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They hold some quarter


The idea that there is a neoconfederate senator from Arkansas named “Tom Cotton” admittedly strains credulity, but otherwise Adam Serwer’s analysis is sharp:

Tom Cotton has never seen a left-wing protest he didn’t want crushed at gunpoint.

On Monday, the Arkansas senator demanded that President Joe Biden send in the National Guard to clear out the student protests at Columbia University against the Israel-Hamas war, which he described as “the nascent pogroms at Columbia.” Last week, Cotton posted on X,  “I encourage people who get stuck behind the pro-Hamas mobs blocking traffic: take matters into your own hands. It’s time to put an end to this nonsense.” He later deleted the post and reworded it so that it did not sound quite so explicitly like a demand for aspiring vigilantes to lynch protesters.

This is a long-standing pattern for Cotton, who enjoys issuing calls for violence that linger on the edge of plausible deniability when it comes to which groups, exactly, are appropriate targets for lethal force. During the George Floyd protests of 2020, Cotton demanded that the U.S. military be sent in with orders to give “no quarter for insurrectionists, anarchists, rioters, and looters,” insisting unconvincingly in a later New York Times op-ed that he was not conflating peaceful protesters with rioters. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, who had raised a fist in apparent solidarity with the mob that assaulted the Capitol on January 6 before fleeing through the halls to avoid them once the riot began, echoed Cotton’s call for deploying the National Guard to Columbia. (Both men, as it turns out, are in favor of some quarter for “insurrectionists” who happen to be on the right side.)

Everyone knows that the military should only be called in to police imaginary left-wing unsurrections, not real right-wing ones!

The possibility that a military response might produce Kent State 2.0 is, of course, the point:

The calls from Cotton and Hawley to deploy the National Guard are not about anyone’s safety—many of the pro-Palestinian protesters, against whom the might of the U.S. military would be aimed, are Jewish. As the historian Kevin Kruse notes, sending the National Guard to campuses facing Vietnam War protests led to students being killed, including some who had nothing to do with the protests, rather than to anyone being safer. The most likely outcome based on past precedent  would be an escalation to serious violence. Which might be the idea.

Won’t someone think of people who don’t want to hear chants during John Cage recitals!!!!!!

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