[Lott] America's Soft Underbelly | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

[Lott] America's Soft Underbelly

Sept. 22, 2006

During World War II, when the Allies planned the invasion of Nazi occupied Europe, Winston Churchill actually proposed coming from the south, from the Mediterranean Sea and into the Balkans. That region was, as he called it, the "soft underbelly" of Europe, less guarded and ripe for a swift, piercing and fatal blow to Hitler's regime.

For various reasons, the Allies chose the northern route through France, but Churchill's premise that nations have geographic underbellies – soft, vulnerable and susceptible to would-be invaders – is absolutely true for us today. America's southern border is our soft underbelly. Here an invasion by illegal aliens already is in progress, and one by terrorists could be soon, unless we act.

That's why I support a bill now being considered by the Senate to build more extensive fencing on the Mexican border and employ an array of high technology surveillance and interception measures along it, including use of unmanned aerial aircraft like the type built here in Mississippi.

There has been much discussion of proposals to build a fence along our Mexican border. In this context, the word "fence" is a broad term which, along some parts of the border, will mean traditional vertical steel barriers, vehicle obstacles and additional checkpoints. Along more mountainous parts of our border, that "fence" will be composed of more people and better technology, including ground-based sensors, satellites, radar, cameras, and unmanned aircraft such as those now being built at Northrop Grumman's new Moss Point factory. Together, this combination of high and low-tech fencing will help curb the unacceptable flow of illegal immigrants across our border and be geared toward helping weed out terrorists.

The fence is not a Berlin Wall, designed to close our border. Those desiring to come here legally may still go through the proper, legal channels to do so. It is designed to keep bad people out of this country, people who want to harm us.

Nor is a fence unprecedented along our border. In fact, we're just expanding an existing fence. Currently there are 75 miles of fence and about 55 miles of vehicle barriers, with the most well-known fence running between San Diego and Tijuana.

The fence bill, officially called the "Secure Fence Act of 2006," adds about 700 miles of double-layered fencing at specified locations along 2,000 miles of our southern border, primarily in flat or less mountainous areas where there is no natural barrier. Along the natural barriers like the Rio Grande River and in more difficult terrain, more people and better technology will be employed to intercept illegal aliens undeterred by the natural hazards or obstacles.

Within 18 months of the bill's enactment, the Homeland Security Secretary must achieve "operational control" of our border. The target is stopping all illegal entries of people, weapons, and contraband. That's certainly an ambitious goal, given the number of illegal aliens entering America from Mexico, but we must achieve it. Our national security depends on it, and to that end, Congress will require the Homeland Security Secretary to report regularly as we strive to attain full control of our border.

Among the American people and within Congress there is broad, bipartisan support for expanding our border fence. I hope that President Bush and my colleagues in Congress will support the fence. Without a doubt, terrorists are studying ways to pierce America's soft underbelly and enact their next deadly blow. We must harden that border, using every means at our disposal, as soon as possible. (9/22/06)

Senator Lott welcomes any questions or comments about this column. Write to: U.S. Senator Trent Lott, 487 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510 (Attn: Press Office)

Previous Comments

ID
141265
Comment

Dear Sen. Lott, let me just be the first to reply, and I sure hope others will. fences do not make good neighbors. it's a Robert Frost poem, often people misinterpret it, so everyone, see what you think. I do not agree that there is broad support for such a fence - a technical 'solution' ... stop trying to frighten us with scary 'terrorists are coming' themes. imho, they are here and they are , frankly, ok, I can't say it. maybe someone will. ok, Bush scares me . what the current government is pursuing scares me more than whatever comes across the border. just my opinion. while I still can have one. peace.

Author
sunshine
Date
2006-09-25T19:20:09-06:00
ID
141266
Comment

Actually, the poem is named "Mending Fences" Good use though! I think we need to grant amnesty to many of the immigrants who are here; and work on strengthening our borders for more reasons than just the "terrorists" that may enter our country.

