U.S. Senator Tom Cotton was confronted Friday by an angry dad who lost a son in Afghanistan in 2010, the Huffington Post is reporting.
Speaking at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, Cotton, a Republican senator from Arkansas, took Barack Obama to task for what he called his “dangerous” views on foreign policy, particularly Iran. He then turned to a member of the audience — a man later identified as Fred Boening — about the pins he was wearing on his lapel.
Boening told Cotton that the four pins signify his four children, three of whom are all currently serving in the military, according to Politico. He then told Cotton that he is a “gold-star dad” — that is, a parent who has lost a child in military service (Boening’s son, Airman Austin Gates-Benson, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Afghanistan). Cotton — known in Washington for his almost enthusiastically pro-war stance, particularly in relation to Iran — then got an earful from the angry dad.
“I have three more kids currently serving and I would consider you probably the biggest hawk in Washington.”
Cotton, himself a veteran of the Iraq War, laughed uncomfortably at the accusation, then said that he prefers to consider his stance one of “strength in confidence.”
The dad continued.
“When I hear that term and when I hear you speak, all I hear is somebody knocking at my door again.”
Boening then went on to ask Cotton if he could say how long it’s been since a U.S. soldier died in Afghanistan, a question to which Cotton wasn’t able to give a satisfactory answer (which is 59 days, as of this post). The angry dad then chided the senator for not knowing the answer.
“All I ever ask is a second question, since that’s not an important number to you, is, when do we get to hang up the ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner, and when do I get to get my kids to come home safe again? That’s the only thing that matters to me.”
Cotton, who kept his cool and remained polite during the confrontation, tried to explain himself.
“There is no definite answer because our enemies get a vote in this process. I’m deeply sorrowful for your loss and I greatly honor the service that all of your children have rendered like all of our veterans do, but in the end I think the best way to honor our veterans…”
Boening interrupted, “…is to have more killed?”
Cotton continued, “…is to win the wars they fought.”
Speaking to Politico reporters after the confrontation, Boening complimented Cotton for remaining polite and paying attention to his concerns.
“He handled it the way I expected him to handle it. He’s a hawk. I’m a tree-hugging, peace-loving, gay wedding, you know, whatever. I was a conservative my whole life, but it all changed.”
Do you believe Tom Cotton deserved to be confronted by an angry dad over his pro-war stance? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.
[Image courtesy of: YouTube]