Arkansas’ junior senator has delivered stern words concerning violence against police.
Sen. Tom Cotton issued a statement calling for an “overwhelming display of force” in response to outbreaks of violence during nationwide protests. Cotton said that “violent anarchists and insurrectionists” have caused violence against police officers, and that the “only way to end this insurrection” was through force.
“Violent anarchists and insurrectionists were once again allowed to rule the streets last night in too many cities. In places like St. Louis, they responded by shooting, beating, and running over police officers who weren’t given the support they deserve to restore order. In Las Vegas, an officer was shot in the head. The only way to end this insurrection is the overwhelming display of force,” he said.
Earlier this week, Cotton called for President Donald Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act, an 1807 law that authorizes the executive-in-chief to deploy active-duty military troops within the boundaries of the United States.
According to the text of the act, the President is allowed to deploy military troops “to suppress, in any State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination or conspiracy.”
In a June 1 tweet, Cotton declared that there should be “zero tolerance for this destruction.” He said that if law enforcement was overwhelmed, the 101st Airborne Division could provide backup. He subsequently doubled down and tweeted that “if necessary, the 10th Mountain, 82nd Airborne, 1st Cav, 3rd Infantry” could help “restore order.”
And, if necessary, the 10th Mountain, 82nd Airborne, 1st Cav, 3rd Infantry—whatever it takes to restore order. No quarter for insurrectionists, anarchists, rioters, and looters. https://t.co/OnNJmnDrYM— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) June 1, 2020
Cotton tweeted that there would be “no quarter for insurrectionists, anarchists, rioters, and looters.”
No quarter, according to Merriam Webster dictionary, is a term that means “no pity or mercy – used to say that an enemy, opponent, etc. is treated in a very harsh way.” The use of this phrase has garnered significant criticism.
David French, a conservative attorney, said via tweet that a no-quarter order would constitute a war crime and would “be murder under American law.”
A no quarter order is a war crime, prohibited even in actual insurrection since Abraham Lincoln's signed the Lieber Code in 1863. Such an order is banned by international law and would, if carried out, be murder under American law. https://t.co/YbSw1sM9KW https://t.co/OiNsRT7PPy— David French (@DavidAFrench) June 1, 2020
No quarter orders are also prohibited by the U.S. Department of Defense Law of War Manual. According to the manual, “it is also prohibited to conduct hostilities on the basis that there shall be no survivors, or to threaten the adversary with the denial of quarter.”
In Arkansas, there have been reports of violence and property destruction. Protests have occurred in the state, particularly in Little Rock, since the weekend. Many of the protests have been peaceful, including one in which Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. participated on Monday night. However, that protests broke out in violence after 10 p.m.