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Hearing Before the
Day 1 Panels II and III
July 31, 2002
SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN JR. (D-DE): The hearing will please come to order. Can I thank all of our witnesses for indulging this unusual schedule. Most of you have been around here long enough to understand it. I know, Mr. Ambassador, you have. It's always dangerous to schedule serious hearings the last week the Senate is going to be in session for a while. But I felt this was so important, as did Senator Hagel, that we should move forward. So again I apologize for interruptions.
Our second panel is an equally significant panel and will shed a good deal of light on the issues we're discussing here. Our first panelist is Ambassador Robert Gallucci. He is currently dean of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. I want you to know, Dean, that I almost made a mistake when I spoke at your school or spoke over at Georgetown, I was presented with a Georgetown chair. It's sitting in my office with a Georgetown seal on it and as we were about to file my financial disclosure, I was sitting on the chair and my secretary said, "Are you sure you filed everything?" I said, "Everything I know." She said, "About what you're sitting on?" It had not been in the thing. So I might have been before the Ethics Committee, had I not been sitting in that chair. But at any rate, you've served as ambassador at large from '94 to '96, assistant secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs from '92 to '94 and deputy executive chairman of the U.N. Special Commission from 1991 to 1992, overseeing the disarmament of Iraq better known as UNSCOM.
We also have Mr. Charles Duelfer -- now I'm pronouncing that correctly. He's briefed me in the past and I've been ingracious enough to mispronounce his name. He's currently a visiting resident scholar at the Center for Strategic International Studies. He's served as deputy executive chairman at the U.N. Special Commission on Iraq from '93 until its termination in 2000 and for the last several months of UNSCOM's existence, he served as acting chairman.
General Joseph Hoar (Ret.). General Hoar served as commander in chief of the U.S. Central Command from 1991-94. He was deputy for Operations for the Marine Corps during Desert Storm. He retired in '94 after a 37-year career in the Marine Corps and we appreciate you being here, General.
Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney retired from the Air Force in 1994. Prior to his retirement, Lieutenant General McInerney served as assistant vice chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force. He is currently a consultant.
And Dr. Morton Halperin. Mort is currently a senior fellow at the Council in Foreign Relations and the Washington Director of the Open Society Institute. He was director of the Policy Planning Staff of the Department of State from 1998-2001. He served as special assistant to the president and senior director for Democracy at the National Security Council from '94 to '96 and was a consultant to the secretary of Defense and the under secretary of Defense for policy. He also, in an earlier incarnation, was the man who I went to most for advice relating to civil liberties issues.
Welcome to you all and I would invite you in the order you've been called to give your statements if you would.
Welcome again, Mr. Ambassador.
MR. ROBERT GALLUCCI: Mr. Chairman, Senator Hagel, I'm pleased really to have the opportunity to appear before you today and address the critical issue of American policy towards Iraq. I would request, please, permission to provide a written statement for the record.
SEN. BIDEN: Without objection.
MR. GALLUCCI: I would begin with the premise that the only way Iraq poses a critical threat to the United States or our allies is through the use of weapons of mass destruction in one of two scenarios. First, if Iraq were to transfer chemical, biological or nuclear weapons to a terrorist group and second, if Iraq were to use these weapons against American or allied forces or our homelands in order to prevent or impede an American led invasion aimed at overturning the Iraqi regime.
Let me put this another way. If Iraq can be prevented from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, and I say particularly viral biological weapons or nuclear weapons, then Iraq poses no special threat to America or her allies. If Iraq does acquire WMD, the threat still does not rise to a critical level because our deterrent, our threat to retaliate in the event of Iraqi use of WMD is both credible and effective.
However, if Iraq acquires and clandestinely transfers WMD to a terrorist group or if the United States should move to overthrow Saddam Hussein, then we should not expect our deterrent to be effective either in preventing terrorist use of WMD against us or Iraqi use against us in an effort to prevent regime change.
This line of reasoning leads us to ask about Iraqi WMD capabilities that were addressed this morning. I would submit that no one outside of Iraq knows with high confidence what those capabilities are today. However, based on seven years of inspections and four years without inspections, the only prudent assumption is that Iraq has or will have chemical and biological weapons at some point relatively soon.
The nuclear weapons issue, I think, is more complicated.
But since Iraq has already done the signature work to design and develop the triggering package for a weapon and the acquisition of HEU or plutonium from states of the former Soviet Union cannot be ruled out, we cannot have any real confidence that Iraq is not now or will not become soon a nuclear weapons state.
In light of the threat posed by Iraqi acquisition of these weapons, the unfulfilled requirements of the 1991 U.N. Security Council Resolution 687, the likelihood that Iraq will continue to acquire such weapons and the character of the Iraqi regime, I do not think it would be prudent for the United States to leave Iraq free to pursue WMD acquisition indefinitely.
This assessment stands even if we lack any intelligence that Iraq would in fact transfer WMD to a terrorist group. It is also an assessment that leads some analysts to favor military action against Iraq aimed at overturning the regime, which is one of the two circumstances in which deterrents could be expected to fail and Iraqi weapons of mass destruction used against America or her allies.
It seems to me therefore that, if the United States is to block Iraqi acquisition of WMD, it should look for ways to do so short of such a war for this if for no other reason. And the other reasons -- loss of life, severe budgetary consequences, alienating friends and allies in the region and around the world and avoiding the challenge of post-conflict regime reconstruction and maintenance are important as well. The question is then can a politically plausible inspection regime be designed as put in place that would offer sufficient assurance of preventing Iraq from acquiring WMD over the long term? And could such a regime be forced upon the current Iraqi government in the near term without first going to war against that government?
Fortunately seven years or so UNSCOM inspections give us some insight into what a desirable regime would look like and what pitfalls need to be avoided in designing one. First: we can assume that any regime that appeared as though it would be effective in blocking Iraqi WMD acquisition would also be resisted by Iraq. Therefore the only way to impose such a regime, short of war, would be to pose to Iraq the creditable alternative of a prompt invasion and regime change if the inspection regime is resisted. Just as clearly, Iraq must be convinced that accepting such an inevitably intrusive inspection regime permanently would indeed protect it from invasion at least by the inspection regime sponsors.
Second: it should be clear to all by now that an inspection regime that fails to give us high confidence that it is successfully uncovering and blocking any serious WMD development is worse than no regime at all. Such a regime gives a rock cover and gives it the initiative, protects it from invasion and in some circumstances would supply it with hostages. Third: it is probably true that an inspection regime that is too robust, that is one accompanied by substantial supporting military units deployed to the region, would inevitably be taken by friends and allies as well as Iraq as a step to invasion. Desert Shield masquerading as UNMOVIC plus.
Fourth: We are therefore in search of the Goldilocks inspection regime. One that it is balanced just right to be effective, acceptable and sustainable. Some obvious elements of such a regime are the following: inspectors who have unrestricted, unlimited and immediate access to any site in Iraq. There can be no sanctuaries or exceptions. Inspectors must be chosen for their experience and expertise without regard for geographic balance. Inspectors must be free to receive, exchange and discuss intelligence with government as necessary to conduct their missions. Inspectors must be able to take whatever steps are necessary to maintain the security of their communications and their operational plans.
Inspections must be undertaken in an environment free of Iraqi movements of any kind, air or ground, in the area of the inspection -- and here is a key element: inspectors should have the option of conducting inspections supported by a specifically configured and prepositioned military unit to assist it in entry, prevent loss of containment at an inspection site and to manage any spontaneous civilian opposition. On the last point the inspection regime thus must be capable of inspecting any designated site and overcoming any Iraqi non-cooperation or resistance except that mounted by a significant military unit.
In short, if an inspection fails it must do so in a way that creates a clear casus belli. There will be many with international inspection experience who would only participate in an inspection regime that presumed host government cooperation and who would oppose a regime that had a military force organic to it as I propose here. There are good reasons for adopting such a position as a rule but our past experience with UNSCOM provides ample reason to treat Iraq as an exception to that rule. This inspection regime would be designed to prevent Iraq from manipulating the inspection process. It would aim to strike the right balance linking the inspection regime to an invasion if Iraq fails to cooperate without being so robust as to appear in an inevitable move to overthrow the Iraqi government.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you very much.
MR. CHARLES DEULFER: Again, thank you for asking me to be here today and I'd like to have my statement entered into the record as well.
SEN. BIDEN: It will be.
MR. DEULFER: My comments will draw up on my experience as Deputy of UNSCOM from 1993 until 2000. I came to know many Iraqis and their organizations quite well. They saw me both as a U.N. official and also as an American with whom they could talk and sometimes quite candidly. Let me state from the outset that I support the objective of creating the conditions where the Iraqi people can establish new leadership in Baghdad. There is a strong case for this when you consider the growing risks posed by the current regime in contrast to that with what Iraq could be under normal leadership.
The talents and resources that can design and build nuclear weapons under Saddam can help Iraq be the leading economy and culture of the Middle East under a new government. Until that happens the Iraqi people will never achieve their enormous potential. Of course, getting there is the issue. I have a differing opinion from Dr. Gallucci. In my opinion weapons inspections are not the answer to the real problem, which is the regime nor can they even fully eliminate in perpetuity Iraqi weapons of mass destruction so long as this regime is in power.
And I want to make another comment here in terms of terminology. Earlier this morning there was a lot of talk about arms control. But what we're discussing with respect to Iraq is coercive disarmament. Iraq initiated a war. They lost. And part of the terms of the cease fire agreement were that it was supposed to get rid of a large part of its arsenal. And that was to be verified by UNSCOM. That is not really arms control in the classical sense where two parties enter into an agreement because they think it's in their common interest. Iraq steadfastly does not believe that it's in its interest to get rid of these weapons.
Here I come to a key problem as I see in the whole dynamic and that is that the forces are all wrong. The Security Council writes resolutions demanding Iraq give up weapons of mass destruction capabilities which the regime believes are essential to its survival. UNSCOM was created to attempt to implement this objective. We did a lot. Bob Gallucci did a lot. Richard Butler did a lot. All of our experts on the ground, they did the most. But, ultimately, Baghdad had vastly more resources than we did and much more endurance than the Security Council. Ultimately the Security Council was not willing to commit the resources to enforce compliance.
Saddam very cleverly divided the council with threats, rewards and ultimately by holding his own people hostage. He created a situation where council members did not want to see more pain fall on innocent Iraqis as a consequence of support to inspectors. This will, no doubt, happen again. And here again I would point out that the same dynamic occurred after World War I. The Versailles Treaty obligated the Germans to disarms. The international community created a bunch of inspection teams. They had the same problems. They lasted about the same length of time and it ultimately failed.
But even if you can imagine a radically different approach to inspections with a sizeable military force, I don't see how that would work over the long term. Can we keep forces deployed to support inspections for ever? Are we really prepared to give back to this regime control of their oil revenues? And pursuing this approach does nothing to the innocent Iraqis trapped under this government.
In essence, inspections in my opinion are only a short term palliative and do not address the fundamental problem. Saddam knows this and if he concludes we are really preparing for regime change, he will offer the concession of allowing inspectors in under some conditions. This will only be a tactical retreat on his part.
I want to make a second point now before I conclude. Finally, and this has to do with regime change, there is a central point that's simple but it's a central point under regime change and that is that it's fundamentally a political objective not a military one. Military commitment will be essential to convince various audiences we are serious this time and Saddam's days a numbered. However creating conditions for new leadership in Baghdad demands a political strategy to guide potential military action. Moreover, what we do in a non- military realm before potential conflict will directly affect the extent of possible military conflict and the amount of damage to Iraq and ourselves. In this light, it is essential that Iraqis in Iraq know that their lot will only improve when the regime is gone.
Iraqis and key institutions in Iraq should understand that their interests are not served by defending Saddam and his clique. We can make a good case that intervention is justified given the unique and dangerous characteristics of its regime. My guess is that with sufficient work and consultations we can build international support to create conditions for regime change and a consensus on characteristics we expect a new government to achieve. Moreover we can make decisions about such matters as relieving sanctions, establishing security relations and debt relief, based on how the new government progresses towards higher standards. But I reiterate our highest priority should be convincing Iraqis in Iraq that they'll be better off when Saddam is gone and that he will be gone.
Iraqis and their institutions will be making vital decisions about their future without Saddam. The Iraqi people are the greatest threat to Saddam's regime. If they are convinced Saddam and his clique are doomed, they will make decisions that are in their interest and our interest and any ultimate use of force can be minimized.
Finally, I'll just make a comment, a personal comment. I remember asking a senior Iraqi once whether he served his country or Saddam. It wasn't possible for him to answer but he definitely understood the difference. In essence, we need to make it possible for the Iraqi people to act in the interests of their country and not Saddam Hussein. Thank you.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you very much.
MR. JOSEPH HOAR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for this opportunity to address the committee.
I am in favor of a regime change in Iraq. What is at issue is the means and the timing. The issue has four key components, all of which deserve our discussion and indeed a national debate because of their implications.
First is a change of policy after a period of over 50 years in which we depart from the principle of deterrence to one of preemption. The second is the need for support from the countries in the Middle East, Asia, as well as our traditional allies in NATO, Japan, Australia, and elsewhere, as we contemplate combat operations against Iraq. The third is the problems associated with mounting a military campaign against the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, and then finally assuming success of this military campaign, the implications for war termination, most especially the requirements for nation building.
First, the issue of deterrence and preemption. For more than 50 years deterrence has served us well. Up to and including Secretary of State Jim Baker's warning just before Desert Storm in Geneva to the Iraqi regime about the use of weapons of mass destruction. Deterrence is still the best option until operations against Al-Qaeda have turned the corner and major progress with U.S. leadership has been made on the Israeli Palestinian issue.
Let me now frame some questions about a preemptive strike. How will we know that Iraq is planning to pass weapons to terrorist organizations? Poor intelligence remains a problem. In 1990 there were 1,800 technical and professional people working in the nuclear program in Iraq and we did not know it. Or is simply possession of weapons of mass destruction among the nations of the Axis of Evil sufficient? Will Iranian nuclear power plants be next? Does it apply just to nuclear weapons or do chemical and biological weapons deserve the same treatment because a number of Islamic and Arab countries possess chemical and biological capabilities? What are the red lines? What will we need and what process shall we use before a preemptive strike?
I would hope that it would be based on more than the circumstantial evidence that we have available at this time. May the president declare an intent to strike without a declaration of war from the Congress of the United States? What effect does this policy have on other countries with whom we might have disagreements in the future, for example, China?
Secondly, if you believe as I do that the United States has a moral responsibility as the world's only super power to provide leadership to at least assure stability if not peace, why can convincing virtually none of the European countries, let alone the Arab countries, of the need for an attack on Iraq? My sense is the Arab countries will not support a campaign of this type without significant movement towards peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
On a more practical level, we need bases, over flight, intelligence, search and rescue support from Arab neighbors in the vicinity of Iraq. And, from our allies, the financial and troop support for nation building that would follow a successful military campaign. With respect to the military campaign, war in the Middle East, now as before, depends on logistics. Even with the astonishing technical gains exhibited in Afghanistan, logistics is still the most challenging aspect of this campaign. Strategic lift, both sea and in the air, was my number one priority on the integrated priority list when I was the commander in chief at CENTCOM. It was at the top of Norm Schwartzkopf's list before me and I expect it is still high for his successors today.
Getting to the region with troops, equipment and supplies and most important, maintaining them through an operation of any size will be key. There is no doubt we would prevail but at what risk. Risk in the military is simply the cost of American men and women serving in the military who would be killed or injured in an operation like this. The Iraqi campaign is a risky endeavor. To think that you can support an operation of this type without control of ground lines of communications and support from the sea, seems to me to be remote. For example, any logistics buildup would require an antimissile defense for our troops. A Patriot Missile Battalion requires over 250 C141 sorties from the United States or from the European theatre. The size of the force, how it will be deployed, where will the logistic buildup be located, and the time frame needed are all critical to success.
Finally, assuming a successful military campaign, we need at the policy level in government a war termination plan. This is something we did not have in Desert Storm. In short, how do we achieve a political status acceptable to our government? After the expulsion of a regime of Saddam Hussein, the requirement of war termination will include the establishment of a new government, the executive, legislative and judicial branches, a newly reorganized armed force and a police force; what has been basically described as nation building. Who will do this? Will there be a Marshall Plan for Iraq, a nation of 25 million people? Where is the analysis of that cost? The people and the funds and the equipment will bear that cost. All of these components need to be discussed both in open and closed hearing to be sure that a preemptive strike on Iraq is the correct course of action.
I look forward to your questions, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you, General.
Lieutenant General McInerney.
MR. THOMAS McINERNEY: Mr. Chairman and members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Thank you for this special opportunity to discuss a war of liberation to remove Saddam's regime from Iraq.
I will not dwell on the merits of why he should be removed. Suffice it to say we must preempt threats such as those posed by Saddam Hussein.
We face an enemy that makes its principal strategy the targeting of civilians and nonmilitary assets. We should not wait to be attacked by terrorists and rogue states with weapons of mass destruction. We have not only the right but the obligation to defend ourselves by preempting these threats.
I will now focus on the way to do it very expeditiously and with minimum loss of life in both the coalition forces, the Iraqi military and people themselves, and at the same time maintain a relatively small footprint in the region. Access is an important issue and we want to minimize the political impact on our allies adjacent to Iraq that is supporting the coalition forces. Our immediate objective will be the following: help Iraqi people liberate Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein and his regime, eliminate weapons of mass destruction and production facilities, complete military operations as soon as possible, protect economic infrastructure targets, identify and terminate terrorism connections, establish an interim government as soon as possible. Our longer term objectives will be to bring a democratic government to Iraq using our post World War II experiences with Germany, Japan and Italy that will influence the region significantly.
Now I would like to broadly discuss the combined campaign to achieve these objectives using what I will call blitz warfare to simplify the discussion. Blitz warfare is an intensive 24-hour, seven days a week precision air centric campaign supported by fast moving ground forces composed of a mixture of heavy, light, airborne, amphibious, special, covert operations working with opposition forces that all use effects-based base operations for their target set and correlate their timing of forces for a devastating violent impact.
This precision air campaign is characterized by many precision weapons, upwards of 90 percent using our latest C2ISR or command and control intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets, such as Joint STARS, Global Hawk, Predator, human intelligence, signals intelligence, et cetera, in a network centric configuration to achieve less than 10 minutes per timed critical target.
Using the Global Strike Task Force and Naval Strike Forces composed of over 1,000 land and sea based aircraft plus a wide array of air and sea launch Cruise missiles, this will be the most massive precision air campaign in history, achieving rapid dominance in the first 72 hours of combat, focused on regime change targets. These are defined as targets critical to Saddam's control. For example, his command and control and intelligence assets, his integrated air defense, his weapons of mass destruction, palaces and locations that harbor his leadership, plus those military units that resist or fight our coalition forces.
All the military forces will be told to do the -- all the Iraqi military forces will be told through the opposition forces in our information operations campaign that they have two choices: either help us change regime leadership and build the democracy, or be destroyed. In addition, commanders and men in weapons of mass destruction forces will be told that they will be tried as war criminals if they use their weapons against coalition forces or other nations.
In a multidirectional campaign, coalition forces will seize Basra, Mosul and most of the oil fields, neutralize selected corps of the Iraqi army and destroy the integrated air defense zone, command and control weapons of mass destruction locations and Iraqi air using our Stealth, SAM Suppression and air superiority assets.
This will enable coalition forces to achieve 24/7 air dominance quickly which is critical to our success. The expansion of our beach heads in the north, south, east and west regions and the air heads seized with alarming speed, will allow the opposition forces to play a very significant and decisively important role with our special, covert operations and the Iraqi army and air force to determine their status, i.e. are they friend, foe or just disarmed.
The political arm of the opposition will communicate intensively with the Iraqi people, letting them know they are liberating them from 22 years of oppression, and that they are now controlling large amounts of territory. Humanitarian missions will be accomplished simultaneously with leaflet drops, et cetera. U.S. and other coalition forces are helping us to liberate and change the regime is the mantra. You, the Iraqi people, must help us to do this quickly and with minimum loss of life.
This IO campaign must be well planned and executed, working closely with the opposition forces. This means that the administration must move very quickly now to solidify the opposition forces to include the opposition military forces, and set up a shadow government with aggressive assistance and leadership from the United States.
In summary, the Iraqi forces we are facing are about 30 percent equivalent since Desert Storm, with no modernization. Most of the army does not want to fight for Saddam, and the people want a regime change. Let's help them to make this change and liberate Iraq from this oppressor. President Bush has accurately said inaction is not an option, and I am in support of his position.
I await your questions, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you.
MR. MORTON HALPERIN: Mr. Chairman, it's a great pleasure for me to have this opportunity to appear before this committee on this urgent subject.
We've been asked to focus on options, and in my view there really are only two realistic options. One is what I call containment plus, and the other is preemptive use of military force. I thought, where we all thought with the proposition, that we would be better off if we could have regime change. But I would insist that our critical national interest in terms of Iraq is to prevent the regime from using weapons of mass destruction, or of providing weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups. And as we consider these two options we need to ask ourselves which option will make it more likely that nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction might be used against American forces, against allies, or against civilian populations.
The strategy of containment plus would build on the new sanctions regime which the United States worked very hard to get the United Nations Security Council to adopt earlier this year. Its goal would be to tighten the embargo against Iraq, focused on materials which would assist the Iraqis in either building up their conventional military capability or further developing their capability to produce weapons of mass destruction. And it would seek to prevent them from getting hard currency which they get by the increasing black market trade through the neighbors of Iraq.
And at the same time we would be working to strengthen the deterrence of Iraq's use of weapons of mass destruction, or transfer of those weapons to terrorist groups by seeking a consensus, an international consensus, that military action would follow swiftly if we had proof of either of those contingencies. This option would also involve continued support to Iraqi opposition groups both inside Iraq and outside, and an effort to try to get them to come together and to articulate what a post-Saddam regime in Iraq might look like.
