COMMENDING ROTARY INTERNATIONAL AND OTHERS FOR THEIR EFFORTS TO PREVENT AND ERADICATE POLIO
(Extensions of Remarks - June 26, 2012)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1141]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


COMMENDING ROTARY INTERNATIONAL AND OTHERS FOR THEIR EFFORTS TO PREVENT 
                          AND ERADICATE POLIO

                                 ______
                                 

                           HON. JIM McDERMOTT

                             of washington

                    in the house of representatives

                         Tuesday, June 26, 2012

  Mr. McDERMOTT. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate Rotary 
International and others for their efforts in vaccinating children 
around the world against polio. I also rise to encourage continued 
commitment and funding by the U.S. Government to the global effort to 
eradicate polio. In this regard, I want to thank Senator Dick Durbin 
for his leadership in bringing this timely resolution to the Senate.
  Polio is a highly infectious disease that primarily affects children 
and for which there is no known cure. It can leave survivors 
permanently disabled or paralyzed. Eradication of polio is a high 
priority for Rotary International, whose membership extends across the 
country and in more than 170 countries. I am proud to represent the 
Rotarians of the 7th congressional district of Washington, who have 
generously given their time and financial support to the global fight 
against polio.
  The U.S. Government is the leading public sector donor to the Global 
Polio Eradication Initiative. The Centers for Disease Control and the 
United States Agency for International Development have been at the 
forefront in the U.S. Government's work to eradicate polio both 
nationally and internationally. Polio is now endemic only in 
Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan.
  Over the past week, it has become more difficult for international 
organizations to distribute polio vaccines to children in Pakistan. 
There is a critical lesson for the U.S. Government to learn. When 
humanitarian workers are used for intelligence collecting purposes, as 
we saw in Dr. Shakil Afridi's case, it erodes trust and undermines 
legitimate humanitarian work.
  The immediate and long-term consequences of the CIA's ill-conceived 
project with Dr. Afridi are grave. The immediate consequence of Dr. 
Afridi's bogus vaccination program run by the CIA was that the 
Pakistani Taliban in northern Waziristan have since used it as an 
excuse to ban polio vaccinations to 161,000 children. The long-term 
impact is that it will be fodder for conspiracy theorists that American 
espionage is everywhere and that medical programs could have sinister 
motives.
  The tragic impact of CIA's operation is that thousands of Pakistan's 
children who could have been vaccinated will suffer or die from polio.
  As we recognize our achievements in eradicating polio, I urge my 
colleagues to look at countries where polio is still endemic and work 
to ensure that intelligence agencies are not using medical workers as 
tools to collect information.

                          ____________________