Press Release - Lindsey Graham On Medium: "I'm Running To Be A Commander-In-Chief Worthy Of Our Veterans' Sacrifices"
"To the American people, I will fight every day to keep this nation safe. To the men and women of the military - both those currently fighting and those who have previously worn the uniform— I will fight every day to honor your service and be worthy of the enormous sacrifices you make."
Honoring Their Service
By Senator Lindsey Graham
November 11, 2015
Today we honor the enormous sacrifices of our veterans. The men and women of the U.S. military don't simply do a job, they commit their lives. They go wherever they are needed, whether that takes them to the front lines of battle or to lonely outposts to perform vital support work. They put unfathomable strains on their physical and mental health, and they often do not return home whole. They miss out not only on birthdays and anniversaries but on the quiet, daily comforts of being home with their loved ones. Their entire families must continually start over in new neighborhoods and new schools, with their spouses often bearing the brunt of these challenges on their own. These are enormous weights that we ask our veterans and their families to bear, and I have seen first-hand the mixture of dedication and stress with which they bear them.
While it is a debt we can't fully repay, there are ways that we can and absolutely must pay back what we owe our veterans. First and foremost, we need a commander in chief who will always give our service men and women the support they need to succeed and never squander the gains they have achieved.
President Obama has failed our veterans on both fronts. Here at home, he has presided over defense cuts that are gutting our military's capability, capacity, and readiness. Military equipment is aging and falling behind technologically. Troops are not receiving the full training they need to prepare for what lies ahead. Our overwhelming global superiority is deeply threatened, and yet President Obama had the gall to veto this year's defense funding authorization bill for purely political reasons.
Even more disturbing are President Obama's actions overseas that are squandering the hard-fought gains our troops have already made and jeopardizing their ability to succeed in the future. Our men and women in uniform did their jobs in Iraq and did them admirably. The Surge worked. It stemmed the violence, made common cause with Sunni leadership, and created space for political progress. This tremendous success came at a steep price, including thousands of American lives and tens of thousands of American wounded. Our service men and women did their duty regardless of the costs because they had seen the enemy up close and understood that we must take the fight to them before they attack us again here at home. President Obama, however, failed to understand this, ignored the advice of his military commanders, and risked it all with his total withdrawal from Iraq in 2011.
He has compounded this disastrous decision - which created the conditions that have allowed the rise of ISIL and the resurgence of Iranian influence in Iraq and throughout the region - with one failure after another. He refused to stand with the Syrian people when they rose up against President Assad, refused to assist the Free Syrian Army when it could have made a difference in the fight against both Assad and ISIL, and he even refused to enforce his own red line on Assad's use of chemical weapons.
He has incrementally sent U.S. troops into the region, first in Iraq and now a small handful of special forces into Syria, while failing to develop an overall strategy that these troops can fight to achieve. All the while, he has embarked on quixotic efforts to appease and cajole the Ayatollah of Iran, strengthening this religious Nazi's position regionally at the expense of Israel and our Arab allies. The net effect of these repeated blunders has been to threaten the gains of our military, both past and future. They make a mockery of the sacrifices of our veterans and their families. Our next commander in chief will have to ask our men and women in uniform to correct these failures and re-take that ground.
I am running for president because I have an unshakeable commitment to these brave men and women. I wore the uniform for over 30 years. I spent more than six years on active duty, including several years deployed to Germany. I've made dozens of trips to Iraq and Afghanistan as a reservist and a Senator. I understand that as president there is no greater responsibility than to be a worthy and successful commander in chief. I will never send a single man or woman into harm's way without the strategy and resources to succeed. And I will never squander the gains they make at great personal cost.
I also will never break faith with those who return from the fight bearing the scars of service. Every day that a single man or woman who has suffered in service to our country goes without proper care is a national disgrace. I have been fighting - and will continue to fight each day - to ensure that every single veteran receives timely, quality care. This includes reforming a broken VA system, but I believe we must go much further by providing access for every veteran to private health care outside of the VA. If the VA isn't working for you, you should be able to go to another facility that will. Increased access will improve the lives of veterans, and increased competition will ultimately strengthen the VA system itself and ensure its long-term viability. I won't rest until all our veterans receive the care they need, when they need it.
To the American people, I will fight every day to keep this nation safe. To the men and women of the military - both those currently fighting and those who have previously worn the uniform— I will fight every day to honor your service and be worthy of the enormous sacrifices you make.
Lindsey Graham, Press Release - Lindsey Graham On Medium: "I'm Running To Be A Commander-In-Chief Worthy Of Our Veterans' Sacrifices" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/312145