Lindsey Graham Doubles Down on Sending Ground Troops 'Back to Iraq' and Syria

The South Carolina senator emphasizes his hawkish stand on foreign policy in the first presidential debate.

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Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham doubled down Thursday evening on his assertion that the U.S. must commit ground troops to Iraq and Syria to defeat the terrorist group Islamic State.

"I cannot tell you how much our nation is threatened and how we need a commander-in-chief who understands the threats to this nation," the South Carolina senator and foreign policy hawk said during a Fox News debate in Cleveland. "If you're running for president of the United States and you do not understand that we cannot defend this nation without more of our soldiers over there, you're not ready for this job." 

He also slammed other candidates who suggested that the the U.S. could partner with Arab states to fight the group.

"These mythical Arab armies that my friends talk about that are going to protect us don't exist," he said. "If I am president of the United States, we're going to send soldiers back to Iraq, back to Syria, to keep us from being attacked here and keep soldiers in Afghanistan because we must."

Graham has previously outlined his vision for sending 10,000 troops in Iraq fight the Islamic State, a coalition invasion of Syria both to remove president Bashar al-Assad from power and to combat the Islamic State, and the maintenance of a near-10,000-strong force in Afghanistan.

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