As of August 2006, Iraq Watch is no longer being updated.
Click here for more information.
U.S. POLICY TOWARD IRAQ
September 23, 2002
SENATOR CARL LEVIN (D-MI): (Sounds gavel.) Good afternoon, everybody. The Armed Services Committee meets this afternoon to continue our hearings on U.S. policy towards Iraq. Last week we received testimony from the director of the CIA and the acting director of the DIA, and from the secretary of Defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Today we will hear from former senior military commanders, all of whom who have significant experience planning and conducting military operations. And then, this Wednesday we will hear from former national security officials.
We welcome back to the committee this afternoon General John Shalikashvili, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; General Wesley Clark, former NATO supreme allied commander Europe; General Joseph Hoar, former commander-in-chief, U.S. Central Command; and Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney, former assistant vice chief of staff of the Air Force. As chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and before that, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Shalikashvili provided advice and exercised responsibility related to operations in the Balkans, Northern Iraq and elsewhere. He also served as commander of Operation Provide Comfort in Northern Iraq in 1991.
General Clark led the NATO-led Kosovo operation in 1999. As supreme allied commander Europe, and in his capacity as commander-in- chief of European Command, he oversaw Operation Northern Watch in Iraq.
General Hoar, as commander-in-chief of Central Command, was responsible for military-to-military relationships with a range of states that comprise the Middle East and North Africa, and for operations conducted in Somalia and Rwanda.
And Lieutenant General McInerney served as assistant vice chief of staff of the Air Force and has considerable operational experience planning and executing missions in the European and Asian theaters of operation.
As I stated last week, we begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the Middle East. It is clear that the international community must act to prevent his efforts to build and possess weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them.
The question before this nation now is what response is likely to be most effective in achieving the goal of bringing Iraq into compliance with U.N. mandates, particularly destruction of its weapons of mass destruction, and what response on our part is likely to entail the least risk to U.S. national interests.
We look to our witnesses today to share with us their thoughts on the administration's policy and to offer their assessment of the risks associated with an attack on Iraq; whether we attack with a U.N. mandate and with our friends and allies; whether we attack alone; whether we attack now or after we've exhausted other avenues for dealing with Saddam, including inspections; if we attack, the most effective way for our military forces to carry out their mission; and after the successful conclusion of a military mission, how long will U.S. forces be required to remain in Iraq to ensure stability in the region.
How and under what circumstances we commit our armed forces to an attack on Iraq could have far-reaching consequences for future peace and stability in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East, for our interests throughout the world and indeed for the international order.
Each of our witnesses today knows well personally the awesome responsibility of committing our forces to combat. So we look forward to your advice, your testimony.
And first I'll call on Senator Allard, but then after I call on him for an opening comment, if he has -- (inaudible) -- we would then ask our witnesses if they have opening comments that they would like to make. And then, after that, I would recognize each of us, in the early-bird order, for a six-minute first round of questions.
SEN. WAYNE ALLARD (R-CO): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I am going to give Senator Warner's statement on his behalf. He's not going to be here at the start of the hearing. My understanding is, he's going to show up a little bit later. But I'd like to make it plain that I associate my thoughts very closely with -- he's going to have to say in this opening statement.
So I'd like to thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I join you in welcoming these four distinguished former military officers before our committee. All four of these gentlemen served our nation with great distinction. I applaud all of you for your contributions you are making to this important Iraq debate and for the service you continue to provide our nation as knowledgeable observers of our national security challenges and needs.
Over the past several weeks, our president has courageously focused world attention on the defiant, illegal conduct of this brutal, ruthless dictator, Saddam Hussein. On April 6, 1991, after having been expelled from Kuwait and decisively defeated, Saddam Hussein accepted U.N. terms for the suspension of military terms and promised he would comply with all relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, including disarming Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and submitting to intrusive inspections to verify this disarmament. Eleven-and-a-half years later, we're still waiting for Saddam Hussein to comply with international mandates, as reflected in 16 United Nations Security Council resolutions. We have over a decade of experience with his deceit and defiance. The main thing Saddam Hussein has proved to the world in the past 12 years is that he cannot be trusted under any circumstances. I think General Clark had a very similar experience with a dictator in Serbia who is now rightfully behind bars.
Any time the use of force is contemplated, those of us with a role to play in making the decision to use force must proceed with caution. Resorting to the use of force should be the last step, but it is a step we must be willing to take if necessary. It is also a step those who threaten us must understand that we are willing to take.
As we contemplate our vulnerabilities and those of our allies in the post-September 11th war, it is clear that things have changed. The concept of deterrence that served us well in the 20th century has changed. Terrorists and terrorist states that hide behind surrogates who are not deterred by our overwhelming power; those who would commit suicide in their assaults on the free world are not rational and are not deterred by rational concepts of deterrence. We are left with no choice but to hunt down such threats to our national security and destroy them.
The threat posed to the United States, the region and the entire world by Saddam Hussein is clear. We know he has weapons of mass destruction.
We know he is manufacturing and attempting to acquire more. We know he has used these weapons before and we know he will use them again. We should not wait for a future attack before we respond to this clear and growing danger. Saddam Hussein has defeated the international community long enough. He must be stopped.
Again, thank you for your participation in this process as we develop a body of fact for an informed debate in the Senate and for an informed public debate on U.S. policy toward Iraq.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Senator Allard.
General Shalikashvili, let us start with you. And again, thank you so much, not just for being here today, but -- and this applies to all of you -- just for decades and decades of your service and your patriotism and your loyalty and your dedication and your contributions to this nation.
. . .
SEN. LEVIN: Let's start with a first round of six months.
At least three of you placed high value on having a U.N. resolution to force inspections with an ultimatum backed up by force, authorization of force by member states, if the ultimatum for open inspections and disarmament is not complied with.
You made reference at the end, General McInerney, but I think our other three witnesses placed great emphasis on the power of a U.N. resolution, I believe, to use your word, General Shalikashvili, that it would be "a powerful message." And so I'd like to focus on the three of you who emphasized that, particularly, as to would a U.N. mandate, a resolution authorizing force and authorizing member states to use force, if inspections that are unconditional are not allowed, followed by disarmament, what specifically are the values -- be more precise -- militarily, politically, or otherwise, in such a resolution being achieved? And would such a resolution not only have a better chance of enforcing the inspections in the disarmament without a war, but would it also, if it's obtainable, have less risks as a result to our long-term interests than would unilateral U.S. military action without such a resolution?
So, General Shalikashvili, let me start with you.
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: Mr. Chairman, I am convinced that such a resolution would in fact be a very powerful tool, and I say that for a number of reasons. First of all, we need to impress upon Saddam Hussein that he is not just facing the United States, but that he's facing the will of the majority of the world. We must also ensure that we have made it possible for as many of our friends and allies to join us, some of whom privately tell us they would do so, but that it's, for political, internal reasons, whatever, very difficult to do so without the United Nations having spoken on this issue. Some of them believe deeply that you should go to war only -- unless you're directly attacked, that you should go to war only with the sanction of the United Nations.
Others just have that in their culture.
Finally, I think it's important from a security point of view because every time we undermine the credibility of the United Nations, we are probably hurting ourselves more than anybody else. We are a global nation with global interests, and undermining the credibility of the United Nations does very little to help provide stability and security and safety to the rest of the world, where we have to operate for economic reasons, political reasons and what not.
I said at the beginning of this part of my statement that we must under no circumstances ever create the impression that the United States is not free to go to war to protect our interests whenever the president so decides, but that is very different than not trying to achieve the kind of resolution that in this case we want, because I think it would make our job easier, it would help the United Nations in the future and thus help us in the future, and it would surely have an impact on how Saddam Hussein reacts to the current resolutions that dictate that inspections and inspectors go back into Iraq. So I see nothing but value added for the United States to try our very best to get that kind of a resolution.
SEN. LEVIN: thank you very much.
GEN. CLARK: Mr. Chairman, at the end of World War II, when the United States had a nuclear weapons monopoly and when our gross domestic product was 50 percent of the world's production, President Roosevelt and, later, President Truman recognized that even with that strength, the United States by itself wasn't strong enough, wasn't capable of handling all of the world's problems in assuring peace and security by itself. And so they sought to create an institution which would be better than the defunct League of Nations, and they built the United Nations. And President Truman said that the method of the United Nations should be that right makes might.
We've spent the 55, 57 years since then trying to develop international institutions that would help strengthen America and help protect our interests as well as the interests of people around the world. But we recognized that a world in which nations are only regulated and guided unilaterally in seeking their self-interest is not a world that's in our best advantage. And so for that reason, I think it's very important not only that we've gone to the United Nations but that we do everything we possibly can do to strengthen the United Nations to stand up to this challenge to make itself an effective organization to be able to cope with the challenge of Saddam Hussein's defiance of its resolutions.
Beyond the issue of the United Nations and the international institutions we seek to live in, I think going to the United Nations has another important -- very important benefit. In the long run, we're going to have to live with the people in the Middle East.
They're our good neighbors. They're just like us. Many of them have the same hopes and dreams. The more we can do to defuse the perception that America's acting alone, America's striking out, America's belligerent, America's acting without allies, the more we can do to defuse that. The more we can do to put that in a context of international institutions and the support of the governments in the region, the greater chance we have of reducing the recruiting draw of al Qaeda, following through with the successful post-conflict operation in Iraq, promoting a resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict and promoting peaceful democratization in a number of moderate Arab governments. So I think the long-term consequences, the long-term benefits of operating through the United Nations are very high.
And finally, there's an immediate, short-term benefit. It'll be very, very useful to us to have allies. Many nations in that region want us to go through the United Nations. They'll be empowered by a United Nations resolution. So I think if we can get that resolution, it's to our near-term military advantage and our long-term advantage as a nation.
SEN. LEVIN: (Please ?) just very briefly, General Hoar, because I'm out of time, give us your thoughts.
GEN. HOAR: Yes, sir. First of all, I absolutely endorse the statements of my two colleagues.
I would say, first of all, with respect to the U.N.: The U.N. is us. It's not them; it's us. We're dues-paying members, and when we provide the leadership, as the president did recently, we can see immediately what changes take place. The French haven't changed their idea of how this ought to be done. If you get a U.N. Security Council resolution, they'll be with us. Many of the other Europeans feel the same way.
Since 9/11 I've traveled to the Middle East five times. I've been directly involved with the Middle East for the last 15 years. And while we've been paying attention, understandably, on the terrorist attack against the United States, in the Arab countries there is major consternation about what is going on in the West Bank and in Gaza. And the Arab countries, while they are supporting us in private, have a serious problem in convincing their populations that this is the right thing to do. And so I believe that we have to give them top cover, as well. And we will do that with the United Nations.
On an operational level, I would just point out this: that for example, if you can't bring Saudi Arabia into the coalition -- to be able to use, at a minimum, airspace, but ideally, air bases, as well -- the complications associated with carrying out a military campaign grow exponentially. We need them. We need a broad base. We need it for the political reasons, as well as the military reasons that we all understand. It will make the whole job a great deal easier and, in the long run, as Wes said, in our relationship with these countries in the future, it will expedite and ease our ability to do business after the military campaign is over.
SEN. LEVIN: Senator Allard.
SEN. WAYNE ALLARD (R-CO): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I think it's commendable that all of you are cautious about the use of force, and I agree with that. And you know, the use of force should also be as a last resort. Sometimes there is the "first strike" argument that's made out there.
And some say that, you know, we should never be the first strike, but some are saying, well, we've already been the victims of a first strike in the fact that our friends and allies and ourselves were attacked during the Persian Gulf War, then we had an attack with the twin towers and the Pentagon.
And would you all agree that certainly one of our options should be to act unilaterally, if necessary?
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: Yes, I clearly agree that under certain circumstances we have to act unilaterally, otherwise we give the veto power to people who ought to not have any veto power over our security.
SEN. ALLARD: Thank you.
GEN. CLARK: I think that the United States always has the option of acting unilaterally. But I'd say in this case it's a question of what's the sense of urgency here, and how soon would we need to act unilaterally? And so I think it's very important that we recognize that so far as any of the information has been presented, as General Hoar said, there is nothing that indicates that in the immediate, next hours, next days, that there's going to be nuclear-tipped missiles put on launch pads to go against our forces or our allies in the region. And so I think there is, based on all of the evidence available, sufficient time to work through the diplomacy of this.
SEN. ALLARD: General Hoar?
GEN. HOAR: Yes, sir. I think Wes is spot on. I think we have the time. We need to concentrate on al Qaeda. We have made enormous strides here recently, and if we continue to do that with the help of other countries, we will be successful quicker.
In addition to that, I think that we have the time to step up to the public diplomacy requirement with respect to the Israeli-Arab problem, which will facilitate our friends supporting us when and if we go after Iraq.
But I think those two are preliminary steps.
SEN. ALLARD: General McInerney?
