All-Star Panel: Reaction to ISIS video of Jordanian pilot execution

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," February 3, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


ABDULLAH II, JORDANIAN KING (via translator): In these difficult moments it is the duty of all Jordanian citizens to stand united, to show strength of this people in fighting this group. This will only give us more strength and resistance.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It is just one more indication of the viciousness and barbarity of this organization. And it, I think, will redouble the vigilance and determination on the part of a global coalition to make sure that they are degraded and ultimately defeated.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Those two leaders meeting right now in the Oval Office, President Obama and King Abdullah of Jordan. This reaction of the Jordanian pilot burned alive. The video hitting today, but we are told by Jordanian authorities that the killing, the murder actually happened one month ago today, January 3, in a slickly produced 22 minute video.  Meantime, in Jordan there is reaction already.        




BAIER: Crowds are chanting for revenge for the death. How does this change the equation in that region? How does it change it for Jordan?  What happens next? Let's bring in our panel, and syndicated columnist George Will, Mara Liasson, National Political Correspondent of National Public Radio, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. George?

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, the Islamic State has evidently decided that mere beheadings are banal and that they need some bigger shock value. The question is, to what end? What is the shock supposed to accomplish? If it's supposed to demoralize Jordan, we have had a lot of experience with this. We've tried saturation bombing of Germany in the Second World War and it had no effect that we could predict or wanted on declining German morale.

If it's supposed to recruit people, who is going to be recruited by this that wasn't recruited if you are after sadism by beheading? Maybe we think this will cause some states to flinch from their policy of not dealing with terrorists and not negotiating over hostages and they can go back to making money from ransoming these people. I have no idea. What puzzles me -- there's one fear and one puzzlement. The fear is wait until they get ahold of an American. And this Jordanian was in a plane that was shot down, and we have men in planes over there. We were propelled into a war once over the bombing of the Maine. I can imagine what the American reaction would be.

BAIER: By all accounts they have one, a woman.

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Yes, by all accounts. The other thing that I think this will do is I think it will make it impossible for them to get any ransom because they were asking for a deal after they had already killed him. In other words, they wanted this Iraqi female suicide bomber in exchange for him after they had already killed him. So, they have no credibility at all in terms of being negotiators. This could be a turning point. You only know a turning point in hindsight. But Jordan sounds like it wants to redouble its efforts to fight ISIS. Hopefully, other countries in the Middle East will do the same. And hopefully we will step up our efforts, too.

BAIER: Multiple sources tonight, Catherine reported this earlier, saying that she has been moved from death row and will be executed by dawn. This is the prisoner, Sajida al-Rishawi, the failed suicide bomber you are talking about. And there she is, said to be executed tomorrow.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: But there's a fourth possible objective, and I think it is ISIS' objective -- destabilize its neighbors.  Jordan is a miracle in the region. It's the most stable regime, yet it's the weakest. It has no oil, and yet since for the last 70 years it has had only three rulers. But it has had huge divisions internally. It has got a lot of Muslim Brotherhood. It has some ISIS sympathizers. And I think the objective here was to draw Jordan into a war where it was a peripheral player.

And this highlights, I think, the danger. We all worship at the shrine of multilateralism, broad coalitions, bring everybody in. As a way to restrict American action Obama is now involving the UAE, the Saudis, and of course the Jordanians, and now we see the result. Jordan being drawn into a direct war with ISIS is not a good thing for us. Jordan will not defeat ISIS on its own. It wouldn't even defeat ISIS even if it had some coalition partners. It's the United States, essentially, or Turkey perhaps, the only partners. So here we are bringing in Jordan for symbolic reasons, yet a real pilot is shot down in real time and then executed in this horrible way, causing a reaction in Jordan where the king is now on the spot. He had to do something intense, important, punishing, and that will draw him. And he's got refugees from, of course, Palestine, but of course Syria, Iraq.  He has got a lot of internal dissent which we have seen over the years.  And this is a way to stir the cauldron in a country that is stable, was stable, but is easily destabilized. And that's what ISIS is after.

BAIER: 1.5 million refugees, George. And as you look at a map of that region, they are essentially surrounded by a growing Islamic State.  They are still, we're told, the only Arab nation still dropping bombs in Syria. You had this larger coalition that was doing it, but now they are left with the U.S., and second on the bombing runs behind the U.S.

WILL: Well, if Charles is right – and he may well be -- about the inadvisability of letting Jordan get into this, then we have to rethink our idea of what asymmetric warfare is doing in the Middle East. What is the point of all these military forces? According to the CIA there are now about 31,000 Islamic State fighters. The Jordanian army consists of 110,000 of what they call active front line personnel.  The Jordanian army consists of 110,000 what they call active frontline personnel. They have 1,300 tanks. They have 4,600 armored fighting vehicles, 116 fixed wing aircrafts. What are their militaries for?

KRAUTHAMMER: The Jordanian army is a Bedouin army. And the Bedouins are a minority in Jordan. Overwhelmingly Palestinian, who are ambivalent -- and now Syrian and Iraqi, Jordan is not going to be the instrument that's going to liberate Syria. If there is going to be one it will either be the United States or Turkey. Turkey is a serious country with a serious military. It isn't a construction which Jordan is. It's a real country. And getting Turkey in should have been our objective. And we have not succeeded in doing it and that is the failure of our diplomacy.

BAIER: You are going to have a coalition meeting at some point of these countries to deal with this. It seems like it has been a bit delayed here perhaps because of the Saudi king and the transition there. But let me ask you about Congress. Are they going to move forward? Senator Corker says they are going to have an AUMF -- Authorization of Military Force -- but the administration seems to be dragging its feet.

LIASSON: Well, they need an AUMF. Everybody says the want one. The administration wants one. Congress wants one. They have got to pass this thing. They are going forward without it, but Congress should do its duty and pass one and work it out with the administration. I don't see – of all the things that are on Congress's plate, this one should not be that difficult.

WILL: But it really falls to presidents to say what they want to authorize force against. Roosevelt didn't go before Congress after Pearl Harbor and say I want to declare war. You guys decide on whom. He said this is the day of infamy. We are going to do the following.

BAIER: You think they don't know?

WILL: It's a very difficult to write that authorization of military force because we don't know all the places where we are going to wind up fighting the Islamic State, including the failed state of Libya which is a product of our own policy.

KRAUTHAMMER: That is why I think we ought to revise and to bring back the anachronism of actually declaring war. If we say only Iraq and Syria, you are right. There is ISIS in other places. It is not going to be allowed to go after ISIS. The idea I think is to declare war as we used to do 70 years ago and say ISIS, Islamic State, and that means against a certain entity anywhere it is. And it gives you all kinds of rights as a belligerent that you wouldn't otherwise have. Why not do it that way and revive the constitutional way of this?

BAIER: Is this a turning point or not?

KRAUTHAMMER: It should be. I don't know if it will be.

LIASSON: It should be.

BAIER: For the record the last time we declared war was against Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary in 1942, many wars ago.

KRAUTHAMMER: And we beat them.

WILL: Yes.

BAIER: This could go on for hours. Next up, the politics of measles and vaccines.

Content and Programming Copyright 2015 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.

Show Transcripts

Search Special Report Articles & Transcripts

View All Transcripts