Graham: Time to ‘get rid’ of Gadhafi
March 20th, 2011
10:28 AM ET
3 years ago

Graham: Time to ‘get rid’ of Gadhafi

Washington (CNN) – Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on Sunday condemned President Obama’s leadership over the situation in Libya, calling on the United States to “get rid of” Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

“We used to relish leading the free world, now it’s almost like leading the free world is an inconvenience,” Graham said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I think the president has caveated this way too much, it’s almost like it’s a nuisance.”

Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said this is the “best chance to get rid of Gadhafi in my life.”

“If we don’t get rid of him, we will pay a heavy price down the road,” Graham added.

American, French and British military forces launched an operation on Gadhafi's military Saturday, convinced the Libyan leader was not adhering to the U.N.-mandated cease-fire. The attacks on Libyan military positions with missiles and airstrikes are part of an operation that will include enforcement of a no-fly zone.

According to senior administration officials, Obama is planning for the U.S. portion of the military action in the African country to last for a few days.

Graham’s message to the president: “Get rid of this man. Don’t be uncertain in your statements. Be bold, be effective, work with the international community. Replace this international outlaw sooner rather than later.”

Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, who appeared with Graham on the program, said the president’s leadership has “created the conditions for an international coalition.”

“We’re shaping the battlefield right now,” Reed said Sunday. “Initially we have that capacity, but we’ll be able to hand it off very quickly to the French, to Arab forces… That, I think, will send a strong signal to the Arab world that this is not about American interests, it’s about democracy in Libya.”


Filed under: Jack Reed • Libya • Lindsey Graham
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    Okay Mr. Senator, go get your little boots and gun and go get him. Not thrilled with this decision but, if what I heard from the protesters this morning....they said "thank you'! They will be their own boots on the ground. They just appreciated us taking out the tanks and airplanes.

    March 20, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  2. Scott

    Our gutless president, will always waffle around, that is why this country is the laughing stock of the free world. We need patriots like McCain, Palin, Huckabee, to take this country back and make it great. To build it back up to be feared by other nations. Instead we have a liberal, coward in office.

    March 20, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  3. Indy

    You just have to be so very thankful that people like Graham,McCain, Palin are not anywhere near Presidential material. Republicans never learn from past mistakes and would destroy the country if it makes them feel powerful. They have no clue how to work with other countries and the Arab nations,the UN, NATO,Americans and other world leaders to solve a problem like Libya. Republicans also said we need to get rid of Bin Laden, Saddam and look how that turned out when they took the invade first attitude. Once again the entire world applauds Obama,NATO,the UN ,The Arab leaders but Republicans slam the black President while at war. It is fair to say that Republicans are the enemy within.

    March 20, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  4. Dan in FL

    Graham is just another war-mongering idiot who doesn't understand the need for diplomacy and building coalitions. The United States cannot be the policeman of the world, but it can provide the leadership needed to convince others to take action. Lest anyone forget, not so long ago staying out of the internal affairs of other countries was a Republican talking point.

    March 20, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  5. GI Joe

    Well, it's said that opinions are like anal cavities. We each have one.

    But this man show's his more and more and more. Is it an in-bred South Carolina Trait?

    March 20, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  6. steve

    The interesting thing about this guy's comments is that if President Obama had initiated anything before the UN got their act together; The R's would have been all over him about how he had gotten the US into another war; and how stupid is that? They forget their guy got us into the last two wars and look where we are. Iraq was stupid and not needed. This is the right thing to do. And for all the "O is doing this for the oil" folks...If you read the news, you would realize we don't get oil from Libya. This is purely humanitarian and the right thing to do. Thank God for President Obama, and that this SC jerk is a couch potato and not a serious contender.

    March 20, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  7. Tam

    I'm sure they're working on it. But hopefully, it will be the Libyans themselves, and not some other country who blast him out.

    March 20, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  8. chad

    Warmonger says what?

    March 20, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. craig

    While McCain is correct that we COULD have acted much earlier, he still doesn't understand that this is not purely a military situation, and providing leadership doesn't equate to "making decisions for everyone else and imposing our will."

    Internationally, there is now a coalition, and it's not just a "coalition of the willing." Instead, it's a true coalition, including Arab states and Arab organizations. We can now act without appearing to do so only from self-interest, and, as Adm. Mullen observed, complete our military actions without calling into question the right to do so. This is a Libyan civil war, and while we may have strong feelings about which side is "right" it's not our job to tell other countries how to govern themselves. We may or may not agree with the ultimate outcome, and should a government be formed that isn't to our liking, that's...democracy. If it represents the will of the Libyan people, that's what we stated we wanted.

    If we ever truly were, we are no longer the world's policeman, nor can we be. In this case, we can point out that we were invited to help, and the world supported our efforts. It's not up to us to "correct" others.

    March 20, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  10. Steven Colo

    Graham, perhaps you'd like to wait until your party's previous two MidEast catastrophes are over until you profess not to have learned from them.

