Senator Lindsey Graham (R-John McCain’s sad shadow), a man loathed by conservatives for supporting immigration reform and loathed by non-conservatives for supporting all wars everywhere forever, is running for president. CNN reports that Graham “hopes that his track record on foreign affairs will give him the advantage in a wide-open primary fight.”

In elite Washington, Graham is considered a foreign policy sage because he always, invariably supports foreign adventurism. His “track record on foreign affairs” includes fervent support for the Iraq War, just one of the many wars Graham would like America to wage and continue waging as long as possible. He’s called for American military action in Libya, in Syria, and in Iran, and he has flirted with the idea of escalating hostilities against Russia, because while a cold war may not be as fun was a regular war, it is still a war.

One might think that this man who loves war so much must have fought in one of them. Indeed, for years, Graham encouraged people to believe that he had. Funny story: He hadn’t.

Graham was in the Air National Guard during the Persian Gulf War. His service never took him out of South Carolina, but when he entered politics, he referred to himself as a “veteran.” In 1998, the truth came out. From a 1998 Associated Press story (via Bob Somerby):

ASSOCIATED PRESS (2/19/98): U.S. Rep. Lindsey Graham’s military service record has been called into question because the Republican congressman, who never went overseas, calls himself as a Gulf War veteran.

Graham’s Internet web site biography lists him as an Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm veteran, although he never got closer to the war than McEntire Air National Guard Base near Columbia [South Carolina] where he was a military lawyer.

Graham never claimed to have seen combat, but the wording of his biography certainly didn’t discourage people from believing he had. It had the intended result, as seen in this 1998 story from The Hill (via Media Matters):

Yet almost all of the standard political biographies about Graham describe his military record inaccurately. “USAF, 1990, Pursian (sic) Gulf” is how Who’s Who in America and affiliated biographical books list him. The Almanac of American Politics states that Graham “was called up to active duty and served in the Gulf War.”

In 2002, as Graham was running for Senate, his biography still claimed he was a “veteran,” and it still regularly led to him being described as one in the press.

Now that he’s officially a presidential candidate, it is time to thank Lindsey Graham for his service (creating fodder for blog posts).

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