Graham: Obama's Right About Absorbing Terror Attack

Watch the full video of this session

Sen. Lindsey Graham defended Barack Obama over the president's remark that America could "absorb " another terrorist attack at the Washington Ideas Forum.

"He's right. Intellectually, we can, we must. We've absorbed every attack since Pearl Harbor.... That's a tough thing for the commander in chief to say, but for those  who want to spin it out and say he's indifferent is not the case. "
Washington Ideas Forum
The senator went on to chastised Obama for refusing to negotiate with Graham over detention and interrogation policies.  Later though, he defended the administration's decision to stick to its strategy in Afghanistan.

But, he said, the administration can't say that it's "done everything within reason" to prevent another terrorist attack. Graham has urged the president to authorize enhanced interrogation techniques that are "within our values" but not published.  Obama signed an executive order banning all techniques not in the Army Field Manual.  He repeated his criticism of the administration's approach to counter-terrorism.

"The process of reading Miranda warnings to people who have tried to blow up an airplane or Times Square is not the right way to fight a war," Graham said.

Moderator Greta Van Susteren turned to Pakistan and Afghanistan, pressing Graham to explain what "winning the war" means. Graham acknowledged that "we're running out of time."  

"Here's what I think winning would be: to have a country were the Taliban would not rule," he said, which is the same goal the administration has set. Graham said the "glue of Afghanistan" will be the Army that the U.S. and NATO forces are training.

The exchange with Graham got testy when the discussion turned to Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan's president.

"Is he corrupt?" Van Susteren asked.

"There is corruption...." Graham began to answer.

Van Susterin repeated her question and Graham clenched his jaw. 

"I am not going to stand up here while people are being shot at and criticize the president of Afghanistan," he said.

Graham called the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan "imperfect" but said they were far preferable to the Taliban, and gave Obama credit for its stolid commitment to the war.

"This is hard as hell," Graham said. "You've got a partner in Afghanistan who double deals. You've got a president in Afghanistan who is uncertain. That's why I don't beat on him 20 hours a day."

"If you lose in Afghanistan, Pakistan is going to go to hell. If you lose in Afghanistan, it's not going to be long, in my view, before Pakistan is a failed state."










Full session below

Presented by

Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

More in Politics

Just In