Rather than pressing the neighbors of Iraq, as we are now doing, from military bases to conduct combat operations, we would under this option be pressing them to make the embargo work. We would be pressing them to end the black market trade, we would be pressing them to stop permitting the flow of oil outside the U.N. sanctions through their territory, and we would be using a small amount of the vast sums that a military operation would cost to compensate countries around Iraq for their financial losses for implementing the embargo, something that, in fact, states are obligated to do when there is a U.N. Security Council imposed embargo.
The question is whether this will succeed. I think that if pursued vigorously with the same kind of determination that other options are being considered it will, in fact, succeed in preventing Saddam from using weapons of mass destruction or supplying them to terrorist groups. His primary goal is clearly to remain in power. And if he comes to understand clearly that he will not be attacked if he does not cross these leaden lines, but will certainly be attacked if he does, that strikes me as -- to wait.
Let me turn briefly then to the alternative option of military action. It appears that every day we are presented with a new scenario, either by somebody inside the government who likes the scenario, or somebody inside the government who does not like the scenario. And I would not presume to evaluate the possible effectiveness of any one of these.
But what I would suggest is that we need to proceed with a sense of caution and conservatism, which means that we cannot assume that it is possible to have a short and immaculate war with few casualties, which then miraculously puts in place a democratic regime which effectively runs the country and consolidates its power without a continued massive American military presence.
I would suggest that the opposite is very likely, and that the only responsible thing to do is to assume that if we adopt this option that we are prepared to put in the region enough military forces, including ground forces, to march to Baghdad, to fight the war in the streets of Baghdad which may well be necessary, and to accept the risk of very substantial casualties not only for American military forces and those of our allies who may join in the attack, but also on the civilian population of Iraq and that of neighboring countries including Israel. And we must acknowledge that this attack may trigger precisely that use of weapons of mass destruction against our troops or civilians that the policy overall is said to be trying to avoid.
We must be prepared to occupy the country and stay there for a very long time at very great expense in treasure but also in risk to lives. There can be no question that the military cost of this option will be enormous, and equally clear that Saudi Arabia and other countries will not pay for it as they did at the time of the Gulf War. I think we are entitled to know what these budget costs are and whether the administration proposes to pay for them by running ever larger deficits, by increasing taxes, or by reducing domestic spending. And we also need to acknowledge that the price of oil is likely to go up and that this may well trigger another recession and a substantial incline in the value of the dollar.
Finally, in my view, we need to consider the implications of implementation in Iraq this new policy of preemption which President Bush has announced. It is not clear to me whether the administration is arguing that somehow this policy is consistent with our obligations under the U.N. Charter or whether the president is saying that we can no longer be bound by the restrictions that the U.N. Charter puts on the use of force by all states. If he is arguing the first then I think the case needs to be made of how one squares the language of the charter, the interpretation that all of our presidents have put on the charter with the notion that we now can implement the use of military force.
And if the president is saying that we no longer should be bound by the charter, then that is a profound change in American policy which I think needs a full debate. I think all these costs and risks need to be put on the table. They may be worth taking but certainly not before a full public debate and certainly not, in my view, before Congress authorizes the use of military force.
Now, finally I want to reiterate again my view that it is not at all clear that this option will accomplish the most important purpose of preventing terrorist attacks, both conventional and with weapons of mass destruction, against Americans. I think there is certainly a very grave risk, certainly if we move before there is a Palestinian settlement, that the very opposite will occur, that what we will stimulate is a large number of people in the Arab world who will be willing to take up a terrorist attack on the United States and on Americans around the world if they see us in launching a military attack against Iraq.
Finally, I would ask that we consider the opportunity cost of this policy. This policy of military action against Iraq has already come to take a very substantial amount of the attention and energy of senior officials of this government. There is only so many things an administration can do at one time. The attention of top leaders is a very scarce resource. But so is what we can ask our allies to do and other countries and the Congress and the American public. And there are limits to how much money we should spend.
In my view, we should be devoting these scarce resources to nurturing the worldwide coalition against terrorism, to helping to settle disputes between Israel and Palestine, between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, and to help countries like Indonesia and Nigeria cope with ethnic conflict. We also should be staying the cost in Afghanistan, and that means nation building and helping the security of that country. And we should be working to reduce poverty in developing countries in the world and getting our own procedures at home right for how to deal with terrorism and how to improve our intelligence to deal with terrorism threats.
These are all daunting tasks, but I would argue that in terms of preventing terrorist attacks on Americans they are much more central, much more urgent and much more important than launching military operations against Saddam Hussein. In my view, we should allow containment plus to keep Saddam in the box while we pursue these more urgent tasks.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you very much. We have a good attendance. We'll try to keep this to five minute rounds first time around.
Let me begin by asking you, Dr. Halperin, if you had -- if you were still in the government and you had clear and convincing proof that Saddam had a nuclear capacity that was capable of being launched on a missile platform, would that change your view? In other words, the containment plus -- I assume the containment plus is designed to diminish the prospect that he gains that ultimate capability. I think we both say that was the worst capability. Assume that you were convinced that existent. Would that change your priorities?
MR. HALPERIN: Yes, at least to the extent that I would think we should undertake military action to destroy those nuclear capabilities and those delivery systems --
SEN. BIDEN: Which leads me to the next question. Do you think that were he able to build/buy/steal but possess that nuclear capability able to be delivered by a missile, is there a -- do you have any degree of confidence that that could be destroyed absent a military invasion of feet on the ground, troops on the ground?
MR. HALPERIN: I mean, certainly I think the missile delivery system, certainly if it was long-range missiles, could be destroyed without troops on the ground. But if troops on the ground were necessary to destroy an active nuclear capability, I would think we could get the support of the countries in the region and of the U.N. Security Council for action of that kind, and the way that we were moving to get it against the North Koreans when they were moving in that direction. So I think that is a different scenario that I think we're confronting now.
SEN. BIDEN: And how would a successful containment plus policy solve or deal with the potential of Saddam giving weapons of mass destruction to terrorists?
MR. HALPERIN: Well, I think it deals with it only be making it absolutely clear to him that if that line is crossed we will in fact launch operations. I think if the president has evidence that he is linked to and supported Al-Qaeda, that he has the authority to use military force, both from the Security Council and from the Congress of the United States, and I think he should act on that. You cannot always be sure you will get the evidence of that, but my view is that he is in fact extremely unlikely to do that unless he concludes that we're going to try to take him out of power anyway.
SEN. BIDEN: Let me ask any of you who wish to respond this question. All of this discussion that we're having today and we'll have in the future and that we've had in the past comes down to related risks and tradeoffs. You all have said, to one degree or another, that it matters whether we have a place from which to stage our invasion if there is an invasion, whether it's a relatively small number of forces or it's a quarter million forces, whatever it is and in between.
You've all indicated that if in fact Saddam possess more capability relative to the weapons of mass destruction than we know that he has, and we're not sure what he has, that that presents a serious threat to us.
You've all indicated that it would be better if we had others with us than go it alone, either before, during or after, and so it all comes down, it seems to me, to vastly oversimplify it, is tradeoffs here. If we go alone now we tradeoff the possibility we allegedly -- not allegedly -- we would, depending on -- no one knows the cost -- but we would succeed, we would ostensibly change the regime, we would hopefully be able to destroy the weapons of mass destruction that exist over a period of time in a country, but we may very well radicalize the rest of the world, we may pick up a bill that's $70 billion, $80 billion, we may have to have extensive commitment of U.S. forces for an extended period of time in Iraq.
And if we don't do that, we find ourselves in the position where we increase the possibility he could destabilize the region preemptively himself, he could move and use the weapons of mass destruction as leverage for blackmailing actions in the region and so on. So in weighing the risks and the tradeoffs here, how important is it that -- and to what degree do each of you feel you have to be certain he possesses the weapons of mass destruction that can be effectively delivered, whether it is a chemical weapon, whether it's a biological weapon or whether it's a nuclear weapon. How important in each of your calculus is that question, that he has or is close to having or it's not worth the risk of determining any longer, waiting any longer, whether he has weapons of mass destruction that are deliverable and efficacious? Because you heard the testimony earlier and I know you all are very sophisticated, some, the mere fact you have the ability to produce a chemical weapon and/or a biological agent doesn't mean you can effectively disperse it, doesn't mean it can have the efficacy that it would in our hands, for example.
So how much of your calculus is dependent upon his -- your sense of his capacity to possess and deliver these weapons?
MR. HOAR: Mr. Chairman, during the Gulf War, we believed that he had the capability to deliver chemical weapons against us. And in fact, in the run up, General Al Gray and I went down to Quantico one Saturday to look at a simulation that had been done regarding the two Marine divisions that were going to be in the attack into Kuwait, and there were some estimates of casualties that ran in the order of magnitude of 10,000 if artillery rounds with chemical weapons were used. So the issue is, are these strategic weapons or are they tactical weapons? Could they be used on troops in relatively short distances of, say, 30 kilometers or are we talking the cities of Israel and the major cities in the Arabian area? I think there's a big distinction there.
I would also say that while in my mind it will be always be murky, the degree to which the regime has acquired these kinds of weapons, particularly at the strategic level, that thus far we haven't seen him use this. The current regime has boxed him in. I think the possibility of him using it goes up considerably if, in fact, the regime is about to fall. And I think certainly that's a grave risk to take in the event of an invasion.
SEN. BIDEN: Anyone else?
MR. DEULFER: Yes, just briefly add not all weapons of mass destruction are created equal. Chemical and biological agents present one level of concern, but when Saddam gets a nuclear weapon, and he has had this intent, he's devoted enormous resources over two decades to do that, then everything will change. We would not be sitting here talking about the potential for military action against Iraq if we suspected he had a nuclear weapon. He knows that. I've had this discussion with very senior Iraqis. They know that had they invaded Kuwait after they possessed a nuclear weapon, it might be a very different outcome. So I think that's a key inflection.
The other thing, picking up a bit on your analysis of the dynamic of the issue. What we're seeing here is, you know, it's very easy to quantify, identify, calculate near term costs. It's very difficult to firmly identify and calculate long term benefits and long term risks. Budget analysts, politicians, go through this problem all the time and the fact that we're here, and my colleagues here saying well, there's a lot of near term risks. That's true, we can see those. But ultimately, there is a very long term concern which is very, very big and that's, I think, what characterizes much of the debate.
SEN. BIDEN: Dean?
MR. GALLUCCI: For me, there's a huge difference between chemical weapons and bacteriological or biological weapons that are toxins and, on the other hand, viral biological weapons and nuclear weapons, that that's where the break comes in terms of casualties and death and destruction. And you can have these overlaps depending upon a lot of manipulating assumptions.
I assume, notwithstanding the careful statements I tried to make here and in writing, I assume that Iraq has -- not will have, might have, has the VX, a very serious nerve agent, certainly sarin in a deliverable form. I assume it has both anthrax and botulinum toxin as it did before. It had four years to regenerate and I don't believe UNSCOM could be confident it destroyed it all. So I believe that's extant right now. I don't know about the smallpox, and that to me is a huge, huge concern, and I think the nuclear weapons falls in that same category.
The problem is, of course, I think that getting evidence of this is going to be very hard. I think we have to ask ourselves a question of whether we want to wait for that evidence, and we start getting on that slope that Charlie was just talking about, about trying to figure out what this looks like in terms of long term costs, because if near term costs are so easy -- force themselves upon us.
When I try to net this out, I think I come down and conclude that we don't have right now an urgent need to act as we might if we saw a facility under construction or that missile you talked with Mort before, that's not in front of us right now nor do we have the evidence that they were complicitous in 9/11, in which case I don't believe this government would have any choice whatever but to act. So we don't have that kind of pressure on us. But we don't -- we have no confidence that we'll see anything like that before we're confronted with something we wish not to see.
So I end up thinking myself, I net this out and say this is not something we should try to live with for a long period of time. We need to get ourselves at a position to cut this off. That means we've got more time than just the next six months, year or two years of -- might be thinking about with invasion. That's why I come down looking for some option other than an invasion and this very aggressive inspection regime which can only work if the invasion isn't a viable option to force Saddam in that direction.
But I think you are right to try to push at the edges here, to make us think through what would cause us to find it prudent to take -- to pay the costs and run the risks of action sooner rather than later.
SEN. BIDEN: I'll conclude by saying the question for me is, do we have enough time to do this right? By doing it right means we could, in my view, work arrangements with Russia, we could, in my view, deal with the situation in the Middle East much better than we have now, we could in fact be much better situated if we did some very important things over the next six to eight months, that if we don't -- that we don't have time to do now, and the question is how much time do we have? But anyway, I've trespassed upon your time.
I'll move to Senator Lugar.
SEN. RICHARD LUGAR (R-IN): Thank you, very much, Mr. Chairman. I'm struck, listening to the testimony this afternoon, by some parallels with thinking after September 11th in this extent that many of us went into a crash course on Islam and what had been going on in several countries of the world where we hadn't paid much attention for a long time as to what had been going on in the last two centuries, for that matter. And trying to gain some idea of why people do the things they did, what the motivation was. Beyond that, we have been involved and the distinguished senator from West Virginia has taken leadership in this and will take some more next term, to find out what deficiencies we have in our intelligence systems in general, all of them, as to why we would not have known more, why we were not better informed.
Here we have a situation which clearly we need to know much more. We're all saying today that we haven't found the evidence but somebody has to ask why not? You know, given the resources of this country, extraordinary abilities that we have, there really is an imperative need. The same question as Dr. Gallucci noticed in North Korea, has been asked for a long time. The usual comment was that people didn't understand the language, they couldn't insinuate themselves in the country, all the sorts of dodges and weaves.
But here the life of the country is at stake. We're about to take very, very important action. And it just appears to me that it's not entirely the role of this committee but each one of us probably had best become much better informed about Iraq. And I'm struck by your comments, Mr. Deulfer, that it makes a big difference who succeeds. I'm even quering the question what are the alternatives? Who knows that much about the internal politics of Iraq these days? Now, there are Iraqi exiles who meet frequently in this town and elsewhere and maybe among them are leaders that first of all will have the backing of the Iraqi people. To come to the conclusion that somehow or other, ipso facto, the Iraqi people are going to condemn Saddam, condemn fighting for their country and what have you, perhaps.
But as we heard this morning, Dr. Cordesman, we didn't find that was always the case in the past. They were surprised by nationalism, feelings of patriotism, however despicable the leaders, because they didn't trust us either. In other words, on what basis do we believe or what must we do to have a constituency in Iraq that really wants democracy at any remote form, like the kind that we try to produce in this country or in Western Europe. And who might have at least the backing? And the way that Mr. Karzai is apparently through this process of loya jirga in Afghanistan gotten some consent but still has all the warlords around him and other people that constrain what he is going to do.
Now, absent some analysis of what the politics are and who is there, then we really do have a rather long occupation. You know, the thought of a parallel between Japan or Germany is a real leap in terms of the institutions that are available. It might bring about some semblance of Western democracy. So I -- you know, I sort of raised the question how do we get up to speed, what are the resources academically, governmentally, what have you in this country that are likely to identify for an informed argument, the post-Saddam situation. Or how do we even gain a sense in terms of public diplomacy of enlisting the Iraqi people to understand life will be better if in fact we intervene or if we stay or if we try to produce capitalism, democracy or whatever we want to do there.
Mr. Deulfer, I've sort of started with you. Would you respond to that?
MR. DEULFER: Thank you very much. I think these are fundamental issues. In essence, what needs to happen is Iraqis in Iraq need to conclude that it is in their interest and it is patriotic for them as proud Iraqis to change their leadership.
SEN. LUGAR: And how do we do that, how do -- what brings that about?
MR. DEULFER: Well, I think the international community can make a case that this regime is a danger to the external world, it's also a danger to the internal world in Iraq. We should not be prescriptive as to whom should lead Iraq, but I think we can say that there are certain standards, ideals that we would expect a follow-on government to embody, to a greater or lesser degree. This also has the important advantage of avoiding identifying groups or people within Iraq who would very shortly fall onto the list of Saddam's most wanted people.
But if we identify characteristics and ideals which no one can dispute, pluralism, you know, perhaps elections, fixing the financial system, getting rid of weapons of mass destruction. These are ideals which the external community would support and patriotic Iraqis could also support.
SEN. LUGAR: Why do we think they would? Why wouldn't maybe an Iraqi say we need a strong government? Saddam is a bad leader, but on the other hand, we need somebody who knows where to go. Are the institutions that this degree of participation and vigorous debate and so forth that much a part of this thing?
MR. DEULFER: My experience in talking with lots of Iraqis is that they recognize Saddam's their leader but they also recognize his shortcomings. They would like nothing better to be reconnected to the rest of the world. They see enormous benefit in that. But I don't think they're going to be wanting to see someone impose a leader on them. There are very delicate balances, which you'll from in the next panel, within Iraq, the north, middle, south, clans, military, various institutions. But I think, you know, there is a solution set there.
I think we should make it clear that we want to change as much in Iraq as possible, meaning the top leadership, and as little as possible, at least, you know, from the outside. In other words, cause as little damage to the infrastructure as possible. We ought to make it clear that most Iraqis have everything to gain and little to lose by a change in management.
SEN. LUGAR: Does anyone else have a comment, either on intelligence or how we gain people in Iraq? Yes, general.
MR. McINERNEY: Well, I think, Senator, that clearly there are two million Iraqis in the United States that have fled Iraq. They are a valuable source of understanding the people and the communications back there. The opposition forces are in daily and weekly contact with the military and other people in Iraq today. That is certainly a good starting point and that's why I think we need to organize this opposition to understand the problem.
The forces I'm talking about are enabling forces. Now, you can debate whether it's 50,000 or 250,000 or one million. We're talking about an enabling force to help Iraq people take their country back. And understanding these people, who I think are probably one of the most sophisticated, if not the most sophisticated, in the Middle East in education and understanding, and they had a middle class and still do, will be a lot easier than people realize.
I use the model of Japan and Germany after World War II. I was a boy there. We had -- in 1948 we had one division. One division in all of Germany, or at least in the U.S. sector, and the others had more. There wasn't a large predominance. Once you got rid of the Nazi leadership and Hitler, then the people wanted to take this path. I think the people in Iraq will want to take a path. I think the neighbors will not want them to take a path towards democracy and that will be one of our biggest challenges. Democracy does not flourish in the Middle East and we must be sensitive to that.
SEN. LUGAR: And the neighbors are a real problem, as you pointed out.
MR. McINERNEY: That's correct. Who are our allies and who are vital to this construct that --
SEN. LUGAR: We're trying to enlist -- get involved --
MR. McINERNEY: Getting their help.
SEN. LUGAR: Yeah. Well, thank you very much.
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA): Mr. Chairman, thank you.
Let me just in the chairman's absence, thank him for these hearings.
I was not able to be here this morning but I do think that these are obviously very important hearings and I think this is what this committee is supposed to do, and it's good as a member of this committee for 18 years now to see it in advance of decisions doing its work this way. And I think probably every committee member probably feels affirmative about that. I think the way the chairman has constructed it is good. I think it is right not to have the administration here at this point and that we sort of lay some groundwork here.
I was in the region earlier in the year and met at some length with Saudis, with Crown Prince Abdullah, the foreign minister and others, with King Abdullah, with their intelligence agencies, President Mubarak, his intelligence people, and came away with a sense that most of them believe -- I mean, at least they expressed this, that we are sort of over-exaggerating and overly worried about some aspects of Saddam Hussein, though they don't like him. I mean, they acknowledge that. But they certainly interpret some of the threat differently.
President Mubarak, I might add, quite dismissively believing that we sort of build him up in some ways. I'm not sure I agree with them. I mean, they live there, but if you assess what we believe he may or may not have -- you know, I don't think anybody believes he has nuclear program today that I've heard with any great conviction. We know he had about 7,000 people that were working on the program once upon a time, but our estimates are today that he may have at least a couple of dozen top flight nuclear scientists and engineers. But there's probably no doubt he's working on it, and I think most of us have to make the assumption that he is.
Secondly, he's got some continued shorter range missile development that he's been doing. That could help with longer range missile but it's not a direct long-range missile program. And we estimate that he has somewhere up to two dozen scuds or so, and obviously that has some potential for menace with respect to Israel, particularly if we were starting to engage in some way. But I understand from Israeli authorities not so much that they don't believe the overall value of changing the equation in the region isn't worthwhile.
So there's a lot to sort of balance here. I am of the opinion that under the right circumstances, it's not that difficult. I think I tend to agree with General McInerney and I think there are, according to the intelligence sources that I've listened to without revealing any of it, capacities for significantly more internal activity than maybe some people anticipate.
So I think it's achievable. I think the question is that we need to think about is when and how and what's the process, what brings you to the point of pulling the trigger, what makes you reach that point when you made the decision that you exhausted the doctrine of remedies, if you will, in the context of international war and of going to war. Certainly one of the lessons of prior conflicts is that it helps to have the American people fully supportive, fully educated, fully involved and clear about the objectives and prepared to stay the course.
There is nothing in what we have done to date that prepares the American people for that or that even lays out on the international stage a sufficient level of rationale, evidence, public diplomacy that might bring you, I think, to that legitimate trigger-pulling stage. It seems to me that we're sitting -- and I want to ask you particularly, Dean, about this but I'd like others to comment on it. I mean, there's a process here that it seems to me has been avoided to date. The rhetoric seems to be far ahead of our capacity and we seem to be ignoring and dismissive of the need for friends and allies and understanding on a global basis of why we might ultimately choose to do this.
Now there is in place a very forceful cease-fire agreement which Saddam Hussein signed and agreed to and it includes the full destruction of these weapons and the full inspection. Does it not make more sense in terms of all of these sensitivities that I just laid out, gentlemen, in terms of gaining the legitimacy of the American people, the consent of the American people and their assent, gaining the support and understanding of the world as to why we would be doing this, to go back to that process even though we know he will refuse to live up to it?
