The Washington Times - September 9, 2013, 08:46AM

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Illinois Republican, said the United States has to step up and punish Syrian President Bashar Assad for his alleged use of chemical weapons because if “we’re not doing it, nobody else is.”

Mr. Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran,said the U.S. military can effectively destroy Mr. Assad’s planes and runways.

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“You can take out stuff that, frankly, he doesn’t want to lose,” Mr. Kinzinger told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Despite his support for military action, Mr. Kinzinger said President Obama has mishandled the situation. He said the president should have delayed his visit to the G-20 summit in Europe and presented the case for a military strike himself, instead of using Secretary of State John F. Kerry.

The congressman also said Mr. Obama should have called Congress back from its late-summer recess immediately after the White House gathered evidence of the Aug. 21 chemical attack near Damascus, instead of waiting until this week to debate military action.

Mr. Kinzinger called Mr. Assad a “terrible man,” and the lawmaker said he is not fazed by polling that shows Americans, including those in his district, have no appetite for U.S. military intervention in the Middle East.

He told MSNBC that he was “elected to lead and do the right thing and that it would be too easy to take a “virtual poll” and vote accordingly on every issue before Congress.