GEN. MCINERNEY: Clearly, sir, we must have the, and do have the authority to strike unilaterally, if we have to. In this particular case, we're going to have enough allies, even if the U.N. doesn't come in.
But I think the important thing, in answer to General Clark and General Hoar, where I have a problem on time is, unfortunately, 9/11 showed that we have great weaknesses in our intelligence system that we all did not realize. This intelligence -- and they're very talented people -- has been focused on large nation states. And having been part of that intelligence system on several occasions in my career, we have totally neglected the human intelligence that takes years to build. And because of this, we have much more ambiguity than we normally would. And it's because of that ambiguity that I see a time urgency. Unfortunately, this body, and others, deliberated, and very forcefully said, in 1998, that we must act, and you did it as a bipartisan, a very strong signal.
SEN. ALLARD: Thank you.
Now I have a question I'd like to direct to direct to General Clark and General Hoar. And in this particular circumstance, what else do you feel we can be doing diplomatically or economically or otherwise than what hasn't been done at this particular point in time?
GEN. CLARK: Well, we're not on the inside -- I'm certainly not on the inside of what's going on in New York with the United Nations or the consultations that are under way. But I do know that in terms of building a coalition and putting together the kinds of diplomatic resolution that's required, it takes multiple engagements with governments. So I think it takes a strong commitment on the part of the president of the United States to assure that this problem is addressed. I think we've had that strong commitment.
I think it takes a clear indication that the United States has the capacity to address it unilaterally, if need be. I think that indication's present.
Then I think the third requirement is that we have the ingenuity and patience to work on the coalition partners we need and our allies, from many different directions and many different perspectives.
We need to go to NATO. Have we gone to NATO? NATO came to us after 9/11 and said, "This is a violation of the North Atlantic Charter. This is Article 5. We want to work with you." This is a great opportunity for NATO to come in. Have we done that? Mr. Rumsfeld's over there today, talking to NATO ministers. So I think that's one indication.
I think from NATO you go back to the United Nations. I think you make your case in front of all of the Islamic organizations. You make it at various levels, from the military level on up to the head of state level, and you work it.
SEN. ALLARD: General Hoar?
GEN. HOAR: Let me just build on that, because I think that's a great answer --
SEN. ALLARD: Quick, please, because I have one more question I'd like to get in.
GEN. HOAR: Yes. And put pressure on Russia. Russia has an economic interest in Iraq. We still have a lot of leverage with Russia. The president apparently has a very good relationship with Mr. Putin. We can do more there.
China has been part of the problem with respect to movement of particularly missiles through North Korea into Iraq. We can put pressure on China.
We need to bring those two countries into the tent and work with them and make them part of the solution, not make them part of the problem.
SEN. ALLARD: And my follow-up question: What happens if the United Nations decides to do nothing? (Pause.) General Clark and General Hoar, any of you --
GEN. CLARK: Well, the United States is going to have to move ahead with what it needs to do. But it's not, I think, going to be a all-or-nothing situation. I think it's going to be very important to salvage everything that can be salvaged from the dialogue in the United Nations, to identify those nations that are likely to go with us with something less than a full United Nations resolution, to figure out how we can meet their needs.
In other words, I think that we're stronger if we give ourselves time to work this issue. I think there -- we have to make it very clear to Saddam Hussein there's no doubt about what the ultimate outcome for him is going to be. But the process is all-important for the ultimate outcome for us and our interests in the region.
SEN. ALLARD: General Hoar?
GEN. HOAR: Sir, there are -- as I sent in my prepared statement, there are other priorities, too, that we need to continue to work on. But beyond that, I think it's important that we garner as much support as we can over and above the United Kingdom's commitment to support us, so that --
SEN. ALLARD: But what if the United Nations does nothing?
GEN. HOAR: I think, then, the decision has to be made based on intelligence.
And I don't think that the intelligence that has been described in the open press supports that at this moment, but I would defer to you gentlemen in closed session to determine that. But at this point, I think we have time.
SEN. ALLARD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much.
SEN. MAX CLELAND (D-GA): Thank you very much, gentlemen, for your service to our country and your service to us today.
One of the things we have in common is that we served in Vietnam as young officers. Secretary Powell served there. In his 1995 memoirs he wrote this: "Many of my generation, the career captains, majors and lieutenant colonels seasoned in that war, vowed that when our turn came to call the shots, we would not quietly acquiesce in half-hearted warfare for half-baked reasons that the American people could not understand or support." I certainly feel that way. I guess you all feel that way. And that's one of the reasons we're all here, to make sure we don't go half-cocked, half-baked here and that the American people understand that when we go to war, we need them and we need to be successful.
One of the lessons I did learn out of that war was what the British learned out of fighting guerrillas and terrorists in Malaya, now known as Malaysia, a simple axiom of fighting terrorists; and that is, if the terrorist doesn't lose, he wins. The fact that we haven't gotten Osama bin Laden and his terrorist cadre put us on orange alert one year later. So the terrorist still continues to win unless the terrorist loses.
Therefore, learning that lesson in Vietnam and seeing it played out here in the wake of 9/11, one year later, it just reinforces my view that the number-one mission for our nation, for our military, is to make the terrorist lose, make a specific terrorist group lose -- namely, the al Qaeda, which has penetrated some 60 nations and was able to use less than weapons of mass destruction, an aircraft, against us and come in, in effect, under the radar, under our intelligence scheme and do a lot of damage.
Gentlemen, does it seem to you that this is our number-one war? We're already in a war. We've already had a congressional resolution passed that authorized the president to take all necessary means to take this al Qaeda out. Is that our number-one military mission at this point? General Shalikashvili?
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: It is clearly my understanding, Senator, that the president was clear when he said that fighting this war against terrorism is our number-one priority. And I've thought an awful lot whether going after weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is an unnecessary detraction from that effort or whether it is, as the administration has claimed, part of the war against terrorism, an attempt to deny -- potentially deny terrorists those weapons of mass destruction that otherwise Saddam Hussein might make available to them. And you can argue whether that's likely or not, but you cannot argue that it cannot happen.
And I concluded that it really falls under the same umbrella as the overall wear against terrorism. The war against terrorism isn't just al Qaeda. It isn't just the terrorist groups in the Philippines and what not. It is also denying terrorists the means of getting to weapons of mass destruction that then could be used against us or against our friends and allies.
And so your question to me is, for me, simple to answer. Yes, the war against terrorism is our number-one priority. And considering using force to do away with the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is a necessary part of that war.
SEN. CLELAND: General Scowcroft has observed publicly that he didn't think that Saddam Hussein was engaged in spreading his weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups with a return address of Baghdad. I just thought I'd mention that.
General Clark, your observations.
GEN. CLARK: I've been concerned that the attention on Iraq will distract us from what we're doing with respect to al Qaeda. I don't know all of the particulars today of how we distribute our resources around the world. These are details that are classified; they're handled by very well-understood processes. But it was my -- it's been my experience from commanding and combat that I would like every bit of intelligence I could get, and we used a lot going after only that small part of Europe which we were attacking in 1999, inside Yugoslavia and in Kosovo.
So I think, as a minimum, that when one opens up another campaign, there is a diversion of effort. The question is whether the diversion of effort is productive or counterproductive. I really -- it's -- there are forces operating in both directions at this point. You can make the argument, as General Shalikashvili did, that you want to cut off all sources of supply. Problem with that argument is that Iran really has had closer linkages with the terrorists in the past and still does, apparently, today, than Iraq does. So that leads you to then ask, well, what will be the impact on Iran? And that's uncertain. But it does -- if you could take these weapons out quickly, then it would cut off that potential source of supply.
On the other hand, by lumping the two together -- al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein -- it's also possible that we will have incentivized Saddam Hussein now as a last-ditch defense to do what we wouldn't have done before, which is, "Go find me the nearest members of al Qaeda. Here, take this sack and do something with it." So it's not clear which way this cuts right now, but at some point, we are going to have to deal with Saddam Hussein. We are going to have to work against the weapons of mass destruction -- not only there but also, in the case of Iran.
And whether this is the right way, the right time to do it depends in large measure on how we proceed. And this is why I underscore again and again the importance of diplomacy first and going through the United Nations, because I think that gives us our best way of reaching out to achieve this objective with minimum adverse impact on the struggle against al Qaeda. The longer we can reasonably keep the focus on al Qaeda, the better that war is going to go, in my view.
SEN. CLELAND: And if you took out Saddam Hussein and the Ba'ath Party, the secularist party, don't the Sunnis and the Shi'ite Muslims make up a majority of the population in Iraq, and wouldn't that give Iran a strong hand there, and we ultimately end up creating a Muslim state, even under democratic institutions?
GEN. HOAR: Are you asking --
SEN. CLELAND: Yes, sir.
GEN. CLARK: Yes, sir. I think that there is a substantial risk in the aftermath of the operation that we could end up with a problem which is more intractable than we have today.
One thing we're pretty clear on is that Saddam has a very effective police state apparatus. He doesn't allow challenges to his authority inside that state. When we go in there with a transitional government and a military occupation of some indefinite duration, it's also very likely that if there is an effective al Qaeda left -- and there certainly will be an effective organization of extremists -- they will pour into that country because they must compete for the Iraqi people; the Wahabes with the Sunnis, the Shi'as from Iran working with the Shi'a population. So it's not beyond consideration that we would have a radicalized state, even under a U.S. occupation in the aftermath.
SEN. CLELAND: General Hugh Shelton told me about a week ago, in his great North Carolina accent, which I understand -- (laughter) -- that if Saddam Hussein were removed and the Ba'ath Party ousted, that the Kurds, the Shi'ites and the Sunnis would go at each other like banshee chickens.
General Hoar, what's our first priority militarily? Is it the al Qaeda?
GEN. HOAR: Our first priority has got to be al Qaeda. And the reason, Senator, is that we are dependent on our European friends and the Arabs and the Muslims around the world. The successes we've had in Morocco, in Yemen, in Pakistan, in Germany, have come as a result of integrated intelligence, of police work. These are the kinds of things that we need. At the end of the day, shutting down the money, using police to find these independent cells around the world will make the difference. And we are absolutely dependent on the goodwill and cooperation of these other countries, some of whom have large populations that don't agree with American policies. And so I think until we have this under control, we should give it our number one attention.
With respect to Iraq, the question that you asked Wes a moment ago, in my time at CENTCOM, one of the major concerns was always the fragmentation of Iraq, if there had been an internal breakup or it was done externally. Iraq is a creation of the Ottoman Empire and British colonialism; it was never a country of itself. And as a result, it will always be susceptible to that problem. And the borders were drawn artificially, and we live with that problem with Kuwait and Iraq today.
SEN. CLELAND: Thank you, sir.
GEN. MCINERNEY: Senator, I clearly think that al Qaeda is our top priority. It's not our only priority. And I think that people think we can only handle this small operation miss what the issue is. The issue is does Saddam, as a terrorist state, get weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists, just like he's influenced the PLO.
As soon as the president had this brilliant speech last Thursday, what happens in Israel on Tuesday? There is a direct connect between Saddam and other terrorist connections.
Now, may not be as clear as we would like, because that's a problem of our intelligence system. And that's the ambiguity that I was talking about before. That is the concern that I have -- is his ability to get weapons of mass destruction. I'm not worried about ICBMs. I'm worried about Ryder trucks out here at North Capitol Street. And that is the threat that is included with al Qaeda, Saddam and weapons of mass destruction -- terrorism, terrorist states and weapons of mass destruction. There's a deep ambiguity there that no one can define accurately, and we must make some decisions, because you can't react after a nuclear weapon goes off in this country. It's too late. There are no fingerprints.
SEN. CLELAND: Thank you very much, sir.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: (Off mike) -- Senator Cleland.
SEN. ROBERT SMITH (R-NH): Do you want to speak, John?
SEN. JOHN WARNER (R-VA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm going to wait till my last opportunity, my colleagues. I'll follow on. I thank the courtesy of Mr. Smith. Thank you.
SEN. R. SMITH: Thank you, Senator Warner. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Good afternoon, Generals, and thank you all for your service to your country.
General Hoar, I was listening to your comments very carefully, and you -- there was one chilling word that you used when you said you think we have the time. I think that really sums up the issue at hand. Do we have the time or not? And that's, of course, right on the president's desk. As President Truman says, the buck stops here. And it does, and it's a tough call.
But I think if you -- does anybody here deny -- if you go back to what General McInerney just said, does anybody here deny that Saddam Hussein has the capability to deliver some type of weapon of mass destruction of some type -- not any type, necessarily, but of some type -- to the United States or to an ally? I assume no response means there's -- nobody differs with that.
