Born in Dardanelle, Arkansas on May 13, 1977, 6’5” Tom Cotton is filled with determination and patriotism. Though he lives in a small home, has no press secretary and seems somewhat incapable of presenting a resounding stump speech, only the most foolish of individuals would consider this mild-mannered, lanky razorback to be incapable of accomplishing the goals he sets for himself.
Cotton brings to the table an impressive resume of accomplishments in his life of 37 years and as Senator-elect from Arkansas, he is numbered with famous Arkansans such as Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Mike Huckabee and Bill Clinton. On November 4th, he joined a special list of new Republicans who put the Senate in the hands of the Republicans election. Presently, Cotton represents Arkansas’ 4th District in the southern part of the state and contains approximately half the state’s acreage. His district has a median income of $29,675 and boasts a population of approximately 670,000.
Cotton was 15 and living on his family’s cattle ranch when Bill Clinton moved from Little Rock to Washington, D.C. Though politics was seldom discussed in the Cotton household, having your state’s governor now occupying the Oval Office brought about a bit of a change. Tom began to closely follow the news and soon embraced conservative views rather than fall under Clinton’s spell.
A graduate of Dardanelle High School, he did exceptionally well on his college entrance exams. Knowing this, Cotton sent his applications to various top-ranked schools and soon received a letter of acceptance from Harvard University. Here Cotton joined the Harvard Republican Club, majored in government and wrote his thesis on the Federalist Papers. After he completed his undergraduate studies, Cotton spent a year at Claremont Graduate University. It was here conservative scholar Charles Kesler strongly influenced the young Cotton and where he learned to connect low politics with high principals. Cotton then enrolled in Harvard Law School and was one year from completing his studies when 09/11 occurred. He completed his law degree and spent the next two years pursuing legal work in an effort to pay off his college loans. That done, he volunteered for military service in 2004.
Due to the fact Cotton was a Harvard Law grad with two years’ experience, the recruiting officer who interviewed him recommended Cotton consider becoming a JAG officer (a military lawyer who serves away from the combat zone). Cotton declined the offer, signed up for OCS and stated he wished to be part of the infantry. Now a second lieutenant, he entered advanced infantry training, completed paratrooper school, joined the Rangers and became a company commander with the Rangers in the 101st Airborne headed for Iraq.
While in the Army in 2006, Lt. Cotton suddenly found himself at war with two enemies – Al Qaeda and a gray lady, better known as The New York Times. On June 22, 2006, Eric Lichtblau and James Risen of the Times published an article in which they revealed details related to a top-secret program by the US Treasury Department to disrupt the process by which Al Qaeda terrorists received funding. In response to this article, Lt. Cotton wrote this letter:
Dear Msessrs. Keller, Lichtblau & Risen:
Congratulations on disclosing our government’s highly classified anti-terrorist financing program (June 23). I apologize for not writing sooner; but I am a lieutenant in the United States Army and I spent the last four days patrolling one of the more dangerous areas in Iraq. (Alas, operational security and common sense prevent me from even revealing this unclassified location in a private medium like email.)
Unfortunately, as I supervised my soldiers late one night, I heard a booming explosion several miles away. I learned a few hours later that a powerful roadside bomb killed one soldier and severely injured another from my 130-man company. I dearly hope that we can find and kill or capture the terrorists responsible for that bomb. But, of course, these terrorists do not spring from the soil like Plato’s guardians. No, they require financing to obtain mortars and artillery shells, priming explosives, wiring and circuitry; not to mention for training and payments to locals willing to emplace bombs in exchange for a few months’ salary. As your story states, the program was legal, briefed to Congress, supported in the government and financial industry, and very successful.
Not anymore! You may think you have done a public service, but you have gravely endangered the lives of my soldiers and all other soldiers and innocent Iraquis here. Next time I hear that familiar explosion – or next time I feel it – I will wonder whether we could have stopped that bomb had you not instructed terrorists how to evade our financial surveillance.
And, by the way, having graduated from Harvard Law and practiced with a federal appellate judge and two Washington law firms before becoming an infantry officer, I am well-versed in the espionage laws relevant to this story and others – laws you have plainly violated. I hope that my colleagues at the Department of Justice match the courage of my soldiers here and prosecute you and your newspaper to the fullest extent of the law. By the time we return home, maybe you will be in your rightful place; not at the Pulitzer announcements, but behind bars.
Very truly yours,
Tom Cotton – Baghdad, Iraq”
Tom sent this letter to The New York Times to express his displeasure with the fact the publication took it upon itself to reveal secrets which had been helping our troops win the war in Iraq; but now having become public knowledge, these efforts were now hampered. It goes without saying, The Times refused to publish the article; but thankfully it was released by another media giant, Power Line, on June 26, 2006 and the letter soon went global on the Internet. Unfortunately, Lichtblau and Risen escaped the deserved charge of espionage and the government-financed hemp party which typically follows.
Later, the liberally leaning couple better known as “Snopes”, published the letter and questioned the actual existence of an individual by the name of Tom Cotton, due to the fact “Tom Cotton” is also the name of a hobbit in Lord of the Rings. Thankfully the Houston Chronicle came to his rescue by stating the individual truly did exist, and that he left his law practice in January 2005 to attend OCS. Cotton’s criticism of the Gray Lady served to temporarily propel him to the level of minor celebrity throughout right-wing blogospheres.
When Cotton returned from Iraq, he became a platoon leader with The Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery. Here he was responsible for helping to conduct funerals with full military honors for America’s veterans. His military decorations include: Bronze Star, Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge and Air Assault Badge.
After leaving active duty, Tom joined the Army Reserves and worked as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company. In this position, Tom has advised a number of America’s most respected companies in the fields of agribusiness, health care, and oil & gas to name a few, on business strategy, operations finance and marketing. Cotton has promised Arkansas, and in some respects the United States as a whole, to join the fight to repeal Obamacare, cut federal spending and reduce taxes.