Today on CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley, two members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), spoke to Crowley about the implications of sending American ground troops to combat ISIS, the sequestration, and the 2016 presidential candidate speculation.
Senator Graham on arming and training the Free Syrian Army: “And at the end of the day, you cannot destroy ISIL in Syria without a ground component. And what we’re doing with the Free Syrian Army is militarily unsound. To train these young men up in Saudi Arabia, without first establishing a no-fly zone to take Assad’s airpower off the table will lead to their slaughter. It is immoral. There is no way that I can see how we fix the problem in Iraq and Syria without American ground troops.”
Senator Graham on a presidential bid in 2016: ” I know what it’s like to run for president. I’m running for the Senate. I know what it takes to put an organization together, to put the money together. I have been with Senator McCain twice in this endeavor. I am nowhere near there. I am all in running for the Senate.”
Senator Reed on his opposition to sending US ground troops in Iraq: “I think the most effective way to use the best aspects of both countries is our superiority in the air, our ability for intelligence, for surveillance, for using that force and making sure – and getting the Iraqi forces up to speed so that they can conduct military operations on the ground.”
A full transcript of the interviews are available after the jump.
THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
I’m joined by two members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Democratic Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island. Thank you both for being here.
SEN. JACK REED (D), RHODE ISLAND: Thank you.
CROWLEY: Senator Graham, first to you. It’s – so, it’s been about two months since the U.S., first to protect U.S. interests in Iraq, began airstrikes there.
Is it too soon to tell whether there’s been any success in at least containing ISIS in Iraq?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I’m sure there’s been some. The idea of hitting them in Syria is long overdue, because it makes it harder for them to reinforce Iraq.