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also, should that vision of disarmament be included in a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for such disarmament?
Secretary RUMSFELD. Those are questions that the President and the Secretary of State have been addressing in the United Nations over the past period and are ongoing, and I have really no idea how what will evolve. There have been a whole series of thoughts about what the U.N. might do, and I know that Secretary Powell is discussing those with people up there. So I guess I am really not in a position to know what either the U.N. will ultimately decide or what the President will ultimately decide with respect to what it looks like the U.N. might be marching toward.
Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Secretary, could we accomplish disarmament, in your opinion, short of declaring war on Iraq? In other words, is there—is there a disarmament strategy that could be accomplished, short of declaring war?
Secretary RUMSFELD. Well, sure. Saddam Hussein could decide that his future is limited and he would like to leave, and you would have a regime that decided it wished to cooperate with the United Nations with respect to those resolutions. And if you have a regime that does in fact want to disarm, which is what the stipulation is, what the U.N. has said, then obviously, you could have inspectors participate and assist in that project and an international coalition to do it.
Another way to do it would be to persuade enough people in Iraq that the world would be a lot better world if that regime weren't there and they decided to change the regime. That is another option.
Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Secretary, how would we know we had a regime that really wants to disarm?
Secretary RUMSFELD. Well, you would have to have enough people from the international community physically in there, disarming them, to know. And you probably wouldn't know for a period of time. But any idea that a regime like the current one would be sufficiently intrusive, which is much less intrusive than the one that existed previously, the one that is currently up there on the drawing boards. I mean you are not going to get people to defect and give you information about where these capabilities are if their families are in Iraq, for example. How could you have a person who has a family in Iraq and relatives walk up to U.N. inspectors, with this regime sitting on top of that power, and say, “Hey, fellows, here is where you ought to go look? I know this tunnel or that area is an area of opportunity for you.” They are going to be killed. Their families are going to get killed. It is a tough crowd.
Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Secretary, to follow up on my friend from Texas, the comments that he made relative to the war against terrorism and the war against al Qaeda in Afghanistan. And let me first of all congratulate you and the general on the tremendous job that our men and women in uniform have done in Afghanistan. I had an opportunity to travel there to see firsthand the outstanding job that they have done, getting rid of the Taliban and putting al Qaeda on the run. At the same time, I am troubled about reports of various terrorist cells that are still active in that country.
Indeed, earlier this month, the attempted assassination of President Karzai—terrorists have already killed two ministers. It seems
that in the past two or three months, there has been a marked increase in violence, in terrorist activity within Afghanistan. And clearly this terrorism and violence is going to have to be addressed if the new government is to succeed there.
Do you see a need to increase our military presence within Afghanistan in response to this resurgent threat of violence and instability? And, if so, what sort of commitment would that be?
Secretary RUMSFELD. It is not clear to me there has been a marked increase in violence in Afghanistan in recent weeks or months. It tends to be uneven. It spurts for a while, and then it declines. Second, it tends to be geographical. There has been more of it in Kabul, where the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is, interestingly. No correlation, but the point being that the existence of the ISAF in Kabul is not an assurance of no violence. But it has tended to be more in the northeast and southeast of Kabul where there has not been a stable set of warlords who have calmed down. There is competition, there is disagreement, it is local.
Second, it is along the Pakistan border, and that is where a lot of al Qaeda and Taliban are. They want to go over the border, and we know that. So that is the worst area, the most difficult area, although even that has been improving and we have got some good news just in the last three or four days there where we are getting tipoffs and what have you.
I regret to say this, but-thank goodness the assassination attempt against President Karzai failed—but I don't know that in that part of the world we are going to end assassination attempts. I think they have been going on for decades. They went on before September 11th, and it is a dangerous part of the world. What has to happen over time is the security situation is going to be affected by reconstruction, and the countries of the world that promised money have got to step forward and help that country develop the kinds of infrastructure so that they can cope with the millions of displaced persons and refugees who are returning home.
