Winthrop was honored Thursday with a visit from Senator Lindsey Graham. His speech, an event sponsored by Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science department and the West Forum, covered the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi. While the event happened more than two years ago, recent information leaks have exposed a new side to the story.
At the time of the attack, national security adviser Susan Rice claimed that the attack had been the result of a protest in response to an anti-Islam video. Today, conflicting information is coming to light that claims that these attacks were the result of organized terrorism.
During his speech Graham claimed that the terrorist group al- Qaida was behind these attacks and that their radical thought and actions had to be combatted.
“Terrorists did not kill three million of us,” Graham said, in reference to 9/11, “because they did not have the capability.” As Graham went on with his speech he made arguments about the 9/11 generation and how they are not only brilliant people, but also great servants in both the military and in work.
Graham continued that America needed to be kept safe and there was only one way to do that.
“To fight radical Islam,” Graham said, “we must invest in the Middle East and Africa where they will listen.”
His plan is to begin educating areas of the Middle East and Africa where America is either welcome or already has footholds. During this time, Graham hopes that the educated will reject the ideals of radical Islam in favor of more peaceful ideas.
“We can not just leave Islam or it will be Pearl Harbor all over again,” Graham said in one of his many references to World War II, Nazi Germany and Hitler throughout his speech. Graham’s statements continued moving through stating that the National Security Agency (NSA), needed to be more transparent in its information- gathering but that it was wholly necessary to protect the country.
Towards the end of his speech, Graham mentioned that America was only safe because of our current actions.
“Terrorists are not rational people, they are nuts. They took a document and interpreted it in a way that means that no Americans can remain alive. The only reason we haven’t been hit on U.S. soil is because we attacked them first,” he said.
Graham’s statements continued reminding students and faculty that nuclear plants and weapons of mass destruction could come to the Middle East at any time.
“We empty Pandora’s box if Iran gets a nuclear arm,” Graham said. Graham admitted that peace is a great idea; however, it is often unfeasible and in his own words: “there is no substitute for strength.”
During the end of his speech, Graham concluded with, “we will win this struggle because the number of Africans and Middle Easterners that want the best for their children is higher than those that want to see them suffer.”