Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) went full 2002 Condoleezza Rice WMD sale, “(W)e don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud” today on Fox News Sunday. Graham said ominously, “I think of an American city in flames because of the terrorist ability to operate in Syria and Iraq.”
Oh, that’s not inflammatory or fear-inducing at all, Senator. Not intended to distract from the real issues at all, is it.
WALLACE: Now, let’s get reaction to the new U.S. role in Iraq from two key senators. First, Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a member of the Armed Services Committee.
Senator, after President Obama declared his new policy of airstrikes and humanitarian airdrops, you sent out this tweet. Let’s put it on the screen, “The actions announced tonight will not turn the tide of battle.”
But President Obama says we can’t do that. We can’t roll back ISIS, take the offensive measures that General Keane was talking about until we get an inclusive government in Baghdad so all the factions in that country are joining in the fight.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C., ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: Well, that’s not accurate. When I look at the map that the General Keane described, I think of the United States. I think of an American city in flames because of the terrorist ability to operate in Syria and Iraq. The director of national security, the FBI director, the director of homeland security has said that the ISIS presence in Syria where hundreds of Americans and thousands of European fighters have gone, represents a direct threat to the United States, and now, their enclave in Iraq.
So, Mr. President, you have never once spoken directly to the American people about the threat we face from being attacked from Syria, now Iraq. What is your strategy to stop these people from attacking the homeland? They have expressed a desire to do so.
So, there’s no political reconciliation in Baghdad going to protect the American homeland. That has to be a commander-in-chief with a strategy and a vision. This commander-in=chief has no strategy. He has no vision.
This is a situation where he knows better than everybody else. He was told he should get engaged in Syria three years ago by his national security team. He said no, his military commander said you should leave troops in Iraq as an insurance policy, and he got the no.
Remind you of anything? How about the ominous “mushroom cloud” warnings in the lead up to the unjustified invasion of Iraq? Mother Jones has a timeline (my bold) of the Bush administration’s lies to use 9/11 as justification to invade Iraq that will break any thinking person’s heart (so many lies, such hubris, so many lives paid for our failure to check the Bush administration):
9/7/02 “From a marketing point of view you don’t introduce new products in August.”—White House Chief of Staff Andy Card on rollout of the war
9/8/02 Page 1 Times story by Judith Miller and Michael Gordon cites anonymous administration officials saying Saddam has repeatedly tried to acquire aluminum tubes “specially designed” to enrich uranium. “The first sign of a ‘smoking gun,’ they argue, may be a mushroom cloud.”
9/8/02 Tubes “are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs...we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”—Rice on CNN
9/8/02 “We do know, with absolute certainty, that he is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon.”—Cheney on Meet the Press
9/10/02 Orange terror alert.
9/11/02 Bush marks 9/11 with Statue of Liberty backdrop.
9/12/02 Bush repeats aluminum-tube claim before UN General Assembly.
9/13/02 Cheney tells Rush Limbaugh: “What’s happening, of course, is we’re getting additional information that, in fact, Hussein is reconstituting his biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons programs.” There is no such new intel.
If Senator Graham and the Republican war hawks want to discuss Iraq, or any other conflict they are attempting to drum up into full scale war again, they need to come to the table with facts and calm minds.
Whenever someone attempts to induce radical fear in order to manipulate the public — especially when they have a history of selling an unjustified war this way — the press should stop and ask for the facts. The proof. The evidence.
Questions for the war hawks: In what specific way would troops on the ground in Iraq or Syria stop terrorism? Why didn’t this work over the last ten years? How long will this “solution” work? What is the exit plan, if any? How do they justify invading a sovereign nation and violating the agreement Bush made with the Iraqi government? How many troops are they calling for, and would their “solution” involve a draft? When will they support our veterans by increasing the budget for the VA per the estimates regarding what it really needs given the influx of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans?
The Bush administration was warned of the imminent attack on August 6, 2001, to which Bush replied, “All right, you’ve covered your ass now.” On the day before the attack, “(T)he NSA intercepts messages that say, ‘The match is about to begin’ and ‘Tomorrow is zero hour.’ Not translated until Sept. 12. [Date the public knew: 6/10/02]”.
“An American city in flames”? Yes, God help us, we had that. We had it under these folks – the people who keep calling for more war. Thus proving that they did not keep us safe and fear-mongering is not a “solution”.
These are the same people who were repeatedly told that they were ignoring the problem of terrorism before the 9/11 attacks. There has been no accounting for this failure, but instead, a sick, depraved attempt to use it to manipulate a terrified citizenry in order to pursue the agenda of George W Bush against Saddam. And now they’re using it to beat up the guy (President Obama) who was against the Iraq invasion from the very start, because it was not smart.
Now they want to be heard as experts? Since when? Obama got Osama, while they chased after a grudge match.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.