Sen. Lindsey Graham said he’s ‘tired of the s*** show’ and that the US and Germany should send tanks to Ukraine: ‘World order is at stake’

Jan 22, 2023

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks with reporters about aid to Ukraine, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, March 10, 2022, in Washington. 
Alex Brandon/Associated Press
  • Sens. Lindsey Graham, Richard Blumenthal, and Sheldon Whitehouse were in Kyiv on Friday.
  • After meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Graham urged the West to send tanks.
  • “Putin is trying to rewrite the map of Europe by force of arms,” Graham said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham urged the US and Germany to send tanks to the Ukrainian military during a visit to Kyiv on Friday, as Western defense officials meeting in Germany failed to agree on sending the weapons.

The South Carolina Republican visited Ukraine along with Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. The three lawmakers, who have been supportive of sending additional aide to Ukraine, met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“All three of us, one Republican and two Democrats, share the same goal — for Ukraine to drive the Russians out of Ukraine. To achieve that goal, the Ukrainian military needs tanks,” Graham said during a press conference after the meeting and on Twitter. “I am tired of the shit show surrounding who is going to send tanks and when are they going to send them. Putin is trying to rewrite the map of Europe by force of arms. World order is at stake.”

Graham’s request came as American and German defense officials have been unable to agree on sending battle tanks to Ukraine. Kyiv has called for NATO and other European countries to send German-made Leopard 2 tanks, but doing so requires Germany’s approval, as Insider’s Jake Epstein previously reported.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said he does not want to authorize sending the German-made tanks to Ukraine unless the US sends its own tanks, according to several reports. Kyiv has also called on the US to send powerful M1 Abrams tanks, but President Joe Biden has avoided doing so.

Western defense officials who met in Germany on Friday failed to come to an agreement on the matter, sparking criticism from officials in Ukraine and Poland. But officials from both the US and Germany suggested the latter may still authorize the Leopards to be sent and that in the meantime Germany would do an inventory of its own tanks. Poland has also said it may even send its Leopard tanks to Ukraine without Berlin’s approval.

“To the Germans: Send tanks to Ukraine because they need them. It is in your own national interest that Putin loses in Ukraine,” Graham said Friday. “To the Biden Administration: Send American tanks so that others will follow our lead.”

10 comments

  1. The history books in the future will have a tough time to ascertain who the bigger coward was in this war; Biden or Scholz. What do you think?

  2. Mr Graham has been making all the running for the GOP in terms of Ukraine for some time now. First it was Marco Rubio, then Roger Wicker and now Mr Graham, who is now my first choice for president. McConnell also is very sound but is in the Biden age category. Unfortunately turds like Trump and DiSantis are currently in pole position for next year.
    It seems that the Biden administration are using the excessive fuel argument for blocking M1’s, which is obviously bogus.
    Biden could call Scholz’s bluff and send say, 50 M1’s. Scholz would then have to comply.
    I want Britain to send all our “Challys.” That would also force the issue.
    NFZ is now slowly becoming a key issue that must be addressed and actioned.
    We do not want Ukraine to be overrun by putler’s vermin.

    • The fuel consumption argument is none. The M-1 can use a number of fuel types, other than kerosene, like diesel, various types of jet fuel, heating oil and gasoline, making it more versatile than any other tank. The fuel issue is a very lame argument.

      • I don’t think it is a bad argument, as I think the Leopard 2 is better suited as Ukraine doesn’t lack fuel but trucks to get it where it is needed. The Ukrainian supply is “adequate” at best.

        Ukraine has no experience with such heavy drinkers. Leopards 2 are closer to what they have in terms of tonnage and fuel efficiency at the expense of armour.

        I don’t think the Abrams would do badly in Ukraine, but I do think a Ukrainian officer would prefer fuel efficiency and mobility considering the terrain and because Ukrainian supply is nowhere near as good as the Americans which probably are the world champions at logistics.

        And a modern anti-tank weapon, which the Russians also have, can disable or destroy any tank, no matter how good it is. I mean, against the Taliban I would prefer an Abram as with RPG’s and small arms fire it is impossible to destroy an Abram, but in Ukraine you’ll equally dead if you get hit by an enemy tank shell or modern anti-tank missile.

