America's Courage | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

America's Courage

This is my first weekly newspaper column of the new Congress, and although I've been busy helping to plan President Bush's inaugural ceremonies and dealing with cabinet confirmations in the Senate, I feel it's important to use this column to address the most important issue today facing Mississippians, Americans and the entire world - the War on Terror, specifically our efforts to create a free and democratic Iraq.

First, I'm confident in the capability of our armed forces and the dedication of our men and women in uniform. I know their mission is a noble and necessary one. Iraq under Saddam Hussein was an awful place. Some can harp all they want about whether Saddam had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) when the war began, but no one can dispute the fact that this dangerous dictator had weapons of mass destruction in the past and was clearly working to re-acquire chemical and biological weapons and to make nuclear weapons. Of course, all this was occurring despite dozens of impotent United Nations resolutions calling on him to disarm - a fact that will haunt the UN's credibility for years to come. If terrorists like Osama Bin Laden were going to acquire WMD to use on American soil, then Iraq prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom was the most likely place they'd have gotten them or the technology to build them. But thanks to our troops, terrorists won't get WMD from Iraq, and that's a big step forward in the War on Terror.

Second, we owe it to our men and women in uniform and to all Americans to constantly review and make adjustments, where called for, to our mission in the War on Terror. War is dirty, and establishing democracy is difficult. The best laid plans often are fluid. Healthy debate is part of democracy as evidenced by the fact we're trying to determine why we had some faulty and exaggerated intelligence reports leading up to the Iraq War. In response to that faulty intelligence, late last year we created a Director of National Intelligence and reorganized our intelligence community. We're also working to make sure our troops have any needed equipment, and we're taking steps to prevent another Abu Gharib.

Having said that, I reserve the right to criticize Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and any others who want to close military bases, decrease shipbuilding budgets, dramatically increase National Guard deployments or make any other moves which might look good in short-term budgets, but actually be bad for our long term defense or hurt patriotic Mississippi communities. As many of you know, I've openly voiced my concerns with all these issues and will continue to do so without apology. Mississippians expect their Senators to chart an independent course dictated by the best interests of our state, and that's what I intend to do.

Finally, above politics, partisanship, or personalities, our overall goal in Iraq right now must be to ensure that the Iraqi elections scheduled for January 30 go forward as the next step in Iraq's becoming a stable democracy. Clearly a free Iraq is something for which every freedom-loving person worldwide should hope. Of course, ultimately the Iraqi people will have to decide whether they want a future of unprecedented freedom or a return to dictatorship. I believe democracy and freedom are infectious. The seeds of liberty have been planted, and now Iraqis must cultivate them. Part of that process is moving forward with free elections. The Iraqi insurgents, particularly the Sunnis who benefitted from Saddam's perverted and murderous philanthropy, do not want change. They'll resist it. Yet, if the clear majority of Iraqis who want a better life prevail, freedom will win.

Since September 11, 2001, our nation has been battling terror on every front - financially, diplomatically and militarily. So far, we've fended off additional attacks like 9/11. It has cost us time, money and, above all, lives, but we must continue. To do nothing and show weakness in the face of terror invites another attack, possibly a WMD assault of catastrophic proportions.

As President Bush said in his inaugural address this week, division among free nations is a primary goal of our enemies. We all may not agree with President Bush on every issue or decision in this war, but, rest assured, we have enemies, and we are at war with them. This remains an open-ended struggle against vicious and determined enemies incapable of negotiation or reason. Previous generations of Americans have faced down such foes before. So must we. Iraq is one battlefield in an ongoing, difficult and very serious war with terrorists. The President said, "Life is fragile, evil is real and courage triumphs." Our evil enemies are hoping that our courage will waver. For life and freedom's sake, it cannot. (1/21/05)

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
86576
Comment

ladd, gee thanks for that. as Jon Stewart said last night, Freedom 27, Liberty 15. Justice, well.. playoffs later. or something to that effect.

