'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable I

ABC News' Terry Moran, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, and Greta Van Susteren discuss the crisis in Iraq.
6:25 | 06/22/14

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Transcript for 'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable I
Some in my party have distorted this belief of peace through strength into a misguided belief that we should project strength through war. Even when we have tried to make the world batter place, our actions have often backfired. Rand Paul, by my standards, as I look at his philosophy, is basically an isolationist. Senator Rand Paul and former vice president dick Cheney moments ago. The round table is here now. Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison. Congressman Adam Kinsinger. Terry Moran, and just back from Iraq. And Greta van susteren. I don't agree with Rand on a lot of his foreign policy positions. A few years ago, he put out a budget proposal that cut our military in half. That is frightening to me as a military guy myself. I would consider myself a defense republican. But he's the front-runner for the nomination. I don't think he is. He represents an important part of our party. Kind of the libertarian viewpoint. There is a lot of different parts of our party. One of the things that has made us strong and is our defining issue is that we understand that a strong United States of America stops things like a Russian incursion. Stops things like global terrorism. Fills a vacuum that would otherwise be filled by bad actors. What is your take on Cheney? Quite frankly, I mean, why don't we get the guy who wrecked the "Exxon Valdez" and ask him about running an oil tanker. There couldn't be a worse person to offer views on what to do next. And by the way, he didn't do that. There is one slight sliver where I think he had something going. And that is broadening this thing. But I think diplomatically we have to widen it. Get the gulf countries, and I believe, Iran, in some sort of a conversation on how to get their proxies pulled back. I think that is the key to this thing. If we go using military power off the bat, there's a real -- Are you okay with that the president's ordered now? The up to 300 special operators? I don't know what they're going to do. If I knew more about it, I might be for it. At this point, it's just weird. I just don't get it. My point is here's the real thing. Without the diplomatic engagement, if you use military power, you run the risk of driving Isis and the Sunni population together. Our goal should be to separate them. To isolate Isis. To do that, you have to have the gulf countries understanding that the Sunni population will be cut and they'll have a role. It's already happening. You were over there. They don't have much military support. They have support. They're wealthy and well organized jihadist extremists. After spending ten days in northern Iraq, every day, the overwhelming feeling I got was people have given up. Given up on Iraq. Given up on each other. The army won't fight for the nation. The government won't govern for the nation. I had the feeling that the people don't believe in the nation anymore. They believe in their groups. The problem we have here is that, everyone admits, this is a huge mess. None of the leaders have told us what we're going to get. With the 300 advisers, what are we getting? Are we starting a mission creep? When JFK was president, we had 12,000 advisers. Five years later, 500,000 troops in Vietnam. I don't think we have identified what we're going to get, what is our national interest in this. That has to be told to the American people. Right now, we look like we're flailing. You asked me what kind of republican I was. Let's talk about what to do in Iraq. I was at this table in January when Isis took over fallujah. I said, we need air strikes. This is going to grow. This is dead serious. Everybody at the table chuckled because they thought that was just warmonger talk. The reality is, what we're watching in Iraq is the worst case scenario. I can't imagine much worse happening. I look at this and say, advisers and special ops will stiffen the spine of the Iraqi military units. Air strikes for Isis units in the open, to button them down where they are now, and work the political solution. Which we have to work. Give them the opportunity to get that taken care of and begin to push out. I think Isis targets in Syria ought to be free rein targets, too. If you're right, you have to focus on in the political reality that you just mentioned. I agree. Because the thing is, these folks have sponsors here. There are proxies fighting from the Iranian regime. We have to make sure -- we have to get in there diplomatically to say, look, if you guys can get Maliki out or tolerate him leaving, we can try to stabilize the country. You cut the Sunnis in, you have some stability. If you just start blasting in there, you exacerbate the civil war. You could be right. Without a strong diplomatic effort to try to manage the regional part. Terry, this is -- we've been trying to do this for years. We have. The political elite in Baghdad has failed. The feeling throughout the country is those guys, not just Maliki, those guys can't do it. If the United States launches air strikes or military operations without some very dramatic restructuring of the leadership of Iraq, we will be the shiia air force. How do we do that? How do you do that? How do we change their leadership now? We tried. They have to realize that -- That's the point. They have started to signal that Maliki is not the guy. There are a lot of people that are coming to the realization that there's got to be a change. You have to be more inclusive. Iraqis are saying this. We should support that effort. And have a more stable environment. Why are we do this now? We're acting as if this is brand new? This started in January. You have to go with what you have. That's what vice president Cheney said. We have this problem now. Six months back. No matter what we should have done before, we have to deal with what we have now. Coming up, the surprises that could shake up the 2016

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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