Graham: Iraq War Not a Mistake, ‘I Blame President Obama for the Mess’

South Carolina Senator and prospective GOP presidential candidate Lindsey Graham argued that the Iraq War wasn’t a mistake and declared “I blame President Obama for the mess in Iraq and Syria, not President Bush” on Monday’s “Situation Room” on CNN.

When asked if he thought the Iraq War was a mistake, Graham responded, “No. I don’t think so. I think at the end of the day, if I know now — then what I know now, a land invasion may not have been the right answer, but Saddam Hussein was firing at American planes patrolling Iraqi skies under international law. He was denying UN weapons inspectors access to sites where we thought there would be weapons of mass destruction. He was killing his own people. The biggest mistake we made was leaving Iraq without a follow-on force against sound military advice. There’s two things going on in the Mideast that people need to understand, a fight for the heart and soul of the Islamic faith, radical Islamists are a small minority. We need to side with the 90% — 95% who would live in peace with us to destroy this radical ideology and people in the Mideast are no longer going to live in dictatorships for our convenience.” And “At the end of the day, I blame President Obama for the mess in Iraq and Syria, not President Bush.”

Earlier, he stated that while “President Bush made plenty of mistakes,” “he was smart enough to adjust in 2006.” And “President Obama’s decision to withdraw all forces in the face of sound military advice has come back to haunt us in Iraq and Syria.”

Later Graham added, “I’m saying I don’t know if I would have done a ground invasion to get rid of Saddam, knowing that the intelligence about his weapons program was faulty, but I would have kept the pressure to get rid of Saddam. The world is better without Saddam Hussein. At the end of the day, the Iraqi people were making progress on the security front, on the economic front, and on the political front. That is an undeniable fact. Leaving Iraq too soon, not leaving a residual force has resulted in what you see today and it is in our national security interests to get Iraq in a better position, and to do something about Syria. Syria is the most likely launching pad for an attack on the United States.”

(h/t Real Clear Politics)

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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