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John I.
Republican GA

About Sen. John
  • Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act

    by Senator Johnny Isakson

    Posted on 2014-07-16

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    ISAKSON. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

    Mr. ISAKSON. I ask to be recognized to speak as if in morning business.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

    Honoring Our Armed Forces Second Lieutenant Noah Harris Mr. ISAKSON. Madam President, I wish to share an experience I had a couple of weeks ago while riding the mountains of North Georgia to my home. I was in the pickup truck alone, driving my red Silverado from a place in the mountains. I spent a lot of time thinking--which I try to do when I get a few moments to myself--about all the difficult positions we are now in as a country. I thought about our border with Mexico and all the Central American children who are coming through, huddled on the border, and the crisis there. I thought about Syria and the tragedy of that civil war. I thought about the fact that the Israelis and Hamas are firing rockets back and forth from Gaza and into the mainland of Israel. I thought about the fact that we are now negotiating with Iran, our archenemy. I thought about the fact that Vladimir Putin decided to take advantage of the vacuum that has been created in world leadership and moved into Crimea, threatening Kiev and threatening Ukraine. I thought about all the crises we have along the way.

    Then I came to Ellijay, GA, a little town known for its apples and its population of 2,000 great Georgia citizens.

    I came to Poole's Bar-B-Q, which is a landmark along the highway in Ellijay, GA. I stopped, and all of a sudden all those thoughts I had of the wars going on, the conflicts going on, the strife and the trouble going on all culminated in Gilmer County, because in Gilmer County in 2005 I attended the funeral of Noah Harris. Noah Harris was killed in Iraq in 2005.

    I thought about his story, and I thought about our position now, and I thought about some message I want to send to my country and to this body of the Senate.

    Let me talk about Noah Harris. Noah Harris was a cheerleader at the University of Georgia. On the Saturday before 9/11 in 2001, he was in Sanford Stadium with 92,000 fans of the Georgia Bulldogs cheering on the team.

    Then, like the rest of the world, he saw the terrible attack of 9/11 in 2001--in New York City, in Shanksville, PA, and in Washington, DC.

    On the morning of the 12th, he got out of bed in the dormitory and he went straight to the Army ROTC building in Athens, GA, and told them he wanted to sign up for an ROTC commission because he wanted to go fight whoever it was who killed those 3,000 citizens of the world tragically in New York City.

    They said: Noah, you can't get a commission in just a year. You only have a year left.

    He said: I can double up and do it. I want to go for my country. I want to go for what is right. I want to go fight for America.

    He became a second lieutenant in the 3rd Infantry Division, and, sure enough, 3 years after that, he was in Iraq. He became known as the Beanie Baby soldier because he had his pockets stuffed with Beanie Babies. And as he would go through Ghazaliya, where he was stationed near Baghdad, he would hand out Beanie Babies to the Iraqi children. He was like a pied piper. Unfortunately, in the 11th month of his tour, a rocket-propelled grenade his hit humvee and he and two of his buddies were killed instantly in Iraq.

    I didn't know Noah Harris, but I went to the funeral that day because, as a Senator from Georgia, I wanted to pay my respects to a soldier who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror.

    So as I was riding through Gilmer County a couple weeks ago, thinking about the crises we have today around the world and then thinking about Noah Harris, I thought to myself, there is a message all of us need to remember: Those soldiers should never have died in vain, and we have to make sure they did not.

    In Iraq 4,486 American soldiers were killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In Afghanistan, to date, 2,319--a total of 6,805--most of them Americans, some of them immigrants seeking their citizenship in America and fighting for America in our Armed Forces--fought for the rights and freedoms that all our Founding Fathers stood for, fought for all the reasons we serve in this body today, fought for all the reasons that America is the great and noble country it is around the world.

    But right now there is an absence of leadership in the world, and because of it we are seeing one crisis come up after another. I worry that Noah Harris, who died in Iraq in 2005, might--and I underscore the word ``might''--have died in vain if we don't recognize our responsibilities and see to it that we try and prevent what has been happening lately from continuing to happen.

    There is a decision point coming to the United States of America--it is coming next year. It is one I want to encourage the President to think about deeply and for all of us to think about deeply.

    We have lost Iraq to ISIS. ISIS is a renegade group of terrorists who have basically taken over that country and partnered with some of the terrorists in Syria to control Iraq.

    One of the reasons they did that is we left a huge vacuum in Iraq when we pulled out. We pulled every American soldier out. I know it was our goal to leave after the surge worked--and that was the right thing to do. But it wasn't the right thing to pull out every single soldier, because we abandoned all the infrastructure that we had built. We abandoned the image of American strength and power. We abandoned the ability for us to be agile in a dangerous part of the world.

    In Afghanistan, we are supposed to pull our troops out at the beginning of next year. Some of them should come home but not all of them. We have invested billions of dollars in American hardware and American money to see to it we had the best support in the world for our soldiers in Afghanistan. If we abandon Bagram, if we abandon Kabul--if we abandon Afghanistan, the same thing will happen in Afghanistan as happened in Iraq. And those soldiers, the 2,319 who died in Afghanistan, will have in part died in vain because we abandoned what they built. We abandoned what they protected. We abandoned the investment they made.

    We need also to remember what happened on 9/11 of 2001, when we decided to go into Iraq and then later into Afghanistan. We didn't have enough infrastructure in that part of the world to make an invasion. We had to rent the Kyrgyzstan airport near Russia to be able to fly our troops in to begin positioning outside of the Tora Bora area in Afghanistan.

    We have built tremendous infrastructure, we have built tremendous bases, and we have tremendous assets for which the taxpayers of the United States have paid. We should maintain a presence there so we are agile; so our SEALs teams, if needed, can be positioned; so that the rest of the world knows that while the war may be over and America has come home, it hasn't left. It hasn't abandoned us. An American presence will remain--just as we have in Germany, just as we have in Japan, just as we have in South Korea. Our best friends today were our enemies 40, 50, and 60 years ago, because America didn't leave when the fight was over. We need to make sure that relationship happens in Afghanistan so we can begin to build our presence in that part of the world and be that somebody who prohibits and inhibits terrorism and people like ISIS from taking over countries.

    Make no mistake about it. Vladimir Putin has been encouraged by an absence of leadership, and ISIS took advantage of an absence of leadership. What is going on between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip is an absence of leadership, in part on our part. We can't sit around and be bystanders. We have to recommit ourselves to the effort in that part of the world because [[Page S4539]] in the end the peace and security of America from terrorism and from those who would bring us down is not our looking the other way and not living up to our responsibility to the Noah Harrises of the world who gave the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq in 2005--all because he watched what we all watched that morning of 9/11 in 2001, and said: This shall not stand. I want to volunteer to fight for my country. And he joined our Army and did so.

    God bless Noah Harris. God bless his parents, Rick and Lucy. God bless the United States of America. May we remember our responsibility not to leave what we have built and remain a beacon of peace, liberty, and democracy around the world.

    I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.

    The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.

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