Rep. Ryan Zinke: Obama’s ISIS Strategy Won’t Recapture Mosul

Ryan Zinke /
Ryan Zinke /

Montana GOP Rep. Ryan Zinke, a former Navy SEAL who was commander of special forces in the Fallujah area of Iraq in 2004 and personally knew Chris Kyle, the protagonist of American Sniper, launched a bitter attack on the Obama Administration’s Middle East policy in an interview with The Missoulian.

Zinke said:

I’ll be critical of this administration. They have yet to say the words ‘Islamic terrorist organization.’ We need to make sure these Islamic terrorist organizations don’t become mainstream. We’re fighting an ideology as much as a group of radical terrorists. It doesn’t represent mainstream Islamic faith, but we have to do our part as the most powerful nation in the world to make sure we value our coalitions and allies to make sure we’re ready to engage with a plan.

He added of the Obama Administration’s feeble attempt to confront ISIS: “At this rate, we’ll never recapture Mosul. And Mosul isn’t just critical as a symbol. The Mosul dam economically controls that section of Iraq. Mosul had fissionable material, and that’s now in an unknown location.”

Zinke immediately connected this issue to the porous southern border of the United States. He argued that lax border security could mortally endanger the nation, with little to stop terrorists from entering and wreaking monumental destruction:

I do think our southern U.S. border needs to be included in a strategy. It’s a nexus between immigration and national security. I’ve seen multiple reports that 75 countries are represented by individuals apprehended at the border. If children can come across our border, what makes this administration think ISIS can’t do the same? Or al-Qaida, with weapons of mass destruction? We know they have access to materials.”

I think our southern border is a clear and present danger. The northern border is a different problem set than our southern border. We’re not going to put a fence between America and Canada, across Glacier Park. I grew up there. We can use some technological controls. We work with the Canadians more, and there’s a lot of property we share, along with tribal lands. Canada has as much or more control of the border than we do. Getting into Mexico is a lot easier than getting into Canada. The children didn’t come from Canada, they came from the southern border. I do view it as a different problem set.

Of American Sniper, Zinke bluntly said that as a commander, but also as a dad with daughter in the Navy and son in the Navy SEALs, he knew how accurate director Clint Eastwood’s portrayal of a sniper’s life was:

He focused on wounds and sacrifice – wounds physically which we saw with IEDs and the loss of life and limb, and wounds emotionally – the scars that multiple deployments can have, both with him and his brother and those around him. But also the scars on the family.

Zinke noted that the Obama Administration’s exit plan for Iraq was a disaster, saying, “In the exodus out of Iraq, we’re seeing the effects of just leaving. We left before there was control of chemical weapons stockpiles, without a status-of-forces agreement. We left before the Sunni and Kurds we fought with and fought alongside with were stable, or without empowering them. We left on a political rhetoric.”