Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) praised President Trump’s re-framing of the Afghanistan war, and decision to focus on victory over nation building.
Graham remarked on Fox News, “I’m proud of the fact that President Trump made a national security decision, not a political decision. I’m proud of the fact that he listened to the generals and most proud of the fact that he shows the will to stand up to radical Islam. I’m relieved that he did not take the advice to withdraw which would’ve been disastrous, or create a mercenary army. So I’m very pleased, very thoughtful, very inspiring speech, and I can assure you, a lot of people in Congress will be behind the president.”
During a recent televised address from Fort Mayer in Virginia, President Trump expressed that he shares the “frustration” that American’s are going through over the supposedly never-ending war with Afghanistan and expressed that his, “original instinct was to pull out.” However, the security threats the U.S. faces are “immense.” He stated, “From now on, victory will have a clear definition: attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al-Qaida, preventing the Taliban from taking over the country, and stopping mass terror attacks against Americans before they emerge.” He also made it clear that the U.S. will “shift from a time-based approach to one of condition.” “We are not nation-building again,” Trump said. “We are killing terrorists.”
Several Democrats severely criticized the President’s decision. Nancy Pelosi whined, “The President’s announcement is low on details but raises serious questions. When President Trump says there will be no ceiling on the number of troops and no timeline for withdrawal, he is declaring an open-ended commitment of American lives with no accountability to the American people.”
Another Democrat, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio remarked, “We cannot commit more troops and taxpayer dollars to this war until we have a clear exit strategy. This is a reversal from the President’s years of criticizing this war – both as a private citizen and a candidate. Tonight’s address left us with nothing more than unanswered questions.”
Despite the criticism, Graham expressed that he is “proud” of his president. “So the game is changed with Pakistan, the gloves are off inside of Afghanistan. We need a diplomatic surge, India can be very helpful, but I am very pleased with this plan, and I’m very proud of my president,” he stated.
He even went on to criticize Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky for his opposition of a troop surge in Afghanistan and stated, “I think he’s actually a worse ‘general’ than Obama, believe it or not. ‘General’ Paul has been wrong about everything in this war. It’s that kind of thinking that got us into 9/11. You may be tired of fighting the terrorists, but they’re not tired of fighting you. On September 10, 2001, we did it the Rand Paul way: we didn’t have one soldier in Afghanistan, we didn’t have an embassy, we didn’t have a dime of aid going to Afghanistan, and they hit us anyway.”
“And I’m so proud he did because unlike Obama, President Trump is listening to his generals,” he continued. “I will fight Senator Paul tooth and nail to make sure that we don’t lose in Afghanistan like we did in Iraq. It’s just exactly what President Obama did in Iraq, which is to leave against sound military advice.”
Graham continued, issuing a warning, “And to my colleagues in Congress, you will own a ‘no’ vote. The next 9/11 will be your fault not President Trump’s fault if you shoot down this plan because this is a solid plan, this will turn things around in Afghanistan.”