Lindsey Graham Criticizes Obama On Libya Days After Gaddafi's Death
WASHINGTON -- In a talk show appearance just days after the death of Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) accused President Barack Obama of being insufficiently aggressive in Libya.
"If you go to war, go to win -- don't lead from behind," Graham said on Fox News Sunday.
Graham claimed that the U.S. could have removed Gaddafi from power earlier and that the war has made insufficient progress over the past "six months." Other Republican critics of the war, particularly Tea Party freshmen in the House, have taken a different line, arguing that Obama's decision to intervene was illegal, and that Gaddafi's death alone does not ensure the region's safety or stability. Presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), an early opponent of the Libyan war, said as much on Fox.
"We knew who the devil was," Bachmann said. "We don't know who the next one will be."
Graham chastised congressional Republicans for demanding the Obama administration seek congressional approval of the military action in Libya.
"I guarantee you that a lot Republicans who wanted the War Power Act invoked would not have asked for it to be invoked if President Obama were not president," he said. "To me, national security should be as bipartisan as possible.”
But Graham also accused Obama of playing political games with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, following the president's announcement that all U.S. troops will withdraw from Iraq by year-end.
"I would argue that Iraq and Afghanistan is being run out of Chicago," Graham said.
The Obama administration agreed to withdraw U.S. forces by the end of the year on Friday, with both the president and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressing the need to respect the decisions of Iraq's sovereign government. The Iraqi government had urged the U.S. to cease all military operations within the nation's borders, and refused to grant legal immunity to any American soldiers.
Graham, who has vocally supported military action in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, claimed that removing American troops was a negotiation failure by the Obama administration -- already a common GOP talking point.
"Not being able to close the deal in Iraq is a serious mistake," Graham said, claiming that Obama "fumbled the ball inside the 10."