NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Rep. Tom Cotton rallied conservatives to the war effort Thursday, arguing that the U.S. must continue its war against "radical Islamic Jihad."
Speaking at the annual CPAC gathering of conservatives, Cotton, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan bluntly argued that, "It's a war against radical Islamic jihad. It's not a war against terror. Terror is a specific tactic… This is a war we have to engage in and that we have to win."
Cotton also leveled harsh criticism against the Obama administration, questioning the administration's commitment to fighting radicalism.
"We are fighting a war. We are not engaged in a law enforcement campaign. I wonder, I worry that the president thinks we are… The president, I worry, is returning us to a law enforcement construct."
Public support for the war efforts has been declining for years. Even amongst conservatives, who were initially President George Bush's biggest supporters in his campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, a decade of war has eroded support.
Cotton blamed Obama for much of the nation's lack of support for continued war. "I understand that there's war weary… there's no surprise that the American people are war weary when their commander-in-chief is the weariest of all," he said.
Not all conservatives were buying it, however. "This fantasy that we're going to get into a war, we're going to win it like World War II is an aberration," said Dr. Ivan Eland, a senior fellow at the Independent Institute.
John Stanton is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New Orleans. In 2014, Stanton was a recipient of the National Press Foundation’s 2014 Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting of Congress.
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