A first-term Republican congressman forcefully condemned a comment by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, R, likening military intervention in Syria to acting as "al Qaeda's air force."
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., on Wednesday offered some of the most forceful Republican backing of President Barack Obama's desire for congressional approval for military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.
But the congressman -- a member of the Air Force national guard -- saved his sharpest language for Cruz, a fellow Republican. The Texas senator, an opponent of Obama's proposed intervention in Syria, said Tuesday on TheBlaze.TV that "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 in Al Qaeda's air force."
Before questioning Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at a House Foreign Relations Committee this afternoon, Kinzinger sniped back.
"I believe that is a cheap line by some people to garner headlines and not a serious discussion of what's going on in Syria," the Illinois Republican said.
Though he condemned the president's overall foreign policy, Kinzinger echoed the administration in arguing that Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons crossed a well-established international norm, rather than a "red line" standard established by Obama himself.
Still, Kinzinger's barbs toward Cruz reflect the GOP's ongoing internal dysphoria regarding military intervention abroad, as a new generation of elected Republicans like Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul have vocally opposed action against Syria.
This story was originally published on Wed Sep 4, 2013 3:21 PM EDT