        In Ukraine it is mostly about not being hit first and both the Leopard 2 and Abram can destroy any Russian tank before they even notice they have been targeted.

        I mean, Abrams are better tanks overall but they require more adjustments for Ukraine to field them and use them properly, while Leopards can be fielded relatively easily.

        Of course I do not buy the argument that we shouldn’t send Abrams because Leopards 2 are better for Ukraine, we should send everything we can: Leclercs, Leopards, Challengers and Abrams.

        Any tank is a compromise between armour, armaments and mobility as even the Americans cannot beat physics, but it should never be used as an argument for inaction and not send anything.

        • The argument Abrams vs Leopard has been an ongoing one for some time now. A main feature has always been fuel consumption. I agree that the leopard is more fuel efficient than an Abrams. However, a tank is not an economy-sized automobile. It is a fighting machine. For the sake of a simplified argument, we can ignore the pro and cons of armor, main gun, optics, electronics, and so forth. Both types are very good in all categories. The weight difference is not that much either, so we can ignore this too.
          Fuel consumption is only one part of the over all picture. While it is true that a tank using less is better off in this respect, the tank that uses a wide range of fuels is just as good, while it uses more. If the difficult logistic system fails for some reason, an Abrams can use other fuels that are available. I think that it is not necessary to mention the advantage of not having to wait for diesel, when there is gasoline available or some other burnable liquid of suitable quality. In an emergency, you can drain the gas tanks of cars or use gasoline from a nearby gas station, or the fuel at a local airport, or whatever is in the heating tanks in homes and apartment buildings.
          I don’t know what you mean by having to make adjustments, Bert. The M-1 is designed to be usable in a wide range of terrains and climates. The maintenance issue, if you meant that, is no argument. Ukrainians have shown to be very adept at fixing things. Like in the Leopard, the Abrams power unit can be quickly and easily removed from the chassis. If they can repair helicopter and fighter jet engines, they also can fix the Abrams engine too. Indeed, Ukraine has a turbine/jet engine manufacturing industry of its own.
          I also don’t buy the terrain and mobility issue. The Abrams does quite well as any other tank in its weight category. Besides that, the vast majority of eastern Ukraine, where the fighting is taking place, is flat. No issues can be expected when rolling over flat terrain. Here, the long-range firepower comes to play. A feature that suits the Abrams very well.
          Having said all of that, any of the current modern Western types of MBTs would be welcome by the Ukrainians; Leopards, Abrams, Challengers, Leclercs, Merkavas, K2s…. The only issue here, as usual, is the damned quantity. Fourteen of this here and ten of that there just doesn’t cut it.

            • No, Red. According to Wiki, the heaviest M-1 weighs 66.8 metric tons and the heaviest Leo 2 66.5.

          • Facts show the turbine-powered M1 requires unscheduled maintenance over five times as often as the diesel M60 tank.

            As long as the MH/H (maintenance hours per operating hours) figures are high, so are the availability (Avlb) figures.

            In other words, without the regular and demanding maintenance, they will be useless. The info I read says M777s are generally considered highly reliable but the Ukrainians find them “too gentle”. If M777 maintenance is a challenge…

            Here is an example of adjustments (not disqualifying of course)…

            The M1’s operator’s manual specifically warns that falling leaves and/or snow can be sucked into the air intake during normal operations. Both can require organizational maintenance. And if the tank crew attempts to clear snow and ice from the intake system, they may damage it

            Also, the M1 is the only series of tanks in the world that has permanently bonded (non-removable) rubber track pads. While this saves over a ton in weight, it makes the M1 very difficult to maneuver in mud, snow or ice, according to Army test results. On most other tanks, including the German Leopard II, the rubber pads are removable

            As for fuel, the facts are that it takes 128 support vehicles assigned to each battalion of 58 M1A1 tanks.

            I think Ukraine (and democracy) deserve a chance though to try them and see. The US does know how to maintain them and perhaps remote support guidance could help keep them in working order.

            • Regardless of issues with the M-1, the fact is that all the other tanks have their own. And, all in all, just about any Western tank is far better than what the ruskies are using. So, I agree with you that Ukraine deserves a chance to try them. It’s not that they’re getting hundreds.

What is your opinion?