So let me just go right to the heart of the issue, then. If it's trying to build a military coalition, there are some who say that maybe a military coalition is not meaningful anymore. And I don't know if I'm there yet, but there are some ominous signs -- what the Saudis are doing with restrictions on our bases, what the Saudis are doing with funding the al Qaeda, and perhaps even more troubling, the last few days of the election in Germany, where the justice minister of -- Schroeder's justice minister -- Schroeder, who just won a very close election -- said Bush wants to -- quote, "Bush wants to divert attention from his domestic problems. It's a classic tactic. It's one that Hitler also used." Those kind of comments coming from an ally, a supposed ally in NATO, is very troubling.
And I guess the question is, how much hope do you have that we may not have to go it alone, so to speak? I realize there will be a few that will always be with us. Israel will be there. England will be there. I'm not quite sure, after that, if I could count on -- who I would count on, but I think I would count on those two.
But what is -- what do you -- what is your assessment -- you've all been there. I know you're looking in now, but you were there. And what is your assessment of how deep and how bad this is this time in terms of whether or not we're going to have the support of allies, both in the Middle East as well as in Europe?
I'll just start and go down the table. General Shali, go ahead.
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: There's no doubt in my mind at all that coalitions are extraordinarily valuable and sometimes essential to get the job done. In a conventional operation like potential conflict against Iraq, you talk about overflight rights, you talk about basing rights, we're talking about moving supplies, you're talking about intelligence sharing. All of those, when you look at the geography, are terribly important issues. And while there are some work-arounds to be able to do that without allies, it sure as heck is extraordinarily useful to have them and, in some cases, essential.
Look at our war against terrorism. Please don't hold me to that number, but something in the back of my mind says that we have some 90 nations that are assisting us in one form or another in our war against terrorism. Those people who say the days of alliances, the days of coalitions are coming to an end I think don't look at the reality of it. This administration has relied very much on coalitions, much more so than, for instance, during Desert Storm. During Desert Storm -- and Joe Hoar would know the number better -- I think we had some 30, 36 coalition partners. Look at the number of coalition partners we have today in the war against terrorism. Vastly greater.
SEN. R. SMITH: Excuse me. I just want to -- I would agree with you that having a coalition would be obviously helpful and important. I guess the question really is, though, can we count on -- if you look -- especially the Saudis. I mean, we know for a fact they're funding the al Qaeda. They encouraged some of the terrorist acts with these martyr funds. You can't overlook that. This is not 1991. And I guess that's really my question. And then this -- you probably, General Clark, could comment best on the German situation, but it just seems to me that there's a little piling on here. I mean, I think some have said that Schroeder won the election because he piled on America a little bit. And maybe he did.
So, you know, those are the concerns that I had, not that I don't want a coalition, but that I'm worried about whether or not there will be one. I mean, if I could just editorialize a little bit and maybe just have the rest comment.
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: I agree with you, and I would tell you that we're going to have coalition partners in this. You mentioned some of them. I think there will be many more. How many we have depends to a large extent how successful we are in our diplomatic efforts to bring them on board and how successful we are in getting our partners on the United Nations Security Council to go along with a strong resolution that ultimately authorizes the use of force to remove those weapons and the means to produce them should we be unable to do so through inspection or other diplomatic means.
So the answer is, yes, we are going to have coalitions. We are going to have more than are apparent now, because many of them are probably reluctant to say anything right now for internal political reasons; but they will be there. And if we are successful in the United Nations, I think the number can be quite extensive.
SEN. R. SMITH: I guess my time's expired. Could General Clark just respond to the -- chairman?
GEN. CLARK: I was in Germany last week, Senator. I met with a lot of people in Germany. There's a lot of embarrassment over the rhetoric in that election campaign. Nevertheless, domestic politics is domestic politics, I guess. And it certainly plays over there in a certain way, based on the perception of the United States and its activities in the world. But I'm convinced that, the election being over, that when the United States needs help from its European allies, it will get that help.
And I would hope that we will go through the established mechanisms and use NATO and the consensus engine of NATO in an effective way to help us get a grip on the war on terror to an extent we haven't done yet and also to help us deal with the problem of Iraq. If we do that -- of course, whenever you work with allies and they sign up to it, they want assurances from you about what you're going to do -- what you're going to bomb, how soon you're going to do this. And it is difficult, time-consuming and, in some cases, restraining. But I think, as General Shali made clear, the advantages are so overwhelming that we really need to pursue that route in this case.
GEN. HOAR: Sir, may I speak briefly about Saudi Arabia?
SEN. R. SMITH: (Laughs.) It's up to the chairman. I'd like you to --
SEN. LEVIN: I think not. If it's not in answer to that specific question, I think we better --
GEN. HOAR: Well, it is in response to the senator's comments.
SEN. LEVIN: Can you make them very brief?
GEN. HOAR: Yes, sir.
SEN. LEVIN: Okay.
GEN. HOAR: Saudi Arabia has been a friend of this country for 50 years. Saudi Arabia bankrolled 50 percent of the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. They paid $17 billion in the Gulf. They pay $20 (sic) a month, every month, month in and month out, to finance Southern Watch. They have on the table a peace proposal signed by 22 members of the Arab League to start the project of peace in the Middle East. They have problems; there is no question about it. And they have not done everything that we want. But neither have our European friends, either.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you.
SEN. DANIEL AKAKA (D-HI): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Certainly honored to have witnesses such as you who are regarded as heroes of our country militarily.
In the Persian Gulf, we had strong allied support, including bases in several Arab states and participation by their troops. Today the degree of participation and the amount of access to bases in the region seems to be in question. And you've indicted that. I agree with our witnesses that we need adequate preparation to reduce American causalities and that we should not act in haste.
A study by the Army's Center of Military History suggests that we might need to keep 100,000 troops in Iraq and 300,000 in Afghanistan if we are going to stabilize these countries. General McNeill is quoted today saying that there are as many as 1,000 al Qaeda fighters still active in Afghanistan.
I am concerned that focusing on an invasion of Iraq, in doing that we may reduce critical assets, including intelligence, that we need to stabilize Afghanistan.
My question to you is, do you think there will be some degradation of our military capabilities in Afghanistan if we do attack Iraq in the next few months?
General Kashvili (sic)?
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: It's very difficult for me to answer that with any degree of specificity because I have not asked and have not been given a briefing on the operational concepts that we intend to use in Iraq, if we were to go there. And either way, it would not be very appropriate to discuss that in open session.
But that said, all information that I have is that our military today is structured to be able to engage in one regional contingency, to be engaged in one or more smaller type of contingencies, like we now have in Afghanistan. And in my very informal discussions with my colleagues still on active duty, they are of the view that they have sufficient forces, and the forces are ready enough to do so without any degradation of our effort in Afghanistan, with perhaps the exception of some enabling forces that would have to be brought in from the Reserves, but it's too early to tell to what degree.
So they don't seem to express to me the concern that I had as well, and that you mentioned now -- to what degree this would be a detraction from our ability to handle our responsibilities in Afghanistan.
SEN. AKAKA: General Clark, do you have a comment on that?
GEN. CLARK: I think that there will be some spread of command attention, and as there has been in terms of planning for one operation while you're running another. But there are different headquarters to handle it. There is a possibility that you'll lose access to some intelligence-collection means, depending on the numbers of platforms available, and so forth, but I don't have that information. And there may be enough to meet everybody's minimum needs here in these two theaters.
I think the real issue is whether there's synergy between the two operations or not, and there are arguments to be made on both sides. There are those who say that if we go in to Iraq, it will send a very strong message to those nations that are playing both sides -- countries like, for example, Yemen, where we've had some difficulty gaining access, and it may send the kind of message to Yemen that says we're going to get rid of al Qaeda right now, turn them all over, invite the Americans in. On the other hand, if we go in unilaterally, or without the full weight of international organizations behind us, if we go in with a very sparse number of allies, if we go in without an effective information operation that takes us through the -- and explains the motives and purposes and very clear aims and the ability to deal with the humanitarian and post-conflict situation, we're liable to super-charge recruiting for al Qaeda.
So I think it's indeterminate at this point how much synergy there is. It's not a given that there's synergy, but there is a possibility of synergy between the two operations. There's also a possibility of some fatal conflict between the two operations.
GEN. AKAKA: General Hoar?
GEN. HOAR: Yes, sir. When I was at Central Command, there was always the question of priorities, of certain platforms and so forth. I think that it's unavoidable that there would be some deficiencies, but I'd prefer not to discuss that in an open forum. And I'm sure the active-duty people could give you a much better indication of the current status.
GEN. AKAKA: In the Persian Gulf War, we did not go all the way to Baghdad and replace Saddam Hussein. If we are planning to do so this time, most of you suggest that we should be planning also for what we will do in Iraq afterwards.
General McInerney, you suggested we need a shadow government. Do you have any thoughts you can share with us about what we should be doing now and who should be responsible for developing a post-Saddam occupation strategy? Is there one being designed at the present time? General Shalikashvili?
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: One of my colleagues mentioned that perhaps a more difficult and perhaps equally important part of our thinking should be devoted to what will happen after we go in, as it is, about how we get in and so on. And I fully agree with that. And yet this is the most difficult thing to do, and it's most difficult to pin the tail on the donkey as to who it is that is responsible for it.
Surprisingly enough, in the open press, in the open discussion -- that's all that I have access to -- there's been very little of that discussion. There's been very little about what opposition forces there are, what political elements there are to tie together these disparate groups, between the North and the center and the South. And we've already talked about the potential of them splintering, and none of us are really sure whether that will happen or not. But there needs to be someone worrying about it, and a blueprint needs to exist as to who will do what.
I think we were very fortunate in Afghanistan that in fact a government -- interim government emerged that seemed to have a modicum of support from its people, although we continually worry about the independence of warlords and so. We should not count on being lucky twice.
And so I wish I could tell you that I have heard somewhere on the West Coast, where I now live, that this is all under control. I do not have that confidence at all. But that doesn't mean that something isn't ongoing.
It surely is not the task of the Defense Department, and yet from Haiti to Bosnia and other places where we went, invariably the part that should fall on the civilian institutions to do fell back on the Defense Department, because it's a kind of a entity that you get your hands around, and you can order them to do something, and they generally have the means to do something.
But to establish a government, to ensure that the government has the political support, that the security structures are there, that the police forces are there, all of the things that we saw as very negative aspects of our previous operations during the previous administration, someone needs to be taking care of, and it must not be put on the hands of the Defense Department.
SEN. AKAKA: General Clark?
GEN. CLARK: Well, I just want to underscore everything General Shali had to say on that. I think that it's a very, very difficult task. I think it's really the critical task in terms of winning. I think it's the most difficult part of this operation. It has not received adequate attention in public discussion. Whether there have been decisions made on this or not, I don't know.
The track record in Afghanistan is that we're more lucky than we are good there. There are still enormous problems to be dealt with, particularly on the reconstruction side. We know the military is not the right institution to do this. We know from our experience in Bosnia and in Haiti that you can't -- and Kosovo, that you can't just dump this on the United Nations; that there has to be a support organization established.
I go back to Vietnam, and we did have an organization in Vietnam that did this, it was called Civil Operations Revolutionary Development Support. It did some other things that caused it to be discredited. But in terms of actually covering a country and providing, district by district, province by province, resources that could help in the transformation of that country, this was an organization that was very effective. It had a chain of command, it had resources, it had transportation, it had communications, it had a military cadre that was part of it, but it also had primarily a civilian cadre. And so if you needed an agricultural extension element, you could get the Department of Agriculture to do it.
So it's the United States government that has to take the lead in planning this. In the mid-1990s, we created an organization, a framework for this, Presidential Decision Directive -- I think it was 55 or -- PDD-56 I think it was, in which there was a mechanism for tasking each of the agencies of government. Whether that's in place or not, I don't know. But it is the most challenging part of this operation, and the United States government needs to take the lead before it hands it off to the United Nations.
SEN. AKAKA: General Hoar?
GEN. HOAR: Yes, sir. I think, as my colleagues have said, this is the part of this operation that has received very little attention. And given the failure in 1991 to have a war termination plan that would allow us to have a set of circumstances exist in Iraq that would be favorable to us, it seems to me that we should not go down this road again.
What to do after we get to Baghdad seems to me a little bit like what happens to the dog when he finally catches the car. What are we going to do now? And I would suggest to you that it's a National Security Council issue, and it needs to be developed. And I sure hope that this committee and other committees would ask the administration what their plans are after they get to Baghdad and "catch the car."
SEN. AKAKA: General McInerney?
GEN. MCINERNEY: Sir, I brought it up in my comments because I think it is extremely important. I think we have great experience from World War II. I lived there as a youth and watched how the U.S. military did that.
I think General Clark had a much tougher problem, or equally as tough, in Bosnia and Kosovo. We've had experience. It is not one that is above our skill level, and particularly because the Iraqi people have probably the best middle class, the most educated. They've got over 2 million Iraqis that are in the United States today that could go back, could help. Afghanistan, to me, is much harder, but it is clearly one of the important questions we must work because it's that success that will determine the whole success, I believe, on this war against terrorism.
