President Obama announced last week that the United States will fulfill its pledge to completely withdraw American forces out of Iraq by the end of the year. South Carolina U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, disagrees with pulling all the troops out, as he maintains Iraq is still a volatile situation.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Graham admonished the GOP presidential candidates for not discussing and debating foreign policy issues in a robust and detailed fashion.
“The issues that I’m talking about: Iran having a nuclear weapon, a nation without a viable jail in the war on terror, Iraq now being compromised, Afghanistan being compromised, and our best friend in Israel feeling they can’t trust us,” he said, “All these issues are worth more discussion on our side.”
Graham says he sincerely wants to bring the troops home, but not at the expense of leaving Iraq unsecured and without ensuring a solid democratic government is firmly established.
“I want the troops to come home. God knows they’ve fought well in Iraq and the President is right that they come home with their heads held high. But I want to end it well,” he told Fox’s Chris Wallace. “What happens in Iraq now is going to be much more difficult in terms of the Iraqi people being successful. Iran is the biggest winner of this.”
Graham says Republican presidential candidates need to display their overall abilities to be commander-in-chief by seriously debating a number of foreign policy questions.
“What would you do with Gitmo? Would you use it? Would you let the CIA interrogate prisoners? Would you pull all of the troops out of Afghanistan by September of next year, compromising the second fighting season? What would you do with Iran if they tried to kill an ambassador on U.S. soil? What is your policy to stop the Iranians from getting nuclear weapon? At the end of the day, these decisions that President Obama is making… are strategically unsound.”
Graham says he would not have a problem in giving Obama credit for sound foreign policy decisions; however Graham says the president’s present moves are highly questionable and could compromise America’s interests in the Middle East.
“If he had given General (John) Allen the chance to finish the job in Afghanistan and not shortened the fighting season for political reasons, I would have stood by him. I tried to help him close Gitmo, but we can’t so we should use it. So, to the Republican Party: national security matters; step up on it.”
Supporters of the president say most Americans support the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. They also point to Obama’s foreign policy successes: including Osama bin Laden’s killing by Navy SEALs and the 42-year reign of Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi ending with his fatal shooting by rebel forces last week.