[Lott] Iraq: Neither ‘Wrong' Nor ‘Distracting' | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

[Lott] Iraq: Neither ‘Wrong' Nor ‘Distracting'

It's inconsistent for any songressman or senator to wake up one day and say our troops don't have enough equipment or that the reconstruction of Iraq isn't going well, when they've voted against paying for these things. And it's surely strange to say Saddam Hussein was an evil killer, and in the same breath to say America should have let him go. Yet, these are precisely the positions some are struggling with in the height of this political season, trying to find neutral ground in what should be a not-so-neutral War on Terror. I believe most Americans see through it, as do our military men and women. I hope the terrorists see it that way, too, and are not somehow falsely emboldened by the shallow side of America's internal politics.

I've been a supporter of our military for my entire Congressional career. I've unabashedly pursued funds for new weapons systems, new ships, new aircraft, and in the late 1990s, I led the passage of the first major military pay raise of that decade. As House minority whip, I worked with President Reagan and Senator John Stennis to fund a 600-ship Navy. I've joined with folks like Congressman Sonny Montgomery to support Mississippi's military contractors like Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon to fund our National Guard and to build our all-volunteer force with legislation like Sonny's masterpiece Montgomery GI Bill.

Yet, in recent weeks some Members of Congress, whose long-term record on defense is not so clear - and who just this past year voted against President Bush's request for $87 billion to supply our troops in the field - now say our troops don't have enough armor, weapons or manpower to succeed in Iraq. Despite the fact that recruitment and retention in all service branches either are up or sustaining healthy levels, these new converts to the peace-through-strength philosophy are even declaring falsely that America might consider reinstating the draft. They're irresponsibly raising the specter of military action against Iran and North Korea, and ironically, labeling Iraq - where our troops and our terrorist enemies are actively battling - the "wrong war" and a "distraction."

Let me assure you that save for some catastrophic national emergency, there's no need to reinstate the draft. Let me be clear on this point, too: This President and a bipartisan majority of this Congress are committed to our troops and their requirements. We take very seriously any report of our troops needing equipment. Like most of my colleagues, I set out to correct any problems with military supply, not by first going to the pressrooms, but by going to the committee rooms of the Senate where the rubber hits the road and the movement to fund or fix begins. This is why I helped to write and then voted for the $87 billion troop package. It's why I've worked to pass defense bills this year which include more money for our soldiers, including funds for their protective gear.

My Senate colleagues who've previously never expressed much interest in defense legislation are certainly free to say what they want, when they want and to get involved in the defense appropriations process. Yet, it's also a responsibility of the media and individual voters to ask questions - about these Senators' past record on defense and how it reconciles with what they're saying now.

Like President Bush, my position on the War on Terror is clear. I believe deposing Saddam Hussein and putting him in jail are good things. Whether we've found weapons of mass destruction or not, all the evidence suggests that Saddam had these weapons in the past and was intent on reconstituting his WMD programs and using them. How many mass graves have to be discovered before Saddam Hussein himself is designated a weapon of mass destruction? I'm confident that America's military is a positive force for democracy and freedom in the region. They are not "occupiers" as some liberals keep saying.

We'll certainly work to correct any shortages our troops may have and investigate any reports of deficiency or defects they may face. But what our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the globe need most right now is true bipartisan support. They'll get it, and they'll prevail.

Yet, whether Iraq becomes a democracy or not ultimately doesn't lie on President Bush's shoulders, with Congress, the American people, or even with our military. We just giving the Iraqis a chance. Ultimately the Iraqis themselves will have to decide what to do with that chance - to choose freedom or revert to terrorist rule. I believe the Iraqis want freedom and an end to terrorism. I just hope they and the terrorists realize most Americans want the same thing. Liberty is what is at stake in Iraq, and there's surely nothing wrong or distracting about that. (10/21/04)

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
141154
Comment

Lott: And it's surely strange to say Saddam Hussein was an evil killer, and in the same breath to say America should have let him go. Does anyone know who said this??

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2004-10-21T14:08:38-06:00
ID
141155
Comment

Since no one's bitten, yet, allow me to give you a prod. How many fallacies, factual distortions and nods to ignorance of plain facts can we find in this one lead paragraph: It's inconsistent for any congressman or senator to wake up one day and say our troops don't have enough equipment or that the reconstruction of Iraq isn't going well, when they've voted against paying for these things. And it's surely strange to say Saddam Hussein was an evil killer, and in the same breath to say America should have let him go. Yet, these are precisely the positions some are struggling with in the height of this political season, trying to find neutral ground in what should be a not-so-neutral War on Terror. I believe most Americans see through it, as do our military men and women. I hope the terrorists see it that way, too, and are not somehow falsely emboldened by the shallow side of America's internal politics. Ready, set, go! (Clues here)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2004-10-21T16:43:25-06:00
ID
141156
Comment

Must. Restrain. Myself. Cannot. Waste. More. Time. On. Lott. Blather.

Author
kate
Date
2004-10-21T17:46:01-06:00
ID
141157
Comment

Oh but Kate, it's such a good example of the University of Maryland study finding (linked above as "Clues"). He has contempt for Mississippians and our intelligence. This paragraph is undeniable, certifiable proof that he thinks we're all idiots who have no idea what's going on in Washington or the world.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2004-10-21T17:53:10-06:00
ID
141158
Comment

Donna, every one of those things he writes is proof he thinks we're idiots. What was the "fancy word" one? And the blather about "our values" as if we're all a bunch of sheep? Gaaa. Signing off now.

Author
kate
Date
2004-10-21T18:02:46-06:00

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