Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham took a shot at his presidential rivals on Wednesday over Syrian refugees, saying that "yelling" about the issue won't do anything to defeat ISIS.
"Well number one, many of these attackers apparently were citizens of France," Graham said on Concord News Radio. "The problem is as follows: two thousand jihadists are flowing into Syria every month to join jihad from all over the world. Many of them with western passports. You know, the refugee problem needs to be responsibly dealt with. I am calling for a time out until we can figure out a what kind of system works."
Both Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky have introduced bills related to stopping Syrian refugees from being resettled in the United States.
"But Senator Cruz and Paul, you're not gonna destroy ISIL by shutting down refugee flows, there's 20 different ways to get here as you just described," continued Graham. "The goal is to destroy ISIL. The refugees are a symptom of the problem. My plan would make sure you don't have to leave Syria. There'd be a no fly zone, a safe haven, where people could go without being raped and killed so they don't have to leave their own country."
"My plan relies on a regional army, western nations, not just the United States, to go in and destroy the caliphate," he continued. "The only way America can be safe is to destroy ISIL before they hit us. Now that's just a fact I've come to understand after 35 trips to the region. Radical islam has to be confronted, it can't be allowed to grow this large. It will be with us for a long time, but not like this."
Graham said those not willing to commit troops to fight ISIS aren't ready to be president.
"There are too many weapons, too many organizations, with the capability to hit our homeland," said Graham. "President Obama has taken his eye off the ball and some of my Republican colleagues are yelling about refugees, but here's the question back to them: Are you willing to do what it takes to destroy ISIL? Are you willing to commit American ground forces in support of a regional army to destroy the caliphate? If you're not, then you're not ready to be the commander-in-chief, in my view, and you're really no different than Obama."
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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