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General MCINERNEY. Senator, I would like to do all those things that General Clark said. But the fact is, Saddam has already responded. 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. 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, on a majority, rather than a weak resolution, because we send the wrong signal to the world.
Senator WARNER. I agree. Cooperation is the key to any inspection regime. I haven't seen a fragment of that cooperation yet.
Chairman LEVIN. Thank you, Senator Warner.
In June of this year, at West Point, the President articulated what some view as a new doctrine on the right to preemptive warfare. For some of you, this situation is perhaps the first instance of that. Some advocates would say that in the post-September 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? Do you think of this as a specific instance that would not have a 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. General SHALIKASHVILI. I think words matter. 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 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 necessary. 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? 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 discussion in the United Nations and 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.
Senator DAYTON. Mr. Chairman, my time has expired, but could the other three have a chance to respond, if time permits?
Chairman LEVIN. Yes, take one quick minute, if you would. General CLARK. I'd prefer to go after Saddam Hussein as we're proceeding with the facts at hand. I am concerned about 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 had without calling this an instance of preemption. In all of the other discussions we've had within the government, over my experience and there have 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. 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. That leads to a series of steps that we don't want to pursue here 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.
General 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. 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. General MCINERNEY. Sir, I happen to believe in the preemption policy. I don't think it's required in this particular instance. I think deterrence, when you have terrorism-weapons of mass destruction have changed the calculus in terrorist states. They have 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 that he's violated. But almost daily he fires on our airplanes and coalition airplanes, which is an act of war. Anytime you fire on a nation's airplanes it's an act of war. So there is ample evidence for us to respond, and he continues to defy us because we continue to accept it.
Senator DAYTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman LEVIN. Let me thank each of our witnesses. Some of you have come some distance. Others have made time available in their schedule. 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.
There may be some additional comments or questions that we would like from you for the record, in which case we will get to you within the next 48 hours.
Again, our thanks to all of you, and we will stand adjourned.
U.S. POLICY ON IRAQ
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2002
Washington, DC. The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:44 a.m. in room SH216, Hart Senate Office Building, Senator Carl Levin (chairman) presiding.
Committee members present: Senators Levin, Kennedy, Lieberman, Cleland, Akaka, Bill Nelson, E. Benjamin Nelson, Warner, Inhofe, Allard, Hutchinson, Sessions, and Collins.
Committee staff member present: David S. Lyles, staff director. Majority staff members present: Richard D. DeBobes, counsel; Evelyn N. Farkas, professional staff member; Richard W. Fieldhouse, professional staff member; Maren Leed, professional staff member; and Peter K. Levine, general counsel.
Minority staff members present: Judith A. Ansley, Republican staff director; Charles W. Alsup, professional staff member; L. David Cherington, minority counsel; Edward H. Edens IV, professional staff member; Brian R. Green, professional staff member; Carolyn M. Hanna, professional staff member; Patricia L. Lewis, professional staff member; Thomas L. MacKenzie, professional staff member; Joseph T. Sixeas, professional staff member; and Scott W. Stucky, minority counsel.
Staff assistants present: Leah C. Brewer, Daniel K. Goldsmith, and Andrew Kent.
Committee members' assistants present: Brady King, assistant to Senator Kennedy; Marshall A. Hevron, assistant to Senator Landrieu; Elizabeth King, assistant to Senator Reed; Davelyn Noelani Kalipi and Richard Kessler, assistants to Senator Akaka; Peter A. Contostavlos and Eric Pierce, assistants to Senator Ben Nelson; William Todd Houchins, assistant to Senator Dayton; Benjamin L. Cassidy, assistant to Senator Warner; John A. Bonsell, assistant to Senator Inhofe; Robert Alan McCurry, assistant to Senator Roberts; Douglas Flanders, assistant to Senator Allard; James P. Dohoney, Jr., assistant to Senator Hutchinson; Arch Galloway II, assistant to Senator Sessions; Kristine Fauser, assistant to Senator Collins; and Derek Maurer, assistant to Senator Bunning.
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OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR CARL LEVIN, CHAIRMAN
Chairman LEVIN. Good afternoon, everybody. Senator Warner is a few minutes away, but his staff says that he has no objection to our beginning.