“Sua Sponte”: Critics and Veterans Slam Media Attack On Sen. Cotton’s Service Claims

There is an ongoing controversy triggered by an article in Salon suggesting that Sen. Tom Cotton had lied about being an Army Ranger in describing his military service. The Salon article by Roger Sullenberger claimed that Arkansas senator Tom Cotton “felt compelled to repeatedly falsify that honorable military record.” It is an accusation that borders on a claim of stolen valor and could not be more insulting, particularly for someone with a highly distinguished military service record. The article has been denounced as part of a smear campaign by conservative sites like National Review but also veterans as unfair and inaccurate.

Ironically, the regimental motto of the Rangers is the Latin phrase sua sponte, or “of their own accord.” There appears debate on whose accord is controlling on such questions.

Cotton volunteered to serve and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He was deployed with the 101st Airborne in Iraq and was promoted to first lieutenant. He also served in Afghanistan. He was awarded a Bronze Star, two Army Commendation MedalsCombat Infantryman BadgeRanger tabAfghanistan Campaign Medal, and Iraq Campaign Medal.

False or exaggerated military records have been raised over political claims in the past.  Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., claimed on repeated occasions that he served in Vietnam when he had been in a Marine Reserve unit that was never sent overseas. In one article in May 2008, Blumenthal claimed that “when we returned from Vietnam, I remember the taunts, the verbal and even physical abuse we encountered.” There is no ambiguity on that claim.

However, Cotton not only went to Ranger School and received a Ranger badge but went into combat. Cotton received his Ranger badge and then served with the 101st Airborne Division. As a military history nut, I have discussed the “Screaming Eagles” in prior columns as one of the most storied and revered forces in United States military history.  Cotton was in combat with one of the most elite units in the world.  He never claimed claimed to have served in the 75th Ranger Regiment. Instead, he claimed that he “volunteered to be an Army Ranger” and referred to himself as a ranger on occasion.  Sullenberger maintains that that does not make him an “actual Army Ranger,” but that is not a view shared by some other rangers.  There is no balance in the article. Such countervailing views appeared in coverage following the Salon article.

The Arkansas Times interviewed Command sergeant major Rick Merritt, who served in the 75th Ranger Regiment, who denounced the premise of Salon’s article as “absurd,” “unfair,” and “almost slanderous.” Conversely, Rep. Jason Crow, a Colorado Democrat who served in the 75th Ranger Regiment, criticized Cotton for referring to himself as an Army Ranger, tweeting a picture of a Ranger in uniform with “Hey @SenTomCotton, unless you wore one of these berets you shouldn’t be calling yourself a Ranger. Truth matters.”

The National Review takes apart that claim and notes that veterans insist that Cotton was a Ranger. Moreover, it noted that major publications have referred to graduates of Ranger school as rangers in the same way as Cotton did. Notably, critics pointed out that Newsweek slammed Cotton after the Salon story but in 2015 used the same description of graduates from the school who did not serve in the actual Ranger regiment. Rather than change its criticism of Cotton, Newsweek quietly changed the 2015 article to remove the reference to being a Ranger.

As the site military.com noted, “the 75th Ranger Regiment requires its soldiers to complete its own eight-week selection process. Upon completing the course, soldiers are allowed to wear a distinctive tan beret with their uniform.” Cotton took the U.S. Army’s Ranger School, a roughly eight-week leadership course on light-infantry tactics. While Salon dismissed the school as a course that “literally anyone in the military is eligible to attend,” military.com wrote

To be clear, serving in the 75th Ranger Regiment or completing the Army’s Ranger School are both significant accomplishments. The vast majority of service members have neither served in a special operations unit nor attended Ranger School, both of which are physically and mentally grueling tasks. Neither are required to be eligible for the other — the only exception being that 75th Ranger Regiment leaders, such as commissioned officers, are required to complete Ranger School.

This does strike me as unfair. Salon as a long history of such hits pieces, particularly against Cotton. For example, the Arkansas Times noted prior pieces entitled “10 frightening facts about Tom Cotton” and “Chair of the imbecile caucus: Sen. Tom Cotton proudly stands at the vanguard of shameless Republican obstructionism.” This latest article was entitled in a way to be used by an Internet mob to suggest a type of stolen valor: “Sen. Tom Cotton campaigned on his “experience as an Army Ranger” — but he didn’t have any.”  This was a man who earned his Ranger badge but served with an elite airborne division.  The headline makes it sound like he was back in the states with the motor pool.  Normally, this type of issue would warrant a parenthetical in a profile piece.

I have no problem with raising this issue. Indeed, I find it interesting. This appears to be a long-standing matter of debate. Frankly, I do not see why Cotton did not just identify himself as Airborne with the Screaming Eagles, which is an enormous distinction. However, the Salon piece is typical of the slanted and sensational coverage that is now common among publications. Articles are designed to thrill audiences in our siloed media where people expect nothing confirmation of their own biases. These sites on the left and the right contribute to the anger and divisions in the country.

