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Arkansas elects the youngest US Senator to enter the 214th Congress: Rep. Tom Cotton

Just prior to last night’s resounding GOP mid-term victories in the US Senate, the House and a host of gubernatorial contests, I had an opportunity to speak with Shoshana Bryen. She is the executive director of the Washington, DC – based Jewish Policy Center. We were preparing for last Sunday’s Lisa Benson Show, which had a midterm election theme of “Vote to Protect America and its Ally Israel”.  We talked about a wide range of issues.  In addition to Shoshana, we had as other guests on the show, Ken Timmerman, veteran Iran watcher and author of Dark Forces: The Truth About What Happened in Benghaziand Navy Seal veteran, Ben Smith.  Listen here to the discussion on the November 2, 2014 Lisa Benson Show.   

When I asked Bryen about emerging figures in the mid-term elections, she pointed to Rep. Tom Cotton (R-4th CD AK)  running a competitive  campaign against incumbent two-term  US Democrat Senator Mark Pryor. Pryor was the scion of a long serving Arkansas political dynasty.  His father David before him had served as both Governor and US Senator.

Cotton, I knew from reading a profile of him by retired Harvard Professor Ruth Wisse in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) had a career that resonated. He was a highly educated double Harvard graduate who voluntarily served as an Infantry officer in the US Army during the Iraq-Afghanistan conflict.  Wisse’s WSJ op-ed   was an unabashed endorsement, Vote for Tom Cotton—and Redeem Harvard”.   So, I asked Bryen on last Sunday’s broadcast to talk about Cotton and another Army veteran Lt. Col.Joni Ernst of Iowa both running for the US Senate in their respective states.

 Cotton and Ernst won their respective Senate races last night. A colleague called last night from a cheering Iowa GOP celebration to give me the news about Ernst’s victory. Cotton trounced Pryor by running against “Obama’s failed policies”. He won by 16 percent. His campaign played up his Army service. Cotton, 37 years old, will enter the 314th Congress in January 2015 as its youngest member.

 Cotton is a sixth generation Arkansan from a cattle raising ranching family in the small community of Dardanelle, Arkansas. A graduate of both Harvard College and Law School, motivated by the events of 9/11, he rejected a JAG Commission. Instead, he volunteered   to go through OCS at Fort Benning and trained at both the Infantry and Ranger Schools.  Cotton served from 2005 to 2009. He had two tours, one in Iraq and a second in Afghanistan with the famed Screaming Eagles, the 101st Airborne, rising to the rank of Captain and received a Bronze Star for his combat actions. At 6’5″, he was selected as Platoon Leader at the Old Guard that provides the honor guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington Cemetery.

Watch this mini-documentary on Senator-elect Cotton:

Like Louisiana’s Republican governor, Bobby Jindal, he also is a McKinsey & Co. alumnus. Most importantly as a first term Congressman from the (4thCD- AK) he was assigned to House Foreign Affairs. During his Senate campaign he consistently strove to educate Arkansans about the dangers of isolationism.  He has also proved to be a good friend of Israel in Congress during his initial term in the US House of Representatives. The Emergency Committee for Israel (ECFI head, Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard,  said this about Cotton in a Washington Free Beacon report on their purchase of a spot ad for him, “We’re for a strong Israel and a strong America. So is Tom Cotton. He’ll be a great senator.”

Just before his Senate electoral victory, Cotton weighed in on the West Wing campaign against Israel and PM Netanyahu with a statement released on October 29th:

I’m appalled at recent media reports suggesting the Obama administration is seeking ‘détente’ with Iran, while unnamed administration officials disparage Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with vulgar ad hominem attacks.  I call upon President Obama to renounce these reports and disclose the names of these officials and fire them.  Iran remains our worst enemy and Israel our closest ally.  The Obama administration’s weak behavior will only embolden Iran to continue its headlong rush to nuclear weapons and terror campaigns against America and our allies, while destabilizing the region and further eroding our interests.

Finally, for the record, I must note that Prime Minister Netanyahu in his youth was a member of Israel’s elite special-operations forces, where he displayed great courage.  He and his family have made grave sacrifices in the fight against our common enemies.  On behalf of all Arkansans, I want to thank Mr. Netanyahu for his bravery and service.