Certainly, if he has the things that he doesn't want us to find, he will not live up to it. So those who want the justification to go in will get the justification. But in the absence of that, we don't have a chance of having exhausted that doctrine of remedies in a way that I think answers the question to Mom and Pap in America as to why their young child may come home in a body bag.
Now, is there a process that has been avoided, Dean, beginning with you, that we should go through that would better position us with respect to the potential of this? And the opposite of that question is we lived with Russia for almost 50 years with the capacity to destroy us many times over and a policy of containment worked there. Why could not a policy of containment also work here at least while you build up to that point of legitimacy?
MR. GALLUCCI: Thank you, Senator. I'd like to take a shot at a few of those questions or observations that were in your statement. First, I can't help going back to the nuclear weapons observation because it troubles me. I don't know that Iraq has nuclear weapons but I do know, for a fact, that there is a workable design in Iraq which, in the days of UNSCOM we picked up, and it was an implosion system, an unsophisticated design. But they did more work after that and I also know that we have a real problem with accounting for material, fissile material coming out of the former Soviet Union.
I think I also know that we should have no confidence -- we should have no confidence that we will know if fissile material finds its way into Iraq from one of those countries. We might know but we might not. What I'm getting to here is a very troubling sentence and that is I don't understand how someone fully familiar with all our intelligence capabilities and our knowledge could say with high confidence that Iraq does not have a nuclear weapon now or will not have one for six months or six years. Not when they have done the work on an implosion system and there is fissile material to be had. I don't understand how one could say that. So that's point one.
Second, when we come to the question of time, do we have time and would we want time to use it for something useful, for example, to build the necessary consensus domestically and internationally, to make this a more politically plausible successful operation? I think there's a risk there because of what I just said about the nuclear issue, because for me, the key issue here is, is Iraq plausibly capable of transferring a viral biological weapon or a nuclear weapons capability to a terrorist group and it even could not be deterred? I don't know the answer to that but I don't like sitting around a long time hoping it does not happen.
So I think that's what makes me uncomfortable with the simple containment and just wait and see because what we may next see is some devastating event in the United States that can be traced back to Iraq. I would then say, well I guess that calculation was wrong, waiting and seeing. So I'm uncomfortable with that sort of indefinite postponement.
However, if you were to say, "But do we have time?" I guess I think it's important enough to get this right that we take some time and for me again, I think there may be an inspection option. It's not UNSCOM, it sure is not UNMOVIC. It is another kind of inspection that's much more aggressive that could not be put in place unless the Iraqi regime saw an invasion as the alternative. So I like the idea of trying to find another way to grapple with this and even if you must do an invasion, to take the time to get it right.
The chairman referred to doing some missionary work, I think, with other countries particularly Russia and we've had a concern for a period of time with the position of France within the Security Council. There's much to be done in the region and you will hear more about that. So, yes, I think we can take the time but I don't think indefinitely. I'm troubled by the simple containment option in which you wait for something that would be a trigger.
What the administration is talking about is not preemption as I understand it. It is a preventive war. Preemption is the anticipation of an act by the other side. We don't see that. This would be looking way down the road and saying we're not going to allow that situation to emerge. That's a very forward leaning posture and I think we have the time to get ourselves ready before we take --
SEN. KERRY: But there's a certain visible logistical period of time under any circumstances here during which time you could certainly provide a sufficiently more powerful ultimatum than existed previously, with respect to inspections.
MR. GALLUCCI: I think not only could you but you have no hope of getting successful inspections unless you took the antecedent steps, the Desert Shield -- if I can be allowed that -- period of time, took some of those steps and began to put forces in place and began to take the political steps that made the invasion a very credible option, something that we intended to do. And I think we would be believed this time where we were not believed 11 years ago.
SEN. BIDEN: Senator Hagel.
SEN. CHARLES HAGEL (R-NE): Mr. Chairman, thank you.
And to our panelists, thank you. We appreciate your contributions today and the contributions you've made, each of you, to our country.
Senator Lugar focused on something that I think we have not all focused on enough and that is, after we have heard your testimony and you heard our speeches and you might even hear an interview or two after this, we are all for virtue, democracy, good government and all things right. But how do we get there? And that, I think, was Senator Lugar's point. And I'd ask each of you to focus on a couple of areas and if you wouldn't mind responding to this question.
General Hoar and Doctor Halperin in their testimony ask a lot of questions back and they each laid out a number of dynamics and factors that we should pay a lot of attention, if, in fact, the military option is the option and as we drift along, containment is not particularly attractive and we've gone through that for 11 years and we still have Saddam and we still have uncertainty and we still have problems. So therefore, what is the option? What should we do? And there are various versions put forward. And I would hope that, General McInerney, when you respond, would deal a little bit with the opposition groups and forces that you keep talking about, which I'm not aware of, but they may be there.
But what I'd ask the five of you to focus on is the economic dynamics of this, the opposition dynamics, the allies, how all that integrates into something. Or maybe it's not important. Maybe a unilateral strike along the lines of what General McInerney is talking about, clean, crisp, sophisticated, go in and get it done. And maybe that works.
Then what happens afterward? Who governs? Do any of you have any idea of an exiled government, of any individual, any groups that you could put forward to us today as to what happens after we take this bold strike in the interests of virtue and all mankind. Now, what follows on, I think General Hoar got into some of those points in his testimony.
So with that, each of you, thank you, and we are always grateful for your consultation and input. And we would start with you, Dean.
MR. GALLUCCI: I think I have to go. I don't know, Senator, that I can add, on the three points that you made, the economics, the opposition and the allies, to what has been said. I liked General Hoar's list of things we ought to think about, and particularly those things that we ought to think about being able to do the day after, as well as the things we ought to put in place so that we do this in the most politically plausible way. That was, I thought, a very nice list. And I would associate myself with that.
I guess, from my moment here, I would say that I worry, and I will be listening to General McInerney as well, to talk more about that option. I have in my ears ringing the words of Tony Cordesman this morning about assuming too much about what might happen with the opposition going in too light, taking the risks of -- I don't know that he was speaking specifically about the blitzkrieg type operation, but it seemed that he was speaking to that, and worried about that being the concept of operations rather than a heavier more traditional approach.
And that troubles me. So I guess I still remain to be persuaded that that option really is viable, and that you've got that kind of support, and that the regime is that fragile and can be overturned. It may well be true, but I think the point this morning was that's a hell of an assumption to make, or a risk to take. And right now I would not, based upon what I know, I would not be there myself in making that calculation.
Of all the things that I think, in this list, that I would worry about most at this point, for me, we are doing this mostly because we want to avoid the transfer of this capability to terrorist groups. We want to reduce, in other words, the vulnerability of the United States of America today to suffering a 9/11 event with a weapon of mass destruction. Then I want to ask myself, if we do this unilaterally, and we have not taken care with allies in the region, are we going to create a situation which worsens that. That, for me, is the key question. Mort Halperin's comments went to this. And that, to me, is very, very important.
Unfortunately, it's a soft point, and if I can put it that way. It's a hard one to assess. But if we do this the wrong way, and we create, Senator Lugar what you were talking about before about, a situation in which we can ask ourselves, "Gee, I wonder why we are not appreciated the way we think we ought to be" then we will have really made a tragic error. So I think that's the kind of calculation, very hard to make. And we look to regional experts to help us.
SEN. HAGEL: Mr. Deulfer.
MR. DEULFER: I tried to get a little bit at the points you were raising when I said that what we need to do ahead of time is prepare political groundwork. And I mean both with respect to Iraqis in Iraq, Iraqis outside of Iraq, the opposition, but also with some key capitals on this.
And I think a discussion about the characteristics of a follow-on government that we would expect to see is one mechanism for involving a lot of important voices, some overtly, some perhaps not overtly, into you know putting forward a picture of what we expect Iraq will be on the other side, but without being prescriptive, in other words, not being a position where we're trying to impose something on the Iraqi people. But I think, you know, there's a delicate balance and delicate work that has to be done politically which includes people in Iraq. And that, obviously, is something you know is not necessarily that we can be discussing in an open session.
But none of this is guaranteed. There are enormous risks to, you know, economic risks, oil interests, all that sort of thing. You know, there is a big risk that Saddam will be able to characterize what we're doing as trying to put in place a puppet. And nothing will solidify the Iraqi people to oppose us, nothing will cause more bodies to come back in bags ultimately, if the Iraqi people are put in a position where they see supporting Saddam as being the patriotic act.
What we need to do is carefully separate Saddam from patriotic acts for regular Iraqis, Iraqis in the army, Iraqis in the Republican Guard, even the special Republican Guard, even the security services. We need to make Saddam feel very lonely. I think there's a strategy out there which can do this, both with allies, with capitals. I think it rests on creating -- causing audiences in various locations, most especially in Iraq though, to think about their relationship with the next government in Baghdad. And when they start doing that, Saddam will be very lonely.
SEN. HAGEL: Thank you.
MR. HOAR: Senator, I think you've touched on some very complex issues. First of all, I don't believe that the Iraqi opposition can be depended upon. I think, from my own experience in the region, that they weren't worth anything during that time. Tony Zinni who followed me, twice removed, felt the same way up to two years ago. And what the Iraqi opposition needs is a charismatic person that is doing something to make the case for a regime change. And that certainly is not Mr. Shalabi in Mayfair sending faxes to Iraq. That's the first thing.
Secondly, those people that have chosen to stand up and fight, on the two occasions, the Shi'a in the south and the Kurds in the north, have both been left in the lurch by the United States government. So until we are on the ground and winning, don't expect any help from them, if that's what we're going to do.
How do we get allies into this game? I would say that Pan- Arabism, as a political movement, and as an economic movement, is dead. But not as a cultural movement.
From Morocco all the way across the Arab world there is still a good deal of sympathy for the Iraqi people, not the regime, but the people. We have to make the case, as a government, through public diplomacy and otherwise, and we have not made that case to the Arab people, the Arab street as it is frequently called, why the change has to be made, and why it would be useful. And, clearly, as Mort suggested, if there were some movement on the Israeli-Palestinian side we would move a long way, because most Arabs feel that's a far more pressing issue than the Iraqi issue.
With respect to cost, the sort of thing that is contemplated up to and including large numbers of people on the ground, assuming a military victory, would be very costly. Desert Storm, the Saudis paid $17 billion as their share of that bill. Prince Abdullah told me that he had been deceived, his word, by a senior administration official on how the bills would be split up. There's very bad feeling there. I am sure that the Kuwaitis, because of their special circumstance, would help any way they can if we put pressure on them. But it will not be easy.
I think that all of the things that we've talked about here need doing. But it requires a concerted effort on the government's part, and I don't see that that work is being done at this time. I would finally add that bringing the Russians into the equation, and perhaps the Chinese because that's the source of some of this weapons transfer material, would help indeed. And shutting down the oil that goes from Iraq to Turkey -- $2 billion worth a year -- and providing another source for the fuel that goes to Jordan at a reduced cost pressure on the Iraqi government.
SEN. HAGEL: General, thank you.
MR. McINERNEY: Senator, I think the important thing is the opposition group must be developed. The fundamental tenet that we've got to operate from, and I won't personalize this, but there are people out there that our government can actively work with. They'll not meet the boy scout sniff test. They won't do certain things but they will be part of a group that will have credibility within in Iraq and it has the right objectives and the right motives. Nobody loves Saddam in Iraq. Every family -- I've been told by Iraqis -- every family has been hurt by this man either in the Iranian war, the Gulf War, or personal prosecution that he has made against them.
And so we need to capitalize on that and there is a sweet spot. I can't give you that answer now but I do know that thoughtful people can resolve that issue and once you have that and have a credible one, then everything else starts to roll with it. And so that is to me extremely important. And I would just agree with the comments that General Hoar made about on the allies.
SEN. HAGEL: Thank you.
MR. HALPERIN: Senator, I think that is the critical question. I'm extraordinarily skeptical that we have a clue of how to bring into existence a combined Iraqi opposition that could take over the country. We've been trying for a very long time under three American administrations now and I don't believe that there is a solution to that problem. Moreover, I would say that while many and maybe most Iraqis hate Saddam, I would say that it is extraordinarily unlikely that a group that came to power which was patriotic Iraqis would give up the Iraqi nuclear weapons program.
They live in a world that's surrounded by nuclear states. Pakistan, Iran, Israel. That is not a Saddam policy that is a policy I believe that most Iraqi leaders would follow. Moreover, I think it is extraordinarily unlikely that the group that came to power in Baghdad would be for the kind of autonomy that the Kurds tell us is the precondition for their cooperating with us. And I think we have failed to honor our commitments to them twice now and to promise them that in the face of what is likely to be a government in Baghdad that has no interest in it is, I think, an extraordinary commitment to make.
I would think that whatever government comes to power, unless it is following along American occupation, is not going to be anything like a democratic government. There are no others there. It is hard to imagine why this would happen overnight in Iraq. I think we also have to be enormously humble about our ability to help friendly governments in the region do the right thing. It is not an accident that most of the terrorists came from countries deeply friendly to the United States that we have worked with for a very long time. And I think the danger that, if we have a friendly Iraqi regime, it will become for the first time a breeding ground of people who go elsewhere and plot to kill innocent Americans, is not only a risk but in my view is extraordinarily likely.
A democratic Iraq of the kind that we talk about after Saddam will come about only if we are prepared to stay there for a very long time, accepting, in my view, very great risks of casualties and a threat to the territorial integrity of Iraq because a democratic regime is not going to have the capacity to keep that country together unless there is an American military force in the country that insists that it stay together. And we have to think about whether we really want to be the instrument --
SEN. BIDEN: Does anyone disagree with that point? Does anyone disagree with the point just made? Repeat the last please.
MR. HALPERIN: Keeping Iraq together and democratic will require American military forces dedicated and committed to that, including denying the Kurds the kind of autonomy that they will demand and assert. And those, in my view --
SEN. BIDEN: Stop right there, please. Does anyone disagree with that specific point? And, if so, how?
MR. McINERNEY: I think that the opposition groups clearly want to keep, except maybe the Kurds, keep Iraq as Iraq. I mean the Shi'ites in the south, whatever. They don't want to --
SEN. BIDEN: "Except the Kurds" that's like saying "Keep the United States together except the Southwest.
MR. McINERNEY: Yes. Well, and that will be one of the entry points that, because it's in our interests to have the Iraq that we have there today and not a fragmented society and that's I think how we enter this argument and get our support. And that's extremely important. Again, the size of the military, it's more the influence of the United States to keep that than a large occupation force. That I don't see the requirement. It is the influence and the staying power of our influence there helping to shape that democracy.
MR. HOAR: Sir, I believe in one sense the two principal leaders of the Kurds have made a deal with Saddam Hussein already. Both of them have gone on record recently as saying that they're fairly comfortable with the relationship. I think that could be done again, but Mark's point is well taken. There is no tradition of democracy in that area. Iraq is the instrument of our post-colonialism. Cut up by the British cutting across ethnic lines.
SEN. BIDEN: I'm not trying to start an argument. I'm trying to determine throughout these hearings where there are points of consensus on major, major questions. And a major question is to me at least "What after?" And that's why I asked question. But I yield to Senator Feingold.
SEN. RUSSELL FEINGOLD (D-WI): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me ask one of Mr. Deulfer and Dr. Halperin. There are obviously a number of diverse points of view in the foreign policy community about the right course of action in Iraq. No one disagrees with one basic premise though. The Iraqi people have suffered terribly from years of deprivation and that they have been consistently told that it is United States support for U.N. sanctions that is responsible for their plight. And I think, Mr. Deulfer, that you were already getting into some of this a moment ago, but I'd like to hear a little bit more from you and then from Dr. Halperin.
What kind of reaction can we expect from Iraqi people if the U.S. moves to invade their country? If widespread civil conflict threatens to break out in the wake of regime change, staving off chaos in Iraq may require, as we've just talked about, a very significant presence over a significant period of time. Aside from the obvious resentment this will provoke in other parts of the Middle East, is there any reason to believe that the Iraqi people themselves would tolerate such a presence?
MR. DEULFER: Senator, it's for exactly those points that you're raising that I emphasize that we need a very well thought out set of -- or political organizing principles in this sense. There are national institutions in Iraq that hold the country together. The regular army. There's departments of agriculture, irrigation. There's a civil service. There are clans which span the length and breadth of the country and they need to feel that their interests will be preserved in what comes next. But it's very important that whatever we do not be seen as imposing something upon them, but simply allowing them to replace their own leadership.
You know, if they wind up in a position where Saddam is saying here comes the Americans. They want to destroy the great nation of Iraq and put in place a puppet. Then I think we're headed for a big mess. But, again --
SEN. FEINGOLD: Are you suggesting that these institutions will be able to overcome the connection that people may feel between the humanitarian crisis and what has happened in the past?
MR. DUEFLER: You know, I think if we posit that, we will judge the next government in Iraq based on how it proceeds towards behaving more normally towards pluralism and say, you know, we're going to make our decisions about security relations. About debt relief. About adjusting the sanctions. We need get out of this box that we're in and I have no idea how we got in it. Where the notion of changing the management in Baghdad is seen as something anti-Arab.
I mean, Saddam has done a great job in speaking to Arabs in the street, via Al-Jazeera and other mechanisms saying that United States is against the Arabs because the United States wants me out of power. I mean, logically, there is nothing better I can imagine for the Arab people that if Saddam left and the Iraqi people were able to achieve their enormous potential, which there is enormous agreement that they have enormous potential.
SEN. FEINGOLD: Thank you.
Again, Dr. Halperin, what I'm getting at is the relationship between the humanitarian crisis and the reaction of the Iraqi people.
MR. HALPERIN: Well, I think part of that, Senator, goes back to the spectacular failure of the United States so that we got to this point where the world believed that somehow we were responsible for the humanitarian crisis in Iraq rather than Saddam Hussein. When Secretary Powell came in, I thought committed to changing that both by more effective public diplomacy, but even more important by changing the nature of the embargo. That is, by allowing Iraqis to import much more of various kinds of things than we had permitted in the past, by allowing them to rebuild their oil industry and export as much oil as they could consistent with the economic situation, and focusing the embargo only on things which contribute directly to their weapons of mass destruction or conventional military capability.
We now have that resolution from the U.N. Security Council. As far as I can tell, having worked very hard to get it, we've done nothing to implement it. I think we need to implement that in a way that turns that tide, so that we begin to demonstrate to the world that if there's a humanitarian crisis in Iraq, it is Saddam Hussein's fault and not the fault of the U.N. embargo. And that's part of my proposed containment plus strategy.
If you talk about a regime that comes in afterwards, the natural course of events in Iraq, in my view, would lead to a regime which suppressed the Kurds, which denied political freedom to people, and which continued to develop weapons of mass destruction. And it would still be better than Saddam in some ways and not as crazy and not as bad for the people of the country. But that's what it will be unless we are prepared to stay there for a very long time, in a very unnatural way and actually try to change that country. And I think we're talking about 20 years of many American troops in the country. The alternative is that we will, in fact, not live up to the commitments we will make to the Kurds to get them to cooperate in this endeavor. And I think there are very serious moral and real political issues of once again promising them something that we're not going to deliver.
SEN. FEINGOLD: Thank you, doctor.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. BIDEN: Senator Chafee.
SEN. LINCOLN CHAFEE (R-RI): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
A couple of witnesses have said that first we have to solve the Palestinian issue before we move here and I suppose we could have weeks of hearings on that issue. But I'm inclined to agree and it seems to get worse every day instead of better.
I do have a specific quick question. It seems as if some of the Islamic fundamentalists are using to their propaganda advantage the presence of our military bases near the holy sites of Mecca and Medina and technically in relation to the value of those bases to us strategically in the Gulf and the disadvantage to us on the propaganda front. Where does that fit in, these bases that we have and both the generals have had experience with?
MR. HOAR: Of course the bases in Saudi Arabia are a legacy from the Gulf War. You'll recall that King Fahd agreed to that when Mr. Chaney and Mr. Wolfowitz and Norm Schwarzkopf went over right after they briefed the president. With the requirement to conduct Southern Watch, the air campaign over Southern Iraq, we needed bases in the area and those bases existed in Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia agreed to pay the vast majority of the costs associated with them. But this has been very difficult for many conservative Muslims in Saudi Arabia. As you know, the Wahabi sect of Islam is very xenophobic and so as a result there has been continuing pressure. Osama bin Laden used this theme in his program but he has used a variety of themes directed at different populations in the Arab world that are not all consistent. I think that the only problem, the only place that you would find that problem is in Saudi Arabia with that particular group of people.
SEN. CHAFEE: How critical are they to our presence in the region?
MR. HOAR: Well, the bases are being replicated in Qatar right now, so that there are other options but I would say, in terms of contemplating military action in that area, U.S. military action, airspace over Saudi Arabia is critical. If you were to not have the ability to use Saudi airspace, the problem would become extremely more difficult.
SEN. CHAFEE: General McInerney, have you anything to add?
MR. McINERNEY: No, I agree completely with General Hoar.
SEN. CHAFEE: Thank you, gentlemen.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you, very much.
Gentlemen, would you like -- didn't you want to take a five minute break or -- we've got a little more -- if your constitutions are admirable.
Senator from Florida.
SEN. BILL NELSON (D-FL): I'd yield to the senator from West Virginia.
SEN. BIDEN: Excuse me. Senator from West Virginia. A gracious man. He was here before everybody and I was getting to him last which I apologize.
Senator from West Virginia.
SEN. JAY ROCKEFELLER (D-WV): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'm struck, I guess, by listening to this conversation this afternoon about the enormous variety and range of uncertainty which is expressed by all of you. And it's not that people are keeping all options open because you are all experienced professionals and that is not your purpose. But the effect of what you're saying gives that impression, that we need to keep all options open. So the concept of uncertainty interests me. For example, people talk about galvanizing the people in some way. Well, I mean you know, they talked about that in Indonesia when Sukarno was in charge and nothing happened until something eventually did after decades. And Asad the same thing, what was he, a seven-year term, something of that sort.
