National Security & Defense

Graham: Syria-Withdrawal Announcement Boosted ISIS ‘Enthusiasm’

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) greets witnesses in Washington, D.C., January 16, 2019. (Yuri Gripas/REUTERS)

Senator Lindsey Graham said Wednesday that President Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria has emboldened ISIS, shortly after the terror group took credit for a suicide bombing that killed several U.S. soldiers.

“My concern [about] the statements made by President Trump is that you have set in motion enthusiasm by the enemy we’re fighting,” Graham said. “So I would hope the president would look long and hard [at] where he’s headed in Syria.”

ISIS quickly claimed responsibility Wednesday for a suicide bombing that killed several American service-members at a restaurant in the Kurdish-controlled town of Manbij in northern Syria. The U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS in the area confirmed that U.S. troops were killed in the attack but did not reveal the number and said additional details would be forthcoming.

“The president has been fully briefed and we will continue to monitor the ongoing situation in Syria,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

“We saw this in Iraq. And I’m now seeing it in Syria,” Graham said.

The South Carolina Republican, normally a staunch ally of President Trump, has been one of the fiercest critics of Trump’s decision last month to bring home the approximately 2,000 U.S. troops currently stationed in Syria.

The president claimed last month that U.S. forces have “defeated ISIS,” a claim reiterated Wednesday by Vice President Mike Pence.

“Every American wants our troops to come home, but I now think all of us want to make sure that when they do come home, we’re safe,” Graham said Wednesday. “I know people are frustrated. But we’re never going to be safe here unless we’re willing to help people over there who will stand against this radical ideology.”

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

O’Rourke’s America

With apologies to Margaret Atwood and a thousand other dystopian novelists, we do not have to theorize about what an American police state would look like, because we know what it looks like: the airport, that familiar totalitarian environment where Americans are disarmed, stripped of their privacy, divested of ... Read More

Kurdish, Syrian, and Turkish Ironies

Outrage met Donald Trump’s supposedly rash decision to pull back U.S. troops from possible confrontational zones between our Kurdish friends in Syria and Recep Erdogan’s expeditionary forces. Turkey claims that it will punish the Syrian Kurds for a variety of supposed provocations, including aiding and ... Read More

LeBron James Looks Like a Fraud

So, LeBron James claimed that Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey was simply “misinformed or not really educated on the situation” when he tweeted his support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. “I don’t want to get into a feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Hey, Good for You, Chelsea Clinton

Chelsea Clinton declares on The View that she’s not considering running for Congress. Throughout the run-up to the 2016 election, I was a pretty dyspeptic critic of Chelsea Clinton -- from her $1,083-per-minute speaking gig at a university, to her selection to give the keynote address at SXSW, to her awards ... Read More