Graham: 'Cut the head of the snake off' in Libya
April 24th, 2011
09:03 AM ET
12 years ago

Graham: 'Cut the head of the snake off' in Libya

Washington (CNN) - Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has a recommendation to NATO and the Obama administration when it comes to their involvement in Libya: bomb Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's inner circle and remove him from power.

"Go to Tripoli, start bombing Gadhafi's inner circle, their compounds, their military headquarters in Tripoli," Graham said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." "I think the focus should now be to cut the head of the snake off. That's the quickest way to end this."

Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was an early proponent of a no-fly zone in Libya and has consistently said troops should attack Gadhafi while arming anti-Gadhafi rebels.

The calls come while rebel forces attempt to oust the long-time leader, who has been in power for 42 years.

Although the United Nations resolution that authorized force in the African country did not sanction removing Gadhafi from power, and instead called for coalition forces to protect the Libyan people, Graham said the only way to make the operation successful is to "put pressure on Tripoli."

"I would not let the U.N. mandate stop what is the right thing to do," Graham told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. "You cannot protect the Libyan people if Gadhafi stays. You cannot protect our vital national security interests if Gadhafi stays."

"I would do what would be best for the United States, the Libyan people, the region in the world, and that's replace Gadhafi," Graham added.

When asked if there would be backlash from other countries if the United States removes Gadhafi, Graham said: "I don't think there are many people in the world that will be very upset if Gadhafi is taken out of Libya, particularly in the Mid-East. Look at the Mid-East countries participating. NATO is uneven in terms of this engagement strategy. The American airplanes have been taken out of the fight. It's making it more difficult for NATO to support the rebels."

Moving forward Graham said the United States should better arm the Libyan rebels, but that the campaign is missing an effective NATO air campaign.

"The day that NATO lost American air power, it became less effective," Graham said. "Make sure that Gadhafi forces lose on the battlefield. Better equip the Libyan rebels. Have more air power coming to their aid so they begin to win on the battlefield."

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: Libya • Lindsey Graham • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. diridi

    Instead of this enact the law that speculators of Oil to take delivery immediately so that oil prices plummet, and enact Anti-lobby laws, and focus on clean and renewable energy and not worry about Libya...o.k, this guy is an idiot....when we killed Saddam look what happened....drained our economy...o.k.

    April 24, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  2. LeRoy

    Thank God for Mr. Graham. I agree with his suggestions and opinions and would like to present my agreement with the utmost of urgency. I also support John McCain's efforts to do the same. Let us now do what we should have done 6 weeks ago.

    April 24, 2011 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  3. IVOTE

    Graham and McCain are "Best Buds", so when one comes out with an opinion the other shouts "Amen". Let's take care of the United States for a change McCain.

    April 24, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  4. annie s

    Good idea, Lindsey – ti worked so well for Reagan let's try it again. Not. Don't Republicans learn anything from history?

    April 24, 2011 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  5. Clwyd

    Graham, first we need to cut off the heads of the snakes in the republican party! Oh, I made a mistake! They aren't snakes they are all animals!

    April 24, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  6. Seattle Sue

    Yes and Graham has been so right about Iraq and Afghanistan. NOT. I'm sure there would be a lot of civilian deaths if we were to bomb Gadhafi's inner circle and compounds as Gadhafi will use women and children as shields. But a few thousand deaths would be OK with Graham. You would think Graham has enough blood on his hands.

    April 24, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  7. Larry L

    I'm tired of hearing Congressmen give us their ideas for anything except health care, social security, job creation, a better tax code, immigration, a modern energy plan, and job creation. Give us real ideas that work for somebody besides the rich and take some risk in doing thing that aren't politically safe. Be honorable and patriotic – not a political weasel.

    April 24, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  8. Rick from Chicago

    Gadhaffi is your good buddy Graham! You, McCain and Lieberman were all kissing up to him during your meeting in August '09 and NOW (suddenly) you don't like him anymore? OOPS!!! Maybe you GOPers should stop "palling around with terrorists" then!

    April 24, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  9. GonzoinHouston

    Targeting the head of state is not a good idea, even if Gadhafi deserves it. Our reputation is bad enough in the mid-East as it is. Obama may actually be on the right track. It's their war, and after it's over it's their country and their government. We can assist against heavy military targets, but we can't win their war for them.

    Am I the only one concerned about a well-known and well-respected Christian leader calling for someone's assassination? And on Easter weekend? Is this what Christianity has come to? I mean, wasn't Jesus crucified because he was a threat to the established order?

    April 24, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  10. vic , nashville ,tn

    Two wars not paid
    Government can’t increase tax
    Now they want to start third war or sponsor it
    Number over our head is 14 trillion
    Republicans 24 x 7 talking about deficit, government out of control spending

    Republicans time to get some help

    April 24, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  11. John in Brooklyn

    Let's see. When it comes to foreign policy, I should be listening to Lindsey Graham why?

    April 24, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  12. bp

    well lets send this air force reservist in to lead the way, oh thats right he's a pencil pushing geek who only wants to start wars and send someone else first, joe wilson could be part of his flight crew I'm ashamed to say I'm from south carolina .

    April 24, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  13. Ernie

    Lindsay Graham sounds like a war monger, he wants to end the conflict in Lybia right now. Being a member of the Arm Servces Committee he should have come out with this bold statement a long time ago. The article didn't say anything about putting ground troops in Lybia but to "bomb" Lybia's MQ's inter circle main facilities. This is just being thought about now, Obama has let NATO run the show, so Lindsay don't expect NATO to bomb MQ's inter circle main facilities it's not going to happen. Your too little to late, you should've spoke up sooner.

    April 24, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |