The Washington Post

Sen. Lindsey Graham: We should arm Libyan rebels if it ‘makes sense’

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) speaks during a news conference with fellow senators at the U.S. Capitol March 10 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/GETTY IMAGES)

“The strategy is confusing to the American people,” Graham said of the Obama administration’s policy in Libya. “It’s demoralizing to our allies, and I think it’s encouraging for our enemies. . . .This strategy is going to lead to a stalemate.”

Graham, in an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” said troops should be sent to Tripoli to go after Gaddafi directly and that the United States should provide arms to the anti-Gaddafi rebels if it “makes sense.”

Graham also expressed concern over the administration’s policy in Iraq. “We’re inside the 10-yard line in terms of finishing the job in Iraq,” he said, adding he did not believe that the State Department could continue state building efforts without 10,000-15,000 U.S. troops on the ground.

Graham also said he would oppose what he called a “State Department Army,” referring to the private security guards and military hardware the State Department said it would need to keep members of its staff safe on the ground in Iraq. “We’re going to have private security guards providing security,” Graham said. “You’re talking about a fleet of helicopters.” Graham called on the Obama administration to work with the administration of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to ensure that the drawdown of U.S. troops from Iraq would not reverse the gains that had been made there, and that the pace of the drawdown would be done at a rate that would not require the acquisition of military hardware by the State Department.

Graham’s complaint is not new. In February, when Defense Secretary Robert Gates made an impassioned plea that Congress keep the $5.2 billion allocation in the fiscal 2012 budget request for the State Department to continue the training of Iraqi police among other programs previously carried out by the Pentagon, Graham called the proposed plan “surging on the civilian side. . . . As we draw down our troops, the civilian-military partnership is essential to holding and building.”

Get the latest political news from PostPolitics. Follow us on Twitter and friend us on Facebook.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Be a man and cry
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Sleep advice you won't find in baby books
Play Videos
Drawing as an act of defiance
A flood of refugees from Syria but only a trickle to America
Chicago's tacos, four ways
Play Videos
What you need to know about filming the police
What you need to know about trans fats
Syrian refugee: 'I’m committed to the power of music'
Play Videos
Riding the X2 with D.C.'s most famous rapper
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
Europe's migrant crisis, explained