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‘Nuke Gaza’ rant US senators

Republican Lindsey Graham appealed directly to Israel to 'do whatever you have to do' after opining that using atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was 'OK,' writes LINDA PENTZ GUNTER

LAST weekend on a popular network television programme, longtime South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, appeared to suggest that Israel should use nuclear weapons to end its war in Gaza.

His remarks echoed those of Illinois Congressman Republican Tim Walberg, who suggested in March that the war in Gaza ”should be like Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Get it over quick.”

Graham asserted on the programme Meet the Press that the US decision to “end the war by bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki with nuclear weapons” was “the right decision. 

“Give Israel the bombs they need to end the war they can’t afford to lose,” he added.

As his voice crescendoed, Graham yelled, “Why is it OK for America to drop two nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end their existential threat war? Why was it OK for us to do that? I thought it was OK. To Israel, do whatever you have to do to survive as a Jewish state. Whatever you have to do.”

Graham’s defenders quickly pointed out that he had not actually in so many words called for Israel to use nuclear weapons in Gaza. But the context and vitriol of his remarks were clear.

Graham said US military officials who warned of the greater power of today’s nuclear weapons were “full of crap” and called Senator Bernie Sanders and a group of female members of the US House of Representatives known as the Squad “insane when it comes to how to defend Israel,” adding ominously, “Shut these people down.”

Graham had invoked Hiroshima and Nagasaki in a similarly dismissive vein earlier in the week during a Senate subcommittee hearing, prompting a rebuke from Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa, who called his remarks “not appropriate.”

Kamikawa added that “the use of nuclear weapons does not match the spirit of humanitarianism, which is the ideological foundation of international law, because of their tremendous destructive and lethal power.”

Israel remains an undeclared nuclear state, but likely possesses as many as 200 nuclear weapons, a not-so-well-kept secret that has been exposed on several occasions.

Last November, Israel’s Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu hinted that Israel could consider using nuclear weapons before he was suspended indefinitely by his own government.

Graham, however, like Walberg, remains uncensured for his inflammatory remarks as well as for his allegations against his Democratic colleagues on Capitol Hill.

Linda Pentz Gunter is a writer based in Takoma Park, Maryland.

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