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Lindsey Graham on War & Peace

Republican Sr Senator; previously Representative (SC-3)


Obama "screams loudly & carries no stick," in Russia & Syria

Graham and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) co-authored an op-ed on CNN saying Obama's "scream loudly and carry no stick" foreign policy had failed to deter Russia: "It's no wonder Putin has concluded that he's unlikely to face serious consequences for his imperial adventure. The U.S. did nothing when he invaded Georgia in 2008. More recently, we did nothing after the Syrian regime violated the 'red line' Obama had established regarding the use of chemical weapons there," they wrote.

Graham also released a new ad earlier this week touting his opposition to Obama on foreign policy: "He stands up for America and our troops, challenging the president, asking the tough questions on Iran, Benghazi and radical Islam," the ad's narrator says. "In a dangerous world where the only guarantee of peace is strength, Lindsey Graham stands strong."

Source: The Hill AdWatch on 2014 South Carolina Senate race , Mar 23, 2014

Support the Syrian rebels against Assad & Iran

Senator Graham is a vocal advocate for the rebels in Syria and wants the US to support the rebel forces to remove Syrian dictator Assad from power. "We need to be backing that Syrian that could replace Assad and live at peace with us." Graham insists. The Senator believes the US has little choice but to take action against Assad following the President's "red line" remark. Failing to do so will inevitably "diminish us."

When asked about the al Qaeda operatives disguised within the opposition, Graham stated, "The Syrian people started this revolution through peaceful demonstrations. These radical Islamists are hijacking this revolution." Senator Graham recognizes the danger posed by the extremists. In fact, this acknowledgment drives his contention that the US must involve itself in the Syrian civil war. "The Iranians are backing Assad for a reason." He says, "We need to be backing people who would replace Assad who are not radical Islamists and that's most Syrians"

Source: Edgefield Advertiser on 2014 South Carolina Senate race , Oct 22, 2013

Intervention in Syria to degrade Assad's chemical weapons

[In response to Graham's support of intervention in Syria, his opponent] Nancy Mace has said intervention in Syria would just bolster the opposition that's dominated by al-Qaida. State Sen. Lee Bright said, "Lindsey Graham seem willing to go to the ends of the earth to help the Muslim Brotherhood."

Graham never engaged his foes directly, but his comments encapsulated the arduous sell to the public. "I don't want another Iraq or Afghanistan war because that's just not what we need to do," he said, before outlining his support for a contained military strike designed to degrade Syria's ability to deliver chemical weapons in the future and assist those who want to overthrow President Bashar Assad.

Facing that strain of skepticism, Graham wound up his case on Syria intervention by raising the stakes considerably. He painted a frightening picture of cascading world events that would reverberate far beyond the borders of a civil war in one Middle Eastern country.

Source: US News & World Report on 2014 South Carolina Senate race , Sep 5, 2013

Getting Syria wrong leads to Iranian nukes & war with Israel

Graham wound up his case on Syria intervention by raising the stakes considerably. He painted a frightening picture of cascading world events that would reverberate far beyond the borders of a civil war in one Middle Eastern country. If the US doesn't deal with Syria, Graham promised Iran would acquire a nuclear weapon by 2014, the King of Jordan would be deposed and Israel would start preparing to protect itself. "I believe that if we get Syria wrong, within six months--and you can quote me on this," Graham said, pausing for dramatic effect. "There will be a war between Iran and Israel over their nuclear program." But it wouldn't even end there, Graham surmised. Undoubtedly, he said ominously, the Iranians would share its nuclear technology with US enemies. "My fear is that it won't come to America on top of a missile, it'll come in the belly of a ship in the Charleston or New York harbor," he said.
Source: US News & World Report on 2014 South Carolina Senate race , Sep 5, 2013

Syria: Assad must go, and small arms won't do it

Q: What is the goal in Syria?

GRAHAM: I really don't know [Obama's goal]. But the goal should be to basically make sure Assad leaves. Last year, Assad was isolated; he was hanging by a thread. This year, he's entrenched with Hezbollah, Iran, and Russia. I think our goal should be in the short term is to balance the military power and providing small arms won't do it. So we need to create a no-fly zone to neutralize the Assad's air power.

Q: So you're saying [about Obama's plan] this is too late, this is too little?

