- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:

Sept. 8

Albany (Georgia) Herald on U.S. needing solidarity:

Where the United States is headed in relation to dealing with ISIL may be known by midweek.

Reuters reported Monday that congressional sources said President Barack Obama will be meeting today with top congressional leaders - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi - before meeting with the Senate, probably on Wednesday before he outlines his approach to the nation Wednesday night in a televised address. From there, the news service reported, Obama would meet Thursday with the U.S. House.

What he’ll be asking Congress and the American public to support, according to reports from the White House on Monday, is placing money into a counter-terrorism fund that would be used to train and equip others to battle extremists such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant. According to Reuters reports, that training and equipping fund is the primary component of Obama’s strategy for dealing with the Islamic State, which has made a wreck of much of Iraq and murdered two American citizens.

Over the weekend, the president said he was going to lay out his “game plan” for dealing with Islamic militants. While he said he believed he had the authority to carry out his plan anyway, he was going to meet with the Legislature in an attempt to get congressional “buy in.” He also said that he may need for Congress to authorize additional funding for the plan.

It’s certainly time for a solid strategy to be revealed. From labeling ISIL a “junior varsity” group last winter to admitting last month that, despite ISIL’s rampage, “we don’t have a strategy yet,” the issue of these unchecked, homicidal militants and the dangers they represent has dogged the administration.

We’re faced with a long-term, costly struggle to maintain our freedoms - and the security of our allies - in the face of those who want to force their will and ways on the world through violence, hated and terror.

We hope that the president’s plan addresses those realities.




Sept. 8

The Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle on unswerving ideals:

He epitomized the expression “doing well by doing good.”

His chicken sandwiches made him a fortune, but his virtuous business practices and philanthropy made him famous.

S. Truett Cathy, the beloved founder and longtime CEO of Chick-fil-A Inc., died Monday at age 93.

The unwavering principles that made him a lightning rod for criticism in today’s era of moral elasticity also earned him respect from millions of devoted customers and created a fast-food empire beyond the Depression-era child’s wildest dreams.

The big-hearted billionaire stood out among business titans in that he never strayed from the Christian values and work ethic that took him from a single diner in an Atlanta suburb to more than 1,800 locations in 39 states.

Times changed, but Cathy’s ideals didn’t - including his commitment to closing his restaurants on Sundays. “I think it’s probably the best decision I ever made,” Cathy told The Augusta Chronicle in a 2008 interview.

He believed employees deserved a day of rest, whether they used it for worship or not. And fans of his family-owned chain were so enamored with its signature boneless-chicken sandwiches that weekday sales more than made up for lost revenue on the Sabbath.

Loyal customers stood by the company when Cathy’s son, Dan, the current chairman, angered gay rights groups in 2012 for supporting the “biblical definition of a family.”

The boycotts and “kiss-ins” at Cathy’s restaurants only seemed to strengthen the chain’s bond with its devoted - and devout - following.

Cathy was such an outstanding businessman - he never was embroiled in tax schemes, insider trading or other corporate shenanigans - that his stalwart Christian virtues seemed to be the only criticism his detractors could level against him.

Cathy’s greatest contribution might be to future generations as a role model. America is full of rags-to-riches stories, but few have warmer and brighter outcomes than S. Truett Cathy’s.




Sept. 7

The Telegraph, Macon, Georgia, on military readiness:

The world is a very dangerous place and becoming more so with each passing minute. Islamic extremists are popping out of their holes all over the world — ISIS, Boko Haram, Hamas, Hezbollah and dozens of others, not to mention al-Qaida. Russia is trying to expand its territory as it flexes its muscle in Ukraine. We are still involved in Afghanistan and the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate. It is against this backdrop that in a recent meeting with The Telegraph, Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., outlined his opposition to the military’s request for another Base Realignment and Closure commission.

“Sequestration” Bishop said, “is the worst thing that could happen to the country on the defense side and the non-defense side. It has wrought havoc for our government and for our people.” Through sequestration, the military lost about $75 billion and sequestration may still be with us in 2016. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said, if that happens “we would be gambling that our military will not be required to respond to multiple major contingencies at the same time.” Looking around the world, there are multiple major contingencies right now.

Hagel has proposed drawing down our troop strength to 440,000 from 520,000; saving $3.5 billion by eliminating the A-10 and dropping Marines troop strength to 182,000, from 190,000. About a dozen Navy ships will be placed on reduced service while being retrofitted.

Bishop said “We’re using old weapons systems and old equipment which requires higher maintenance costs.” In no other branch of the service is that more apparent than in the Air Force. The A-10 has been around for four decades. The C-5 was introduced in 1970, and B-52 pilots were not yet born when the Air Force took delivery of its first plane in 1955. The J-Stars plane was introduced 23 years ago, but it’s built on the frame of a Boeing 707 which was introduced into passenger service in 1957.

The question for all Americans is not really a question at all. Can we afford, in this dangerous world, to allow our military assets to atrophy? Can we make our military branches lean, mean, fighting machines by allowing lawmakers to continue sequestration? Can we equip our military services with the best technology and weapons systems with the current budget?

We think not. As Bishop said, “I prefer peace to war but, of course, in order to have peace, you have to be in a position of strength. We can’t disarm ourselves and become impotent in terms of our military strength and hope to have an influence (and) deterring effect on aggression.”

We also have to remember there are people in the world who would destroy us if they could. We must always be secure in the knowledge that they can’t.



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