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Georgia senator thinking twice about Syria action

Emily Rose Bennett/ Staff
Isakson (center) at GRU on Thursday
Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013 5:30 PM
Last updated Friday, Sept. 6, 2013 8:40 AM
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Citing a federal defense budget already stretched thin by sequestration, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said Thursday in a tour of Fort Gordon that he has reservations about giving President Obama the authority to use U.S. military force in Syria.

Sen. Johnny Isakson chats with Maj. Gen. LaWarren V. Patterson, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Signal Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, during an overview from the 10th-floor balcony of the Signal Center headquarters building.    SPECIAL/U.S. ARMY
SPECIAL/U.S. ARMY
Sen. Johnny Isakson chats with Maj. Gen. LaWarren V. Patterson, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Signal Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, during an overview from the 10th-floor balcony of the Signal Center headquarters building.

“You cannot, on the one hand, as a congressional policy-maker talk about shutting down the government or not funding a continuing resolution, and on the same token talk about authorizing a strike that could cost $300 million in a matter of days,” Isakson said. “Our military has to have the capability of being funded to carry out the missions that they are given, and Congress cannot have it both ways.”

Isakson’s thoughts reflect a growing divide in the Senate, with lawmakers bracing for a political showdown next week, when it is scheduled to debate whether to grant Obama’s request.

On Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 10-7 to approve the request. The panel ruled out U.S. combat operations on the ground, but agreed “decisive changes” are needed to the present balance of power in the Syrian military.

The Obama administration said it has video proving the regime of President Bashar Assad was responsible for the nerve and sarin gas attacks on Aug. 21 that killed more than 1,400 civilians, including at least 400 children. Other casualty estimates are lower, and the Syrian government denies involvement, contending rebels fighting to topple the government were to blame.

In his first visit to Fort Gordon since March 2012, when the National Security Agency celebrated the grand opening of the Georgia Cryptologic Center, Isakson was given a 360-degree visual tour of the Army post from the top balcony of its Signal Tower.

From the view, the senator said that he was impressed by the post’s updated barracks but that Fort Gordon has a tremendous need for rehabilitated training facilities, especially with talks of the Army consolidating its cyber intelligence training into a new center of excellence.

The senator also visited the Georgia Regents University Cancer Center and the Savannah River Site’s mixed oxide fuel facility, but said the military remains a top priority.

“Fort Gordon is critical to the defense of the United States of America and the support of our troops overseas,” the senator said, commending post and community leaders for the way they navigated civilian furloughs to carry out security missions at home and abroad.

Isakson said that sequestration has caused great stress in the area and that the automatic spending cuts have finally elevated to the point that Congress is pressured to do “what it (is) supposed to be doing – prioritizing spending, and passing budgets and appropriations bill.”

“Sequestration was a poison pill that we passed, thinking Congress would never turn its back on its responsibility, but Congress did,” Isakson said.

Isakson said he is working daily with local delegates to replace the across-the-board budget cuts that led to a six-day furlough this summer at Fort Gordon and that, according to a report from the Association of Defense Communities, could result in the loss of 6,000 civilian defense jobs nationwide in fiscal year 2014.

“The worst way to cut the budget is across the board, because you penalize the people who are doing a great job and reward those who are not doing a good job,” said Isakson, a former real estate executive. “What you ought to do is prioritize your spending to do the least amount of damage possible, and I think in the next 12 months Congress will find a way to end sequestration but continue to manage spending in such a way that we reduce our debt and our deficit.”

Associated Press reports were used in this article.

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deestafford
30514
Points
deestafford 09/05/13 - 08:11 pm
3
3
Both Isakson and Chambliss need to go

and be replaced by conservatives in the cut of Jim DeMint.

Old Augusta
324
Points
Old Augusta 09/05/13 - 08:50 pm
2
1
Now maybe Saxby Chambliss will come to his senses

The United States has no business taking sides with Al Queda & the Islamic Front which is who makes up the leadership of the Syrian rebels. Assad may be a tyrant, but he is no fool. Syria is a client state of Russia and Assad would never do anything without permission from Putin. There is nothing for Assad to gain by gassing civilians. Nothing! The area that was attacked is a secular suburb. It makes perfect sense that the Islamic faction pulled off this gas attack under a false flag to bring Obama to the fight. The Islamic leadership cares nothing about secular civillian deaths as they will kill secular types anyway when they topple Assad.

Little Lamb
48022
Points
Little Lamb 09/05/13 - 09:40 pm
2
1
Vote No

Hopefully, Senators Isaakson and Chambliss will listen to the e-mails, letters, phone calls of their constituents and vote NO! on attacking the Syrian government.

soapy_725
43965
Points
soapy_725 09/06/13 - 05:48 am
0
0
Not a chance for our GA "Twin Flowers". They R 4 sale.
Unpublished

Not a chance for our GA "Twin Flowers". They R 4 sale.

JRC2024
9998
Points
JRC2024 09/06/13 - 07:10 am
3
0
Vote NO on spending

Vote NO on spending $300,000,000.00 to help. The middle east will never change.

fishman960
1502
Points
fishman960 09/06/13 - 08:43 am
2
1
Come on........

This is all about that clock that goes off Oct 1st that we have conveniently forgotten about in all this..... Obamacare!

Darby
28422
Points
Darby 09/06/13 - 10:30 am
1
1
"The Obama administration said it has video

proving the regime of President Bashar Assad was responsible for the nerve and sarin gas attacks on Aug. 21 that killed more than 1,400 civilians, including at least 400 children."

.
Wow! That's wonderful!

Let's hope this one is AT LEAST as convincing as the one OzBama had that "proved" the the attack and assassinations at Benghazi were caused by an anti-Islamic video.

Do the lowly American people get to see this one? Or do we get to do the WMD dance all over again?

After all, DiFi did say that the American people just don't know what she knows.... And I guess we aren't going to.

Darby
28422
Points
Darby 09/06/13 - 10:38 am
1
1
Before we start the killing of civilians

it might be nice if OzBama would at least tell us why he was so adamant that Bush DID NOT have the power to do, without congressional approval, what he NOW says he DOES have the authority to do, with OR, WITHOUT that same approval.

Maybe he was talking about MORAL authority, after all, in that department, he is head and shoulders above any human who ever lived.

I know, because "they" keep telling us that.

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