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Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Miller defends 'bomb the hell out of them' comment, calls for action against Iraq
Atlanta Business Chronicle - January 15, 2002
by Walter Woods
In a rousing speech Jan. 14 that he himself described as "angry" U.S. Sen. Zell Miller defended some of the most controversial positions he's taken since being elected, including his comment that the U.S. should "bomb the hell" out of those responsible for Sept. 11.
"So far 12,000 tons -- 24 million pounds -- of bombs have been dropped on our enemies. If that's not bombing the hell out of them, I don't know what is," the former governor said to loud applause. "I received some criticism [for the remark, but] the criticism did not come from any who, as I just a few days after the attacks, had stood on Ground Zero amid that smoldering pile of rubble that had become the graveyard for thousands of innocent Americans."
Miller's speech also called on the U.S. to "go after" Iraq and Saddam Hussein, reinstate the military draft and drill in the Alaskan wildlife refuge to reduce dependence on foreign oil, among other proposals.
Miller spoke to a crowd of about 1,000 business and political leaders at the Georgia World Congress Center Monday night, including his colleague, Sen. Max Cleland and many members of the Georgia General Assembly.
The speech, for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce annual meeting dinner, was the first major address Miller has given in his home state since being elected just over a year ago, said a spokesperson, "and he wanted to make an impression."
His remarks, which Cleland described afterward as "great," were reminiscent of Miller's thunderous speech to the Democratic National Convention in 1992.
Miller blasted the Congress and federal government for its political partisanship, its waste of taxpayer money and the soft money from special interest groups, which he called "nothing short of bribery."
"One of these days someone smarter and younger and more articulate than I is going to get through to the American people just how really messed up it has become [in Washington]," Miller said. "And when that happens, the American people are going to rise up like that football crowd in Cleveland and run both teams off the field."
Miller was referring to an unruly Cleveland Browns football game in December when fans threw beer bottles on the field after some questionable calls by the officials.
"As Churchill said, `Democracy is based on reason and a sense of fair play,'" Miller continued. "And there is nothing reasonable or fair about this system."
Miller also insisted that he would continue to buck the Democratic Party line and support ideas from both parties and President Bush, whom Miller described as the "right man" for the job.
"We have the right man in the White House," Miller said to loud applause. "George W. Bush has been magnificent."
Miller also spoke highly of Republican Congressman Johnny Isakson and said he enjoyed working with North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms.
Miller has been criticized for being a sponsor of Bush's tax cut and for being the first Senator to publicly support the nomination of John Ashcroft for attorney general.
Comparing Sept. 11 to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which he remembered as a boy, Miller said he supported a "wider war" against terrorism.
"And as far as I'm concerned, it means at some time -- maybe not next, but some time -- going after Saddam Hussein," Miller said. "We don't have to prove he was involved with Sept. 11 or with Al Qaeda. We know he hates the United States."
Miller also said he will be a co-sponsor of a bill with Sens. John McCain and Joe Lieberman to set up a powerful investigative panel to look into intelligence and diplomatic failures that may have lead to the Sept. 11 attacks.
"I also think we should give serious thought to resuming the draft," said Miller, a former Marine. "It is clear that we're going to have to restructure our military as we prepare for this new kind of war."
Miller said drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska would upset only three square miles of land in an area the size of South Carolina, while it would yield more than 16 billion barrels of oil -- "the equivalent of 30 years of Saudi Arabian oil imports."
Miller closed by promising to fight the status quo in Washington.
"I just don't think I'll ever be able to accept the way things work up there," he said. "Perhaps Washington will never change, but you know something, neither will I."
GLOBE and ANCHOR
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