Republican Rep. Tom Cotton
READY FOR BATTLE: Tom Cotton.
, joined by Kansas Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo
, is getting a lot of attention this morning for an aggressive op-ed (again with free comments in Washington newspapers if not to reporters back home) in the Washington Post
backing a use of force resolution against Syria.
The piece is larded generously with criticism of President Obama
in just about every facet of presidential leadership. Cotton would have acted "decisively" against Syrian leadership long ago and he rattles a saber in the direction of other world trouble spots, from outposts in the Middle East to North Korea.
Yes, Tom Cotton is a hawk. At this moment, hawkishness is not the national mood — particularly, polls indicate, among female voters,. That's a segment where Cotton already deservedly faces a decisive gender gap against U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor.
So credit Tom Cotton for, well, sticking to his guns.
UPDATE: Cotton apparently upped the ante in the House Foreign Relations Committee today, when Secretary of State John Kerry appeared to seek support for the administration.
Cotton apparently raised the prospect of "regime change" in Syria, much broader action, Kerry said, than the administration contemplates immediately.
Here's the video.
Cotton's remarks come about 2:58, with Kerry's response at 3:01.
Cotton said he supported action by Obama, but noted that the president had said before his re-election both that he drew a line on use of chemical weapons and that he favored end of the Assad regime.
Asked Cotton: "What is the president planning that could lead not just to punishment for this use of chemical weapons, but also an ultimate victory in Syria, which is a change in the nature of the regime so that it will not use chemical weapons again and so that a pro-western moderate native Syrian government can take its place?"
It was generally a war-like message, with references to Iran and North Korea and the prosect of intercontinental missiles targeting the U.S.
Kerry agreed that Obama had dual objectives, but he said the change in regime was a long-term objective, to be accomplished through "political" not military means in coordination with Congress and allies. "Nobody should be confused," Kerry said. "This is not an action to take over the Syrian civil war. The action is a singular military action to uphold that standard with respect to chemical weapons."