SEN. AKAKA: Thank you very much for your responses.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Akaka.
SEN. JIM BUNNING (R-KY): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'd like to put an opening statement in the record.
SEN. LEVIN: It will be made part of the record.
SEN. BUNNING: Thank you.
I thank all of the four generals for being here and for their past service to our country. Thank you.
I'd like to ask a question of all four of you. Has anyone here had a top-secret classified briefing on the situation on the ground in Iraq in the last three months?
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: I have not.
GEN. CLARK (?): I have not.
GEN. HOAR (?): I am unemcumbered, sir.
GEN. MCINERNEY (?): No, sir, I have not.
SEN. BUNNING: Okay. I just want to make sure that the opinions we are hearing are from your past experience. That's pretty accurate?
GEN. CLARK (?): Well, from the past experience plus everything we can get out of the day-to-day --
SEN. BUNNING: Reading from the newspaper.
GEN. CLARK (?): -- information we're getting here and in --
SEN. BUNNING: Just like The New York Times and the plan for -- what we had for Iraq or what -- okay. That's fine.
GEN. MCINERNEY (?): I have, in fact, been in touch with Iraqi dissidents, seen their war room here in Washington, a number of other things, but that's not --
SEN. BUNNING: I just wanted to make sure where we were in relationship to your background and your briefing on this situation.
General Shalikashvili, tell me what you think is a proper inspection -- you mentioned that in an earlier statement -- for the U.N. What is a proper inspection?
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: I think it is an inspection that is devoid of any interference by the Iraqi government as all previous inspections have been, one that has the best possible chance of getting at the truth, how much and where their equipment is. But that in itself is not enough because, as I think we're all aware, finding out the truth is only the first step. The second, equally important step, is being able to do away with those weapons of mass destruction and all means to produce further weapons. That's the total package that I mean by proper inspections.
SEN. BUNNING: Do you think there's any chance in the immediate future of that type of inspection to be agreed to by Iraq and the leader of Iraq presently?
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: I think there are two parts to my answer to your question. The first part is that it's very, very difficult for me to imagine that Saddam Hussein will have a change of mind and somehow agree to that. But it is too early to be certain that it is so. And the second part of my answer will be that, in trying to get that, in trying to get that kind of an inspection system, in trying to encode that in a resolution that also allows the use of force should such inspections not occur or be unsuccessful, it's terribly important for us politically and, in fact, operationally because it brings with it then the weight of the rest of the United Nations and our friends and allies to our effort.
SEN. BUNNING: Thank you very much.
General Hoar, you mentioned the Gulf War and the amount of causalities that might be expected had we a war with Iraq in your statement. Wasn't the same thing said when we were fighting the Gulf War prior to our successful completion of that war by the military?
GEN. HOAR: I can tell you that during the Gulf War, I had just left Central Command. I'd been the chief of staff to General Schwartzkopf and came back to Washington to be the operations deputy for the Marine Corps. One Saturday, just before the operation -- the ground attack went down, General Al Gray and I went down to Quantico to look at a simulation of casualties. And it was determined that if the Iraqis used chemical weapons against the two Marine divisions as they penetrated that fortified line, we could expect to have as many as 10,000 casualties. There were very high estimates of casualties if weapons of mass destruction were used. But as we got closer to the day that the ground forces kicked off, those operations that were conducted beyond the wire to see what the Iraqis were doing led us to believe that it was not going to be as difficult as was originally thought -- mainly because those divisions that were up against the wire, along the border, had very poor morale and had been severely, severely degraded by the air attacks.
SEN. BUNNING: Okay. Let me -- you also mention that there has been scant discussion on postwar Iraq.
GEN. HOAR: Yes, sir.
SEN. BUNNING: Where do you get that information?
GEN. HOAR: I read three newspapers a day and watch what I see on the Internet. If it's out there, it certainly isn't in the open press. It seems to me with all of the discussion about military operations inside-out, outside-in, who's going to be involved, that we would hear something about post-hostility activities.
SEN. BUNNING: Well, I hope that our military and our State Department and those that are making contingency plans if we do this would not give us a forward pass so that everybody in the United States would know exactly we were going to do after we did it.
GEN. HOAR: I would agree, sir, but I think there's a good opportunity for closed-session hearings here --
SEN. BUNNING: Oh!
GEN. HOAR: -- so that this body would be well aware.
SEN. BUNNING: Yes, I agree 100 percent on that.
General Clark, you said something about public discussion on the war termination. What did you mean, "public discussion"? You mean between the military and the State Department in top-secret briefings or -- what are you talking about?
GEN. CLARK: I think I'm talking about the same thing you just asked General Hoar about, Senator, which is that from listening to everything, including the hearings that were held last week with the secretary of Defense, we're getting the impression that the war- planning is proceeding chronologically; that is to say, how do you get the troops there, what do they do when they cross the line of departure, how do they respond when they move toward Baghdad, what about Baghdad. And what we know is that to be successful, we've got to do backward planning -- in this case, from a weapons of mass destruction --
Sep 23, 2002 17:09 ET .EOF
GEN. CLARK: Absolutely.
We had a peace plan in place. We knew that brown sectors -- we knew who was going to participate before we dropped the first bomb. And that was a big factor in providing nations the assurance that they could join in with us. And that's why you not only --
SEN. BUNNING: Did that also have the contingency plan that we would have on-ground troops stationed there for whatever amount of years it takes?
GEN. CLARK: Well, we never specified how many years it would take, and we haven't in this case, either. But we did have the brigade sectors. We defined the American commitment and the other national commitments. Yes, sir, we did.
SEN. BUNNING: Lastly -- and I know my time is up, and I -- I have an awful lot of confidence in General Colin Powell, our secretary of State, that he will be successful with our many coalition partners as our secretary of State was during the Gulf War in putting together a very, very large contingency. And presently, he has been very successful in the war on terrorism -- (inaudible) -- get about 90 countries as coalition. I agree with you 100 percent we should do everything we can possibly do with the United Nations. But then the buck stops on the president's desk.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Senator Bunning.
SENATOR JACK REED (D-RI): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you, gentlemen, for your very insightful testimony, and for your extensive service to the nation. I was (counting ?) -- I think there's over 100 years of experience in uniform at the table. I don't want to make you feel old, but you represent quite a distinguished group of witnesses.
General Hoar mentioned that the casualty estimates he saw early on at Quantico if CB -- or chemical, biological weapons -- were used, were in the thousands. In 1991, Saddam and the Iraqi military refrained from using those weapons, and some people posit because he was assured directly and indirectly that he would survive; Baghdad would not be assaulted. That situation's completely reversed. And let me ask you, what is your likelihood and estimation that chemical and biological weapons be used against us, in the buildup phase or the assault on Baghdad? And what would be the likely casualties that Americans would encounter and also the civilian collateral damage that would ensue? General Shalikashvili?
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: I certainly don't have any intelligence information that would answer this issue. I would tell you that any intelligence information on this issue I would hold very suspect, anyway, because we're talking of intentions, and intelligence isn't very good on that.
But we certain (sic) cannot exclude the possibility that chemical weapons would be used against our troops in that conflict. While you can argue, and correctly so, that our defensive capabilities are better than they were in '91, that our detection systems are better, that we now understand better that -- to deal with chemical attacks, you have not only passive defense but also active defense and all the things that you're well aware of, nevertheless, if he were to use chemical weapons against us -- and that is a possibility -- the casualties, in my judgment, could be very high.
Beyond that, I wouldn't trust anyone assigning any numerical number to very high.
SEN. REED: General Clark?
GEN. CLARK: I think that there is a possibility he will attempt to use weapons of mass destruction. I think there's a possibility he would attempt to use them before we would launch our attack, when we stage our forces. I think there's also a possibility he will use them against his own population, in particular against the Shi'a population in the South, in order to create the kind of humanitarian catastrophe that could be blamed on the United States and could degrade our ability to act against him.
What the possibilities are, what the probabilities are is anybody's guess. My guess is that it's under 50 percent, and perhaps well under that.
Not only will we be taking every action we can to prevent him from doing that, but he will have to have a chain of command that's willing to take those kinds of measures. And I think as we build a coalition, as we make it very clear we're coming in and what the consequences of that entry will be, I think we'll be undercutting pretty severely the morale of his armed forces in its ability to execute its orders.
SEN. REED: Can I infer from your response that one of the benefits of the coalition, U.N. -- at least related coalition, we would raise the threshold in terms of his use of these types of weapons? Was that a view you would take?
GEN. CLARK: I think that's correct.
SEN. REED: And that would be a significant advantage to our troops and to the reconstruction --
GEN. CLARK: Absolutely.
SEN. REED: General Hoar?
SEN. LEVIN: Excuse me. General Shali -- if you could just get the nod -- apparently General Shalikashvili was nodding. I think it's an important question. Is that -- did you agree with that?
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: Yes, I did agree.
SEN. LEVIN: Okay, thank you. Just for the record. Thank you.
SEN. REED: General Hoar?
GEN. HOAR: Yes, sir. I believe that one of the reasons that Saddam Hussein didn't use chemical weapons during the Gulf War was that Secretary of State Jim Baker met with the Iraqis before the war began, and while I'm not privy to what was said, I am told that he threatened the Iraqis with catastrophe, not further defined, should they use weapons of mass destruction.
We are now saying that regardless of what happens on the weapons, we're in favor of a regime change. We've all said that here today. It seems to me that that reduces the possibility that Saddam Hussein could not use the weapons in order to save his skin. We've already told him that he's out of there, once we conduct this campaign. The vice president has said that.
So I am not sure. I think that there is a possibility because there's little for him to lose.
SEN. REED: General McInerney?
GEN. MCINERNEY: I think, sir, that we have got to plan that he will. None of us know what the percentage is, so how do we plan? Number one, in our IO campaign, which I mentioned, which others have -- we send the word and we have daily people coming out, communications, we know the numbers of all their division commanders, who these people are; that in that IO campaign they are told that they will be tried as war criminals by Iraqi justice, not ours -- ours is too loose -- and you know the finality of the Iraqi justice system.
Number two, we want to preempt where these systems could come from as targets. And that's why this massive campaign is focused on weapons of mass destruction with precision weapons.
Number three, that's why I don't favor a huge buildup. I want small, fast-moving units that move through this, and in their CBR uniform -- outfits and that, and they're moving fast. I commanded a unit that delivered -- had chemical weapons in the days before.
I can assure you, trying to marshal that, plan for it, and the difficulties that you get in trying to use it is not an easy task. And if they haven't been practicing a lot, I assure you, their readiness to do it -- but we should still plan for the worst and hope for the best.
SEN. REED: Well, my time has expired, but there seems to be a divergence, at least in my mind, between the testimony of our Army generals and perhaps the Marine general. We're talking about a heavy assault for any -- any -- contingency that they face, and General McInerney is talking about light forces sweeping quickly up --
GEN. MCINERNEY: I'm talking heavy, medium, light, covert, airborne, all of them. It's the size. Speed is more important than size in this new warfare, with this massive air precision campaign simultaneously working. That is the difference that we are talking about, that you hear about. And it's a good debate, Senator.
SEN. REED: Thank you, General, gentlemen, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Reed.
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R-AL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And it's very good that we have these kind of hearings, and we have it all out on the table and talk about these issues, some of which we can't talk about because of security reasons.
General McInerney, in this last attack of Saddam Hussein on his own people, I'd -- just one quick question, which -- he reportedly killed as many as 5,000 Kurds with poison gas. Was that delivered by aircraft? Or do you know?
GEN. MCINERNEY: I think it was aircraft. General Shali, do you remember? It was either aircraft or artillery. I just can't remember, sir.
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: To the best of my knowledge, it was done by artillery. But I can't answer what -- this happened in the '80s, and I -- my involvement with the Kurds was in '91.
SEN. SESSIONS: I am wrestling with the overall picture, and I know several --
GEN. MCINERNEY: And that was a village, remember. That was not troops moving through rapidly and et cetera.
SEN. SESSIONS: -- right -- wrestling in general with where we are as a nation and where we are as a world, at this point. I don't think you three gentlemen that are heavily into the multilateral mode mean to be uncritical of the U.N. and our European allies and other world nations for their behavior so far with regard to enforcing or lack of enforcement of resolutions that they have lawfully implemented, and that Saddam Hussein solemnly agreed to. That is a big problem we've got.
Let me just refer, since I think it's a very august publication and taking the issue very seriously, the Economist, the British publication -- they note that "Iraq is actually the best example there is of America following multilateral procedures, which an arrogant unilateralist called Saddam Hussein proceeded to flout. The question then is, what do you do when international deals and procedures are broken? Sit back and pretend it didn't happen?"
