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tion about such sites from the last time they were in Iraq or have not seen traces of them in satellite surveillance photography."
When UNSCOM inspectors were on the ground, they did an admirable job of uncovering many of Iraq's violations—which is undoubtedly why Iraq had them expelled. But despite the U.N.'s best efforts, from 1991-1995 Saddam was able to conceal some of his nuclear program and his biological weapons program. Some aspects were uncovered after his son-in-law defected and provided information that allowed inspectors to find them. Even then, Iraq was able to hide many of those activities from inspectors—capabilities he most likely still has today, in addition to what he has developed in recent years.
There is a place in this world for inspections. They tend to be effective if the target nation is cooperating—if they are actually willing to disarm and want to prove to the world that they are doing so. They tend not be as effective in uncovering deceptions and violations when the target is determined not to disarm. Iraq's record of the past decade shows the regime is not interested in disarming or cooperating. Their behavior demonstrates they want weapons of mass destruction and are determined to continue developing them. Some ask: now that Iraq has agreed to "unconditional inspections,” why does Con
gress need to act? Iraq has demonstrated great skill at playing the international community. When it's the right moment to lean forward, they lean forward. When it's a time to lean back, they lean back. It's a dance. They can go on for months or years jerking the U.N. around. When they find that things are not going their way, they throw out a proposal like this. Hopeful people say: “There's our opportunity. They are finally being reasonable. Seize the moment. Let's give them another chance.” Then we repeatedly find, at the last moment, that Iraq withdraws that carrot and goes back into their mode of rejecting the international community. The dance starts all over again.
The issue is not inspections. The issue is disarmament. The issue is compliance. As the President made clear in his U.N. address, we require Iraq's compliance with all 16 U.N. resolutions that they have defied over the past decade. As the President said, the U.N. Security Council-not the Iraqi regime-needs to decide how to enforce its own resolutions. Congress's support for the President is what is needed to further generate international support. Some have asked whether military intervention in Iraq means the U.S. would have
to go to war with every terrorist state that is pursuing WMD? The answer is: no. Taking military action in Iraq does not mean that it would be necessary or appropriate to take military action against other states that possess or are pursuing WMD. For one thing, preventive action in one situation may very well produce a deterrent effect on other states. After driving the Taliban from power in Afghanistan, we have already seen a change in behavior in certain regimes.
Moreover, dealing with some states may not require military action. In some cases, such as Iran, change could conceivably come from within. The young people and the women in Iran are increasingly fed up with the tight clique of Mullahsthey want change, and may well rise up to change their leadership at some point. Some say that there is no international consensus behind ousting Saddam-and
most of our key allies are opposed. First, the fact is that there are a number of countries that want Saddam Hussein gone. Some are reluctant to say publicly just yet. But, if the U.S. waited for a consensus before acting, we would never do anything. Obviously, one's first choice in life is to have everyone agree with you at the outset. In reality, that is seldom the case. It takes time, leadership and persuasion. Leadership is about deciding what is right, and then going out and persuading others.
The coalition we have fashioned in the global war on terror today includes some 90 nations—literally half the world. It is the greatest coalition ever assembled in the annals of human history. It was not there on September 11. It was built, one country at a time, over a long period of time. If we had waited for consensus, the Taliban would still be in power in Afghanistan today. The worldwide coalition was formed by leadership.
During the Persian Gulf War, the coalition eventually included 36 nations. But they were not there on August 2, 1990, when Saddam invaded Kuwait. They were not there on August 5, when the President George H.W. Bush announced to the world that Saddam's aggression “will not stand.” That coalition was built over a period of many months.
With his U.N. speech, President George W. Bush began the process of building international support for dealing with Iraq. The reaction has been positive. We will continue to state our case, as the President is doing, and I suspect that as he does so, you will find that other countries in increasing numbers will cooperate and participate. Will it be unanimous? No. Does anyone expect it to be unanimous? No. Does it matter that it will not be unanimous? No. But does the U.S. want all the support possible--you bet. Just as we have in the coalition supporting the global war on terrorism.
