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Graham Campaign Press Release - New Hampshire Union Leader Op-Ed: Lindsey Graham: Want to Defeat ISIL? Here's How I Would Do It

July 07, 2015

Alexandria, VA — Today, New Hampshire's Union Leader published Senator Graham's opinion editorial explaining how he would defeat ISIL if he were President of the United States. In case you missed it, view the article here and read the full text below:

THE OBAMA-CLINTON Doctrine of "strategic patience" is a failure. It has led to allies who doubt our resolve and enemies who challenge us at home and abroad. Terrorist groups, like ISIL, are rich and growing while President Obama runs out the clock on his time in office.

He states ISIL must now be turned back and Syria's Bashar al Assad must go. But he has no strategy for achieving these goals. His recent announcement of 450 additional troops amounts to nothing more than duct tape, a desperate attempt to hold together a crumbling Middle East just long enough for his successor to step in.

I am running to be the next President. I am ready to change course on day one and demonstrate to friends and foes alike we have the capability, capacity and will to secure our nation. Today, the American military footprint in Iraq is insufficient in numbers and capabilities to regenerate an effective Iraqi fighting force. One of the architects of the 2007 Surge has said 10,000 American forces will be necessary to change the tide of battle. I agree. The current force that President Obama has dispatched is inadequate and will not lead to ISIL's demise.

I would send additional forces as part of a new, comprehensive strategy for victory. These forces would allow us to put trainers and advisers with the Iraqis at the battalion level to strengthen their resolve. I would use air controllers and attack helicopters to create and continually apply pressure on ISIL's leadership. I would also change the approach in Syria. The current plan to train 5,000 Free Syrian Army soldiers puts us woefully behind ISIL's ability to recruit foreign fighters.

And President Obama's hope of defeating Assad appears purely aspirational. Our Arab allies no longer accept another Iranian puppet wreaking havoc on the region. As long as Assad remains, he will be a magnet for radical Sunnis looking for a fight. The flow of Syrian refugees will continue to stream into neighboring nations, pushing our partners to the brink of a crisis they cannot contain. In particular, we cannot allow our friend, the King of Jordan, to be undermined by the bloodletting. He remains one of the best and strongest voices for moderation in the region.

The situation in the Middle East will never be fixed while Assad remains. I would drive him from power by bringing together a regional effort with the support of forces from Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others. No Arab Army will commit to fighting ISIL while leaving Assad in power, and America should not take on this fight without regional support.

As President, I would also provide enough American capability within this regional force to ensure success. The specialties we possess are lacking in regional forces, but are essential to the destruction of ISIL and pushing Assad out of power. The American ground component in Syria would be similar to that of Iraq, including Special Forces units, logistical support and an embedded U.S. presence at the Brigade level.

We must understand that Iraq and Syria constitute a single battle space in the fight against ISIL and our approach must be comprehensive. We must also understand a complementary diplomatic effort is essential. To hold Syria, the Alawites, Sunnis and other factions must reach political consensus. In Iraq, a diplomatic surge in Baghdad is as imperative as any additional ground forces. However, no solution is achievable unless we first have security. That is the lesson our nation and I learned from the 2007 Surge.

I would also heed the lessons of Obama's disastrous 2011 withdrawal from Iraq and refuse to hastily withdraw all our forces from the region. An American presence is critical to ensuring these areas do not fall into chaos once again. Finally, I would be honest with the American people about what kind of commitment this would entail, even when the truth is hard to hear.

Under the failed leadership of President Obama and former Secretary Clinton, Syria and Iraq have become the perfect base from which to launch attacks directly against our nation by seasoned fighters holding Western passports. It is a base from which they already project a barbaric form of power that inspires other radicals and lone wolves, from Paris to Garland, Texas, while committing their heinous acts, including attempts at the systematic destruction of the Christian religion in the Middle East.

Neither the denial of isolationists nor rudderless half measures will secure our nation. Only a bold strategy, backed by the firm resolve of a determined President will rid the world of both ISIL and Assad, stabilize the region, and prevent the forces of radical Islam from bringing their fight to our homeland once again.

Our current Commander in Chief has neither the strategy nor the resolve. Hillary Clinton proved she lacks them too. I am ready on day one with both.

Lindsey Graham, Graham Campaign Press Release - New Hampshire Union Leader Op-Ed: Lindsey Graham: Want to Defeat ISIL? Here's How I Would Do It Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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