Author
sunshine
Date
2005-01-21T15:05:52-06:00
ID
86577
Comment

"But thanks to our troops, terrorists won't get WMD from Iraq, and that's a big step forward in the War on Terror." - Lott That will be one of my fav quotes or the year! Out both sides of your mouth! "The seeds of liberty have been planted, and now Iraqis must cultivate them."- Lott Were they planted in holes dug by bunker busters or tbe graves of the innocents? Will they be able to cultivate those seeds before, during, or after they bury more dead, clean the rubbish, and bow to BushCo's internationally-hated empire? "As President Bush said in his inaugural address this week, division among free nations is a primary goal of our enemies." - Lott But a direct consequence of our own actions our leader and "intelligence" departments forced upon us. "This remains an open-ended struggle against vicious and determined enemies incapable of negotiation or reason." - Lott Ironic choice of words. Sounds eerily like a statement that either party could use. Now, what are we fighting for? Grrrr. I started reading the news again after a sabbatical. I'll need some sitting meditation shortly followed by a dirty martini. For all the liberals and conservatives "down and out" about our current state of affairs and sick of war, death, economics, and the rest of the "hate this world news" that scrolls, ticks, flashes, and screams from the papers, television, and every other source of beeping, bliping, land-filling trinkets of technology, you should check out Mark Morford's latest, heathen column for a little comfort and reflection... (Link)

Author
kaust
Date
2005-01-21T15:41:36-06:00
ID
86578
Comment

thanks for that link, Knol. just lost my previous message again , was not logged in. darn. think I said..hmm. a good article to print out and carry around with , like an amulet. and, what's a dirty martini?

Author
sunshine
Date
2005-01-21T18:04:58-06:00
ID
86579
Comment

Glad you liked the link. Morford's my kind of guy. I adore his writing style not to mention he's a straight, gay-friendly, yogi that thinks war and SUVs are dangerous and that Americans are gluttonous. Now, off-topic, but Trent does make me want to drink, I'll introduce you to my rekindled love -- the dirty martini shaken. Recipe: -Chill a martini glass for approximately 30mns. -Take about 2oz of quality chilled gin (best if below 0 degrees Celsius) and pour into a martini shaker. Place plenty of small but not crushed ice in the shaker. - Shake the gin and ice for approximately 15-30, good, abusive shakes... Pretend it's the politician of your nightmares trapped in the shaker. (alternative 1: you can pour about 1-2 tbsp of olive juice into the shaker with the gin before shaking *my method) - Take a dash of vermouth (dry) and line the chilled glass... It's OK to pour the dash into the drain. Vermouth is a difficult liquor for many to stomach. It simply adds a little flavor to the 'tini. Some people skip this step. - Strain the shaken, icy gin into the chilled glass. (alternative 2: you can now pour about 1-2 tbsp of olive juice into the glass if you did not before). - Garnish with a two or three olives stuffed or plain (either staked with a cocktail stake or simply drop it into the glass. Of course, you can adjust those settings to taste. I've actually known people to mix a dash of tonic water to lighten the flavor a bit but I've found just enough olive juice will do the same. It basically becomes a gin and tonic if you want to mix those two. If you're not a gin drinker, there's something special about the bruised and icy alcohol mixed with the dulling olive juice that gives it a special flavor all its own. Still, I would recommend trying someone else's before you spend $6-8 on this one. It's a love it or leave it cocktail (much like our politicians). This is a sippy drink for most people not only because it is pure gin but you really can't have more than two to four without losing something: your virginity, your mind, your keys, your wallet, your partner, your credibility, your speech capabilities... You get the picture. But, it's wise to sip before the gin warms. Nothing worse than warm or watered down gin.

Author
kaust
Date
2005-01-21T19:49:30-06:00
ID
86580
Comment

knol, thanks for the recipe, but too late to go out and get the ingredients! i do not care much for gin, but olive juice, sounds good. and reading the recipe is almost good enough.