290 thoughts on ““Sua Sponte”: Critics and Veterans Slam Media Attack On Sen. Cotton’s Service Claims”

    1. “The truth is still important in America…and, in this instance, Senator Cotton exaggerated his service…” -Rep. Jason Crow, Former Army Ranger.

      1. Truth is important

        Command Sergeant Major Rick Merritt, a former regimental sergeant major of the 75th Ranger Regiment, defended Cotton’s claim to be a Ranger, saying attacks on Cotton were “absurd”, and that Cotton is “…100% a Ranger. He will always be a Ranger, it’s unfair, it’s almost slanderous. An attack on him is an attack on every veteran who has served honorably.”

          1. I did, the first minute or so were fine, and then it went off into left wing nut never never land.

            Cotton is a ranger. PERIOD.
            He has earned the right to wear the Ranger Tab on his uniform.
            He subsequent service demonstrates that he has earned that distinction over an over.

            This is incorrect and pedantic microparsing by the left.

            Rep, Crow is being childish, and slanderous.

            Right now we know alot about Cotton’s service. He lead daily combat patrols in Irag and was frequently underfire where he earned a bronze star.

            Crow’s public military history is thin. He won a bronze star for something. but he does not appear to have a CIB.
            That means he was never in combat.

            I actually hope that is incorrect. Crow pissing on a fellow ranger who was in combat many times is unforgiveable if Crow never saw combat himself.

            A CIB is NOT a participation Trophy. You do not get it for completely school – no matter how difficult the school. You do not get it for being present at a battle. You must actually be in the fight.

            If Crow is pissing on someone who was in combat when he was not himself – he is nearly as disreputable as Trump for attacking McCain’s service.

  1. The argument about a graduate of Ranger school who does not serve in a Ranger Battalion being entitled to claiming to be a Ranger is undone by the way Rangers choose Inductees for the Ranger Hall of Fame.

    Read the profiles of those selected by their Peers for the Honor of being in the Ranger Hall of Fame….we are blessed to have such Men among us.

    When you complete Ranger School….and fellow Rangers pin that Tab on your shoulder…..you are a Ranger.


  2. 157 comments on this nonsense, including 10 from MollyG and 14 from Gainesville (under two different handles).

      1. Of you are investing to “stick it to the man” – you are likely to get slaughtered.

        Make your own reasoned assessment of the actual value based on YOUR criteria.

        The only thing any of this demonstrates is that value is an abstract rather than concrete concept.

        “All money is a matter of belief.” — Adam Smith

        All VALUE is a matter of beleif.

    1. this is an actual example of real free markets at work.

      There is NOTHING wrong with what the short sellers are doing.
      There is NOTHING wrong with what those on Reditt are doing.

      There is absolutely no reason to regulate EITHER.

      Sagar and Ball are complete idiots with respect to economics and markets.

      But they accidentally trip over a core principle of economics.

      The ONLY true value of anything is what a willing buyer and a willing sellor agree to.

      There is no other actual value.

      Short Sellors are betting that the value of something declines. The very act of short selling on a large enough scale cases that value to decline. Conversely ordinary buyers willing to pay a higher price drive the value UP.

      These changes in value ARE real. As real as the value of a car.
      It is entirely possible the value of Gamestop is much higher than the market percieved several days ago.
      It is also possible that the recent SM driven rise in value will collapse.
      That can not be known in the moment.

      If the social media stock warriors are profiting at the expense of hedge fund short sellers – Great.
      It is also possible that in the long run the “winners” will be the hedge funds if the market ultimately finds the stock value is way too high.

      It is not possible to know. Value is determined by peoples choices and those change.

  3. Contrast what is said in this article and what lefties like Joe Friday said. Joe has been wrong on almost everything and to this day doesn’t admit it. This set of releases are from Page’s and McCabe’s own notes.

    The video “ transcript shows FBI knew Carter Page allegations were false before FISA”

    How can our local lefties keep on singing the same old and dirty songs?

    Obstruction boomerang: FBI knew DOJ was preparing to fire Comey long before Trump ordered it
    Rosenstein offered to wear wire on Trump, wanted fired Comey’s advice on special counsel, newly declassified memos show.

    Newly declassified FBI memos provide startling new details that undercut the frenzied 2017 effort to investigate Donald Trump for obstruction, revealing the FBI knew Director James Comey’s firing had been conceived by Justice Department leadership long before the president pulled the trigger during a key moment in the Russia probe.

    Continued with documents at: https://justthenews.com/accountability/russia-and-ukraine-scandals/obstruction-boomerang-fbi-knew-comey-firing-was-planned?utm_source=daily-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter#article

    1. We keep hearing about “right wing conspiracy theories”.

      What shocks me is that the truth is so much WORSE.
      While I grasped that the collusion delusion was total idiocy in 2017.

