Sen. Lindsey Graham tore into the manner in which the retaliatory strikes in the Middle East were carried out, arguing that the response has been woefully insufficient to establish an effective deterrent.
The South Carolina Republican particularly groused about the timing of the attacks, positing that the targets had too much advance warning.
“This idea of hitting hundreds of targets doesn’t matter. The only Iranian we killed in Syria or Iraq is some dumbass that doesn’t know to get out of the way. We gave them a week’s notice,” Graham told “Fox News Sunday.”
“If the goal is to deter Iran, you’re failing miserably.”
Initial estimates on the ground indicate that dozens of Iranian-backed proxy members were killed, Reuters reported.
National Security adviser Jake Sullivan declined to divulge the exact casualty count Sunday during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” while the military continues to assess the situation.
Thus far, the Biden administration has carried out two sets of retaliatory strikes in response to the drone attack that killed three US soldiers at the Tower 22 military base in Jordan last month and wounded dozens of others.
On Friday, the military hit over 85 targets in Syria and Iraq. The administration blamed the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella group backed by Iran, for last month’s deadly drone attack
That retaliation took place mere hours after the conclusion of a dignified transfer ceremony honoring the three soldiers at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
Then on Saturday, US and UK forces blasted 36 Houthi targets in Yemen.
Sullivan foreshadowed Sunday that “we intend to take additional strikes and additional action to continue to send a clear message.”
“Of course, there will always be armchair quarterbacks but we are confident in the steps that we have taken so far,” Sullivan told “Meet the Press.”
Between the Oct. 7, 2023 surprise attack in Israel and the drone strike in Jordan, there had been some 158 attacks on US and allies forces in the region, according to the Pentagon.
Graham, known for his hawkish views on foreign policy, was not satisfied.
“Our national security is in freefall,” he said. “Look what happened in Afghanistan in ’21. Look what happened in Europe in 2022, 2023, Hamas attacks Israel. It is not working. We need to change our policy. People are not afraid of us.”
“So if there [is] another round of strikes coming, I hope they really will hurt Iran in their pocketbook or kill their leadership because if you don’t, nothing changes,” he added.
Graham also briefly waded in on the border flap in Congress. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has opposed the bipartisan border deal which a bipartisan group of Senators put together.
“I hope that Speaker Johnson will look at the substance of it, and we’ll see if it’s worthy of being voted on in the House,” he said. “I want to just tell you that Senator Lankford is doing the best he can to fix a problem that’s been around for a long time.”
The White House has ripped Republicans over their opposition.
“Instead of working in a bipartisan way, House Republicans are playing a political game that does nothing to secure the border, nothing to help the people of Ukraine, and denies humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians,” the White House fired back late Saturday.
“The Administration strongly opposes their proposal.”