All-Star panel on path forward for US in Iraq

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," June 12, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We're not going to be able to be everywhere all the time. That's part of what the counterterrorism partnership fund that I am going to be calling for Congress to help finance is all about, giving up the capacity to extend our reach without sending U.S. troops to play whack-a-mole wherever there ends up being a problem in a particular country.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: The president said today, asked about Iraq, that he does not rule anything out. After that appearance in the Oval Office the administration did rule something out. They said there will not be any U.S. boots on the ground.

We're back with our panel. If, as we're reporting, General, that there are options being explored. A lot of what they are talking about is the aircraft and the facilities and the fire power that we have given the Iraqis already. Can they fly these missions? Can they do this to defend against these groups, or does it have to be somebody else?

RETIRED GEN. JACK KEANE, FOX NEWS MILITARY ANALYST: No. They are in a very primitive part of their training. They don't have the kind of capacity that we have. And this -- what needs to be done here is not very rocket science in terms of military operation. It is not all that complicated. We haven't an offensive that essentially coming down a single access. We have to stop that offensive. And we have to get them to think through the problem.

I would put General Petraeus on an airplane. He is not most celebrated general in and outside of Iraq. He has huge confidence in him not to run it but to help them think through it and also help pick the good leaders to put back in there that can be effective.

BAIER: But can the Iraqis fly the missions?

KEANE: They cannot effectively. We would have to provide the air component to the ground operation, and both of them need to be coordinated. Here is the hook-in, though. We need people on the ground with the Iraqis to coordinate those aircraft much as we have special forces on the ground, with the Northern Alliance to coordinate the attacks against the Taliban in 2001. This business of never putting boots on the ground, I don't know how you fight effectively ground operations even in support of our friends if we never put boots on the ground.

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: The general makes so much sense that it will go in one of Barack Obama's ears and out the other because he is so committed to the political statements that he made when he ran for reelection in 2012, saying Iraq has won, Iraq is safe, and it's because of me that that happened and I'm bringing the troops home.

BAIER: George?

GEORGE WILL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: The president is, in fact, implementing the foreign policy he promised. It was retrenchment by one word, retreat by another. He is implementing the foreign policy that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton facilitated without expressing any qualms. He is implementing a policy that the American public has said in polls it wants right now. It wants it at least until it gets queasy by looking at the pictures they have been seeing tonight.

BAIER: Juan, when the first -- we talk about this, about the threat of terrorists coming here. There are terrorists in Syria who have U.S. passports and European passports. We assume that some of that goes into Iraq. Is that fully calculated when the president says we can't have them get a permanent foot hold? I mean, do you think that this administration would do something militarily to move these terrorists back?

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I think that's what you are hearing all day today is that they are committed to doing something. The question is what you can do? I mean, as you heard, they have not stopped supplying and training the Iraqi military. They have lots of equipment. The question is --

BAIER: You heard the generals saying the Iraqis can't fly the missions.

WILLIAMS: I'm telling them they can't fly them, and not only that, the military despite the size is ineffective and they are deserting their own military and their leaders. That's the problem. The issue here is, and I think this is what we are coming back to, is the American people legitimately, it's not the president's policy, as George says. It's the American people's policy. We do not want to go to war again.

BAIER: We will be talking about this again guaranteed. Panel, thank you very much.

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