      Today it is not only idiocy – but the FBI KNEW it was idiocy AT THE TIME and went ahead anyway.

      The arrogance, Hubris, of this is beyond beleif.

      One of the recently declassified documents proves that Fiona Hill – who testified against Trump in the first impeachment hearing, refered the person the FBI knew to be a Russian spy to Steele as the primary subsource.

      It is shocking how the same names come up over and over in this.

      Further – why was this information kept from the house intel committee – especially during impeachment.

      What could be more relevant to Hill’s credibility as a witness than the fact that she was an actual participant in concocting the “collusion delusion” ?

      I think one of the other things that recently came out was that not only was the infamous pee tape mythical – the FBI KNEW it was nonsense in 2016.

      1. This tells us that the powers on the left are looking to create a fascist (empire?) where the elites have near total control, not all that different from the CCP. The left is significantly there.

        As an aside a 30 year old journalist was arrested for blogging about the election. They have charged him with a statute that doesn’t apply. His “lies” which were his opinions were considered dangerous. I don’t yet know enough about the case but to me it sounds like intimidation, a tactic government uses to push people to act in the fashion they desire. Government intimidation is common in all industry especially the healthcare sector but in this case the intimidation is political with a potential 10 year jail term.

        1. I do not think the relentlessness with which leftist ideas lead to authoritaianism is intentional. It is just inevitable.

          As Lord Acton noted – Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

          Top down schemes of political economy incentive the pursuit of power,

          More and more we are starting to see those on the left talk with the same language as Stalinist and Maoists.
          Of repression, and censorship and reeducation and gulags.
          Today these seem stupid remarks easily dissmissed.
          Soon enough they will be real if we do not change direction.

          1. ” do not think the relentlessness with which leftist ideas lead to authoritaianism is intentional. It is just inevitable.”

            For many of those in leadership fascism is the desired product. “Leftism” is the advertisement.

  4. Apologies for using Wikipedia. It’s a fast and dirty way to refer to casual references to “ranger” as opposed to the 75th. Saying that the Army Ranger School is open to nearly all members of the military is like saying that Navy Seal candidacy is open to nearly all members of the Navy. Well, yeah, if the latter has the ASVAB score. Attending doesn’t mean you can finish. Ranger school is not an extension class on knitting.

    “United States Army Rangers, according to the US Army’s definition, are personnel, past or present, in any unit that has the official designation of “Ranger”.[1][2] The term is commonly used to include graduates of the US Army Ranger School, even if they have never served in a “Ranger” unit. [3]

    In a broader and less formal sense, the term “ranger” has been used, officially and unofficially, in North America since the 17th century, to describe light infantry in small, independent units – usually companies.”


    “Ranger School is open to soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen in the U.S. Armed Forces, as well as select allied military students. The course is conducted in various locations. Benning Phase occurs in and around Camp Rogers and Camp Darby at Fort Benning, Georgia. Mountain Phase is conducted at Camp Merrill, in the remote mountains near Dahlonega, Georgia. Swamp Phase is conducted in the coastal swamps at various locations near Camp Rudder, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

    The United States Army Ranger School is not organizationally affiliated with the 75th Ranger Regiment. Ranger School falls under control of the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command as a school open to most members of the United States Army, but the 75th Ranger Regiment is a Special Operations warfighting unit organized under the United States Army Special Operations Command. The two share a common heritage and subordinate battalions common lineage, and Ranger School is a requirement for all officers and non-commissioned officers (NCO) of the 75th Ranger Regiment.[4]

    Those graduating from Ranger School are presented with the Ranger Tab, which is worn on the upper shoulder of the left sleeve of a military uniform, according to U.S. Army regulations[5] Wearing the tab is permitted for the remainder of a soldier’s military career. The cloth version of the tab is worn on the Army Combat Uniform and Army Green Service Uniform; a smaller, metal version is worn on the Army Service Uniform.[6]”


  5. It was dishonorable to slander Senator Cotton in such a manner.

    Nowhere, that I can find, did Sen Cotton claim to be with the 75th. He’s entitled to refer to himself as a Ranger because he completed that program.

    Speaking of which, I’ve known Paratroopers before. They are pretty bada*(&. Their parachutes are deliberately made smaller than for recreational jumping. As soon as they jump out of that plane, they’re targets. So the Army wants them on the ground as fast as possible. When they hit, they hit hard.

    I’ve hard lots of stories about jumps, such as if someone ends up directly above another paratrooper, they can descend until they are “walking” atop the chute below. This can collapse that chute, and/or cause them to entangle.

    If a paratrooper really, really wants to respond in the affirmative, they yell “Airborne!”

    Our military deserve our thanks and respect. To claim that Cotton’s service or claims were in any way stolen valor is reprehensible.

