Jun 09 2009

Speaker Pelosi, House Liberals Preparing to Strip out Lieberman-Graham Amendment

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made these statements on published reports House Democrats and Speaker Nancy Pelosi are preparing to strip out the Lieberman-Graham amendment from the war supplemental funding bill.  The amendment bolstered the Obama Administration’s legal position to prevent the release of photos of past detainee abuse. 


Graham made these statements at a Capitol Hill press conference with Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-Connecticut).  (A full transcript of the Graham-Lieberman press conference is available on Senator Graham’s blog.  Audio and video should be available later this afternoon.)

The House is ‘Off-Script’ 

"The Senate has jumped on board with President Obama.  The only body that is off-script, in my opinion, is the House.  If they drop this in conference, it will be one of the most outrageous and irresponsible acts in the history of the Congress.  Why do I say that?  Because it would mean that members of Congress will dismiss advice from commanders in the field at a time of war.  And these are not just any commanders.  These commanders have been at war for years.  They know what they're talking about, Generals Petraeus and Odierno.  They told us without any hesitation that if these photos are released our enemies will use it to incite violence against our troops.  If these photos see the light of day, it will be a death sentence to some serving abroad.”

Empowering our Enemies 

“The United States Congress being told by commanders in the field that if you release these photos, you're going to jeopardize the safety of our troops, who are already in harm's way, unnecessarily.  What good is it to pass a supplemental giving our troops new weapons if also in the supplemental you give a weapon to the enemy to use against our own troops?”

The ‘Fringe’ Element Opposes Lieberman-Graham Amendment 

“I cannot believe that we're about to do this, that we're going to dismiss the advice of our commanders who are leading our troops at the time of war to give into a fringe element in American politics.  And make no doubt about it:  This is a fringe element.”  

‘Nothing new’ Added by Releasing Additional Photos: 

“I think the initial approach we took to Abu Ghraib overall has been helpful.  We had to get this out.  We got it out.  People have been court-martialed. People have lost their jobs.  The public had a chance to understand how badly we mismanaged Abu Ghraib, and quite frankly, the war.  But to release additional photographs I think the commander-in-chief is right, it doesn't add anything to the debate.”

‘Life and death’ 

“This is life and death.  And we're not going to let the fringe of American politics get young men and women killed who have done nothing wrong.  They weren't part of these photos.  They weren't part of this abuse.  They're volunteers serving abroad.  They've done nothing wrong, and we're not going to put them in harm's way unnecessarily because of a fringe element in American politics.”