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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?
We know today that the Third Infantry Division down at Fort Stewart, Georgia, with thousands of young families, is going to 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?
General 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, is clear or not, I don't know.
To me, 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 our objective is and what it isn't as there are people who like to talk. 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. So it is very likely that those administration officials who come and testify 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 very beginning, it was.
Senator CLELAND. Thank you, sir.
General 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. So 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 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
So I think it's a very high standard, but I think it is ultimately a disarmament.
Senator CLELAND. Thank you, General Clark.
General 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. So I think that there is disconnect.
But I would say 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 goal posts if we had to. 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 to stop.
Senator CLELAND. Do you have any idea why President Bush, in 1991, didn't pursue a regime change?
General HOAR. I'd rather not speculate on that. I would say that adequate plans were not developed to make sure that it happened.
General MCINERNEY. Sir, I think the objectives are regime change and to liberate the people of Iraq and eliminate the weapons of mass destruction.
Senator CLELAND. Thank you all.
Senator WARNER. I say to my good friend from Georgia, if you would look at the 1991 resolution, it gives authorization to use United States Armed Forces pursuant to the United Nations Security Council resolution. That resolution wasn't explicit in the authority. That's why I do not want to see the resolution that's before Congress by the President today weakened.
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 due 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 are in this one. I'd rather have, again, a 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.
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 is going to accept it, and, indeed, he made pronouncements to the contrary 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?
Second, 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 Republican Guards with their hand in their pocket while this force roams around and finds the hidden weapons of mass destruction?
What's the composition of the force? What nations are represented? Who leads it?
General Shalikashvili, would you lead off on this?
General SHALIKASHVILI. You put me in a tough spot, because I never advocated
Senator WARNER. That's the second time today I've done it.
General SHALIKASHVILI. Yes. Because I never advocated that step that you are now addressing about being "backed up by force.”
Senator WARNER. Well, it's talked about in all of the you've read about it a good deal.
General SHALIKASHVILI. My view is we need to have a strong resolution that permits unfettered inspections. 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 aim, which, in my judgment, is the disarmament of Iraq.
Senator WARNER. General Clark.
General CLARK. The purpose of going through the inspections up front is to build legitimacy that way for what you want to do. The force that would enforce it is the same force that's going to go in there and disarm him and do worse. I would hope that NATO would be involved in that.
But, 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. The more we build up the inspections idea, the greater the legitimacy of the United States' effort in the eyes of the world. 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. That's why I'm advocating intrusive inspections.
Senator WARNER. Thank you.
General 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, has an obvious answer. When you think through that, with a country that may not have the greatest armed forces in the world, but they're certainly capable of dealing a difficult blow to a relatively small force, I think the purpose of the 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 have exhausted all possibilities and it's time to take action.
Senator WARNER. Nothing in my question suggested that we should do other than what we're doing now—the President has gone to the U.N., followed up by the Secretary of State trying to get it—but that there's this fabrication out there that we're going to go in there with a new type of inspection regime with teeth in it. Well, who are the teeth? 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.
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.
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 disar