Sens. Graham, Lieberman Talk Afghanistan
Influential senators on 'FNS'
- Duration 11:41
- Date Jul 3, 2011
Influential senators on 'FNS'
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Joining us now from Kabul Afghanistan are two key members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Independent Joseph Lieberman and Republican Lindsey Graham senators welcome back to FOX News Sunday.
-- you do it is Shannon thank you.
I wanna start with some disturbing reports in the Wall Street Journal that concern -- -- Senator Graham this question for you today say that Iran has quote -- -- rocket assisted exploding projectiles to its militia allies in Iraq.
Weapons that have already resulted in the deaths of American troops and I've also given long range rockets to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Increasing the insurgents ability to hit US and other coalition positions from a safer distance.
In June 14 US service members were killed in combat in Iraq officials are also attributing those steps to militias that were trained by Iran's revolutionary guard.
Senator what do we do about Iran.
Well I think people need to understand why Iran is doing this the biggest nightmare for the -- tell -- and Iran.
This have a democracy and Iraq and Afghanistan on their borders so yes they're helping the Taliban.
They're trying to reactivate this year is to bring down Iraqi democracy they're trying to undermine -- efforts here they're responsible.
For material coming into those countries that are killing not only American soldiers -- the rocking Afghan people.
There are also helping aside in Syria I hope people understand what -- out today.
Their biggest nightmares at the Arabs for -- successful.
That we can pull off Iraq and Afghanistan in terms of representative democracy and they're gonna fight till the bitter end and I hope we will be.
Pushing back strong hope the president won't condemn this.
But the Iraq -- -- noticed that you're not gonna undermine your two neighbors are trying to date.
Without some push back here.
As senator Lieberman that your colleague there mentions there involvement Iran's involvement in Syria how concerned are you about that.
Well I'm I'm very concerned about Iran's involvement in Iraq Afghanistan and Syria and the -- -- as senator Graham said.
They've -- to blow a lot of people on their hands including hundreds of Americans who have been killed in Iraq as a result of the Iranian.
Training and equipping of -- extremist militias but today.
We know that the Iranian revolutionary guard corps is there helping.
Look at the dictator by assures did he -- his own people.
And that's why.
Solace or -- senator Graham and I among others sponsoring legislation.
To impose additional economic sanctions on people are within the leadership -- the government and Iran including particularly.
The Iranian revolutionary guard corps.
-- this you know this is after all the fourth of July widget and then -- we're celebrated freedom and not just for Americans put the ideal of freedom and right now people and Arab world including and Syria are fighting for their freedom and Iran is doing everything it can -- way to suppress.
This sort of freedom fighter uprising and Syria but of course they -- Murdered and -- They're on people.
In Iran and so -- would say that that day of reckoning is coming for this extremist regime in Iran -- the majority of Iranians.
Who really yearn for freedom.
That see -- a dream come true and I hope we'll do everything we can make it happen as soon as.
Then senator Graham let's talk now specifically about Afghanistan.
We think about the attack earlier this week at the InterContinental Hotel twelve victims there and their sense that a roadside bombing that killed thirteen others.
Are you convinced that Afghanistan will be ready as we began to make significant troop draw downs.
My concern about the president's speech last week.
-- that he may have undercut the momentum we've achieved in the last year.
The last year's been phenomenal progress in terms of billing the Afghan security forces.
90000 additional Afghan army and police forces 6000 and my third joining the army.
Now and September 2009.
There was 12100 in my so things were moving in the right direction.
The enemy can now now spectacular attacks but we had -- -- on their heels here's what I fear that this.
Announcement -- -- accelerated withdrawal which was not recommended by the generals this is now the Obama Biden strategy no military leader.
Recommended the decision to present shows so it is now the Obama Biden strategy in my fear yes.
That people are gonna look this isn't a withdrawal not transition and we -- hearing that all over the country.
Uncertainty creeping back -- about America and what we're out too so I really do worry that this may have undercut the momentum I hope I'm wrong time what -- The senator Graham you mentioned that president's decision making process -- delve into that a little bit more with you because he's announced of course 30000 plus troops.
Will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of next year.
-- hours before he announced that decision there was a conference call with reporters.
With the senior administration official unnamed and here's what they said -- the president's decision was fully within the range of options that were presented to him.
You asked lieutenant general John Allen about that the man who's been tapped to lead the war after for the president and Afghanistan here was your exchange.
Is it fair to say general Alan that was not one of the options presented to the president by general -- It gives a more aggressive option than that which was presented.
My question is was that an -- option it was not.
So I just one of the country to understand.