    While you're at it, how about bailing out some more banks, too?

    I've heard of people who refused to learn from past history, but refusing to acknowledge present reality is different.

    March 20, 2011 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  11. Roscoe

    Who listens to this guy?

    March 20, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  12. Joe

    It IS a nuisance, Senator. Are you aware that our military forces are stretched too thin in two conflicts already? That the Secy. of Defense warned against doing this? That we can't AFFORD it? How can you criticize the president for being cautious and responsible in committing US troops in another arena? Oh, that's right. You're a Republican.

    March 20, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  13. NoCountryLeftForKids

    Did Congress give Obama authorization to go to war with Libya? NO but u Libs r now ok with attacking a country that did not attack US and getting involved in a civil war. Why r we getting involved? Saudi Arabia & Iran r doing the same thing right now to its people. But that is ok. If u were outraged about Iraq & GWB, then u should be outraged about this! Saddam attacked his people all the time when they rose up. US/UN did nothing. 17 resolution & nothing. What is the difference here? Since when do we bow to the UN!

    March 20, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  14. Isaac

    Yes, because EXACTLY what this country needs right now to curb our deficit is to get ourselves into another Iraq or Afghanistan. Graham is a moron.

    March 20, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  15. Obamacare = Romneycare v1.01

    Graham talks big when others have got to shed blood. Wonder what he would say if only the South Carolina National Guard was sent to attack Libya?

    March 20, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  16. fayse

    I am thankful that the President did not let the knee jerk reactions and chest thumping rants of McCain & Graham goad him into making a hasty decision. He wanted a coallition and he got it. None of these Republican Senators were privy to the negotiations that has been going on between the other Heads of State. It is easy to criticize when they don't have all of the facts. They know this but, they are counting on the average American not to know it.

    March 20, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  17. Francisco Cardenas

    The GOP has no money for education or healthcare but when it comes to WAR, they never object to the money being spent!

    March 20, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. Sharonkathleen

    I like Lindsey Graham and used to like John McCain but they are hooked on the drama that goes with "shooting from the hip" decisions about War. We would have had troops on the ground my now if they had been in charge. President Obama sees us as a part of an International Community.. respectfully so, these decisions should be United and the majority. No drama President Obama actually lets thoughts go from his gutt and pass through his brain before they come out of his mouth. John McCain should look back on his career and realize how much damage control he has had to do with his gut decisions. Sarah Palin should be hanging around somewhere at the top of that list. I was extremely relieved to see that President Obama did not commit our troops. John McCain however would have had us in Iran, Egypt and now this..

    March 20, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  19. ST

    They want to reduce the deficit at the same they want to increase it. Going to war costs money. Are these politicians really serious on what the say???

    March 20, 2011 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  20. JD in Moraga, CA

    There is a difference, you pathetic moron, between "leading the free world" and "engaging in regime change."

    March 20, 2011 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  21. Positive

    GOP never meets a war it doesn't want to jump straight into, does it? Don't plan, don't gather international allies, don't try non-war strategies first – just jump in, start shooting and hope it goes ok.

    I'm so glad our President carefully considers, plans and works with other leaders in making and carrying out these decisions. THAT is what LEADERSHIP looks likes.

    March 20, 2011 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  22. thomas

    Lindsey Graham .Sarah Palin , John McCain are once again in a three way triad of anal redirick over safe war and safe sex !

    Why didn't Palin take her road crue boys , , " John and Lindsey ", with her to speek to India's welityist of white cast !

    March 20, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  23. willie floyd

    SC is soooo "blessed" with the poiticians our Reps. continue to elect. NOT!! People please don't think our entire population is like our Reps. The Dem. party in SC is fighting desperately to turn the tide before the next elections. Our "esteemed" new gov.-Trikki Nikki- has already inflamed even some Indeps. and Reps. We happen to be in the middle of the Sou. Bapt. Bible belt. As a Baptist for over 55 yrs., I strongly disagree with many of their principles. Most of our Rep. citizens vote on one subject-abortion. Few seem to realize that you can be pro-choice (a womans' right to make that choice-not the govt) without being totally pro-abortion. They just can't seem to separate human rights from religious views. Pray for us-we need it!

    March 20, 2011 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  24. GinBR

    The main goal of the rethuglican party is to oust Obama...period. The way to do that is to discredit, second-guess, and slander each and every move he makes. They have not created plans (as they promised) for jobs or econonomic recovery but have initiated an all out Blitzkrieg on one person, Obama. Like the President or not, you have to eventually look at the position of the rethuglican elect. Are they really for you? Do they really have your best interest at heart? Do they really care if you or your family is healthy and prosperous? Who are the real enemies of the State?

    March 20, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  25. vic nashville tn

    When president said “Gadhafi has to go” we knew this administration will take some kind of action
    I am against for the war but we have to remove Gadhafi sure he will act crazy we seen in the past
    I hope with out ground troops we will end Gadhafi regime

    March 20, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
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