Congressman-elect Tom Cotton (R), who will certainly be pushed to consider a run for the U.S. Senate in 2014, pens an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal which discourages Pres. Obama from nominating former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.

Cotton, an Iraq War veteran, outlines votes cast and statements made by Hagel that he said were discouraging, and in his opinion, off-base and disqualifying to lead the nation’s defense efforts.

From Cotton’s op-ed:

Chuck Hagel, who is reportedly on the White House’s shortlist of nominees for secretary of defense, served our country admirably in Vietnam. But he is not the right person for the Pentagon.

Our fighting men and women deserve a leader who will not only honor their service, but also advocate for them and honor their accomplishments.

Regrettably, the former senator’s dismal record on Iraq suggests that he will do none of those things—for he abandoned the very troops he once voted to send to war. I would know, because I was one of them.

Cotton enumerates Hagel’s policy concerns and public statements made during the Iraq War that he contends were deflating to troops and, in Cotton’s view, poor public policy.

Though his record on Iraq alone should disqualify Mr. Hagel from leading our troops in a time of war, his views on current issues are no less alarming and show he has not learned from his errors. Unlike the current secretary of defense, Mr. Hagel seems willing to accept devastating cuts to defense spending, calling the U.S. military “bloated” and in need of being “pared down.” He also has expressed a desire to accelerate the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan (a war for which he also voted).

This is not the record of a leader who can be counted on to stand by our armed forces. 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.

You can read the complete op-ed at this link from Cotton’s campaign web site.

Cotton will take office in January, succeeding retiring Cong. Mike Ross (D) in representing Arkansas’ Fourth District.

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