The that this is not a terrorist strategy in Iraq.
In addition to those comments from general Allen you also note of course that General Petraeus.
And it in addition to that admiral Mike Mullen both use those words that what the president chose to do was more aggressive and the options he was presented.
So -- the White House been honest with us about how the decision was made.
He is a commander in chief the president can make this decision do you think it was the right one.
The commander in chief can make any decision he would like.
He should listen to us military commanders.
I am confident that the decision made about President Obama was not one of the options given to him by us military commanders.
He has chosen a different course 2000 out by the end of this year.
All surge forces out by September it is undercut the ability to have a second fighting season all general say that they will stand by this decision.
That's their job but it creates unnecessary risk.
And it has created out of the risk -- it has changed the moment on people wondering what we're up to the difference between transitioning.
And withdrawal is huge it is seen now as a effort to withdrawal rather than transition.
And I just hope and pray that this works out well they came at a very critical time.
And we will see what the future holds.
-- the senator Lieberman I want to talk to you about Libya let's turn to that topic now.
Here's what the president said earlier this week about what's going on there.
I serve the American people's fears are Merrill mission we have carried out narrow mission would -- an exemplary fashion.
So the president says he's laid out a mission to the American people but in an op -- that you coauthored this week in the Wall Street Journal as senator Lieberman you broke quote.
-- -- administration has not done an adequate job making a public case for our intervention.
And its objectives what kind of clarity senator would you like to see from this president.
Well you know it's well when you commit the American military.
Whether it's on a grounder in the kind of supportive role we play with our NATO allies and -- -- you -- have a reason and our reason was.
There we are trying to -- -- -- from.
From massacring his own people and stopping.
The movement of democracy through the Arab world in the so called.
Arab spring so I I think what I'd like to see is the president making the case again for why were doing this and why it's important.
-- -- security which I believe it is secondly.
I I think we've got to be clear about what our goals are.
Even though at different times -- administration -- says that that were not adjusted.
In overturning -- clearly we are this is all about.
Regime change and freeing.
The people of Libya from another.
Brutal another time period when nobody's suffering.
Brutal dictatorship so.
I know it's complicated and I think frankly there wouldn't be as much opposition.
In congress to -- action and Libya if there was.
A strong argument being made on behalf of why where there -- the truth is if if we use.
Our strength of our NATO allies.
But when you don't -- you can't be uncertain about it if we use that strengths.
I think about fuel go and it'll be a tremendous step forward.
For the Arab world and the cause of freedom there and throughout the world and and then obviously better.
For the United States talk about blood on somebody's hands Qaddafi has.
A lot of American blood -- his hands from the terrorist attacks that he sponsored against us going back to the 1980s.
It's time for him to go.
-- senator Lieberman -- want to follow up with you because you set our mission now.
Essentially does include overthrowing his regime does it also possibly include killing Qaddafi.
Well look if -- is killed so -- it I'm not saying that there were targeting him but.
Nominee -- about those thousands of people including Americans who have died because of -- is decisions.
Then no one way or another it's time for him to.
To -- power in Libya.
Our senator Graham I wanna ask you about the iPod -- and yet yes circle had senator Graham I think everyone in the world believes that -- were taken out this would be over -- if the goal is to protect the Libyan people.
And they're human -- the best way to do that is to break adopt these inner circle can get rid of Qaddafi himself so I'm glad NATO.
It's taken the key to truthfully we should be going after the inner circle trying to cut the head of the -- -- and back to Afghanistan.
Perception is reality the difference between transitioning to Afghan control in a reasoned way.
And withdrawing from the side it's Americans it's usually in Florida.
The perception that I'm finding on the ground -- the announcement by the president.
It's more the withdrawals and and his transition and that has to be corrected our -- jeopardize our whole operations and remember what Iran's -- Remember what Syria is set to remember what the Taliban and -- cat al-Qaeda -- They want to dominate this region they want to distort what we're fighting for.
Which is basic freedoms so -- that Titanic struggle with some very unsavory characters into the American people.
The outcome does matter to us if we -- and can help people -- live in peace with us we're all safer if the people are willing to fight back here in the region.
Are overtaken by these forces.
Then we're all gonna pay a price that -- a -- is at -- Yeah I -- judges and -- had on this fourth of July weekend we're here because we were attacked.
From here on 9/11 then if we don't succeed here in the Taliban.
Comes back in the power will be attacked again and there could be no greater threat to our security and our freedom.
The freedom that we celebrated on July forced.
Senator Lieberman senator Graham we thank you so much for your time -- travels to develop.