    1. I am prepared to listen to criticism of Sen. Cotton’s self identification as a Ranger from those few truly better qualified to claim that identity. There are few if any who have done so.

      There are with absolute certainty those within the military with a stronger claim to prestige and honor than Sen. Cotton – but their numbers are miniscule. Cotton is indesputably in the 1% of the warrior class – if not in the 0.1%

      He has nothing to be ashamed of and those defaming him are themselves shameful.

      I did not vote for Trump in 2016 and 2020. ONE of the reasons were his remarks about McCain.

      I have no problems with attacking McCain politically – or in a wide variety of other ways.

      But John McCain – for all his other flaws – and he had plenty, was an actual hero.

  6. “Did Sen. Tom Cotton Falsely Claim To Have Been an ‘Army Ranger in Afghanistan and Iraq’?”


    ‘Although other examples exist in which Cotton does not explicitly make the argument that he served as a Ranger during his tours of duty, the ones that do make that claim are undisputedly false, as Cotton never served in Iraq or Afghanistan with the 75th Ranger Regiment. Because Cotton nevertheless implied or asserted that he did, the accusation he misstated his military history is here rated “True.”’

    -Alex Kasprak

    Cotton purposely shaded the truth, IMO.

    1. Did Cotton claim he served in the 75th? No. Therefore, condemning him for claiming he served in the 75th, when he said no such thing, is unethical.

      “United States Army Rangers, according to the US Army’s definition, are personnel, past or present, in any unit that has the official designation of “Ranger”.[1][2] The term is commonly used to include graduates of the US Army Ranger School, even if they have never served in a “Ranger” unit. [3]


      I can tell you what probably happened. Someone Googled “ranger”, and got the Army page for the 75th Ranger Regiment. Apparently, it did not occur to journalists to speak with the Ranger School or its graduates to determine how they refer to themselves.

      Instead, they besmirched the name of a military member who served with honor.

      That’s a really reprehensible thing to do.

      As is perpetuating this claim of stolen valor once it’s been debunked. If journalists won’t do their job, then their readers have to fact check them.

      1. As Jonathan Turley noted, “Frankly, I do not see why Cotton did not just identify himself as Airborne with the Screaming Eagles, which is an enormous distinction.”

        Cotton was shading the truth. But most people apparently don’t care, which is what he was banking on…

        1. No he was not shading the truth. Cotton earned a ranger Tab and is entitled to claim to be a ranger – Because he is.
          He is also airborne, and a screaming eagle.

          Those who have actually done more can criticise.
          Have YOU ?

            1. This is your idea of a “fact check” ?

              Anything this tedious and this micro word parsing is NOT a fact check.

              This is a “ranger Tab”

              Capt. Tom Cotton is entitled according to the military codes to wear that on his uniform.

              READ the tab. It says RANGER.

              It does not say “ranger qualified”.

              Every single person in the military that sees the Ranger Tab on your uniform knows EXACTLY what it means.
              They do not need press releases, or leftist media parsing.

              I would further note that Cotton has a Combat Infantry Badge – that means that he was in combat.
              As Best as I can tell Capt Crow does not have a CIB – he is therefore NOT a Combat Veteran, he is a “paper Ranger”.

              Cotton also has a bronze star and numerous other military citations.
              He is entitled to call himself a ranger.

              This is the ranger scroll that members of the 75th regiment are entitled to wear.

              This is not a case of “stolen Valor” it is a case of the left engaging in actually trying to steal valor.

        2. You are mirroring Trump’s attack’s on John McCain.

          If you do not like Trump you should not act like him.

      2. A world full of shameless Goebbels who find no lie small enough not to repeat it over and over until they think they have made it true. This type, this deliberate smearing of a man’s honorable career, it’s got to be one of the worst.

        1. What is this fight over ?

          IF it is over Facts – Sen. Cotton wins. If you earn a ranger tab you are entitled to call yourself a ranger.

          If it is over Warrior status – a Ranger Tab + a CIB + a bronze star Trumps a Scroll.

    2. -Alex Kasprak Like you know anything about it except what you can google. Snopes, eeeew, both your conclusion and Snopes are less factual more with the snake like “interpretations”, yeah, just pull those facts just a little over the line and tell us what Tom Cotton thought. Sickening, you people are sickening.

    1. It’s not that hard, Anonymous. Don’t claim someone said they served in the 75th if they didn’t. Don’t claim calling yourself a “ranger” only refers to the 75th when it’s easily provable that graduates of the Ranger School often refer to themselves as “rangers.”

      It matters whether you’re referring to the 75th Ranger Regiment, or the Ranger School.

      Don’t call someone who served in the military a liar about their service if they’re not.

