Graham: Cruz’s Syria Policy Will ‘Make Sure That Another 9/11 Happens,’ Trump Doesn’t Understand Putin

Republican presidential candidate South Carolina Senate Lindsey Graham criticized fellow candidates Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Donald Trump for their statements on Syria and Russia, respectively, while praising the strategies of fellow GOP candidates Florida Senator Marco Rubio, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Ohio Governor John Kasich on Saturday’s “Larry Kudlow Show.”

Earlier, Graham said of the fight against ISIS, “Rubio gets it. Jeb gets it. Christie gets it. Kasich gets it. But, you know, I’ve been in the Air Force 33 years. I was a military lawyer, but I’ve been around air power all my life, I’ve never heard an explanation of carpet bombing as described by Senator Cruz. It’s just a dodge. … Carpet bombing means you level everything, nobody suggests that. He’s making this up. He’s never talked to anybody in the military.” He later added, “you can’t fix Syria without a ground component. There is nobody left to train that can destroy the caliphate that’s indigenous to Syria. America must be in this regional force for it to succeed. … Rubio, Bush, Christie, Kasich have all talked about a plan similar to mine. Which means a large regional army, 90% Arabs and Turkey, 10% Americans to go in and hit Raqqa from both sides, and destroy the caliphate. If you don’t do it soon, we’re going to get hit back here at home.”

He added, “if you don’t have a ground component, you’re not going to destroy ISIL. That’s true for Iraq. That’s true for Syria. There’s nobody left to train in Syria in my view. I’d use the Arabs and Turkey. They have modern armies.”

Graham further argued, “Ted Cruz’s wanting to keep Assad in power is the dumbest idea possible. It means the war never ends. The Syrian people are not going to accept him as their leader. He killed 240,000. He’s a puppet of Iran. The last thing I would do is give another Arab capital to Iranians. And he’s Hezbollah’s biggest benefactor. That’s a very bad idea to keep Assad in power.” And “What Cruz and others are doing is going to make sure that another 9/11 happens.”

Graham added of Cruz, “For an American leader to want to embrace dictatorships and damn young people to live in these dictatorships, you don’t understand what’s going on in the Mideast.”

Graham concluded, “What Ted Cruz is doing is appeasing evil. What Donald Trump is saying makes no sense. Putin is evil in every way. You know why he polls well in Russia? If you say you disapprove of him, they throw you in jail. Donald Trump doesn’t understand what he’s done in the Ukraine, the women who’ve been raped and barrel bombed in Syria because [of] Putin’s support for Assad. Mr Trump, if you understood what Putin, in terms of the way he runs his country, and the dangers he created throughout the world, you wouldn’t respect him, you’d have condemnation for him.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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