Former soldier Rep. Cotton opposes Hagel nomination
Newly-elected AR lawmaker speaks out
- Duration 5:13
- Date Jan 8, 2013
Newly-elected AR lawmaker speaks out
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Well brand new face on Capitol Hill who served on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Is joining the ranks of those opposed to president Obama's choice for Defense Secretary.
Our next guest a conservative Republican who was sworn in last week.
Says former senator Chuck Hagel is not qualified to lead US troops in times of war.
Let's talk about it now with our because Arkansas congressman Tom cotton.
Congressman it would seem that a guy who came out of the Vietnam War with two purple hearts as Chuck Hagel did.
Would be unnatural at leading troops you say no -- John thanks for having me on Chuck Hagel certainly served our country admirably and valiantly and Vietnam.
But I can't be the.
So or even the primary consideration for being secretary of defense we have to look at his record his -- his statements.
And this is a man due in 2002 when it was popular.
Voted to send us toward Barack -- in 2006 it was unpopular turned his back in this troops he didn't just oppose the surge.
He voted to -- -- hasty withdrawal he delayed emergency funding.
He told the surged the most dangerous foreign policy blunder and our country's history since Vietnam.
Even said at the height of the surge a success in the fighting in Iraq that we're fighting a war for oil which puts him closer to code pink than it does the President Obama.
And the surge obviously when it was implemented under General Petraeus went on to work very well.
Correct nobody in the 2008 I think almost all observers had agreed that the surge would accomplish it purposes.
-- reduced violence not just gets American troops and Iraqi civilians.
-- Chuck Hagel is still citing other factors as the cost of the decline of that violence.
As if the surge hadn't happened and driven those factors themselves you had your own experience there I mean you were leading soldiers right in Baghdad and some of the heaviest fighting there.
That's right I was -- the -- later with a 101 airborne I had about forty infantry men.
With me and Baghdad 2006.
Coincidentally the week that we return from Baghdad.
Proud of our -- -- -- when Chuck Hagel wrote an opinion column saying that we can achieve no victory at the time for more troops fighting there had passed.
No one had told us they -- in the previous months were fighting in Baghdad at the time for the -- -- pat had passed or that we couldn't achieve victory.
At the same time Chuck Hagel is a former senator as you know the senate the world's most exclusive club they tend to treat their.
Members and their former members with kid gloves everybody seems to feel that Chuck Hagel.
If he's the guy that the president wants Chuck Hagel is going to go on to confirmation are you tilting at Windmills here.
Certainly hope not because the secretary defense is one of the most important positions in the executive branch after the president and the vice president.
And you look at Chuck Hagel record in the senate you'll see that he's outside the bipartisan mainstream consensus of other senators.
He voted against -- sanctions when the vote was 96 to two.
He refused to sign a letter condemning.
Anti semitism on the rise in Russia when nine in nine other senators signed it.
89 senators voted for sanctions in Syria he was not one of those senators so you when you look at his record even in the senate you'll see just health or outside the bipartisan mainstream consensus.
On foreign policy and national security he is bin.
And there has been a lot of discussion about the fact that congress has -- declining number of military service veterans that you are one as we mentioned you fought in nine Afghanistan and Iraq do you think.
That that qualification is important for a member of congress.
I think being a veteran especially having seen combat is valuable in any walk of life whether it's serving in congress.
Serving in local politics or in business are just as a community leader.
And I think that we bring certain.
Characteristics like leadership and poise under fire when the stakes are very high to the table.
But also it's not a prerequisite to be secretary of defense or serving congress.
We should look at our at one's views and -- record when we make such decisions.
This this is I believe a picture of Chuck Hagel during his Vietnam era service.
You you say you're you're an advocate for a strong military and a strong American presence around the world -- a guy who has.
Fought on the front lines why.
I think the world is safest when America's leading a world we've seen that throughout our history.
When we got withdrew from the world after having intervened in Europe after -- one what did we get we got -- -- to.
When we were not actively -- right from the very beginning at the world over to the Cold War began very quickly.
After Vietnam when we develop Vietnam syndrome that's when the Soviet Union went on the march in places like Afghanistan like Angola and so forth.
And I worry today.
If we withdraw precipitously from Afghanistan or not a leader around the world.
And our enemies will move on the march again and our allies will be -- -- wonder they can trust America to be steadfast by them.
Tom cotton is a newly elected member of congress representing Arkansas he has been.
The subject of a number of very flattering profiles in mountain and places like Washington Post and Politico.
Our viewers going to be hearing a lot from you I have a feeling over the next few years could have youngster thank you thank you John good to be here.