Salon’s Roger Sollenberger continues his examination of how U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton has portrayed his military record.

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Supporters of Cotton say it’s a political hit job. Even some detractors of Cotton think it best to move along.

I don’t think it’s a lasting issue as Cotton moves toward a 2024 race for president, but it doesn’t mean it’s not noteworthy.

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He volunteered for the Army. He served in combat zones. He qualified for a Ranger “tab”  by completing Ranger school. He did NOT serve in the Rangers, rather in the 101st Airborne, also a prestigious unit. It is a distinction important to many military members; not so much to others. For example:

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But Sollenberger’s new reporting makes clear that Cotton over-egged the Ranger pudding time and again. He is not the first political candidate to exaggerate. Ask any Republican for Joe Biden examples. But it’s worth watching what else Cotton exaggerates.

Here’s a good current example of Cotton’s loose truthiness  — his mischaracterization of President Biden’s ideas on immigration reform.

Cotton can expect a deeper examination of his military record when he runs for president, just as John Kerry endured. In time, he’ll be asked to produce his full record, including citations for decorations. If it was fair for Swift Boaters, isn’t it fair for Cotton? Or is it just politics when applied to Republicans?

An interesting question remaining from the Ranger matter: Will Cotton’s presidential campaign ads continue to flatly describe him as an Army Ranger as they did dating back to 2012, without any further qualification? 101st Airborne sounds pretty good to me. It has a noble history that includes protecting Black children in Little Rock in 1957-58 from a mob inspired by a chief executive.

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