          1. The entire lie was omitted.

            The Ranger Regiment do not like it when graduates of Ranger School refer to themselves as “ranger.” Graduates of Ranger School do this so often, that in the Regiment there’s a saying, “Ranger school is just a school, but the scroll is a way of life.” They’re Spec Op, and there is no more cliquy group than military elite forces. They go through training that washes up most people. (By God, you should hear about the POW class.)

            Get it? This is such a common practice that the 75th put their gripe into a catchy saying.

            This is a beef about what military people call each other, not stolen valor.

            Of all the stupid things to blow up the internet about, this ranks pretty high up there. Seriously, with all the problems the world is facing right now, people want to pillory a military member who served with honor, who CLEARLY states on his profile that he graduated from Ranger School and has the tab, and that he never served in the 75th Ranger Regiment, because he refers to himself as a “ranger”? Really?

            1. And the marines think they are superior to the Army.
              And ….

              Regardless Cotton did not go frame ranger school to the Quartermaster Corp.
              He went to the 101st, to the screaming eagles.

              I would also note that Cotton has a Combat Infantry Badge and a Bronze Star – something that few members of the 75th have.

              1. Exactly.

                They are treating Tom Cotton as if he pretended to serve with the Ranger Regiment, or as if he were some guy who never served.

                They refuse to acknowledge that graduates of Ranger School commonly refer to themselves as “Rangers”, and that the Ranger Regiment commonly butts heads over who’s allowed to use the term. I stay out of these internal beefs. I don’t care who uses what term.

                It’s a terminology dispute, not stolen valor. Cotton has never, ever, made false claims about his service. It says right there on his profile that he graduated Ranger School and got the Ranger Tab, and that he served with the 101st.

                Honestly, castigating someone’s distinguished military service is a new low.

                This is just disgusting attacks deliberately meant to weaken his future political chances.

                1. A part of this is a demand for idiotic legalistic precision from anyone not on the left but acceptance of even the most cockamaney excuses for lies from anyone on the left.

                  We do not expect 60 sec campaign adds to come with 30 pages of disclaimers or qualifiers.

                  We do expect that government will follow the law PRECISELY.

          2. Why would one beleive YOU do ?

            Cotton told the truth.

            Does your resume state unequivocally that you were Not Validictorian at Harvard law ?

            Cotton is not required to say he was NOT a member of the 75th.
            He is entitled to say he was a ranger.

            1. “If only Karen S understood the meaning of the phrase “lies of omission”…”

              John, I think you previously noted that Anonymous the Stupid doesn’t self identify. Doesn’t it sound strange and ridiculous that Anonymous the Stupid would be complaining about “lies of omission” when he omits an identifiable alias on each and every response he makes? He doesn’t even understand what lies of omission are. He heard it from others and has adopted the phrase to throw into argument whether appropriate or not. Anonymous the Stupid thinks that one is lying via omission if in a one sentence blurb about themselves they don’t include an entire biography. He is copying what the left has done, slimed a good man because they don’t like his political position. One cannot expect much more from Anonymous the Stupid.

              1. Omission is only a moral failure where there is a clear duty.

                The golden rule – positive morality imposes numerous duties on us – competing duties that are ultimately impossible.
                We can not save the world.

                Regardless positive morality is completely voluntary. Force can not be used to impose positive morality.

                Negative morality – the “duty” to NOT do specific things – “thou shalt not kill”, imposes no actual duties on us – obligations to act. and negative morality – prohibitions against harmful acts CAN be imposed by force.

        1. Cotton has publicly listed his service. He has always said that he did not serve in the 75th Ranger Regiment. He’s never claimed otherwise.

          His service is publicly available.


          “After law school, Tom joined the infantry where he completed combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He served as an officer in the Old Guard at Arlington Cemetery, the unit responsible for military funerals. Tom was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge, and the Ranger Tab during his service.”

          Rangers of the 75th have long had a beef with graduates of Ranger School referring to themselves as “rangers.” That does not mean that at any time Cotton claimed to have been a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment. He and his office has always truthfully answered questions that he has not served with that regiment. “To be clear, as he’s stated many times, Senator Cotton graduated from Ranger School, earned the Ranger Tab, and served a combat tour with the 101st Airborne, not the 75th Ranger Regiment.”

          However, he’s being treated as if he said he was part of the 75th.

          By all means, take issue with the common practice of graduates of Ranger School referring to themselves as rangers. That’s certainly a valid debate. But don’t say that Tom Cotton claimed he was part of the 75th since he did not. At issue is the practice of sharing the term “ranger”.

          Arguing over whether graduates of Ranger School should refer to each other as “ranger” is a separate issue than someone claiming they were a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment who was not. Your beef is with a common practice of referring to graduates, not stolen valor.

          Get it? Or is that too nuanced for you?

          1. It would appear that Cotton’s site was updated in an attempt to try to explain his past claims.

            Again, the nuances of this situation continue to elude Karen S, as evidenced by her last couple of comments.

            There’s nothing that will change her mind, at this point.

