July 6, 2015

The United States and Iran are circling around the final parameters of an agreement that is likely to steer us away from war and slouch toward some kind of small progress toward non-proliferation.

That has Senator Tom Cotton's -- aka "Tehran Tom" -- panties in a bunch.

Speaking with George Stephanopoulis Sunday, Cotton renewed his call for military strikes rather than diplomacy. I was struck by the way he boiled the entire country of Iran down to a two-dimensional cardboard cutout, as if there are not real people in that country with real families who just want to live.

"Iran is an anti-American terrorist sponsoring outlaw regime that's killed thousands of Americans from Beirut to Iraq to Afghanistan," Cotton declared.

Cotton is not happy about diplomacy taking precedence over mass destruction of the country of Iran.

"Iran was negotiating from a position of weakness. And this is not just two businesses negotiating together, this is not like Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks trying to reach a contract that makes everyone happy," he said. "Iran should have faced a simple choice: they dismantle their nuclear program entirely, or they face economic devastation and military destruction of their nuclear facilities."

Why is it that the neocons always think other countries shake in their boots when the United States raises its fist against them? And why is it that Tehran Tom, who surely saw the consequences of the last United States swagger when he was in Iraq, imagines an outcome that would be any different than the last endeavor?

Cotton once again spat out the evil neocon public relations lie that former Obama advisers had signed a letter intended to undermine the talks. Fox News led the charge on this particular lie. In fact, the letter signed by former Obama advisers was intended to bolster the framework under which the current agreement is being negotiated, not undermine the talks.

Cotton seems not to understand that Iran is functioning as a stabilizing influence in several countries right now. Whether that's intentional or just basic stupidity is beside the point. His rhetoric is dangerous, on the same level as any insane ideologue, Muslim or otherwise.

Tom Cotton is one of the strongest arguments on the table for why the neocons must never be allowed back into the White House. He sees things only as a wargame, where the primary question in his mind is which countries can be obliterated and which cannot. Can we bomb them into oblivion? If so, then we are also entitled to rob them of all dignity and autonomy by throwing our American weight around and threatening them, rather than talking calmly with them.

Already, anti-Iran deal television ads are being smattered all over the cable networks, but mostly MSNBC. This is because Shelly Adelson and his merry band of neocons is intensely vested in seeing this agreement fail. Tom Cotton is just another messenger on the road to mutually assured destruction, should Adelson & Co have their way.

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