Sen. Lindsey Graham Suggests Nuking Gaza, Calls Hiroshima ‘the Right Decision’

Kent Nishimura/Getty Images
Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) offered a baffling comparison of Israel’s war on Gaza to the U.S. decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan during World War II, telling Israel to “do whatever you have to do” to finish the military campaign.

Speaking to NBC’s Kristin Welker on Meet the Press Sunday morning, Graham made the argument that Israel would be justified in slaughtering civilians in Gaza by likening the situation to the U.S.’s war with Japan eight decades ago. He suggested Israel would be right to flatten the Gaza strip—home to 2.2 million Palestinians, half of whom are children—simply because the U.S. did it to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the 1940s.

“So when we were faced with destruction as a nation after Pearl Harbor, fighting the Germans and the Japanese, we decided to end the war by bombing Hiroshima, Nagasaki, with nuclear weapons,” Graham began.

The senator continued to call the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki “the right decision” by the U.S. That decision ended the war with Japan, but killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians between the initial blasts and the deadly radiation that followed.

“Give Israel the bombs they need to end the war they can’t afford to lose, and work with them to minimize casualties,” Graham insisted.

It was unclear how he believed the U.S. and Israel could work to “minimize casualties,” since bombs tend not to discriminate between civilians and militants upon detonation.

Graham’s comments were so extreme that even Welker was taken aback, unsuccessfully attempting to interject as the senator talked over her.

“Can I say this?” Graham continued. “Why is it okay for America to drop two nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end their existential threat war? Why is it okay for us to do that? I thought it was okay.”

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Of course, the presumption that the U.S. was justified in nuking Japan to end World War II has been contested by historians and other critics for decades. Those bombs also decimated nearly all of Hiroshima’s and Nagasaki’s medical infrastructures, making it nearly impossible to deliver aid to the injured and dying, according to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

Graham’s comments came as Israel appears poised to launch a full-scale invasion of Rafah, which the U.N. and the Biden administration have warned would be catastrophic for the 1.4 million people sheltering there. On Sunday, as Graham went on national television to suggest incinerating Gaza, the U.N. secretary general pleaded once more to prevent the area from spiraling into all-out devastation.

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