Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein
Lindsey Graham called out Biden’s strategy to deter Iran-linked groups in the Middle East.”If the goal is to deter Iran, you’re failing miserably,” Graham told Fox News on Sunday.Nearly 40 people were killed by the US airstrikes, according to Reuters.
Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday criticized the timing of the Biden administration’s retaliatory strikes in response to a January drone attack that killed three US service members in Jordan.
During an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” the South Carolina Republican argued that the United States afforded Syria and Iraq “a week’s notice” and said, “This idea of hitting hundreds of targets doesn’t matter.”
“The only Iranian we killed in Syria or Iraq is some dumbass that doesn’t know to get out of the way,” he said. “If the goal is to deter Iran, you’re failing miserably. If the goal is to protect American troops, you’re not achieving your goal.”
Reuters reported that nearly 40 people were killed by the US airstrikes.
Graham, during his interview, also said that Iran was “not afraid of us,” which he said was a contrast to the previous administration.
“They were afraid of [former President Donald] Trump,” he argued.
The senator pointed to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the Israel-Hamas war to make an argument that US national security “is in free fall.”
Last week, a slew of Republicans criticized Biden over the US response to the initial drone attack.
“The Biden administration spent nearly a week foolishly telegraphing US intentions to our adversaries, giving them time to relocate and hide,” Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker said in a statement last week.
And House Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana also lambasted the administration’s response.
“The tragic deaths of three US troops in Jordan, perpetrated by Iran-backed militias, demanded a clear and forceful response. Unfortunately, the administration waited for a week and telegraphed to the world, including to Iran, the nature of our response,” the speaker said in a statement.
President Joe Biden in a statement after the strikes said that the country’s military response “will continue at times and places of our choosing.”
“The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond,” Biden said.
The deaths of the three service members last month were the first US military fatalities connected to the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, which began in October.