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FOX "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" - Transcript - Syria

Interview

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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: This is a FOX News alert. Warships are ready to strike Syria, and President Obama is consulting with American allies. Senator Lindsey Graham says, quote, "Now is the time for decisive actions." So what action should the U.S. take? Senator Lindsey Graham joins us. Good evening, sir.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: Thank you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, what do you think could possibly be achieved? Here is the situation we're in. You've now told President Assad we're not going to get rid of him, it is going to be a very short duration, there will be no boots on the ground, and so what's our goal? What are we going to achieve if we do missile - if we do cruise missile attacks?

GRAHAM: Nothing but reinforce that we're weak. You nailed it. The president painted himself in a corner in 2012 when he told Assad, you better not use chemical weapons. And the question is, a year later, why would Assad use chemical weapons after being told by Obama not to? In the last year he's used chemical weapons at a low level, Assad has, and we've done nothing.

So in the last year, I think President Obama has convinced radical Islamists that we really don't mean -- that we're not coming their way. After Benghazi, when four Americans were killed, our ambassador was killed, the consulate overrun, no one has been held to account. We sent all the wrong signals, Benghazi, pulling out of Iraq.
So Assad has sized up Obama and he said this, I don't really believe the guy means what he says, and a weak response by the president reinforces a longer war. And the longer this war goes on, the more likely chemical weapons get into the hands of terrorist organizations. The kind of Jordan is likely to fall. Lebanon and Iraq are falling apart because Syria is a cancer.

The president has mishandled this as badly as he could. Quite frankly, the chickens have come home to roost from Obama foreign policy of leading from behind and being passive. So a pinprick strike, giving an aspirin to a person who has cancer, is the worst of all worlds.

VAN SUSTEREN: The strike, as we understand, is going to be, this is what's so baffling to me.

GRAHAM: Mind-boggling.

VAN SUSTEREN: Tomahawk cruise missiles, which can't hit moving targets, and can't hit underground bunkers. So, Assad, who we're not even trying to get rid of under this project, is going to go in an underground bunker. We're not going to get the launchers for the chemical weapons, and we're not going after the chemical weapons themselves. So we knock down a couple of military buildings, and a couple of things, 24 hours, that's over. The president then goes off to the G-20, they clean up the rubble. The president just gets, rallies the troops, and says look how horrible these Americans are, and then shows pictures of dead children we've killed.

GRAHAM: This is the response from the president that he is having to do because he painted himself in a corner. It's not a logical response to a real problem. How many times have you heard the Israelis tell the enemy, here is where we're going to hit you, here is how long we're going to hit you, here are the weapons we're going to use, and we promise you it won't last long? Never in the history of military operations has a military campaign been successful when you tell the enemy exactly what you're doing.
Now he's painted himself in a corner with a response. He's told the entire world it will be limited in nature. We don't need boots on the ground, but he has taken off the table an effective military response. So it is the worst of all worlds. Barack Obama has put the American national security interests in Syria and throughout the region in the worst possible position it could be.

VAN SUSTEREN: We have 30 seconds left. And of course, he has a little problem within his own party. You have Democrats who want answers. They want a robust debate on Capitol Hill.

GRAHAM: Well, what I want is decisive action before it is too late. Iran is watching every move we make in Syria. To say that what we do in Syria doesn't affect Iranian behavior is just unrealistic. We're showing weakness in Syria, which makes it more likely the Iranians will march toward a nuclear weapon, which makes it more likely Israel will attack. In his effort to avoid war, Obama has spread war. In his effort to reach out and make peace, we have gotten the finger. So at the end of the day if he really thought he could go into the Mideast, not be like Bush, give speeches, and charm people. It hasn't worked. Radical Islamists are not taking Obama seriously. This war is going to spread outside of Syria. This weak response is going to make things worse, not better.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you, sir.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

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