The point is: if our Nation's leaders do the right thing, others will follow and support the just cause-just they have in the global war against terror. Some say that our European allies may reluctantly go along in the end, but that U.S.
intervention in Iraq would spark concern in the Arab world—that not one coun
try in that regions supports us, and many are vocally opposed. That is not so. Saddam's neighbors are deathly afraid of him and understandably so. He has invaded his neighbors, used weapons of mass destruction against them, and launched ballistic missiles at them. He aspires to dominate the region. The nations of the region would be greatly relieved to have him gone, and that if Saddam Hussein is removed from power, the reaction in the region will be not outrage, but great relief. The reaction of the Iraqi people will most certainly be jubila
Some ask, but will they help us? Will they give us access to bases and territory and
airspace we need to conduct a military operation? The answer is that the President has not decided to take military action, but, if he does, we will have all the support we need to get the job done. You can be certain of it. Another argument is that military action in Iraq will be expensive, and will have
high costs for the global economy. That may be true. But there are also dollar costs to not acting—and those costs could well be far greater. Consider: the New York City Comptroller estimates that the economic costs of the September 11 attacks to New York alone were between $83 and $95 billion. He further estimated that New York lost 83,000 existing jobs and some 63,000 jobs the city estimates would have been created had the attacks not happened. One institute puts the cost to the national economy at $191 billionincluding 1.64 million jobs lost as a direct result of the September 11 attacks. Other estimates are higher-as much as $250 billion in lost productivity, sales, jobs, advertising, airline revenue and the like. That is not to mention the cost in human lives, and the suffering of those who lost fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers that day.
We must not forget that the costs of a nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons attack would be far worse. The price in lives would be not thousands, but tens of thousands. The economic costs could make September 11 pale by comparison. Those are the costs that also must be weighed carefully. This is not mention the cost to one's conscience of being wrong. Some have suggested that if the U.S. were to act it might provoke Saddam Hussein's
use of WMD. Last time, the argument goes, he didn't use chemical weapons on U.S. troops and allies because he saw our goal was not to oust him, but to push back his aggression. This time, the argument goes, the opposite would be true,
and he would have nothing to lose by using WMD. That is an important point. The President made clear on March 13, 2002 the consequences of such an attack. He said: “We've got all options on the table because we want to make it very clear to nations that you will not threaten the United States or use weapons of mass destruction against us, our allies, or our friends."
There are ways to mitigate the risk of a chem-bio attack, but it cannot be entirely eliminated—it is true that could be a risk of military action. But consider the consequences if the world were to allow that risk to deter us from acting. We would then have sent a message to the world about the value of weapons of mass destruction that we would deeply regret having sent. A country thinking about acquiring WMD would conclude that the U.S. had been deterred by Iraq's chemical and biological weapons capabilities, and they could then resolve to pursue those weapons to assure their impunity. The message the world should want to send is the exact opposite. The message should be that Iraq's pursuit of WMD has not only not made it more secure, it has made it less secure that by pursuing those weapons, they have attracted undesired attention to themselves.
But if he is that dangerous, then that only makes the case for action strongerbecause the longer we wait, the more deadly his regime becomes. If the world community were to be deterred from acting today by the threat that Iraq might use chemical or biological weapons, how will the U.N. feel when one day, Iraq demonstrates it has a deliverable nuclear weapon? The risks will only grow worse. If we are deterred today, we could be deterred forever—and Iraq will have achieved its objective. Will the world community be deterred until Iraq uses a weapon of mass destruction? Only then decide it is time to act.
But I would suggest that even if Saddam Hussein were to issue an order for the use chemical or biological weapons, that does not mean his orders would necessarily be carried out. Saddam Hussein might not have anything to lose, but those beneath him in the chain of command most certainly would have a great deal to loselet there be no doubt. He has maintained power by instilling fear in his subordinates. If he is on the verge of losing power, he may also lose his ability to impose that fear-and, thus, the blind obedience of those around him. Wise Iraqis will not obey orders to use WMD.
If President Bush were to decide to take military action, the U.S. will execute his order and finish the job professionally-Saddam Hussein and his regime would be removed from power. Therefore, with that certain knowledge, those in the Iraqi military will need to think hard about whether it would be in their interest to follow his instructions to commit war crimes by using WMD—and then pay a severe price for that action. The United States will make clear at the outset that those who are not guilty of atrocities can play a role in the new Iraq. But if WMD is used all bets are off.
I believe many in the Iraqi Armed Forces despise Saddam Hussein, and want to see him go as much as the rest of the world does. Those who may not despise him, but decide they would prefer to survive, may desert and try to blend into the civilian population or escape the country. This is what happened in Panama, when it became clear that Noriega was certain to be on his way out. Some say that Saddam might succeed in provoking an Israeli response this time
possibly a nuclear response—and that this would set the Middle East aflame. We are concerned about the Iraqi regime attacking a number of its neighbors, and with good reason: Saddam Hussein has a history of doing so. Iraq has attacked Bahrain, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. Iraq is a threat to its neighbors. We will consult with all of our allies and friends in the region on how to deal with this threat.
