Lindsay Graham Sells Absurd Fear Over ISIS

The iron law of politics: Every war is justified either as a moral crusade or a response to an imminent threat, no matter how implausible that may be. Lindsay Graham, who never saw a potential war that didn’t give him an erection, is doing the latter over ISIS, claiming that if we don’t send the troops back to Iraq and to Syria too, they’re going to kill us all.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) blasted President Barack Obama’s plan to defeat ISIS during an appearance on Fox News Sunday, calling the commander-in-chief “disingenuous and delusional” and warning that Americans will be “killed here at home” unless he sends ground troops into Iraq and Syria to defeat the terrorist threat.

Comparing the estimated 30,000 ISIS fighters to the Nazis, Graham warned that “this idea we’ll never had any boots to defeat them in Syria is fantasy.” He argued that given the growth of the “radical Islamic army” and its control of territory in northern Iraq and Syria, “it’s going to take an army to beat a army.” “This is ISIL versus mankind,” he said, using another acronym for the group.

“To destroy ISIL, you have to kill or capture their leaders, take back their territory, cut off the finances and destroy the capability to regenerate. This is a war we’re fights not a counter terrorism operation,” Graham continued. “This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home.”

On the list of things I worry about, ISIS taking over America or killing us all ranks just below bell bottoms making another comeback. Yes, they’re a horrible, malevolent, barbaric group that poses a serious threat to the people of Iraq. But a threat to the United States, one that could kill us all? That claim should be followed with a rimshot.

Yes, ISIS has rapidly taken over a large chunk of territory in Iraq, but they are hemmed in on three sides. Iran to the east views them as a huge threat (Iran is Shia, ISIS is Sunni), as do the Kurds to the north and Saudi Arabia on the south. They have no ability to project any sort of military power beyond Iraq and Syria. They’re a group of non-state terrorists, not a nation with an army, navy or air force.

Could they possibly sneak someone into the United States and kill a few hundred or thousand people with an act of terrorism? Yep, that’s possible. But we stop that with good intelligence work, not sending troops back to Iraq. Restarting the war is the worst possible idea.

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  • Kevin Kehres

    But I thought it was all a false flag in order to distract us from BENGHAZI!!11!!

  • colnago80

    The moronic senator is a textbook example of the tendency to overrate potential opponents. If one accepts Graham’s premises, then the ISIL is the reincarnation of the Wehrmacht and the Africa Corps and its leader, al-Baghdadi, is the second coming of Erwin Rommel. The drumbeat from Graham, McCain and the neocons for the insertion of ground troops is absurd. Thus far, the indigenous forces, supported by close air support operations by the US Navy and Airforce are doing alright thank you very much.

    Even more absurd is Graham’s call for the insertion of US ground troops into Syria. Who the fuck are they supposed to support? The only force opposing the ISIL in Eastern Syria is the regular Syrian Army. Support for that outfit is tantamount to support for the Assad kleptocracy in Damascus. This the same “government” we have been screaming loud and long for 2 years that it must go. I would note that, apparently, the Government of Israel, after observing the situation on the Syrian side of the cease fire line in the Golan Heights has apparently decided that it is in their best interest for the survival of a greatly weakened Assad dictatorship as the least of the many evils.

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/09/israel-syria-goln-heights-assad-insurgents-idf-drone.html

  • bushrat

    Restarting the war is the worst possible idea.

    I always thought training and arming a bunch of religious fanatics and tinpot dictators was the worst possible idea. Unfortunately, the US Government doesn’t.

  • blf

    On the list of things I worry about, ISIS taking over America or killing us all ranks just below bell bottoms making another comeback.

    We may be in trouble then. Not exactly bell bottoms, but there is(? perhaps was, this is dated 2010…) yet another attempt to bring back the precursor, fairs: How to dress: A flare for a comeback, “Its return to glory is not as preposterous as it might once have seemed”.

  • Kevin Kehres

    I have to admit that I won’t shed any tears over the thought of those guys being “degraded”.

    However, I do have to wonder what would happen if the US were to somehow stand up and say, “You know what? Let someone else take point on this one. Our plate’s a little full right now.”

    Oh sure, the right wing would scream about surrender and all that. But there’s little doubt in my mind that the overall arch of the conflict would play out pretty much exactly as it would with the US taking the lead role. These goons are never going to establish anything like a “real” government, they’re going to cause a lot of local and regional misery, and eventually, they’ll either drift back under the rocks from whence they came or they’ll quietly decompose after having been reduced to a fine mist by a rocket.

    The US has more toys with which to “degrade” someone. I suspect the enterprise would take a week or two longer without those toys.

