This morning, CNN’s State of the Union had on two members of Congress who are rookie politicians, but veterans in another sense: Democrat Tulsi Gabbard was deployed as part of the Hawaii National Guard to Iraq in 2004, and conservative favorite Tom Cotton of Arkansas served in Iraq as an infantry-platoon leader in the 101st Airborne. The two spoke with Candy Crowley about their experiences in Iraq, the wisdom of the Iraq War, and the U.S. government’s treatment of veterans.
The two congressmen diverged in their surety over whether it was the right decision to invade Iraq: Gabbard said that “victory was not defined clearly,” and questioned “what does ‘worth it’ mean,” whether it should be measured in lives lost or treasure expended — suggesting that she felt it is either too soon to assess the effort, or that it was indeed too costly. Cotton was more positive and forthcoming, saying “I would say it was worth it. But it’s also a little too soon to tell, because there’s nothing ever certain in human affairs.”
But the Republican congressman did suggest that removing Saddam Hussein was a worthwhile accomplishment, and cataloged his crimes: “He invaded across two boundaries; he had demonstrated the ability and the will to use weapons of mass destruction; he was believed by every Western government, including senior high-ranking officials in President Obama’s cabinet right now, to be developing new weapons; he was in violation of numerous United Nations resolutions.” He concluded that “under those conditions . . . it was a just and noble war.”
Jay Nordlinger profiled now-congressman Cotton extensively during last year’s election; he easily won his race in Arkansas’s fourth congressional district.