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— U.S. Rep.-elect Tom Cotton of Arkansas' 4th District is urging President Barack Obama not to nominate Chuck Hagel for U.S. defense secretary.

In a column that appeared Friday in the Wall Street Journal, Cotton slammed the former Republican senator from Nebraska for a "dismal record on Iraq" that included writing a column in 2006 claiming the United States could neither win nor lose the war and suggesting no more troops should be deployed there.

"Imagine my surprise at the senator’s assertions, having just returned that week from combat in Baghdad as an infantry platoon leader with the 101st Airborne Division," Cotton wrote. "My soldiers had fought bravely to stabilize that city, protect innocent civilians and defeat al Qaeda. Those soldiers were proud of their accomplishments.

"No one had told us during our time in Baghdad that we would achieve 'no victory.' Readers might have shared my surprise at Mr. Hagel's words if he had mentioned his earlier vote supporting the war."

Cotton went on to criticize Hagel's proposal to withdraw from Iraq and noted the troop surge he did not support was ultimately a successful operation.

Cotton also slammed Hagel for helping delay emergency funding for the war in 2007, voting to force withdrawal and voting against designating Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization. And he said Hagel seems to be in favor of cutting military spending and withdrawing from Afghanistan sooner than planned.

"This is not the record of a leader who can be counted on to stand by our armed forces," Cotton wrote. "While Mr. Obama has every right to choose his secretary of defense, I urge him not to nominate Mr. Hagel. If he is nominated, I urge the Senate not to confirm him. Our fighting men and women deserve so much better."

Cotton, a Republican, was elected to a first term in November. He succeeds U.S. Rep Mike Ross, who opted not to seek reelection.

Tom Cotton

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  • ArkansasHawk
    December 21, 2012 at 9:07 a.m.

    Cotton, is that the best Arkansas could, sad, just sad.

  • Jackabbott
    December 21, 2012 at 9:16 a.m.

    Hagel hit the nail on the head on Iraq. It was a worthless endeavor that gained the USA basically nothing and cost lives and trillions of dollars and help bankrupct the country. Iran has more influence there now than we have, where is all that oil and low gasoline prices that Bush/Cheney promised us. Obama should have been more like Eisenhower and stopped all these foolish wars on day one of his Presidency.
    We are no better off today and in some cases worst off in the MidEast today than we were 20 years ago..
    If Cotton really knows something about the military, then hopefully he can suggest ways to cut their spending and stop paying these sex starved generals a million a year in pension benefits.

  • Jjackk
    December 21, 2012 at 9:22 a.m.

    The defense budget has doubled in the last ten years and that doesn't even count the homeland security crap. Of course it needs cut back. Hagel served in Vietnam, not this green zone stuff. If I'm not mistaken, Hagel is more decorated. Who is the rookie trying to impress? Not the people he was elected to represent.

  • T6
    December 21, 2012 at 9:45 a.m.

    Then Jackabbott Why is Obama putting several thousand troops back into Iraq?

  • FreeSpiritMan
    December 21, 2012 at 11:01 a.m.

    T6...... List your source for this information about Obama putting troops back into Iraq.
    Don't tell me you saw it on the World Net Daily site, the religious right National Inquirer.
    I say you cannot supply a reliable source of that information.

  • nwar
    December 21, 2012 at 11:15 a.m.

    So here we go with our not even yet a Congressman from the 4th District. The Club for Growth has big plans for our boy -- obviously, or he wouldn't be writing Wall Street Op-eds before he is even sworn in. Cotton is going to opt for "Warmonger in Chief" and he doesn't give a cr*p about the 4th district. You can be sure he'll be on the side of the guys all calling for big cuts in Social Security and Medicare so that the U.S. can continue to make defense contractors rich and police the world for everyone else.

  • B2R
    December 21, 2012 at 12:52 p.m.

    Not even in office and an expert on war....the bar isn't very high these days.

  • mcgeenatesbcglobalnet
    December 21, 2012 at 1:42 p.m.

    What was this guy, a First or Second Lieutenant as a Platoon Leader and hadn't had a chance to even become wet behind the ears and now he hasn't even been sworn in as U.S. Congressman and has an opinion? Please, spare me the Sarah Palin bravado! Shut your mouth, learn something, think about it twice then open your mouth to speak!

  • T6
    December 21, 2012 at 3:42 p.m.

    BillSmith....What? You don't think your dear Leader would do anything in secret now do you?
    You lemmings wouldn't believe it anyway!

  • PapeJoe
    December 21, 2012 at 4:02 p.m.

    Sounds like this cotton got picked before it got ripe