Cong. Tom Cotton (R ), candidate for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Sen. Mark Pryor, co-authors and op-ed in the Washington Post urging “decisive, effective military action” in Syria.
Writing the guest commentary with fellow veteran and Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas, the two men contend that Congress and Pres. Obama must exercise appropriate force despite what they describe as the President’s previous international failings.
We support a well-crafted use-of-force resolution against Syria and urge the president to take decisive, effective military action.
We are Army veterans. One of us served in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq; the other conducted patrols along the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. We understand the gravity of using force. We are also among the most fiscally conservative House Republicans. We’ve challenged nearly all of this president’s efforts to expand government. And as former lawyers and soldiers, we have a deep faith in our Constitution.
We understand why many of our GOP colleagues are undecided about a use-of-force resolution. Indeed, we have reservations about the president’s implied course of military action. Yet Congress has its own constitutional duty to defend U.S. interests, and those interests shouldn’t be neglected simply because we have doubts about Obama.
Cotton and Pompeo rattle off a litany of reasons for supporting action, including:
- U.S. credibility at stake;
- The country’s interest in deterring chemical weapons; and
- Weakening allies and emboldened enemies
They further write:
Despite these core interests, many Republicans understandably don’t trust the president to take decisive action. We share the concern that Obama won’t execute a proper strategic response. We worry that his action will more resemble President Bill Clinton’s ineffective response to the 1998 African embassy bombings rather than the 1999 Kosovo campaign. But Congress shouldn’t guarantee a bad outcome for our country because of fears that the president will execute an imperfect military campaign.
In such a case, our constitutional role is oversight and advocacy of effective military action. One can vote for a use-of-force resolution yet preserve the right — indeed, the duty — to critique how the president employs such force. After all, we have one commander in chief at a time, and the United States is weakened if our presidency is weakened. No matter the president’s party or his past failures, all Americans should want, and help, him to succeed when it comes to our national security.
Read the full commentary at this link.