And now we have Hussein and people are talking about well, if we could only figure out a way to get the people going. To me the Pan- Arabism argument followed, as Senator Lugar indicated, by our total inability to understand what Islam is and getting off all the signals that we don't. And then even in conversations like this where there is a sort of sense of uncertainty about the development of American foreign policy or potential American foreign policy, military or diplomatic, is just wrapped in uncertainty. I mean, I think that one can speculate that it's a lot easier to use intelligence to find out, for example, what's going on in the chemical world with emissions and effluents than it is in the biological world, which is much more discreet.
You say that the nuclear thing -- if we were really sure about the nuclear thing, I can't imagine that we wouldn't go in and yet my understanding this morning was that there was a feeling that each day that goes by the threat gets greater and then we get back to the threats which is the subject of all of this. So I guess the question I would ask you is, there's an extraordinary polemic involved in this because the stakes are so high, the consequences. Senator Kerry mentioned are we preparing the American people. And that's as if Iraq existed by itself as a problem in the world and of course it doesn't. There are 60 Al-Qaeda nations. We have our own problems and there are uncertainties everywhere now which encourage each other, compound therefore. So I'm just sort of interested in -- what is a resolution process? I mean if we are stuck with uncertainties and then we can go from here to here and we're rational here and we're rational here, we make sense here and we make sense here and we're right here or right here.
So we describe all the options but time closes in, Dean said so. And that every day that passes gets more dangerous and then this not insignificant point that if, purchase, we wait three days too late and either from that country through others and some people said no, they won't do it through others because they want to keep it for themselves because they give them power, but then who knows about that too? And then some day all of a sudden a series of terrible things happen in this country and then the whole concept of body bags takes on a very different concept.
So I guess the only question, certainly the only question I have time for, is that we can deal with uncertainties because we're an honest nation and we tend to, we tend to be very open in expressing our views and our concerns and our worries and that's fair to the American people, part of the democratic process. Unique in the world, I might say, we're that way. But at some point, there comes the point of a resolution of what you're going to do and you can't talk about uncertainties because you don't have all the answers and you never will have all the answers, and we all know that we'll never have all the answers. And so sort of a collective sense from you gentlemen of how one deals with the process of going from continuing uncertainties on very, very large issues to the point of decision, and obviously, it rests in the hands of the president of the United States.
MR. GALLUCCI: I'd like to take a brief shot at that and go back to a point that was made earlier, that we, the Coalition, fought a war against Iraq and won and there was a resolution to the war that was captured, U.N. Security Council Resolution 687, but it's still outstanding and is not being implemented. So as an opening proposition to your -- Senator, your statement that we have all this uncertainty, what are we going to do with this great range? Let's say that that was a resolution that really deserves to be implemented, based also on everything else we've said, and that we're dedicated to getting from here to there which is to say Iraq, that does not have weapons of mass destruction.
And so the question is how do we get there? Well, do we have to urgently, now, invade immediately? I'd say no. Is that something we want to leave alone for a long period of time? I'd say no, too risky, for the reasons we've all talked about. So, in the near term, it seems to me, one of the things we've got to do is build a consensus around the need for action. We should have hearings in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on this and we should address all this and American people should be listening.
And then we should start to do those things, some of which have been laid out by some of my colleagues at the table, that would build a consensus domestically and internationally, in order that we be in a position to take military action when either we are forced to because of some bit of information that's delivered to us by George Tenet or some other way or because we've come to the point where we think we now are in a better position in terms of our status with allies and friends and domestically. And maybe if you took the advice I was offering, you also wanted to check the box of really trying to see whether an aggressive inspection regime was put in place.
But there's a deliberate process, I think, that we can move and implement but starting with the proposition that that U.N. Security Council resolution deserves to be implemented and hasn't been for the last -- you could pick the year, but certainly probably five or six years is not a bad number.
SEN. BIDEN: Doctor.
MR. HALPERIN: I think that your premise is absolutely correct. What dominates this is uncertainty. It dominates almost all international problems. They're all much too complicated to have any real certainty about what to do. And if we think we have certainty, it's because we bring to it an ideology that filters out the things that produce the uncertainty.
The answer to uncertainty in my view is the American Constitution. I think the way to resolve this question is the way the Constitution intended, that is to say, if the president concludes that he wants to implement an option, particularly one that involves the initiation of the use of military force, I think he has an obligation to come to the Congress and ask for a resolution authorizing him to do that. I think he has an obligation to weigh out his understanding of the costs and gains and how he resolves these uncertainties. And then I think the Congress has to debate those. And if it authorizes the president to go, then I think he then has the ultimate responsibility to decide when to initiate it.
You can do all that without eliminating the tactical surprise of a military operation. And that's why I think these hearings are so important, the consensus that seems to me to be developing on both sides of the aisle, in the Congress and outside, that this is a situation in which the Congress' authority is needed to use military force, is an important step forward, and I think this country will stand together, whichever we decide to do, as long as we do it with our eyes open, understanding the uncertainties and the costs and we follow the procedures of the Constitution.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you very much.
SEN. SAM BROWNBACK (R-KS): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, thank the panelists too for your presentations, your thoughtfulness. Several of you I've had in front of panels when we were going this exercise, I believe, four years ago, looking at Iraq.
I want to go at one narrow question, one broad question. Several years ago when we were looking at regime change, when that was the terminology that was developed at the time on the Iraq Liberation Act, supporting outside groups, what we could do to remove Saddam Hussein, there was broad consensus that this is a bad actor, Saddam Hussein, we'd be better off if he's not there, is now the time and what are the means? And that's the same question we're hearing with today.
One of the issues that came up at that time was a -- it wouldn't be a containment plus strategy as you described it, but one was described as saying we have a no fly policy over certain portions of Iraq today that Saddam cannot enter air space and we'll enforce that, was to expand that no fly to a no fly, no drive policy, and try to allow opposition forces to build up in further areas of Iraq. The Kurds already control a good portion of the north, try to expand that in the south and to have Saddam become more of a mayor of Baghdad than controlling the entire country. I'd like, perhaps if we could, one of the military members to respond to the thoughts of trying to do something like that today and whether or not you feel like that is a meritorious type of policy trend to support?
MR. HOAR: Tom poked me, I think that means you go first.
MR. HOAR: Senator, I don't think Tom and I are going to agree with this but I think Tony Cordesman's thoughts this morning about encouraging resistance without direct affirmative assistance on the ground is at best an unethical and perhaps an immoral approach, given what has happened in the south to the Shi'a before. I don't think that you can build that kind of support in the south without a firm commitment on the part of the government to come to their aid.
SEN. BROWNBACK: On the ground?
MR. HOAR: On the ground.
MR. McINERNEY: I would agree with General Hoar on that. The opposition must be developed outside the country and must be credible and then working covert operations back in. But only when you put U.S. and Coalition forces in harms way, in that country, in such a force enabling force size that you can enable them to survive because, in the final analysis, the Coalition forces will be the ones that make this successful. It is not the opposition forces. The opposition forces bring political to it. Iraqis retaking Iraq -- you're helping them do that. And number two, they also bring a dialogue with the Iraqi people and the Iraqi Army, and that's where we need to focus. But I would agree 100 percent with General Hoar and Tony Cordesman that do not let anything try to do it, them start by themselves.
SEN. BROWNBACK: Just with air superiority and using the air superiority you have at U.S. ground?
MR. McINERNEY: I don't think air alone can do that.
SEN. BROWNBACK: Thank you for directly responding to that. The second is a broader question and a maybe a bit of a wild card. But it struck me as an interesting point, a gentleman that's far more knowledgeable than I am on these issues in the region was assessing the War on Terrorism, and I think to date the Bush administration has done a marvelous job in the War on Terrorism. I think they've done so very focused, very intense, and going sequentially, focus on Afghanistan, next, removing and been involved in the Philippines where troops are coming out, Georgia, troops in Uzbekistan, building alliances up in Central Asia, I think this has been, to me, a very good, solid, sequential strategy.
My question is now that in the War on Terrorism, what is the appropriate next target to go at? If you just back up and ask yourself what's the best place to go at? And this person was asserting that if you look at it that way and you're trying to get your biggest, most problematic targets first, an analogy to dealing with cancer where you go and you dig the big nodes out before they metastasize, you go at Afghanistan, you've got to dig and pull this one out, that your next big country that's supporting and sponsoring terrorism, that's putting money into it, that's putting troops in into it, that's training, is Iran. That that's the country that's supporting and sponsoring more terrorism, supporting Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Hamas, shipping weapons, providing training to a number of countries in that region. Is that the more likely intense focus that one should go at on a sequential battle in the War on Terrorism?
MR. MCINERNEY: My feeling is, is that Iran will take care of itself once Iraq goes. Iraq has violated the U.N. accords, it's violated everything, it tempts to shoot down every day airplanes in the northern fly zone, the southern fly zone. If they hit one of them that's an act of war, isn't it? Will that be -- that doesn't seem to bother him because I think he flat says, they just don't have it. They just don't have the guts to come after me. And every day they fire at our planes and every day we put them in harm's way. Now, that's why I think Iraq should come before Iran. What you said about Iran is exactly correct. Although I think once Iraq goes, that Iran will self correct.
MR. HALPERIN: Senator, let me sum it up in two points. One, I think the only way to stop Iran from supporting those terrorist groups is to settle the Palestine-Israeli problem. I cannot imagine even a different regime in Iran which would not provide support to those groups as long as the Middle East problem is the way it is. So the solution to the Iranian terrorism, which as you say is focused on the Middle East and on Israel is to settle the Middle East problem. You can't settle it by regime change in Iran.
Second, I agree with you that we need to go through a sequence, but I think we've skipped the first step too fast. Afghanistan is not over. Afghanistan is still going to require for a very long time a very substantial American military presence. And I think before we look for another place to use American military force we better make sure that we don't leave behind in Afghanistan, which in two years from now is supporting terrorist groups again, not of the central government, but from pockets around the country.
MR. MCINERNEY: The only thing I would say is that Afghanistan is not developing weapons of mass destruction, and that's why the priority must shift. We clearly must stay and work the Afghanistan problem more, and I agree with you 100 percent.
MR. GALLUCCI: I, Senator, think Iran is a serious problem for us, but I don't think -- I hope it is not on our list of countries which we would plan to invade anytime soon in a preemptive act.
SEN. BROWNBACK: And I've not heard anybody suggest that.
MR. GALLUCCI: That's good. I think there's a question about how best to deal with Iran. I guess I would disagree with General McInerney, I don't think that addressing the Iraqi problem is necessarily going to help us with Iran. I think certainly if the Palestinian-Israeli issue were resolved, that would go a long way in taking away one of the issues that causes difficulty. Iran's drive to weapons of mass destruction independent of its support for terrorism I think is a much more deeper rooted desire in Iran, and I don't think it's connected particularly to this regime. I think it's traceable to the Shah and I think this is a strategic issue that we -- only when we get a dialogue with Iran we'll be able to address successfully.
Right now I think the key to dealing with Iran is dealing with Russia rather than Iran because we don't have much going on with Tehran. If you -- to go back to your first question about where do we go next, I would be putting energy working on the Mort Halperin theory that governments in the United States only have so much energy. I'd be putting energy on working on South Asia and Pakistan in particular. And I worry greatly about the stability and coherence of that country and its relationship with India over Kashmir.
SEN. BROWNBACK: Thank you. Thank you, gentlemen.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you very much.
SEN. NELSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Well, I agree with what you've said about what after, and a good example of that is Afghanistan. And we're not even into the what after, we're still in the middle of it. And yet we're not going to have success for the long run in Afghanistan unless we have a major presence there to help them. And you've pointed out the distinction between Afghanistan and Iraq being the potential weapons of mass destruction.
Now, if we got involved in Iraq militarily, what is that going to do to logistical and personnel support in other parts of the world, particularly in central Asia? Is that going to stress us to the point that we're not going to be able to supply what we need to over there in Afghanistan and in the surrounding area and out there in the Arabian Sea? Give us your comments on that.
MR. HOAR: Thank you. I think that what little I know about the plans that are contemplated about military action in Iraq, I think the problem is always scarce assets, the intelligence, the JSTARS, the Rivet Joint airplanes, tankers, those things. I think there are adequate forces on the ground. I think that carrier battle groups and that sort of thing, given this current state in Afghanistan, has slowed down from the early days. Whether or not you could sustain it, given the requirement for forward deployment and so forth, I think there probably would be some shortage.
I read in the paper that some of the smart weapons were used extensively in Afghanistan but now those supplies have been reestablished. And I think there would be some problems but I don't think they're show-stoppers. But I would again point out the much larger problem is from where do you launch these operations and with whose help and so forth.
MR. McINERNEY: I would agree with General Hoar, and the key thing is where we launch them. It would stretch us but it's throughout the world because this would be a major regional contingency. But it is within our capability.
SEN. NELSON: Both of you were talking about the forces that would have to be brought to bear from the outside. Do you have a sense from your military experience as to how many troops we're talking about?
MR. HOAR: Well, I think from Tom's comments, he believes that a good deal more can be done with the new technology that is available to us than I believe. I think that as Tony Cordesman said this morning, you may be able to do this on the cheap, but in the event that it doesn't work you need to be prepared with a fallback position. The old military belief is you make an assumption, then you have an ultimate plan to make sure that if the assumption doesn't work that you in fact have another choice.
It seems to me that at the end of the day you're going to have to put people on the ground. The Republican Guard divisions, their loyalty to the regime, it seems to me that you can't do that on the cheap. Having said that, the very things that Tom has mentioned, particularly with smart bombs, the command control communications and so forth, had improved enormously and would be much, much easier than it was in Desert Storm, but I'm afraid you still have to put a fairly large number of folks on the ground.
SEN. NELSON: And not doing it on the cheap and putting large numbers on the ground, we're really talking about a quarter of a million troops, aren't we, having the backups that you're talking about? If things go wrong you've got to have that capability of backup.
MR. HOAR: I'd be reluctant to put a number on it because I don't know what people that are much closer to this problem than I. But I'd say it's in that ball park, yes, sir. It is certainly not the 70,000 that we heard from time to time.
SEN. NELSON: And, Mr. Chairman, I think one of the things that we have to explore here is cost. And I'm as much of a hawk as anybody but let's get it out on the table with what we had in the Gulf War, roughly a half a million, the cost, total cost was about, in today's dollars, about $80 billion. So if you're going to have a force half that size and you're talking about the same duration, in today's dollars that's in the range of $40 billion. Now, maybe we have to spin that, but let's understand that and let it be a part of the dialogue.
MR. HOAR: I think you have to also consider, Senator, the cost to the economy. The price of oil went to $40 a barrel during the Gulf War. There's every reason to believe that some similar disruption would take place to the American economy.
MR. MCINERNEY: I would say, and I won't give a number, but it's a smaller force, and let me give you a few reasons why. Number one, we have added certain technology in our bomber force that we did not have in the JDAM where you can have a B-2 hit 16 targets at once, a B- 1 can hit 24 at once, and a B-52 can hit 12 at once, I think. It enables them to stay up over the target so the ground forces, through binoculars, lays designate and up in -- they got a bomb on target in 10 minutes, in all weather. So that is a quantum job.
The Global Hawk, the Predator where you have 24/7. We had two Joint STARS in Desert Storm 1. They were prototypes. They fly at night and the contractors would rewrite the code in the daytime. Today I think we're at 14 Joint STARS, which can sanitize a box on any movement.
The other things I would say, Senator, are he doesn't train his divisions in a division size exercise. Their readiness is so far down and I think we all agree he doesn't have an air force. Whatever you say, if he takes off, he's going to die because AWACS will pick him up in a take-off role and our airplanes will be up. So he's going to be under constant attack.
Now, we definitely need ground forces and I say we need heavy, we need light, we need air mobile but that rolled up with the opposition, the opposition talking -- because the opposition know the division commanders, they've got their phone number. They know the core commanders and there is something there that we need to do better on and I'll leave it at that. And I know we can. Do we have it right now? I would agree with General Hoar, we don't have it right now.
But all that rolled up in with a very important campaign which speed and the simultaneous -- remember we had 38 days or whatever it was. Many would still like to have that. There is a powerful synergy between simultaneous land and air because when you put ground in, he has to mass his forces. And if anything we have invested in was taking tanks out on the central plains of Europe and that's got to be his main force. And again you play back to that IO campaign to the Iraqi people, "We are not after you nor your military." That is an extremely powerful tool that we need to work on.
SEN. NELSON: Clearly we have the new systems -- by the way that Joint STARS, Mr. Chairman, is built in my home town of Melbourne, Florida.
Mr. Chairman, I want to ask one more question. This is a very delicate question. You were not here before when you had given me the opportunity to chair the hearing and I raised the issue of the downed pilot from Jacksonville, Florida from the Gulf War and all of these folks were sitting in the audience and heard my questions to the previous panel. And my question to you all would be, if Commander Scott Speicher is alive, they're obviously going to use him in some way as a shield, as some kind of wedge to try to get us not to do certain things or go certain places.
That, of course, from a human standpoint with a family that's gone through what they've gone through in Jacksonville, if he is alive, is just an awful contemplation. Can you all give to us, to me any insight into how we would have to go about that? Do we just have to be cold hearted and put the national interest first? What would you recommend?
MR. HOAR: Senator, there are several hundred Kuwaitis that were captured and there's no trace of them as well. This is clearly a national policy. There have been just Iranians that have been repatriated recently from the Iraq-Iran war. I think we need to continue to press in every possible way. But it would seem to me that again, using the good offices of other countries, specifically the Russians, maybe others could help as well, in the long run I don't think any of us could speculate about what role this particular tragedy would have in terms of national policy.
SEN. NELSON: I couldn't expect you to answer any other way.
Yes, Mr. Deulfer.
MR. DEULFER: You raise a very important point both with respect to an individual but with respect to a general problem. And I've had over the years some serious conversations with Iraqis about, you know, what Americans target and what they do and so on and so forth. It might be useful to just say what their impression is. Their impression is Americans can't take casualties. This is part of their motivation for weapons of mass destruction.
I had a discussion on September 18th, 1995 late at night when Iraqis first discussed with us their concept of use of weapons of mass destruction and what they did prior to the commencement of the conflict in 1991. And it's been said before but I think it bears on this. They deployed weapons, they filled them, they pre-delegated the authority to use them, if the United States went to Baghdad. And they believe that that contributed to the decision not to go to Baghdad. Again, the notion is the U.S. can't take casualties. But more than that, they also saw what happened at the end of the Gulf War when we ended the fighting after 100 hours.
Why? One of the factors which they saw was, here's television pictures of the road of death. So not only can Washington not stand to take casualties itself, they don't even like it when Iraqis are casualties. If you add to that the experience of the last decade, whereas I mentioned in my testimony, Saddam has taken his own population hostages, the international community can't sustain its will because Saddam is causing his own people to pay an enormous price.
Now, all of this philosophy is going to weave itself into how they defend themselves against a perceived attack including collocating civilian and military targets such that no weapon no matter how smart is going to be able to distinguish between the two. We just have to be able to take that into course.
SEN. NELSON: Thank you.
SEN. BIDEN: You are an extremely valuable panel and we have one more panel but I can't resist. I have two more questions and I ask my colleagues if they have one or two more. This is too important to let you go.
Each of you has a slightly different prescription as to how to proceed. To speak to the point made by Senator Rockefeller, there is necessarily uncertainty in all of the prescriptions. What I have gleaned from you all that you all seem to have in common, although slightly different ways of approaching what you would propose to a president, for example, at this moment, is that none of you seems to think that the ground work that's needed to be done has been done thus far for your individual approaches. Each one of you. There are all different, slightly different, different in degree.
But what I have gotten so far this morning and this afternoon is that, whether it is containment plus, whether it is a robust regime with a ready force demonstrating that we need it or what's in between, is that the spade work necessary to be able to successfully bring to fruition each of your suggested courses of action has not been done yet. Is that correct? Has any of you -- for example, were Senator Lugar president and tomorrow he turned to you and said, "Okay, I'm about to implement full blown your proposal." Any one of you, would all of you say, "I'm ready to go. We're ready to go right now"? Or would you say, "By the way, we've got to do a lot more work. We haven't done this with the Russians. We have not done this with the Kuwaitis. We haven't moved this with the Europeans. We haven't done this with the -- " Am I right or am I getting this wrong here? I mean, there's more that has to be done for every one of the prescriptions, right? In terms of the spade work?
MR. (?): It's a leading question, Mr. Chairman. But I think you lead us in the right direction.
SEN. BIDEN: It's intended to be.
It's intended to be because I don't want to make any mistakes here not because I want you to reach the same conclusion. I just want to make sure I understand it because, look, gentlemen, I want to make it clear this is maybe the best way, in simple terms, that folks in my home town of Claymont will understand. I think our obligation at the end of the day, whenever that is -- I don't mean today -- is to say to the American people, "Here are the choices. You pay your money and this is the chance you take." The upside, the downside is clear. If he has to take the one side nuclear weapons, today, tomorrow, six months or six years from now, it's a very bad thing. If he has the ability to deliver that over a range that is longer than a couple of miles, that's an even worse thing. And because of his previous mode of action, because of what the perception on the part of Iraqi military and civilian leaders around him is about our ability to absorb pain and suffering, the consensus seems to be he would likely at some point use, either preemptively or in response, these weapons. And therefore we should do something about this.
And if we did something about it and were able to wipe him out in the sense of take him out and get rid of those weapons, it would be a very good thing because the potential for things in the region to get better would be there. That's the upside, the danger and the upside. But don't we have to say to the American people -- and it may be -- I'm truly -- I have not reached a conclusion about this. But if, for example, we were struck with a weapon preemptively, we would respond. And wouldn't we have to say to the American people, these are the likely consequences of our responding or preemptively moving.