    Existential threat? You keep using that word…

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Iran to the east views them as a huge threat (Iran is Shia, ISIS is Sunni), as do the Kurds to the north and Saudi Arabia on the south.

    So…Sunni Wahabists are hemmed in on the South by Sunni Wahabists?*

     

    Restarting the war is the worst possible idea.

    “Restarting”? Yes, the same people who were so terribly wrong last time are for this one, but this isn’t “restarting”. This is a newer, better war!

     

    * I saw the Sunni Wahabists at the Sands, back in ’78. This was after Sunni & Cher broke up, you understand.

  • eric

    These goons are never going to establish anything like a “real” government, they’re going to cause a lot of local and regional misery, and eventually, they’ll either drift back under the rocks from whence they came or they’ll quietly decompose after having been reduced to a fine mist by a rocket.

    I wouldn’t be too sure about that, the Taliban was able to pull it off in Afghanistan. The breakup of Yugoslavia is somewhat attributable to local separatists. Maps change, and when they do, it is often because some underdog unexpectedly holds out or wins against a nation-state.

    Having said that, I’m in general agreement with your main point that this is not an existential threat and may not be our fight. I do think we owe some support to the Iraqi kurds, and I’d like to see us help them establish a peaceful area. But I am not sure why we must take point on this.

  • Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    To destroy ISIL, you have to kill or capture their leaders, take back* their territory, cut off the finances and destroy the capability to regenerate**

    Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches/2014/09/16/lindsay-graham-sells-absurd-fear-over-isis/#ixzz3DVWkfov2

    *And the territory was ours when, exactly?

    **And since they are funded by conservative, religious oil wealth, the only way to do this is to seize the oil AND the billions in assets of the oil barons. How sad Graham must be that the necessities of war require grabbing oil assets.

  • http://www.facebook.com/den.wilson d.c.wilson

    Lindsey is just taking the old Bush “We’re fighting the terrsts there so we don’t have to fight ’em here” talking point and cranking it up to 11.

  • John Pieret

    Shorter Graham:

    “All right. We take off. Nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

    ——————————————————————————–

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=597316935 ashleybell

    Man I hope ISIS doesn’t decapitate Lindsey Graham… Because then I’d have to LIKE them and I really don’t want to have to like them

  • Doc Bill

    Lindsey Graham has to be the stupidest person in the world named Lindsey Graham.

    But, what really disappoints me is that he can’t be hauled in front of some actually intelligent, knowledgeable (are there any?) people on a news show and whittled into sawdust.

    Cut off ISIS funding? Yep, I’m all for that and we start with the Saudia Arabia royal family.

    Graham is really big on sacrificing US dollars and lives, but he’s really short on supporting $8 gasoline.

    Regenerate? Has Graham been watching Dr. Who? The conditions that cause these organizations to spring up are endemic to the middle east. It’s built into the fucking countries they live in! Massive disparity in wealth and privilege. Systematic maltreatment of citizens and women in particular. Stifled educational system. Clerics as part of or running the government. Until the Muslim world decides to enter the 21st century it will be the same old, same old. Yep, nuke ’em from orbit. I’m sure Graham would agree on that!

  • magistramarla

    I loved Jon Stewart’s take on Graham’s “We’re all gonna die!” hysterics.

  • lorn

    Graham has a point, the old commentary was that they will always need the infantry because no matter how well you bomb a place you still need somebody to go in, make sure the bad guys are gone and occupy the place to make sure they don’t come back. The US is, by world standards, really good at both blowing things up and occupying. No doubt we could handle ISIL on the battlefield because we assemble and run combined arms like nobodies business.

    That isn’t to say there aren’t limitations. Small groups that can blend into populations, people able to change their status from combatant to non-combatant at will, are always problematic. But here are ways around that. Probably the biggest weakness is that nobody has a reliable method of standing up autonomous and self-sustaining states with stable political and economic systems. That is a job no military has ever mastered. Even a with combined non-military multi-national effort with massive funding has had little success.

    Yes, we could rush in, push aside the various parties, nations, and tribes and have at ISIL. Six months later they would be a shadow of their present selves. And when we leave the various nations, parties, and tribes would go back to bickering and making the area a social, political, and economic hellhole.

    Or we can hang back, let the various parties self-assemble into a relatively unified force and let them tell us how they want to run their war to protect their nation, while settling things their way. This is slow, and likely frustrating, work. there will be reversals, and every failure will be blamed on Obama for not doing it for them. But, there is some chance, if we play this right, Iraqis, perhaps even Syrians, might have a shot at doing the one thing the US can’t do, standing up an autonomous and self-sustaining state with stable political and economic systems.

    No plan survives contact with the enemy. But it seems worth a shot.