Graham assesses command structure in Libya NATO mission
March 30th, 2011
10:48 PM ET
11 years ago

Graham assesses command structure in Libya NATO mission

Washington (CNN)– As the NATO mission in Libya progressively moves forward, Sen. Lindsey Graham posed the pivotal question of the day, "Can American forces fly under the NATO banner, or has President Obama taken that off the table?"

Under the current situation, at some point U.S. unit commanders would be reporting to NATO leaders who would not necessarily include high-ranking American officers. However, individual American servicemembers like pilots, Marines and soldiers would get orders from their own American unit commanders.

In an interview that aired Wednesday on CNN's "The Situation Room," the South Carolina Republican told Wolf Blitzer he would support the decision to transfer the mission to full-on NATO control but not an action to eliminate American-flown missions and weaponry from the NATO force configuration, voicing concern that such measures would undermine the capability of the NATO mission.

"Eliminating U.S. weaponry, grounding U.S. gunships and not allowing U.S. A-10s to fly under NATO command would weaken the entire NATO operation in Libya," Graham said.

Graham, along with Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, have raised concerns about the action in Libya, but have remained supportive of U.S. involvement.

Graham praised Obama's efforts in Libya but pointed out the "eerie" similarities between the current strategy and the mission the United States carried out in Iraq, saying, "We didn't have the right strategy to bring the right answer."

"The right answer is to replace (Libyan strongman Moammar) Gadhafi. If American military power can't be used, then we have really degraded NATO. I don't see how you politically replace him if you don't have the military component to make him leave," Graham said.

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Filed under: Libya • Lindsey Graham • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Frankie

    The reason for international intervention is to help the rebels achieve their goal, not to achieve the goal FOR the rebels. Big difference. The goal in Iraq was to remove Hussein; to make a change in the Iraqi government by our forces, an outside entity. The goal in Libya is to help the rebels reach their own goal of governmental change. Nothing similar at all between our Iraq and Libya strategies

    March 30, 2011 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  2. T'sah from Virginia

    [Graham, along with Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, have raised concerns about the action in Libya, but have remained supportive of U.S. involvement.]

    That's like saying you like a peanut butter and Jelly sandwich and will only eat the jelly side – there's still peanut butter on the jelly side somewhere and vice versait!!! Does this make sense – I don't know but who's keeping score!!???

    March 30, 2011 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  3. Desmond

    One more pathetic Repug: " No 'American' should take orders from any one but an 'American' So full of yourself! How much more repugnant can you get? Incidentally, The Canadian General in charge of NATO in Libya is a North American. Did you know that Canada is in America? Or are you Palin's twin?

    March 30, 2011 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  4. once upon a Horse

    if President Bush had done the same thing President Obama just did, the GOP from Sarah Palin to Newt Gingrich would be behind him 100% waving the American flag of patriotism......but THIS is a Deomcratic president and of course the rule is if Obama is for it, they HAVE to be against it. Thank goodness that Sen Graham and McCain have the "cajones" to back their Commander in Chief on these actons. Remember the time that if you questioned President Bush on his actions in Iraq the far right said you were unpatriotic? Well I guess this is another "That was THEN, this is NOW" situation for the GOP.

    March 31, 2011 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  5. OBAMA 2012

    wasn't this the same idiot opposing anything the President did in Libya? i tell you the republicans want their cake and eat it too

    March 31, 2011 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  6. J.V.Hodgson

    So as usual despite UN resolutions Arab league definitions of what they want Republicans want to go to full scale war and regime change /nation building which failed in Iraq and continues to fail in Afghanistan.
    We lead ,we rule the world, and what it should do, or how it should be, is a failed International diplomatic ( democracy style) or miltary policy for ten years at a cost of billions of $ in deficit creation and virtully zero reward to US sovreingty or political influence internationally rather the reverse.
    The US may be the most powerful nation in the world but it cannot and must not dictate how other sovreign nations solve thier problems. Of course it can assist/help/advise but not determine how they solve thoir problems.
    Stop trying to be the world wide god figure!!

    March 31, 2011 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  7. Chris

    Republicans again manufacturing a crisis and a controversy where none really exists.

    March 31, 2011 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  8. Clwyd

    Graham, we don't need your, "What if Questions!"

    March 31, 2011 07:43 am at 7:43 am |