I think the indication that the security situation is not bad is that the refugees are voting with their feet. They are leaving where they were, going in there, and so are the internally displaced people. They are saying, pretty good, things are better than they were. They are better than they were where I was, so I am going to go back where I belong and that is a good thing.
Now, numbers of troops. We are high right now. We are probably up over 9,000. We were averaging 46, 5, 4,600, 5,000, something like that, 5,500, 6,000. We are now in the process of transferring people in, getting people out. Some other coalition countries have been reducing some of their forces in some instances as their forces were stressed.
Secretary RUMSFELD. The ISAF, the Turkish government, fortunately stepped forward and took over for the Brits, but their period comes to an end in December, and we ought not to be looking for someone for ISAF for another six months. We ought to look for somebody for a year, a year and a half, two years, and we would be delighted to have more coalition forces in the country helping.
Do I think that the United States will have to make large increases? No, I don't. I think that we have got to keep chasing after
the al Qaeda, the Taliban that exists in the country; we have got to make life uncomfortable for those in Iran and Pakistan who want to get back in the country; and we have got to support the Karzai government so that that reconstruction takes place and people begin to be convinced that their future is in that country and in that government and in the Loya Jirga process, rather than at the end of a rifle.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Hostettler is going to be the next questioner.
Mr. Secretary, I know you and General Myers have been receiving some messages from your staff. Do you want to take about a five-minute administrative break here to see if there is anything you have to do with your-here? You all set?
Secretary RUMSFELD. Yes, sir.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman; and thank you, Mr. Secretary and General, for your attendance.
Mr. Secretary, I-in following up with Mr. Ortiz's comments, I did not serve in the United States military, but I have been elected by mothers and fathers of service personnel, and service personnel themselves who trust me to make the decision that we are now deliberating upon based on an imminent threat to our national security.
Selfishly, however, I do have young sons and daughters that may serve our country someday in the uniform of the U.S. military, and I hope that the person who is occupying the office that I occupy today will likewise be resolved that they will decide to send them into harm's way only when they are convinced that our national security is under an imminent threat. And to be quite honest, I hope the person who is occupying the office which you occupy todaythat they will then realize their profound duty as much as I have concluded that you understand your duty, and for that, I thank you for your service.
That being said, Mr. Secretary, I would like for you to respond to three points; and I will try to make them briefly.
The first is I would hope that the administration would seek a declaration of war if it is our desire to change a regime that sits atop a government of a sovereign nation; and if the administration is so convinced and resolved, I think a declaration of war seems a constitutional fit.
Secondarily, in June of 1981, Israeli jets destroyed the Osirak nuclear power plant that was under construction, and I am not meaning by this point that we necessarily have to follow, but I just wanted to have you comment on the fact that a very threatened neighbor at that particular time in the region felt that they were under an imminent threat by a foreign power, and I am not sure that Israel today feels as threatened-given that time they suffered U.N. condemnation and even condemnation by us, even though I understand they were a party to a nonproliferation agreement, and there were inspectors in the country at that time, I believe.
Then, finally, as you, I believe, in comments in your opening statement pointed out, "Chemists, biologists and nuclear scientists are toiling in weapons labs and underground bunkers, working to give the world's most dangerous dictators weapons of unprecedented power and lethality". And I believe that that statement
may apply to other nations than Iraq, some of whom were not named as part of the axis of evil, but have a vested interest in the demise of the West; and we may be desiring to send them a message with a strike against Iraq, but if I can offer a somewhat different rationale for, once again, you to possibly comment on.
In your statement you talk about what I think may be a case for military action against any foreign country that attempts to undermine the most prominent political institutions of another country, and that is, as you pointed out in April of 1993, there was what we believe an assassination attempt of a former head of state of the United States of America by Iraq. I think it is undermining of our fundamental political arrangement in this country for other countries to believe that they may frighten the United States as a whole, and officeholders specifically, into particular behavior once they leave office if they have not done something which a foreign power believes is in that foreign power's best interest. If we would like to send a message to any potential enemy that we will not abide by this type of attack against our most fundamental institutions of government, I can actually see a reason to do that; and I was puzzled why in 1993 we didn't send that message more profoundly than we did.
