Congressman Tom Cotton

Representing the 4th District of Arkansas
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Our Core National Security Interests are at Stake in Syria

Sep 4, 2013
Cotton Blog
Today, I published an op-ed with my good friend and fellow veteran, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), explaining why we support military action in Syria.  Put simply, our core national-security interests are at stake.
 
First, American credibility is on the line in Syria.  If we don’t take action, neither friend nor foe will believe they can rely on America’s word.  Most dangerous, Iran is Syria’s patron and also rushing toward nuclear-weapons capability.  The day the U.S. fails to act in Syria is likely the day that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamanei, spins his uranium centrifuges into overdrive.  Those nuclear warheads, once developed, could hit Arkansas or anywhere else in the U.S. mainland in less than two years.  
 
Second, we need to preserve the international taboo against chemical weapons.  No one benefits from this standard more than our troops.  Likewise, we would embolden not only Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, but also others like North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, who has even more chemical weapons aimed at our allies and troops in South Korea.
 
Third, we should strengthen our allies and weaken our enemies.  Israel is our strongest ally in the region and they’re deeply worried about the spillover effects of Syria.  That’s so particularly in Jordan, which is Israel’s partner in peace and a key U.S. ally.  Jordan gives Israel strategic depth, yet Jordan faces an unprecedented refugee crisis as Syrians pore across its border.  If Jordan collapsed, it would be a catastrophe of the first order for the U.S. and Israel.  Meanwhile, Iran and its Lebanese terrorist ally Hezbollah have rushed thousands of troops and weapons into Syria to support Assad.  These rogue actors believe Assad’s defeat would be a defeat for them; they are correct.
 
I’ve held these views for years and I’ve long called for action in Syria.  Regrettably, President Obama’s indecision and dithering has caused the situation there to deteriorate.  Moreover, I share concerns that the president won’t execute a strategically sound military campaign.  Nevertheless, I believe that U.S. inaction would still be a worse outcome for our national-security interests.
 
You can read more about these points here.  As always, please contact my office with questions or concerns, or to share your views.
Today, I published an op-ed with my good friend and fellow veteran, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), explaining why we support military action in Syria.  Put simply, our core national-security interests are at stake.
 
First, American credibility is on the line in Syria.  If we don’t take action, neither friend nor foe will believe they can rely on America’s word.  Most dangerous, Iran is Syria’s patron and also rushing toward nuclear-weapons capability.  The day the U.S. fails to act in Syria is likely the day that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamanei, spins his uranium centrifuges into overdrive.  Those nuclear warheads, once developed, could hit Arkansas or anywhere else in the U.S. mainland in less than two years.  
 
Second, we need to preserve the international taboo against chemical weapons.  No one benefits from this standard more than our troops.  Likewise, we would embolden not only Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, but also others like North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, who has even more chemical weapons aimed at our allies and troops in South Korea.
 
Third, we should strengthen our allies and weaken our enemies.  Israel is our strongest ally in the region and they’re deeply worried about the spillover effects of Syria.  That’s so particularly in Jordan, which is Israel’s partner in peace and a key U.S. ally.  Jordan gives Israel strategic depth, yet Jordan faces an unprecedented refugee crisis as Syrians pore across its border.  If Jordan collapsed, it would be a catastrophe of the first order for the U.S. and Israel.  Meanwhile, Iran and its Lebanese terrorist ally Hezbollah have rushed thousands of troops and weapons into Syria to support Assad.  These rogue actors believe Assad’s defeat would be a defeat for them; they are correct.
 
I’ve held these views for years and I’ve long called for action in Syria.  Regrettably, President Obama’s indecision and dithering has caused the situation there to deteriorate.  Moreover, I share concerns that the president won’t execute a strategically sound military campaign.  Nevertheless, I believe that U.S. inaction would still be a worse outcome for our national-security interests.
 
You can read more about these points here.  As always, please contact my office with questions or concerns, or to share your views.