Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Graham Following The Playbook

If you're a Republican there no longer is any penalty you will pay for making outrageous, irresponsible remarks.  Appearing on Fox News Sunday on- wait for it- Sunday, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham commented (video, below)

I'm saying Iraq and Syria combined represent a direct threat to our homeland. The day the president raised his right hand to become president for a second time, his constitutional responsibility as commander-in-chief trumps any political promise.

What is going on in Washington when the FBI director, when the head of national intelligence, the CIA, the homeland security secretary tells every member of Congress, including the president, we're about to be attacked in a serious way because of the threat emanating from Syria and Iraq?

His responsibility as president is to defend this nation. If he does not go on the offensive against ISIS, ISIL, whatever you want to call these guys, they are coming here. This is not just about Baghdad. This is not just about Syria. It is about our homeland.

And if we get attacked because he has no strategy to protect us, then he will have committed a blunder for the ages.

According to the South Carolina senator, it's Obama's fault because "three years ago, Mr. President, you were told by your national security team,get involved, armed (sic) the rebels because this problem will grow. You said no."  But far more responsibility is owned by Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Condoleezza Rice, and the rest of the Bush gang. As I quoted Max Fisher a few days ago

The American weapons the US gave the Iraqi army totally failed at making Iraq secure and have become tools of terror used by an offshoot of al-Qaeda to terrorize the Iraqis that the US supposedly liberated a decade ago."

When ISIS invaded northern Iraq from Syria in June, the Iraqi forces deserted or retreated en masse. Many of them abandoned their American equipment. ISIS scooped it up themselves and are now using it to rampage across Iraq, seizing whole cities, terrorizing minorities, and finally pushing into even once-secure Kurdish territory. All with shiny American military equipment.

So the US air strikes against ISIS are in part to destroy US military equipment, such as the artillery ISIS has been using against Kurdish forces.

The absurdity runs deep: America is using American military equipment to bomb other pieces of American military equipment halfway around the world. The reason the American military equipment got there in the first place was because, in 2003, the US had to use its military to rebuild the Iraqi army, which it just finished destroying with the American military. The American weapons the US gave the Iraqi army totally failed at making Iraq secure and have become tools of terror used by an offshoot of al-Qaeda to terrorize the Iraqis that the US supposedly liberated a decade ago. And so now the US has to use American weaponry to destroy the American weaponry it gave Iraqis to make Iraqis safer, in order to make Iraqis safer.

Obviously, though, that's not the major problem with Graham's rant, for everyone is allowed his/her own opinion.  His major sin is frightening people for political profit.  They are coming here. Be very, very scared.

But irrespective of the rise of ISIS or President Obama's policy, there always has been a threat to the USA. That's why there is a Department of Homeland Security.This is a Republican game.  Under a Republican President (or this one), Democrats did not raise the bloody flag for political fun and profit, not even when President Bush was informed "Bin Laden Determined to Strike inside U.S." and went about his business clearing brush on the ranch.  A terrorist attack inside the nation is an ongoing possibility, as it is- to a far greater extent- to our European allies, which Graham notably ignores.

With the Senator raising the specter of an attack on American soil "because he has no strategy to protect us," Steve Benen recognizes

In this case, Graham seems to be laying down a marker: if members of the Islamic State, at some point in the future, execute some kind of terror strike on Americans, Lindsey Graham wants us to blame President Obama – because the president didn’t stick to the playbook written by hawks and neocons.

The tipoff may be that Graham lacks the courage to predict we'll be struck, instead cowering behind "if we get attacked."  If there is no attack, he can't be criticized for being wrong.  Similarly, Repubs long ago gave up defending the Bush Administration's invasion of Iraq and instead hold up the surge as a success in American foreign policy, notwithstanding that both strategies set into motion the current disaster there. Though wrongheaded, it coincides with Beltway wisdom and allows the GOP to blame Democrats for the conflagration in the Middle East.

And that really is the objective, isn't it? Approvingly quoting Benen, Steve M. adds

Notice who all but disappears from this line of argument? Notice whom Senator Graham all but absolves from guilt if an attack happens?

The people actually doing the attacking.

Whether or not it's realistic to believe that ISIS could attack America in the foreseeable future, Senator Graham, if it happens, wants you to blame President Obama before you blame ISIS -- or perhaps instead of blaming ISIS at all.

But that's no surprise. I've said this on the blog since the Bush years: Republicans despise their domestic political enemies far more than they do any international enemy. Ginning up anger against a foreign enemy used to be an indirect way of rousing the populace against allegedly evil peacenik/appeaser/fifth-columnist Democrats and liberals. But now Republicans barely take the trouble to demonize foreign foes. Those guys are just acting in accordance with their inner nature. It's Obama who has agency, so he's the bad guy who's endeavoring to get us all killed.

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