Lindsey Graham’s Top Military Strategy: Forget History
Yesterday, Peregrin Wood joked about Lindsey Graham’s strange claim that, if he is elected President, he will “secure the future”. No, Lindsey Graham isn’t really a time traveling agent, but in another sense, he is trying to use his presidential campaign to rewrite the past.
Unfortunately, Graham’s campaign to rewrite the past has to do with his urgent desire to take the United States into war.
Lindsey Graham’s campaign web site is thin in terms of content, but already, it features belligerent language pushing for war. Graham writes that “The world is exploding in terror & violence,” and taunts, “You want to know how this war with Radical Islamic Extremists ends? We win, and they lose.”
Senator Graham was one of the fools on Capitol Hill who got us into this mess in the first place. In 2002, though Iraq was not threatening the United States, Graham repeated George W. Bush’s lies that Iraq was in league with Osama Bin Laden, and was on the verge of attacking the United States with missiles armed with biological and chemical weapons.
Those missiles didn’t exist. The biological weapons didn’t exist. The chemical weapons didn’t exist. Saddam Hussein wasn’t in league with Osama Bin Laden.
The United States military wasted a massive number of lives, and spent an enormous treasure, fighting Lindsey Graham’s war in Iraq. He and George W. Bush declared victory after a few months, but the war raged on and on for years, and in the process, Lindsey Graham’s war created the Islamic State.
Now, Lindsey Graham wants to take the United States of America back into Iraq. He wants us to believe that, if only the United States could invade and occupy Iraq, this time, we’d get it right, and make the country a lovely, peaceful place.
It’s a deadly pattern. Republicans took a small conflict, the invasion of Kuwait, and made it into a big war and lengthy standoff that inspired Osama Bin Laden to commit acts of terrorism against the United States. Then, Republicans took those acts of terrorism and used them to begin a War On Terror that dragged the United States into the longest wars in American history in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those wars in turn destabilized the region, and led to the birth of the Islamic State.
But, with the eyes of an historical revisionist, Lindsey Graham refuses to see that pattern. In his view, the problem is that we haven’t been going to war enough. In his opinion, 12 years of war was insufficient. So, he wants to go back to the Republican playbook, and invade again, and occupy again, this time for even longer.
It’s telling that Graham capitalizes “Radical Islamic Extremists”, as if he believes that there really is a single enemy organization out there in the world that goes by the initials RIE, a single centralized foe that we can defeat cleanly and clearly. This judgment of Graham’s is a fundamental blunder in military strategy. There is no single extremist Islamic enemy that can be killed or put out commission, thereby ending violent conflict with a “win”. Every time the USA strikes out at one group, others that are even more dangerous rise to take its place.
In the future, if this war continues, there are only two options:
1. They win, and we lose.
2. We win, and we lose.
Reality is this: The world is not exploding, as Lindsey Graham claims it is. There is violence in the world, but we are not on the verge of destruction.
We can either choose to fan the flames of violence, or take a more intelligent approach to encourage the flames to die down. There are no easy solutions, but this much is certain: Every time the United States has gone into war in the Middle East, it has made violence from that region worse, not better. That’s an historical fact that Lindsey Graham’s revisionism can’t cover up.