Graham: Defense cuts would hurt Middle East operations

A key member of the Senate Armed Services Committee warned Tuesday that the United States will not be able to confront threats in the Middle East, including Iran’s nuclear program, if the Pentagon must cut an additional $500 billion from its budget over the next decade.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, noted that the Defense Department already is committed to slashing $487 billion in spending over the next 10 years.

“Now is not the time to go much more beyond $487 billion,” Mr. Graham said at an event hosted by the Weekly Standard and Concerned Veterans for America.

Mr. Graham said he hopes military force is not need to stop Iran from developing a nuclear capability, but he added that any military engagement with Iran would require more than just attacking its nuclear sites.

“I think we’re at the point now that if military force has to be used against the Iranian regime, it should be used to shut down their air force, sink their navy and punish the Revolutionary Guard so they have very little offensive punch,” he said.

“We will take the blow the day military force is used against Iran. We are opening up Pandora’s box. They can unleash suicide bombers … all over the world. They can hit our bases in the Gulf region. They can do damage to us. But I know how this movie ends: They lose, we win,” Mr. Graham added.

“And the reason we win is because our capabilities at this moment in time are so much superior than any other capability on the planet. … What would the world be like if that gap closed? I think the world would be an exceedingly dangerous place.”

The Pentagon would have to cut its 10-year budget by about $500 billion if automatic spending reductions begin Jan. 2.

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