Dec 06 2006

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on release of the Iraq Study Group report. Graham is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I appreciate the views expressed by the members of the ISG and the time they have devoted to this endeavor. They are a distinguished group of Americans and I will review their recommendations along with those that will be made in several other reports in the coming months. “One of the major provisions of the ISG report is the need to engage Iran and Syria about the outcome in Iraq. We must recognize the limitations of this approach. “By his words and actions, the President of Iran has shown himself to be a very dangerous man. My biggest fear in talking directly to him is that he will take it as a sign of weakness and use it to continue his nuclear ambitions. In many ways, a nuclear-armed Iran, combined with their current political leadership, is even more dangerous than a failed state in Iraq. “Syria is a police state and led by a brutal dictator. President Assad does not believe in democracy, freedom, or the rule of law. These are the cornerstone values we are trying to help foster in a free and democratic Iraq. “I hope our nation can be united around the idea that winning in Iraq makes us stronger. However if that proves to be impossible, I would rather our nation be divided behind a winning strategy than united behind a losing one. “I believe Iraq is the central battlefront in the War on Terror and we have no alternative but to win.” ######

Dec 06 2006

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced youth programs in Columbia and Spartanburg will receive nearly $1.4 million in federal grants to help young adults complete high school and receive on-the-job training in construction. The Youthbuild program assists students age 16 to 24. Students in the program complete their high school education and build or renovate single-family homes and multi-family apartments. The units are then sold to low-income individuals and families. Columbia Benedict-Allen Community Development Corporation will receive $700,000. Spartanburg The Housing Authority for the City of Spartanburg will receive $700,000. The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. ####

Dec 05 2006

LINDSEY GRAHAM: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to add my voice to many others who have praised you for your leadership. I've really enjoyed being on this committee and you've made it a real pleasure to serve here. Dr. Gates, thank you for your willingness to serve. It looks like we're going to be working together for at least a couple more years. Things are going pretty well for you right now. Iran, do you believe the Iranians are trying to acquire lethal weapons capability? ROBERT GATES: Yes, sir, I do. GRAHAM: Do you think the president of Iran is lying when he says he's not? GATES: Yes, sir. GRAHAM: Do you believe the Iranians would consider using that nuclear weapons capability against the nation of Israel? GATES: I don't know that they would do that, Senator. I think that the risks for them, obviously, are enormously high. I think that they see value. GRAHAM: If I may? GATES: Yes, sir. GRAHAM: The president of Iran has publicly disavowed the existence of the Holocaust, has publicly stated that he would like to wipe Israel off the map. Do you think he's kidding? GATES: No, I don't think he's kidding, but I think there are, in fact, higher powers in Iran than he, than the president. And I think that, while they are certainly pressing, in my opinion, for nuclear capability, I think that they would see it in the first instance as a deterrent. They are surrounded by powers with nuclear weapons: Pakistan to their east, the Russians to the north, the Israelis to the west and us in the Persian Gulf. GRAHAM: Can you assure the Israelis that they will not attack Israel with a nuclear weapon if they acquire one? GATES: No, sir, I don't think that anybody can provide that assurance. GRAHAM: Is Iraq the central battlefront in the war on terror? GATES: I think that it is one of the central fronts in the war on terror? GRAHAM: What would be the others? GATES: I think that what we have seen since the destruction of Afghanistan or since the destruction of the Taliban regime is a metastasized terror threat from the jihadists, where indigenous radicals in countries like Britain, like Spain and like the United States are in fact planning terrorists operations and activities. So I think that while Iraq certainly is an important front in the war on terror and particularly now that all these other bad actors are there that I indicated -- described earlier -- I think we face a more disbursed threat that's really a very amorphous kind of second front. GRAHAM: Would a loss in Iraq in terms of a failed state affect the war on terror? GATES: I think it would create the conditions where you could have a replication of what happened in Afghanistan, and yes, it could be. GRAHAM: Why is Al Qaida in Iraq? What do they fear? Why are they fighting in Iraq? What is their goal? GATES: I'm no expert on it, Senator, but I believe that they would -- they are very eager to see us leave the region -- not just Iraq, but leave the region... GRAHAM: Are they threatened by democracy? GATES: Absolutely. GRAHAM: Is it the terrorists' worst nightmare for a democratic state to be formed in Iraq where a woman can have her say about her children and people of religious differences can live together under the rule of law? GATES: I certainly hope it's one of their worst nightmares. GRAHAM: Well, according to them, it is. Now, do you believe the terrorist Al Qaida goal and other terrorist organizations, to expand on what you said, includes not only driving us out of Iraq but the region? GATES: Yes, sir. GRAHAM: Do you believe it includes toppling of all moderate regimes in the region? GATES: Yes, sir. GRAHAM: All regimes that are unfaithful to their view of religion? GATES: Yes, sir. GRAHAM: Do you believe it is the ultimate destruction of the state of Israel? GATES: Yes, sir. GRAHAM: Do you believe in the Powell doctrine? GATES: I am very familiar with it, and I would say... GRAHAM: Do you believe in it or not? GATES: Well, sir there are different -- there are eight elements to the Powell doctrine. GRAHAM: Well, let me sum up the one: You go to war with overwhelming force. GATES: Yes, sir. GRAHAM: Do you believe we have the overwhelming force we need to do all the missions required of us to bring about a democracy in Iraq at this point in time? GATES: I need to talk to the commanders to find that out. GRAHAM: The jobs assigned to the military leadership commanders would include, do you agree, eventually trying to disarm the militia because you can't have a democracy with armed religious and political parties. GATES: Yes, sir. GRAHAM: Do you also believe it includes training the Iraqi army. GATES: Yes, sir. GRAHAM: Do you believe it includes rebuilding the police force, because I think it's a miserable failure and we need to start over, virtually. GATES: It's not entirely clear to me, Senator, that that should be the responsibility of the Department of Defense. But we have -- as best I can tell, the department has that responsibility now. GRAHAM: To provide security for economic development – 40 percent of all money spent on economic development projects now are security-related. That would be one mission of a military commander in Iraq, to give security to the economic development, to get this country up and running? GATES: Yes, sir. GRAHAM: Is there any doubt in your mind that the current level of troops are overwhelming when it comes to fulfilling all those missions, including defeating the insurgents? Could you honestly tell this committee and this country that the number of troops we have to do all the jobs I've described, including defeating the insurgents, is overwhelming? GATES: No, sir, I do not believe it is overwhelming. GRAHAM: If we redeploy to a friendly country, under these circumstances, do you think it's likely that the terrorist organizations that we've just talked about would come after us in that country, trying to prove to the American people there is no safe place for you in this region? GATES: Probably so. GRAHAM: Do you believe, if we set timetables or a policy to withdraw at a date certain, it would be seen by the extremists as a sign of weakness; the moderates would be disheartened and it would create a tremendous impediment to the moderate forces coming forward in Iraq? GATES: I think a specific timetable would give – would essentially tell them how long they have to wait until we're gone. GRAHAM: Thank you.