Author
pikersam
Date
2006-09-25T20:18:59-06:00
ID
141267
Comment

I have nothing against border enforcement as long as it's consistent with human rights standards, but what are we to make of stuff like this? Anyway, the real short-term solution is amnesty and the long-term solution is a reciprocal residency treaty that allows unlimited travel and automatic permanent legal residency for any Mexican citizens living in the United States, and vice versa. Mexico and the United States will eventually be one country anyway; it makes little sense to spend all our time, money, and resources pretending that we can secure a 2,000-mile border. I mean, if we did manage to set up a 2,000-mile electrified barbed wire fence with military border defense surpassing that of the 38th parallel (and we should remember that the largest fence currently proposed by the House is 700 miles and the largest fence proposed by the Senate is 370 miles), Mexicans who really wanted to cross the border would be forced to...take a boat. More great news for the human smuggling industry. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-09-27T03:10:54-06:00
ID
141268
Comment

I can't see how a 700 mile fence is going to help, when there's little to no penalty for hiring an illegal in the first place. I know legal immigrants who get pissed at the republican tolerance for lawbreaking in regards to immigration.

Author
Ironghost
Date
2006-09-27T08:22:53-06:00
ID
141269
Comment

Only a Republican could be so block-headed about national security to think an underfunded, partial fence along our border with Mexico will protect us from terrorists. Of course, Sen. Lott says that illegal immigrants are "invading" us, so maybe he has a more expansive view of "terrorists" than I do.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2006-09-29T20:46:42-06:00
ID
141270
Comment

So Brian, how do you stop terrorists from coming in along the Southern border and sneaking in weapons, supplies, etc?

Author
Kingfish
Date
2006-09-29T20:48:04-06:00
ID
141271
Comment

Brian, I've known some blockheads that weren't Republican. As for the border: Put montion sensors with cameras on the line, and the first person to cross it have Blackhawk helicopters at the ready. BOOM. Send the ugly photos back to Mexico and word will soon spread that it's not a good idea to break our laws. It's cheaper than fencing.

Author
Cliff Cargill
Date
2006-09-30T06:57:08-06:00
ID
141272
Comment

Everyone who says stuff like that should be required to put in 400 community service hours working with undocumented immigrant families and learning their stories. Seriously. The fact that comments like Cliff's are part of this debate isn't an indictment of Cliff; it's an indictment of our country. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-09-30T13:01:51-06:00
ID
141273
Comment

I take it calling them "illegal" is provocative now? :)

Author
Ironghost
Date
2006-09-30T16:46:51-06:00
ID
141274
Comment

I've more or less surrendered that fight; I say "undocumented" but I recognize that "illegal" is in such common use that I'm not going to change the term. My problem with "illegal" is that immigrants who don't file paperwork are apparently the only people on Earth who get to be illegal, rather than just having their actions be illegal. Terrorists are not illegal; serial killers are not illegal; con artists are not illegal; rapists and child molesters are not illegal; but people who cross the border without jumping through all the hoops at INS are illegal? So I certainly prefer "undocumented." Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-09-30T16:51:05-06:00
ID
141275
Comment

My favorite is how some posters here want the rule of law to apply to Melton and brandish it about like Darth Vader with a lightsaber but have no use for the rule of law when it comes to illegal immigrants. Undocumented IS illegal.

Author
Kingfish
Date
2006-09-30T18:57:55-06:00
ID
141276
Comment

I've got to agree with Kingfish on this one. Yuck. Now I have to go take a shower.

Author
Cliff Cargill
Date
2006-09-30T21:33:38-06:00
ID
141277
Comment

;-) LOL

Author
Cliff Cargill
Date
2006-09-30T21:34:19-06:00
ID
141278
Comment

Terrorists are not illegal; serial killers are not illegal; con artists are not illegal; rapists and child molesters are not illegal; but people who cross the border without jumping through all the hoops at INS are illegal? So I certainly prefer "undocumented." Terrorism is illegal, and someone who practices it is certainly breaking the law. Serial Killers, Con Artists, Rapists and Child Molesters are all very much breaking the law(s), and therefore in the same boat. "Undocumented" sounds like it's a mere clerical error, rather than a conscious attempt at evading the laws of the United States.

Author
Ironghost
Date
2006-09-30T21:54:39-06:00
ID
141279
Comment

+1 to that post.

Author
Cliff Cargill
Date
2006-09-30T22:03:43-06:00
ID
141280
Comment

IG, I don't hear pundits refer to serial killers and so forth as illegal people. They refer to these folks as legal people who committed illegal acts. The same can't be said for folks who don't file INS paperwork. I think that shows skewed priorities on our part. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-09-30T22:58:10-06:00
ID
141281
Comment

Not really. A serial killer can still be an illegal alien, or a native. I don't see the problem, or why it's skewed on our part. An illegal immigrant has committed a crime, same as anyone else in our example. His crime, however, is coming into this country "undocumented".

