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Let's start with a first round of 6 minutes. At least three of you placed high value on having a U.N. resolution to force inspections with a ultimatum backed up by force, authorization of force by member states if the ultimatum for open inspections is not complied with. You made reference to it at the end of your statement, General McInerney, but I think our other three witnesses placed a great emphasis on the power of a U.N. resolution-I believe, to use your words, General Shalikashvili, that it would be a powerful message.
So I'd like to focus on the three of you who emphasize on that particularly. Would a U.N. mandate 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 to be achieved? 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 is obtainable, have less risks to our long-term interest than would unilateral U.S. military action without such a resolution?
General Shalikashvili, let me start with you.
General 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's 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 very difficult to do so for political, internal reasons, whatever, without the United Nations having spoken on this issue. Some of them believe deeply that 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
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.
Chairman LEVIN. Thank you very much.
General Clark. General 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 stability by itself. So they sought to create an institution which would be better than the defunct League of Nations, and they built the United Nations.
President Truman said that the method of the United Nations should be that right makes might. We've spent the 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.
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 very important benefit. In the long-run, we're going to have to live with the people in the Middle East. They're our neighbors. They're just like us. Many of them have the same hopes and dreams. The more we can do to diffuse the perception that America is acting alone, America is striking out, America is belligerent, America is acting without allies—the more we can do to diffuse that, the more we can do to put that in the 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 a 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 benefits of operating through the United Nations are very high.
Finally, there's an immediate short-term benefit. It'll be very useful to us to have allies. Many nations in that region want us to go through the United Nations or 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.
Chairman LEVIN. If you could just very briefly, General Hoar, because I'm out of time, give us your thoughts?
General 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 are dues-paying members. 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 September 11, I've traveled to the Middle East five times. I've been directly involved with the Middle East for the last 15 years. While we've been paying attention, understandably, to 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. 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. 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 that, for example, if you can't bring Saudi Arabia into the coalition to be able to use, at a minimum, air space, 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. 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.
Chairman LEVIN. Senator Allard.
I think it's commendable that all of you are cautious about the use of force, and I agree with that. The use of force should always be as a last resort. Sometimes there is the first-strike argument that's made out there, and some say that we should never be the first strike. 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 the attack with the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.
Would you all agree that certainly one of our options should be to act unilaterally, if necessary?
General SHALIKASHVILI. Yes, I clearly agree that, under certain circumstances, we have to act unilaterally. Otherwise, we give the veto power to people who do not have any veto power over our security.
Senator ALLARD. Thank you.
General 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 will we need to act unilaterally. So I think it's very important that we recognize that, so far as any of the information has been presented, as General Hoar has said, there's nothing that indicates that, in the immediate next hours, next days, that there's going to be nucleartipped missiles put on launch pads to go against our forces or our allies in the region. So I think there is, based on all of the evidence available, sufficient time to work through the diplomacy of this.
Senator ALLARD. General Hoar.
General 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.
Senator ALLARD. General McInerney. General MCINERNEY. Clearly, sir, we must have 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 response to General Clark and General Hoar, where I have a problem on time is, unfortunately, September 11 showed that we have great weaknesses in our intelligence system that we all did not realize. This intelligence system-and they have very talented people—has been focused on large nation-states. Having been part of that intelligence system in several occasions in my career, we have totally neglected the human intelligence that takes years to build. Because of this, we have much more ambiguity than we normally would. It's because of that ambiguity that I see a time urgency.
Fortunately, this body and others deliberated and very forcefully said in 1998 that we must act, and you did it as a bipartisan body—a very strong signal.
Senator ALLARD. Thank you.
Now, I have a question I'd like to direct to General Clark and General Hoar. In this particular circumstance, what else do you feel can be done diplomatically or economically or otherwise that hasn't been done at this particular point in time?
General 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 underway, but I do know that in terms of building a coalition and putting together the kind 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 is present.
Then I think the third requirement is that we have the ingenuity and the 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 September 11 and said, “This is a violation of the North Atlantic Charter. This is Article V. We want to work with you.” This is a great opportunity for NATO to come in. Have we done that? Secretary Rumsfeld's over there today talking to NATO ministers.
So I think that's one indication. 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.
Senator ALLARD. General Hoar. General HOAR. Let me just build on that, because I think that's a great answer.
Senator ALLARD. Quickly, because I have one more question I'd like to get in.
General HOAR. 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.
Senator ALLARD. What happens if the United Nations decides to do nothing?
General Clark, General Hoar, any of you? General CLARK. 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 an 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. 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.
Senator ALLARD. General Hoar.
General HOAR. Sir, as I said in my opening 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 —
Senator ALLARD. But what if the United Nations does nothing? General 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.
Senator ALLARD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator CLELAND. 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