They go on to say, "At every stage, the multilateral approach has failed" -- after itemizing these things -- "blocked by Iraq or by permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, chiefly France and Russia. Those countries, China and others have been circumventing the sanctions."
So let me ask first, would anyone disagree that members of the Security Council and/or other members of the U.N., who swear so much fealty to that organization, are indeed undermining the very resolutions that we are concerned with here?
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: I would certainly not disagree with you at all. I think all of us are guilty of that. The United States too, in the past, as a member of the Security Council, has perhaps not been as strong and as vigorous in trying to push for a resolution of this issue. So --
SEN. SESSIONS: General Clark, we're flying missions, and have been for years, enforcing a non-fly zone in Iraq, which is part of the condition of the -- Saddam Hussein agreed to. He fires surface-to-air weapons at us and we drop bombs on him on a regular basis. This has been going on for many, many years. Isn't that a cause for concern here?
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: Absolutely. But I would remind you that the British are flying with us, the Turks are flying with us, and for -- I don't know if today still, but for the majority of my time, when I was still involved, the French flew with us.
SEN. SESSIONS: Well, the British and the Turks and the United States are ready to do something, it appears.
General Clark, I'll just ask you to comment on it.
"Thus, we're dealing with" -- and this is something you've been dealing with. You dealt with it in Kosovo and in Europe. And we need to talk about it. "Thus, the limit to a purely multilateral approach" -- I'm quoting from the Economist here -- "under the ambit of the 1945 U.N. Charter is exposed beyond economic sanctions, which have already failed or have been scuppered by U.N. members, there is no enforcement mechanism except American leadership. And that is what is likely to happen. There will be a multilateral process along the lines described here. It will fail, and then America will invade."
Isn't that what we're doing? We're going -- we're challenging the U.N. to maintain its own credibility as we have to maintain our own credibility here? We've got to -- the president has taken his case to the U.N., he's lobbying nations individually, bringing them to Texas, doing everything he can do. But ultimately, aren't we at a point where we're going to have to either quit and go home or take action?
GEN. CLARK: Well, I don't know that we're at that point right now, Senator. I think it's very clear --
SEN. SESSIONS: Well, how much longer do you think we need to wait?
GEN. CLARK: -- that you have to look ahead and see. I think you need to work through all options. When you're talking about American men and women going and facing the risk we've been talking about this afternoon, and if you're talking to the mothers and the loved ones of those who die in that operation, you want to be sure that you're using force and expending American blood and lives and treasure as the ultimate, last resort; not because of a sense of impatience with the arcane ways of international institutions or frustration from the domestic political processes of allies.
And so, I'm not on the inside of those negotiations. I can't tell you how much further they are. But I do know from my experience in working in Europe and inside NATO, that it takes a lot of different twists sometimes diplomatically to get the outcome you want.
SEN. SESSIONS: Well, what we have already is 16 resolutions. I guess we can go for one more. But there are 16 our there Iraq is in violation of, U.N. resolutions.
GEN. CLARK: I think we have --
SEN. SESSIONS: And I would just say to you -- my time is up -- and so at some point, I do believe the United States is justified in acting. And as I think Kissinger once said, "Nothing clears the mind so well as the absence of alternatives." And the president's basically put it out to the U.N.: "Either you act, or we are." We will not concede this.
And yes, we could use troops, but we lost 3,000 in New York last September, and I think we'll -- hopefully we haven't forgotten that.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Sessions. Senator Kennedy.
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D-MA): Generals, I want to thank you all for being there. It's been a long afternoon. But the breadth of your experience and involvement in similar kinds of circumstances is of great value and help to all of us. So I'd want to thank all of you for your response. And obviously you've given these issues a great deal of thought. And it's extremely valuable to us.
I share the feeling of those that have expressed that al Qaeda is really where it's at right now. Saddam Hussein is dangerous. He is a threat. But the questions come in to how much of an immediate threat, where we know al Qaeda is a threat, continues to be a threat.
I don't happen to be as sanguine as some about the conditions in Afghanistan. There are a lot of reports the warlords are back and the tenuousness of that situation is very real.
I'm very concerned about where Pakistan is. Musharraf has been courageous, but how much stability is there? It is just a hornet's nest filled with al Qaeda.
And the list goes on around the country. And I know that there are thoughtful, well trained military leaders that indicate that we can do it all, we can do it all. But it seems to me right now, unless the intelligence is different -- and the intelligence that all of us have received is that he doesn't have the nuclear weapon; he'd like to have it. But if he is able to gain fissionable material, he can move along with it in less than a year, but if not, it's going to take him a few years to do it. That's basically what we've all heard about that.
So he doesn't have that. He has weapons of mass destruction. So have the Iranians, as has been pointed out here.
We have to ask ourselves, as has been mentioned by the members here, with this kind of activity, military intervention -- and I want to come back just ultimately and about the size that you all think has got to be there, and secondly, whether you do believe that there's going to be a guerrilla war. Many believe -- we've had many of those that have testified that this would be different and that he Republican Guard would fight in the cities, because although they felt that his right to go into Kuwait was rather tenuous, they feel now that he has -- that we're after him. So, I'd be interested in what you thought of this.
But we have to balance one about the dangers of these weapons of mass destruction -- if you're talking about biological and chemical, we ought to be scared to death about, and should be, about the dangers of proliferation of nuclear material out of the Soviet Union. We're about to spend $150 billion to do something, and with the loss of life over in Iraq, and we spend less than a billion dollars in trying to keep fissionable material away from the terrorists. I mean, you know, there's something in our priorities here. You talk about, will we create a climate and atmosphere which will provide enormous recruitment for al Qaeda?
What's going to happen if they do use it? The possibility, the general said -- somewhat less than 50. That's a still pretty high possibility of using some kind of weapons of mass destruction against the Israelis. Prime Minister Sharon said they'll retaliate. And are we going to be sanguine about the dangers of even nuclear weapons in this? And what is that going to mean? How much of a danger is that in that region of the country? And then, will the terrorist groups that are in Iran start pumping out the weapons of mass destruction to all of these terrorist groups? I think you've mentioned so many of these points that which are -- we ought to be thinking about when we're looking at this, both from a military and from the real security interest that we have.
In the time -- and it's a short time that I have -- I'm interested just quickly from all of you, of what you think is going to be necessary in terms of the force levels. And secondly, what assessment did you (give/get ?) that if this does turn out to be an urban battle -- you know, I'm glad Jim Baker was able to talk Saddam Hussein out of using it. Why in the world aren't we using them now to talk about them? He was able to go over, have a conversation about it. And the reason Saddam Hussein listened to him is because of deterrence. You know? That was deterrence that dominated the whole relationship between nuclear powers in 40 years, in 50 years. We know what we would do with our backs against the wall; we almost did it in the Cuban missile crisis. We know what the United States would do. Why should we believe Saddam Hussein's going to be different, if he's pinned against the wall in Iraq, in using weapons of mass destruction? And if there is going to be a battle in terms of urban warfare, where are we going? What do you think will happen on that?
If the panel could give the just answers to that, and then I think my time will be up.
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: I think it's impossible, Senator Kennedy, to give you a number of our forces that would be necessary to get the job done without knowing exactly what job they're going to be asked to do and understanding the concept of operation. Any number that you can get is probably the same, has about the same validity as I remember before we went into Bosnia. We had this discussion that it would take 400,000 people, because the Germans needed that many and so -- I will tell you, I am of the view that Saddam Hussein's force is today about half the strength that they were during Desert Storm and that they're probably less ready -- less than half as ready as they were during Desert Storm.
We are certainly much smaller, also, but we are -- and I hope I'm not overstating it -- vastly more capable than we were in Desert Storm. So it would sort of tell you that we probably should get by with about half the force we used in Desert Storm. But I wouldn't take that to the bank anywhere, unless -- until you know what the tasks are and you do what the military calls a troop-to-task analysis and then add them all up and see how many troops you need and -- till you know the concept of operation, you can't do that. So that's the best I can do for you.
SEN. KENNEDY: But I think it's regime change -- I won't -- would be the task, I expect. That's what we were told, but --
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: But I suppose that an awful lot of tasks that whether you do it -- the hypothetical method that General McInerney described or whether you do it in a more conventional method or whether you do this with special operating forces or whatever, there are many different ways that you can imagine you would want to do that.
And until you know, you cannot compute how many troops it would take you. I think if it gets to urban warfare -- and the likelihood is certainly great that it could, just like the likelihood is very good that he could use weapons of mass destruction -- it could be very -- it could get very messy, the collateral damage could be very great, and our own casualties could increase significantly.
SEN. KENNEDY: General Clark, just -- my time is up. Maybe each could give just a brief comment.
GEN. CLARK: I think you need a large-size force because I think you have to prepare for the worst case contingencies in this case. I don't think all those forces have to be there, necessarily, at the outset. I think you want to move for a very rapid campaign. I think you want to plan on urban fighting, which means you want to try to attack the forces that are in the urban area first, you want to try to prevent other forces from reinforcing them, second, and you want to get your own forces in there to prevent the emergence of some kind of a "fortress Baghdad" as rapidly as possible.
GEN. HOAR: Sir, I hope that Tom McInerney's view of this works, but if it doesn't, we have to be prepared to fight block by block in Baghdad. As Wes says, I hope we could take the steps early on to make sure that it doesn't happen. But you can't have those people hanging out in North Carolina and Georgia waiting to go; they've got to be in the theater ready to go so you don't lose your momentum. In urban warfare, you could run through battalions a day at a time, one battalion, that are just combat ineffective because of casualties. This is very slow-going. All our advantages of command and control, technology, mobility, all of those things are in part given up and you are working with corporals and sergeants and young men fighting street to street. It looks like the last 15 minutes of "Saving Private Ryan." That's what we're up against.
GEN. MCINERNEY: Sir, obviously I give a different viewpoint. And the way I look at it, number one, it will take 30(,000) to 50,000 U.S. ground forces, maybe not all there at the start; and if you need more, you add. It will be over 100,000 counting the coalition forces -- the Brits, opposition, different people.
Now, here is why I think this is important where I'm different, and people must understand. What a war of liberation is -- I just got an e-mail today from a Republican Guard general that defected. The fact is, is the Republican Guards are not allowed in Baghdad to now. Now. Only the special Republican Guards. On the 14th of February, he killed 10 Republican Guard generals led by a three-star. On the 1st of June, he arrested 85 generals -- excuse me, 85 officers. He's not arresting lieutenants and captains. So he has a major problem.
And that's why this information operations campaign that appeals to, number one, the army and the people that "we want to give you a new nation." And the fact is, that's why I think there will not be urban fighting. Now, I could be wrong. But he won't let the army in the cities now, and when they do go in, it's only to keep the cities quiet. And so that is why when you see -- the view I give versus others is different. One's a war of liberation; one's an invasion against a well-entrenched foe that does not want to do that.
And I don't think there are many people in Iraq, as the Iraqis told me, that want to die for Saddam.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Kennedy.
SEN. WARNER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Gentlemen, what a pleasure it is to join together again. One of the great privileges of serving on the Armed Services Committee is to work with the men and women of the armed forces of all ranks. And I look back on memories of having shared with you visits in your various forward locations throughout the world in years past.
General Clark, I'm going to pick up on a wonderful word that you used. As soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that you are, you know full well you're ready to fight, you're trained to fight. But you know from your own experience that that's the last resort, as you -- all else has to fail.
And we have in process those steps, led by the president. We wouldn't be -- the world would not be in this posture today, focusing on this situation, had not this president and his Cabinet focused the attention on the danger -- yes, to the United States, but indeed the danger to the world.
But back to the steps he's taken. We've had a good discussion here this morning about the United Nations, but now, in some respects, this shifts to the halls of Congress.
And I operate on the following basic premise. I was very much involved in '91. I happen to have had the privilege of being the principal author of the '91 resolution, which went to the floor and was debated for three days and three nights and then by a mere five votes carried by the Senate. But we worked together in a bipartisan way. Senator Lieberman, of this committee, was my principal co- sponsor.
We're now in the process of working on a resolution that the Congress hopefully will pass here in the very short period of time before we depart for our states. But I actually believe that to the extent that resolution is strong, it's unambiguous, and there's no, should we say, daylight between the position of the Congress and the position of the president, the more likely we can avoid the use of military force, because it sends the strongest possible signal to the entire world. And most specifically, Saddam Hussein will read that resolution and see that the co-equal branches of government, the executive and the legislative, are arm in arm, determined first to avoid conflict and, if necessary, only as the last resort, to utilize it.
Now I ask you to take a look at that resolution -- I've sent copies there to you -- just that last paragraph.
But I read first the Constitution of the United States. Each of you raised your arm, more than once, and swore allegiance to defend the Constitution of the United States. We do so here in the Senate. And Article II states very explicitly that the president shall be the commander in chief of the Army and the Navy and of the militia of the several states, when called into actual service of the United States -- very clear -- no one else, one man.
