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Mr. HUNTER. Let's assume that.
General CLARK. If you, if we are assuming we have done everything by your definition and by my definition, and there is no other option but the use of force, yes, we are going to use force because this is a national security problem affecting the welfare of the American people. But, if we are going to use force effectively, we have got to convey to the American people and, hopefully, to people all over the world why this is a problem. And Mr. Chairman, if I could just say in conclusion I have been all over this country in the last month talking to people, and nobody wants war and most people don't understand this problem. I happen, I think I do understand it because I have lived with it for a decade. Most people don't and they say, they don't see the connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. They are worried about what the consequences will be and they do feel the United States is—somehow we have accelerated the tempo here and we have left our public behind.
That is why hearings like this and this public dialogue is so very important. We have got to have the support. Having that resolution is the—and from the American people, and this body, is one of the strongest reinforcements we can give to our President and our diplomats in New York to get the resolution we need. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HUNTER. And thank you, General. Thank you for your testimony. And have a good, safe flight. Oh. Susan Davis, Susan Davis has waited here for a long time, General. I know you have got to take off, but can Susan have a shot at you before you leave? Susan, go ahead.
Mrs. SUSAN DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Thank you very much for staying. And quickly, I think you mentioned preemption. You mentioned the fact that this is not preemption. But, I wonder if you could, you and certainly Mr. Perle, as well, this issue of perception and whether or not in, in the minds of some, would be setting some precedents, perhaps some dangerous precedents. India, Pakistan, what message does this send?
General CLARK. I think that as a doctrine it is a very difficult doctrine. It is probably a flawed doctrine as expressed doctrinally, . And unfortunately, it is out there in public. I heard the West Point speech. I was concerned when I heard the speech. We have talked about this for years behind closed doors. We have always imagined we might send in a hit team in to take out a chemical weapons factory. Suddenly, preemption becomes taking out a government and going to a regime change. It is a hugely different concept; now it is more like preventive war. And, the notion of starting a war to prevent one is a very difficult notion to sign up to in the abstract.
So you really have to see the particulars and when you put it out there in the abstract as a sort of operating principle, it is subject to misinterpretation, misunderstanding and replication by other states, and it is not in our interest for them to do that. So, I am concerned about this doctrine.
Nevertheless, I will tell you that having read the doctrine itself, or bits and pieces of it, there is much of it in there that is very standard and very much in line with what we have always done. But, we are dealing here with the problem of perceptions. And leadership. This is a country with global responsibilities. People
look to us all over the world to set the standard. Not only to be the strongest country, but to adhere to international law and support the institutions that we created in our own image. And so, I think when we as my colleague said, there was some feeling over the last decade that somehow we had given away too much to multinational institutions.
Personally, I don't think that feeling was justified. I think there was a misunderstanding and it wasn't communicated correctly. But, whatever it is, we built those multinational institutions for our own selfish American interests. In 1945, as President Truman said when he opened the United Nations, we have to change from our aggressor's motto, or our enemy's motto, of "might makes right" and use the United Nations so that “right makes might”.
But, to work in those institutions, it is not them, it is us. We are in there. We are part of that institution and we have to lead it. We have a unique opportunity in the post-Cold War world to do so. We have a unique opportunity on this issue to do so, and I regret the fact that there have been some perceptions out there which have undercut our ability to do it. But, I hope that on this issue, that with General Powell up there and many others, that we will achieve the leadership we seek.
Mrs. SUSAN DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Do you think that
Mr. HUNTER. And I hate to cut the gentlelady off, but I have been reminded by Mr. Snyder that the General is going to miss his plane.
Mrs. SUSAN DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Okay. I don't want to hold him up. Mr. Perle, could you respond.
Mr. HUNTER. General, we want-I know Ike Skelton wants to say good-bye before you leave. Mr. SKELTON. I just want to say thanks so very, very much. General CLARK. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you.
Mr. HUNTER. And, we will have some staff folks help make sure the General gets his car and is able to
General CLARK. Taxi, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. Get that limousine and make sure we get him to the airport. Mr. Perle, you want to respond to Ms. Davis' question.
