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A former SEAL Team 6 member is speaking out about the national security consequences of having Barack Obama as a commander-in-chief.
Montana State Sen. Ryan Zinke has launched Special Operations for America, a Super PAC that lists its mission as being committed to a strong and independent military, American exceptionalism and identifying and providing accurate information on policies that harm or discredit national security and members of the military.
Zinke spent 23 years in the Navy as a SEAL, going back to the Reagan administration. During his career he led counter-insurgency and contingency operations in the Persian Gulf and the Pacific theater of operations. He also was a SEAL commander is support of Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, he was responsible for killing or capturing 72 known enemy insurgents. In 2006, he was awarded two bronze stars for combat.
Appearing on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News, Zinke said he was not forming SOFA for personal gain, noting that he would not be taking any type of salary from the organization. “I’m not taking a paycheck, I’m doing this for God and country.”
Zinke also has made it a point to emphasize that his issues with the president are not personal, but rather over national security concerns.
“We’re going to be very careful in our delivery of message, we want to make sure that everything we say is well-documented … I don’t dislike the president personally, I dislike his policies as commander in chief.”
He said that among his concerns are national security leaks that some have said have come from the White House. He also takes issue with the president making the death of Osama bin Laden into a campaign issue.
Appearing on Bryan Williams’ show after the raid, Obama said, “we thought about the fact that if there was a failure here, it would have disastrous consequences for me politically.”
“Enough is enough. It started with bin Laden and a commercial with former President Clinton and not just taking credit for it but taking the consequences for the decision,” Zinke lamented. “The consequence of failure was really about the guys on the ground and the reason why the operation was successful was because of the enormous capability and dedication” of all service members involved in the operation.
In the commercial, Clinton referring to Obama’s decision said, “Suppose they had been captured or killed. The downside would have been horrible for him.” Critics noted that the ad made no mention of the consequences for the American soldiers and their families if they would have been killed during the mission.
Zinke says on SOFA’s site that he sees strong national security parallels between 1980 and today.
“As commander-in-chief, President Reagan inherited a nation that was at a cross roads in terms of heightened tensions between the Soviet Union and a military that had been downsized and weakened,” he said. “Through his leadership and vision, America’s military was strengthened and emerged as the world’s sole superpower with a force ready and capable of protecting our national interests. We must remain strong, vigilant and committed to protecting our freedom and values.”
“Today, our nation stands once again at a cross roads. We have a commander-in-chief who freely takes credit for the heroic actions of others for political gain, a president who apologizes to other nations for America defending itself, and an administration that is willing to put our troops at greater risk by negotiating away our ability to fight and win,” he said.
The organization, which is still in the process of raising funds, is sponsoring a car in this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at the Indianapolis International Raceway. The organization’s name and logo will be featured on the hood and rear quarter panels of car No. 32.
Zinke also notes that under the current administration, the military has been muzzled to the point where members are afraid to speak their mind about national security concerns.
“It is time for action. Our active duty forces have been silenced and it is the duty of those who have served to speak out on their behalf,” he said.
WND reported that the Marine Corps used an order directed at officers to discharge a Marine sergeant who expressed concerns about the president’s leadership on his personal Facebook page.
Sgt. Gary Stein issued posting on his personal Facebook page that were critical of Obama and his policies. The military has regulations regarding what service members can and cannot say while in an official capacity. However, Stein’s page made no reference to his being a Marine and did not feature any photos of him in uniform.
Despite this, the Marines fast-tracked Stein for a discharge just a few months before his enlistment was up. Stein had several supporters including Brig. Gen. David Brahams, a former staff judge advocate for the Commandant of Marines.
Brahams, who has been a Marine for over 50 years, with 49 of them as a lawyer, issued a statement saying the directive against Stein was confusing and hard for even him to understand.
“My reading of it indicates it is confusing and quite unhelpful. It is also inherently contradictory,” Brahms said. “If I cannot understand 1344.10 as a 74-year-old retired brigadier general and staff judge advocate to the Commandant of the Marines, there is little hope that a sergeant would understand.”
According to the Marine Corps Times, there is a definite need for Zinke’s organization. A March 26 article titled, “Anti-Obama Marines” reported that a Military Times poll revealed that there was an identifiable segment of respondents who disapproved of the way the president is handling his job as commander-in-chief.
Zinke told Hannity the reason he formed SOFA was to ensure that people such as Stein and other service members have a voice in the presidential election.
“Special Operations for America is a grass roots PAC aimed at giving the military a voice,” he said.