Then, Section 3 of Article II: "He, the president, shall from time to time give the Congress information of the state of the union and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." Here it is. This is what he is now recommending to the Congress. And it'll be the central focus of the Congress for these next few days.
I do not find anything in this clear, declarative, expression that exceeds any authority that the Constitution gives him. It is, in my judgment, a recitation of the authority given in the Constitution, authority that each of you in your roles, particularly as combat commanders, have exercised in the past. Simple question to you -- you're citizens of this nation: Do you read this as going beyond the authority given to the president in the Constitution in any way? General McInerney?
GEN. MCINERNEY: Not at all, Mr. Senator.
SEN. WARNER: Who would like to go next? General Hoar?
GEN. HOAR: Sir, I have -- I have just scanned this.
SEN. WARNER: Well, wait a minute. Let's hear the rest of them.
GEN. HOAR: But I would -- if I may say --
SEN. WARNER: Yes. Yeah.
GEN. HOAR: I would prefer a more limited view of time and place than what I read here as essentially open-ended commitment, sir.
SEN. WARNER: Thank you. General Clark, is this within the confines of the Constitution, or does it go beyond it?
GEN. CLARK: I think that the last phrase in there is a very, very sweeping phraseology, because it's not only international peace and security in Iraq, it's the region. I realize that's why that's in there, but I think that we will gain power with this resolution and we'll gain effectiveness in our military operation and in our public diplomacy the more tightly we focus our efforts on the specific objectives that we seek.
So "region" is one of those terms. Is it -- are we going to restore international peace in security in -- between the Palestinians and the Israelis by this phraseology? What exactly does it mean?
And so therefore, what I would prefer to see is something like --
SEN. WARNER: (I would come back in?) My time is running along, but you remember, Congress passes this in October, they're gone home, they're scattered to 50 states and portions of the world. If some situation arose beyond a limitation such as some of you are thinking about, what's he do? Bring us back? Is there time to do it? He's got to employ troops to take care of that contingency. That's my concern.
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: I am of the view that a resolution from Congress is very important now to energize the United Nations and tell them that we stand together, to energize our allies that we are serious about and we stand together, and to send a strong message, as you said, to Saddam Hussein.
The wording of this is probably a matter for lawyers and senators to pore over, and I'm not competent enough to tell you whether it is too broad or not. On the surface of it, I align myself with General Clark that I think it needs to be clear understanding what is meant by those words, particularly that last sentence.
SEN. WARNER: Let me go back to that second subject that General Clark touched on and I was very interested, and that is NATO's role. We're about to come up on another summit meeting; at the last, they expanded their role.
Frankly, this senator wasn't all together pleased at their decision to go beyond the parameters of that original charter. But nevertheless, they did. But for some reason -- of course I think they've done superb work in Kosovo, Bosnia. But they've turned their eyes away from this conflict between the Palestinians and the people of Israel, and that concerns me. I think there's a connection between that problem and the planning of any operation, should force be necessary, in Iraq.
And I have recently written the president a letter suggesting that we should ask the North Atlantic Council to consider whether or not, given the -- I think the direct impact on responsibility as NATO, far beyond the immediate are of the conflict itself, but it spreads its tentacles throughout the AOR, so to speak -- Area of Operation -- of NATO, and the responsibility they've garnered unto themselves by this expanded charter Yet there seems to me not a word.
Now, I've urged the secretary of Defense, before he departed, I gave him a copy of the letter, and I'll share the letter with you, should you be interested, suggesting that Europe is perceived as more likened to the causes of the Palestinians; the American more likened -- compassionate for the cause -- the people of Israel. If we were brought in in a peacekeeping role, the United States and Europe, under the NATO banner, and only if the nation of Israel and the people of Palestine invited them in, and performed some peacekeeping functions, it seems to me that might contain this situation during that period when the operations, if force is necessary, in Iraq were to take place.
And also, I must share a personal experience. I was in Tel Aviv with three other senators; we were there -- Senator Stevens, Inouye, Nunn and myself -- working on urging them to stay out of the '91 conflict. It was February the 18th, 1991 -- I remember the date because it happened to have been my birthday -- when the last Scud came into Tel Aviv. And indeed, the meeting adjourned very swiftly, and the Scud fell, and the meeting resumed equally swiftly after it was done.
But the point being, they have indicated that that might not be the situation. And as complicated as the planning is with Iraq, that is a factor that has to be taken into consideration. Were NATO there, there might be a less likelihood that somehow that conflict would be touched by such conflict as we may find coalition forces, hopefully, engaged in in Iraq.
So my question is, do you have any views on the involvement, first in possibly the role of peacekeeping, at the invitation of both nations, in the current crisis that we're watching unfolding; and to the extent that they should be brought in in consultation with regard to the planning, particularly at the U.N., as it relates to Iraq?
GEN. CLARK: Well, with respect to the second part of your question, Senator, I would certainly favor bringing NATO in to do planning for the Iraq operation.
I think the NATO organization is a good one; it's a consensus engine. Of course, it means, when you bring allies in, you have to listen to their concerns. And that's difficult, and it's time-consuming, and it creates friction in operations. But I think, in this case as in Kosovo, the overwhelming results or the balance of the results is that you need to listen to the allies. You need them on board. So I would strongly encourage that we bring NATO into this operation.
With respect to the situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians: As I've looked at this situation in the past, we really need -- as we have seen in other engagements, you need some kind of a framework political agreement before you attempt to use forces to impose a cease-fire, because in my experience --
SEN. WARNER: (Inaudible) -- said NOT to impose a cease-fire. They -- the two factions would have to agree on some type of cease- fire and invite NATO in. That's the only force that can move in 48 hours, the only force that's constituted internationally; the only force that's had the experience of peacekeeping in the Balkans.
GEN. CLARK: I think you want to have the kind of an agreement where you had taken -- you've taken the incentive away from the Palestinian side to use terror, because if they still use suicide bombers --
SEN. WARNER: (There is/ the risk ?).
GEN. CLARK: -- the NATO forces are going to be no more effective and probably less effective than the Israelis in stopping that, and they'll be held accountable for it. So I think we want to avoid putting our forces and our own American forces into a situation where they can't win.
SEN. WARNER: If they were there, would it lessen the likelihood that somehow Israel would get drawn into the conflict, should force be used in the Iraq situation?
GEN. CLARK: It might, but I think we'll have forces there in any case with respect to the anti-missile defense that we want to put in place in Israel. I would suspect we have that.
SEN. WARNER: General, do you have a view on it? First, the Palestinian situation, and then the Iraqi situation as it relates to NATO.
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: I do. Some yeas before General Clark served as supreme allied commander, I had the job, and one of the lessons that I learned was that NATO essentially needs American leadership to take actions -- particularly those unusual actions that you suggest. And it needs more than just our leadership; it needs our active participation. We have learned from the Balkans that this notion that Europeans do something on the ground, and we fly overhead doesn't fly.
SEN. WARNER: Yes, sir.
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: So that said, I think that NATO should certainly be approached on the Iraq issue. I think it would be extraordinary (sic) useful if a resolution were passed by the council ministers and to give support to the operation in Iraq. And I think it's -- it should be doable if the United States wants to invest the political capital in it.
As far as the Palestinian-Israeli issue is concerned, the Europeans in a way are involved through the European Union -- in my judgment, not very constructive. And so if, in fact, a way can be found to bring this into the NATO where both the United States and the European allies are involved, it might be helpful.
But I'm afraid that General Clark is right, it would be very difficult to bring NATO into this debate unless there were already some political agreement.
SEN. WARNER: My question was very -- phrased "they have to be invited in."
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: That's right, that both sides would like NATO to help implement.
SEN. WARNER: That's correct. Stop the fighting, maintain the peace, so that then the agreement could be worked through.
General McInerney, would you wish to make a comment?
GEN. MCINERNEY: Well, I think, Senator, that the issue is -- with Palestine and Israel -- and we have different views on this -- I don't think that will be solved until Iraq comes down, that regime is changed, because that is fueling with gasoline the Palestine problem. I think it's directly related. It hasn't been for years, but in the last few years, it has been. And until that is solved, and then to bring NATO in, the problem -- NATO is extremely important to us, I happen to believe, and most generals are virtually internationalists because we spend a lot of time there, but the fact is I don't think the NATO process is fast enough and decisive enough, and all it does is convolute the problem so -- if you tried to bring them in. Clearly, I think European members will be involved with action against Iraq. I don't think it will be NATO, but European nations will -- in the final analysis will be involved with us in addition to the United Kingdom. I believe others will.
SEN. WARNER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Senator Dayton.
SEN. MARK DAYTON (D-MN): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I wanted to ask a question regarding the resolution that's been sent to us and contrasting that with the resolution that was passed by the Congress authorizing what became the Gulf War. And I was not aware until just a few moments ago that the author of that resolution is present here, so I'll -- but it fits the basis of my question because I'm struck by what I consider to be the wisdom of that resolution and its difference from the one that we received last week.
And the president is requesting in this instance a very, very broad authority, which I guess you have the copy in front of you and we have that for the record. And I'll just say parenthetically, Mr. Chairman, I'm not a historian, but I've just been surprised to discover that in the last 50 years, Congress has stopped declaring war; that we now -- we approve these resolutions authorizing use of military force on some restrained or unrestrained basis and sort of e- mail them down to the executive branch. And I don't quite understand what the basis of that is, because the Constitution very clearly gives Congress, and Congress alone, the responsibility and the authority to declare war. But I'll leave that aside. But it does, I think, give special weight to these resolutions because that's really become what Congress does and then the executive branch is tasked with making the very momentous decisions how to exercise that authority.
But in the case of the Gulf War, the resolution requires that the president, when he makes a -- when he made a determination that military force is necessary, before exercising that authority, should provide to the speaker of the House, the president pro tem of the Senate -- in other words, the Congress -- his determination that the United States has used all appropriate diplomatic and other peaceful means to obtain compliance by Iraq with the United Nations Security Council resolutions cited in subsection (a) and too that those efforts have not been and would not be successful in obtaining such compliance.
I guess my question, gentlemen, is in terms -- the president understandably wants to be unrestrained in terms of preparing for military action if and when he determines that that is necessary, and this resolution would clearly give him that authority.
Are these kinds of conditions applied -- how do they impact the military planning, the buildup, the preparedness? Is there -- are the kind of conditions that the 1991 resolution attached -- do those constrain or do those prevent the military planning and preparedness and buildup, or not?
I'd give each of you in turn -- ask each of you in turn.
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: Senator, if I may, very briefly, I feel very uncomfortable making judgments on this resolution, having glanced at it for five minutes. These are issues that need to be debated by lawyers, by senators, by your staff --
SEN. DAYTON: I really ask you more in terms of the 1991 resolution.
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: To the best of my understanding, I do not see how a difference between that resolution in '91 and this one here -- that somehow that resolution in '91 unduly constrained the military planning, or that this one is necessary to do the necessary planning to be able to do military operations against Iraq.
I think the issue here is -- and again, I apologize for you, because I ought to know better than comment on as important a document as this, and after two glances at it -- what seems to me here the issue is not whether you can plan against Iraq, but whether it gives the president authority to go much beyond Iraq, should circumstances arise. And again, constitutional lawyers have to answer whether the president has that authority anyway, once he's involved in military operations in the region and something unexpected arises. But I am way, way beyond my competence on this issue.
SEN. DAYTON: Thank you.
General Clark? Others?
GEN. CLARK: Well, I think it's -- it is a matter for the Congress to determine. I would hope that before we would use force as authorized here, we would have exhausted all other means. If there's a way of incorporating that in the resolution, I think it makes the resolution stronger, not weaker.
SEN. DAYTON: Does it impair the military planning and preparedness?
GEN. CLARK: Oh, no, I don't -- no, not in the language that you just read out. And I do think, of course, the commanders -- the president is the commander in chief -- always have the right to self- defense, from -- whatever that threat may come from.
But the more the planning is narrowed and the more the focus of the operation is made clear and circumscribed, the greater the ability of the United States government to win support to that operation and to offset the countervailing propaganda that will come out against our aims and purposes in the region. So I think it's in our own self- interest to have a very tightly focused, tightly worded resolution authorizing the operation.
SEN. DAYTON: Thank you.
GEN. HOAR: Yes, sir. As I said a moment ago, I'm not in favor of one that's quite so broad. I would be much more comfortable with the '91 resolution, for all the reasons that my comment -- my colleagues point out.
I would point out to you that the military is not encumbered now in planning for this operation. It's in the open press all the time. They're going apace to make sure that when the president has the authority and he tells them to execute, that they'll be able to do it.
SEN. DAYTON: Thank you.
GEN. MCINERNEY: Sir, I had read it because of -- as a Fox News military analyst, I was prepared to comment on the news on it. So that's why I had a little advantage over General Shali, but not over General Clark, of course. (Scattered laughter.)
