The PJ Tatler

'Must Protect the Precious' -- Jonathan Capehart Finds Retired General to Take On Tom Cotton

Look! It’s Don “No Soul” Simmons back from his lounge act in Vegas and returning to writing at the Washington Post in order to attack freshman senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who had the effrontery to criticize President Obama over the impending Iran disaster. Must protect the Precious!

The open letter to the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran signed by 47 senators and instigated by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was a stunning breach of protocol. One so outrageous that my former colleagues at the New York Daily News dubbed the signers “traitors.” While it is indeed a slap in the face of President Obama and an affront to the presidency, I’m not sure I would go that far, especially since Cotton is an Army veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. So, I turned to retired Major Gen. Paul D. Eaton for perspective. He wouldn’t say Cotton and Co. were “traitors,” either. He had a better word.

“I would use the word mutinous,” said Eaton, whose long career includes training Iraqi forces from 2003 to 2004. He is now a senior adviser to VoteVets.org.

“Mutinous” — well, okay then! That’s a much better thing to call a decorated combat officer than “traitor,” right? Meanwhile, what’s this VoteVets.org all about? Well, surprise, surprise — it’s a left-wing advocacy group:

VoteVets.org continues to focus on matters including, but not limited to, foreign policy, energy security, veterans’ unemployment, and opening military service to life-long Americans born to undocumented immigrants, as well as continued investment in care for veterans. 

More often than not, Veterans have a stake in the top issues of the day, and VoteVets.org is committed to getting their voices heard on these issues. For that reason, VoteVets.org has, and will continue to, work with all progressive allies representing labor, immigration, gay and lesbian rights, and environmentalists, when their issues coincide with the needs of troops and veterans.

So let’s totally pay attention to what Gen. Eaton has to say.

“I do not believe these senators were trying to sell out America. I do believe they defied the chain of command in what could be construed as an illegal act.” Eaton certainly had stern words for Cotton.

“What Senator Cotton did is a gross breach of discipline, and especially as a veteran of the Army, he should know better,” Eaton told me. “I have no issue with Senator Cotton, or others, voicing their opinion in opposition to any deal to halt Iran’s nuclear progress. Speaking out on these issues is clearly part of his job. But to directly engage a foreign entity, in this way, undermining the strategy and work of our diplomats and our Commander in Chief, strains the very discipline and structure that our foreign relations depend on, to succeed.” The consequences of Cotton’s missive were plainly apparent to Eaton. “The breach of discipline is extremely dangerous, because undermining our diplomatic efforts, at this moment, brings us another step closer to a very costly and perilous war with Iran,” he said.

Just one little problem with Eaton’s analysis here: Tom Cotton is no longer in the Army. He is a United States senator, sworn to uphold the Consitution (as officers are) but also charged with certain constitutional duties, among them treaties:

[The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur…

That's Senator Cotton to you, sir

That’s Senator Cotton to you, sir

By politely but firmly informing Barry Hussein’s Islamic buddies in Tehran that no agreement not submitted to the Senate for ratification can be binding beyond the term of this benighted presidency, Sen. Cotton and his collegial “traitors” are upholding their sworn oaths of office. Unlike some presidents one can think of…