All-Star Panel: What is next move for US on Syria?

Insight from 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," June 13, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: When I said that the use of chemical weapons would be a game changer, that wasn't unique to -- that wasn't a position unique to the United States. And it shouldn't have been a surprise. When I am making decisions about America's national security and the potential for taking additional action in response to chemical weapon use, I have got to make sure I have got the fact. That's what the American people would expect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By "game changer" you mean U.S. military action?

OBAMA: By "game changer" I mean that we would have to re-think the range of options that are available to us.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: That was the president in April. After late March, it came out that chemical weapons were supposedly used. We heard the -- we're back with the panel. We heard the House Intelligence chairman saying there was a high probability back then, and Saxby Chambliss saying it goes back a year and a half, something Rogers said, too. What do you think happens, Charles, now?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I think what we need to happen is for Obama to make a decision. If he wants to stay out, he should say so. And then there will be others, perhaps the French, who are the mandatory colonial power in Lebanon, Syria in the past, and had a sort of a historical connection with the Maronites in Lebanon – feel an obligation. Perhaps the French will intervene or the British. There are others in the Gulf who are really very upset about the way Iran, Hezbollah, Syria have this axis now with the Russians behind them who are going to oppose them and dominate them. So there are allies but everybody waits for the United States. When the Gulf War happened in 1990 and there was an invasion of Kuwait, nobody acted. But the minute America said we are going to act with allies or without, everybody else joined the coalition. So nothing happens until he says. But he has to say. And unless he does, I think it's going to be a Hamlet performance. And you know what happens at the end of Hamlet. Everybody dies.

BAIER: Nina?

NINA EASTON, COLUMNIST, FORTUNE MAGAZINE: I think there is going to be a move forward simply because of these new appointments. Samantha Power ambassador to the U.N. and Susan Rice both were advocates for intervening in Libya on humanitarian grounds. And I thought it was very telling that this president, once again, decided on humanitarian grounds the death of 150 people, you know, as Kirsten points out, versus the 90,000 who have died just by letting this thing drag on, that the region in turmoil and under the weight of these refugees. But I do think he is hearing that voice to intervene for humanitarian reasons. That's a voice that's around him more than it was before.

BAIER: Kirsten?

KIRSTEN POWERS, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK POST: Yeah. At this point the humanitarian argument is not the argument. The argument is what are our interests in this region? And that's what Ben Rhodes said today that they would do whatever is in our interest. And, look, when the president comes out and said there is a red line, he is telling the region, wait, I'm going to do something. So, I agree with Charles. If he is not going to do anything, he just needs to say that and let our allies decide what they want to do moving forward.

BAIER: Sure. But the first red line was long, long ago.

POWERS: Right.

BAIER: OK, final thoughts with the panel when we come back.

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