Mr. PERLE. Sure. General, as you leave, I just want you to know, I think your testimony is hopelessly confused and I want to explain why. But, I didn't want him to think I waited till he left the room before saying that.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. General, we will see you later, and Mr. Perle has got a few kind remarks about your testimony. Go ahead, Mr.
Mr. PERLE. I think the question about the precedent-setting nature of an action intended to preempt an even worse action that might take place. And, here I think we are talking about unique circumstances. Not to be too legalistic about it, the current state of relations between the United States and Iraq, and indeed between the international community and Iraq is that a ceasefire is in place. That ceasefire is contingent upon Iraq observing a number of United Nations resolutions, all of which have been violated. Under international law and common practice and common sense, a ceasefire predicated on the compliance where there is noncompli
ance ceases itself to exist. And I, therefore, believe that we would not be preempting as we would if we chose some innocent target in another set of circumstances and decided to attack. We would simply be responding to the breakdown of the ceasefire.
Mrs. SUSAN DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Mr. Perle, would it-can you talk about other countries, as well then? Do you see any concern that that could be leveraged by other countries to justify actions down the line and should we be worried about that?
Mr. PERLE. Actually, I don't. I don't partly because of the unique circumstances. There is no-none of the other instances that are often referred to in this context involve blatant violation of U.N. resolutions in the context of a ceasefire. But, I also think that countries on important matters like war and peace pay close attention to their interests. And, the arguments they may advance are not the motivating factor. So, I think it is important to distinguish between what drives an India or a Pakistan or any other country to take military action and the argument that they may erect to support that. I don't think the decision-making is affected by precedents of the kind that you are concerned about.
Mrs. SUSAN DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Okay. Thank you.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Schrock, you didn't have a chance to finish your last question because we had to go to the vote with a minute left. If you want to take a little more time, go right ahead, sir.
Mr. SCHROCK. Sure. I would love to know Mr. Perle's, you know, the General said time is on our side. My guess is you do not believe that.
Mr. PERLE. No, I don't believe it. And I, frankly, I don't think he made a very convincing case in support of that cliche. But, it was one of many cliches. At the end of the day, when you sought to elicit from him a reconciliation of the view that time is on our side, with what he acknowledged to be our ignorance of how far along Saddam Hussein is, he had no explanation.
Mr. PERLE. He seems to be preoccupied—and I am quoting nowwith building legitimacy, with exhausting all diplomatic remedies as though we hadn't been in diplomacy in the last decade, relegating the use of force as a last resort, to building the biggest coalition; in short, a variety of very amorphous ephemeral concerns alongside which there is a stark reality, and that is that every day that goes by, Saddam Hussein is busy perfecting those weapons of mass destruction he already has, improving their capabilities, improving the means with which to deliver them and readying himself for a future conflict.
So, I don't believe that time is on our side, and I don't believe that this fuzzy notion that the most important thing is building legitimacy as if we lack legitimacy now. After all the U.N. resolutions that he is in blatant violation of, I don't think that should be the decisive consideration.
So, I think General Clark doesn't want to see us use military force, and he has thrown out as many reasons as he can to develop for that, but the bottom line is he just doesn't want to take action. He wants to wait.
Mr. SCHROCK. In an ideal world it would be nice if we didn't have to use military action. I used the analogy when I was in the Navy, and the ship got underway at 0800, I would rather be at the ship
at 0600 that 0801. And, I think that makes a big difference. And I would rather be preemptive than reactive because 9/11/01—and we certainly don't want that again.
Mr. PERLE. If I could just say a word on this, I doubt that in any of the hearings that you have had on this subject someone at some time or another has not said that force must always be a last resort. What does that mean? Does it mean that force can only be used in such desperate circumstances that even implausible alternatives to force have been attempted? Even implausible alternatives to force have actually made it more difficult to accomplish the result by force.
I think it is one of the dumber cliches, frankly, to say that force must always be a last resort. Our purpose must always be to protect this country in the most effective way while seeking to minimize the loss of life not only on our own side, but for those with whom we find ourselves in combat. And, sometimes waiting makes it worse. Sometimes pretending that sanctions can solve the problem makes it worse. Look at the last decade of sanctions against Iraq since the end of the Gulf War. In many ways those sanctions have made it more difficult for us to take action today.
