All-Star Panel: US delays shipment of F-16's to Egypt

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," July 24, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: We are reviewing our obligations under the law and are consulting with Congress about the way forward. Given the current situation in Egypt, we do not believe it is appropriate to move forward with the delivery of F-16's at this time.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: So the U.S. is not sending four F-16's to Egypt now.  Opposition members, some diplomats in the gulf, saying this sends the wrong signal to the Muslim Brotherhood on the streets, perhaps saying that they could come back into power because the administration did not react when President Morsi of Egypt ripped up the constitution, they say, or dissolved the Supreme Court there. Here is, again, from our show, one of the opposition tied members who talked to us a few weeks ago.


RAMY YAACOUB, FORMER FREE EGYPTIAN PARTY CHIEF OF STAFF: I feel that the Obama administration had a golden opportunity to be the hero or a hero at least in this entire process. But, unfortunately, the performances viewed by the average Egyptian is subpar.


BAIER: And maybe more so tonight. Back with the panel. Steve, what about this?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, I think you have to be concerned about the timing, just as you suggest, because I think that will raise questions among our allies in the region. However, I think it's fine if the Obama administration is doing something like this just to show that we can still do this.

Now, as a long-term strategy, I think suspending aid or withholding aid is not what we want to be doing. But, as a short-term strategy this is something that we should have been doing a lot more not only when Morsi was running the show in Egypt but under Mubarak as well. We should be conditioning our aid on good behavior.

BAIER: Sure. I guess the point they are making is that they didn't do it when Morsi was heading towards Islamic dictatorship and now they are doing it when it when this interim government is standing up, albeit at the hands of the military taking Morsi out of power.

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: Right. Many in Congress wanted this to be blocked in December of 2012, and the Obama administration went through with it anyway.  I think right now this is literally while they continue to assess whether or not a military coup actually took place and continue to dodge whether or not they have reached a conclusion and dodge a response, I actually see this as a temporary measure. We have clearly cast our lot, our government with the military. The long path to a stable Egypt does not begin with us just separating from the military.

I think that they made it clear that they haven't come to an official conclusion on whether or not it was a coup, and we're not going to cut off all $1.3 billion in aid. I think those F-16's get there another day. I could be wrong, but I think that's just why they did it just to cool things down.

BAIER: One of the poll questions, Charles, is the United States losing some ground and some standing in the world? Yes, it is, 82 percent, as you see in the latest Fox News poll. Republicans obviously at 91 percent, but Democrats, 72 percent.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: One of the reasons is the kind of cluelessness that this decision demonstrates. This administration has no idea what it's doing in Egypt. It will occasionally stumble on the right idea, as it did after the coup when it did nothing. At least that was a smart thing to do.

But, as you said, for the year of the Morsi administration where it was dismantling the democracy, declaring the ruling by decree, we did nothing. We actually supported the government. Our ambassador spoke out against these demonstrations which were the largest demonstrations in the history of Egypt. Perhaps it happened under Ramses II against Sphinx building, I'm not sure. But you had the whole country rising up saying we don't want the Brotherhood.

The only hope for a good outcome in Egypt is supporting the interim government. And what does the administration do? Send a signal it's not happy, send a signal that the Brotherhood will read as a measure of support, stupid mistake.

BAIER: Strong letter to follow.

KRAUTHAMMER: Abso -- I didn't even start to articulate my feelings.

BAIER: That is it for the panel, but stay tuned for some horseplay at a neighborhood pub.

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