            Cotton shaded the truth, but Karen just doesn’t want to see it.

            1. I do not care whether Cotton updated his site or not.

              He is entitled to call himself a ranger – without disclaimers.
              And unless you are a member of the 75th your opinion is worthless.
              Even if you are – this type of D!ck measuring contest is best left OUTSIDE the media.

            2. Anonymous – what “nuances” do you think you perceive, here?

              It’s really simple. Graduates from Ranger School commonly refer to themselves as “rangers.”

              Tom Cotton never, ever said he served with the 75th Ranger Regiment. He has always explicitly stated he served with the 101st. We’ve all known this. We’ve never thought he served with the 75th, only to discover he was a Screaming Eagle. As in “Death from Above.” (There is a common tattoo they get with this motto.)

              When presented with these facts, you keep vaguely referring to “nuances.” This is the playbook. Megyn Kelly gets dismissed for asking if it’s OK for a white person to darken their skin to pay homage to a black icon like Diana Ross for Halloween. Joy Behar did exactly that, darkened her skin to look like a “beautiful black woman” for Halloween years ago. When confronted with the hypocrisy that obviously proved that dressing up like a black person isn’t racist blackface, Democrats responded it was “nuanced.”

              No, it’s not. It means you lost an argument, cannot come up with a rational rebuttal, so you try to claim that we’re all just too stupid to understand such a nuanced position.

              But you’re not making a nuanced position. You claim that calling yourself a “ranger” can only mean that you served in the 75th Ranger Regiment. Anyone else who uses the term engages in stolen valor. That’s not a nuanced argument. It’s black and white and lacking analysis.

              Several of us have proven to you that graduates of the Ranger School, who get the Ranger Tab, often do call themselves “ranger” without making any claims to serving in the 75th. Therefore, use of the “ranger” term is not an attempt to pretend they served in the Ranger Regiment.

              That is not a nuanced statement.

              A nuanced statement would be many of our response: that calling yourself a ranger is not necessarily wrong. People who do so might be members of the Ranger Regiment, graduates of Ranger School, or people who never served who engaged in stolen valor. Tom Cotton graduated from Ranger School, appropriately and accurately listed his distinguished military service with the 101st, and engaged in the common practice of referring to himself as a ranger from time to time. Arguing against graduates using this term does not in any way mean that Cotton pretended to serve in the Ranger Regiment.

              1. I’ll do all of you one better on the term “Ranger.” Wasn’t my discovery, but even Ranger Hall of Fame definition of “Ranger” includes people who “merely” graduated Ranger School. “To be eligible for selection to the Hall of Fame, a person must be deceased or have been separated, or retired from active military service for at least three years at the time of nomination. He must have served in a Ranger unit in combat or be a successful graduate of the U.S. Army Ranger School.” https://ranger.org/Ranger-Hall-of-Fame

                  1. Ranger tab. Ranger qualified. So, not helpful.

                    “Tom’s military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Combat Infantry Badge and Ranger Tab.”

                    He certainly doesn’t make the claim that he’s a U.S. Army Ranger on his website.

                    1. Sen. Cotton is entitled to claim to be a Ranger.
                      He is not entitled to claim to have served in the 75th – though he could have been assigned to.
                      He is not entitled to claim to have lead Rangers in combat.

                      He has done none of those things.

                1. There is no higher appeal to authority than the insignia that Capt. Cotton earned.

                  I know this is hard for those on the left – but the words – not even of reporters, do not supercede reality.

                  1. The reality is this:

                    Ranger tab. Ranger qualified.

                    Cotton, wisely and to his credit, doesn’t make the claim that he’s a U.S. Army Ranger on his website.

                    “Tom’s military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Combat Infantry Badge and Ranger Tab.”

                  2. A statement from a U.S. Army Special Operations Command spokesperson:

                    “The U.S. Army Ranger Course is the Army’s premier leadership school, and falls under Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Eustis, Virginia, and is open to all members of the military, regardless of whether they have served in the 75th Ranger Regiment or completed the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program. A graduate of the U.S. Army Ranger Course is Ranger qualified.

                    “The 75th Ranger Regiment is a special operations unit with the mission to plan and conduct joint special military operations in support of national policies and objectives. The Regiment’s higher headquarters is the U.S. Army Special Operations Command located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The Regiment is the Army’s largest, joint special operations force. All members of the 75th Ranger Regiment have passed the Ranger Assessment Selection Program 1, 2, or both. Anyone who is serving or has served within the 75th Ranger Regiment is a U.S. Army Ranger.”

              2. They not merely commonly refer to themselves as Rangers,

                They earned the priviledge of wearing an insignia that designates them as Rangers.

