Lindsey Graham Wants War With Iran By September

Lindsey Graham is playing cynical political games with a dangerous part of the world.


South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham told an audience yesterday that he will begin pushing for war with Iran if there isn’t “improvement” on the nuclear issue by the end of the summer:

“If nothing changes in Iran, come September, October, I will present a resolution that will authorize the use of military force to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb,” the South Carolina Republican said, according to a post on CQ Roll Callwhich was picked up by Think Progress, at a conference for members of Christians United for Israel today. “The only way to convince Iran to halt their nuclear program is to make it clear that we will take it out,” Graham added

The resolution will likely go nowhere, of course, but, as Connor Simpson notes in the linked piece at The Atlantic Wire, that really isn’t its purpose. This is all about burnishing Graham’s resume for what is looking like it will be a tough fight for re-election. Nobody’s entered the race yet, but it’s expected that Graham is going to face a tough challenge from his right due in no small part to frustration from the national GOP base over his perceived faults, the most recent being his support for the Senate’s immigration reform bill. Advocating something like this, as dangerous and idiotic as it is, is obviously his way way of throwing some red meat to the right wing of the party, where hatred of Iran and blind support of Israel under all circumstances is a virtual article of faith. Whether it will be enough to satisfy anyone is another question.

That said, it’s pretty cynical and not just a little bit despicable on Graham’s part to be playing games like this with an important part of American foreign policy just to pad his resume and placate the Tea Party. As Simpson notes in his piece, the situation between Iran and the United States is delicate enough as it is in the wake of the recently concluded elections, the sanctions imposed by the United Nations, and our continuing efforts to try to resolve the nuclear issues by diplomatic means. The last thing that the world really needs is a Senator desperate trying to hold on to his Senate seat in the face of a challenge from the far right using the issue of the Iranian nuclear program, and threatened military action that isn’t going to happen, to advance his own political interests. Not that can say that I’m really surprised by Graham’s actions here given the fact that he’s also been joining John McCain in pushing for further U.S. involvement in Syria. If you’re going to be a warmonger in one part of the middle East, I suppose you may as well be one all over the region.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2014, Congress, Middle East, Military Affairs, National Security, US Politics, , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Woody says:

    it’s pretty cynical and not just a little bit despicable on Graham’s part to be playing games like this with an important part of American foreign policy just to pad his resume and placate the Tea Party.

    Absolutely! Today’s modern Republican plays games like this with important parts of American domestic policy.

  2. C. Clavin says:

    Lindsay Graham in 2003:

    “…”I fully understand why President Bush had to resort to the use of force to disarm Saddam Hussein. It has been readily apparent for many months that Saddam would not voluntarily part with his weapons of mass destruction…”

    Now…anyone who has a history of being as wrong as Graham should never be listened to again. Period.
    Over the last decade Butters has been wrong about WMD, how long the war in Iraq would last, how well the war in Iraq was going, how well the war in Afghanistan was going, etc.
    We as a nation believe in freedom of speech…so we shouldn’t stop him from talking…but;

  3. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Lindsey Graham Wants War With [SOMEBODY! ANYBODY!] By September


  4. al-Ameda says:

    It’s all part of the ongoing Republican effort to portray Obama as weak on national security and defense. It’s all they have, and it is pathetic.

  5. JohnMcC says:

    When I saw the headline of this Post, I immediately thought of the likelihood of a primary opponent for Sen Graham. And you have certainly covered that territory. But there is also this:

    Netanyahu calls for stronger Iran sanctions, ‘credible’ military option
    Times of Israel July 14, 2013

    There have been several times in US history when highly motivated minorities exerted strong influence on foreign policy. The Cuban diaspora in FL after Castro, the Irish in NY and MA in the 1840s transferring their hatred of England to American politics are two that come to mind. But it is a peculiar event when a political minority (in this case Evangelical Christians) shape our foreign affairs to basically serve the interests of a foreign government based solely on an imagined connection to it. I suppose it has a lot to do with pre-millenial theology and the ‘Left Behind’ nonsense. But from a Poli-Sci point of view, it just seems strange.

  6. Mr. Replica says:

    Senator Graham has never seen an unwinnable war he didn’t like.

  7. george says:

    I’d be much more impressed by his call if he simultaneously announced he was enlisting as a combat soldier and would be on the front lines for the war. If he’s planning on being safely behind the lines the fighting begins, then the word I’d use to describe his stance is “gutless”.

  8. Mr. Prosser says:

    Graham’s statement is blatantly transparent pandering. I assume even the goober element of his constituency can see that and will still vote against him in a primary.

  9. merl says:

    If he gets his way will he shut up about the deficit? Is that even an Earth shattering big deal anymore? Or was all the deficit talk just for the last mid terms?

  10. CSK says:

    I don’t think this will help him with “the base.” They regard him as a thoroughgoing liberal. Yeah, yeah, I know.

  11. anjin-san says:

    Well of course our soldiers should be prepared to die to help Graham stay in office.

  12. Mike says:

    @anjin-san: It is a sacrifice that Graham is willing to make.

  13. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Mike: Rim shot!

  14. Moosebreath says:


    Yes, Graham reminds me more than a bit of Lord Farquaad from Shrek.

  15. Caj says:

    Republican’s just love a good war! Never happier than when they can find some country to blow up somewhere around the world! No matter if it’s not a genuine war let’s make stuff up as to create one. Never understood why so many military vote Republican either! Republicans are the party who are always ready to send them off to war at the drop of a hat! Republicans have long lost the right to think they are the only ones who can keep this country safe. They are the party that always have us involved in a war somewhere when they are in power!

  16. Faramarz Fathi says:

    Both Mr. Graham and Mr. McCain have lost their credibility with American people and if it wasn’t for the campaign contributions from certain sources with interests and agendas, different than those of US, to promote, this duet would be receiving their social securities now. One due to old age and another due to disability, dementia, .

    Faramarz Fathi

  17. wr says:

    I wonder how many people Graham is willing to murder in order to secure his seat in the senate. I wonder if it even crosses his mind that these Americans and Iranians all have families and hopes and desires, just like him.

  18. Dazedandconfused says:

    “Christians United for Israel”? What an odd name for crusaders. The Jewish people are still refusing to accept Jesus as their Lord and savior, right?

  19. Mike says:

    @Moosebreath: My kids watch that movie about once a week and for some reason when Graham speaks, that is who I think of.