Is it time to (electorally) take out Lindsey Graham?

The day before yesterday, South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham caused a political firestorm when he tweeted the following.

Marcus Junius Brutus was the Roman magistrate who conspired with Roman Senator Gaius Cassius to assassinate Roman dictator Julius Caesar in 44 B.C., while Claus von Stauffenberg led a failed assassination attempt against Adolf Hitler in 1944.

Yesterday, Graham doubled down on his comments on Fox and Friends. 

"I'm hoping someone in Russia will understand he is destroying Russia and you need to take this guy out back any means possible," adding that Russia needed an "Eliot Ness or a Wyatt Earp."

Ness was a reference to the prohibition-era agent who took down mobster Al Capone. Earp was the lawman from the old west who led the gunfight at the O.K. Corral resulting in the deaths of three outlaws. 

Thus in just two days, Graham likened Putin to Hitler, Capone, Caesar, and notorious outlaw Ike Clanton.

So what do we make of all this?

First for the situation in Ukraine.

It has been nine days since military operations began in Ukraine. There are harrowing scenes of mayhem and destruction due to the relentless barrage of shelling and fierce skirmishes. The port city of Kherson and the Chernobyl nuclear plant in northern Ukraine are under Russian control.

The U.K., the U.S., Canada, and the EU have condemned Russia’s military operations, imposed sanctions on Russia, and have removed key Russian banks from the interbank transaction system known as SWIFT which prevents financial transactions beyond Russia. They have also pledged military aid for Ukraine.

The U.S. has announced fresh sanctions on Russian oligarchs and Putin himself to increase the isolation. 

Russian sports teams have been suspended from international competitions. Differently-abled Russian athletes cannot participate in the 2022 Winter Paralympics.

Companies such as Toyota, Honda, and Volkswagen have suspended the sales of cars in Russia. Film releases have been canceled. Russian vodka has been boycotted. Russian cats are banned from any international competition.

In response, Putin signed a decree on special economic measures against the west. Russian citizens cannot transfer money abroad. Social media and foreign news media have been banned. Journalists can be jailed for up to 15 years for publishing ‘fake news.’ 

The temperatures are rapidly reaching boiling point. Every syllable has consequences, hence the utmost caution must be practiced.

Graham's call for a coup by assassination is not only reckless but dangerous. Such utterances during turbulent times validate conspiracy theories and amplify paranoia. Individuals plagued with paranoia often react irrationally when gratuitously provoked. What makes it infinitely more perilous is the nuclear arms in play.

If Graham is hoping to divide and conquer by causing a rift within the Kremlin or their allies, his statements will have the opposite results. Governments, citizens, and allies usually unite against an adversary calling for their leader to be murdered. If a rogue agent attempts any such action now, the U.S. will be blamed.

If the U.S. aspires to be on higher moral ground, openly calling for a murder won't achieve it, it will legitimize an identical action from the adversary. An assassination or even an attempt usually causes instability which is most undesirable for nuclear powers.

Graham should be pushing for direct dialogue with Putin and for energy independence in the U.S. to reduce dependency on Russian energy.

Instead, Graham is adding fuel to the fire by urging others to place themselves in peril.

This isn’t the first time he has done so.

In 2002, Graham voted for the Iraq Resolution, which authorized military action against Iraq. He suggested the U.S. remain in Afghanistan permanently, claiming that this would benefit both nations. In 2010, Graham called for a preemptive military strike to weaken the Iranian regime. Graham supported the NATO-led military intervention in Libya. In March 2015, Graham supported the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen.

In December 2016, Graham alongside John McCain called for a proxy war against Russia by arming Ukrainian insurgency groups.

In October 2018, following the Tongo Tongo ambush, which killed four U.S. soldiers, Graham exclaimed, "I didn't know there were a thousand troops in Niger." In November 2019, Graham blocked a Senate resolution to officially recognize the Armenian genocide. Also in 2019, Lindsey Graham proposes invading Venezuela to oust dictator Nicolas Maduro.

Graham consistently attacked Trump for attempting to reduce U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan. Following Biden’s catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan, Graham proclaimed the U.S. "will go back into Afghanistan."

Graham is fond of calling for assassinations. In 2010, he called for the killing of Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, he encouraged Israel to assassinate more Iranian scientists, and currently, the target is Putin.

Now for Graham’s record in the armed forces.

Graham served as an attorney during the six and a half years he spent on active duty in the Air Force, he then joined the Air Force Reserve.

During his first decade in Congress, the Air Force promoted Graham twice despite little or no work.  He was afforded special treatment as a lawmaker, granting him the privileges of rank.

Graham also embellished his service in the reserve in a campaign video and claimed to be a veteran of the Persian Gulf War, despite never being deployed there.

Graham has never been part of any active combat, the kind he calls for as a politician

In Washington, Graham’s recent record is mixed.

On the bogus Russia collusion narrative, Graham played the part of an outraged Trump supporter who was going to get to the bottom of who concocted the hoax during Senate Hearings and on Fox News. But no action was ever taken to hold anybody accountable for concocting the hoax.

Graham took Trump’s endorsement to win back his seat in South Carolina in 2020. When the Jan. 6 protests went overboard, Graham was the first to shun Trump with "count me out. Enough is enough."  He added that Biden was a “legitimate president.” Graham allegedly told police to shoot Jan. 6 protestors who entered the Capitol building. When President Trump pledged to pardon Jan. 6 protesters who had been persecuted, Graham was among those who slammed the idea.

It's ironic that Graham invoked Brutus since he is the one who frequently stabs his allies and his voters in the back.

Last December, Graham was among the Republican senators who voted to resettle Afghan refugees in the U.S. During the middle of last month, when the Senate had a chance to end the Democrat-led vaccine mandate, Graham was in London focused on Ukraine and holding Putin accountable. 

Graham is the kind who sends your loved ones into pointless foreign wars while he and his family flourish in comfort and safety. He receives campaign contributions from defense contractors and pushes for the purchase of their arms.

Graham represents the worst of the Washington establishment -- the corrupt, self-serving, self-promoting, and double-speaking kind who places their voters last. 

This is an unrepentant offender for whom reform seems impossible. His doubling down calls for assassination despite condemnation proves that. If pressure mounts, he may pretend to care but nobody should be deceived.

Perhaps it is time for an honest, conservative, and upright challenger who cares first for the interests of his voters, to take out Lindsey Graham, strictly electorally, obviously.

Image: Screen shot from video posted by WCNC, via YouTube

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