Sep 24 2007

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made this statement following Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s remarks at Columbia University.
 
Graham said:
 
“I regret that this extremist leader was given such a platform, and it is my hope that the world will understand and appreciate the radical nature of the current Iranian regime.  Ahmadinejad supports the destruction of the state of Israel.  We would be making a huge mistake miscalculating the Iranian threat to Israel and the region.
 
“His performance today should reinforce the international community’s desire to impose sanctions against Iran for their efforts to develop a nuclear weapons program.  If we act decisively now, with one voice, we could save the world a lot of heartache in the future.”
 
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Sep 21 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted against the Levin-Reed amendment which would have begun withdrawing American troops from Iraq in 120 days and requires the removal of most U.S. troops within the next nine months.

The amendment failed by a vote of 47-47, 13 votes shy of the 60 needed for passage.

"Levin-Reed was a case of armchair generals in Congress substituting their collective military judgment for that of General Petraeus. .

"The Levin-Reed amendment, had it passed, would not have been welcomed news by our troops on the battlefield. Our enemies, on the other hand, are suffering mightily under the Petraeus strategy and would have rejoiced over this dramatic reversal in policy.

"At a time when we should be building on the momentum of the Petraeus surge, Levin-Reed would have undercut it. Levin-Reed took us back to the old, failed strategy which clearly did not work. I’m very pleased the Senate rejected this ill-advised change in U.S. policy."

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Sep 19 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today took to the floor to speak against an amendment offered by Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Pat Leahy (D-VT) giving terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba expanded access to file lawsuits in federal courts.

 

Less than an hour later, the U.S. Senate defeated the Specter-Leahy amendment on a 43-56 procedural vote.  Sixty votes were required to move forward.

 

In 2005 and 2006, Graham played a leading role in the passage of the Detainee Treatment Act and the Military Commissions Act (MCA) respectively.  The laws set forth the procedures for determining enemy combatant status, a very limited federal court review of military detention, and the procedures for the trial of the most dangerous terrorists by military tribunal.  Graham authored a provision which denies terrorists the right to file habeas corpus rights.  Enemy combatants have used habeas petitions to demand faster mail delivery, high speed internet access, and even to allege medical malpractice and demand millions in punitive and compensatory damages from our troops.  These laws ensure that federal courts do not take over the military decision of determining who is and is not an enemy combatant.

 

“Never in the history of warfare have enemy prisoners been able to bring lawsuits about their detention,” said Graham.  “Thousands of Germans and Japanese soldiers were captured and held by the military during World War II. Not one case was allowed in federal court where they were allowed to sue for their release. Our rules for the War on Terror should be no different.”

 

Under the Specter-Leahy amendment, enemy combatant terror suspects would have expanded rights to file habeas corpus petitions in federal court challenging their detention. It would also fundamentally weaken the rules governing military tribunals.

 

“The decision of determining who is an enemy combatant belongs with the military, not federal judges,” said Graham.  “Judges are not trained to determine who presents a threat to our nation. That is why Congress has only provided for a limited procedural review of combatant status determination.

 

“Before the MCA was signed into law, enemy combatants were filing frivolous suits requesting better mail delivery, more exercise, judge-supervised interrogation, Internet access, the right to view DVDs and alleging medical malpractice," said Graham. "We also made it clear in the MCA terror suspects could not sue American troops for doing their job.  The MCA protects our troops and national security while living up to our international commitments and obligations.

 

“It's time we put terror suspects on trial before military tribunals for their crimes against the United States ," said Graham. "If we begin tinkering with provisions of the MCA, it will slow efforts to bring terrorists to justice.  Some of the masterminds of the 9/11 attack on America are being held at Guantanamo Bay .  I'm ready to see them stand trial and suffer the consequences of their actions against the United States . It's time for justice to be served, not delayed.

 

“I cannot think of a better way to undercut the War on Terror than to adopt the theory that Al Qaeda members are common criminals, not global warriors,” concluded Graham.

 

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Sep 19 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted against the Webb Amendment to the Senate Defense Authorization bill.

The amendment was a power-grab which sought to take the responsibility of setting troop rotation schedules away from the military and President and give it to the Congress.  War opponents have touted the amendment as one means of ending the troop surge in Iraq.

The vote failed by a vote of 56-44.  Sixty votes were required to move forward

“The Webb amendment intended to take care of the troops.  I don’t question anyone’s intent, but if you really want to take care of the troops let them win.

“The Webb amendment was one of the more ill-advised approaches to fighting the War on Terror.  It was a historic constitutional infringement on the power of the Commander in Chief allowing Congress to micromanage troop rotations and deployments.  The amendment would have hurt the brave young men and women fighting the War on Terror and set a terrible precedent for fighting future conflicts.

“The last thing in the world we should do to our troops -- particularly in the name of helping them -- is to put 535 Members of Congress in charge of troop rotations as we fight the War on Terror.  With an approval rating below 20 percent, Congress has not risen to the level of being visionary leaders.

“The Webb amendment was a back door attempt to stop the war in Iraq by restricting the available manpower.    I’m very pleased the Senate rejected this ill-advised amendment.”

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Sep 11 2007

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made this statement on the testimony of General David H. Petraeus before the Congress.

“I think General Petraeus’ testimony has been outstanding.  A couple of points he made really stand out to me: 
  • The surge has clearly worked.  The idea of withdrawing troops because of political posturing in Washington will undercut our successes.

