Sen. Cotton says Syria attack should be lesson for Iran, North Korea

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 368 views 

(from left) Defense Secretary James Mattis and Marine Corps. Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, address the media after Friday’s strike on Syrian chemical weapons facilities.

The Friday night (April 13) missile strikes against Syria through a combined effort of U.S., U.K. and French forces, should also send a lesson to Iranian and North Korean leaders “to learn the easy way,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.

Friday’s strike, ordered by President Donald Trump in coordination with U.K. and French leaders, was in response to alleged April 7 chemical attacks by the Syrian government on its citizens. U.S. officials say the chemical attacks killed women and children “and other innocents.” Syria has denied it used chemical weapons.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, more than double the munitions were launched against Syria than during an April 2017 attack following that country’s use of chemical weapons. Targets of the Friday attack included a scientific research center in Damascus, Syria’s capital city. The second target was a chemical weapons storage site, and the third target was “an important command post” and chemical weapons storage site, according to Marine Corps. Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“The targets that were struck and destroyed were specifically associated with the Syrian regime chemical weapons program,” Dunford said.

Cotton, who serves on the Senate Committee on Armed Services and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, called on President Trump to continue striking if Syria again uses chemical weapons.

“The Butcher of Damascus learned two lessons tonight the hard way: weapons of mass destruction won’t create a military advantage once the United States is done with you and Russia cannot protect its clients from the United States,” Cotton noted in a statement. “President Trump ought to sustain the attacks if Assad doesn’t learn these lessons, and Iran’s ayatollahs and Kim Jong Un might want to learn the easy way. We thank our old British and French friends for once again joining us in defending the civilized world.”

U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, said the Friday strike marks a new international resolve on the Syria issue.

“I support the targeted, proportional strike against the illegal chemical weapons facilities operated by the Assad government. Assad has relentlessly murdered his own people and is guilty of international war crimes. The multinational nature of the strikes, with American, British, and French forces engaged in this mission, demonstrates, combined with the targeted strike of April 2017, that the failed international approach of the previous six years is over. The failure of the global community and the previous administration to end Assad’s genocide has been a catastrophe with five million refugees and over 500,000 killed. I call on the U.S. Senate to join the House and pass the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, to sanction and hold accountable the butchers of Syria and their allies.”

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, also supported the combined strike on Syria.

“The use of chemical weapons, by any nation, in any circumstance, will not be tolerated. I support the President’s strong response to the Assad regime’s actions. Syria must be held accountable.”

“President Trump’s decisive action against Assad’s brutality demonstrates that the United States and our allies will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons,” said U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro.

Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., said, “Chemical attacks by Bashar al-Assad on the Syrian people must be met with aggressive action to deter these atrocities in the future. This joint operation, with our steadfast allies the UK and France, delivered that message in a very measured and direct manner. It is past time for Russia and Iran to end their support of this brutal regime. As always, we are grateful to the men and women of our military whose skill and dedication are instrumental in defending our country and national interests.”

Talk Business & Politics sought comment from all members of Arkansas’ Congressional delegation. This story will be updated with all responses when/if they are received.