Author
sunshine
Date
2005-01-21T20:40:22-06:00
ID
86581
Comment

Knol: Were they planted in holes dug by bunker busters or the graves of the innocents? Will they be able to cultivate those seeds before, during, or after they bury more dead, clean the rubbish, and bow to BushCo's internationally-hated empire? Philip: I'm all for criticizing Bush & Co.'s ineptitude. However, the "innocent civilians" line seems rather weak to me. By that standard, you might as well condemn us for killing innocent Germans in World War II because we pummeled Hamburg, Dusseldorf, and Berlin to rubble. Civlian deaths in war are both tragic and inevitable. Ditto for innocent White Southern civilians (mostly women and children) in the 1860s. The most the "innocent civilians" remark shows is that we should be very carefully about the moral justifications for commencing combat operations. It is not a solid reason to oppose the war. The Empire remark: Empires historically demand tribute and directly control the political process of their subject lands, or both. Subject territories have had, at best, only a limited amount of independence (think the USSR and Eastern European sattelites or Great Britain, France, etc and their respective colonial empires). Since there is no U.S. Governor-General of Saudi Arabia, for example, I have a great deal of trouble seeing this as imperialism. It seems to me the meanings of the words "empire" and "imperialism" are being rewritten to mean "any instance of disproportionate influence in any way". By that standard, you might as well say France still maintains an empire because they have extensive interests in West Africa (they even sent peacekeepers into Ivory Coast recently, and irked a lot of people in that country by attacking government jet fighters). Yet, how many complaints did you hear about "French Imperialism" in that instance. As I see it, the most one might be able to complain about is that the U.S. is using its hegemony unwisely (now "hegemony" I will agree is an accurate description of the U.S. position). But even then, hegemony means "preponderance of influence over others: DOMINATION" (although I'd even call "domination" too harsh a synonym for hegemony).

Author
Philip
Date
2005-01-21T21:46:32-06:00
ID
86582
Comment

hey, bush and co. are way beyond ineptitude. and they don't even care.. crocodile tears at best. in crocodile boots. empire, hegemony - seems like the proverbial splitting of hairs. 'disproportionate influence!?' the neocons are experimenting with the world. and the rest of the world does not appreciate it. take a look at the foreign press. some folks I know read Only the foreign press, not a bad idea. or, for fun, see Mark Fiore's animations, esp. the recent one about US foreign 'aid.' as we so graciously pull out of the relief effort. sorry, more pressing needs ...

Author
sunshine
Date
2005-01-22T15:02:23-06:00
ID
86583
Comment

Philip, I oppose war in general. I think there are hundreds of thousands of alternatives to war including assanination of a tyrant/leader. I do not feel killing innocents on any level is justified. Remember 9/11 and our shock as someone waged war on us taking thousands of Americans into a fire ball and dust cloud? Dropping bombs that collapse buildings and kill hundreds to take out one pathetic scoundrel is ridiculous with our manpower and technology. And it's happening over and over again. I feel the killing of innocents creates more enemies in the long haul and is hypocritical while claiming that we are spreading freedom, liberty and democracy. If we were doing it for oil and owning that stance, I'd have more respect for it than claiming we're spreading freedom by destroying villages and innocents for no reason listed in our position on the war... Though that's changing as the "evidence" no longer exists and is being covered up like a wrinkle with Botox. What people are making the decision in this war? A few elitists are making the calls -- in our names... Meanwhile, those elitists (at least Bush specifically) are losing support more and more (again) though I loathe polls. Sounds empire-ish to me since democracy is failing... But, he does have a mandate, I guess... Right? Let's go to Iran next... Hell, maybe that's what the whole plan was. Take Iraq, use it as a base, train some soldiers, and build an American "democracy" in the Middle East. Conspiracy theories aside, empire actually has many definitions... The definition most use when describing what is going on with the US and the world abroad falls under "a group of countries under a single authority" much like the British Empire. Frankly, I see it and many others are becoming aware that there was far more to this war than WMD and an "evil tyrant." At the very least it comes across as a pissing contest to the rest of the world and a drain on our economic situation. I will agree on the hegemony comment but feel that both can co-exist or at least hegemony can lead to empire-building... Hell, if you control the trade and governing style of a country, do you not control the economics, the personal rights and abilities, and the growth of that country? What we are doing is a mistake... And to see ol' Lott act so "patriotic" about slaughtering families with no real justification for this war is hypocritical and sounds eerily like the same excuse they're using for taking out Saddam and bringing down Iraq. Bill Clinton was impeached for sexual relations that hurt no others besides his family. Surely, President Bush needs to be checked much harder than he is before we slip-slide into a dark depression. "Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism - how passionately I hate them!" - Albert Einstein

Author
kaust
Date
2005-01-22T16:20:47-06:00
ID
86584
Comment

Am I the only who thinks that this column is one long non sequitur? For instance: "But thanks to our troops, terrorists won't get WMD from Iraq, and that's a big step forward in the War on Terror." How are our troops stopping terrorists from getting something that even the Bushies formally admitted last week were never there in the first place? And if the first part isn't true, then how is his "a big step forward in the War on Terror." Mr. Lott, I repeat: Mississippians are not stupid. And we would really appreciate it if you'd try to stop convincing the world that we are.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2005-01-22T16:35:47-06:00
ID
86585
Comment

That was really what got me started on my angry rant, Donna. That whole quote set me off and put me back in the political state of mind I had before November 2. I think Bush is going to have a very long 4 years as the fog of war begins to clear (if we don't find ourselves in Iran or N. Korea becoming more and more distracted).

