Thursday on CNN’s “The Lead,” Republican presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he understands the sacrifice the military makes of “missing families, missing holidays,” risking getting “injured or killed.” But he added critics in the GOP cannot criticize President Barack Obama for doing nothing if unwilling to destroy ISIS with at least 10,000 ground troops.
Graham said, “I just don’t understand how you turn Iraq around unless you have more American ground capability. The Iranian-Shia Militia dominate the terrain and there’s nobody left in Syria to work with. We’re going to need a regional army or ISIS will hit us here … But I say this humbly. I know what it entails sending people back to Iraq and eventually to Syria, missing families, missing holidays, risking getting, you know, injured or killed is no light thing that I am suggesting here.I just can’t think of another way to destroy ISIS. You can’t do it from the air. And there’s no ground component left in Syria.”
He continued, “I mean, we criticize Obama. At least what I try to do is not just criticize the president but offer an alternative. And everybody says Obama’s not doing this, Obama’s not doing that. Well, it’s not enough to criticize him. What are you going to do beyond dropping bombs? And if I hear one more time that we’re going to send the Kurds to go clean up the whole world, that’s just ridiculous. The Kurdish military is not an expedition expeditionary force, if you send them in to Syria to destroy ISIS, you’d start a war with Turkey.”
“I’m a little disappointed. I don’t make these numbers up. I’ve been to Iraq and Afghanistan 35 times. General Keane said we need 10,000 in Iraq versus 3500. He’s come to the conclusion there’s nobody left to train in Syria to destroy ISIS and push Assad out. We’ve seen that with the latest round of trying to train the free Syrian army. We spent $50 million training 54 people. so clearly there’s no ground component left. If you really want to destroy ISIS, you’ve got to have a ground game. I am a little bit confused, I guess, disappointed. But I know what I believe. And I’m going to keep saying what I believe. and I believe we need to destroy ISIS. I’m committed to doing it. If you don’t have a ground component of which America will have to be part of, you’re never going to destroy ISIS and they’re going to hit us here,” he added.
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