          2. If Members of the 75th do not wish to identify Cotton as a ranger – that is their perogative.

            But the Armey does. And Cotton is entitled to – that is what the Ranger Tab means.
            Whenever Cotton puts on his uniform that Ranger Tab as well as the CIB and other decorations and designations that Tom earned tells everyone else in the military EXACTLY who he is.
            Cotton is entitled by military regulations to wear those signifiers and entitled to identify himself as a ranger.

        1. Jason Crow, based on his own actions, is a small man that uses hyper partisanship to gain the limelight. What he said about Cotton shows more about Jason Crow then it shows about Cotton who never claimed to be part of the 75th. The quoted statements that may or may not be accurate do not demonstrate that Cotton misused the Ranger name and to date no one has provided any statement of misuse.

          Small people climb the ladder by pulling others down like Jason Crow is doing here. Small people with only a kiddy axe to grind listen to such cr-p.

          1. I am no more prepared to beat up Crow than Cotton.

            I am disappointed that Crow chose to bring a D!ck measuring contest inside the military into the public sphere.

            I have zero problems with soldiers in a bar challenging each other over who is the “real” warrior.

            Both Cotton and Crow served in the mideast. Both have Bronze Starts.
            Both are warriors.

            Cotton appears to have a significantly longer list of citations. Including a CIB.
            But it is possible that Crow’s list on wikipedia is not accurate. I would be hard pressed to grasp how Crow could serve in the mideast get a bronze star and NOT see combat.

            Regardless, Cotton atleast was tested under fire.

            Crow and Cotton can piss on each other – Slate, Vox, Politico etc have absolutely no business getting involved.
            Nor does anyone else without at the least the equivalent of a rangers tab.

            1. “I am no more prepared to beat up Crow than Cotton.”

              John, Crow’s statement makes him a small man that should be beaten up for what he said and how he said it. This is not the only time he has acted small and petty. Even hero’s can later become small men. McCain became one himself.

              I will not comment on Crow’s military record because he apparently served honorably. However, since that time he has not. His military service doesn’t give him a lifetime of respect. That has to be continuously earned.

              1. “Crow’s statement makes him a small man that should be beaten up for what he said and how he said it. This is not the only time he has acted small and petty.”

                That is correct and several other rangers have done so. They are entitled to call him petty, slanderous and to note that he is not wearing his uniform correctly – not even by lax special forces standards.

                “Even hero’s can later become small men. McCain became one himself.”

                “I will not comment on Crow’s military record because he apparently served honorably.”
                It is extremely difficult to tell much about Crow’s record. Wikipedia only lists a bronze star – not something to be sneezed at.
                He earned it participating in some battle – but nowhere does it say what he did. Cotton has a Combat Infantry Badge. You do not get those by going to school, or being assigned to a specific regiment. You get those by actually being personally in combat.
                As best as I can tell Rep. Crow does not have a CIB. Crow’s public military service record is extremely thin compared to Cotton’s.
                I would like to know it that public record is correct. i.e What did crow do to get his Bronze Star and does he actually have other citations.

                “However, since that time he has not. His military service doesn’t give him a lifetime of respect. That has to be continuously earned.”

                Respect for ones military service only needs earned once. Whether it is Cotton or McCain or Rangle or Cunniham. These men are permanently entitled to respect for their service in the military.

                Th only difference between Crow’s attack on Cotton and Trump’s attack on McCain is that Crow is a vet pissing on another vet.

                From what I can see outside of the left wing bubble – Crow has lost this.

                It is one thing for two soldiers in a Bar to get into a pissing contest over who is the real warrior.

                It is entirely different for a soldier of ANY distinction to publicly and politically raise the same thin slanderous claims against someone who is unarguably an elite warrior.

                Cotton’s military record is NOT limited to earning a ranger tab. While alone that entitles him to be called a ranger. His subsequent service demonstrates that he is a warrior, not a paper ranger.

      1. I would be surprised if EVERYONE (that is NOT many people) with a ranger Tab call themselves a ranger, and are entitiled to do so.

        This I am more of a warrior than you tiff is idiocy unless you are one of the tiny few that can prove you actually are.

        If you are awarded a ranger tab – you are a ranger. The DoD gave you a ranger Tab – not a butterfly catching merit badge.

        You are not a seal, you are not delta, you are not a member of the 75th – but you are a ranger.

          1. This is the Ranger Tab you are entitled to wear.

            It says “ranger”


            This is a combat infantry Badge – another Citation that Cotton is entitled to wear.

            Only those who have been in combat are permitted to wear it.

            You do not earn it by going to ranger school or serving in the 75th regiment.

            You earn it as an actual soldier in combat – not school.

            Command Sergeant Major Rick Merritt, a former regimental sergeant major of the 75th Ranger Regiment, defended Cotton’s claim to be a Ranger, saying attacks on Cotton were “absurd”, and that Cotton is “…100% a Ranger. He will always be a Ranger, it’s unfair, it’s almost slanderous. An attack on him is an attack on every veteran who has served honorably.”

