In case you missed it — This morning, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) joined the Hugh Hewitt radio show to discuss Iran. Senator Cotton was the leader of the 2015 open letter to Iran about the nuclear negotiations. Click here to listen to the audio in full. Excerpts from the interview are below.
On Democrat Reaction to Soleimani Killing
Hugh Hewitt:Now Tom Cotton, you’re an interesting person to talk to, because you walked point on patrol in Baghdad at a time when Qassem Soleimani and his Quds Forces were arming local Shia militia with the very deadly projectiles and roadside bombs that killed so many Americans. This does not seem to bother your colleagues in the Senate on the other side of the aisle that he is responsible for the death of hundreds of American soldiers. Your colleagues, you’ve buried some of them when you were in the Old Guard. You know their wounded colleagues are out there. What is wrong with your Democratic colleagues?
Senator Cotton:Hugh, I think a lot of them suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome. If Donald Trump does something good, since Trump did it, it actually is bad. Many of them, too, are fully bought into the appeasement approach to Iran. They believe it when they supported the disastrous nuclear deal that President Obama pursued, which, as I said, had a lot of terrible side effects as well, like lifting sanctions against Qassem Soleimani, or supercharging his terrorist proxy war against the United States. But they’re just, you know, Hugh, part of the appeasement first crowd. They believe that if we continue to try to give inducements and encouragements to regimes that hate us, that use terrorist masterminds like Qassem Soleimani that one day, they’re going to change their ways. Obviously, that’s not the case. I suspect that Donald Trump in one strike last week did a lot more to change the calculation of the ayatollahs than all the money that Barack Obama gave them.
On Iranian Retaliation
Hugh Hewitt:General David Petraeus said to Foreign Policy yesterday, yes, Iran can respond, Iran can retaliate, and that can lead to further retaliation, and that it is clear now that the administration is willing to take very substantial action. This is a pretty clarifying moment in that regard. Petraeus not particularly a political figure, but very well experienced in the area. I think deterrence is what the president aimed to restore, and I think he has.
Senator Cotton:That’s right, Hugh. I think some of the ayatollahs, and probably some of our friends in the Middle East, after Donald Trump practiced restraint in June after the Iranians shot down our unmanned aircraft, or in September after they bombed the Saudi Arabian oilfield, questioned whether or not he would take such action. He showed that he would before we struck Qassem Soleimani. Remember, we had an American killed and other Americans wounded in Northern Iraq on Friday, December 27th. And a couple of days later, we struck five bases of Kataib Hezbollah, the terrorist proxy that was responsible for those attacks. Rather than stand down, Iran escalated again by attacking our embassy a couple of days later in Baghdad. And then when Qassem Soleimani showed up in Baghdad in preparation for launching even bigger strikes, Donald Trump ordered the strike against him. If you’re Ayatollah Khamenei sitting in Tehran, I think you have to question what Donald Trump would do next if you were to launch any other attacks against Americans.