Author
kaust
Date
2005-01-22T17:00:32-06:00
ID
86586
Comment

Hegemony/Empire, Hair Splitting: Sometimes hairs can be split legitimately, so to speak. The real question is whether this is merely ìhair splittingî, as commonly understood to mean, or if this is a truly legitimate distinction. Is America an Imperial Power?" by Bruce Cummings of the Univ of Chicago yields valuable insight into the differences between the two. Highlights are: ""Empire is clearly a useful concept for understanding the history of the successive bureaucratic dynasties that ruled China until 1911, or the prewar capitalist empires such as those of Great Britain, France, and Japan, which rested on exclusively held territories known as colonies. It is not a useful concept, however, if we mean it, without any redefinition, to denote the United States and its current position in the world.To do so instantly runs afoul of the classic understanding of imperialism as some form of direct or monopoly control of another nation or of regions of the world economy (such as sterling blocs and franc blocs). No one argues that the United States possesses monopoly controls in the world economy or runs a set of territorial possessions lacking any attribute of national sovereignty. Empire might be redefined with various "post-" or "ultra-" or "neo-" tags, but these also beg the question. If imperialism means direct or monopoly control and neo-imperialism does not, perhaps we need a different term. We certainly need an explication of the differences between classical and contemporary imperialism.îî ""British hegemony gave Acheson his model for how to run the world, conceived along the lines of Great Britain's role after 1815--not as an imperial colonizer, but as the power of last resort for keeping the world, and particularly the world economy, from spinning out of control. The name for American leadership in this sense was hegemony."" NOTE: That the UK did colonize º of the globe in the 19th Century seems to miss Achesonís point. His point seems to be about Britainís dealings with the the other æ of the globe. Continuing to the very next paragraph ""This term [hegemony] best captures the US role in the world, understood as a consensual leadership in which the United States ranks first among equals, and where the ultimate goal is the growth and flourishing of a unified world economy. For four decades, however, American leaders achieved only a second-best world. The Soviet Union and the militarized and exclusively held empire that it created in postwar Eastern Europe were self-sufficient and well defended; the Soviet leaders could say nyet any time they wanted, and they did so all the time in the 1940s and 1950s. That reality essentially created the two-bloc, polarized cold war world from 1947 to 1991.""

Author
Philip
Date
2005-01-22T19:14:06-06:00
ID
86587
Comment

Before I continue in this debate, itís important to know where I stand on foreign policy. As you can no doubt tell, foreign policy, including use of military force, is one area where I am fairly conservative, though I donít like Bush & Coís style of handling it. Even those parts of his foreign policy agenda I donít find inherently wrong, he marketed those policies VERY poorly. Now, on to foreign policy Post 9/11: I was, and still am, all for our actions in Afghanistan. I modified somewhat my views on the Iraq War. I remain convinced that sending troops into Kuwait to force Saddam to comply with inspections was right. Up to this point, Bush earned high marks from me. From the start, I thought that Iraqi-terrorist links were flimsily and coincidental at most (certainly I did not buy into the al-Qaeda connection). However, I believed at the time that Saddam was working on WMD and certainly that he'd threated Mideastern stability if we loosened the leash around his neck. Therefore I supported the invasion of Iraq as it commenced, albeit with trepidation caused by the (from my view) morally ambigious nature of the situation. In short, I was willing to gamble being on the wrong side of history by agreeing that we had to go to war (and believe me, it felt like a high stakes roll on my part!). However, for the past year or so, I concluded the war was a waste of resources, not the least because of Rumsfeldís decision to fight this war ìon the cheapî. At present, I think our best option is to speed up training of the Iraqi military and law enforcement forces so they can maintain a reasonable amount of legitimate law and order while at the same time begin a phased withdrawl from that country as soon as the democratically elected government (however imperfect the election may be) takes power. This seems the only viable solution where we can save at least some face from this misadventure. As for opposition to war in general: Any morally sane person hates war; not even any of the run-of-the-mill blowhards I know who say ìWe need to go in and kick their a**es!î actually glorify war. On that note, Iíve seen so many debates (often very nasty and personalized ones) on so many boards about this topic that Iíve decided it boils down to the questions ìis it better to live free, or to die?î and ìIs it better for a few civilians to die so that the greater part may be free; or is it better to have all civilians live, even if that means ALL continued to be oppressed?î You either believe ìsoî (whatever ìsoî means) or you donít. Itís as much a matter of faith as any religion advocates.