The reason I feel it's important is -- and this broadness is -- we want to send a signal that there is trust between this august body and this administration, and everybody knows it.
You have many, many ways to prevent an administration from moving out and doing things. There is no doubt about it. But if you water this down, you are going to send a signal out to al Qaeda -- you may not want to, but you're going to send it -- you're going to send it to Saddam and say, "Well, we don't quite trust him." There's a little waffling. "We're not serious, okay?" I mean, he puts us into the club that I call --
SEN. DAYTON: Wait, General, may I ask -- without having it in front of you, would the language I recited in the 1991 resolution, would that be -- do you consider that watering it down?
GEN. MCINERNEY: Since I didn't read that in great detail -- I heard what you said, but I read this in detail, because it said I had to -- I was going to be quizzed on it on the air. And so, I'm very comfortable with this broad language. I would have been more comfortable if the language that you put out a year ago against Afghanistan would have been broader.
The president in any administration and people always come back to you. You control the pursestrings. The signal you want to send, Senator, is "This nation is united." You want to send that to the U.N. because I happen to believe -- which is different than General Clark -- I happen to believe this strong signal, Mr. Chairman, will ensure that we have a better chance of getting it through the U.N.
SEN. DAYTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My time is expired. Thank you, gentlemen.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you. Senator Nelson.
SEN. BILL NELSON (D-FL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank each of you for your service to our nation in uniform and as you continue to perform service to our nation. Thank you very much.
Is the way that our armed forced, currently structured, and as we approach the task of defeating Iraq in the near term, are we going to be at the same time able to sustain the global war against terrorism? What's your opinion on that? General?
GEN. HOAR: My view, of course, is that the global war on terrorism will only be won through the close coordination with our friends in Europe and indeed in the whole Muslim world, because integrated intelligence from all sources, police work and a cooperative effort, law enforcement working with other friendly countries, and certainly the ability to shut down finances is critical to our success at the end of the day, that we have to that kind of support from the some 90 countries that are working actively with us today. And I should point out to you that the recent successes in Pakistan and Morocco and Yemen as well as Europe are a good example of that cooperation.
SEN. BILL NELSON: So when the moms and dads come up to me at home and say, "How can we do a war in Iraq and at the same time go against all the other bad guys?" you don't have any heartburn on this?
GEN. HOAR: I do indeed, sir. I think that the war against al Qaeda is the first priority. My colleague says we can have more than one priority, and I agree with that. But when it's your first priority, you don't do anything that impairs your ability to execute the first priority. And we have a lot of people around the world in those 90 countries that don't agree with the way the United States conducts foreign policy or their military policy. And those countries have constituencies that they must respond to. And in my judgment, we need to do the al Qaeda thing first.
GEN. MCINERNEY: Senator, here's my difference, and I think I want to make it clear. I believe in this coalition. I believe in the 90. But I don't want five or 10 or 20 to determine what we do. We are the target. Let's go back. We are the target. And they are coming after us. And there must be a sense of urgency.
And so that's why I can assure you and the air side, the B-2s aren't flying on al Qaeda right now, the B-52s aren't, the B-1s. There's a small effort. So I think -- ground forces, 3rd Armored Division's not committed and 3rd Corps is not committed. There are a lot of forces that aren't. And I think there's an important role for the simultaneous nature to be working on these fronts. We can handle more. Al Qaeda is now moved, most of it, back into very good police and special ops work. And so that's why where we're talking about this force and the signal we send and the rapidity, the rapidity of this campaign is extremely crucial because I think it will cut down the number of recruits that go to al Qaeda. When Rome is strong, the provinces are quiet.
SEN. BILL NELSON: General Clark, you were about to say something.
GEN. CLARK: I was going to say, I think it depends on how we do it. I think it's clear already that we've engaged this issue. This issue's on the table. Now, if we go in with a strong coalition; if we go in with a U.N. resolution behind us; if we go in with the full weight -- the fullest possible weight of international law and international opinion, then I think it can reinforce what we're doing against al Qaeda, even though there will be some distraction on the part of the commanders and the national leadership who are involved in the campaign. But on balance, you might get a reinforcement. I think if it had gone the other way, if we had not gone to the United Nations, if we had decided to "iron horse" this and go in unilaterally at the outset, I think it would have distracted from our campaign.
How it eventually turns out I think is still up in the air right now.
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: I think that militarily, it should be doable to engage both in a war against terrorism and to fight the al Qaeda issue and to go into Iraq. At least that's what I think the thinking of the military leaders in the Pentagon is, to the way -- to the point that I understand it. And I agree with that, although there might be some particular enabling capabilities that would be stretched more than we would like.
But politically, it's different. Politically, how much it will detract from our effort against al Qaeda and the war against terrorism in a broader sense depends very much on how successful we are to build a strong, large coalition, and that in turn will be based on how successful we are to get a United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force should inspection prove fruitless.
SEN. BILL NELSON: Thank you for that.
General Hoar, you're a former commander of Central Command. Last Thursday, in front of this committee, Secretary Rumsfeld stirred up a hornet's nest when, in essence, he said -- this is the essence of his message, I'm not quoting him directly -- but that he wants to move Central Command into the Central Command.
We've had it outside of the area of the Central Command for some period of time, even going back to the Gulf War, for a specific reason. And I'd be very curious to hear your comments, please.
GEN. HOAR: Yes, sir. I've been directly associated with Central Command since 1988, when I went down first as Norm Schwarzkopf's chief of staff. And this has been a subject that has been discussed perennially. I think that Norm Schwarzkopf amply demonstrated the ability to go forward and set up and operate on relatively short notice if there was a requirement.
The truth of the matter is that the availability of information is such that you could do it from Tampa. But any commander that's worth his salt wants to be out on the ground, talking to the sergeants and the corporals and the lieutenants and captains that are flying the airplanes and doing the work out on the ground and going out to the ships to see what's happening out there. So if there is going to be a campaign, the theater commander ought to be in the theater.
And it appears to me that the first steps have been taken for that. The ability to put a couple of thousand people with their families, their cars, their cats and dogs and all the other things that would take to make that a permanent headquarters someplace in the region is another issue. And while I'm not absolutely familiar with those issues today, I would say that I'd go very slowly on that one. But clearly, it can be done on very short notice if the secretary of Defense and the commander in chief decide that's the best way to do it.
SEN. BILL NELSON: Your colleague General Zinni agrees with you. Here's a quote from General Zinni: "It would be a magnet for people who want to kill Americans overseas," end of quote, with regard to a large permanent headquarters. The temporary headquarters, which is already underway, by they way -- they've moved 600 folks over to Qatar right now.
Mr. Chairman, I have one further question, but the blue slip came, so --
SEN. LEVIN: Is it a brief question to one of our witnesses or a long question to all four of them?
SEN. BILL NELSON: It's a brief question, but I'm entirely happy to wait if you'd like.
SEN. LEVIN: Everyone's been going over a little bit. No reason why you shouldn't just have one quick question to -- try to limit it to one of our witnesses, if you could.
SEN. BILL NELSON: The Scott Speicher family is from Jacksonville, and I've been in the middle of this. And it's something that -- you know, now we have a defector that said that he drove him to the hospital. And even the Defense Department has said that they've moved his position from killed in action to missing in action. There's even some that are talking about changing his status to POW. You can't plan a war around a prisoner of war. But what advice would you give to the senator who represents the family as we approach this Iraq campaign? It's a tough one.
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: Since none of my colleagues are volunteering, let me give it a stab, because certainly, the Speicher case was something that was very much on the table when I was chairman. And we made -- we started out at the time when the Department of the Navy had declared him as killed in action, and the first thoughts were surfacing that maybe that was not the correct step.
And so lots of discussion occurred whether we should send a mission in to verify or not.
I come down at it at this point very simply. If there's the slightest question whether one of our people could possibly still be alive, then we need to do everything we can to verify that and, if at all possible, obviously, gain his release.
I do not think that this is in conflict at all with the conduct -- perhaps having to conduct combat operation against Iraq. We have found ourselves very often in the past of having prisoners of war in the hands of our potential enemy when we entered in combat operations.
But there are an awful lot of channels, from the International Red Cross to friends that could help. Certainly the Russians, with their relationship now with Iraq and so -- all of that ought to be put -- if it isn't already, ought to be put on full court press, to try to resolve that issue. After all, there's a family involved, a wife involved, there are children involved, and so on -- parents, for all I know. And so we owe it to one of our own, now that there is a suspicion that he might be alive.
SEN. BILL NELSON: Thank you.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Nelson.
Let's just take two minutes each on this next round. We're going to have a two-minute round, if that's agreeable with my ranking member, to --
SEN. WARNER: It would be agreeable.
SEN. LEVIN: -- for just the second round here.
Just -- if we put a major effort, as a number of you have suggested, at the U.N. to get a resolution which sets out an ultimatum, deadlines, for unconditional inspections and disarmament, backed up by a authorization by the U.N. to its member nations to use force to implement that resolution if it's not complied with -- assuming that major effort is made and we get that kind of a resolution, is it your judgment that that would provide the best chance, although it may not be a great chance -- but the best chance of obtaining Saddam's capitulation or compliance with unconditional inspections -- better than our going in unilaterally, for instance, with the military mission of regime change? Can we start? General Clark or General Shali. It doesn't make any difference.
GEN. CLARK: I think the -- if we put that major effort in at the United Nations, that's the important next step. We still have the option of going in unilaterally after that, for some reason.
But I think that what we want to create is an all-around pressure on Saddam Hussein, so that he knows he has no alternative. And I would follow up that kind of a U.N. resolution with an intrusive inspection process, with a force that was stationed there, ready to intervene, with specific redlines and so forth, to be able to put the complete pressure on.
Ultimately, it may take a U.S. force going in. But the how we do it is as important as the fact of our doing it.
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: I feel very strongly, then, that a properly worded United Nations Security Council resolution will be a powerful tool to help us do what we want to do, which is to disarm Iraq from its nuclear weapons.
So I think, yes, it's a very important step. And I do also believe that a properly worded resolution coming from this body is a very important tool to help us get the job done at the United Nations.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you. My time is up, so I'm not going to ask the other two because we're going to stick to a two-minute rule; we've got a vote coming up in a few minutes.
SEN. SESSIONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I do think that the resolution that we passed needs to be strong and give the president substantial power to act comprehensively to deal with this problem. If we tie -- if we constrain the resolution, that will constrain his ability to negotiate with the U.N., who are going to also negotiate a resolution, wouldn't you say, General Clark?
GEN. CLARK: I would say that if you constrain it the wrong way, you undercut the president and our purpose there, yes. I think you need a strong resolution. I think you need a prompt resolution. And I think you need a resolution that gets the very highest number of votes from this body. That having been said, I think you want a resolution also that makes it unambiguous what our purpose is and that doesn't invite other objections that are extraneous to our purpose. So I think it's -- you've got to get the balance right.
SEN. SESSIONS: I agree. I think this resolution would do that. I'm willing to listen to debate on it and see if we can improve it. But I am not unhappy with the resolution as it's presently being proposed.
And I would agree with you, all of you, your concern about a new Iraq. General McInerney, I think a liberation of Iraq is exactly what we're doing. The French helped us liberate against Great Britain, England, at the time, and so I think it's the legitimate moral thing for us to do. And we do have an obligation to try to do what we can do to help put together a government, which it seems we have been really very successful in Afghanistan, an extraordinarily difficult country; would you not agree? And there has been some discussion about this, I know, within the Defense Department. Assistant Secretary Wolfwowitz was quoted in the New York Times Magazine this weekend, on a feature featuring him, how important he thought it was. Do you think -- I see great potential for good, not just for the children of Iraq, who will no longer be facing a embargo that makes life difficult for them, but for the entire region. Would you comment on the positives that could come out of a liberated Iraq?
GEN. MCINERNEY: I think they're enormous. I think it is the linchpin of our whole strategy in the Middle East. A year after that, Iran will get rid of the mullahs. They're trying to do that now. This signal that we send and the jubilation that you see in Baghdad, similar to Kabul, will change the whole tenor of the world, and the sum of all your fears will disappear, I assure you.
And I get this from the Iraqi people that I'm talking to. Now, there are some that will say, "Well, some are good, some are bad." The fact is, at least there's a communication. I'm tremendously impressed with the Iraqi people.
I have not seen any country that doesn't flourish in a democracy. There's something about freedom, when they know, that they flourish. And I think that as difficult as Bosnia was, the positives of that are there. And so I'm very optimistic, and I think that the signal goes out very clear that this nation -- this is going to combat terrorists wherever they are. And I think you'll see things in Palestine change very quickly.
SEN. SESSIONS: Well, I hope the U.N. will get with us.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you so much.
SEN. CLELAND: Thank you very much.
