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U.S. Sen. Cotton, on AETN, Supports Aggressive War

Tom Cotton, Arkansas’s freshman U.S. senator, made clear this weekend his support for ramping up aggressive war on ISIS and America’s enemies in the Middle East — calling Iran a “mortal enemy” and pushing the need to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He also said Americans “have plenty to be afraid and frustrated about” due to terrorism and the $17 trillion national debt.


U.S. Senator Tom Cotton

In a half-hour interview taped nearly a month ago but just aired Friday on AETN, Arkansas’s PBS affiliate, Cotton kept the half-hour interview centered on the Middle East.

He allowed a couple of minutes specifying he believes federal highway funds should be limited to building and maintaining the nation’s interstate system, and not spent on state or local projects, such as funding a Los Angeles or New York subway system.

He spent one sentence expressing concern that Americans haven’t seen wage increases in a couple of decades.

What he did NOT discuss, nor seem interested in bringing up, were the following issues which are torturing Americans, and which we’ve discussed in past columns:

  1. While spending most of his interview promoting aggressive war in the Middle East, Cotton — who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, receiving a Bronze Star — didn’t  even mention the 750,000 active military and veterans suffering from TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), the tragic brain injuries caused by military conflict and leading to a continuing plague of suicides.
  2. The over $1 trillion college loan debt which is frustrating our young, and even abusing our elderly.
  3. The $1 trillion credit card debt, which is increasing as banks turn more to subprime lending, not only for credit cards, but auto loans, and, yes, mortgages.
  4. The $2.3 trillion estimated need for U.S. infrastructure.
  5. The gluttonous growth of the nontransparent (as in secret) derivatives investment industry, considered the chief cause for the economic meltdown of 2007-08. International banking analysts are expressing consistent concern that the derivatives racket, at a then-high of over $600 trillion in 2007, was also that high in 2014, and expected to “boom” through 2019. Analysts are also extremely wary of the growing private debt worldwide.
  6. The skewed employment figures from government, ignoring the fact that 50 million Americans are on food stamps, 7 million Americans want full-time jobs but can’t find them. And while part-time jobs are being created, the country’s seeing no increase in incomes (except for top execs) and no benefits for part-time workers (many working two jobs or more) and their families.
  7. A bubble stock market, fed not by executives investing in their corporations to create real jobs with rising employee incomes and benefits, but buying back their companies’ stocks to enrich their own and stockholders’ incomes.
  8. The conservative assault on state and local levels against women and minority rights, primarily coming from Cotton’s Republican Party.
  9. The now-turned America from a democracy to an oligarchy.
  10. America’s nuclear-weapons buildup leading to Russia and China’s adding to their nuclear arsenals.

The Neo-Con Line

Cotton’s position of concentrating dialogue on aggressive war in the Middle East is essentially Washington’s neoconservative, exceptionalist obsession – basically in line with the Millionaire Congress, Millionaire president, military-industrial complex, Wall Street and corporate media conglomerates endlessly pushing the racket of endless war. It’s sucking the budget of any chance to fund solutions to America’s true needs, but instead sends taxpayers’ money to the weapons industry and the bankers who back it.

steve barnes

“Arkansas Week” veteran newsman Steve Barnes

Cotton stressed Iran as a “mortal enemy” that’s supporting global terrorism. But he didn’t seem particularly concerned about leaders in Saudi Arabia who support terrorism, or the Egyptian military dictator who toppled a democratically elected government and is stifling dissent – even though veteran newsman Steve Barnes called him on that in the interview — since Cotton considers them U.S. allies.

Barnes also suggested to him twice that the Middle East quagmire has no easy solution. Cotton, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Special Committee on Intelligence, would respond by dropping names of foreign leaders and statistics, emphasizing that the U.S. must work with allies to defeat radical Muslims.

At one point he said if radical Muslims make up one percent of the 1 billion Muslim world, that means their numbers are “in the millions”. He then later summarized his view by saying if the U.S. increases its military effort against those millions, it means “we win and they lose”. He wasn’t clear about how the U.S. would work with allies to do that, nor did he mention anywhere in his interview dealing with Russia and China.

Through the half-hour interview, he did mention a couple of times the $17 trillion national debt, yet offered no detailed explanation of how to cut or eliminate it.

But most of all — in offering his neocon view — Cotton obviously wants you to be afraid of being blown up by terrorists in the United States, and not concern yourself with making enough money to support a family, pay drug and hospital bills, work your way out of being mired in credit debt, nor think about the young swamped with student loan and credit debt that’s keeping them from buying homes and starting families.

AETN’s interview with Cotton, on the program “Arkansas Week”, is not yet posted online.

Roger Armbrust

Roger Armbrust's articles and columns have covered labor and management, Congressional legislation, and federal court cases, including appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. He formerly served as national news editor of Back Stage in New York City, where he also taught a professional writing course at New York University. His recent book of sonnets -- oh, touch me there: Love Sonnets -- is available from Amazon and other book sites. He is an associate curator of The Clyde Fitch Report. He is also co-founder and co-curator of reality: a world of views.

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2 Responses

  1. Terri says:

    That was a wonderfully written piece

  2. Ask Senator Cotton what the impact of Bush’s two foolish wars is on the $17 T debt he’s so worried about.

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