Back in September, when Republicans still hoped to use the ISIS threat as a campaign issue, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was not only eager to condemn President Obama, he seemed willing to do so in a rather hysterical way.
“This is a war we’re fighting, it is not a counterterrorism operation!” the senator exclaimed on Fox News. Graham, who’d previously dismissed the idea of putting U.S. troops on the ground in Syria, proceeded to argue that the U.S. strategy would fail unless there were American troops on the ground in Syria. “Our strategy will fail yet again,” he said. “This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home.”
In context, “rise to the occasion” roughly translated to “adopt the discredited worldview of John McCain and Lindsey Graham.”
Last week, following the terrorist violence in Paris, Graham unraveled again, insisting the White House’s policies “are getting a lot of people killed.” The senator added, These policies driven by President Obama of being soft and weak and indecisive are coming home to haunt us.”
Yesterday on “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd offered the Republican lawmaker an opportunity to dial it down a notch.
TODD: Is that proper rhetoric? You think the President of the United States is “getting people killed”?GRAHAM: I think his policies are getting people killed. I think sound military advice was given to the President to leave a residual force in Iraq and he turned it down. And as a result, Iraq has collapsed. His entire national security team suggested three or four years ago to create a no fly zone and train the Free Syrian Army while it mattered. Almost 300,000 people killed in Syria on his watch.
It’s quite a perspective. Syria’s deadly civil war has been nothing short of brutal, and according to Lindsey Graham, the conflict’s deaths should be blamed in part on the United States in general, and more to the point, the president specifically.
Don’t forget, by Beltway standards, he’s one of the more mainstream Republican senators – the type of lawmaker with whom the president should try to compromise. He’s also the Sunday show regular who said last year, “The world is literally about to blow up.”
We are, I’m pleased to report, still here.
Indeed, this doesn’t come up often enough, but Simon Maloy recently noted that Graham’s credibility on these issues is lacking.
[T]he Lindsey Graham foreign policy platform [includes] arguments like: invade Iraq because Saddam Hussein has WMDs; invade Iraq again to fight terrorists; send U.S. forces to fight in Syria; the president can secretly order the killing of American citizens; deny terrorism suspects their rights as American citizens because “the homeland is the battlefield;” and (my personal favorite) “free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war.” This is the platform of a serious, serious man who is very serious.Only a rational thinker like Lindsey Graham’s could look at the Islamic State’s threatening arsenal of pickup trucks and AK-47s and conclude that they represent an existential threat to the U.S. with the capacity to kill every single person in the United States of America. Only a sober observer of international politics could look at global affairs and conclude that “the world is literally about to blow up.” Only a sharp foreign policy mind like Lindsey Graham’s could make the connection between Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi.
As best as I can tell, the South Carolina Republican has never made any effort to explain his extensive record of failed predictions and disastrous recommendations. On the contrary, despite his near-constant errors, Graham seems astonished when his rivals fail to follow his misguided advice.