Graham Blast Defense Secretary Over Israel Criticism
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he has lost all confidence in Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin following Austin’s criticism of Israel’s war on Hamas.
Hamas militants embed themselves into Palestinian civilians, making it hard to hit Hamas operatives without civilian casualties.
The IDF says troops of the 7007th Reserve Battalion operating in the northern Gaza Strip have located dozens of rockets hidden under UNRWA boxes in a residential home, and other weaponry belonging to Hamas. pic.twitter.com/tT6woMNNPS
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) December 2, 2023
However, Austin has suggested that Israel prioritize the protection of Palestinian civilians over rooting out Hamas, a terror group that poses an existential threat to the existence of Israel.
“So I have repeatedly made clear to Israel’s leaders that protecting Palestinian civilians in Gaza is both a moral responsibility and a strategic imperative,” Austin said. “And so I have personally pushed Israeli leaders to avoid civilian casualties, and to shun irresponsible rhetoric, and to prevent violence by settlers in the West Bank, and to dramatically expand access to humanitarian aid.”
Pentagon chief warns Israel of ‘strategic defeat’ pic.twitter.com/plPi9sZWsz
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Graham, in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” described Austin as “naive.” the lawmaker added that he has lost all confidence in Austin.
“He’s so naive. I mean, I have just lost all confidence in this guy. How about focusing on protecting our soldiers, men and women, in Syria and Iraq? Strategic defeat would be inflaming the Palestinians? They’re already inflamed,” Graham said. “They’re taught from the time they’re born to hate the Jews and to kill them. They’re taught math by, if you have 10 Jews, you kill six, how many would you have left? It’s like, this is a tranquil population only inflamed after Israel goes in to defend itself is really naive. This is a radicalized population. I don’t want to kill innocent people, but Israel is fighting not just Hamas, but the infrastructure around Hamas. Look what happened to the Israeli hostages when they were presented to the Palestinian population. It’s beyond naive. Strategic failure is letting Hamas stand.”
Graham added that Austin is asking Israel to do things that are impossible to achieve.
“This war has shown to me he doesn’t understand,” Graham added. “If we were attacked like this, which we were on 9/11, if somebody called for us within two months to have a cease-fire against al Qaeda, that would have been — we’d have laughed them out of town. We’d have run them out of town. Secretary Austin is telling Israel things that are impossible to achieve.”