But the fact that they have blackmailed their neighbors makes the case for action stronger. If we do nothing, that blackmail will eventually become blackmail with weapons of mass destruction—with significantly new consequences for the world. Some have said the U.S. could get bogged down in a long-term military occupation,
and want to know what the plan is for a post-Saddam Iraq? That is a fair question. It is likely that international forces would have to be in Iraq for a period of time, to help a new transitional Iraqi government get on its feet and create conditions where the Iraqi people would be able to choose a new government and achieve self-determination. But that burden is a small one, when balanced against the risks of not acting.
In Afghanistan, our approach was that Afghanistan belongs to the Afghans—we did not and do not aspire to own it or run it. The same would be true of Iraq.
In Afghanistan, the U.S. and coalition countries helped create conditions so that the Afghan people could exercise their right of self-government. Throughout the Bonn process and the Loya Jirga process, a new president was chosen, a new cabinet sworn in, and a transitional government, representative of the Afghan people, was established to lead the nation.
If the President were to make the decision to liberate Iraq, with coalition partners, it would help the Iraqi people establish a government that would be a single country, that did not threaten its neighbors, the United States, or the world with aggression and weapons of mass destruction, and that would respect the rights of its diverse population.
Iraq has an educated population that has been brutally and viciously repressed by Saddam Hussein's regime. He has kept power not by building loyalty, but by instilling fear-in his people, his military and the government bureaucracy. I suspect that there would be substantial defections once it became clear that Saddam Hussein was finished. Moreover, there are numerous free Iraqi leaders—both inside Iraq and abroad—who would play a role in establishing that new free Iraqi government. So there is no shortage of talent available to lead and rehabilitate a free Iraq.
In terms of economic rehabilitation, Iraq has an advantage over Afghanistan. A free Iraq would be less dependent on international assistance, and could conceivably get back on its feet faster, because Iraq has a marketable commodity-oil.
Some have raised concerns that other countries elsewhere in the world might take
advantage of the fact that the U.S. is tied up in Iraq, and use that as an oppor
tunity to invade neighbors or cause other mischief. There is certainly a risk that some countries might underestimate our capability to handle Iraq and stop their aggression at the same time. But let there be no doubt: we have that capability.
Last year, we fashioned a new defense strategy, which established that we will and do have the capability to near simultaneously:
• Defend the U.S. homeland; • Undertake a major regional conflict and win decisively-including occupying a country and changing their regime; • If necessary, swiftly defeat another aggressor in another theater; and • Simultaneously conduct a number of lesser contingencies—such as Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan. The United States can do the above, if called upon to do so. Another argument is that acting without provocation by Iraq would violate inter
national law. That is untrue. The right to self-defense is a part of the U.N. Charter. Customary international law has long provided for the right of anticipatory self-defense to stop an attack before it happens. In addition, he is in violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions. Those concerned about the integrity of international law should focus on their attention his brazen defiance of the U.N. Some ask: What has changed to warrant action now?
What has changed is our experience on September 11. What has changed is our appreciation of our vulnerability—and the risks the U.S. faces from terrorist networks and terrorist states armed with weapons of mass destruction.
What has not changed is Saddam Hussein's drive to acquire these weapons. Every approach the U.N. has taken to stop Iraq's drive for WMÔ has failed. In 1998, after Iraq had again kicked out U.N. inspectors, President Clinton came to the Pentagon and said:
“If [Saddam) fails to comply, and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route which gives him yet more opportunities to develop his weapons of mass destruction ... and continue to ignore the solemn commitment he made. . . . he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. ... The stakes could not be higher.
Some day, some way, I guarantee you, he'll use that arsenal.” At the time, the U.S. massed forces in the Persian Gulf, ready to strike. At the last minute, Iraq relented and allowed U.N. inspectors to return. But predictably, they kicked them out again 10 months later. They have not been allowed to return since. He has not only paid a price for that defiance, he has been rewarded for his defiance of the U.N. by increased trade from a large group of U.N. member nations.
