Rep. Adam Kinzinger: Iraq is in 'Worst Case Scenario'

Iraq veterans Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, discuss U.S. military airstrikes in Iraq.
5:01 | 08/17/14

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Transcript for Rep. Adam Kinzinger: Iraq is in 'Worst Case Scenario'
Now to weigh in, two members of congress, both veterans of the Iraq war. Democrat Tulsi gabbard from Hawaii, and Adam Kinzinger, the republican from Illinois headed off to National Guard duty next week. I would like to start with you, congressman. Do you think the U.S. Is doing enough? Well, look, I want to be very care to feel say, it's good that we started doing something. What we're watching in Iraq and Syria, frankly, is the worst-case scenario for the middle east. This cancer that is growing that is consuming all over the place. Back in January, I called for air strikes against Isis, on this show, in fact. When they were just about 1,000 or,000 people. Today, we see them in the tens of thousands. They're only continuing to metastasize. I think what we have begun doing is very good. I think we have to get even bigger and realize that the crushing and the pushing back of Isis not just in Iraq but in Syria is of the utmost priority. And allowing the free Syrian army, who now finds its surrounded by the regime and Isis has got to be emboldened to fight them back. They need the equipment and the weapons. This is the worst case scenario. We have to be involved in stopping this with the Iraqi government. I think we're on the right start. But there's a lot more to do. Troops on the ground? Uh, no. But, you know, look, at the end of the day, I think the defeating of Isis is the mission. And soy think -- and so I think everything has to be on the table for that end result. I understand the president doesn't want to put troops on the ground. I don't either. You can't reintroduce 200,000 American troops. I think special forces embedded with the Iraqi military as the Iraqi military regrows its spine to take its country back will be essential and important. You never publicity take anything off the table, even if you take it off the table privately because it shows the enemy what you're not willing to do. When you show them what you're not willing to do, it makes your movements all that less effective. Congresswoman gabbard, president Obama says he has taken combat troops off the -- out of the equation. Should he have done that? Martha, I think it's important, as we talk about whether or not there should be troops or exactly what tactical strategy should be used going forward, we're missing a critical question here.cd####n what is our mission? What is the United States' mission? What are we trying to accomplish here? Adam and I both enlisted -- joined the military after 9/11 because we heard our nation'sol leaders say after that attack that we would go and take out these islamic extremists wherever they are. We would fight against those waging war against the united States. That stated mission after 9/11 has been lost. As Steve mentioned earlier and as we heard from white house officials last week, they said and I quote, these air strikes are not an authorization of a broad-based counterterrorism campaign against Isis. End of quote. If our mission is not to take them out, then I think we have a real problem here. If we focus on that mission, which I think we should, then we can look at what are the tactics that we need to take them out. Right now, we're seeing in kurdistan, we need to arm the kurds with heavy weapons. Because they are doing the hard work on the ground. They are fighting against Isis. We can augment that with our targeted air strikes. Congressman Kinzinger, briefly, the Isis threat is ju)j how worried are you? Well, you -- about the situation in general, I'm very worried about what is happening. Because, look, the reality is, they have made it very -- very clear they want to strike us in the United States of America. They've made it Leclear that they want to strike Europe. They have the intention and the means. The means being passports. And westerners fighting with Isis with the ability to get back into the United States or Europe. I think we have to have a goal of saying we need to crush Isis. I understand the American people are war-weary. I hear it a lot. But the reality is, after world war ii, harry Truman didn't look at the American people and say, I know you're war-weary. So Russia is Europe's problem. He talked about the bigger issue of what American strength means and what it means for security of our land. And he said, we're going to leave troops in Europe. After losing hundreds of thousands of people. And having an economy based on executing the war, we still stuck it out because we knew the dangers. That's where we are today. The president has to stand up in front of the American people. You may be war-weary, but in five or ten years, we don't want to look back and say, we missed all the signs, all the signals of the intention of these extremists. It is there and it's serious. Congressman. Thank you very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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