Here is Senator Lindsey Graham’s opposition speech on blocking a portion on the Saudi arms deal resolution from a couple days ago. He is arguing to go through with the complete sale.
I believe the order you need to listen to the speeches (if you want everything) is Sen. Paul, Sen. Graham, then Sen. Murphy. I listened to all of Rand Paul’s speech already and am not sure where Lindsey Graham got that he was saying Saudi Arabia was just as bad as Iran, but listen or read everything and you can be the judge yourself.
I couldn’t help adding my thoughts here and there. They’re the parts between the quote blocks so if you’re here for only the speech, go ahead and skip them.
I take the floor today to strenuously argue against the proposition being pushed by Senator Paul and Murphy and others to deny arms sales of about $500 million to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The bottom line the package that we’re talking about of precision weapons that the Saudi air force and military could use in operations against Iran’s proxy in Yemen and other threats that the kingdom bases. The flaws of the Saudi government are real, they’re known to me, but my friends on the other side, particularly Senator Paul, constantly put Saudi Arabia and Iran on the same footing. I think that is a very unwise analysis to suggest that Saudi Arabia is as bad as Iran is just missing the point big-time. The Iranian theocracy is the most destabilizing force in the Mideast. They have aggressively pursued military action through proxies and directly been involved in military action in Syria. Iran’s efforts to dominate Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and now Yemen have to be pushed back.
Soooooo a maybe… MAYBE proxy war in Yemen is worse than Saudi Arabia directly bombing that country off the face of the earth?
Here’s what Secretary Mattis said about this proposal. I asked him a question, “How would Iran view passage of this proposal limiting precision guided weapons to Saudi by the Congress?” “I believe Iran would be appreciative of us not selling these weapons to Saudi Arabia.” That’s pretty direct.
Ahem pretty sure it’s YEMEN that would be appreciative of us not selling the weapons since they’re the ones being bombed and all, but moving right along….
Iran would be really happy. And I would say this… On September the 21st, 2016, 71 United States senators supported a tank sale to Saudi Arabia by 71 votes to 27. In other words 71 United States senators rejected Rand Paul’s proposal to stop the sale of tanks.
I believe it’s in Senator Murphy’s speech that addresses the previous Senate votes and stopping sales to Saudi Arabia and why they’re not the same thing.
I would argue that a tank is not nearly as a precision weapon as the precision weapons we’re talking about to be given to the air force. If you’re worried about collateral damage in Yemen, I understand your concern. Precision weapons would help that cause, not hurt it, and you gotta understand who we’re dealing with in Yemen. We’re dealing with Iran. Saudi Arabia has a border with Yemen. The Iranians are backing a force called the Houthis to bring down a pro-Western government in Yemen.
If anyone only reads what was said instead of watching the video, the Senator actually said HOOTIES here.
From a Saudi perspective, everywhere you look you see Iran encroaching throughout the Mideast.
Ahem Part 2: Um Saudi Arabia BOMBED Yemen when their president ran away, and the people there possibly looked to Iran for help? Who is encroaching on who in this scenario? The invader or the ones helping to defend? Iran I think not, Senator.
This theocracy in Iran is the biggest threat to world order and that is saying a lot given the world as it is. And I say that with confidence because what Iran is trying to do is destabilize the Mideast in unprecedented fashion and our Arab allies are tired of it and now’s the time to stand with them, with their imperfections, against Iran with their hostility.
I have to say, I think bombing civilians is quite hostile and destabilizing.
So this $500 million chunk of the $110 billion weapons sale is absolutely essential that the Saudi get these weapons not only to, but win the fight against the aggressive nature of Iran in Yemen and other places.
I don’t know where we’re going with Iran, but president said that the current nuclear deal is absolutely a terrible deal. He is right. This deal locks in a march toward a nuclear weapon by the Iranians if they don’t cheat. They don’t have to cheat. In 10 or 15 years the agreement allows them to enrich and reprocess without limitation. So this deal has to be replaced. I hope we don’t go to war with anyone, but if we go to war, I want allies who are capable to help us in the fight. We complained about our Arab allies not doing enough. When they want to do more, we say no to ’em. Guess what? No wonder people believe that America’s unreliable partner. You say one thing and you do another. All I can say to my democratic colleagues… You were ok with voting to help President Obama increase the capability of the Saudi army at a time when it was in our national security interests. What’s changed between September the 21st and today? What geopolitical situation has changed so that all of a sudden Iran is no longer the threat they were in September of last year and Saudi Arabia is less reliable. Nothing other than the election of Donald Trump.
Wellll….. a different deal, coming to the realization that the Saudis are using our weapons to bomb civilians, famine, and a cholera epidemic? Just guessing.
I have been a critic of Donald Trump when I thought it was necessary for the good of the country. All I can say is this wholesale defection by democrats really is disturbing. It is undermining, I think, our national security interests when it comes to containing Iran. It is sending the worst possible signal we could be sending to our Arab allies at a time we need them the most and I don’t question people’s motives, I question your judgement, and here’s my problem. I had no problem helping President Obama because I believe Saudi is a bulwark against Iranian expansion that our allies in Saudi Arabia are imperfect, but they do share intelligence with us, they’re in the fight, we need to help them because it’s in our interest to help them. And you had absolutely no problem when it was President Obama’s idea. Everything Trump, you seem to be against. That is absolutely disappointing and quite frankly despicable.
Ahem Part 3: Because it’s not about Obama or Trump. It’s about realizing something is very very wrong.
What IS despicable? Practically saying, “But you did it for Obama, so you have to do it for Trump because no fair!” These aren’t toys. They’re bombs that kill people. Mistakes were made. Let’s not repeat those mistakes regardless of who is the president.
To my republican colleagues… Rand Paul has been consistent. I respect his consistency, I just completely disagree with him. If you don’t think containing Iran and keeping them from toppling Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon is not in our national interest, you’re making a huge mistake. The last thing we want is the Iranian Ayatollah to march through the Mideast and start spreading his former radical Shiism in the backyard of all of our Arab allies. So I cannot urge this body more to reject this ill-conceived idea. It’s $500 million out of a $110 billion package, but it’s the kind of weapons that will matter on the battlefield, it will lessen civilian casualties, which is a noble goal and it will also give capability to the Saudis to more effectively contain Iran who is marching through Yemen through their proxies the Houthis. All I can say is General Mattis, Secretary Mattis, has it right. Iran would be appreciative of us not selling those weapons to Saudi Arabia.
We’re going to sanction Iran, this week I hope, for what they’ve done outside the nuclear agreement. Since the nuclear agreement was passed, they have humiliated our soldiers, our sailors. They captured them on the high seas and humiliated them. I don’t remember Saudi Arabia doing that.
I remember 9/11.
There’s a couple more minutes in his speech left, but I’m stopping there. The rest is more rambling about Iran. This isn’t about Iran, Senator, this is about Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Civilians dying. A bully.
Where is your evidence? Why are you not showing what crimes Iran has committed in Yemen? Where is your evidence of a proxy war? I’m sorry, but “It’s because you hate President Trump.” is a horrible argument.
You think this resolution is a disappointment? YOU are, Senator.
Even more disappointing is that 53 senators listened to this nonsense speech and still voted against the resolution. 53 senators voted to put money before anything else.
And now, the video. 10 minutes long. Good luck, y’all.