Tom Cotton: Obama’s Decision to Release Five Taliban Commanders Will Cost American Lives

The GOP’s Arkansas Senate nominee harshly criticizes the president’s handling of the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap.

National Journal
Josh Kraushaar
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Josh Kraushaar
June 3, 2014, 10:24 a.m.

Tom Cot­ton, an Ir­aq War vet­er­an and GOP Sen­ate can­did­ate in Arkan­sas, harshly cri­ti­cized the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion for its hand­ling of the Bowe Ber­g­dahl pris­on­er swap on an Arkan­sas-based ra­dio pod­cast Tues­day morn­ing, call­ing it a “griev­ous er­ror” from the pres­id­ent that puts Amer­ic­an troops at risk.

“There is now a price on the head of Amer­ic­an host­ages, and Barack Obama has helped put that price there by break­ing with a dec­ade­long bi­par­tis­an con­sensus,” Cot­ton told host J.R. Dav­is.

“Even if Bowe Ber­g­dahl had been cap­tured hero­ic­ally on the bat­tle­field, it would still be bad policy, be­cause now it in­creases the danger that all 32,000 Amer­ic­an troops in Afgh­anistan face, or for that mat­ter our aid work­ers or our dip­lo­mats there or any Amer­ic­an trav­el­ing around the world on busi­ness or tour­ism,” Cot­ton con­tin­ued.

Cot­ton, cit­ing me­dia re­ports that Ber­g­dahl was a desert­er, sug­ges­ted that the pres­id­ent and Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Ad­viser Susan Rice may have covered up de­tails about the swap. “The pres­id­ent and his seni­or lead­er­ship needs to ac­count for what they knew about the cir­cum­stances about Bowe Ber­g­dahl’s dis­ap­pear­ance and when they knew it. And wheth­er they tried to cov­er it up from the Amer­ic­an people to sell the griev­ous mis­take of this pris­on­er swap.”

Asked what he would do in Obama’s po­s­i­tion, Cot­ton said: “I wouldn’t have traded five seni­or Taliban com­mand­ers for any POW. I would have con­tin­ued to use in­tel­li­gence re­sources and spe­cial op­er­a­tions units to try to re­trieve Bowe Ber­g­dahl, or any POW for that mat­ter. But I would not re­lease seni­or hardened Taliban com­mand­ers. These are not goat her­ders or foot sol­diers. These are the equi­val­ent of their sec­ret­ary of De­fense or their CIA dir­ect­or. They are go­ing to go back in the bat­tle­field. That is go­ing to hap­pen. And they’re go­ing to help kill Amer­ic­ans in the fu­ture.”

Cot­ton is one of the GOP’s lead­ing Sen­ate re­cruits in 2014, with his bio­graphy play­ing a ma­jor part in his cam­paign as he chal­lenges Demo­crat­ic Sen. Mark Pry­or. Cot­ton is a fa­vor­ite among Re­pub­lic­an hawks who ad­voc­ate for a more as­sert­ive Amer­ic­an role over­seas.

What We're Following See More »
CITES CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Lieberman Withdraws from Consideration for FBI Job
1 days ago
THE LATEST
MINIMUM 2 PERCENT GDP
Trump Tells NATO Countries To Pay Up
2 days ago
BREAKING
MANAFORT AND FLYNN
Russians Discussed Influencing Trump Through Aides
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Source:
BUT WHITE HOUSE MAY USE AGAINST HIM ANYWAY
Ethics Cops Clear Mueller to Work on Trump Case
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."

Source:
BUSINESSES CAN’T PLEAD FIFTH
Senate Intel to Subpoena Two of Flynn’s Businesses
3 days ago
THE LATEST

Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."

×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login