Graham calls for airstrikes on Iraq


Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenators introduce bill aimed at protecting Ukrainian civilians Kyrsten Sinema's courage, Washington hypocrisy and the politics of rage Hillicon Valley: Amazon's Alabama union fight — take two MORE (R-S.C.) on Thursday said President Obama should authorize airstrikes in Iraq to halt the progress of extremist groups.

“There is no scenario where we can stop the bleeding in Iraq without American airpower,” he told reporters after leaving a classified Senate Armed Services Committee briefing. “If American airpower is not interjected into the equation, I don’t see how you stop these people.”


He said that, if the president’s military advisers recommended air attacks, “I would support it.”

He also said what he’d heard at the closed-door briefing “scared the hell out of me.”

He said the extremist groups were moving toward Baghdad “very rapidly” and urged the withdrawal of all personnel from the U.S. Embassy in that city.

“We’ve got another Benghazi in the making here,” Graham said.

He said that, in light of the security situation, the president should reassess his recent announcement to pull all troops from Afghanistan by the close of 2016.

“What you see in Iraq is going to surely happen in Afghanistan at a faster pace,” Graham told reporters, speculating that Iraqi security forces would have fared better there had been some U.S. forces left behind to train and advise them.

He said the president should address the nation on the situation and called for the resignation of Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Graham said the U.S. must not just “let things play out” because it would be a “disaster regionally.”