Tate Zeigler (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)
Washington – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), John McCain (R-Arizona) and Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire) today released the following joint statement on President Obama’s recent comments about “bumps in the road” in the Middle East on his watch:
“President Obama recently said the broader Middle East has been experiencing some ‘bumps in the road.’ If the President had taken some time to hold even one meeting with his foreign colleagues during his visit to the U.N. General Assembly in New York today, perhaps they would have told him what has really happened in the Middle East on his watch.
“It is not a ‘bump in the road’ when American embassies, and those of our friends and allies, are attacked by hateful mobs who also murder their fellow citizens, allegedly because of a disgusting and bigoted video. That is the result of extremists who would seize on any opportunity to further their ideological agenda – extremists who have been gaining ground over the past two years.
“It is not a ‘bump in the road’ when Al-Qaeda fighters and their terrorist allies have been gaining ground in Libya, a country the United States helped to liberate but has not sufficiently supported in its ongoing struggle against lawlessness and violent extremism.
“It is not a ‘bump in the road’ when the relationship between the United States and Israel has never been worse at a time when the threat from Iran has never been greater and when events in the Middle East have never been more tumultuous or uncertain.
“It is not a ‘bump in the road’ when Israel and our Gulf partners have never had less confidence in the willingness of the American President to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.
“It is not a ‘bump in the road’ when more than 25,000 men, women, and children have been slaughtered by the Assad regime in Syria – a conflict that is destabilizing the region, putting weapons of mass destruction at risk, creating a new safe haven for Al-Qaeda and its terrorist allies, and growing more dangerous by the day for the United States and our allies. That is the result of the President’s complete lack of leadership and unwillingness to take the necessary actions together with our friends and allies that could end the violence and create the conditions for a negotiated transition to a more peaceful, democratic future in Syria.
“It is not a ‘bump in the road’ when a small group of insurgents are able to destroy nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in U.S. fighter aircraft in a single attack in Kandahar – or when the ‘insider attacks’ against our forces and those of our allies have risen to such an extent that our commander has suspended training and joint operations with Afghan units, which is the core of our strategy to succeed. That is the result this Administration’s consistent efforts to cut corners in the war in Afghanistan – giving our commanders fewer troops than they recommended and withdrawing them in larger numbers and at a faster pace than our commanders advised, which is resulted in the very additional risks to our mission that our military leaders warned.
“It is not a ‘bump in the road’ when violence in Iraq is rising, the Iraqi political system is growing more authoritarian, Iranian meddling and influence is growing, and the Maliki government is allowing Iran to fly planeloads of weapons and fighters into Syria through Iraqi airspace. That is the result of a U.S. President who has squandered the gains of the surge in order to fulfill his campaign promise of withdrawing all U.S. troops from Iraq, even at the expense of our national security interests.
“None of these events are ‘bumps in the road.’ They are failures of American leadership. And they call for the United States to begin leading more actively, rather than trying to lead from behind.”