One would be there will be loss of life, loss of American life. It's not likely that we are going to be able to do this without something between a couple and maybe 10,000 lives lost, depending on the ability and the efficacy of the chemical or biological or weapons he may have. The second thing we're going to have to say to them is that we're going to have to mobilize on a grand scale. Say goodbye to daddy for Labor Day and mommy for Halloween, because the Reserves and the National Guard are going to have to be mobilized. Does anybody think we can do any of what we're talking about without mobilizing the Guard and the Reserves to a degree beyond which they are now?
So we have to tell people that so they're not surprised about it. It seems to me we have to tell them that we spent months and I spent hours with the president -- literally one occasion, two hours with the president in the Oval Office, and the only discussion was, in Afghanistan, the Arab street. And our concern about -- we went through this torturous process in Afghanistan, which was cake compared to this, worrying about what this means from Jakarta to Tunisia. What about out interest in the rest of the world? We'd have to tell people we don't know, right? We don't know what the response would be.
We'd also have to tell them that there's going to be a spike in oil prices. The idea that this could occur without us -- maybe we should pay all these prices, but we have to tell them there's going to be a spike in oil prices. May be temporary, may be long-lasting, but there's going to be a spike, it's going to have economic consequences.
And thirdly, if we do it by ourselves, we can't expect the rest of the world to pick up 80 percent of the tab, whether it's $40 billion, $80 billion, $100 billion, $10 billion, whatever it is, right? And we are going to have to say that it could impact upon -- it will impact upon -- well we know, you may not -- on the deficit. There will be a deficit or some of my friends will have to give up a tax cut, right? I mean, they're the choices we have to make.
SEN. CHAFEE: For spending increases.
SEN. BIDEN: And lastly, that there is at least a serious prospect that we're going to have to keep a lot of Americans in place for a long time in an area of the world that may mean they're not going to come home for Christmas, this Christmas anyway, and probably for a while. Is that a fair statement?
So I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't act at this point, I don't know enough to know yet. But I am suggesting that one of the objectives and the reason I'm so thankful for you all giving us your time and the panels that will come is I think we have an obligation to say to the American people, I for one, for example, if I knew he had these weapons and the Lord came down and sat up here and said, Joe boy, he has them and he's going to move, I'd say we've got to pay all these prices, we've got to pay them all. But I have an obligation to tell the American people that this is going to be the cost, this is going to be the cost, the parameters of the cost.
And so I hope that we can and you'll continue to be available to us, because I am convinced the president is taking this very seriously. I realize he talks a lot about regime change and some people think he talks about it very blithely. I do not think he is unaware, the deeper he gets into this, that this is very consequential.
And so I think that if we continue this -- I hate the word, particularly in the foreign policy context, dialogue, that usually means saying nothing. But if we continue t his discussion as a nation, we'll arrive at the right answer. We'll arrive at the right answer and we'll have the consent of the American people.
But the puzzle for me is, among other things, is it sure would be nice if we got more people in on the deal. It sure would be beneficial if we had more cooperation. It sure would be useful if we could cut some of the risk, which I think if we have enough time and enough ingenuity, we could. And so one of the things we're going to be exploring with the next panel, who are experts on the region and on the culture and on -- for example, I'll end with this, in Iraq.
I mean, you know, there are three centers of power. I mean, there historically has been three centers of power in Iraq. They are based on tribal and ethnic differences. They have significant ramifications. It matters whether or not -- how they react and how neighboring countries react to them. And so we're going to get an opportunity to get into what some of what Senator Lugar raised today about how much do we know. How much do we know about the culture, how much do we know about the consequences, how much do we know about the responses that are likely to come, based on certain actions.
But I just -- the reason I bothered to say that before you leave, and I'll yield to my colleagues for questions for you, is that I just want you to know that which I hope is obvious to you, I think you're making a significant contribution here. I mean, I think this is what we're supposed to be doing here, is going through this as methodically as we can within the timeframe, and we all think it's a slightly different timeframe we have, to be able to make as informed a judgment as we can make, and that ultimately that the president of the United States is going to have to come to us, not because we're making him but it's the system, come to us and say, here's what I propose, this is why I propose it, these are the potential costs.
And I for one think that have we the time, we should and could make the case about weapons. I mean, I guess I'll go into this. I do have one question and this will be it. Why is it that the rest of the world does not sense the same urgency that we sense? Why is it that the Europeans, who are physically closer, who have more -- maybe it's because they have more at stake in terms of energy, why is it that they don't sense this urgency? And why is it that the Arab world doesn't? Is it because they doubt our resolve and therefore they don't want to get into a deal?
I mean, what is it that when I speak to European heads of state, foreign ministers, defense ministers, parliamentarians, members of royal families, members of governments in the Middle East, why is it that almost without exception they say we're exaggerating the threat? Is it because they don't have the intelligence? What you said, Dean, you said, "Look, you were there. It was obvious everybody knew. You know, at UNSCOM they knew. They had the model." Why is it that Europeans talk when you say nuclear, they say, oh, no, don't worry about that. What's the deal? Why are they not concerned?
MR. GALLUCCI: In my over 20 years of working with nonproliferation problem, it has always been so that we have always been making the case. And less in London, but in Paris and Bonn, in Rome and Tokyo, these are with our closest allies that the threat -- the spread of these weapons of mass destruction is something that affects us all, and they always have been closer geographically.
But it is also true that we are the superpower, that our interests are everywhere, that we are expected, in fact, to take upon this burden -- take on this burden, and they do not see themselves, I think, as quite in harm's way as we see ourselves and our interests. And indeed, I think one can make a pretty good case that we are more of a target than they are.
SEN. BIDEN: We have the bulls eye on our back, they don't. Is that the explanation?
MR. HOAR: Sir, may I offer an explanation with respect to the Islamic world?
SEN. BIDEN: Sure.
MR. HOAR: There are three things going on simultaneously right now: our efforts in Afghanistan, our obvious concerns about Iraq and the peace process. And those three are connected in the eyes of the Islamic world. And if we lose track of that, we lose track of the sense of justice, whether you believe it or not or whether you feel it is justified, that all of these things are indeed connected and that, as Mort has said and as I have said, if we were to make progress on the peace process, many things would be possible for us. For example, disarmament in the region after a peace process would be a much easier hurdle to vault than to try and do it now.
SEN. BIDEN: Some of the people I respect who don't necessarily agree with it at the Defense Department make the opposite argument -- that if you take care of Iraq, the rest will fall in place including Israel and the Palestinian issue.
MR. HOAR: I disagree with that violently, sir.
SEN. BIDEN: Anyone agree with that proposition?
MR. McINERNEY: I think it will have a lot more significance. Saddam gives about $950 million this year to the PLO. He is bonded himself with that issue where before he wasn't. But I also think General Hoar has got a very -- it has gotten to such a point over there that it is obscuring a lot of the other things.
The only thing I would say about Europe, they had the same problem in 1939, Senator.
SEN. BIDEN: That's a good point.
MR. HALPERIN: Senator, can I just make one -- I go back to Senator Rockefeller's point about uncertainty. I mean, remember it was not too many years ago when we were the leading exponents of the notion that one could get along with Saddam Hussein. He was still developing nuclear weapons, he was still doing terrible things to his people and we were arguing with our allies, we can come to terms with him.
They are very great uncertainties, I think, that affect all of these decisions. But I just wanted to comment on the part that you started with. It seems to me it is very uncertain what we should do. There are no clear answers, there are no easy answers. And therefore, it seems to me, that I come back to what you're emphasizing, is that the process is key to this. And I would hope that we would not have from the administration what we had on the reorganization of the government, which is opposition silence and then a proposal and a demand that we do it in two weeks or two months.
If we're going to do this, we need a long period of debate after the president lays out the case. I think Congress has not only got to insist that it has a role to play, but it has a role to play that can't be stampeded by a sudden announcement that we need a decision in two weeks.
SEN. BIDEN: Senator.
SEN. LUGAR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me try to offer a degree of certainty, at least with this kind of a road map. What if we took the position that the panel this morning mentioned, especially Ambassador Butler and many of you have mentioned today, that it seems that we fought a war successfully militarily. The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution, but unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, Iraq did not comply, and in due course anticipated that we would not enforce compliance which we have not.
But we -- leaving aside whether Saddam is on the bubble of getting a nuclear weapon or what have you, we sort of go back with our U.N. Security Council friends and others and say we believe we ought to take that seriously. And so whether it's containment light or containment heavy, essentially we might try to enforce what Secretary Powell has negotiated or we might be pretty hard-nosed about it and say really we're going to stop anything coming in and out of Iraq as far as we can. We're going to enforce the no fly zones almost to the point that we occupy in the air those two zones, so you are squeezed. In other words, leaving aside all of the speculation over intelligence we don't have, we do those things which are ordained now by the U.N. and by all of our friends.
Now, secondly, we carve out $80 billion for potential operation. That is a large sum of money.
That's twice the bill that we were debating today on prescription drugs for the elderly, for two years. Now, we could -- so it's a big sacrifice, but we understand that that's what we're going to do, we carve that money out. But then at the same time, we adopt, as President Bush did before, a United Way campaign to try to fill in who is going to pay for $80 billion. We take for granted that we're all going to do it this -- this is what is required and we're all in this together, we're in the U.N., we fought a war and we have a problem here.
And finally, do it the best we can intelligence wise, either reform or in some way really put an emphasis on this as well as educating all of ourselves, including members of the Senate, about Iraq: internal politics, options, who's there, what might happen and so forth, so that we have at least some reasonable idea if something did happen to Saddam, or if there is pressure, what the alternatives may be.
Now, at the end of the day, Saddam pressured in all these ways, and given the fact of our resolution, now we're setting aside the money, we are thinking in terms of hundreds of thousands of people, if required, we are getting the bases together. We will have to have the bases. The thought of trying to work together without air space and so forth, as we heard this morning from Mr. Cordesman, really is not going to work. We used all the bases last time. We overused 23 bases, as he described it. So in order to be credible, they've got to be available again. So we put very great pressure upon everybody now that we are credible to open up these places. Or maybe Saddam gives up but probably he doesn't, and so in the course of all of this, ultimately something happens.
But we've already now come to a point where we've done a lot of planning and we have some people in motion. We have congressional support by this time. Some weeks have passed, we've had some more hearings, we've had some more contra-feelings back and forth. The thing that I worry about at the end of the day is not that Saddam would fall in the process of all of this, if we are prepared for it and we have the bases and we have the money, but still this aftermath of what comes. I'm not discouraged today, maybe this is sort of an enlightened aspect of this hearing, that there aren't people in Iraq that may be prepared for democracy as we know it. Suggestions are, in fact, liberal democracy might even lead to more terrorists being spawned out of the process.
What if, in fact, we have liberal democracy as we now have in India, for example, and they developed a nuclear weapon anyway, despite all of our protests. Well, we'd say, well, they're friendly, unlikely to use that on us. But they might use it on Pakistan and so a lot of diplomacy is trying to prevent that. Ditto for the Pakistanis. Why do they develop one? Why is Iran's development any more benign, as Senator Brownback brought up? Well, we think it is in a sense because they've had a long time program.
The question that I have is at the end of the day, if we end up with a regime in Iraq, that in fact because of a sense of nationalism, defense of their country against Iran, for example, the same way India and Pakistan are involved, the best we can hope for is something more friendly and therefore unlikely to use it on us, that is a very, very queasy objective, much like the end of the last war with this resolution that was never enforced.
Now, that's why I think we need much more concentrated thinking, Mr. Chairman, on what are -- what is an alternative at the end of all this, after we've sketched out how we win the war, how we get the allies, what do we have left? And, you know, I really don't understand from anybody yet except hopefulness, that there is a charismatic figure somewhere in Iraq today or outside of Iraq that might come in, or several of these people, who somehow or other might bring about a different style of life for people.
Now, we're experimenting with this in Afghanistan now, and I think well to point that out. This is a big change, women going to school, women having any rights at all. This change is the whole concept that half of population of most Muslim states is interested in franchise and out of the picture. As you pointed out, if all this began to occur in Iraq, what do the neighbors think? How about the Saudis? How about anybody in the neighborhood? Do they accomplish this? In fact, how many years, how many people do we have to have there to make certain those who are doing these incipient democratic things have time to do it? And so that's a part of this situation I think we need to sketch in some more, Mr. Chairman.
The military side of it is not un-complex and clearly most Americans are not prepared for $80 billion and several hundred thousand people in readiness and all the diplomacy. But that we can do. We have been through those traces before. What we have not come to is a successful conclusion in the internal politics of Iraq or at this point certainty even in Afghanistan. And that seems to me to be critically important.
SEN. BIDEN: That's why I almost switched my registration and voted for you in the primary but anyway.
SEN. LUGAR: I really don't ask for anybody to comment. This is sort of my own editorial unless someone has any comment on it. Would anyone like to comment?
MR. HALPERIN: Well, let me say, Senator, I'm ready to sign up for your first part of your policy which is a vigorous enforcement of what the international community already supports with the notion that if Saddam resists that we then push further with the use of military --
SEN. LUGAR: Because that's our entre back into the international community.
MR. HALPERIN: The only thing I would add to what you suggest is let's take a little bit of that money you set aside and spend it to make the embargo work. If we're prepared to compensate the Syrians, the Turks and the Jordanians for the consequences of honoring the embargo and if we insist that they honor the embargo, I think we can make that happen and I think that would have a very --
SEN. LUGAR: That's an interesting idea -- compensation of these people.
MR. HALPERIN: The U.N. Charter entitles countries which enforce embargoes mandated by the Security Council to be compensated by the international community. We did it to some degree with the countries around Serbia, not fully, but to a significant degree. And we have not done that in this area and that is a lot cheaper than a military operation.
SEN. LUGAR: Good idea. Well, thank you very much.
MR. HALPERIN: Thank you.
SEN. BIDEN: Gentlemen, do either of you have any more questions? Gentlemen, I can't thank you enough. This has been very helpful. This is the start of this undertaking and I warn you, we're like poor relatives, when we're invited we show up. You've invited us to ask you again. I'm warning you, we may ask you back. I thank you very, very much.
We have one more panel. A very important panel. But what I would like to suggest is that -- I realize it's 5:00 but we're going to take a little more time. Thank you very much, Dean.
Professor Telhami, Professor Ajami, Dr. Kemp and Ambassador Parris are our next panel and we appreciate their waiting so long. Please, gentlemen, I don't know where they've put your name tags but if you would pick a seat and the tag will find you.
Professor Telhami is an analyst and Anwar Sadat professor of peace and development at the University of Maryland and is a non resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He's made himself available to this committee, to me, many members of the committee and we truly appreciate his making himself available.
Professor Ajami is a professor and director of Middle East studies at Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies and he has recently been elected to the board of the Council on Foreign Relations. Again he's been incredibly generous with his time and advice.
Dr. Kemp is director of regional strategic programs at the Nixon Center and from '83 to '85 he served as both special assistant to the president for National Security Affairs and senior director for Near East and South Asian Affairs on the National Security Council.
And last but not least, Ambassador Mark Parris who has served as the U.S. ambassador to Turkey from '97 to 2000. He served as a special assistant to the president and as senior director of the Near East and South Asia at the National Security Council from '95 to '97.
Again, I thank you all for being here and I thank you for your patience. Maybe if you could proceed in the order you've been introduced and then we can get to questions. You can see we have an interested panel on this side. So I appreciate your time and I hope we don't ruin your dinner.
DR. SHIBLEY TELHAMI
MR. SHIBLEY TELHAMI: Well, thanks, Mr. Chairman. Thanks again for inviting me.
I'd like to make some very brief opening remarks and I'd submit my written statement for the record with your permission.
SEN. BIDEN: All your statements will be placed in the record to the extent that you do not do the whole statement.
MR. TELHAMI: What I'd like to do instead is just highlight a few points. And I would like to address more specifically the issue of regional impact of a possible war and how the region, broadly, looks at policy toward Iraq.
I think it is clear from what you've heard already that there is pervasive opposition to a military campaign toward Iraq in any foreseeable future. And it's very important to understand what the calculations are in the region that lead to this kind of opposition.
I'd like to begin by saying that while a lot of that has to do with an assessment of public opinion in the region and the pressures that they face from their own public. Much of that calculation is not based only on public opinion, some of the calculation is based on very specific, strategic calculations that these leaders and these governments make. We have to first be clear. Not each one of them has the same calculation. The calculations of Turkey, Jordan, Iran, Syria, the GCC states are different. But they have some things in common. They all worry about the consequences of what happens after.
First, it is clear that they don't see the threat in the same way that we do. They do not believe that Iraq today poses a serious military threat that they have to worry about and they see our focus on it as out of place. They have other priorities that they would like to address in the region and they see this as taking us and them away from other priorities such as the Arab Israeli issue. And, in that regard, they fear that this will disrupt very important priorities. They also fear that after the war, first and foremost, there may be more instability than we are planning for. They might be optimistic about our capability to bring about a desirable outcome in Iraq that would be a stable outcome for each one of them, especially Turkey, Syria, but even Iran and the GCC states. And in that regard they are not confident about our own assurances, that we intend to spend the time and the money and the energy and the military clout to be there for as long as it takes to bring a desirable outcome about.
First and foremost, I think they fear instability at the strategic level. But consider even the happy outcome, from our point of view, which is an outcome which says that we will put the necessary resources to bring about a better government in Iraq, a stable situation in the region. So, therefore, they don't have to worry about the issue of instability. Then we can only do that by putting forth significant forces that would turn Iraq essentially into an American base and an American ally in a way that clearly disrupts the strategic calculus for many of them in a way that is worrisome for many of them even aside from public opinion. Not all of them, but many of them worry about it.
But ultimately it boils down to another factor which is public opinion. They do worry about it. There is a pervasive resentment of the United States today in the region. There is a sense of public power that has not been exhibited before in the region. And much of it is directed not so much at the United States only, it is really a pervasive sense of frustration, humiliation with an existing order that many people in the region do not support. But they see the U.S. as an anchor of that order and clearly the highlighting of the pain on the Palestinian/Israeli front of the last few months has exacerbated that resentment in a way that is putting pressure on these governments.
I do not want to exaggerate this and say that governments are weak and cannot contain it. Clearly, the governments have been able to contain pressure before and clearly, even in the recent crisis, they have done so in a way that diminished the impact of public resentment and public pressure. The real issue for them is at what cost? Even if they succeed, at what cost and can they do it?
I know that there's a school of thought that is dominant in some of the public debate today which says who cares about public opinion in the region or who cares even about the positions of these governments who are opposing the United States. The assessment is that we're powerful enough to do it on our own and when they see that we're going to do it anyway, they're going to jump on the American bandwagon and they're mostly authoritarian governments. They're going to find a way to bring the public along and therefore why should we care, why should we pay attention to that? Let's do what we need to do and they're just going to jump on a winning American bandwagon.
I'm not going to address the military side of that. You've heard a lot about it. But the political side of it, I think it's a mistake to make that argument. I have no doubt that some governments will jump on a winning American bandwagon. No question about it. I think people don't like to be on the side of losers and they don't want to be on the wrong side of the U.S. especially if they are assured that the U.S. is going to win. And I think that militarily, there will be no doubt. The real question is at what cost and what are the consequences.
But I think if the U.S. is willing to put a lot of resources into it, the equation is -- there is no doubt about the military equation of it. And so, there is no doubt that some will do it. But I would submit to you that the calculations have changed since 1991 and clearly, we can't be assured that all of them, or even most of them, those who joined the coalition in '91, are going to have that jump on the bandwagon attitude.
Let me tell you why and I'll give you a couple of reasons. One is there isn't -- the situation has changed, not only in terms of the perception of Iraqi threat. In 1991, clearly they saw Iraq as a threatening state with military capabilities. Today, nobody really believes that Iraq is a serious threat and they see it mostly as a victim. So the logic of the Iraq issue is different. While in 1991 there may have been doubts, particularly by radicals in the region, about the U.S. military capability and staying power, that was made a reality after the 1991 victory. It is clear that today, no one has doubts about the U.S. Most American attitudes are really derived by a perception that America is actually very powerful, that America is perhaps too powerful for them, too domineering in regional politics. So the perception is not exactly the same perception that preceded the 1991 and therefore the logic of the psychology is very different.
From the governments' point of view, most of them probably will do what they have to do to resist public opinion, if public opinion tries to disrupt a policy of supporting an American campaign in Iraq or at least sitting on the sidelines of an American campaign toward Iraq. Many of them will probably succeed. Most of them don't have much certainty as they did back in '91 that they could succeed. The absence of certainty is in part a function of a new reality, which is that they no longer control the flow of information, they no longer control perception.
At least in that dimension, there is a sense that the public will get information that is going to be disruptive to government agenda in a way that the governments cannot control. That is new to them. They don't know whether it means a lot and they don't know whether it means a little. But they know that it presents some uncertainty about their ability to control.
And second, there is a sense of empowerment in the region that is, I would say, a public disgust with states in general, with their own states, with international systems, with international organizations and certainly with the U.S. And in that sense, to the extent that there is a public that is willing to be mobilized, it's not mobilizing behind a possibility that Iraq might have victory or behind a government that is going to advocate their causes. It is the extent to which they are going to be able to do something on their own or rally behind militants. The source of inspiration today is not states. It is militants, anti-state.
And the extent to which, therefore, to succeed is not a function of the strength of any particular state including Iraq and in that regard, I think, what we will have even in a successful campaign and even if the governments do succeed in repressing the public, you're going to have two clear outcomes.
One is they are only going to succeed if they are more repressive. And I'm talking about governments outside of Iraq. They will succeed only through repression and they have probably the capacity to do so. They will stretch themselves to the limit. But if we have any illusions about this, then transforming the Middle East into democratic place, I think, let's think about that a little bit more. And second, it is undoubtedly, in my judgment, going to increase the motivation for terrorism in the region. Maybe we can reduce some aspects but clearly, there will be more motivation. We have to understand that those are dynamics that will be out there regardless of what the outcome will be actually in Iraq itself.