GRAHAM: Right. What does it mean if they lose? Syria becomes a powder keg for the region. There's 60,000 Syrian children in Jordan. The kingdom is under siege in terms of refugees. Hezbollah is all over Syria, so Lebanon's even more unstable. Our policies are not working. And AK-47s will not neutralize the advantage that Assad has over the rebels. We need to do more.

Q: So only by taking out Assad can we have peace in this civil war?

GRAHAM: Assad must go.

Source: Meet the Press 2013 on 2014 South Carolina Senate race , Jun 16, 2013

Get involved in Syria to protect against al Qaeda and Iran

Q: Are you satisfied with the approach the administration is taking about chemical weapons in Syria?

GRAHAM: No, I haven't been satisfied for a long time. Four things are going to happen if we don't change course in Syria

  1. It's going to become a failed state by the end of the year. It's going to be an al Qaeda safe haven.
  2. The chemical weapons are going to be compromised and fall into the wrong hands.
  3. I worry about the king of Jordan. He's had 500,000 refugees flood his country from Syria. His kingdom could fall.
  4. If we keep this hands-off approach to Syria, we're going to have a war with Iran because Iran's going to take our inaction in Syria as meaning we're not serious about their nuclear weapons program. We need to get involved.
Q: A no-fly zone could be pretty dangerous for the US....

GRAHAM: There's nothing you can do in Syria without risk, but the greatest risk is a failed state with chemical weapons falling in the hands of radical Islamists.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2013 on 2014 South Carolina Senate race , Apr 28, 2013

Slow Afghan withdrawal, with 15,000 US troops left behind

Q: The latest assessment is that only one of 23 Afghan brigades in the army can actually operate without US support.

GRAHAM: Right.

Q: What speed should the US withdraw the 66,000 remaining troops in Afghanistan?

GRAHAM: I think it should be done based on the best military advice our commanders can give.

Q: Apparently Gen. Allen wants them to stay until the end of next year.

GRAHAM: I think that's a good decision. I want to withdraw our forces in a reasoned way. I would love to be able to support Obama's winding down Afghanistan. I would love to be able to say you've done a good job here. Don't withdraw too quick. Leave them through next fall and withdraw in an organized manner, but announce soon, Mr. President, that we're not leaving Afghanistan. we're going to have a robust military force left behind, as an insurance policy against the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Q: Give me a number.

GRAHAM: I think somewhere in the 15,000 to 20,000 range, depending on what the military commanders say

Source: CNN SOTU 2013 interview on 2014 South Carolina Senate race , Jan 6, 2013

We need more troops for long haul, Iraq is like WWII

The administration has been stubborn about troops. We do not need to paint a rosy scenario for the American people. We need to let the American people know this is just like World War II; we’re in it for the duration.
Source: Josh White, Washington Post , Sep 20, 2004

Voted NO on redeploying non-essential US troops out of Iraq in 9 months.

Vote to transition the missions of US Forces in Iraq to a more limited set of missions as specified by the President on September 13, 2007: S.AMDT.3875 amends S.AMDT.3874 and underlying bill H.R.2764:

Proponents support voting YES because:

Sen. LEVIN: "The amendment requires redeployment be completed within 9 months. At that point, funding for the war would be ended, with four narrow exceptions:"

  1. Security for US Government personnel and infrastructure
  2. Training Iraqi security forces
  3. Equipment to US service men and women to ensure their safety
Targeted operations against members of al-Qaida.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Sen. McCAIN: "This year, after nearly 4 years of mismanaged war, our military has made significant gains under the so-called surge. Overall violence in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level since [2003]. Improvised explosive device blasts now occur at a rate lower than at any point since September 2004.

"Al-Qaida's leadership knows which side is winning in Iraq. It may not be known in some parts of America and in this body, but al-Qaida knows. We are succeeding under the new strategy.

"Given these realities, some proponents of precipitous withdrawal from Iraq have shifted their focus. While conceding, finally, that there have been dramatic security gains, they have begun seizing on the lackluster performance of the Iraqi Government to insist that we should abandon the successful strategy and withdraw U.S. forces. This would be a terrible mistake."