Author
Philip
Date
2005-01-22T20:19:50-06:00
ID
86588
Comment

Is anyone surprised that Trent thinks the Iran war is nobel? Nothing new in his column he is an extension of the Bush Whitehouse. I'm just worried about wht they will do with Social Security john

Author
johnautry
Date
2005-01-24T12:47:15-06:00
ID
86589
Comment

Philip, I love a man who can look at the data and come to a conclusion - even when it means changing his mind. I got no problem with your logic. Knol, for the martini's - I use Vodka, because Gin is just nasty. Also, use a *glass* shaker, because it keeps that metallic taste from slipping into the drink. I like the spicy pimento olives the best. Donna, the whole article was so bizarr-o, it didn't even set me off the way his usual stuff does. No angry rant here. Loved Boondock's reference today to Iraq's "Suicide Voters". And, last but not least: Q: How many Bush Administration officials does it take to change a light bulb? A: None. There is nothing wrong with the light bulb; its conditions are improving every day. Any reports of its lack of incandescence are a delusional spin from the liberal media. That light bulb has served honorably, and anything you say undermines the lighting effect. Why do you hate freedom?

Author
kate
Date
2005-01-25T16:00:47-06:00
ID
86590
Comment

Kate: Philip, I love a man who can look at the data and come to a conclusion Philip: Calm Down, Kate! Calm Down! :P :P (Sorry, I just couldn't resist that one)

Author
Philip
Date
2005-01-25T21:21:17-06:00
ID
86591
Comment

In regards to speeding up the training of the Iraqi Military, security and law enforcement I have made a few observations. Currently I am an Infantry officer stationed at Ft. Benning, GA and have seen hundreds of Iraqi soldiers here. I have also seen a few at Camp Shelby, MS. We are training them as quickly as we can. Unfortunately the Iraqi military is ages behind any standing modern army. The main problem lies in their lack of an NCO corps. Traditionaly the Iraqi army was run by poorly trained/political officers. The only subordinates were enlisted types with little or no authority. This creates a huge void. In modern armies it is the officers job and responsibility to plan and train large elements. Officers generally do not train in personal, team and crew tasks and many have no real experience in these roles. The NCO's, senior enlisted, have the experience and it is their job to train these fundemental tasks and serve as a buffer to relay information between enlisted and officers. The lack of this core leaves a poorly trained shell of an army with no command and control. Creating this NCO corp will take quite a long time. Most Senior enlisted have between 8 and 20 years of war fighting experience. They are the true experts in their craft. Our military as well as others are doing everything possible to train them. Cultural differences adds yet another set back in this equation. While it is essential to getting us out of Iraq it will not happen over night. As for all of this talk of "killing innocents", no soldier wants to hurt an innocent person or civilian, but sometimes these soldiers have to make a choice very quickly and sometimes the wrong people are killed. It is hard for these soldiers to deal with. Most have families and children. These men and women are not monsters, they are not thoughtless, emotionless machines.

Author
nothing
Date
2005-01-25T21:26:04-06:00
ID
86592
Comment

"How are our troops stopping terrorists from getting something that even the Bushies formally admitted last week were never there in the first place?" He didn't exactly kill kurds with chanel #5. "never" is a strong word.

Author
nothing
Date
2005-01-25T21:29:14-06:00
ID
86593
Comment

"How are our troops stopping terrorists from getting something that even the Bushies formally admitted last week were never there in the first place?" He didn't exactly kill kurds with chanel #5. "never" is a strong word.

Author
nothing
Date
2005-01-25T21:30:00-06:00
ID
86594
Comment

Nothing, that's a nit pick. Yes, he had weapons at one point, when we were supporting him. Then, he didn't. We looked for them, couldn't find them, swore they were there, killed a whole bunch of people in order to keep him from using them, and never could find them. That's one of many reasons why this missive from Lott is so painful. So, let's change the wording to suit you and ask: "How are our troops stopping terrorists from getting something that even the Bushies formally admitted last week were NOT there in the first place?" Better? Any answer?

Author
kate
Date
2005-01-26T09:12:06-06:00

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