Jonathan Capehart interviewed retired Major General Paul Eaton about Tehran Tom's letter, specifically asking whether or not those who call it treason are correct.
Eaton demurred from the word treason, choosing instead to call Cotton "mutinous."
“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. “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.
Then came the spanking.
“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.
“I think Senator Cotton recognizes this, and he simply does not care,” Eaton went on to say. “That’s what disappoints me the most.”
Back when Tom Cotton was a Harvard guy he did a lot of writing for the Harvard Crimson. Most of it is pretty forgettable and trite, but one column did offer some insight into who Tom Cotton thinks he is.
This is the reason I have written polemical philippics: I have sought to counteract rampant prejudices. While I stand by my previous writings and their cogency, my first end was not to persuade but rather to offend your sensibilities. For with offended sensibilities comes indignation and with indignation a desire to refute. But to refute an argument successfully, even or perhaps especially a contrarian argument, requires understanding. And if one attempts to understand a contrarian argument, one might even come to appreciate or agree with it. In a word, one might lose a prejudice or two.
See, he was just trying to get us to understand. Or educate us on the Tehran Tom Trademark Thought Methods.
Or, as General Eaton suggests, he was leading a mutiny.