Monday, Oct. 1, 2012
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- A handful of protesters took to the sidewalks of North Augusta Monday afternoon. They were trying to catch the attention of a U.S. senator who was passing by.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, was on his way to an event at the North Augusta Municipal Building sponsored by the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce. The protesters were members of the CSRA Peace Alliance. They're concerned that Graham has taken positions the would lead to a war with Iran.
Iran was just one of the topics News 12 covered in a wide-ranging interview and Sen. Graham wasn't backing down. He says taking a hard line with Iran is the only way to go.
And make no mistake: Graham says Iran is building a nuclear weapon.
"If you think they're building a nuclear power plant, we're on different planets," Graham said. "But here's what I fear the most about Iran with a nuclear weapon. They will share that technology with terrorists and it will come to our shores."
Graham is also concerned about deep cuts that are coming here at home to our own military because of what he calls a dumb law and something called sequestration. In other words, automatic budget cuts that will happen in January.
"The Defense Department will have $600 billion cut out of its budget over the next decade on top of the $487 billion we've already cut," Graham said. "What does it mean for this area? Fort Gordon, Fort Jackson -- all of the defense installations in Georgia and South Carolina are gonna be hurting."
Graham said the result will leave us with the smallest Navy since 1915, the smallest Air Force in the history for the Air Force and the smallest Army since 1940.
"It is a dumb idea; it is gutting your military at a time you need it most. It begins in January, and I'm gonna do everything I can to stop these defense cuts," he said.
News 12 also asked about Afghanistan.
"On Afghanistan, the big question there is: Are we training the enemy with deadly results? What can we do about American casualties there?" Rogers asked.
"We need to vet the troops better -- the Afghan Security Forces," Graham said. "But the enemy is trying to break our resolve. They know, the Taliban understands, that if there's a partnership between the Afghans and the United States, they're history."
All at a time when the challenges overseas seem to be growing.
"I've never seen a situation since I've been in Congress where our friends are so afraid and our enemies so emboldened," Graham said. "I think it's a policy of apology and appeasement that's coming home to roost."
Out of all the problems we talked about here and around the world, Graham says the one that worries him the most is Iran getting a nuclear weapon.
You can watch Richard Rogers' entire interview with Sen. Graham by clicking here.