Tags: Iraq in Crisis | Kinzinger | Ruppersberger | ISIS | strategy

Rep. Kinzinger: 'Are We Going to Contain ISIS or Crush ISIS?'

By Sandy Fitzgerald   |   Sunday, 31 Aug 2014 12:42 PM

Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger says there is one main question when it comes to how to handle the violent Islamic State terror threat: "Are we going to contain ISIS or crush ISIS."

Kinzinger, an Iraq war veteran, who appeared with Maryland Democratic Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger on CNN's "State of the Union," has advocated since early this year to go in after ISIS.

"If you want to contain ISIS you engage them in Iraq," Kinzinger said, noting that he commends President Barack Obama for ordering airstrikes.

"That wasn't easy for him to do," he said. "It was the right thing to break the sieges and push back the momentum, and air power actually works."

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Kinzinger said the Iraqi security forces, when working in coordination with U.S. airstrikes, "are our boots on the ground, folks that are native to that area and have an interest."

But even the U.S. military, when engaged in combat, calls for air power to "crush the enemy," said Kinzinger.

Ruppersberger said the first objective is to protect Americans.

"We got into Iraq because we had humanitarian issues we had to deal with and we have to stop ISIS," he said. "It's a very dangerous group of people. We know they are barbaric but well-funded, well-organized and we have to make sure that we attempt to stop them."

Meanwhile, Ruppersberger agrees that a plan is needed to stop the threat of ISIS, and said that won't happen just because of pressure from the media.

"You just don't come in and bomb unless you know where you are, who you are going to get, you don't want collateral damage killing other people," he said. "When the time is right we'll do what we have to do."

A coalition is also needed to help defeat ISIS, and that doesn't just include western countries, but also other nations such as Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries, said Ruppersberger.

Kinzinger, agreeing with Ruppersberger, pointed out that he called for strikes against ISIS when it first moved into Fallujah, and he was "called a warmonger."

But had the United States engaged ISIS then, "we probably wouldn't be on your show talking about it today," Kinzinger told Crowley. "I think it will take a very concerted effort. The president has talked about trying to put together a strategy in Syria. It was unfortunate he used the term we have no strategy in Syria."

He agreed with Ruppersberger that the United States needs to understand where its targets are.

"The problem is, half the battle in this is public perception, and not just public perception of the American public but our enemy," he said. "What is our enemy thinking after the president's press conference the other day? Were they more worried about the United States of America or less worried?"

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