I asked Bryen during the preparation for last Sunday’s show where Cotton might be assigned in the newly organized US Senate under the leadership of Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the presumptive GOP Majority Leader in the 214th Congress in January 2015.  She thought that Cotton might end up on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  I told her that would be an historic antidote to the legendary Arkansas Democratic Senator William Fulbright who opposed the Viet Nam War during the era of President Johnson after voting for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in August 1964.  Cotton’s Arkansas constituents realize the importance of US leadership on national security interests and support for Israel. That will stand him in good stead.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the New English Review. The featured image of Senator elect Tom Cotton is courtesy of the New English Review.

Objective military assessment: Bowe Bergdahl Case

I am writing this because last night I heard Fox News’ Harris Faulkner refer to Army SGT Bowe Bergdahl as a local hero. I just listened to Bergdahl’s father refer to his son’s character.

So, we must have a discussion of the truth here. Army SGT Bergdahl was not “captured” by the enemy in 2009. He abandoned his assigned post on his Forward Operating Base (FOB), leaving his weapon. Several U.S. Army Soldiers lost their lives in search for Bergdahl. His disappearance can only be classified as desertion and the media must not be so giddy about a good news story that they don’t tell the truth — which is apparent to many. The allegation of desertion is serious. It is grave because it occurred during a war, during combat operations.

The U.S. Army must uphold proper order and discipline and this allegation must be investigated — but the truth is already known. I believe the liberal media will attempt to elevate him to some type of status that will cause the Army not to pursue the right direction under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). We who have served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other combat areas of operation against radical Islamists know they don’t hold our troops — they are savagely and brutally murdered. They exist to kill Americans.

Are we glad that Bergdahl is home? After five years, yes, but there are many unanswered questions that cannot be dismissed because of emotions.

As well, America has now negotiated with terrorists, because the Taliban is not a nation-state, it is a non-state, non-uniform belligerent organization, a terrorist group. This is a dangerous precedent and was done unilaterally by President Obama.

How many of our troops lost their lives and sacrificed to capture those five senior Taliban leaders? All for naught. I must admit, the only way I would have released these barbarians would have been once a tracking chip/device had been implanted — without their knowledge. I believe there are long-term ramifications that will result from the release of these five terrorists — there was a reason why the Afghan Taliban demanded these five.

And why would we enter into brokerage with Qatar, a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood? I believe we should see them for who they are and cease our air operations from that country.

We all know how the media works — hence why Obama made this move over the weekend, on Saturday, as a matter of fact. The belief is that we will cease paying attention to the story by middle of this week. But we cannot. Bergdahl is home, but emotions cannot allow us to abandon our senses, as he abandoned his post.

Some of you may have forgotten something similar happening during the Clinton administration in the Balkans. I went back and found this in the New York Times by Susan Sachs, May 2, 1999:

Three American soldiers held captive for more than a month were released today and handed over to the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson for their trip home. On Saturday President Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia agreed to free the Americans after a lobbying effort by Mr. Jackson that was not sanctioned by United States officials.

The soldiers, who were captured March 31, said they had no ill will toward the Yugoslav people and were treated well. Staff Sgt. Christopher J. Stone also said he was thankful for the gesture of goodwill. He and the other soldiers, Staff Sgt. Andrew A. Ramirez and Specialist Steven M. Gonzales, then joined Mr. Jackson for the trip home. After winning Mr. Milosevic’s promise on Sunday to release the men, Mr. Jackson urged NATO to reciprocate by immediately halting further air strikes and opening negotiations on Kosovo.

Of course, the question back then by those of us in the military was, how did these guys get captured and not fire off a single shot or make a radio call for reinforcements? They were taken along with their HMMWV gun truck. The dirty little secret was that they were somewhere they should not have been.

Bottom line, there is always more to the story than what some want you to know — but in the case of Army SGT Bowe Bergdahl, there is a lot to know. The question is, will we allow the typical sound bite liberal media to direct us away from seeking the truth?

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com.

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Controversy Surrounds Bergdahl’s Capture…
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Soldier Who Served With Bergdahl: ‘At Best a Deserter, at Worst a Traitor’…
Active collaborator with enemy?
CHARGE: Soldiers died searching for him…
Parents of officer killed lash out at ‘cover up’…
Resentment lingers among POW’s peers…
‘We Swore to an Oath and We Upheld Ours. He Did Not’…
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