Air Force vet Kinzinger slams Cruz over 'al Qaeda's air force' quip

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), a member of the Air National Guard, blasted Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTed Cruz takes aim at Alabama vasectomy bill: 'Yikes' 'Medicare for All' will turn into health care for none Cruz 'impresses' his daughter with Chris Evans meeting MORE (R-Texas) on Wednesday for saying military action in Syria would turn the U.S. military into “al Qaeda's air force.”


“I have heard people say, and it has really bothered me — they say that if we go in and we strike Assad, and make him pay for the use of chemical weapons, more than any benefit he gains, that we are acting as, quote, 'al Qaeda's air force',” Kinzinger said during a House Foreign Affairs panel hearing. “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.”

Kinzinger did not mention Cruz by name, but the senator used that very line in an interview Tuesday on Glenn Beck's show "The Blaze."

Cruz is a leading critic of intervention in Syria, along with fellow Tea Party favorite Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Pelosi names first-ever House whistleblower ombudsman director The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in MORE (R-Ky.).

Kinzinger said Wednesday he backs President Obama's call for military strikes to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime for its alleged use of chemical weapons.

“We certainly don’t have a dog in the fight,” Cruz told "The Blaze." “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 Qaeda’s air force.”

Former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), a leading anti-war Democrat, used identical language in an interview with The Hill last week. 

“So what, we're about to become al Qaeda's air force now?” Kucinich said. “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.”

Please send tips and comments to Julian Pecquet:

Follow us on Twitter: @TheHillGlobal and @JPecquetTheHill