So if you could address those three issues: the issues of the declaration of war, why some nations may not feel as threatened as they have in the past and then, finally, the idea of a different rationale for changing the regime in a country that has undermined our political institutions.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Congressman, thank you so much.
With respect to the declaration of war, I am trying to refresh my memory, but I don't believe we have had a declaration of war in this country since World War II; and we have been through Korea, Vietnam, Haiti, you know, Panama, one thing and another, a whole series of things. There are a lot of—I am no lawyer, and there are a lot of legal implications to a declaration of war and considerations that need to be taken into account. Clearly, over decades, the changes in our world circumstance have been such that successive Presidents of both political parties and successive Congresses have made a judgment that a declaration of war was either not necessary or inappropriate or both; and I am most certainly not the best person to go into the reasons for all those. My recollection is that the reasons were different in different circumstances. So, I would just leave it there.
With respect to Israel, thank goodness they did go in and take out the Iraqi nuclear capability when they did. Intelligence communities of the world were flat wrong as to how advanced their capabilities were, and were dumbfounded when they got on the ground after Desert Storm and found out that their estimates were wrong by a great deal. Instead of multiples of years, it was less than one or less than two years before they would have had that capability.
I don't know quite how to respond to your-oh, I should say, also, the neighbors are frightened of Saddam Hussein today. Let there be no doubt. And if one privately sat down with the leading Israelis, they would—they are concerned about the weapon of mass destruction capabilities of Iran, which are being developed as we sit
here; of Iraq; of Syria, that is engaged in testing chemical weapons on almost a quarterly basis; of Libya; and they are attentive_the neighbors in that region are attentive and deeply concerned, let there be no doubt.
You are right. There is something about an assassination attempt that or accomplished—that goes so fundamentally to a country's structure and the way it governs itself that it is something that should be taken quite seriously. Thank you.
Mr. HUNTER. The gentleman from Maine, Mr. Allen.
Mr. ALLEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman; and thank you, Mr. Secretary and General Myers, for being here today.
Mr. Secretary, I agree with you that the disarmament is the goal and that inspections are just a means to that goal. But I want to explore a little bit further the issue that Mr. Meehan was raising about—which is really ultimately comes down to whether the administration's goal is to eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction or to replace Saddam Hussein; and let us test it this way.
If you assume that a new, robust inspections regime is able to satisfy the administration that Iraq has effectively dismantled, given up its weapons of mass destruction, I don't think that would happen without a change in position in the Iraqi-a change in position in the Iraqi regime, but let us assume you get there. Would that satisfy the administration's goals in Iraq?
Secretary RUMSFELD. Assuming you get where?
Mr. ALLEN. Assume you get to a place where you are satisfied that, through a combination of Iraqi cooperation and a robust inspections regime, that you get to a place where you are satisfied as an administration that Iraq has effectively dismantled and disarmed its weapons of mass destruction, but Saddam Hussein is still in power, would that
Secretary RUMSFELD. Boy, that is a reach.
Mr. ALLEN. It is a reach, I know. I grant you this is a hypothetical, but sometimes we get places by asking hypotheticals.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Sure.
Mr. ALLEN. If that happens, would that satisfy the administration's goals?
Secretary RUMSFELD. The Congress, of course, has adopted a policy for the United States of America for regime change, and I don't know that-are you suggesting that if there was the certainty of disarmament because of a regime that was so incredibly intrusive, that notwithstanding a regime that was against disarmament you were able to achieve disarmament, would Congress then want to change the law and back away from a regime change?
Well, the problems with the regime are, as you point out, weapons of mass destruction and the fact that they won't disarm. There is also a repression of their own people. They are also threatening their own neighbors and those other things that I suppose led the Congress to pass a statute favoring regime change.
Mr. ALLEN. If I could make two points. My question was not about what Congress might or might not do. I grant you that is hard to determine. My question was really about the administration and what the administration's policies would be.
There are lots of dictators that we have allowed to continue in operation around the globe. We haven't set a policy of replacing