by Jerry Alatalo
hile watching South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham question Defense Secretary Ashton Carter about the situation in Syria, notice the contrast between the level of focus he displays on “taking down” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the attention he places on defeating the terrorist group ISIS. It’s quite possible Mr. Graham’s frustration over the remarkable shift in world opinion on Syria since the Russia air campaign against ISIS has led to loss of political discretion and self-control. Because of that he’s revealed the #1 U.S. goal since 2011 in Syria has been removal of Assad – not defeating ISIS.
During Senator Graham’s time for questions he mentions ISIS a total of seven times, and, it is worth noting, there is absolutely zero elaboration from him, or solicitation of thoughts from Mr. Carter, on the terrorist group. In other words, during Mr. Graham’s time ISIS becomes mentioned only in passing, essentially an afterthought not even rising to the level of importance high enough to become discussed.
He mentions Bashar al-Assad – often using the phrase “take down Assad” – twenty-two times. The Senator from South Carolina also made certain to point out with emphasis the debatable statistic that Assad has killed 250,000 of his own people, and giving the impression that the Syrian President bares sole responsibility for all who perished in the war begun in 2011. Like many others who use the same statistic , Mr. Graham fails to note that tens of thousands of Syrian soldiers have perished in the fighting; Mr. Graham fails to mention the number of Syrians killed by terrorists, giving the impression terrorist groups in Syria since 2011 have sat in their camps playing cards all day, every day – as if terrorist violence is not even a factor.
Placing side-by-side Mr. Graham’s total focus on his advocating that Bashar al-Assad’s removal as leader of Syria should be the #1 military mission and his absence of focus on defeating ISIS and other terrorist groups raises extremely serious questions. Among those questions – and for this one it would be interesting to see Mr. Graham testifying before the same committee instead of Mr. Carter – is “What exactly did you mean, Mr Graham, when you said ‘the strategy has completely fallen apart’?”
During this Senate hearing, and before the people of the world, Lindsey Graham essentially admitted the “strategy” in Syria from the beginning of the war there in 2011 was the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad.
This video has received over 35,000 views at this YouTube channel and generated 720 comments – the majority (98%) of comments from men and women shocked, offended and highly critical of Lindsey Graham.
For viewers it must seem remarkable, astonishing and disturbing that a United States Senator would display such a level of disrespect toward citizens appearing before his committee to share thoughts and engage in important discussion, much less the Secretary of Defense and a high-ranking military official.
As an American it is difficult to suggest the time has arrived for another self-examination like that which occurred in the 1970’s during the Church Committee Hearings. It could be the only way to salvage, slow, stop or reverse the unfortunate consequences of America’s faltering reputation around the Earth.
Absent a situation such as occurred when John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchov worked through secret channels to avert nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis, or if Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin are not talking to each other, then advocates for peace the world over must act wisely to prevent military escalation.
(Thank you to Russia Insider at YouTube)