Because we are used to Sen. Lindsey Graham saying irresponsible things about world affairs all the time, there’s a temptation just to ignore him. But he’s so ubiquitous a media presence that this is difficult, and his poorly-earned reputation as a “moderate” means that he creates a lot of room for extremism with his utterances. So this sort of crap (per Mediaite’s Andrew Desiderio is worth noting:
While discussing the ramifications of Wednesday’s terrorist attack at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo‘s office in Paris, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said President Barack Obama‘s policies and campaign promises are “getting a lot of people killed” because he refuses to acknowledge that the France attacks and others are motivated by religion.
“The people who are attacking us and attacking France are motivated by religious teachings that say there’s no place on the planet for anybody that disagrees with them,” Graham said on Fox News Thursday morning, adding that Obama is “undercutting” other foreign leaders by not acknowledging that it is a religious war.
Now the reality is that Obama prefers to describe violent jihadists as ideologues who are pursuing a perversion of Islam, in order to express solidarity with the vast majority of Muslims who don’t agree with terrorists in any way, shape or form. It is unclear to me what is gained by insisting on calling murderers authentically religious, unless, of course, you want to imply their co-religionists are culpable or suspect, as an awful lot of conservative Americans most definitely want to do. So it’s kind of a no brainer, I guess, for Graham, who has offended said conservatives with his positions on immigration and a few other topics, to pander to them in this respect, involving as it does the ever-popular “Blame Obama” meme.
But Graham does have another ax to grind on this topic:
When he left Iraq, he did so on a campaign promise. He’s trying to close Gitmo based on a campaign promise. His campaign promises are getting a lot of people killed. Our intelligence-gathering abilities have been compromised. The only way you can stop these attacks is to find out about them before they occur. We’re reducing our military spending at a time when we need it the most. These policies driven by President Obama of being soft and weak and indecisive are coming home to haunt us.
Graham really, really wants to see people tortured, and really, really wants to pretend that “strength” is identical to stuffing the Pentagon with more money than it needs or has even asked for. So cynical pandering to wingnuts aside, there’s a decent chance he really believes what he’s saying here, which is worse.