But let me end with a question pertaining to the nuclear threat. I think that it is interesting -- we've had that discussion before about whether or not the region sees Iraq's nuclear potential or potential in weapons of mass destruction as threatening to them. I mean, they are the ones that have to fear Iraq most as its neighbors. Why aren't they worried about Iraq so much? And I think ultimately it is really a different interpretation of the threat. Most of them first don't think Iraq is close to having a nuclear capability. They think we're exaggerating.
But more importantly, I think they have a different assessment of Saddam Hussein. They think he's a ruthless dictator but not suicidal. They think he's sensitive to deterrents and they think that he goes against weaker but not stronger opponents. And therefore, regardless of what he does, they think he is containable. They have a different idea about the sort of threat that he poses. And in that regard, they see the choice essentially as being a choice between being willing to live with him or not being willing to live with him.
And I think ultimately -- and in fact, in our debate, we have confused the two issues frankly -- if the issue is about terrorism, then we have to remind ourselves that this is not likely to eliminate the motivation for terrorism in the Middle East. It may even increase it. If our aim is to bring -- to limit Iraq's nuclear capabilities, weapons of mass destruction capabilities, we may succeed in Iraq in particular. But we will succeed if --militarily, but we might have a political option, if our aim is not also to overthrow the regime and I think what we have done is, in essence, link the regime change option with the elimination of the weapons of mass destruction option. That is the political attempt to try to put controls in place that would get Iraqi cooperation on weapons of mass destruction has always been linked to the idea that we also want regime change.
And so, the Iraqi reluctance, in part at least -- at least they have not been tested enough -- has been the assumption that we are after the regime as well as minimizing their capabilities. Therefore, I think we have not tested the political option that splits the two, that says, "Let's test the choice for the regime between survival and having nuclear weapons. Let's test the political." And I think there it is very clear that for his survival, Saddam Hussein is willing to give up almost anything. At the same time, if his survival is at stake, there is no doubt that he is willing to do almost anything. And I think that is very important to remember in thinking about how we might design a policy that would be effective toward Iraq.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you very much, Professor.
DR. FOUAD AJAMI
MR. FOUAD AJAMI : Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. It's a great honor to be here and I commend you and the members of the committee on this hearing. It's always a kind of -- when I came in in the morning and I sat through, I was confident of everything I was going to say and by 5:15, by the time I'm called on, I'm less confident. But I have some things to share with you and I think when one is called upon before this kind of panel and with this kind of talent that you have available to you, you always wonder what your comparative advantage is.
And I think my comparative advantage is something of a knowledge of the Arab political --
SEN. BIDEN: I think it's your beard.
MR. AJAMI: Yes, exactly. That too.
Of the Arab political experience and had your rules permitted it, there were a couple of times when you asked some questions, Mr. Chairman, I was really tempted to intervene from the back.
SEN. BIDEN: Feel free to respond to them now.
MR. AJAMI: Yes, exactly. It's like we now -- if we go into this campaign against Iraq, we are clearly heading into a region which bears us ill-will. We understand that. And in all the months after September 11 and all the travel I did and all the reading of the Arab world I've done in the last year, I came across something I want to share with your committee. It's something that a friend of mine, a very talented Egyptian playwright, named Ali Saleem, said to an American journalist about why is there such malice in the Arab world, in the Muslim world towards the United States and it's interesting to note that in this decade behind us, American power was used three times in favor of Arabs and Muslims: in favor of Kuwait in 1990, in favor of Bosnia in 1995, in favor of the Kosovars in 1999 and yet there was no gratitude there. Very few people spoke about the usage of American power in favor of these Muslim populations.
Now, I understand that the case of Kuwait was complicated because there is an argument possibly that Saddam would have won a free election in the Arab street in 1990, had he really contested the election. But the case of the Bosnians in which you and Senator Lugar and a number of your colleagues were quite active, and the case of the Kosovars, I think they're very interesting.
So here's Ali Saleem on this kind of anti-Americanism we're going to, in many ways I think, mop up and run into and face when we go there. "History is cruel" he says. "It's trying to drag American backwards. In this case history is right. We here need to be more progressive" -- meaning in the Muslim world -- "but you need to take a step back. If the bureaucrats in your airports were just a little more paranoid like us it would be a different world. Really America is a beautiful place. No one even asked why all these guys wanted flying lessons. You should learn to be suspicious. A little backwardness would be healthy. People say Americans are arrogant but it's not true. Americans enjoy life and they are proud of their lives and they are boastful of the wonderful inventions that have made life so much easier. It's very difficult to understand the machinery of hatred because you wind up resorting to logic. But trying to understand this with logic is like measuring distance in kilograms."
Measuring distance in kilograms. These are people who are afraid of America, afraid of life itself. These are people who are envious. To them life is an unbearable burden. Modernism is the only way out but modernism is frightening. It means we have to compete, it means we can't explain everything away with conspiracy theories. Bernard Shaw said it best, you know. In the preface to St. Joan he said that Joan of Arc was burned for no other reason except that she was talented. Talent gives rise to jealousy in the hearts of the untalented.
So we shall go into the Arab world, into the Muslim world. We should launch this campaign in the face of this kind of sentiment about America. Now, this will not be Desert Storm, I think we must understand that. Because in Desert Storm there were even Muslim jurists, Muslim jurists in Saudi Arabia and Egypt who argued that Saddam was a menace to his world and a tyrant, and the resistance to him is legitimate, the issued Fatwa's ruling opinion in that direction. So we went with that and there was -- at the time there were jurists who even ruled that you can have Arab and Islamic, and quote, unquote, "other friendly forces." We got in under that loophole. Half a million men under the "other friendly forces."
It will not be this way this time around, we understand that. So ideally for the regimes in the region, what they want for Desert Storm of a decade ago I have written in the statement I submitted to you, Mr. Chairman, is they now want the perfect storm. And this is really what they want, a swift war, few casualties, as little exposure by themselves as possible, the opportunity to be rid of Saddam without riding in broad daylight with the Americans and without being brought to account by their people. It would be great if they could get that.
But the political world never grants these kinds of favors.
The fog of war is what it is. And there will be risks run by these regimes and there will be risks run by ourselves. I agree partly with my colleague Shibley on one point that I think -- and I would elaborate by saying this will be a war in the time of the satellite channels, so a lot of this will be in the open. And I think this is the nightmare of these regimes, that we would call upon them to make commitments in the open.
So my feeling is that we will end up not with a very brilliant position but not with a bad one if we choose to draw the sword, or if you want your metaphor, to pull the trigger. That there will be people who would associate with us quietly in the Peninsula, in Kuwait, in Qatar. And there will be people who will associate with us even in Jordan, though the case of Jordan requires, I think, focus and discussion. But they will dread having to be brought out into the open.
Will the Arab street greet us warmly? It will not. But I'll tell you one thing, the one street that will trump all streets, and this I think is a very important point to put on the record, the one street will be the street in Baghdad and Basra. We shall be mobbed. We shall be mobbed when we go there, by people who are eager for deliverance form the tyranny and the great big prison of Saddam Hussein.
Some months ago I did a piece on Al-Jazeera Television and I watched very closely Al-Jazeera Television for hours and hours. And I thought one of the most interesting and one of the most difficult days for Al-Jazeera came was during the liberation of Kabul. When the Afghanis whom we thought would greet us, if you will, with this war that was going to frustrate us and we were going to be thwarted and they were going to do to us the damage that they had done to the Brits in earlier times and to the Russians, when in fact we were greeted with kites and boom boxes.
We shall be greeted, I think, in Baghdad and Basra with kites and boom boxes, and we should understand this. And the embarrassment for those in Nablus and Cairo who will then protesting -- will be protesting an American war or an Anglo-American war, whatever label you put on that war, will be enormous. I think we go into Iraq and there is some --
SEN. BIDEN: The embarrassment will be enormous?
MR. AJAMI: Yes, to them. The embarrassment will be enormous.
I think we now -- and just in terms of wrapping just this part of my intervention. We go into Iraq and I think we should see Iraq for what it is, it's a tormented country, it has been violated by this despot. There are three communities, as we know. There are the Kurds, there are the Shi'a Arabs who are the majority of the population, and there are the Sunni Arabs, who have believed that political power was their due, the Takriti gang and the people around them.
A decade ago we were unkind to the Shi'a because we thought they would be a satrapy of the clerical regime in Iran. We do not know Iraq Shi'aism. And I'll tell you one of the things, Mr. Chairman, I did a book called "The Vanished Imam" on one Shi'a cleric in Lebanon and studied the Shi'a clerical culture in Lebanon, in Iran, in Iraq. These Iraqi Shi'a are Iraqi patriots and we should do them the honor of understanding that when the wheel turns, that they just want a piece of the political life of their land. We paralyzed ourselves in 1991 by saying that there would be a regime that would emerge in Iraq that would simply be a replica of the Iranian revolution. Well, the Iranian revolution has fallen on hard times. Its power to attract other people in the region is no longer what it used to be a decade or two decades ago. And we now can see, I think, Iraq in a whole new light.
And we should understand one thing about Iraq. If we're really looking for a place where maybe American ideals may work, this place may be as good a candidate as any.
Thank you very much for your indulgence.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you, professor, I'm anxious to ask you some questions.
Dr. Kemp, welcome.
MR. GEOFFREY KEMP
MR. GEOFFREY KEMP: I'd like to add my appreciation, Mr. Chairman and your colleagues, for hosting this extremely important set of hearings. I've been asked, as you know, to do a rather strange thing -- talk about the likely response of Iran on the one hand and then Europe on the other to a war against Iraq and I'll try to do it in about nine minutes.
Iran has a long agenda of unresolved problems with Iraq including border disputes, the Kurdish question, religious quarrels, terrorists/liberation activity, Iraqi Shi'a refugees in Iran, and there are hundreds of thousand of them, and of course the continuing aftermath of the brutal Iran/Iraq war. Iran has a huge stake in the future of Iraq and therefore is going to be watching very, very carefully what we do and what happens. Iran remains extremely suspicious of Saddam Hussein and most Iranians hate his regime, I am certain as much as Fouad, my colleague, says the Iraqis do.
However, and this is the point I want to stress, at this point in time the Iranian regime is more worried about a U.S. war that calls for regime change. It regards this to be inimical to its own interests. From an Iranian perspective, the status quo, that is to say a contained Iraq, suits their interests much better. They acknowledge Iraq's potential to re-emerge as a regional threat. But the United States is seen as the greater threat.
The president's State of the Union speech designated Iran as part of the Axis of Evil. Iran's hard liners have taken this very seriously, including the frequent calls from the administration for regime change in the region. And they wonder at what point their Islamic republic, which is in trouble, will be a candidate for American action.
All Iranians, irrespective of whether they're hard liners, soft liners, moderates, conservatives, worry about a failed or messy U.S. operation that would leave the region in chaos, they would then be on the receiving end for possibly millions of new Iraqi Shi'a refugees and they worry about the enormous disruptions a messy war would have on world oil markets and their very fragile economy.
SEN. BIDEN: Doctor, can you tell us how large the Shi'a population is in Iraq?
MR. KEMP: It's about 60 percent of the population, and if you think --
SEN. BIDEN: About 14 million, 15?
MR. KEMP: About that, yes, I would think so.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you.
MR. KEMP: Now, Iranian fears which I have just articulated are one thing, but what in reality is the Iranian government likely to do in the event that's a war? Some analysts, and very good analysts I would add, believe that Iran has already embarked on a proactive policy to delay any U.S. attack on Iraq by stepping up support for terrorism against Israel and stirring up trouble in Afghanistan. The greater the violence in either area, the more difficult it will be for the president to take on Iraq.
On the other hand, there is some evidence that the Iranian-based Shi'a opposition groups, this is the one that Tony Cordesman was talking about this morning, the Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, may be open to support from the United States, particularly air power, to topple Saddam provided we don't send in ground forces. Now, that would suggest that the Iranian government is at least prepared to blink or wink in the event of a limited U.S. operation that does not involve huge ground troops.
In my judgment, Mr. Chairman, if the United States has serious support for military action, including U.N. backing, EU backing, some moderate Arabs on board, Turkey on board, and the Russians -- very important, I think the Russians are moving more in our favor -- Iran's likely to keep its head down and not take a strong position against the United States during the war.
However, if international support is weak, Iranian protests will be loud. Much will depend upon how this administration approaches Iran in diplomatic channels.
In my judgment, its current policies toward Iran suggest that the leaders of Iran are likely to be warned rather than wooed in the event that we decide to go off to Iraq. The problem here, I think, is that Iranians could react unpredictably to what they would regard as a belligerent U.S. posture. The regime, for instance, might decide to place Iranian military forces on high alert. Under these circumstances, there's a danger that there could be military incidents between United States and Iranian maritime forces in the Persian Gulf and that that could lead to miscalculation and escalation.
Now, in thinking about Iranian behavior the day after the war, much will depend upon the nature of the new regime in Baghdad. It's not inconceivable that Iran might be willing to work closely with the new regime and reach an agreement to resolve outstanding issues relating to the Iran/Iraq war, the POWs for instance, and this longstanding dispute they've had with Iraq over the demarcation of the Shatt al-Arab waterway. But if U.S. forces have to invade an occupied Baghdad, this will mean trouble for the hard liners, and they will clearly be eager to exploit regional resentments of this new Pax- Americana, of the kind that my two previous colleagues suggested might happen.
Assuming no radical shift in the political balance in Tehran, it could be expected and I think this is important -- and I'm glad that Bob Gallucci talked about this in the previous panel -- Iran will make greater efforts to develop a nuclear weapons capability. It's possible that a quick U.S. victory over Iraq could result in a new bout of pragmatism in Tehran leading to a deal with Washington. But this outcome is by no means certain. A perceived to be arrogant, victorious America could well find it disliked by Iranians who regard themselves as reformers and pro-west.
Iranians are very proud of their independence as well as their desire to have a more democratic system, and we should not be unaware of the fact that while they may hate -- a lot of them may hate their own regime, and like us at this point in time, that can change. The fact of the matter is, Mr. Chairman, a number of geo-political realities are going to face any new regime in Baghdad and ultimately better relations between Iran and Iraq will be very, very important. The fact of the matter is Iran will be Iraq's neighbor long after U.S. troops have left.
Now, just two or three minutes on Europe -- I know that sounds strange but that's the way these things work out. Look, frankly, Mr. Chairman, direct European support for U.S. military action against Iraq is highly desirable but frankly not essential. However, cooperation with the United States would be essential if this war was protracted. We would conceivably have a major energy supply problem and working with the Europeans to resolve that is essential. And the European support, in my judgment, is going to be essential to make sure that the post-Saddam Iraq and the whole Middle East remains relatively stable.
Officially, cooperation between United States and Europe on the Middle East is relatively close, that is to say cooperation between the governments. The EU as you know, now has a common policy on the Middle East and this makes coordination with the Washington much easier than in the past. But the EU itself is not a state. As a consequence, its Middle East policy inevitably reflects compromise on contentious issues.
I think it's fair to say the key European governments all share the U.S. view that Saddam Hussein is a menace, that he's determined to reconstitute his WMD and that if he obtains nuclear weapons, he will flaunt them and attempt to change the balance of power in the Middle East. However, regime change, a phrase now frequently used by the administration in the context of the war against terrorism, is quite another matter for most European governments and parliaments.
Indeed, without the cloak of the U.N. legitimacy, European governments will find it difficult to carry public opinion. Though this does not mean they will not cooperate with us if in the last resort the United States decides that war is the only alternative. Europe obviously worries about the cost of the war as we do, particularly one that does not go well. The Europeans tend to have a more gloomy prognosis as to the region's susceptibility to a quick fix American military option that many seem to have in this administration. They ask how long the United States will have to occupy Iraq for? How long and what size force? When pressed, European officials are not prepared to say that they would contribute to a post-Saddam Iraqi occupation, unlike by the way the situation in Afghanistan when they volunteered more military forces than the U.S. thought necessary.
And while we're on the subject of Afghanistan, the Europeans do worry that the United States has no quote, "staying power". Therefore, absent a casus belli, a linkage between Iraq and Al-Qaeda or deliberate outright flaunting of WMD by Saddam, most European governments, I believe, would argue it would be unwise to take on Iraq while Afghanistan and also the Pakistani regimes remain precarious.
So I would just conclude on these two points, Mr. Chairman. Iran will not be able to prevent a U.S. attack on Iraq. It will likely remain neutral during the war while intensifying its efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Its greatest leverage will be during the post-war period. Its population and geography assures its interests must be taken into account, irrespective of who is running Tehran.
And on Europe, in the last resort, the European governments will support the United States if it uses force. I doubt very much whether this will involve troop contributions, except in the case of the Blair government which, as I understand, it shares all our concerns about Iraq except the issue of regime change as an objective.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you very much, Doctor.
MR. MARK PARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me join my colleagues in expressing my appreciation for the opportunity to appear before you on this very timely and important subject. The last time I sat in this chair was during my confirmation hearings when you grilled me on Turkish policy toward Cyprus. All things considered, I think I'd just as soon talk about Turkish policy towards Iraq.
I don't think there's any question that Turkey's attitude will be critical in the event the United States seeks to remove Saddam Hussein through the use of force. In the interest of time, I'm not going to recite the many reasons why that is so. All one has to do is look at a map and consider the options to realize that you really can't exercise any of them without Turkey.
What do the Turks think about the prospect of direct military action to topple Saddam Hussein? The short answer is they hate the idea. The Turks' dread of a new war against Iraq stems from their negative experiences with the last one. In security, economic and strategic terms, Turkey emerged the loser from the last Gulf War and its aftermath. From a security standpoint, Saddam's suppression of the Iraqi Kurds' short-lived uprising in 1991 and the coalition's subsequent expulsion of Iraqi central authorities from the north had a profoundly negative impact across the border in South East Turkey. PKK terrorists exploited the situation to expand their operations exponentially. It took most of the 90s, thousands of lives, lots of money and frequent interventions into northern Iraq itself for the Turkish military to get the situation back under reliable control.
From an economic standpoint, U.N. sanctions against Iraq cut off Turkey's access to what had been its largest trading partner. The impact was of the order of what would happen here if the U.S.-Canada border was sealed from one day to the next. Turks estimate the cost over the last decade at between $40 and 80 billion and that may be low. From a strategic standpoint, Ankara saw the emergence in northern Iraq of local administrative organs to fill the gap left by the withdrawal of Iraqi central authorities as a step towards the establishment of a de factor Kurdish state. Preventing such a development had long been and remains a cornerstone of Turkish regional policy, reflecting concern for its impact not just on Turkey's Kurdish population but on the interests of up to two million Turkmen of northern Iraq, a people ethnically and culturally very close to the Turks.
Over the past decade, Turkey has found ways to cope with most of the consequences of the Gulf War. It is not now uncomfortable with the status quo that has emerged in the area in and around northern Iraq. Would it not be better for Turkey if Saddam were gone? No question about that. The Turks are not insensitive to the potential advantages especially from an economic standpoint of Saddam's removal and of Iraq becoming a more normal neighbor. But for most of them, the appeal of such gains is outweighed by misgivings over what could go wrong this time around.
Based on their experiences since 1990, Turks lack confidence that the United States understands Iraq's internal dynamics well enough to give meaning to our repeated commitment to maintain its territorial integrity. They worry that even if we do understand the situation better than they suspect, the process of replacing Saddam could at some point lead the United States to make trade-offs at Turkey's expense. And they remain concerned that if things don't go according to plan, the U.S. will not see the project through leaving Turkey again to face a neighbor that is either hostile or in chaos.
Now, seen from this perspective, we should probably not be surprised that Turkey's highest leaders including its president, prime minister and defense minister and senior military have publicly and repeatedly expressed deep reservations about the wisdom of seeking forcibly to remove Saddam Hussein. The Turks are realists. And in virtually all conversations that I've had with the Turks on this subject, their bottom line is a realistic one. It boils down to this. If the United States does go after Saddam, Ankara will not have the luxury of sitting this one out.
There would simply be too much at stake in terms of Turkey's interest. Turkey would want to be in on the planning and execution of any operation to ensure that those interests were factored in and that there was no deviation from an original agreed concept once things get started. And Turks who think about these things understand that the price of this kind of access and this kind of transparency is some degree of cooperation. It is clearly in the interests of the United States, if we move against Saddam militarily, to maximize the extent of Turkish cooperation and to minimize the possibility of surprises once the operation begins.
The key to making Ankara part of the solution rather than a potential problem is early and honest and detailed consultations. What will the Turks be looking for in those consultations? On the most general level, they will want to see that whatever we have in mind is serious. Given the history, they will need to be convinced that we will finish the job this time around, that we can do it with dispatch and that we will do whatever it takes to get their neighbor back on its feet in one piece and as a member in good standing of the family of nations.
But the Turks will also have more specific things that they will want to see addressed. They will first of all want to be sure that they do not again pay an economic price for being on the right side in this war. I will therefore not be surprised to see Turkey seek to lock in before hostilities start concrete specific commitments from the administration in terms of debt forgiveness or additional economic or military assistance. I would also expect Ankara to seek assurance of continued U.S. support in the IMF and other international financial institutions to the extent action in Iraq adversely affects Turkey's economic recovery program.
But it is on issues relating to northern Iraq that U.S.-Turkish consultations will be most important because what happens there very simply may well have defined Turkey's role in the broader conflict. There have been some provocative, but I think ultimately fanciful, things written in the U.S. press about what role will be. I think you can forget about Turkish tanks rolling to Baghdad. It is simply not going to happen. Nor is anyone in Ankara sitting around and counting the revenue that Turkey might gain by seizing the oil fields around Mosul and Kirkuk.
