Sen. Lindsey Graham says Israel should do ‘whatever’ it has to while comparing the war in Gaza to Hiroshima and Nagasaki

May 12, 2024
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Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Sunday compared Israel’s war against Hamas to the U.S. decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan in World War II during an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

“When we were faced with destruction as a nation after Pearl Harbor, fighting the Germans and the Japanese, we decided to end the war by the bombing [of] Hiroshima [and] Nagasaki with nuclear weapons,” Graham said. “That was the right decision.”

He added, “Give Israel the bombs they need to end the war. They can’t afford to lose.”

Graham, a staunch supporter of Israel, used the analogy multiple times while condemning President Joe Biden for threatening to withhold certain weapons from Israel if it launches a military operation in Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza where over a million civilians are sheltering.

Lindsey Graham
Lindsey Graham on March 18, 2024.Genya Savilov / AFP via Getty Images file

Asked by moderator Kristen Welker why it was OK for President Ronald Reagan to withhold certain weapons from Israel during its war in Lebanon in the 1980s, but not OK for Biden to threaten to do so now, Graham once again brought up World War II.

“Can I say this?” he asked. “Why is it OK for America to drop two nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end their existential threat war? Why was it OK for us to do that? I thought it was OK.”

He added, “So, Israel, do whatever you have to do to survive as a Jewish state. Whatever you have to do.”

Welker pushed back, telling Graham that U.S. military officials say technology has vastly changed since World War II, a point she made earlier in the interview as well.

“Yeah, these military officials that you’re talking about are full of crap,” Graham answered.

His comments came shortly after Secretary of State Antony Blinken joined the program and declined to identify a red line with Israel, telling Welker: “Absent a credible plan to get [civilians] out of harm’s way and to support them, the president’s been clear for some time that we couldn’t and would not support a major military operation in Rafah.”

Blinken also discussed U.S. concerns about the use of “high-payload” bombs, telling Welker, “We have been holding back and we’re in active conversations with Israel about the provision of heavy or high-payload weapons, large bombs, because of the concern that we have about the effect these weapons can have when they’re used in a dense urban environment like Rafah.”

Graham argued that Hamas is to blame for civilian casualties throughout the conflict.

“I think it’s impossible to mitigate civilian deaths in Gaza as long as Hamas uses their own population as human shields. I’ve never seen in the history of warfare such blatant efforts by an enemy — Hamas — to put civilians at risk,” he said.

“The last thing you want to do is reward this behavior,” Graham added.



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