Sen. Lindsey Graham: "I Had No Idea" The U.S. Has 1,000 Troops In Niger

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Sen. Lindsey Graham, a leading hawk in the Senate, confided to 'Meet The Press' host Chuck Todd on Sunday that he "had no idea" the U.S. military has more than 1,000 troops deployed in the central African country of Niger to fight "radical Islamic extremism."

"If you don't think it's a generational struggle, you don't understand the war. If you think it's limited to the Mid East, you don't understand the theology. It is spreading throughout the world," he said. "Particularly Africa."

"To the American people," Graham explained. "We're going to follow the terrorists wherever they go. We're going to use whatever means we need to with partners to destroy them. And whatever time it takes, it takes. And most people are not ready for that, but I am."





CHUCK TODD: So you make substantial progress against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. And yet, now it's whack-a-mole and now they're popping up here. This goes to the same thing we had ten years ago with, "Oh, we're pushing Al Qaeda back." But then Al Qaeda reformed with a new name.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: It's a generational struggle. If you don't think it's a generational struggle, you don't understand the war. If you think it's limited to the Mid East, you don't understand the theology. It is spreading throughout the world, particularly Africa. And if you think it's going to be done in a short period of time, or if you can't-- if you tick off means of how you fight this war, there's an authorization to use force tomorrow that limited the war based on time, geography, and means, I would have voted against it because the war is now morphing, it's going to places that we haven't heard of before. To the American people, we're going to follow the terrorists wherever they go. We're going to use whatever means we need to with partners to destroy them. And whatever time it takes, it takes. And most people are not ready for that, but I am.

CHUCK TODD: Are we going to need a new war authorization?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: I don't think so.

CHUCK TODD: It sounds like you're arguing no. But by the way, you're going to be in the minority, aren't you?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: I don't know. I’m arguing that the current authorization as long as it’s related to radical Islam is enough. But here’s -- the military determines who the threats are, they come up with the engagement policy and if we don’t like what the military does, we can defund the operation. But I didn’t know there was a thousand troops in Niger. John McCain is right to tell the military because this is an endless war without boundaries, no limitation on time or geography, you gotta tell us more. And he’s right to say that.

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