So, I don't believe that it is automatic that waiting is always better. You can wait to the point where you then do resort to force, you do so under highly adverse circumstances, and that is exactly what we face today. If we wait long enough on the theory that because force is a last resort, we can't use it now, we may well find ourselves taking more casualties with a less certain outcome when we ultimately do resort to the use of force.
So, the standard here is the effective protection of our country and our interests, and it is not some theoretical view that force can only be used after you have tried even implausible alternatives. And, what is wrong with General Clark's analysis is that the alternative he is proposing is wildly ineffective, and I think he knows that, because when you tried to press him on what we do when the inspectors show up in the empty room, you got a lot of very fuzzy stuff about building legitimacy.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Larson. Mr. LARSON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Perle. Like many others in the committee, I associate myself with the remarks of Mr. Snyder earlier. I have come to the position that what distinguishes us from terrorists, of course, is the rule of law in that logically, from my perspective, going to the United Nations makes a great deal of sense. The President, I thought, was brilliant both in his speech and in his comments embracing the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), pledged to work on the Palestinian-Israeli situation, Secretary Powell talking about paying the money in arrears that we owe the United Nations. Clearly, I think a strong move and the President, I think, squarely, as you said in your opening remarks, put the onus on the United Nations and also on Saddam Hussein in terms of keeping the peace.
What is perplexing to me is that by the same token, we have heard testimony over the last several weeks where most people from the administration say, “But you know what, that can't work.” Inspectors won't work; nothing short of force will work.
So, I guess my question is, why don't we just—why doesn't the administration come forward and say, well, let us declare war. If, in fact, Condaleeza Rice says, you know, we have proof now that there is this direct linkage in connection with al Qaeda, then clearly as has been outlined and also already authorized by this Congress, then why aren't we moving down this line? If—to play the devil's advocate, if time is the issue, and there is a feeling that we are letting time slip by, and the case has already been made, why not force? That would be my first question.
Second would be, along the lines of the resolution in 1998, there, also to create regime change, was discussion of a military tribunal, to bring this guy before a military tribunal and try him as a war criminal. There hasn't been much talk about that, and I would like to know if that is a course that the administration would pursue.
And, my last question deals with resources, and you focused on that, as well. It would seem to me that at the end of the day, when you peel away the veneer on this thing, it all boils down to oil. I am not saying that in a grand conspiratorial context, but from the standpoint that that is the resource that enables Saddam Hussein to purchase his weapons of mass destruction. And, if that is the resource, and if we said from the outset, dating back from September 11, that we are going to do everything to prevent terrorism including shrinking up their resources if there has been an exchange, if there is this community or collegiality amongst terrorists, clearly that is the method, that is the mode in which it can happen. But, what are the plans once we take Iraq to deal with oil and hopefully, from my perspective, to turn that resource into a humanitarian Marshall Plan for the very people that he has vanquished?
Mr. PERLE. If I could start with that first, the oil of Iraq belongs to the people of Iraq, and I would assume because we have never seized the natural resources of another country, our purpose would be to make sure that that oil was used for the benefit of the people of Iraq. For the moment it is used for the benefit of some of the people of Iraq, Saddam and his cronies in particular. So, that money would be used to rebuild the country and to settle Iraq's various legitimate obligations. I would be delighted
to see Saddam Hussein tried as a war criminal. Having used poison gas against civilians, the case seems to me open and shut that he is a war criminal. The problem is getting our hands on him. But, that if we do get our hands on him, that would be an entirely appropriate next step.
Mr. LARSON OF CONNECTICUT. You asked the question, why not simply use force.
Mr. PERLE. The President has made the decision, and I think overall it was the right decision, to go to the United Nations, to challenge the United Nations to live up to its responsibilities and achieve Saddam's compliance with its resolutions. I think it is very clear that they had no intention of doing that until the President put that demand in front of them, that they would have gone on cheerfully, as they have for many years, allowing Saddam to scorn and flaunt U.N. resolutions, and they would have continued to behave like the old League of Nations.
If we are talking about last chances, I suppose this is a last chance for the United Nations to acquit itself and to do the right