Graham on ISIS Fight: Obama 'Needs to Rise to the Occasion Before We All Get Killed'

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called the fight against ISIS “a turning point in the war in terror,” but said the U.S. is at a disadvantage because “when the White House tells the world we say what we mean and we do what we say, nobody believes that anymore.”


“We’re fighting a terrorist army, not an organization. It’s going to take an army to beat an army. And this idea we’ll never have any boots on the ground to defeat them in Syria is fantasy,” Graham told Fox News on Sunday. “And all this has come home to roost over the last three years of incompetent decisions, so to destroy ISIL, what I was told … won’t even come close to destroy ISIL. It’s delusional in the way they approach this.”

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee with Graham, argued that President Obama “has proposed a comprehensive plan that recognizes this has to be ultimately the efforts of the local regional powers, particularly the Sunni government, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Republic. Also, the United Arab Emirates, rather.”

“And Iraq particularly. And he is willing to use American airpower and American training efforts to empower these countries, but it’s their fight… this is a battle within the Sunni community about where they’re going.”

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told Fox “we’ve been pretty clear and we’ll continue to be clear about exactly what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it, and the disciplined fashion on which we’re going to carry it out to ensure that we degrade and ultimately destroy this menacing organization called ISIL.”


Reed said the plan “has great potential to work.”

“First of all, there is the U.S. forces, airpower. Second with the cooperation of the Saudis, we’re going to be training, and it’s going to be done by the Department of Defense, military personnel, Syrians, to go back into Syria. Lindsey and I both support that effort. Then we’re going to be hopefully backing up the Iraqis as they start re-claiming their territory, putting pressure on ISIL to either move forces back to Iraq to defend the territory that they have captured, or to pull back and let us take more Iraqi territory back,” Reed continued. “So I think the plan is the best possible one, because it recognizes it’s not just a full military struggle, it’s also a political struggle.”

Graham said we can’t lose sight of the fact that “it is our fight,” not just theirs.

“This is a radical Islamic army, that’s pushing the theory of a master religion, not a master race like the Nazis. This is not about bringing a few people to justice who behead the innocent in a brutal fashion,” Graham said. “It’s about protecting millions of people throughout the world from a radical Islamic army, they’re intending to come here. So, I will not let this president suggest to the American people we can outsource our security and this is not about our safety.”


“There is no way in hell you can form an army on the ground to go into Syria, to destroy ISIL without a substantial American component. And to destroy ISIL, you have to kill or capture their leaders, take the territory they hold back, cut off their financing and destroy their capability to regenerate,” he continued. “This is a war we’re fighting, it is not a counterterrorism operation, this is not Somalia, this is not Yemen, this is a turning point in the war on terror. Our strategy will fail yet again. This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home.”

“… This is not a Sunni versus Sunni problem, this is ISIL versus mankind.”


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