(CNSNews.com) - In announcing that he has authorized limited airstrikes in Iraq, President Obama told the nation Thursday night that he won't allow the United States to be "dragged into fighting another war in Iraq."
That may be true, but it's a mistake to say it, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told "Fox & Friends" on Friday:
"I would never take the idea of boots-on-the-ground off the table. You can do it personally, but to say it, you're only telegraphing to the enemy what we won't do, which gives them an opportunity to do what they need to do," said Kinzinger, an Iraq war veteran.
"The reality is, we can't pick the world that we live in. And we live in a world with very evil people that want to kill us, that want to kill our families, and want to right now create a genocide on 40,000 ethnic minorities."
In his nationally televised speech, President Obama said, "I know that many of you are rightly concerned about any American military action in Iraq, even limited strikes like these. I understand that. I ran for this office in part to end our war in Iraq and welcome our troops home, and that’s what we’ve done.
"As Commander-in-Chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq," he insisted. "And so even as we support Iraqis as they take the fight to these terrorists, American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq, because there’s no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq. The only lasting solution is reconciliation among Iraqi communities and stronger Iraqi security forces."
Kinzinger, who has been calling for airstrikes in Iraq for eight months, said he welcomes Obama's cautious "toe-in-the-water" step, but he warned it won't be enough:
"I commend this, but look, this is going to be more than just creating humanitarian corridors or saving the 40,000 on the mountain right now. This is going to continue to happen until ISIS is crushed, and this is only going to grow. They're not going to stop. Their blood lust is not going to be satisfied.
Kinzinger said the United States "has to provide air power to Iraqi troops" if they're going to reclaim their territory.
"This is going to continue to spiral out of control, and the longer he takes to make the decision that ISIS is a very bad group and has to be destroyed, both in Iraq and Syria, by the way, this is only going to continue to get worse."
Kinzinger noted that there are hundreds of people with Western passports fighting for ISIS who soon will be returning to Europe and the United States with the goal of launching terror attacks.
Crushing ISIS "is in our core interest, not only to prevent genocide, not only to save people, but to protect our homeland here. This is dead serious."
Kinzinger said he's surprised to hear Obama talk about the American people being war weary, when U.S. troops are the ones who should be war-weary -- yet they are the ones saying, "We have to defeat this, we have to protect the homeland."
"The military members I know -- I still serve -- do not like to see this happen, and frankly understand that this is a major threat to their homeland and their families -- and we're ready to crush it."
Kinzinger said, "It's time for the president to stand up and say, 'America, I know you're tired, but it is in our national interest, because in ten years, history's going to judge us very, very harshly."