Rep. Adam Kinzinger slammed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz Wednesday for saying an American strike against Syria would make the U.S. military into "al-Qaida's air force."
"I have heard people say, and it has really bothered me — they say that if we go in and we strike [Syrian President] Assad, and make him pay for the use of chemical weapons, more than any benefit he gains, that we are acting as, quote, 'al-Qaida's air force'," the Illinois Republican said during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing Wednesday, according to The Hill
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"And, I believe that is a cheap line by some people to garner headlines and not a serious discussion about what is going on in Syria."
While Kinzinger, a former Air Force veteran, did not mention his GOP colleague by name, he was referring to comments Cruz made during an appearance Tuesday on conservative radio talk show host Glenn Beck's program "The Blaze."
Kinzinger said Wednesday that he supports President Barack Obama's plan to retaliate against the Assad regime for its reported use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians in the Syrian civil war, including children. Cruz, on the other hand, has made it abundantly clear that he does not favor any U.S. military action in Syria, a point emphasized again on the Beck program.
"We certainly don't have a dog in the fight," he said during his appearance Tuesday. "We should be focused on defending the United States of America. That's why young men and women sign up to join the military, not to, as you know, serve as al-Qaida's air force."
Cruz, however, was not the first to equate the use of U.S. military action to degrade Assad's weapons capabilities with helping al-Qaida fighters gain ground in the Syrian conflict. Nearly identical language was used by anti-war Democrat and former Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich in an interview with The Hill last week
"So what, we're about to become al-Qaida's air force now?" Kucinich told the newspaper. "This is a very, very serious matter that has broad implications internationally. And to try to minimize it by saying we're just going to have a 'targeted strike' — that's an act of war. It's not anything to be trifled with."
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