Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a frequent critic of the Obama administration on foreign policy, took issue with President Barack Obama’s speech Thursday in which he argued that global war on terror must come to an end.
“The theme of the speech was that this war is winding down,” Graham said at a press conference in Washington. “The justification is that we destroyed [al Qaeda’s] leadership and were relentless in our pursuit of terrorism — that is not true. The enemy is morphing and spreading, there are more theaters of conflict today than in several years, and our policy toward Syria and Iraq, indecision about leaving troops in Afghanistan, is creating instability.”
He added: “Our allies are more afraid than I have ever seen. I support the concepts that the president talked about in many ways, but if he does not change his policy, the Middle East is going to blow up and we are going to hit again here at home to matter how hard we try.”
In a historic speech at National Defense University, Obama argued that it was time to bring to a close a post-9/11 era marked by expanded counterterrorism efforts in favor of a more narrow and “targeted” role abroad.
“Beyond Afghanistan, we must define our effort not as a boundless ‘global war on terror’ – but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America,” Obama said.