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Secretary RUMSFELD. I guess I don't know what you mean when you say how it will support all the things that are already being done so well by the 50 states. Any state can do what it wants. Any city can do what it wants. They can have their fire department. They can have chemical-biological outfits.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. How are they going to pay for what is required of them under the kinds of scenarios that are outlined, which are likely to occur if we go to war with Iraq?
Secretary RUMSFELD. Who pays is a function of what the Congress and the executive branch decide whether it is a federal responsibility. If so, which department or agency, which state or local governments have to do what? That is a mix the Congress and the executive branch sorts out every year as they make their decisions.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Fair enough. Thank you.
Mr. THORNBERRY. Mr. Secretary, General, thank you for being here. Let me also thank you for what I consider a very clear and persuasive statement that effectively deals with a lot of the questions that are on our minds, as well as issues that are swirling around there.
As you were talking I was reminded of a story line in a television program, I don't even know if it is still on, but the main character would get a newspaper delivered to his door at the beginning of the program, and in that newspaper it would have a story of a tragedy which was going to occur two or three days later, and the character's job was to try to prevent the tragedy before the newspaper became reality. It seems to me that is kind of where we are. We know the end of the story; we note the tragedy if we do nothing. The question is how, when, we prevent it from occurring.
I guess the primary question on my mind—and General Meyers, I may direct this to you—is if the President decides to take military action in Iraq, are we ready? And, in particular, are we ready to have forces in an environment where weapons of mass destruction may be used against them? Maybe not initially, but eventually if things all fall apart, as we think they will for that regime, desperate people use desperate measures. I am concerned we have not given adequate consideration to our troops dealing in that environment for the last decade—not under your watch—but I guess I would ask you, are we ready to deal with that environment and to do what the President orders you to do?
General MYERS. Congressman Thornberry, let me first say that the short answer is “Yes”. The longer answer is over the past decade, and I would admit earlier in the decade, our capability to deal with weapons of mass destruction for our soldiers and sailors and airmen, marines, coast guardmen was uneven. But, in the last part of this decade, for the majority of it, we have made very good improvements in terms of sensors that detect attacks, in terms of being able to net those sensors together to provide area warning for collective protection, and in the kind of protective suits that our troops wear. So, we have made improvements in all those areas.
And without getting into much more detail, obviously our forces are prepared for that, they train for that, and would be ready to deal with that type of environment.
Mr. THORNBERRY. Let me ask you one other question which goes to the issue of can we do both—or the existing war on terrorism as well as this other aspect of the war on terrorism? There are reports today that the command for the existing war on terrorism may be shifting to the special operations folks. Are you able to comment on that? Is that happening and, if so, why; and what you hope to gain by it?
Secretary RUMSFELD. You are addressing that to me?
General MYERS. I think what is being reflected in the paperand I haven't read the article, I read the headline and maybe a couple of paragraphs—is the fact that, and the realization, of course, that this is a global war on terrorism. And the combatant commanders, as they are organized today, most of them, the theater ones, are organized on a regional basis. We have some that cross regional countries: U.S. Space Command, U.S. Transportation Command, the current Strategic Command and the new Strategic Command that is proposed to stand up or that will stand up here on 1 October
Another one of those commands that can look globally is Special Operations Command. It has a global view of things. And for some aspects of the war on terrorism it is useful to have that global view. And without getting to the operational details of that, that is I think what we are seeing. I don't know that this reflects a great change in our strategy. And there are some elements—and again I haven't read the article—but there are some elements that have not been finally decided yet that the Secretary and the rest of the National Security Council will have to decide on. But what we are trying to do is ensure that in a global war we have the kind of view—in some cases a global view is required, because these networks—I mean they don't respect any boundaries, and as we know, they are in over 60 countries—is actually a network, and it has to be addressed kind of in this total.
Secretary RUMSFELD. I skimmed the article and it is fairly typical of articles that are reporting on something that hasn't happened. It wants to be first, not right. And my guess is that when it is sorted through by the Chairman and others and by me and the National Security Council, it will look somewhat different than that article characterized it. But the general is obviously quite right; you have got global problems, and having a global view of that is useful in some instances. But the idea that there is going to be a massive change, and the Special Operations people will in every instance be the supportive CINC or combatant commander is just not the case. They are going to be both, one would think, sometimes supporting and sometimes supportive.
Mr. HEFLEY (presiding]. Mr. Meehan.
Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Secretary, and General, for your testimony. Appreciate it very, very much.
Mr. Secretary, can you tell me what you envision a weapons inspection, or perhaps I should call it a disarmament regime in Iraq, how would you envision that? I understand, and agree totally with the notion, that weapons inspections are really not the goal. The goal really is disarmament. How would you envision that? And
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