Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared on Fox News Sunday to discuss the Islamic State and criticize President Obama’s strategy in dealing with the terrorist group. Graham claimed that the Islamic State is now encouraged by the Obama Administration’s strategy. Graham described the administration’s plans as “delusional”.
Graham said that “this is a turning point in the war on terror” and that the Islamic State is an army, not just an organization. “It’s gonna take an army to beat an army,” Graham said, “and this idea we’ll never have any boots on the ground to defeat them in Syria is fantasy.”
Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) said that Obama’s plan is comprehensive and acknowledges that solving the unrest “has to be ultimately the efforts of the local regional powers”.
“He [Obama] is willing to use American airpower and American training efforts to empower these countries, but it’s their fight. As Denis [McDonough] pointed out this is a battle within Sunni community. About where they’re going, Radical Islamist, or-”
Host John Roberts interjected,”we know the plan, but will it work?” Reed responded that there’s potential for the plan to work with cooperation between the United States, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iraq. “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,” said Reed.
Graham continued to push for more military force, stating that “it is our fight. It is not just their fight. 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. It’s about protecting millions of people throughout the world from a radical Islamic army, they’re intending to come here.”
“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. 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,” said Graham.
“Will there have to be U.S. combat forces, special operators- something- maybe not large divisions, maneuvering divisions, but some component of American fighting forces to get this done?” Roberts asked Reed. Reed repeated that the United States should “empower them, but they have to carry the fight to the enemy. This is a fight within the Sunni community, it’s a fight that they have to win for their own self-interests, and we have to make it clear that that’s the case.”
“Apparently nobody has been listening to what Senator McCain and I have been saying for the last three years,” Graham argued. “We said train the Free Syrian Army so they can take this fight on. Instead of training the Free Syrian Army, the president overruled his entire national security team and abandoned the Free Syrian Army,” said Graham. ” I am tired of hearing from this administration how easy this is going to be, when it’s going to be hard and the consequences of losing my friend, is if they survive our best shot, this is the last best chance, to knock him out, then they will open the gates of hell to spill out on the world. This is not a Sunni versus Sunni problem, this is ISIL versus mankind.”