US Sen Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday said the idea that the US will never have ground troops in Syria is a “fantasy,” while ripping President Barack Obama’s strategy to defeat the extremist group calling itself the Islamic State (ISIS).
Graham, one of the most prominent foreign-policy hawks in the Republican Party, said on “Fox News Sunday” that Obama’s strategy of ramped-up airstrikes with support of shaky ground forces in both Iraq and Syria was “delusional.”
“This idea that we’re never going to have boots on the ground in Syria is fantasy. All this has come home to roost after the last three years of incompetent decisions,” said Graham, who added that Obama’s strategy has undoubtedly “encouraged” ISIS.
As ISIS has directly escalated the fight against the West with executions of two American journalists and, most recently on Saturday, a British aid worker, Graham said it was a “turning point in the war on terror.”
Earlier in the program, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough urged Congress to pass the authorization to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels fighting ISIS on the ground in Syria.
But Graham said there’s “no way in hell you can form an army on the ground to go into Syria to destroy” ISIS without a “substantial American component.
Graham also took issue with Obama’s definition of his strategy on ISIS as a “counterterrorism operation” — language the administration has clarified over the past few days — as well as his comparison of the mission to those in Yemen and Somalia.
“This is not Somalia. This is not Yemen. This is a turning point in the ‘war on terror,'” Graham said. “Our strategy will fail yet again. This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home.”
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