Senator Tom Cotton’s Fear and Goading on the 2016 Presidential Campaign Trail

Senator Cotton, if you plan to continue campaigning for the 2020 Republican nomination — bolstering tenuous foreign policy credentials by reminding America you happen to be a vet (one out of over 21.8 million armed forces veterans in the U.S.) — get your facts straight. As far as I can tell, the Cotton Doctrine boils down to this: Shoot first; Questions? What questions?

You said President Obama is “getting further and further from reality” as his second term comes to a close. Fine, let’s examine your so-called “evidence.” You wrote “ISIS (ISIL/Daesh) is not on the run nor have they been ‘beaten back’,” as the president claims. And yet every major news agency both here and abroad confirm his statements. ISIL has lost 40% of the territory they once claimed in Iraq, 20% in Syria — or about 12% overall since first announcing their supposed “caliphate.”

As Daesh fighters lose control of their “state,” tactics have, indeed, shifted to more mass-casualty attacks across the region and Europe. Fear is the enemy’s weapon of choice to control the population. Of course you “have proof of both their intention to attack” and “their capabilities.” So does the New York Times, genius. You’re dead wrong to claim they’re “growing stronger” or could “destroy the United States.” Fear is a disease, Senator — and you reek of it — as does ISIL.

Your personal moral failure revolves around an insistence on making international terror crimes a partisan issue. Who, “in a time of war” (Republicans constantly remind us, as is their wont), questions the Commander in Chief? Why look, it’s a disgruntled junior officer just itching to scrap the rules engagement and go ‘kill him some brown people.’

You speak of the president’s “failure to enforce his own ‘red line’ in 2013.” I understand history’s a difficult subject for many conservatives (no, you’re no longer the “party of Lincoln” … not even close). Try to recall that it was exactly three years ago this month President Obama said, “I’m prepared to give that order […] but having made my decision as Commander in Chief based on what I am convinced is our national security interests, I’m also mindful that I’m the president of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy.” Congress fumbled — not POTUS.

That’s the real story here, Senator — Republican intransigence and placing partisan politics ahead of American interests. As far as POTUS is concerned, its been ‘damn him if he does; damn if he doesn’t.’ Shame on you.

I’ve got better things to do than defend what you refer to as “Obama’s feckless foreign policy,” so let’s just bullet-point some facts which correct your woefully misinformed opinions regarding the JCPOA and ICJ (the International Court of Justice at The Hague).

• The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the “Iran Deal”) is a cooperative diplomatic effort led by the United States, the United Kingdom, China, France, Russia and Germany — to force the Islamic Republic of Iran into compliance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. (That’s a good thing, Tom.)

• Then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, convinced leaders of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — plus Germany (the P5+1) — to agree to stringent economic sanctions against the Islamic state, which ultimately lead to Iran’s surrender of all of their stockpiles of medium-enriched uranium, capping future enrichment at 3.67% (non weapons-grade), taking two-thirds of their centrifuges offline, and suspending development of heavy-water facilities.

With me so far? I know there’s a LOT of confusion on your side of the aisle about what this actually means … perhaps you’d like to consult with the IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency), who now routinely inspect sites inside Iran to ensure compliance.

• Meanwhile, the ICJ was nearing a ruling on a decades-old dispute over money they’d sent the U.S. for some military hardware that went south after they took Americans hostage. Evidently, we were going to lose the case — and lose big — so to avoid interest and penalties the court was sure to levy (totaling in the trillions), we cut a deal. I know, I know — diplomacy is more difficult than pulling a trigger or building a wall. But America’s tried it your way — and that was an abject failure by any measure.

“For decades, our differences with Iran meant that our governments almost never spoke to each other. Ultimately, that did not advance America’s interests. […] Before the deal, the world had relatively little visibility into Iran’s nuclear program. Today, international inspectors are on the ground, and Iran is being subjected to the most comprehensive, intrusive inspection regime ever negotiated to monitor a nuclear program.” — President Obama, January 17, 2016

If I may, your offensive and baseless aspersions which suggest Secretary Clinton’s “reckless and careless” use of a private email server contributed to the execution of a nuclear scientist inside Iran are what’s “laughable.”

Remind yourself, Senator, the FBI “found no evidence that her communications were hacked while she was Secretary of State.” It was a “reckless and careless” Republican effort to smear Hillary ahead of the 2016 presidential race which made those communications part of the public record. Ten Congressional committees conducted 33 hearings, calling more than 250 witnesses, who were asked over 3,000 questions “on the record.” Findings? None.

All told, your partisan fishing expedition into Hillary garnered exactly NO evidence of wrongdoing. NO charges have been filed, against anyone in the administration. And yet the “cotton-headed ninny muggins” at the RNCC kept chanting “lock her up.” The only thing your “feckless” investigation did, Tom, was stick the American taxpayers with a bill which should easily top $30 million. Thanks a lot.

Congratulations, Senator Cotton — your “fifteen minutes” are officially over. Odds of you getting inside the Oval Office without a personal invitation from POTUS? They’re about as long as Herr Drump’s, at the moment. When and if you ever get the call, remember, it’s “Madam President.”

You’re welcome.


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