How the ‘Three Amigos’ Changed History

How the 'Three Amigos' Changed History

For more than a decade, three U.S. senators traveled the world encouraging America’s role as a defender of liberty and the global order.


Gen. David Petraeus dubbed them “the three amigos.”


The late Sen. John McCain of Arizona, former Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina were the bipartisan troika that ensured the idealistic vision of America as a shining city on a hill had enough soldiers, bullets, and will power to back it up.


“We’re really a band of brothers,” Lieberman told The New York Times.


Together, they urged presidents — both Republican and Democrat — to stand up to tyrants and prove the ideals of America were more than mere words.


Following the deadly attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, McCain and Graham successfully led the campaign in the Senate to block President Obama’s plan to name Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, as Secretary of State. Lieberman was open to considering a Rice nomination, but she eventually withdrew her name from consideration.


In January 2013, the trio became a duo when Sen. Lieberman retired. But Graham and McCain carried on, using the floor of the Senate and the Sunday morning talk shows as bully pulpits to continually urge a more robust U.S. presence abroad.


When Graham learned in July his friend and colleague had received a diagnosis of brain cancer, he declared: “This disease has never had a more worthy opponent.”


Asked to name the greatest accomplishment of the “three amigos,” Graham said it was “giving the surge [in Iraq] a chance, and giving [then-President George W.] Bush political cover to change strategies.”



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