Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) blasted President Barack Obama’s plan to defeat ISIS during an appearance on Fox News Sunday, calling the commander-in-chief “disingenuous and delusional” and warning that Americans will be “killed here at home” unless he sends ground troops into Iraq and Syria to defeat the terrorist threat.
Comparing the estimated 30,000 ISIS fighters to the Nazis, Graham warned that “this idea we’ll never had any boots to defeat them in Syria is fantasy.” He argued that given the growth of the “radical Islamic army” and its control of territory in northern Iraq and Syria, “it’s going to take an army to beat a army.” “This is ISIL versus mankind,” he said, using another acronym for the group.
“To destroy ISIL, you have to kill or capture their leaders, take back their territory, cut off the finances and destroy the capability to regenerate. This is a war we’re fights not a counter terrorism operation,” Graham continued. “This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home.” The Unites States has approximately 1,600 soldiers in Iraq advising and assisting Iraqi Security Forces, conducting intelligence operations and surveillance and reconnaissance flights.
Graham’s comments come just hours after the terrorist group released another video purportedly showing the beheading of British aid worker David Haines, marking the third time the organization has beheaded a western hostage.
In announcing his strategy on Wednesday, Obama promised to build a global coalition to confront the ISIS threat, step-up air strikes across ISIS strongholds, and asked Congress to authorize $500 million for the training of moderate forces in Syria. But the president ruled out sending ground forces in a combat capacity back into Iraq. “Everybody believes there has to be some ground force on the ground taking the fight to ISIL,” White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough reiterated during an interview on Fox on Sunday. “If it’s not the Syrian opposition trained by the United States, authorized by the president and the Congress, it will have to be U.S. troops. The president has made a decision on that we’re not going to do that.” The last convoy of U.S. combat troops left Iraq in December of 2011 after almost nine years of war that cost the lives of almost 4,500 service members.
An NBC News poll released on Sunday morning found that 68 percent of Americans say they have “very little” or “just some” confidence that the administration’s plan will defeat ISIS, but 62 percent of voters “say they support Obama’s decision to take action against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.”