  7. It’s not like the 75th Infantry Regiment is any great shakes. I recall the 75th’s shameful treatment of Pat Tillman and their charmig customs of falsifying records and awarding their officers Silver Stars for falsifying records.

  8. From the Salon article:

    ‘Yet Cotton told the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record in February 2012: “My experience as a U.S. Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan and my experience in business will put me in very good condition.”‘

    1. This demonstrates that Anonymous the Stupid cannot think. Firstly, the statement is correct. Cotton was an Army Ranger and had Army Ranger experience in training. He didn’t claim fighting in an army ranger unit and he was in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      There is not need to go further but what makes Anonymous the Stupid so Stupid? Why does Anonymous the Stupid assume the article got its words right? We have seen quotes provided by the left and Anonymous the Stupid that were proven inaccurate with a video of the complete quote in context.

  9. Jonathan: Why do you find it important to defend Senator Tom Cotton against Salon’s charges that he falsely claimed he was a “US Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan”? Everyone knows politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, have exaggerated their military experience to win the “patriotic” vote. Cotton is no different. In his 2014 campaign for the Senate Cotton falsely claimed he “made tough decisions as an Army Ranger in Iraq”. In fact, Cotton never served in the 75th Ranger Regiment in either Iraq or Afghanistan which would be the only legitimate reason to make such a claim. So Cotton lied to get his Senate seat. No big deal. Not compared to the over 30,000 lies Trump piled up during his 4 years in office.

    You say “the Salon piece is typical of the slanted and sensational coverage that is now common among publications”. You really mean LIBERAL publications don’t you? If you you really want “slanted and sensational” news coverage you need look no further than FoxNews or Newsmax who spew out bushels of the stuff 24/7. I don’t recall you ever criticizing Fox News for their “slanted and sensational” coverage, probably because you often appear as a guest. I think the reason you defend Cotton is that he sees himself as the heir to “Trumpism” . He wants to run for president in 2024. For 4 years Cotton has pushed the Trump agenda, from immigration to supporting Trump’s call to use federal troops to forcefully put down demonstrations after the killing of George Floyd. Although Cotton refused to join his Republican colleagues in opposing the certification of the Electoral College vote, probably because such a move would make him radioactive to most voters, he did come out yesterday saying he opposes the impeachment trial of Trump. Cotton is a true believer in the Trump model. But Cotton can’t run away from his long record as an enabler of Trump’s many abuses of power. If he decides to run for president in 2024. Cotton won’t be able to explain away his dismal record as just another case of “politics” as he tried to do with the Salon piece. Gee, what’s next? A column defending Georgia’s House Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a proponent of QAnon conspiracy theories who thinks Nancy Pelosi should get a “bullet in the head”?

    1. Just hope your prepared for your final judgement. Tight slanted narrow minded out of context evaluations are great when your judging hope your prepared.

      1. There really is a difference between “your” and “you’re.” Maybe it was an auto-correct issue…

        1. That is probably coming from Anonymous the Stupid. Anonymous the Stupid loves to correct the your and you’re errors. It makes him feel like something he isn’t, smart.

    2. The only people who have the right to challenge Cotton’s identification as a Ranger are the few who have an even stronger claim to that Identification that Cotton.

      Completely Ranger School and being awarded a Ranger Tab is sufficient to call yourself a ranger.

      It is not sufficient to wear a ranger Beret.

      This is the typical bad semantic arguments made by those on the left.

      Unlike Biden and Trump – Cotton actually served – with distinction in elite units.
      Unlikely Blumenthal – Cotton actually went to war

  10. “These sites on the left and the right contribute to the anger and divisions in the country.” — Jonathan Turley

    Left and right. Right and left.

    Both sides play a role.

  11. Everyone in the Army calls guys (and now gals) with a Ranger tab “Ranger.” We all know the difference, and I’ve served with some guys who wear a 75th Regt (or on of the Batts) Scroll combat patch.

    1. If you served in the 75th and distinguish your self from Cotton – I am OK with that.

      But I am not interested in BS from idiots who did not serve the country over whether a distingushed soldier who earned a ranger tab can call themselves a ranger.

      BTW If Turley is correct – Cotton’s Ranger Tab made him eligible to serve in the 75th – but NOT as an officer. That would have required an additional 8 weeks.

  12. I have friends who completed Ranger school but served in other units after that. They had the Ranger tab. They greeted each other with pride. It is a big accomplishment.
    I think this is petty quibbling

    Sal Sar

    1. Especially when it’s coming from civilians and pogues who don’t know which end the gun the bullet comes out of.

      1. If you have more elite service credentials that Sen. Cotton – you can complain that he is not a “real ranger”.

  13. I still subscribe to Salon so I can have something to line bird cages and wrap fish with. It however doesn’t work as TP for removal of the latter half of BravoSierra as it comes pre-overloaded with it.

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