Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of the young guns serving in the U.S. Congress, is just the kind of leader that renews our hope for America's future.
He showed an energy, independence and leadership quality while still a student at Illinois State University, and was elected to his county government board at the age of 20. He served in that role until the 9-11-01 terrorist attacks which led him to sign up for the Air Force.
After earning his pilot's wings, Kinzinger served in the Air Force Special Ops, Air Combat Command, Air Mobility Command, and Air National Guard and was promoted to the rank of major. He was deployed twice to Iraq and flew missions into Afghanistan.
In 2006, the Wisconsin Red Cross named Kinzinger "Hero of the Year" and he also received the United States Air Force Airman's Medal and the National Guard's Valley Forge Cross for Heroism. These honors didn't come for a military action, however, but for wrestling a knife-wielding man to the ground and disarming him after the man had cut the throat of a woman on a street in downtown Madison, Wis. The woman survived.
When asked to comment, Kinzinger had a simple explanation for his heroic act.
"The whole time it was, to me, kind of a done deal that I was going to get stabbed in the process, but I knew that this wasn't something I could wake up to ... everyday with that memory that I watched her die," he said.
Kinzinger was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 where he has maintained a strong conservative voting record. Last week, in a town hall meeting in his home district in Illinois, he made a comment that made national news. It also shook the political aspirations of Hillary Clinton, who was serving as Secretary of State Hillary during the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the American consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya.
That attack, which came in the midst of a hard-fought presidential campaign, was madeby Islamic terrorist with ties to Al Qaeda and claimed the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty.
Kinzinger, who attended the closed-door meeting two days after the attack, said Clinton deliberately deceived lawmakers when she insisted that the attacks were a spontaneous response to a YouTube video. He said that in that briefing, Hillary Clinton "screamed" at a member of Congress who had dared to suggest that this was a terrorist attack.
"I actually sat there in that meeting and believed, well, the secretary actually believes this is a YouTube video because of how passionately she's arguing it," he said. "But we find out that they knew it the whole time that this was a terror attack, including when it was happening."
In the days following the attacks, former U.N. ambassador Susan Rice said intelligence showed they were a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islam video circulating on the Internet. The administration continued to peddle the phony story until finally admitting the event was terrorism. Kinzinger said the exchange of emails during the time referenced the action as a terrorist attack and just proves that "they knew what was going on."
There are still many questions in the Benghazi story that need to be answered. We remember the White House photo showing the president and his inner circle, including Mrs. Clinton, monitoring the attack that night in Benghazi. That action - or inaction by the administration - resulted in four American deaths.
Remember Rep. Kinzinger's response after his heroic rescue of the woman being attacked on the street? He said he didn't want that memory of watching someone die be a part of the rest of his life.
If persons in this administration deliberately hid the truth and played Benghazi for political gain, then it will - and should - continue to haunt them.
By Jim Zbick