Reference: Safe Redeployment Of US Troops From Iraq Amendment; Bill S.AMDT.3875 to H.R.2764 ; vote number 2007-437 on Dec 18, 2007

Voted YES on designating Iran's Revolutionary Guards as terrorists.

Vote on a "Sense of the Senate" amendment, S.Amdt. 3017, to H.R. 1585 (National Defense Authorization Act), that finds:

Proponents support voting YES because:

Sen. LIEBERMAN: Some of our colleagues thought the Sense of the Senate may have opened the door to some kind of military action against Iran [so we removed some text]. That is not our intention. In fact, our intention is to increase the economic pressure on Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps so that we will never have to consider the use of the military to stop them from what they are doing to kill our soldiers.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Sen. BIDEN. I will oppose the Kyl-Lieberman amendment for one simple reason: this administration cannot be trusted. I am very concerned about the evidence that suggests that Iran is engaged in destabilizing activities inside Iraq. Arguably, if we had a different President who abided by the meaning and intent of laws we pass, I might support this amendment. I fear, however, that this President might use the designation of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity as a pretext to use force against Iran as he sees fit. [The same was done with the Senate resolution on Iraq in 2002]. Given this President's actions and misuse of authority, I cannot support the amendment.

Reference: Sense of the Senate on Iran; Bill S.Amdt. 3017 to H.R. 1585 ; vote number 2007-349 on Sep 26, 2007

Voted NO on redeploying US troops out of Iraq by March 2008.

Begins the phased redeployment of US forces from Iraq within 120 days of enactment of this joint resolution with the goal of redeploying by March 31, 2008, all US combat forces from Iraq, except for a limited number essential for protecting US and coalition personnel and infrastructure, training and equipping Iraqi forces, and conducting targeted counter-terrorism operations. Such redeployment shall be implemented as part of a diplomatic, political, and economic strategy that includes sustained engagement with Iraq's neighbors and the international community in order to bring stability to Iraq.

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

Our troops are caught in the midst of a civil war. The administration has begun to escalate this war with 21,000 more troops. This idea is not a new one. During this war, four previous surges have all failed. It is time for a different direction. It is time for a drawdown of our troops.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

This resolution calls for imposing an artificial timeline to withdraw our troops from Iraq, regardless of the conditions on the ground or the consequences of defeat; a defeat that will surely be added to what is unfortunately a growing list of American humiliations. This legislation would hobble American commanders in the field and substantially endanger America's strategic objective of a unified federal democratic Iraq that can govern, defend, and sustain itself and be an ally in the war against Islamic fascism. The unintended consequence of this resolution is to bring to reality Osama bin Laden's vision for Iraq; that after 4 years of fighting in Iraq the US Congress loses its will to fight. If we leave Iraq before the job is done, as surely as night follows day, the terrorists will follow us home. Osama bin Laden has openly said: America does not have the stomach to stay in the fight. He is a fanatic. He is an Islamic fascist. He is determined to destroy us and our way of life.

Reference: US Policy in Iraq Resolution; Bill S.J.Res.9 ; vote number 2007-075 on Mar 15, 2007

Voted NO on redeploying troops out of Iraq by July 2007.

Voting YEA on this amendment would establish a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. Voting NAY would keep the current situation without a timetable. The amendment states:
  1. The President shall redeploy, commencing in 2006, US forces from Iraq by July 1, 2007, leaving only the minimal number of forces that are critical to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces and conducting specialized counterterrorism operations.
  2. The President should maintain an over-the-horizon troop presence to prosecute the war on terror and protect regional security interests.
  3. Within 30 days, the administration shall submit to Congress a report that sets forth the strategy for the redeployment of US forces from Iraq by July 1, 2007.
Reference: Kerry Amendment to National Defense Authorization Act; Bill S.Amdt. 4442 to S. 2766 ; vote number 2006-181 on Jun 22, 2006

Voted NO on investigating contract awards in Iraq & Afghanistan.

To establish a special committee of the Senate to investigate the awarding and carrying out of contracts to conduct activities in Afghanistan and Iraq and to fight the war on terrorism. Voting YES would: create Senate special committee to investigate war contracts, taking into consideration: bidding, methods of contracting, subcontracting, oversight procedures, allegations of wasteful practices, accountability and lessons learned in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Reference: Committee to Investigate War Contracts; Bill S Amdt 2476 to S 1042 ; vote number 2005-316 on Nov 10, 2005

Voted NO on requiring on-budget funding for Iraq, not emergency funding.

