Tom Cotton, the Iraq war veteran from Arkansas turned Republican senator, has a message to fellow soldiers: "We should not be ashamed of the war we conducted in Iraq."

Leading Republicans are sticking by the Iraq war, declining to follow the Democrats into full retreat and regret.

Cotton, while conceding that there are lessons to be learned from the conflict and that it might have been handled differently in retrospect, maintains that President George W. Bush made the best decision he could at the time based on the available intelligence about Saddam Hussein's presumed stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.

"Knowing what we know now, I absolutely would have sent the Pacific Fleet out of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 4 to intercept the Japanese Fleet," Cotton told the Washington Examiner during an interview in his Capitol Hill office. "I say that to highlight how foolish the question is. You don't get to live life in reverse. What a leader has to do is make a decision, at the moment of decision, based on the best information he has. George Bush did that in 2002 and 2003 and he was supported by Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden and John Kerry and every western country's intelligence agency."

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