May I just say that one of the people that I have learned a great deal from -- he's now deceased now -- is Colonel Harry Summers, who was a leading analyst of the Vietnam War. He wrote an excellent book on strategy, the Vietnam War in context. He looked at all the basic principles of war that Clausewitz articulated in the 19th century. And Colonel Harry Summers wrote this: He said, "The first principle of war is the principle of the objective. It is the first principle, because all else flows from it."
And that's my question of you. What is the objective? Is the objective a regime of inspections that leads to disarmament, at which point we probably have a chance to get more of our allies on board, probably have a good chance to get a Security Council resolution that stiffens our hand in that objective? Or is the objective regime change against a regime defender, a regime survivor that possesses biological and chemical weapons and, when his regime is threatened, may, indeed, use them on us; may, indeed, fire a Scud or two on Israel? And now we know Israel will attack. Does that unleash the dogs of war in the Middle East? Who knows? What is the objective here?
Now that we know today that the 3rd Infantry Divison down at Ft. Stewart, Georgia, with thousands of young families down there, are going to be the point -- that infantry division will be the point coming out of Kuwait into Southern Iraq in terms of the attack. What am I going to tell those young families is the objective of the use of force in Iraq?
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: Well, the fact that you ask the question I think is an indication that at least to your satisfaction, the administration has not been clear on that. Whether that in their own minds they're clear or not, I don't know.
To me, it has been almost from the beginning -- the objective has been to eliminate weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the ability of Iraq to produce more of those. Unfortunately, we've had as many people talk on Iraq and what the objective is or what it isn't as there are people who like to talk. (Isolated laugh.) And so the issue became confused. But I say this in all due respect to the administration. The administration doesn't control all the voices that speak on that. And so it is very likely that those administration officials who come and testified before you are very clear on what the objective is. I can only tell you what I believe the objective ought to be and what I think from the beginning it was.
SEN. CLELAND: Thank you, sir.
GEN. CLARK: I think the objective is the enforcement of the U.N. resolutions and the disarmament or at least his giving up the weapons and the capabilities for mass destruction. On the other hand, I think there is a problem that the administration and some of its proponents bring up, and that is, as long as he attempts to acquire weapons of mass destruction -- even if the inspections showed he had none, he would still be a threat of acquiring them.
So I think we're put in a difficult position, and so it's not just -- it's not going to be possible to cut a deal and say, if you pass an inspection, we'll forget about you as a problem. So I think what we're committing ourselves to by going after the weapons of mass destruction and by saying that we want intrusive inspections to do this is an indefinite regime of inspections, intrusive inspections with the burden of proof on Saddam Hussein to prove a change of intent, rather than a simple, "We'll check. If we don't see anything, okay, you're free to continue on."
So I think it's a very high standard, but I think it is ultimately the disarmament.
SEN. CLELAND: Thank you, General Clark. General Hoar.
GEN. HOAR: Yes, sir. I think that the secretary of State had it right when he described disarmament as the objective. However, unless I've misunderstood, I believe that the vice president of the United States said regime change. And so I think that there is a disconnect. But I would say this: that in my experience when I was on active duty and immediately thereafter, since the Gulf War, regime change has always been the objective. In my judgment, we were always prepared to move the goalposts if we had to. And when some colleagues and I, working with the Israeli government, were looking for a way to bring Iraq into the multinational track on the peace process, we were given a wave-off by people in the government and told us to stop.
SEN. CLELAND: Do you have any idea why President Bush in 1991 didn't -- forsook regime change?
GEN. HOAR: He -- I'd rather not speculate on that. But I would say that adequate plans were not developed to make sure that it happened.
GEN. MCINERNEY: Sir, I think the objectives are to regime change and liberate the people of Iraq and eliminate the weapons of mass destruction.
SEN. CLELAND: Thank you all. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you. Senator Warner.
SEN. WARNER: I say to my good friend from Georgia, if you would look at the '91 resolution, it is authorized to use United States armed forces, pursuant to United Nations Security Council resolution. That resolution wasn't explicit in the authority. And that's why the resolution that's before the Congress by the president today I do not want to see weakened. And General Clark, you and I are good friends. We can always debate a little bit. When you said I'd want as many votes as possible, with all do respect, sir, I don't want to see us reach the lowest common denominator and present a resolution that doesn't have all the teeth that's in this one. I'd rather have, again, five-vote margin with a strong resolution that this Congress will fall in behind as we march forward to the U.N. under the McInerney doctrine. That was fairly clear.
But anyway, my question is as follows to each of you: I sit here and listen to this, well let's get the U.N. to have an intrusive inspection regime -- I don't know what scrap of evidence is before us that Saddam Hussein's going to accept it; indeed, he made pronouncements to the contrary here of recent -- but then backed up by force. Question specifically: What is the composition of that force? Who puts it together? Who leads it? Is NATO a candidate, General Clark? And secondly, when they start kicking down doors and finding the very evidence which confirms the indictment of the world against him, is Saddam Hussein going to sit there twiddling his thumbs and the Red Guards with their hands in their pocket while this force roams around and finds the hidden weapons of mass destruction?
Question. What's the composition of the force? What nations are represented? Who leads it? What are the -- General Shali, would you lead off on this?
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: You put me in a tough spot, because I never advocated --
SEN. WARNER: That's the second time today I've done it.
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: Yeah -- because I never advocated that step that you're now addressing about backed up by force.
SEN. WARNER: Well, it's talked about in all of the -- you've read about it a good deal.
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: Yeah, but my view is we need to have a strong resolution that permits unfettered inspections, and if those inspections do not produce the results that we want, which most likely they will not, it has to authorize the use of force to achieve the aims, which in my judgment are the disarmament of Iraq.
SEN. WARNER: General Clark?
GEN. CLARK: I think the purpose of going through the inspections up front is because you build legitimacy that way for what you want to do. And the force that would enforce it is the same force that's going to go in there and disarm him and do worse. And I would hope that NATO would be involved in that. But you know, we've been talking all afternoon about how to muster the diplomatic leverage to be able to get the job done with the greatest power and the greatest coalition and reduce the ancillary risks, and so I think that there is a step beyond simply sending Hans Blix back in there with a hundred inspectors to drive around that the United Nations could authorize up front that would give us greater coercive leverage against Saddam Hussein. The closer we get to the use of force, the greater the likelihood that we're going to see movement on the part of Iraq, even though it's a very small likelihood. And the more we build up the inspections idea, the greater the legitimacy of the United States effort in the eyes of the world.
And so unless there's information that we're not being presented that says we have to take this action right now to go in and disrupt Saddam Hussein, we can't wait a week, we can't wait four weeks or whatever, then it seems to me that we should use the time available to build up our legitimacy. And that's why I'm advocating intrusive inspections.
SEN. WARNER: Thank you.
GEN. HOAR: Sir, I agree with my colleagues. I would just point out that your questions about who's going to lead this force and how big they are and what they're going to do, I think, is the obvious answer. When you think through that, with a country that may not have the greatest armed forces in the world but is certainly capable of dealing a difficult blow to a relatively small force, I think the purpose of the whole coalition, of going through the U.N., going through the steps, is that at the end of the day, we will have a coalition that agrees that we've exhausted all possibilities and it's time to take action.
SEN. WARNER: Nothing in my question suggested that we should be doing other than we're doing now, the president gone to the U.N., followed up by the secretary of State trying to get it. But there's this fabrication out there that we're going to go in again with a new type of inspection regime with teeth in it. Well, who are the teeth? And I'm not sure that there's a clear distinction between the teeth that they would have to exercise and the follow-on, which could only take place after there's a failure of the inspections, when the member nations may use such force as they deem necessary to protect their security rights.
GEN. MCINERNEY: Senator, I would like to do all those things that General Clark said. The fact is, he's already written -- Saddam has already sent us back a letter that he will not let us do anything that violates sovereignty.
Well, kicking someone's door down, going in, violates sovereignty. Now we can go through that process.
The point is, in the final analysis, he's not going to do it. Maybe I've gotten too pragmatic about it, but we've watched him for a long time, and the only thing he understands and will take action on is force. And that, again, is why it's so important that this body come forward with a very strong resolution -- and I agree with you; we're better to have a strong resolution with four votes on it and a majority, rather than a weak resolution, because we send the wrong signal to the world.
SEN. LEVIN: I agree. Thank you.
SEN. WARNER: Cooperation is the key to any inspection regime. I haven't seen a fragment of that cooperation yet.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Warner.
SEN. DAYTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
In June of this year, at West Point, the president articulated what some view as a new doctrine of the right to preemptive warfare. And some would view this as -- situation as perhaps the first instance of that. And those who advocate that say that -- at least some -- say that in the post-9/11 environment, that's an unavoidable military option, and others say it would be an unprecedented step with seismic consequences in terms of future situations of this type in the future.
Could you try to pierce the veil of the future and the world situation? And do you think of this as a specific instance that would have -- would not have broader consequence? Or do you think that this would be an instance, if it's viewed as a preemptive attack, where it would be destabilizing in future confrontations? Any or all of you.
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI: I think words matter. And in this particular case, I think it is advantageous to build your case on the fact that Saddam Hussein has violated a series of United Nations resolutions and that he has particularly not allowed the inspection regime that would lead to a disarmament of Iraq.
I say that because the -- to take it the other way sets up a precedent that we might not wish to have out there on the street, unless it's absolutely, absolutely necessary. And I'm not sure that in this case it's absolutely necessary to build our case on this.
I clearly am concerned about this becoming a precedent-setting event. And what do we then say to Pakistan or India, who feel threatened one by the other, long in advance of that other country in fact having taken an action? And there are other cases where this could come and so destabilize the system that we want to keep stable.
I recognize that in some cases it might be unavoidable to use that as the cause for our actions. I think so far, in our discussions in the United Nations and in our -- in this resolution before you, that kind of rationale has not been used, and I'm actually happy that that rationale has not been used in that kind of context.
SEN. DAYTON: Sir, my time has expired, but could I ask if -- could the other three have a chance to respond, if time permits, sir?
SEN. LEVIN: Yup. Take one quick minute, if you would.
GEN. CLARK: I'd prefer us to go after Saddam Hussein as we're proceeding with the facts at hand.
I am concerned about (annunciating/enunciating ?) a doctrine of preemption, especially the pronouncement that it replaces deterrence, and what the implications will be for that. I think it's far better to work through on the English-case-law basis for changes in law than by trying to make sweeping pronouncements like this. In fact, we're proceeding pretty well on the basis of what we have without calling this an instance of preemption. In all of the other discussions we've had within the government over my experience -- and there've been many of them where we've talked about preemption -- we've talked in terms of going after specific facilities or specific capabilities. We've never talked about preemptively taking down a regime and changing a government. And I think that's a crucial distinction in this case.
You also have the problem in preemption of, what is the imminence of the threat? And here, as we've discussed this afternoon, it's indeterminate what the imminence of the threat is. The most conclusive argument is that you can't trust the intelligence anymore to give you any idea of what the imminence of the threat is. And that leads to a series of steps that we don't want to pursue here and in our country. So I'm comfortable with where we are moving on Iraq, but I don't see the need for bringing in this doctrine to it at this point.
GEN. HOAR: Sir, very briefly: I think that Iraq is not in compliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions, and that should be ample reason, if we need a reason to go forward. And I share with General Shalikashvili the concern of the message that this sends to other countries -- particularly the example that he used between India and Pakistan, but there are others, as well. Thank you.
SEN. DAYTON: Thank you.
GEN. MCINERNEY: Sir, I happen to believe in preemption policy. I don't think it's required in this particular -- I think deterrence -- when you have terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, has changed the calculus in terrorist states. It has changed the calculus. So the president must make those decisions at the appropriate time -- not required in this, because there's 16 U.N. resolutions he's violated -- but daily -- almost daily he fires on us -- airplanes and coalition airplanes, which is an act of war. Any time you fire on a nation, it's an act of war. So there is ample evidence for us to respond. And eh continues to defy us because we continue to accept it.
DAYTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Let me thank each of our witnesses. Some of you have come some distance. Others have made time available in a schedule, and in all cases, your schedules are heavy for good reason -- because of the experience that you bring to this issue and to a whole lot of other issues that you address.
Saddam is clearly a problem and a threat to the region and to the world. I would just hope that the actions of this country would be focused on uniting the world to force compliance with disarmament in Iraq. Uniting the world, it seems to me, has great pluses, both in terms of more quickly achieving our goals -- militarily should they be necessary -- and also avoiding some of the risks which are incumbent if we're either proceeding unilaterally or being perceived as proceeding unilaterally.
We will thank you all, and there may be some additional comments or questions that we would like from you for the record, in which case we will try to get a hold of you within the next 24 or 48 hours. Again, our thanks to all of you. And we will stand adjourned. (Sounds gavel.)
As of August 2006, Iraq Watch is no longer being updated. Click here for more information.
Copyright © 2000-2007