U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk on Tuesday urged President Barack Obama to “bomb the hell” out of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, as the Illinois Republican offered sobering advice to family members of those held captive by the Islamic militant group.
“I would say to any family member: If your family member is in ISIS’ hands, it’s not likely that person’s going to return,” said Kirk.
The junior senator from Illinois made the comments in the wake of video surfacing on Tuesday showing the beheading of a second journalist, Steven J. Sotloff, 31, who was captured in northern Syria about a year ago.
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Kirk said the only way to prevent further beheadings of journalists was to stop the flow of reporters into ISIS-held territories. He wants the U.S. to talk to Turkey about potentially blocking journalists from crossing the border into Syria or Iraq.
“ISIS is in charge of a couple a million people so they can behead people at will,” Kirk said. “There is a hope that I have of drying up the supply of western journalists. Just encouraging anybody showing up there to leave so they are not used as propaganda toys with their own heads …We can work with the Turks to cut off the supply of free journalists to the area.
“The president should bomb the hell out of them to end this,” Kirk said in an availability following a joint news event with Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner. “I think if we can take effective military action against ISIS, we should do that.”
Kirk, a former intelligence officer, acknowledged that the U.S. must first intensify its strategy before dropping bombs.
“If you look at the emerging strategy of the president it seems to be to hold the Iraqi capital and the Kurd capital — Baghdad and Erbil. If he’s laying out a defensive strategy to hold these two capitals, ISIS will have to mass to lay siege to these two capitals,” Kirk said. “When they mass, they become very juicy targets for air bombers.”