GOP presidential candidate Lindsey Graham warned that “a 9/11 is coming” to American shores unless we take preemptive measures to stop it. The Senator’s comments are causing a stir, coming on the heels of the terrorist assault on Paris. Graham hopes those attacks motivate NATO to send troops into Syria.
On Friday night, Paris was hit with a string of coordinated terrorist attacks, which the Islamic State (also known as ISIL or ISIS) has claimed responsibility for. The BBC reports that French President Hollande called the assault an “act of war,” leaving a question to circulate the internet — will, or could, the president invoke the NATO alliance to start an all-out war against the terrorist organization, one involving the U.S. and many others.
It may be unlikely given that France is already bombing IS targets in Syria, but if France does, Lindsey Graham is prepared to take up the call.
In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Graham said “the worst is yet to come” and if France invokes article five of NATO, he’d endorse putting U.S. ground troops into battle.
“There is a 9/11 coming and it’s coming from Syria if we don’t disrupt their operations inside of Syria… Let’s rally the world, form an army that is there to be formed, lead it, going on the ground and destroy ISIL before they attack our country.”
Lindsey Graham added that without putting ground troops into Iraq and Syria, we’d be attacked here in the U.S. and that anyone who didn’t understand that doesn’t belong in the White House.
The GOP presidential candidate later detailed his plan for dealing with the terrorist organization.
“I would form a regional army made of Arabs and Turkey and American forces would be part of that army. We’d go in on the ground in Syria. We’d pull the caliphate up by the roots and we would take back land held by ISIL and hold it until Syria repairs itself.”
Lindsey Graham also explained that France could have as big a role as they wanted.
According to investigations, at least one of the terrorists managed to smuggle himself into France with the Syrian refugees, causing a major complication in the migrant crisis.
Investigating all 4 million Syrian refugees coming to Europe would require an enormous amount of resources, and the attacks strengthen the argument for shutting out refugees because they pose a terrorist threat. Still, denying the refugees access might violate the United Nations’ 1951 Refugee Convention, which commits all signatories to accepting people fleeing persecution.
Like France, Germany, and much of the rest of Europe, the United States has also promised to open its borders to more displaced Syrians, a policy Lindsey Graham doesn’t support. Instead, the candidate believes America need to make Syria into a safe haven, using military force.
“The best thing the world could do for Syrian people is to create a safe haven within Syria, a no-fly zone. The best thing the United States could do to protect other homeland is go on offense, to form a regional army with the French involved that they’d like to be and go on the ground to destroy their caliphate.”
Lindsey Graham may have a strategy for the Syrian civil war, but his prospects of implementing it as president are not looking good. Data from Real Clear Politics shows that the presidential hopeful stands at roughly zero percent in the race for the Republican nomination.
For the full CNN interview with Lindsey Graham on the terrorist assaults in Paris, watch below.
[Image Credit: Getty Images/Alex Wong]