Tags: kinzinger | iraq | isis | air | strikes

Kinzinger: ISIS Makes al-Qaida 'Look Like a Bunch of Kitty Cats'

By Sandy Fitzgerald   |   Sunday, 15 Jun 2014 03:02 PM

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria "makes al-Qaida look like a bunch of kitty cats" and it's in the best interest of the United States to stop the militant group's activities in Iraq, says Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger.

"I just want to say to that, if the establishment of a caliphate by an organization that makes al-Qaida look like a bunch of kitty cats is not in the United States' national interest to stop it, I don't know what is," said Kinzinger on CNN's "State of the Union" show on Sunday.

Immediate action by the Obama administration would help stop the attacks and give the besieged Iraqi government "breathing space" to help its fight against a "worst-case scenario."

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And if that includes military action, "the U.S. military is not some weak animal that need nurturing. We are very fierce and very good at what we do," said Kinzinger, a veteran of the war in Iraq.

At the same time, he's not sure that air strikes are "necessarily the panacea," but the United States, still should take action.

"This isn't new," said Kinzinger. "We're acting like we're caught by surprise. This has been in action for quite some time."

He acknowledged there are many tough sectarian issues in Iraq and Syria, but that should not be a reason to take no action.

"Yes, there are some real tough sectarian issues going on in Syria and Iraq, but this is the same argument that we heard when it came to the surge," said Kinzinger. "Everybody said, well, we can't do the surge in Iraq because this is just a sectarian civil war. We saw great success with the surge despite some people's attempt to redefine the surge as a failure. We had the war won."

Kinzinger also admitted the American people are war weary, and have "a right to be," but America's leaderships have no right to be.

"Leadership is about doing the right thing, even if it's tough," said Kinzinger. "I'm glad that Truman at the end of World War II didn't say America is too war weary, we can't leave a residual force in Europe, because Russia would be twice as big as it is today."

Leadership, said Kinzinger, may mean leading a "war weary public to the point of saying this is a national interest, we have to do it. Not standing in front of people saying I know you're tired, I know you're tired."

And as for negotiating with ISIS, Kinzinger said, "ISIS doesn't negotiate. They kill."

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