My impression is that the Turks are deadly serious about maintaining Iraq's unity and territorial integrity. Indeed I believe that seriousness underlies what will be Turkey's primary goal in the event the United States moves against Iraq. That is denying the Iraqi Kurds any gains that might enhance their ability, in a post-Saddam environment, to press for independence for its functional equivalent. Now, that imperative has certain practical implications that U.S. planners will ignore at their peril.
One hears a lot around this town, for example, how the United States will, quote, "improve the military capability of the peshmurga, the Kurdish militia, as part of an effort to topple Saddam." I suspect that a more capable peshmurga force is not something that most Turks would be wildly enthusiastic about either now or on the day after.
Another area of potential tension has to do with the nature and mission of U.S. military and other personnel who may be deployed in the north. The Turks have spent a decade developing an ability to monitor and, to an important extent, to control developments there. They're likely to be suspicious of and may resist any presence that dilutes that ability by establishing direct links to the local Kurdish leaders.
And what about the Iraqi opposition? Turkey has traditionally been skeptical of Iraqi exile organizations and has a notably rocky relationship with the Iraqi National Congress. To the extent the United States intends to rely on such groups, particularly in the north, Ankara might have other ideas.
Finally, what would the Turks really do if Iraqi Kurds attempt to seize Mosul and Kirkuk? The Turks clearly fear that possession of these politically important cities and their associated oil well would put the Kurds in a powerful negotiating position on the day after. Turkey's press in recent months has been full of credible reports that Turkey would itself seize those cities rather than allow that to happen.
Mr. Chairman, I raise these examples not to suggest that they reveal irreconcilable differences between the United States and Turkey that would keep us from cooperating in an effort to change Iraq's leadership. I don't believe that to be the case. But I think they do underscore the importance of honest, detailed discussions before any balloons go up.
Thank you very much.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you very much, Mr. Parris.
Let me begin by asking Mr. Telhami, how would you test the choice between regime change and nuclear weapons? I mean, you drew what I think most Americans would think is a false distinction here, that in fact everyone we've heard from so far, most everyone you hear who is reputed to be informed, says that there's no way of separating Saddam from his nuclear or weapons of mass destruction and it is a foolhardy exercise to attempt to do it and therefore regime change is the only alternative. What you're suggesting is the possibility that Saddam stay in power but not have his weapons of mass destruction -- a deal that I think you'd find an awful lot of people ready to accept probably. But I mean I don't quite understand.
MR. TELHAMI: Let me just put it this way. There's clearly a difference in terms of how people in the world, in Europe and the Middle East see the priorities in Iraq. To the extent that the priority is eliminating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities, they see that as being more important than the issue of regime change. I think in our debate it is clear that we've articulated a policy of regime change from the very beginning, even when it was not an explicit policy, it was an implicit policy.
The real question is, if in fact our priority is eliminating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction potential, above regime change, one of the avenues we certainly haven't explored is whether that tradeoff will lead us to more intrusive international presence that would assure Iraq's compliance.
SEN. BIDEN: That's interesting but during the Clinton administration where there wasn't at the front end an explicit judgment made on regime change, there was virtually no cooperation from Europe on tougher inspection and tougher -- well, inspection regime to deal with weapons of mass destruction.
I mean, I've had repeated discussions during, all during the '90s, with European leaders who always had some, from my perspective quite frankly, lame excuse why it really wasn't a problem and so I'm wondering why you think that there's any prospect that if we went back to the Europeans and assume the president said to the French and to others, look, here's the deal, you help us get rid -- you get full blown inspections in there that are real, robust, genuine, allow us to go and -- to go wherever and if we're convinced that we've got rid of the weapons of mass destruction, we're out of there?
MR. TELHAMI: Well, I think that the question is, we really haven't tested it. Because if the tradeoff, if they're truly fearful of the military option and they see that as an alternative to the military option and the Iraqis see it as an alternative to the military option, it's worth testing and at a minimum if it doesn't work we will be in a better moral position to make a different kind of argument. So clearly --
SEN. BIDEN: Do you think then what Senator Lugar and myself, and I think to some degree Senator Hagel have been saying, that we should be, for reasons relating to diplomacy if not substance, pushing as hard as we can for a more robust inspection regime and put the Iraqis in the position where they resist, it's clear they're resisting and it's clear why? Is there a difference in what you're saying? Am I missing a nuance here?
MR. TELHAMI: No, it is essentially in the same spirit of what you're saying. I think the difference is that we have to be very explicit in our own thinking. That ultimately what we would then be advocating is, essentially we can live with the regime if it doesn't have weapons of mass destruction. That does affect the strategy because one of the fears that we have had in terms of the level of intrusions, when we went into Iraq and say well but if we remove the economic sanctions he's going to be able to have more political power in Baghdad or in Iraq. Well, unfortunately that may be the case if you pursue the strategy that is one consequence that we have to think about. I'm not suggesting that is the strategy to pursue but I think that that is the implication of this kind of strategy.
SEN. BIDEN: Dr. Kemp, if you were in your old job down at the White House, what advice would you give the president about what signals he should send to the Iranians now, if any, about any move against Iraq on our part?
MR. KEMP: Well, I'm not quite sure what the current policy towards Iran is, quite frankly, Mr. Chairman. As I understand it, in the period leading up to the war against the Taliban there were meetings with Iranians, multilateral meetings with the Iranians in the Six by Two Forum and the Iranians were relatively cooperative during the war against the Taliban and then in the immediate aftermath of the war, there were State Department people who were in Bonn, acknowledged that the Iranians were useful in putting together the Karzai government, interim government. Then things of course went down hill, very badly, climaxing with the Karine A incident, the ship that was caught moving arms to the Palestinians and the president's State of the Union speech. So now the problem is we do not have the sort of relationship with the Iranians we had last fall.
My own personal view is that if we contemplate a major war against Iraq we at least have to make an effort to resume some dialogue with the Iranian government however unpleasant its activities are in other theatres.
I happen to believe that what the Iranians are doing in the occupied territories, their support for Hamas and Hezbollah is linked to their fear that we are going to go after Saddam Hussein and that they have got to know that if we are truly determined to get rid of him, they're going to have to make a calculus that they can either cooperate with us in a passive way during that campaign or they can be against us and if they're against us then they're likely to be very much in our cross-fires. So my advice, if I had my old job and assuming I survived more than a week down there in this climate, I would essentially suggest we rethink our Iranian strategy as we get closer towards a war with Iraq.
SEN. BIDEN: Last point, Professor Ajami. You indicated that if we move against Iraq the people in the region, who were looking for this perfect storm, but people in the region, heads of state in the region, will associate with us but not want to be seen with us, not want us to kiss them in public here. What does that mean as it relates to the use of, what you heard the last panel of military, two military guys saying, without Qatar, without Bahrain, without Kuwait, there is no reasonable way in which we could sustain a massive U.S. military engagement. Does your note about, we'll associate with this but very quietly, does that mean they will not be able to give us access?
MR. AJAMI: I think they can give us access. I think sometimes people underestimate the power, the coercive powers of these governments and the power, I think, to live with a certain cognitive dissidence shall we say. Some of these states, maybe even Jordan, it may have to have shades of the perfect Musharraf situation. President Musharraf, let's give him credit. He's stared down the Islamics and he's stared down the street and he associated himself with American power and for the sake of all kinds of arguments that this regime was destined to fall if we were actually to associate itself with us and if we were to be a base for the war against Afghanistan. He did it. And the way he did it was to say look, this is the choice for Pakistan's modernity. That either we are a pariah among the nation or we actually join this coalition and he sustained his case. And I think it will come to this, for example, for the King of Jordan. Imagine now the nightmare of this young King of Jordan, Abdullah II.
Now, it's kind of interesting, if you will, if you like a story of irony. Last time around it was the two fathers, Bush senior and of course, King Hussein and at that time, those two men went separate ways. King Hussein decided he feared the street in his own country more than he feared the United States and he actually, that's right, that when the guns fall silent we would actually rehabilitate him and would give him a seat at the table. We invited him as we did to Madrid and we forgave him the choice he made because we understand that the difficulty that the Hashemites have in the realm. So I think we can sweeten the pot for some of these rulers. In the case of the King of Jordan we will have to add Jordan economically. There's already been talk of compensating Jordan on this panel today for what Jordan may have to do.
Some other countries have an easier call to make. In the case of Qatar, clearly everybody knows and the Qatari regime seems to have this amazing ability in many ways to do things in broad daylight. It even has Al Jazeera there and it just does it its own way. And we are building a presence in Qatar and I think that presence could be easily used. Bahrain, that could also be easily used. I think the Bahrainis, the domestic situation is not as acute, for example, as the case of the Jordanians. In the case of the Kuwaitis, it's easiest of all. They know the bandit for what he is. He has their national archives. He has 600 of their people. Incidentally, about whom now he's -- he's now saying, well, we're willing to discuss them even though they didn't exist a few months ago, or a year or so ago.
So, I think in the case of the Kuwaitis, their body politic could bear this kind of presence and could bear this kind of war. So we shouldn't exaggerate the weakness of these states. There shall be demonstrations against us to be sure. We shall not convince anyone, Mr. Chairman, that we're there to deliver the Iraqis out of their misery. And one point I want to make, already, there are large numbers of people in the Arab world who believe that we are keeping Saddam there because it is convenient for us, it is convenient for us, that that's why we never removed him. Because he allows us, if you will, this extensive presence in the Gulf, and he allows the Americans to get these joint exercises in the Gulf and to have these extensive weapon sales. So there are these kind of conspiracy theories that Saddam --
SEN. BIDEN: Your play makes reference to conspiracies in the region. By the way, I've heard that when I was in Bahrain, I mean, that was -- you guys warned me. Well anyway, you've clarified for me your statement about they'd be willing to associate but not want to be seen.
SEN. HAGEL: Mr. Chairman, thank you, and thank you to our panel this afternoon after a long wait. We appreciate you hanging in there with us. I apologize for missing some of the opening statements. So I may ask a question here that some of you developed in some detail.
Dr. Kemp, I heard it said recently on the Iranian dynamic, if we should invade Iraq, or liberate Iraq, however way we will phrase it, that the two options for Iran would be a negative neutrality or a positive neutrality.
And I think that is not a bad way to say it. I would ask each of you if you could give me your opinion on what has been suggested in previous panels today, that there is a very clear and defined link between the Arab Palestinian issue and Iraq. Is that true or not? If it is, how deep? Is it part of the dynamic if we would go into Iraq? And I've heard some of you mention it, but I would like very much for each of you to give me your thoughts on that.bassador Parris.
MR. PARRIS: Well, I think, there's no question that it complicates any assessment by the administration of how you would implement a policy of regime change which they have declared to be the policy. There's a question in my mind whether it's a showstopper, as some of the other witnesses have suggested. I think we sometimes underestimate the ability of some of our friends in the Arab world to deal with issues arising from discontent in their streets.
These are pretty -- these have proved to be pretty robust regimes when they need to be, regimes who understand their dynamics and have been able to dominate them over the years. And my guess is that if the administration were to do this in a way which provided adequate consultation which satisfies many of the concerns that have been expressed here and in previous panels, that those governments have shared with us and are likely to share with us in the consultative process, that it would be possible to carry out the kind of operation that we're talking about without resolving the Arab Israeli dispute first which after all is going to take a long time. There's a real question of whether or not, based on some of their earlier testimony today, we have that kind of time.
SEN. HAGEL: So, you don't see it as a serious impediment?
MR. PARRIS: I think it is certainly serious, and it is certainly an impediment. But I'm not convinced that it would stop this effort in its tracks if it were done properly and intelligently and with full concern for the sensitivities that our potential partners have expressed.
SEN. HAGEL: Thank you.
MR. TELHAMI: I think it clearly is, Senator, a complicating factor in some places. I mean, I think that Mr. Ajami's point was right about 1991, when -- 1990-91 when the king of Jordan decided essentially that the pressure from his public was too much to bear, that he had to stay it out, even though he was one of the friendliest leaders to ordain the United States of America. He made that choice and obviously he made it because he felt the heat from his public.
I think that it is -- the link is not direct. I think that what's at issue is that the resentment toward the U.S., which is broad based and it's linked to a lot of issues, but it's focused, highly focused, on this issue because of the escalation that we see, and therefore there will be an automatic link about an American design for Iraq.
I agree with the idea that these states are robust. I think they have proven to be robust before. They calculate on real politic basis. They have to do what they have to do to survive. And if that means that have to go with America, they ultimately do, even if they don't like it, they ultimately do. But I think we should have no illusions about the points that I tried to make earlier, one of which, that now they have more uncertainty about their ability. They've been stressed to the limit in the last few months because of this pressure and because they don't have control over this information, that is, that they're scared of it. It doesn't mean they can't do it but they have more uncertainty.
But the more important point is they can only succeed in containing the public discontent is through repression, and the net outcome will be is that we're going to end up with a Middle East that's more repressive. And we can't and shouldn't have any illusions about it. And I would argue, and here, Mr. Ajami, I may have a disagreement and I -- but he has not addressed it, but it is about the extent to which this would be a factor in additional motivation for terrorism. I happen to think that that is an issue. I happen to think it's very important. Even aside from whether the public has the capacity to overthrow regimes. I think revolutions are scarce in history and they clearly have been scarce in the Middle East. It is still a state system. We often forget that.
But there are -- even authoritarian governments have to be sensitive and responsive to their publics and there are new channels and avenues available to the public to express their discontent in a way that has not been expressed, and unfortunately through militancy. And I think it would be very easy to conceive of an argument that the militants would exploit and would be able to do more of it than before a war with Iraq.
SEN. HAGEL: Thank you.
MR. AJAMI: Now, on the issue of terrorism and the connection between -- I'll get to your point, Senator Hagel, but on the issue of terrorism and the connection with the Palestinian question, it's interesting to note that the trail of terror, the trail of terror that dogged American throughout the '90s, that is the World Trade Center truck bombing in 1993, the bombing in Riyadh in 1995, the Khobar Tower in June of 1996, the attacks on the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in the summer of 1998, and the attack on the USS Cole in October 2000. They all happened during one of the most accommodating American diplomacy toward the Palestinian question, under the presidency of Bill Clinton, where Bill Clinton was courting Yasser Arafat. And the terror paid the Palestine question no heed. Indeed, the masterminds of Al-Qaeda paid the Palestinian question in every statement they made, no heed. Two men, two men came together in 1998, Osama bin Laden in a position much more interesting for the purposes of terrorism, Aiman Zawahiri, who is an Egyptian and a foe of the regime of Mubarak, they came together and gave us this trail of terror.
The Palestine question was the issue de jour just recently for the bin Ladens in the region. So that's the connection to terrorism. Terrorism paid no attention to what we were doing on the Palestinian question. Terrorism had no regard for the peace of Oslo. And when Yasser Arafat had more visits to the White House than any head of state in the world during the Clinton years, the Qaeda people thought he was of no relevance to the kind of grievances that they had.
So, we come now to Iraq and the question is still a question of linkage. You know, can we do Iraq without doing Palestine? There is a kind of a view of the Arab world I don't share, that all issues, that Palestine is the end-all, be-all of Arab politics. I don't agree with this. I think the Gulf is very important. I think Iraq is very important. I think the faith of 22 million Iraqis is extremely important. And I think the idea that we can't do anything in the region short of quote, unquote, "solving" the question of Palestine, whatever that term means, is not very persuasive to me.
I think what we can say, we are in this war because of September 11 and we have to make a linkage between September 11 and Iraq. And I think the linkage is indirect but we must make it. And we have to insist on our right to prosecute this war. And we can also say that the president has in place his plan for regime change as well, not only in -- we're using regime change in Iraq, but regime change in the Palestinian territories. And that there is a promise to the Palestinians that they can have a state provisionally in three years if the terror comes to an end, and that ultimately anyway the Israelis and the Palestinians are doomed to an accommodation west of the Jordan River.
But the issue of suspending the liberties and the reform of the Arab world and keeping it hostage for the question of the Palestinians is not persuasive. I think the Iraqis have their claim on us and I think this is the kind of claim that we are to pay attention to.
SEN. HAGEL: Thank you.
MR. KEMP: Well, the one clear linkage, it seems to me, between Iraq and the peace process, the Arab-Israel conflict, whatever you want to call it, is Saddam Hussein. What did Saddam Hussein do in January 1991? He launched scuds against Israel with the sole purpose of bringing Israel into a war that would then disrupt the alliance that George Bush senior had put together. It didn't work because the scuds weren't effective and the Israelis showed remarkable constraint.
Saddam more recently has, of course, been upping the ante by paying these bounties to the families of suicide bombers in the Palestinian territory.
The scenarios that you've been hearing about this morning and read about every day in the paper include the possibility that in extremis Saddam Hussein will launch his WMD directly or indirectly against Israel in order to bring the linkage into effect.
And perhaps the most disturbing possibility of all, which there is now quite some speculation about, is that Saddam Hussein in extremis would do whatever he could to destabilize the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan. And it's interesting that everybody on this panel who has slightly different views, we all seem to agree that, you know, the Saudis will ride it out, the Egyptians will ride it out, the Qataris will, but we're all a little worried about the king.
In other words, we talk a lot about regime change, but actually what we have to worry about is regime survival, particularly the survival of King Abdullah, because if anything happened to Jordan under his rule, promoted by the Iraqis, and they can be very, very unpleasant, this is an immediate threat to Israel, and Israel will respond. That's the linkage that worries me.
SEN. HAGEL: Thank you.
SEN. BIDEN: Sorry. Senator Sarbanes.
SEN. PAUL S. SARBANES (D-MD): Mr. Chairman, I regret very much that my schedule was such that I've not been able to be here with you through the day, but I want to commend you for scheduling these hearings at a very busy period, just before the recess. I think it's extremely important that you've undertaken this effort. And we're having another full day tomorrow, as I understand it.
SEN. BIDEN: That's correct.
SEN. SARBANES: And that you're also contemplating resuming the hearing process when we come back in September. I think it's imperative that we've launched on this enterprise. Every day we got a new report in the national press about U.S. policy toward Iraq and its implications. Sunday we had a headline in the Washington Post, quote, "Some top military brass favor status quo in Iraq: containment seen less risky than attack."
Another in the New York Times just yesterday, "Profound effect on economy seen in a war on Iraq. U.S. may bear most costs. Experts weigh likelihood of an oil price shock and other disruptions of markets." And then even today, the Times had its lead story, "Air power alone can't defeat Iraq, Rumsfeld asserts. Secretary sidesteps question of sending in U.S. ground forces to oust Hussein." So we -- you know, which then of course draws you into the debate, can you do it with air power alone or can you not do it with air power alone, et cetera?
Now, it seems to me imperative that there be a broader examination of all of these questions and, you know, this current brutal regime in Iraq raises major and complex questions for U.S. policy. And how they're answered will have consequences for the region, for our own country, and more broadly around the world for a long time to come. And obviously we need to embark on the process you've launched sooner, I think, rather than later. We have to have well-considered, well-informed policies and we have to take into account the full measure of potential benefits and risks and they have to be fully explicable to our people.
In that regard, I was very much taken by the op-ed piece, as you and Senator Lugar have in today's New York Times, and I'm very strongly supportive of the approach contained therein, including your statement. Without prejudging any particular course of action, we hope to start a national discussion of some critical questions. I think that's extremely important. And I therefore again commend you for undertaking this careful examination of the situation.
You and Senator Lugar set out there some questions which I think have formed the framework for these hearings. What threat does Iraq pose to our security, how immediate is the danger, what are the possible responses to the Iraqi threat? Third, you know, what are our responsibilities if Saddam is removed? Fourthly, what would it take to rebuild Iran economically and politically? And I know you're trying to do these panels, I think, focused on particular aspects of that question, but if I could go outside of that --
SEN. BIDEN: Well, they -- believe me, these guys can go anywhere you want them to go.
SEN. SARBANES: Well, I know. Well, let me then just close these observations.
SEN. BIDEN: I mean they're capable of dealing with any subject, I didn't mean to imply anything else.
SEN. SARBANES: Let me close by putting a question to them then.
SEN. BIDEN: No, take your time. Take your time.
SEN. SARBANES: What would we have to undertake afterwards with respect to Iraq? I mean, how long are we talking about being present, and what kind of resources would we have to commit. And as you answer that question, could you put it in the context of our staying power, what we have reflected on that question in Afghanistan?
You know, we went into Afghanistan and we did an important military operation with considerable success, but we're left with problems afterwards. Now, how adequately are we addressing that, and how commensurate has our commitment been? And as you look at the Afghanistan situation, what questions may that raise about the Iraqi situation post Saddam Hussein? That's the question I'd like to leave with this panel.
SEN. BIDEN: Very good question, I'm anxious to hear their answers.
MR. KEMP: Can I start?
SEN. BIDEN: In any order you'd like.
MR. KEMP: As I understand it, the U.S. Army began preparations for the occupation of Germany in 1942. Currency was being printed for the occupation. I think we've got a long way to go in thinking about this problem of occupying Iraq. I gather tomorrow morning you're going to have some very, very good people who have looked at this in great detail, so I wouldn't want to pre-empt anything they say. But if you're talking about the occupation of Iraq, you're talking about tens of thousands of U.S. troops for a long period of time. Kabul, you know, is the only area that we're really protecting in Afghanistan, and that is a relatively small city. It is not Baghdad, it is not a city of six million.
So I think the idea that we can just win the war and go away would be extraordinarily irresponsible. The idea that there will be a government in waiting ready to take over the administrative tasks of Iraq, I think, is utter wishful thinking.
And furthermore, there may be people cheering us on, and I'm certain there will be, but there's also going to be a lot of recrimination and a lot of violent acts that will be committed in revenge. Some people have said that the southern Baghdad suburbs, predominantly Shi'a who have been suppressed for years and years by this regime, are not going to kiss and make up the day after. This is going to be worse than Paris in 1944 when, as you know, more people were killed in the three weeks after the liberation than had been for many, many years before.