If, in 1998, Saddam Hussein posed the grave threat that President Clinton correctly described, then he most certainly poses a vastly greater danger today, after 4 years without inspectors on the ground to challenge his WMD procurement and development efforts. To those who still ask—that is what has changed! Some have asked what are the incentives for Iraq to comply—is there anything the
Iraqi regime could do to forestall military action? Or is he finished either way? Our objective is gaining Iraq's compliance. Our objective is an Iraq that does not menace its neighbors, does not pursue WMD, does not oppress its people or threaten the United States. The President set forth in his speech what an Iraqi regime that wanted peace would do. Everything we know about the character and record of the current Iraqi regime indicates that it is highly unlikely to do the things the President has said it must do. So long as Saddam Hussein is leading that country, to expect otherwise is, as the President put it, to "hope against the evidence.” If Saddam Hussein is in a corner, it is because he has put himself there. One choice he has is to take his family and key leaders and seek asylum elsewhere. Surely one of the one hundred and eighty plus counties would take his regime possibly Belarus. Some ask does the U.S. needs U.N. support?
The President has asked the U.N. Security Council to act because it is the U.N. Security Council that is being defied, disobeyed and made less relevant by the Iraqi regime's defiance. There have already been 16 U.N. resolutions, every one of which Saddam Hussein has ignored. There is no shortage of U.N. resolutions. What there is is a shortage of consequences for Saddam's ongoing defiance of those 16 U.N. resolutions. The President has made the case that it is dangerous for the United Nations to be made irrelevant by the Iraqi regime.
As the President put it in his address last week, “All the world now faces a test, and the United Nations a difficult and defining moment. Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced, or cast aside without consequence? Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding, or will it be irrelevant?”
But the President has also been clear that all options are on the table. The only option President Bush has ruled out is to do nothing.
Mr. Chairman, as the President has made clear, this is a critical moment for our country and for the world. Our resolve is being put to the test. It is a test that, unfortunately, the world's free nations have failed before in recent history—with terrible consequences.
Long before the Second World War, Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf indicating what he intended to do. But the hope was that maybe he would not do what he said. Between 35 and 60 million people died because of a series of fatal miscalculations. He might have been stopped early—at a minimal cost of lives—had the vast majority of the world's leaders not decided at the time that the risks of acting were greater than the risks of not acting.
Today, we must decide whether the risks of acting are greater than the risks of not acting. Saddam Hussein has made his intentions clear. He has used weapons of mass destruction against his own people and his neighbors. He has demonstrated an intention to take the territory of his neighbors. He has launched ballistic missiles against U.S. allies and others in the region. He plays host to terrorist networks. He pays rewards to the families of suicide bombers in Israel like those who killed five Americans at the Hebrew University earlier this year. He is hostile to the United States, because we have denied him the ability he has sought to impose his will on his neighbors. He has said, in no uncertain terms, that he would use weapons of mass destruction against the United States. He has, at this moment, stockpiles chemical and biological weapons, and is pursuing nuclear weapons. If he demonstrates the capability to deliver them to our shores, the world would be changed. Our people would be at great risk. Our willingness to be engaged in the world, our willingness to project power to stop aggression, our ability to forge coalitions for multilateral action, could all be under question. Many lives could be lost.
We need to decide as a people how we feel about that. Do the risks of taking action to stop that threat outweigh these risks of living in the world we see? Or is the risk of doing nothing greater than the risk of acting? That is the question President Bush has posed to Congress, to the American people, and to the world community.
The question comes down to this: how will the history of this era be recorded? When we look back on previous periods of our history, we see there have been many books written about threats and attacks that were not anticipated:
• At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor
• The Cost of Failure The list of such books is endless. Unfortunately, in the past year, historians have added to that body of literature—there are already books out on the September 11 attacks and why they were not prevented. As we meet today, congressional committees are trying to determine why that tragic event was not prevented.
Each is an attempt by the authors to “connect the dots”—to determine what happened, and why it was not possible to figure out that it was going to happen.
Our job today—the President's, Congress' and the U.N.'s—is to connect the dots before the fact, to anticipate vastly more lethal attacks before they happen, and to make the right decision as to whether we should take preventive action before it is too late.
We are on notice-each of us. Each has a solemn responsibility to do everything in our power to ensure that, when the history of this period is written, the books won't ask why we slept—to ensure that history will instead record that on September 11, the American people were awakened to the impending dangers—and that those entrusted with the safety of the American people made the right decisions and saved our Nation, and the world, from 21st century threats.
President Bush is determined to do just that.