In Ukraine, Graham Urges Expanded Conscription Despite Mounting War Fatigue

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Mar 19, 2024 - 11:45 AM

On his latest of far too many visits to Ukraine, Sen. Lindsey Graham on Monday urged legislators to expand the pool of citizens subject to being drafted and thrown into the country's losing war against Russia, saying, "We need more people in the line." 

The Ukrainian military accepts voluntary enlistments from those 18 and older. However, in stark contrast to Americans' experience with military drafts, Ukraine exempts men under 27 from being conscripted. Since December, the country's legislature has been considering lowering the minimum draft age to 25, to meet the military's projected need for upwards of a half-million more soldiers. 

“I would hope that those eligible to serve in the Ukrainian military would join. I can’t believe [conscription age starts] at 27,” Graham told the press. “You’re in a fight for your life, so you should be serving — not at 25 or 27.”

Of course, Ukrainians are generally only "fighting for their lives" once they're shipped east to fight an American-cultivated proxy war over territory that, as David Stockman puts it, "has been either a Russian vassal or appendage for centuries and where the term 'Ukraine' actually means 'borderlands' in Russian."

On a trip to Ukraine last May, Graham gleefully crowed that "the Russians are dying" and that aid to Zelensky's government is "the best money we ever spent." 

For at least a decade, Graham has been a chief Senate cheerleader for military aid to Ukraine. In February, however, he made an abrupt about-face, opposing the latest White House request for outright aid and instead embracing former President Trump's position that future help should come in the form of loans. “I talked to President Trump today and he’s dead set against this package,” Graham said on the Senate floor when announcing his momentous opposition to a $60 billion aid bill. 

In Kiev this week, Graham reiterated his advocacy of loans:  

“I was very direct with President Zelensky. You can expect me to always be in your corner, but it’s not unfair for me to ask you and other allies: Pay us back down the road, if you can. I think the loan idea is going to be pretty popular, not just among Republicans but also among Democrats.”

Graham's "if you can" qualifier speaks volumes, signaling a coming bait-and-switch. He is advocating "no-interest, waivable" loans. The odds they'll ever be paid back are vanishingly small. In the present, however, the structure gives some cover to politicians facing an American electorate increasingly fed up with throwing money at a war that has nothing to do with US interests. 

On a 2022 trip to Kiev, Senators Blumenthal and Graham presented Pres. Zelensky with a framed copy of the resolution they introduced to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terror (Graham's press office)

With new aid of any kind still stalled -- except for the Biden administration resorting to creative accounting maneuvers to magically scare up another $300 million last week -- Graham told reporters on Monday that he was “more optimistic than I’ve ever been that something will get out of the House pretty soon.” 

At the same time, Graham told Ukrainians, "No matter what we do, you should be fighting. No matter what we do, you’re fighting for you." In addition to having postponed elections, the purported beacon-of-freedom Ukraine forbids men between age 18 and 60 from leaving the country. 

Graham is among the most relentless and reckless of DC warmongers, as a sampling of ZeroHedge headlines from just the last year confirms:  

He isn't quite a full-fledged chickenhawk: He served 33 years as an Air Force and USAF Reserve officer -- but as a lawyer. His mobilization for the first Gulf War saw him dispatched not across the world but to a National Guard base in his home state of South Carolina where he churned out wills for service members deploying to the war zone.