At a Johns Hopkins University foreign policy event on Friday, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), himself an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, stopped to ask Fred Boenig about the pins on his lapel. An emotional exchange ensued that illustrates the frustration that many feel regarding American soldiers fighting overseas and foreign policy in general. So that you know where Senator Tom Cotton stands, here is a video of him explaining his “hawkish” stance on foreign policy.
Bear in mind, Senator Cotton personally served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, a fact that he did not even mention in his exchange with Gold Star Dad Fred Boenig below. When Senator Cotton asked about the lapel pins, Mr. Boenig, whose son committed suicide in Afghanistan in 2010 answered the question with a series of questions of his own that Senator Cotton was obviously not expecting. Mr. Boenig expressed many of the criticisms of recent foreign engagements that many Americans have expressed. Senator Cotton met each one with respect, answers and explanations the best he could in the emotional exchange.
There are a lot of Americans who are weary and critical of American military engagements in the Middle East. However, a father or mother with “skin in the game” is someone who even the most ardent foreign policy hawk in Washington must hear from and convince that their children are not dying in vain in foreign lands. Although the exchange was tense and obviously emotional, both gentlemen ended the exchange cordially, thanking each other before moving on.