NPR: Rep. Adam Kinzinger on Iran

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Washington, June 22, 2019 | comments
NPR's Scott Simon talks with Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger about President Trump calling for and then canceling military strikes against Iran.


This week, President Trump set in motion an attack on Iran after a U.S. drone was shot down, but says he canceled the missile strike with just little time to spare. Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois called that decision a mistake. Congressman Kinzinger was also an Air Force pilot and a member of the House Foreign Relations Committee. He joins us now.

Congressman, thanks so much for being with us.

ADAM KINZINGER: Yeah, you bet. Thanks for having me.

SIMON: What do you see as the risks of the president reversing himself?

KINZINGER: Who look at - you know, the president has every right, obviously, to not strike and to make whatever decision. I disagreed with the decision to not strike. I think, you know, we have to put it in context - this wasn't a drone that your uncle's flying in the backyard at, you know, July Fourth. This is a $200 million asset. If Iran would've misidentified, which is easy to do, this easily could've been an airplane with 30 American soldiers on it, American airmen. And it's the cost of losing, basically, 10 at 16. That's what it is to us.

So I thought he should've struck. That said, the problem yesterday wasn't that he didn't as much. It was how he played this out so publicly. It was this idea that, I had made a decision, and then I found out about the casualties and I reversed myself. Everybody knows casualties are put up very front of the strike package. And so there was a lot of question, and it seemed like indecision. And so that's where I think, more than the not striking, there's the risk of, frankly, inviting further aggression.

SIMON: But are you saying that indecision is worse than making a bad decision?

KINZINGER: I think so. In this case, I think - not - he could've waited. He could've, you know, paused. He could've looked at all the options. There's nothing wrong with that. Obviously, you want a president that takes his time to think through these issues.

But where the concern is - it looks sort of - I don't know - whipsaw to basically take it up to 10 minutes before, then find out, you know, 150 people up to - I think that's actually a pretty high number, quite honestly, you know, on what I know about service there.

More from the interview can be found on the NPR website here.

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