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Graham: Al Qaeda wants the U.S. to leave because we’ve been ‘kicking them all over Iraq.’

By Amanda Terkel  

"Graham: Al Qaeda wants the U.S. to leave because we’ve been ‘kicking them all over Iraq.’"

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Today during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) couldn’t contain his excitement over the progress in Iraq. In a moment reminiscent of President Bush’s overblown war rhetoric, Graham declared:

If you put a list of people who wanted us to leave, the number one group would be Al Qaida, because you’ve been kicking them all over Iraq.

Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2008/04/grahamlsen45.320.240.flv]

Earlier in the day, Graham similarly told a Vets for Freedom rally: “You want to know who wants you to come home more than anybody? Al Qaeda because you’re kicking their ass.”

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Transcript:

GRAHAM: If I could promote you to five stars, I would. And if I could — I don’t know where to send you. You’ve been to every bad place there is to go, so I’d send you to a good place, Ambassador Crocker.

I cannot tell you how proud I am of both of you.

GRAHAM: And let’s start this with kind of a 30,000-foot assessment.

The surge, General Petraeus, was a corrective action — is that fair to say?

PETRAEUS: That’s correct, Senator.

GRAHAM: The reason it was a corrective action is between the fall of Baghdad and January of 2007, all of the trend lines were going in the wrong way. Economic stagnation. Political stagnation. Increased proliferation of violence. Therefore, something had to be done, and that something was called a surge.

Now, I would just ask the American people and my colleagues to evaluate fairly from January 2007 to July 2008, and see what’s happened: The challenges are real, but there are things that have happened in that period of time that need to be understood as being beneficial to this country, that came at a heavy price. And Al Qaida cannot stand the surge.

If you put a list of people who wanted us to leave, the number one group would be Al Qaida, because you’ve been kicking them all over Iraq.

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