Amendment to express the sense of the Senate on future requests for funding for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. A YES vote would:
Reference: Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act; Bill S.AMDT.464 to H.R.1268 ; vote number 2005-96 on Apr 20, 2005

Voted YES on $86 billion for military operations in Iraq & Afghanistan.

Vote to pass a bill that would appropriate $86.5 billion in supplemental spending for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, in Fiscal 2004. The bill would provide $10.3 billion as a grant to rebuild Iraq. This includes:
Reference: FY04 Emergency Supplemental for Iraq and Afghanistan; Bill S1689 ; vote number 2003-400 on Oct 17, 2003

Voted YES on authorizing military force in Iraq.

Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq: Passage of the joint resolution that would authorize President Bush to use the US military as he deems necessary and appropriate to defend U.S. national security against Iraq and enforce UN Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq. It would be required that the president report to Congress, no later than 48 hours after using force, his determination that diplomatic options or other peaceful means would not guarantee US national security against Iraq or allow enforcement of UN resolutions and that using force is consistent with anti-terrorism efforts. The resolution would also give specific statutory authorization under the War Powers Resolution. Every 60 days the president would also be required to report to Congress on actions related to the resolution.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Hastert,R-IL; Bill HJRes114 ; vote number 2002-455 on Oct 10, 2002

Voted YES on disallowing the invasion of Kosovo.

Vote on an amendment to the "Kosovo and Southwest Asia Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act" which would prohibit the use of funds for any invasion of Yugoslavia with U.S. ground forces except in time of war.
Reference: Amendment introduced by Istook, R-OK; Bill HR 1664 ; vote number 1999-119 on May 6, 1999

Sponsored prevention, not containment, for Iranian nukes.

Graham sponsored Resolution on Iran's nuclear program

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives, that Congress--
  1. Reaffirms that the US Government has a vital interest in working together to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability;
  2. warns that time is limited to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability;
  3. urges continued and increasing economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran until a full and sustained suspension of all uranium enrichment-related activities;
  4. expresses that the window for diplomacy is closing;
  5. expresses support for the universal rights and democratic aspirations of the people of Iran;
  6. strongly supports US policy to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability;
  7. rejects any US policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat.
Source: HRes568/SR41 12-SJR41 on May 24, 2012

Support the completion of the US mission in Iraq.

Graham co-sponsored supporting the completion of the US mission in Iraq

A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the Commander of Multinational Forces-Iraq and all United States personnel under his command should receive from Congress the full support necessary to carry out the United States mission in Iraq. Expresses the sense of the Senate that:

  1. Congress should ensure that General David Petraeus have the necessary resources to carry out their mission in Iraq; and
  2. the government of Iraq must make visible progress toward meeting the political, economic, and military benchmarks enumerated in this Resolution.
Source: S.RES.70 & H.RES.150 2007-SR70 on Feb 5, 2007

Sanctions on Iran to end nuclear program.

Graham signed Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act

    Expresses the sense of Congress that:
  1. diplomatic efforts to address Iran's illicit nuclear efforts, unconventional and ballistic missile development programs, and support for international terrorism are more likely to be effective if the President is empowered with explicit authority to impose additional sanctions on the government of Iran;
  2. US concerns regarding Iran are strictly the result of that government's actions; and
  3. the people of the United States have feelings of friendship for the people of Iran and regret that developments in recent decades have created impediments to that friendship.
    States that it should be US policy to:
  1. support international diplomatic efforts to end Iran's uranium enrichment program and its nuclear weapons program;
  2. encourage foreign governments to direct state-owned and private entities to cease all investment in, and support of, Iran's energy sector and all exports of refined petroleum products to Iran;
  3. impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran and any other Iranian financial institution engaged in proliferation activities or support of terrorist groups; and
  4. work with allies to protect the international financial system from deceptive and illicit practices by Iranian financial institutions involved in proliferation activities or support of terrorist groups.
Source: S.908&HR.2194 2009-S908 on Apr 30, 2009

Other candidates on War & Peace: Lindsey Graham on other issues:
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Page last updated: Apr 18, 2014