Video: Graham rips Obama’s “light footprint” foreign policy

posted at 2:01 pm on May 8, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Senator Lindsay Graham takes a while to get this point, but Joe Scarborough gives him an opening at about the 2:45 mark.  Later, Graham gives Barack Obama a large amount of credit for “upping” the drone game during his presidency, but Graham blasts Obama and the State Department for the “light footprint” foreign policy and security policy in the Arab Spring:

Politico sees this criticism as the big takeaway of the interview:

Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday the Benghazi attack shows a “light footprint” approach to handling the reverberations of the Arab Spring isn’t working.

“It’s, I think, a foreign policy gone wrong here,” the South Carolina Republican said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” hours before a congressional hearing on the administration’s handling of the attacks on the U.S. facility in Benghazi. “Syria, Libya, Egypt, I think the greater story is that the light footprint approach to the Mideast in a time of turmoil is not working.”

They also note Graham’s citation of Obama’s claim that the Benghazi attack was a demonstration gone out of control days after it was clear that this was entirely false:

“On the 18th of September when the president went on Letterman and said this was the result of a hateful video a week after the attack, I think the president needs to explain that statement,” Graham said. “Either he’s really detached or putting a political spin on it and that’s really important.”

Graham similarly said former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should explain why she told victims’ family members the maker of the video would be prosecuted. He said the hearing would show that the administration should’ve identified the attack as terrorist-related from the start and could’ve prevented the attack by deploying military assets.

This is what has Democrats on the House Oversight Committee worried, which is why they’re attacking the hearing today as a partisan exercise.  But let’s stick with the light-footprint criticism, because it’s rather amazing coming from Graham, whose close ally in the Senate is arguing for another light-footprint intervention in Syria, as Andy McCarthy points out today at The Corner:

Where to begin? Maybe with Senator McCain’s own history of choosing “the right people.” In late 2009, McCain was champioining increased U.S. aid for the Qaddafi regime in Libya, which was said to be an important U.S. counterterrorism ally because of the intel Qaddafi was providing about Libyan jihadists. Droves of these jihadists trekked to Iraq — often from Benghazi, the hub of Islamic supremacism in Libya – to participate in the terrorist war against U.S. troops. Less than a year and a half later, though, Qaddafi was no longer “the right people.” McCain began railing that the Libyan regime we had, at his urging, been supporting now needed to be overthown, and that to accomplish this we should be arming the new “right people” — the “rebels” based in Benghazi. No secret was made in Benghazi of the anti-Qaddafi forces’ jihadist backbone: al Qaeda figures were rebel leaders and the terror network’s tell-tale black flag was flown all over the place “in broad daylight on the main boulevards,” as John Rosenthal puts it in his excellent new book, The Jihadist Plot: The Untold Story of Al-Qaeda and the Libyan Rebellion. These are the forces that McCain memorably called, “my heroes.”

Thanks to the unauthorized U.S./NATO war that McCain demanded and Obama obligingly instigated against an erstwhile U.S. ally, jihadists in Libya and across North Africa have been able to raid Qaddafi’s arsenals and arm themselves. Moreover, to demonstrate their gratitude for American and Western assistance in their jihad, the “rebels” of Benghazi attempted to bomb the State Department’s mysterious “special mission compound” (“SMC” — commonly but inaccurately called “the consulate”) in April 2012; then bombed the motorcade of the UN’s Special Envoy to Libya; then bombed the Red Cross (anything brandishing a cross is fair game in Benghazi); then attacked the British ambassador’s convoy (like us, the Brits were foolish to have a facility in Benghazi, but after this attack, they had the good sense to leave); then, in June 2012, detonated a Boston Marathon-style improvised explosive device at the State Department SMC; and finally, on September 11, launched a coordinated terrorist attack on the SMC, killing U.S. ambassador Chistopher Stevens and three other Americans — Sean Smith, Ty Woods and Glen Doherty. …

When it comes to Islamic countries, McCain has a considerable history of utter confusion about who the “right people” are, of choosing the wrong people, and of pretending the wrong people are the right people after our government has damned foolishly followed his advice. Do Republicans really want to keep taking their cues from a guy who wants to “set up a Benghazi in Syria”?

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Mr. NeoCon himself!

Hey, Lindsey……….you send YOUR kids to die for a Caliphate over there.

Oh, wait…

PappyD61 on May 8, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Graham is an idiot.

‘Nuf said.

coldwarrior on May 8, 2013 at 2:05 PM

I would lay off on light feet, twinkle toes.

HornetSting on May 8, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Wonderful.. Lindsey is doing his best to screw us here and screw us abroad as well.

melle1228 on May 8, 2013 at 2:07 PM

Later, Graham gives Barack Obama a large amount of credit for “upping” the drone game during his presidency, but Graham blasts Obama and the State Department for the “light footprint” foreign policy and security policy in the Arab Spring:

The problem with Obama’s foreign policy is not that it’s light or heavy footprint, it’s that it is completely incoherent. We moved aggressively against Qaddafi and made threatening noises about “red lines” but never moved against Assad. We have generally let Iran walk all over us diplomatically. The Obama administration does not seem to have any rules that it follows other than “the traditional foreign policy stance of the past is always wrong.”

Doomberg on May 8, 2013 at 2:08 PM

I wholeheartedly disagree with the term light footprint. Obama’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Islamists in Libya has been substantial.

Basilsbest on May 8, 2013 at 2:22 PM

McCain really needs to retire.

rbj on May 8, 2013 at 2:24 PM

Light footprint? Just how many troops do we have deployed throughout the world? And how many of those are actually there doing something that is directly connected to a threat to the United States?

I’m as conservative as the come, but I’m getting sick of hearing the likes of Graham and McCain lecture us on how we need to have a military presence in every nook and cranny of the globe. Frankly, if the Islamists in the Middle East want to blow each other to kingdom come, I say we stand back and let them. Should one start to point a weapon in our direction, then we can unleash the full might of the U.S. military on them, but not before.

Shump on May 8, 2013 at 2:26 PM

….STFU Cracker!

KOOLAID2 on May 8, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Graham is a big government RINO. What do you think the military will look like in 20 years after we have imported 70 million poor and unskilled immigrants? The military will be gone before food stamps and subsidized housing are cut.

Wigglesworth on May 8, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Why is it that the left loves Graham and McCain so much? Hmmm…

HiJack on May 8, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Does Miz Lindsey have investments in the Mid East, he sure likes to see us over there. Give it up, they will still cut off your head and then go back to killing each other. Get out of the way.

Cindy Munford on May 8, 2013 at 3:02 PM

which sect of the GOP does Graham represent? Not sure anyone wants more US involvement in the Middleeast

nonpartisan on May 8, 2013 at 4:38 PM

which sect of the GOP does Graham represent? Not sure anyone wants more US involvement in the Middleeast

noforeskin on May 8, 2013 at 4:38 PM

…those with no foreskin!

KOOLAID2 on May 8, 2013 at 6:58 PM

Graham and McCain never saw a conflict that didn’t need some kind of American intervention.After all it’s not their lives or limbs being lost defending everybody except Americans.How about we bring the troops home from countries that hate us,and countries who are quite capable of defending themselves,and put them to work rounding up all the illegals and defending our borders from invaders!

redware on May 9, 2013 at 7:58 PM