  • If we arbitrarily withdraw troops, we will lose the gains that have been made.  We have Al Qaeda on the run and they have been driven out of Anbar Province.  The Sunnis in Anbar turned against Al Qaeda as they did not like living under their control.  It was a huge event both for the future of Iraq and our own national security.

  • General Petraeus has clearly defined the outcome of the War in Iraq in terms of our national interests.  There’s no doubt it is in our own national security interests to have a stable, secure Iraq. 

  • If Iraq fails and breaks apart Al Qaeda could reemerge and use it as a safe haven.  There could be a war between the Kurds and Turks in the north of Iraq.  We could have a Sunni-Shia civil war spread throughout the Middle East.  And Iran, led by a ruthless, brutal, and very dangerous man, could dominate parts of Iraq.  Each of these outcomes poses dangers to our own national security.


“We should continue to allow General Petraeus and the troops to execute their mission.  Together they have done a wonderful job brining about a level of security and success which has not been achieved before. 

“In the Senate, I will continue to fight any effort which undercuts the ability of General Petraeus to maneuver and execute the military operations as he sees fit.”

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Sep 11 2007

WASHINGTON – South Carolina Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced they have returned their blue slips for the nomination of 4th Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Steve Matthews of South Carolina with a positive recommendation.  The slips were issued by and immediately returned to the Senate Judiciary Committee today.

The blue slip is a process where the home-state Senators express their support or disapproval of a nominee.  Positive blue slip recommendations allow a judicial nomination to proceed to consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Steve Matthews is an outstanding choice,” said Graham. “He has a keen legal mind and is a man of integrity.  I fully support him and hope the Senate will give him a quick and fair hearing.”

"I'm proud to support Steve Matthews and I hope he will be confirmed quickly," said Senator Jim DeMint. "Steve has the experience, intellect and integrity necessary to serve on one of our nation's highest courts. He will be a strong addition to the Fourth Circuit."

Matthews will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge William ‘Billy’ Wilkins of Greenville.  The Fourth Circuit covers the states of South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.       

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Sep 10 2007

Graham Calls MoveOn.Org Advertisement 'Disgusting'

Encourages Senate Democratic Leader to Repudiate Ad

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) called a full page Moveon.org advertisement in today’s New York Times ‘disgusting’ and wrote a bipartisan letter co-signed by 31 senators encouraging Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to repudiate the ad.

The Moveon.org ad titled, ‘General Petraeus or General Betray Us?’ says General Petraeus, “is a military man constantly at war with the facts.”  The ad smears the Commanding General in Iraq by concluding that, “Today, before Congress and before the American people, General Petraeus is likely to become General Betray Us.’

“The ad is sick and disgusting,” said Graham.  “General Petraeus is a distinguished military leader and should be treated with respect.  To suggest he would come before Congress and not give us his honest assessment of the situation on the ground in Iraq flies in the face of who he is and the responsibility on his shoulders.”

General Petraeus began what is expected to be two days of difficult questioning before members of the House and Senate on progress in Iraq.

In a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid, the 31 senators called the ad, “distasteful and frankly, below the level of respect that America’s commanding general in Iraq has earned.  No matter whether any senator supports or opposes the war in Iraq, we should all voice recognition and appreciation of General Petraeus’ long and distinguished record of service to our country.”

The senators asked Reid to join them in making clear, “that you do not share the views of Moveon.org and that you will not join Moveon.org in attacking the character of this fine officer.”

“It is important that all officials in positions of responsibility speak out and defend General Petraeus as the honest and honorable military leader he is.  From his years of service to our country and the important position he currently holds, he has certainly earned it.

“The future of America's involvement there is of paramount importance to our country and, while we believe fervently in the right of free speech, we also believe that it is possible and proper to conduct this debate without besmirching our brave men and women in uniform.”

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Sep 10 2007

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of 31 senators have written to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) calling on him to repudiate the ad today by Moveon.org in the New York Times calling David Petraeus, Commanding General of Multi-National Forces Iraq, ‘General Betray Us.’

“Senator Reid, please join us in making it clear that you do not share the views of Moveon.org, and that you will not join Moveon.org in attacking the character of this fine officer,” wrote the Senators.  “It is important that all officials in positions of responsibility speak out and defend General Petraeus as the honest and honorable military leader he is.  From his years of service to our country and the important position he currently holds, he has certainly earned it.”

The letter was circulated by Senator Lindsey Graham and signed by Senators Joe Lieberman, John McCain, Norman Coleman, Jim DeMint, Jon Kyl, Charles Grassley, Kit Bond, Bob Corker, Mel Martinez, Richard Burr, Johnny Isakson, Susan Collins, Wayne Allard, Judd Gregg, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Mike Enzi, Saxby Chambliss, Lamar Alexander, Pat Roberts, David Vitter, John Barrasso, Pete Domenici, Sam Brownback, Jeff Sessions, John Cornyn, Olympia Snowe, Sam Brownback, Elizabeth Dole, John Warner, and John Ensign.

“The ad is distasteful and frankly, below the level of respect that America's commanding general in Iraq has earned,” wrote the Senators.  “No matter whether any senator supports or opposes the war in Iraq, we should all voice recognition and appreciation of General Petraeus' long and distinguished record of service to our country.

“The future of America's involvement there is of paramount importance to our country and, while we believe fervently in the right of free speech, we also believe that it is possible and proper to conduct this debate without besmirching our brave men and women in uniform.”

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