CANDIDATE ALSO CALLS FOR END TO FOREIGN AID …
Independent conservative U.S. Senate candidate Thomas Ravenel blasted his rival Lindsey Graham for the latter’s recent comments in support of a supplemental $225 million military aid package for Israel. Graham praised the appropriation – which comes on top of more than $3 billion in annual aid provided to the Middle Eastern nation.
“We will stand with you on the battlefield; we will stand with you in the court of public opinion, and we’re going to push back against the United Nations,” Graham said.
Graham’s remarks came as Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu angrily rebuked U.S. State Department officials for attempting to pursue a cease-fire in the Israeli-Gaza war that’s been raging since July 8.
Netanyahu told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and ambassador Dan Shapiro that the United States was “not to ever second guess me again.”
Ravenel said both Graham and Netanyahu were “becoming more bellicose” in their remarks.
“Strong leaders don’t speak that way – they don’t have to,” Ravenel said in a statement.
“Lindsey Graham and Benjamin Netanyahu love to talk tough with other people’s money,” Ravenel added. “Lindsey Graham just pledged to Israel that America will ‘stand with you on the battlefield,’ while Netanyahu was busy telling our leaders ‘not to ever second guess’ him. Who do they think they are making such commitments and dictating such terms like that to tapped-out American taxpayers?”
Ravenel added that Graham in particular should refrain from making such statements in light of his personal history.
“Lindsey Graham isn’t standing with anyone on the battlefield,” Ravenel continued. “He’s already been caught once lying about his military service, so he’s the last person who needs to use that analogy. And as for Netanyahu, it’s been nearly 20 years since he told the U.S. Congress that Israel didn’t need our aid anymore – yet he’s still drawing down more than $3 billion a year from our taxpayers.”
While campaigning for Congress and on his official website as a then-member of the U.S. House of Representatives during the mid- to late 1990s, Graham repeatedly referred to himself as “an Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm veteran.” He also repeatedly referred to himself on the campaign trail as a “Gulf War veteran.”
These claims went unchallenged until February 1998, when The Hill published a story about Graham’s fitness to sit in judgment of then-President Clinton – who at the time was facing impeachment for lying about his relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
The Hill piece pointed out Graham was not a Desert Shield veteran, nor was he a Desert Storm veteran, nor was he a Gulf War veteran. While real soldiers were shipping off to fight in these engagements, Graham was a military lawyer whose closest brush with death came in preparing the wills of departing military personnel. Not only did he never see any action, he never even left South Carolina .
Asked to explain himself, Graham told The Hill he “never intended” to lie.
“I have not told anybody I’m a combatant,” he said. “I’m not a war hero, and never said I was. I never intended to lie. If I have lied about my military record, I’m not fit to serve in Congress.”
You said it not us …
In addition to calling Graham out for his hypocrisy, Ravenel said Congress should stop sending foreign aid to the Middle East – and elsewhere.
“We have no more business subsidizing Israel’s war machine than we have subsidizing radical jihadists in Syria or defending wealthy European nations who refuse to defend themselves,” Ravenel said. “Just as America’s tax dollars shouldn’t be used to pick winners and losers in our domestic economy, we shouldn’t pick winners and losers in wars being fought halfway around the globe.”
Ravenel said he supported Israel’s right to defend itself – but said it should do so “with its own money.”
We concur … wholeheartedly.
Graham’s incessant and increasingly ridiculous warmongering is bankrupting America … and making us less safe. It’s good to see someone finally calling him out on it – and proposing that the money wasted there be “put to work in the American economy.”