Dec 04 2006

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement after John Bolton submitted his resignation as United States Ambassador to the United Nations. “John Bolton has done a tremendous job as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. He’s been forceful in articulating our country’s positions. He’s been a coalition builder against rogue regimes and also pushed for much-needed and long-overdue reforms at the U.N. “It is a tremendous loss to lose John Bolton’s service during this critical time in the War on Terror. “The efforts by Senate Democrats to prevent him from continuing to serve as our U.N. Ambassador do a great disservice to our national interests. It also unfairly undermines President Bush’s prerogative to appoint his own people to his team. “There’s no doubt Bolton is extremely qualified and has done tremendous work in the position. Our nation has benefited by his service at the U.N.” ######

Dec 01 2006

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on William ‘Billy’ Wilkins stepping down as Chief Judge of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in July. He said: “For the last twenty-five years Billy Wilkins has epitomized what a judge should be by his temperament, intellect, and sound judgment. Great judges not only have a keen understanding of law, but a keen understanding of people and how the law serves them. “Judge Wilkins has never forgotten his South Carolina roots and he’s made us all proud by his service at the highest levels of the federal judiciary. He is truly one of our state’s finest jurists and most distinguished public servants. We appreciate his years of service presiding over one of the most conservative circuit courts in the nation.” #####

Nov 29 2006

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced more than $80,000 in grants to fire departments in Folly Beach and Salley. “Firefighters and emergency service personnel dedicate themselves to protecting the health and safety of South Carolinians,” said Graham. “These grants will help our local fire departments by providing them the means to obtain the best equipment and training available.” “South Carolina's firefighters risk their lives to protect our families each day and I'm proud they have been awarded these competitive grants,” said Senator DeMint. The grants were awarded for Operations and Firefighter Safety Programs. Fire departments may use these funds for training, wellness, and fitness programs; the purchase of firefighting and personal protective equipment; and modifications to fire stations and facilities. The grants awarded include: Folly Beach: Folly Beach Fire Department will receive $61,940. Salley: Salley Volunteer Fire Department will receive $18,240. The Assistance to Firefighters grant program awards one-year grants directly to local fire departments, enhancing their ability to respond to fire and fire-related hazards in the community. The program supports departments by providing them the tools and resources necessary to protect the health and safety of the public and their firefighting personnel. Grantees share in the cost of the funded project at a percentage based on the population of their respective jurisdiction. Grantees that serve jurisdictions of 50,000 or fewer residents are required to provide a non-Federal cost-share of 10 percent while grantees that serve jurisdictions of over 50,000 provide a 30 percent cost-share. The match must be in cash without the use of in-kind contributions. In addition, the maximum amount of federal funds that an applicant can be awarded is $750,000 during any fiscal year. The grants are made by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ####

