YOUR OPINION: Letters to the editor

By NEMS Daily Journal/The Associated Press

Wicker’s opposition to Hagel is justified
In the Jan. 14 Journal, Bill Crawford takes Sen. Roger Wicker to task for his strong opposition to Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense.
Noting that Hagel has Mississippi ties and was close with Rep. Sonny Montgomery, Crawford states that Sen. Wicker’s opposition is merely “politics.”
It is curious to suggest Sen. Wicker is somehow merely politically motivated in opposing Hagel.
Wicker might just be taking a firm and principled stand against a nominee he feels would do damage to the Defense Department and to America’s interests abroad.
The facts in Hagel’s long public career bear out Sen. Wicker’s position.
Indeed, as an extensive list of other officials and experts attest, it is President Obama’s nomination of Hagel that reeks of politics, not the senator’s opposition.
With “more flexibility” now that the election is behind him, Obama, by nominating a nominal Republican who is to the left of the president on foreign policy, is attempting to appear “bipartisan.” In actuality, Obama is telegraphing weakness in a dangerous world.
Sen. Wicker in the past has given strong support to President Obama’s national security picks, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.
Crawford neglected a host of other voices that have weighed in early against the Hagel nomination, including other senators (of every political stripe) the left-leaning Washington Post and former New York Mayor Ed Koch. Are they, too, merely being political?
Hagel’s past foreign policy positions clearly contradict the current White House narrative of Hagel’s “unequivocal, total support for Israel.”
As a public official, Hagel has long relished his contrarian views regarding the nation of Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy and our closest ally in the region.
Hagel’s votes and statements over time about a wide array of issues including Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran sanctions are enough to cause alarm among observers from both right and left.
It might have been safer for Sen. Wicker to wait for the hearings, but a choreographed show before committee-room cameras cannot erase a career full of troubling actions and statements that clearly put Hagel outside the mainstream of national security consensus.
Cory Wilson

Meet funding needs to improve education
I find it remarkable that people who allegedly want to improve education in Mississippi want to take money from the very incentives that are effective in recruiting and keeping teachers like making the retirement system (PERS) less appealing.
Improving education takes money. Publicly funded pre-K and kindergarten and smaller class sizes are among the proven strategies. These require expanded facilities and more teachers. This takes money.
When our legislators fully fund the system we have in place and give professional educators what they need, then they can claim to want to improve education in Mississippi.
Providing a way for the state to pay for private education (charter schools) is not going to improve education in Mississippi.
Karen Dieckmann
Retired educator

New press should be source of recognition
I want to commend you on the addition of the new high tech printing press.
I started reading the daily Chicago Tribune in 5th grade, and read the daily paper to this day. (I’ll be 55 this year). I’ve been a subscriber of the Journal since we moved here in ‘05.
The industry in general I feel should recognize you for believing in printed media. As the saying goes, money talks and BS walks. You have done the talking loud and clear. Good for you.
Personally, I wish you all possible success, and hope others realize that value by sending lots of business your way!
Great Job!
Russell Pesko

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