                  Something without me, me, me, will transition you to Bill brand 6.3!

                  • Bob, I would but Hillary has the reset button.

                  • My contribution. Do you think there may be some parents that disagree with this….”trust our educators to do the right thing for all students.”

                    Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction and at-large Congressional candidate Denise Juneau criticized her state’s attorney general for joining a 10-state lawsuit against the Obama Administration for its recent guidance on fairness toward transgender students.

                    Calling the suit wasteful, Juneau emphasized the role of local schools in welcoming all students. From KPAX:

                    “Attorney General Tim Fox has curiously joined a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education, wasting taxpayers’ money,” said Juneau in a press release. “Here in Montana, we believe in local control of our public schools and trust our educators to do the right thing for all students. It’s wrong for Fox to politicize guidance on how schools should implement Title IX.”

  10. That Zinke is a typical GOP tool/political who trots out military service as his sole qualification for office should be of no surprise. That MT voters keep rewarding this hollow self serving strategy is the real problem.

  11. I never heard Grandfather Allen (WWI Army Infantryman: Argonne Forest, left leg wounded, gassed, Purple Heart, a Buck Private) or my stepfather (WWII Army Air Corps fighter/bomber pilot: Shot down over Italy, left arm and back burned badly from head to his heel, flew Berlin Airlift, Purple Heart and more, physically retired as a captain after suffering a heart attack while in the air flying the Airlift) ever whine nor brag about their military service or what happened to them during their service. Each man came home, went to work, reared a family, successfully retired, and died peacefully. I was in the Cold War in Europe. Many of my good pals were in Viet Nam. I find it okay that a politician proudly states he served, that he is a Veteran; but, to me, it’s insulting that a man would attempt to use his service to validate himself and further his political ambitions. Many good women and men have served well and have asked nothing in the aftermath for individual gain, whatsoever. The personal code of being a Veteran: Proud Silence.

  12. Yes vote for Juneau. Do you think there may be some parents that disagree with this….”trust our educators to do the right thing for all students.”

    Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction and at-large Congressional candidate Denise Juneau criticized her state’s attorney general for joining a 10-state lawsuit against the Obama Administration for its recent guidance on fairness toward transgender students.

    Calling the suit wasteful, Juneau emphasized the role of local schools in welcoming all students. From KPAX:

    “Attorney General Tim Fox has curiously joined a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education, wasting taxpayers’ money,” said Juneau in a press release. “Here in Montana, we believe in local control of our public schools and trust our educators to do the right thing for all students. It’s wrong for Fox to politicize guidance on how schools should implement Title IX.”

  13. That’s a good contribution imo. Has such good resolution and focus that it’s well worth reading inside of two different windows!

    The following link is helping me glimpse outside of our State.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com

    Then I viewed again this Guest Post also the ?94% of recent money to Campaign for incumbent Zinke, coming from out of State. While soon and still now comes M-D trump card Poll numbers that the money=speach machine understand a zillion times better than me.

  14. The fact that Zinke supports and endorses Trump should tell anyone all they need to know.

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