Nov 28 2006

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced more than $400,000 in grants to fire departments in Columbia, Greer, Lancaster, Spartanburg and Union. “Firefighters and emergency service personnel dedicate themselves to protecting the health and safety of South Carolinians,” said Graham. “These grants will help our local fire departments by providing them the means to obtain the best equipment and training available.” “South Carolina's firefighters risk their lives to protect our families each day and I'm proud they have been awarded this competitive grant,” said Senator DeMint. The grants were awarded for Operations and Firefighter Safety Programs. Fire departments may use these funds for training, wellness, and fitness programs, the purchase of firefighting equipment and personal protective equipment; and modifications to fire stations and facilities. The grants awarded include: COLUMBIA: The Irmo Fire District will receive $60,480. GREER: The City of Greer Fire Department will receive $51,300. LANCASTER: The Charlotte Road/Van Wyck Volunteer Fire Department will receive $39,900. SPARTANBURG: The Croft Fire Department will receive $93,888. The City of Spartanburg Department of Public Safety will receive $79,323. UNION: The Union Public Safety Department will receive $80,101. The Assistance to Firefighters grant program awards one-year grants directly to local fire departments, enhancing their ability to respond to fire and fire-related hazards in the community. The program supports departments by providing them the tools and resources necessary to protect the health and safety of the public and their firefighting personnel. Grantees share in the cost of the funded project at a percentage based on the population of their respective jurisdiction. Grantees that serve jurisdictions of 50,000 or fewer residents are required to provide a non-Federal cost-share of 10 percent while grantees that serve jurisdictions of over 50,000 provide a 30 percent cost-share. The match must be in cash without the use of in-kind contributions. In addition, the maximum amount of federal funds that an applicant can be awarded is $750,000 during any fiscal year. The grants are made by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ####

Nov 20 2006

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on Congressman Charlie Rangel’s plan to reintroduce legislation establishing a military draft. Graham is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said: “Now is not the time for political stunts. It is time for all Americans to come together to ensure we win the War in Iraq. “Introducing legislation to institute the draft is a serious matter. Any suggestion America would not be fighting the war in Iraq if other people were being sent implies that Americans are not overly concerned about the men and women serving in the all-volunteer force. I strongly disagree with that line of thought. “The all-volunteer force is capable of defending our nation. I believe those who choose to fight the war in Iraq and create a democracy from a dictatorship are making us safer. “There’s no doubt we need more men and women in uniform. I believe with concentrated effort we can grow the all-volunteer force by offering better benefits and pay. The good news is enlistment and retention among those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan is sky high. The people in the military have a sense of purpose and know why they're fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I respect Congressman Rangel’s service to our country, but I disagree with his thoughts on this matter. It’s also worth noting that Mr. Rangel voted against his own legislation to reinstitute the draft in October 2004. It failed in the U.S. House of Representatives 402-2.” ####

Nov 15 2006

Senate Approves Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill

Legislation Contains $56.6 Million for South Carolina Military Construction Projects

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint announced the U.S. Senate has approved the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2007 Military Construction – Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill. The legislation includes more than $56 million for military construction projects in South Carolina. “South Carolinians are very proud and very supportive of the military facilities in our state,” said Graham. “They are woven into the fabric of our community and are key components in defending our interests abroad. The projects funded in this bill recognize the contributions South Carolina makes to our military and demonstrates a commitment to providing state-of-the-art facilities for our men and women in uniform.” “It is important that we ensure the operational readiness and quality of life for our men and women in uniform and their families,” DeMint said. “These projects in South Carolina are vital to supporting our deployed troops and their loved ones who make enormous sacrifices here at home.” Projects in the bill include: Beaufort
  • $14.92 million to construct a new enlisted dining facility at the Marine Corps Air Station- Beaufort
Charleston
  • $10.2 million to replace the child development center at the Charleston Air Force Base
Shaw Air Force Base, Sumter
  • $16 million for a new enlisted dormitory
  • $9.3 million for construction and paving for an aircraft alert facility
  • $6.2 million for an aircraft support equipment shop and storage
The bill must now be approved by a joint House/Senate conference committee and signed into law by the President. ####

Nov 14 2006

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint today announced the Bamberg Job Corps Center will receive a $3,648,342 grant to construct a new physical fitness building and vocational shop. The project will include the construction of a 17,000 square-foot physical fitness building and a 4,500 square-foot vocational shop, as well as the demolition of three existing buildings. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor. ####