Lindsey Graham on the Iraq War

Meet the Press featured a debate between Senators Graham and Webb on the Iraq War. Jim Webb was great and it’s no surprise that Senator Graham played the role of Karl Rove’s stooge. Faiz does a nice job of where this debate get a little heated – including Graham’s charge that Senator’s Webb was:

“This would be the greatest politicization of military action in the history of the country” if Congress stepped in to set troop-rotation rules, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said … “I think the best thing we could do for our troops is let’em win,” Graham retorted.

I thought the greatest politicization of military action was that decision on March 19, 2003 to invade Iraq so that Bush-Cheney would win the 2004 election. But let’s review some of the highlights of Graham’s appearance to see if he has any earthly clue what “win” even means. After a lot of hot air about some global war “supporting a form of moderation not known to the Mideast” where this surge is supposed to defeat Al Qaeda and Iran at the same time, Lindsey suggests that we Democrats advocate “making a mistake for the ages”. No Senator – before March 19, 2003, neither Al Qaeda nor Iran were that powerful. The mistake of the ages was made on March 19, 2003 and you supported it. But here is Senator Graham painting the surge as working:

As far as the stress of the military, it has been an enormously difficult war. And I was in Baghdad on July the Fourth of this year. We had the highest re-enlistment – the largest re-enlistment ceremony in a wartime environment known to our country. The one thing I can tell you about our troops, they are doing things we’ve never done before, because there’s more of them. The surge is producing results. The biggest result from these brave men and women’s new effort is that the Sunnis who’ve tasted al-Qaeda’s life in the Sunni part of Iraq, Anbar province – when he was running for the Senate, it was declared lost. Well, it has, it has been recaptured. And the people living in Anbar have chosen to align themselves with us, because al-Qaeda overplayed their hand.

That’s odd as it was these Sunnis who we decided to kick out of power four years ago. Maybe that’s why the Shia government is not all that happy that US forces have aligned with these Sunnis. Something else is odd – if both the Shias and the Sunnis hate Al Qaeda, then why is this White House and Senator Graham saying that if we leave, Osama bin Laden takes reign of the Iraqi government?

Because it’s in our national security interest to make sure that al-Qaeda does not have a safe haven … General Petraeus says the number one enemy of America is al-Qaeda in Iraq, and Lee Hamilton in December said that our chief national security interest, in a sense, is al-Qaeda in Iraq. Let me tell you why we have to beat al-Qaeda in Iraq before anything else falls into place. Number one, they’re an extremist group that have come to this country, Iraq, to destroy this effort at democracy. And they were able to thrive under the old strategy. They were able to occupy a territory in Anbar province.

Look if we leave Iraq, Al Qaeda will have no friends there. I suspect that they’ll find a way to sneak out the back door so as to avoid being slaughtered in an Iraqi civil war. But if they can spook stupid American politicians like George W. Bush and Lindsey Graham into keeping our boots on the ground occupying a Muslim nation, they are winning and we are losing. Is Lindsey Graham so stupid not to realize this – or is he as Jim Webb suggests just another rightwing political hack? Either way – Americans would be fools to listen to him.

Of course, the real winner during the Senator’s “performance” was his repeating the two weeks line as in this strategy has been in place for only two weeks with enormous success. Let’s recall that the timing of the Iraq invasion was on Bush’s own choosing and that we 52 months ago. So what does the Senator thinks our soldiers were doing for the first 2600 weeks of this war – twiddling their thumbs?

Update: Media Matters goes further down in the MTP show to find Robert Novak acting a bit sexist and racist at the same time:

NOVAK: A lot of people don’t want him back, though, for a third term. And I think it’s very dangerous to call this a third term of Bill Clinton.

Oh wow – Hillary will just step back and let her man do her job? Novak continues:

Republicans are very pessimistic about 2008. When you talk to them off the record, they don’t see how they can win this thing. And then they think for a minute, and only the Democratic Party, with everything in their favor, would say that, “OK, this is the year either to have a woman or an African-American to break precedent, to do things the country has never done before.” And it gives the Republicans hope.

Oh Lordy mercy! Can’t have a black man or some woman leading this country! Of course, the number three candidate in our party is a white male. But then John Edwards is one of those TRIAL LAWYERS, which makes Novak really go batty. As Media Matters noted:

Neither host Tim Russert nor any of Novak’s fellow panelists, Bloomberg News Washington managing editor Al Hunt, Republican strategist Mike Murphy, and Democratic strategist Bob Shrum – all of whom are, like Novak, white men – commented on or challenged Novak’s assertion.

It does seem that when Jim Webb dressed down Lindsey Graham – that was the highlight of the show. I’m glad I had to leave right after their interview.