Lindsey Graham: 'We Will Never Enjoy Peaceful Co-Existence With Radical Islam'

By Melanie Arter | June 1, 2015 | 1:12 PM EDT

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) (AP Photo)

( – Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), in announcing on Monday that he was  running for president, touted his military background and foreign policy experience, and pledged to fight what he described as "radical Islam."

“I want to be president to defeat the enemies that are trying to kill us – not just penalize them, or criticize them or contain them – but defeat them,” he said. “Ronald Reagan’s policy of peace through strength kept America safe during the Cold War. Remember those times?

“Our objective is to make sure that [ISIS] is not an ongoing threat to the region,” Obama said. “And we can accomplish that.” He later said that with help from U.S. allies, the ISIS can be reduced “to the point where it’s a manageable problem.”

“I’ve come to conclude we will never enjoy peaceful co-existence with radical Islam, because its followers intend to destroy our way of life. However, America can be and will be secure only if we have strength. Security through strength will protect us,” said Graham, who serves on the Armed Services Committee.


“We made some dangerous mistakes in recent years. The Obama administration and some of my colleagues in Congress have substituted wishful thinking for sound national security strategy,” Graham said. “Everyday the headlines attest to the failure of the Obama, Clinton policies. It is sad for me to report to you, but Barack Obama has made us less safe.


“Simply put, radical Islam is running wild. They have more safe havens, more money, more capability, and more weapons to strike our homeland than anytime since 9/11. They are large. They are rich. They are entrenched. As president, I will make them small, poor, and on the run,” he said.

“I’m afraid some Americans have grown tired of fighting them. I have some bad news to share with you: the radical Islamists are not tired of fighting you. In partnership with others, we must take the fight to them, building lines of defenses over there so they can’t come here, building up and supporting regional forces to go after their safe havens that could be used to attack their homeland,” Graham added.

Graham said the world’s biggest threat is “the nuclear ambitions of the radical Islamists who control Iran.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, there are no moderates in Iran, running their government. If the United States isn’t firm in our intention to deny them such weapons, Iran will trigger a nuclear arms race in the least stable region on earth, making it more likely the people who aspire to genocide will have the most effective means to commit it,” he said.

Graham criticized President Barack Obama, saying because of the president’s “failed leadership,” Israel, the closest U.S. ally, is at risk.

“With Israel, we share values. We share democracy, and our friendship is unbreakable. To our friends in Israel: I will never abandon you. I will always stand firm in supporting the one and only Jewish state. I too say never again,” said Graham.

“I’m running for president, because I have the experience, the judgment, and the will to deny the most radical regimes the most dangerous weapons, but to defeat this enemy, it will require more than military might,” he said.

“The most powerful weapon in our arsenal isn’t a gun, it’s an idea. The terrorists are selling a glorious death. We must sell a hopeful life,” Graham said.

“I’ve learned from my travels that a small schoolhouse in a remote region educating a young girl can do more damage to radical Islam than any weapon we possess,” Graham said, referring to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen who was shot by Taliban gunmen because she spoke up about the right for girls to be educated.

“Our enemies are emboldened, and our friends are going it alone. Both reactions are detrimental to our national security interest. It is time for America to come back, and come back we will, and the way you come back is to make sure that the next president must be an informed and decisive commander-in-chief ready immediately to deal with the threats I’ve just described,” he said.

“We’ve learned over the past six years that speeches alone won’t make us safe. If that were true, we’d be really safe. Superior power and resolve is the only way to be safe. I’m running for president of the United States, because I am ready to be commander-in-chief on day one,” Graham said, touting his 33 years of service in the U.S. Air Force.

“I am ready on day one to defend our nation with sound strategy, a strong military, stable alliances and a steady determination. I’ve been in the Middle East more times than I can count - as a United States senator and a reserve officer in the United States Air Force,” he said.

“I’ve got one simple message: I’ve got more experience with our national security than any other candidate in this race. That includes you, Hillary,” Graham added.

“I have listened learned and prepared myself for the job of commander-in-chief. I’ve served in the Air Force for 33 years, and it has been a true pleasure and honor. I’ve spent much of my adult life as part of a team committed to defending America, protecting our way of life, making sure that we’re safe. Politicians focus on elections. The military focuses on the mission,” he said.


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