Author
Ironghost
Date
2006-10-01T01:20:58-06:00
ID
141282
Comment

They know they are here illegaly. They broke the law when they crossed the border (by the way, I thought NAFTA was going to take care of that, remember?). That means when they are in this country by law they are criminals. Now if you want to argue about finding a better life, mitigating circumstances, etc we can debate that all day. That does not change the fact that they are here illegaly in the first place and thus are law breakers. So to call them illegal aliens or immigrants is the correct term. It also means if you are going to start promoting the rule of law here then to be consistent you have to apply it when you discuss that as well.

Author
Kingfish
Date
2006-10-01T11:03:16-06:00
ID
141283
Comment

Look, if we can actually talk about the fence for a minute, it is shameful to talk about the fence securing America's "soft underbelly" when it leaves 1,200 miles of border unfenced. If we entertain the completely theoretical possibility of al-Qaeda infiltration from Mexico, don't you think they'll be smart enough to figure that out? Talking about this as an anti-terror measure is a scam.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2006-10-01T21:32:19-06:00
ID
141284
Comment

So why is there a Lott blog but no more Erik Fleming blog?? At least, Erik's link is missing at the top where Lott's blog link is and Melton's blog link is.. what's up???? http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/fleming.php

Author
Jo-D
Date
2006-10-11T22:45:24-06:00
ID
141285
Comment

Jo-D, I happened to see your post and decided to click on the blog link. It works fine at the moment, so maybe there was a brief system "hiccup" or something since you mentioned some other errors. If I were you, I would mention these problems on the JFP 3.0 blog: http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/comments.php?id=10795_0_49_0_C

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-10-11T23:13:24-06:00
ID
141286
Comment

Jody writes: So why is there a Lott blog but no more Erik Fleming blog?? The blog by Erik Fleming, like the blog by Ben Allen, is on the right column; the blog about Trent Lott, like the blog about Frank Melton, is at the top. The top-banner blogs are blogs maintained by the JFP; the side-banner blogs are the blogs maintained by individuals. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-10-11T23:19:01-06:00
ID
141287
Comment

Oh ok, thanks Tom and L.W.! In the interest of fairness, I think the Lott and Fleming blog links should be next to each other since they are running against each other. When you come to JFP.com, one of the first things you see is Lott's blog since it's right there at the top... you have to go on an expedition through 50 links before you find Flemings...

Author
Jo-D
Date
2006-10-12T07:53:28-06:00
ID
141288
Comment

I dunno. That's not a bad point, but I question whether the Lott-Fleming race is something that links should be reorganized over. Personally, I'm boycotting next month's election because I promised NARAL back in January or so that I would only vote pro-choice, and there are no pro-choice candidates in District 3 or the U.S. Senate race. Not even the Libertarian guy. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-10-12T13:09:27-06:00
ID
141289
Comment

(Good luck on the thing tonight, BTW! I went to Tuesday's and it rocked...)

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-10-12T13:10:00-06:00
ID
141290
Comment

Tom, you should definitely come tonight! Jody, are differences between the "Lott Blog" and the "Fleming Blog." Fleming actually blogs periodically on the JFP site. The blog posts are his own and are submitted when and as he feels. Lott's are posted for discussion by the JFP. He regularly sends press releases and since so many of them were becoming a conversation piece, they were allocated to a "Lott Blog." But, I'd be ALL ABOUT Lott actually blogging. Would be very interesting to be able to dialogue and debate with him online in a forum like this. Tom, you should definitely come tonight!

Author
kaust
Date
2006-10-12T13:17:24-06:00
ID
141291
Comment

I guess I just duplicated Tom's post from last night... I should start at the top of the comments before posting, eh?

Author
kaust
Date
2006-10-12T13:18:20-06:00
ID
141292
Comment

Your version is a little more clear anyway... Certainly agreed that it'd be really cool if Lott actually blogged! Re tonight: I have a vague "just got hit by a train" feeling that lines up with my usual oh-shit-winter-is-coming neurochemical response, so I don't know if I have any business at the party, but I'm definitely leaning towards at least trying to make it to the forums. I'm guessing Robin will probably be at the HIV-AIDS one, and I haven't seen that dude in forever. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-10-12T13:34:59-06:00
ID
141293
Comment

so this fence thing.......OK.....so the Great Wall of China accomplished what????? Uh hello.....

Author
ATLExile
Date
2006-10-12T15:03:34-06:00

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