So I think it is a terribly serious problem and I am delighted that you are going to have a special panel on this because it is the least thought through element of this extremely polemical debate that we see in the press, that really I think has been so over simplified and so underestimated the complexity to the problems. I think we're just beginning to get into this and let's start here.
SEN. BIDEN: With the permission of my colleague, if I can add a complicating factor to the extent that you spoke about Iran. The degree to which we settle the matter and keep peace in Baghdad and other places by being in place and occupy it, does not that raise the ante in Tehran that we in fact are seeking a permanent basing and a permanent station there?
MR. KEMP: Yes, it does. And some people of course would argue that's all to the good because that would put the fear of God into the bad mullahs and the good mullahs will take over. But I'm not quite so confident that that's what will happen.
SEN. BIDEN: Please, Doctor, if you'd follow through with the question.
MR. AJAMI: Well, first of all, let me just take this opportunity to thank Senator Sarbanes because he's been looking after my pension and for his great -- (laughter) -- for his great work on corporate reform, we really commend you. You're a great figure and I think that if you can handle corporate reform, you can handle Iraq very easily.
Now, I agree with everything that Geoff Kemp said, and I teach a class with Geoff Kemp and I've been doing it for many years and this is probably one of our first agreements in a long time. I think we are going to be there in Iraq but I don't think we should be frightened necessarily or we should think that it will be drawn out, it will be extensive and that we are going to take the plunge into imperialism in a very deep way. There are several things -- I'm just echoing some of what Geoff said.
We want to know about Iraq. This is a country that has the second largest reserves of oil after Saudi Arabia. It has enormous social capital. Like Afghanistan, it has an educated and technically competent middle class. So making a stand there will not necessarily be bad for us. I think Geoff is right. There are these grievances and historical accounts to be settled in Iraq. They will be things that we should be good at. There will be truth and justice commissions. There will be war criminals. There will be people we can't protect and maybe even we shouldn't protect.
So it won't be easy. But I think we operated on the assumption -- I think, again, the chairman has given us good marching orders and I think Senator Lugar was very clear on that as well -- we have to take this and say, "Is this worth doing? Is this worth doing?" And that's what everyone of us really has to make -- that's the decision that has to be made, whether it's in Wisconsin or Maryland or Connecticut or anywhere. You have to really argue the case and sustain the case, that it's really worth it, that this is a very volatile part of the world. It is the oil supply of the world. It is a very notoriously bad man and that even though we are a reluctant umpire. You know we are reluctant about imperial burdens. We don't undertake imperial burden willingly and that's good.
When sometimes people say that they heard from the joint chiefs of staff and they are against this military intervention or that military intervention, one is reassured that we don't have a military ready and eager to go everywhere and pull the trigger. So it's really all that what that national discussion is all about. That's what your hearing's and that's what the debate is all about.
SEN. BIDEN: Are you talking about the same numbers Dr. Kemp is? You're talking about tens of thousands and if you are, we are obviously talking about billions of dollars. Tens of thousands troops translate over in comparatively short periods of time into billions of dollars.
MR. KEMP: Right. But as my colleague Fouad said, there are ways for the Iraqi government to pay for those troops. They have a lot of oil.
SEN. SARBANES: What period of time do you envisage?
MR. KEMP: I would think years. I mean --
SEN. SARBANES: Five years? Ten years?
MR. KEMP: Minimum of five years, I would think.
MR. TELHAMI: Senator, if I -- first of all, also let me thank you for looking after my interests too. I am one of your constituents in Maryland.
SEN. SARBANES: Well, you guys didn't thank us for anything.
MR. TELHAMI: Well, you've got a problem. You've got a disadvantage. So I'm one of your constituents.
SEN. SARBANES: But he pays attention to the chairman of the Banking Committee, you know. I mean --
MR. TELHAMI: No, banking is not my --
SEN. SARBANES: I'm joking. It's a bad joke, sir.
MR. TELHAMI: Maryland is in this case. I do worry about the consequences. I think it's a major issue to be concerned about. I don't think that any of us knows how the public is going to react. There's no question that the regime is despised, that we have no doubt about. But we should have no illusion that that is going to translate into love for America. We should have no illusion about that. In some instances it may, in others it may not.
We should also be very careful not to miscalculate in the early days, when people do face liberation from repression where they do celebrate their liberation. We may translate that as a welcoming mat for us and that could become a real problem. The Israelis made that mistake in South Lebanon when they thought early on that the fact that they undermine the PLO influence in South Lebanon and translated into a welcoming mat. And clearly that turned out some of the same people who were happy to see the PLO go were then among the fiercest enemies. So I don't think, first of all, we know exactly how the public is going to react and clearly we could find ourselves in a situation where we overstay our welcome.
Second, I think it is clear that every one in the region is going to have a stake in what happens in Iraq and those are people who live right next door and have resources and contacts far better than we do. Be it the Turks, as Mark pointed out, if we don't coordinate with them, they can make our lives miserable. And that is true about the Iranians and is certainly true about others in the region. And so it is clear that they have resources, they have the interest and obviously the abilities and therefore, depending on whether we coordinate, we cooperate, whether it works with the rest of the region, in terms of coincidence of interest, it matters a lot.
And finally, I want to say that I do think that no matter what happens even if we have a relatively successful outcome in Iraq, which we all pray for, and even if -- and I agree by the way with Fouad about Iraq's potential -- I mean, clearly Iraq has tremendous potential. It is a country with an infrastructure, industrial history, a secularized country, oil resources. Clearly -- actually in 1980, when it started the war with Iran, it stood on the verge of greatness in the region and unfortunately, it has been taken on a disastrous route that lost it for two decades and killed hundreds of thousands of its own people. So it has suffered a lot but it certainly has potential.
At the same time, even if the Iraqi people have a happy outcome, I believe that most people in the region will see this as American imperialism. Most people in the region will see it as American imperialism and whether we can live with that is a question. I mean it may be true that the sentiment is we're powerful, we can do it. They're going to have to do what we want regardless. I think most will undoubtedly. Think if you apply that same strategy and principle to your own lives and your social relations or domestic relations or relations with other people or business relations, how long that can serve you, if you take that attitude as a strategy of winning, where you don't take people's wishes in consideration and calculations into account, where you do things unilaterally because you're powerful enough to think that they're just going to have to see it your way and they will? And how much resentment builds up awaiting the right moment? And unfortunately, there will be a right moment.
I'm not so optimistic about the Musharraf model in Pakistan, as some people have suggested earlier. I think -- I applaud Mr. Musharraf for taking the position he took. It was tough to do, to stand out and tell people they have a choice. I agree with that, that was the right thing for him to do. I am not sure he will succeed. I am less confident he will prevail. And I am worried about what is going to happen five years down the road in Pakistan in relation to us and in relation to militancy pertaining to us, and I am worried about Afghanistan.
And so, looking at that, I say to myself, do I want more of that in the region? Or should I follow a different route that affects the motivation of people, that affects the interests of people, that makes sure that my policy coincides with the interests of others, not goes against them because they have to follow my lead? And that is -- they're a different approach, different philosophical approach. And I think it -- I am less certain about a unilateralist approach that relies on brute force as a way of getting through in the Middle East.
MR. PARRIS: My colleagues have made excellent points, and I'm not going to try to belabor them by repeating them, other than to underscore what Jeff said, which is that this is the part of the problem that deserves the most attention. He will be doing that in detail tomorrow. So much of it is scenario dependent. And I think you'll find there's an enormous difference of opinion as to what we can expect when and if we finally get in there. But I would like to make one point, and to play off something that Mort Halperin said.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank him for your pension.
MR. PARRIS: No, I'm a Virginia resident.
SEN. BIDEN: Okay, good.
MR. PARRIS: It's to play off something that Mort Halperin said in the previous panel, which is that to be sure that there will be a democratic regime in Iraq over the long term we'll have to stay there for 20 years. I think that -- and, you, senator, asked the panel whether there was anybody who disagreed with that statement. It's a profound question. And basically nobody was prepared to take it on.
I think it merits parsing. Because what Mort said was to ensure a democratic regime over the long term, and that suggests that, you know, there's one quality of democracy. If our objective is to create the Federal Republic of Germany in Iraq, we may very well have to stay there as long as we did in Germany. But there are shades of democracy around the world, many of which represent close friendships and allies of the United States, and would be remarkable improvements over the status quo in Iraq. And I think it would be presumptuous of us to sit here and suggest that, you know, unless they meet the standard that we do in this country we shouldn't -- the game is not worth the candle.
It seems to me that if you take a different approach, if you accept the proposition that there may be a different standard than ours, you may take less time, it may be less resource intensive, some of the downsides that have been discussed here might be less acute.
SEN. BIDEN: Senator Chafee.
SEN. CHAFEE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, very much.
Mr. Kemp, you mentioned that there's a worst case and a best case scenario. And your worst case scenario, I wonder whether there's something even worse than what you might have suggested.
MR. KEMP: Probably.
SEN. CHAFEE: I think Dr. Telhami was kind of going down that road in talking about the power of the public. And if there's public resentment, then comes repression, and it's a spiral that leads to something that did happen in 1979 in Iran, the shah was topped so quickly that we didn't even get our embassy people out and they took over our embassy and kept them hostage. It can happen so fast.
Is it possible that this conflagration, this spontaneous combustion, can take place where these regimes are toppled in the neighboring countries, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan of course you've mentioned. And even those that aren't neighbors, I mean, Turkey is a neighbor. But even those that aren't neighbors, Egypt, and we've talked about Pakistan a little bit. Is that possible, just a spontaneous combustion of anti-Americanism, and a toppling of regimes, which ultimately, if you want to talk about a worst case scenario, is the entire oil, the majority of the oil production for the world.
MR. KEMP: Well, there are a lot of worst case scenarios that, even beyond that, obviously, even in the conduct of the war. I mean, if we're right, that -- if some of the panelists that you've heard before were right about the fact that there is uncertainty about the degree to which Iraq may even have nuclear weapons, and if we're all right about the ruthlessness of the leader if he knows he's going to go down the drain in an American attack, if he knows that this is going to be a war against him, it's certainly the case that he's going to use whatever is at his disposal. Because this is not going to be a deterrence issue any more. He knows he's going down, and he's going to use everything at his disposal.
I have no doubt that in a war, in a full war, where our aim is to bring down the government, and obviously that's going to be the aim of the war, that he will use everything at his disposal. I don't know what that is. But I have no doubt, and one can paint scenarios as to what these are, maybe he doesn't have much. But the issue is if we think that there is uncertainty, there is even a -- there are scenarios of this sort, the scenarios of pre-emption, of attacks even prior to the American attacks, if war is imminent, that could be done.
But the public uprising and the revolution, it's always possible. And I think we have to remind ourselves that at the time of the overthrow of the Shah many of our own government officials, as well as the academics, argued that the Shah is very stable. In fact, that same year a famous professor at the University of California at Berkeley, an Iran expert, wrote a book making the argument that Iran was one of the most stable countries in the world. And then we had happen what we witnessed.
I don't think that that is a highly likely scenario. In part, because I do think that revolutions are scarce in history. They just don't happen very often. States have learned a lot, unfortunately mostly through repressive mechanisms. But you can't rule it out. You can't rule it out. And I think neither -- none of these governments are ruling it out as a potential in their dealings with the contingencies that they have to deal with. And that is why I'm even more worried about the after, what happens within these countries, which is what is likely to be the case. Their worry about such a scenario is going to lead to a lot more repression than we have seen. And if our aim in part is to popularize democracy, we should have no illusions.
And today in the trade-offs in relation to Pakistan when we ask what do we want more, is it to see less repression of Pakistan or cooperation in the war on terrorism, because we have a priority of national security pertaining to Afghanistan, it is clear what our answer is. And it is likely to be the case when our priority will be to maintain stability in Iraq, to worry about what happens in Iraq, that we're going to put a lot of other priorities on the sideline to get the maximal cooperation to be able to succeed, at least in the intermediate period up to five years or whatever it takes, to do so. So we should go in with open eyes about what actually is likely to happen in the region in terms of dynamics, if we go that route.
MR. AJAMI: Senator Chafee, just one -- I mean, on the issue of -- an issue has arisen that has kind of great deference to the street. I'm reminded of the slogan of Kemalism. The Kemalist project in Turkey, the principle of it was 'for the people, despite the people'. So sometimes you just do things for the people, despite the people, you modernize them. You tell them the truth, you tell them about the world.
So now to the issue of whether these -- none of the governments in this neighborhood that we're talking about, none of them, I repeat, none, has a genuine modernizing project today. So they offer these the people, if you will, this kind of road rage of the anti- Americanism, the steady diet of the anti-Zionism, and they just get away with it.
Now, there's a good answer to the question that Senator Chafee asked about whether these regimes could survive, could there be a revolution. And I think the Muslims have a great, great answer to that. They always would say about something that's completely unfathomable, Allah e'halum (ph) "Only God knows." We don't know. We don't know. We do know the record.
Here is the record. Al Saud have been around now since the middle years of the 18th century.
You'll always get the Saudis to tell you about that. The Sabah in Kuwait have been around for approximately the same time. The Hashemites in Jordan in a very, very truncated volatile realm have been around since 1921. And even Gaddafi has been around since 1969. And the Egyptian revolution of Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak has been in the saddle for now half a century, and there is no evidence that anyone could overthrow these governments. They know. That's the one thing they know, is how to stay in power.
The combined GDP, we are now told, of the Arab world is $60 billion less than Spain. Less than Spain. Twenty-two Arab governments. So they don't know how to develop their populations. We know they don't like to give them modernity. But they know how to stay in power. We should trust that. We should -- you know, that's what the game is all about.
MR. KEMP: Just on this, Senator Chafee, I mean, how do we -- an even more worse case. Look, I think the one bit of good news is that in serious Middle East crises 1967, 1973, our worst case was a U.S.- Soviet confrontation. We were worried about a Soviet nuclear threat, in both the '67 war -- that's gone.
So, to me, the worst case would be a nuclear war in the Middle East, which is possible under certain circumstances. That I think would have a devastating impact on the oil markets. And then I think these regimes that up to now have been extraordinarily resilient would be facing a day of reckoning, because what we have not really discussed because it wasn't their mission. But there is a demographic bulge moving through this region of young people who cannot be employed because they do not have jobs. It's getting worse by the year.
The Arab world, Iran, Pakistan, are entering into this window of where they have to create more jobs a year than they possibly have the resources to. That's where I think you could get an explosion. I don't think it will be a single explosion. It won't be like 1848 in Europe and all the rotten monarchies collapsed, but sooner or later some of these regimes have to crack. Whether it's Iran first or Egypt, I don't know, but they cannot keep going at this rate of depression.
SEN. BIDEN: Gentlemen, I just have -- I hate to do this to you, just a couple more quick questions. Do you have another question?
SEN. CHAFEE: No, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank your panel.
SEN. BIDEN: The premise that the question -- the question is, if Saddam is taken down, how long will we have to stay? The way you answered was premised upon the notion that we had no cooperation from anywhere else in the world, we didn't have the Europeans in the game, no one else got in the deal here. Can you give me your best educated guess as quickly as you can as to whether or not, given that circumstances, that is Saddam has been removed, American forces are in the region in large numbers, where it may be part of the calculus of our European friends in the EU that they be part of the process?
And would it make a difference if they -- it obviously makes an economic difference to us, but would it make a difference if they were part of the process in terms of the reaction in Iran, the reaction in Turkey, the reaction in other parts of the world -- of that part of the world? As quickly as you can. It's an awful long -- I mean profound question, I'm sure.
MR. KEMP: It would make a very important difference if part of the occupation force also includes bringing in UNMOVIC, the U.N. inspectors that you discussed this morning. That will also give more legitimacy to it. The more this is seen as an international operation with cooperation from the U.N. and the Europeans, the less the chance that we will be pigeonholed as merely imperialists. But we've got a lot of work to do.
SEN. BIDEN: Anyone disagree with that?
MR. AJAMI: No, I agree with Geoff.
SEN. BIDEN: Now, the second, I think more difficult question at least I haven't resolved is what do you believe would be the calculus that our European friends would engage in to determine whether or not it was in their interest to participate?
MR. AJAMI: I think if we -- you know, their logic would be if we succeed, we succeed together, if we fail, we fail alone. I mean, I'm reminded of like soon after September 11, Le Monde had this famous headline, "Nous Sont Tous Americain," (ph) "We're all Americans." And a few weeks later it became "Tous Americain?" with a question mark. All Americans? Not quite. That they believed that we were using September 11 as a way of expanding our authority in the world and in the region.
I think Iraq is rich, we go back to that. Iraq is a good market. And I think when we go in, a lot of these countries will come with us because they'll want to be part of the reconstruction of Iraq. I mean, this will be fundamentally important for the French, it would be important for the Russians, it would be important for the Brits and for the others, for the Germans. So I don't think we will necessarily be alone. It's just the fate of a great power sometimes to be alone when the hard work has to be done.
SEN. BIDEN: Quite frankly, if I had a choice of being alone after the hard work was done, the way you phrase it, or being alone getting the hard work done, I'd rather be alone getting the hard work done because I think the really hard work is after.
MR. TELHAMI: But let's have a little word of warning, though, Senator, which is that these are democratic countries we're talking about. We're not talking about the Middle Eastern countries.
SEN. BIDEN: I agree.
MR. TELHAMI: We are talking about countries that are differentiated, that have their own domestic political considerations. And in that regard, if you look at public opinion so far, only in Britain is the public about evenly divided on Iraq. There is not a single country in which there is a majority support for Iraq, most countries --
SEN. BIDEN: I would suggest that was the case in Bosnia.
MR. TELHAMI: Perhaps. Or almost any other.
SEN. BIDEN: And they all came along after the fact. I remember pushing President Clinton very hard, as hard as I could, politely or otherwise, about moving to bomb in Kosovo. He said, "What about the French?" I said, "I promise you, if you go, they'll come." I have -- I quite frankly am more uncertain about it as it relates to Iraq. My instinct is that -- and again, I'm not the expert, that's why we have you here. But my instinct, Professor Ajami, is that if we succeed they will be willing to take a piece of this.
I would -- let me ask you if there's any parallel here. I was very disappointed, and I've been public about this, in the failure of this administration to expand ISAF in Afghanistan, especially on what I believe are not completely accurate grounds that the Europeans weren't ready to. The Europeans that I spent time there -- I spent time with Europeans. They were totally prepared to until we said we wouldn't be part of it. And as one European said, "If the big dog's not there, the little dogs don't want to play."
And so I was under the distinct impression in everything, and I have followed this very closely, that had we been willing to lead to expand ISAF, not even with numbers, just lead with commitment, that ISAF would have -- we would have gotten significant support from Europe to expand ISAF in raw numbers.
MR. TELHAMI: That's right.
SEN. BIDEN: Is that able to be -- can you extrapolate from that that a similar -- assuming a military success in Iraq, is it your -- is there any relevance to their willingness in Iraq -- I mean in Afghanistan and what they may be willing to do in Iraq?
MR. KEMP: Well, I would just say that if we're not prepared to go much further in Iraq than we have gone in Afghanistan, we're doomed from the start.
SEN. BIDEN: I agree.
MR. KEMP: So that I think the sort of premises for, I think, the Europeans would be, you're going to have to get in in a big way and we ultimately are going to have to help you. And one important reason is they would see this as a way to help diffuse then the Arab-Israeli conflict, which in the last resort the Europeans worry about primarily because of migration and a whole string of European issues which we haven't gotten into today. So if we don't lead in Iraq then it's all over, it's a hopeless case.
MR. TELHAMI: Unfortunately, many of them will be worried about the splitting of the spoils of war. I have no doubt about it. I think that the issue of the oil contracts is going to become an issue in the thinking of a lot of them, and I think, you know, that is going to be a part of the calculus --
SEN. BIDEN: I would argue that's the way -- I don't know why this isn't a win-win situation with the Russians. I mean, I actually had a conversation that he asked not dissuade at me for mentioning, with President Putin. You know, they think they got $32 billion waiting in the bank in terms of developing those oil fields which they can't develop. That's the contracts they value, roughly that amount. They're owed about $11 billion. I thought it was nine, when I said nine he looked at me and said 11. When you have a total federal budget of $30 billion, $41 billion seems like a lot of money and people say, well, you know, it's not -- you're not going to get it.
Well, it's a little bit like having, you know, a very rich aunt that you don't like and you know she has $40 million in the bank. You may not have a relationship with her but you're not going to give up on it, knowing she has it in the bank. These folks have it in the bank. And there is even a feeler put out by Gazprom, and what's the other oil company?
MR. (?): LUKOIL.
SEN. BIDEN: LUKOIL -- that they would be interested in a consortia with U.S. companies. One of the things I found the Russians are worried about is we go in, take out Iraq, they lose their contracts. I can't imagine why this isn't a win-win situation if we were smart about this, but I don't get any sense that there's any movement on this by anybody in the administration.
MR. PARRIS: I think one of the problems is a structural one, and it's certainly the case with Turkey up until very recently, which is that if you're talking point is there's no plan on the president's desk and you're not prepared to go beyond that, you can't get very deeply into conversation with people who would just assume frankly not accept the premise in the first place. I mean, you know, the Turks and others I'm sure are not standing in line to talk about the day after.
SEN. BIDEN: Yeah.
MR. PARRIS: And they'll only -- you'll only get their attention when you're prepared to describe in some detail what you're going to do in what timeframe and what your vision of the day after is.
SEN. BIDEN: I kidded the president when he asked what I would do. I said, "Mr. President, part of this is the vision thing, and I'm not sure what the vision should be." Gentlemen, with your permission, I have rather than take more of your time. It's almost 7:00. You've been so patient and helpful. I have about two or three questions that I'd like to submit to each of you in writing. There's no urgency in terms of time getting them back. And I'd ask you publicly to embarrass you into having to say yes, would you be willing to come back if we continue this process.
MR. PARRIS: Yes.
MR. AJAMI: It would be a great honor.
SEN. BIDEN: I thank you all very, very much and we are adjourned.
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