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very clearly the President has not yet made up his mind about military force, and yet we are being asked to.
I would say—I know the President made this comment the other day, too, about why would any Member of Congress up for re-election defer to the UN, but it is a more complicated issue than that. As General Clark has pointed out in some of his writings recently, General Wesley Clark, the potential impact of the United States going alone, if we had to go alone, if we chose that route, on international cooperation on our war against al Qaeda—so, I mean, it is a balancing of risks and looking at factors.
I think for certain Members of Congress, I think probably a fair number and fair number of constituents back home, the issue of whether we go alone or not, it is more than just us going along and being a part of the UN. It is its impact on the international cooperation on the war on al Qaeda. As you stated earlier, we all get in trouble by oversimplifying.
Thank you again for your service.
You know, the coalition we have on the global war on terrorism of 90 countries I believe is the largest coalition in human history. That problem is real. Iraq is part of that problem, and the connection between weapons of mass destruction and a global terrorist connection that works is the nexus that causes the problem. So I do not think that it would have in any way an adverse effect, nor do I believe for a second that in the event a decision is made to go forward that the United States would be alone. We already know for a fact that is not true. There are any number of countries who have already announced their support.
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. Secretary, I do appreciate you being here. I know you have I wouldn't want to sit there and have to answer all these questions, but that is the hand you have been dealt, and you are doing well. But I am going to ask you some very specific questions.
Do you view a regime change as a net of self-defense, a regime change in Iraq as an act of self-defense of this country?
Secretary RUMSFELD. I have wrestled with what is self-defense; and when we are dealing with terrorism and the fact that they can attack at any time at any place against any technique and you want defend it every time and every place against every technique, the only way you can defend yourself is by going after the terrorist. In this case, it seems to me that when you use the phrase "regime change,” if one believes that it is possible to leave the regime and eliminate the threat, then clearly you don't need to change the regime. But self-defense does require, I believe, the ability to prevent a terrible attack on our country.
Mr. GRAHAM. You do view the Iraqi regime, obviously, as a threat. But that is a big question to me. If it is a matter of selfdefense, you don't need the U.N. to sanction
Secretary RUMSFELD. Of course not. The U.N. charter provides for every country to provide for their own defense.
Mr. GRAHAM. Well, why don't we just be honest with people? Everybody in the administration has been telling us that Saddam
Hussein has to go. That is what the gentleman's question was about. No matter what we do with inspections—we had two weapons inspectors in here said that it is really a joke. You will never find what you need to find. They are masters at deception.
We just need to level with people here in this country and in the world. Post 9/11, we view Saddam Hussein as a threat to this country, period. And if that is the case, when we go consult our allies and consult the U.N. we should tell them that is our view. I think there are some mixed messages going on here, and I think we need to be very clear with the American public and with our allies.
In that regard, General Myers, you said early on that you could do whatever was asked of you by the President and the Congress. Do you need any allies that we don't have today to accomplish a regime change by force if you were directed to do so?
General MYERS. I think clearly for lots of reasons, but from a military standpoint, it is preferable to have those allies and friends that want to be with you. As the Secretary said, we have people that we know today would be with us if we were asked to do that.
Mr. GRAHAM. So the answer is, if you were directed by the appropriate authorities in this country to implement by force a regime change, you could do that?
General MYERS. In that hypothetical case, absolutely.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Let me say just one word about this mixed message. I personally don't think so. I think the President's speech was very straightforward.
Mr. GRAHAM. Well, I understand, but here is the mixed message part of it. If we do believe it to be an act of self-defense, as I do, then the whole idea of going to the U.N. to get approval and pass a resolution to defend yourself is not necessary, legally or morally.
Secretary RUMSFELD. It is not necessary, and the President in fact said that.
Mr. GRAHAM. The fact that he is doing it I don't object to, but we are going to find ourselves in a situation here soon where the letter received from Iraq is going to create greet confusion over there. What I would like to hear from you, if possible, is that you will promise the American people we will not let U.N. politics prevent us from defending ourselves as we see fit.
Secretary RUMSFELD. I think the President in his speech made very clear that the one choice we have—do not have is to do nothing. I would say that I agree completely that having other countries aboard is a help and it is desirable and it is worth trying to get them, and we are trying and we are being successful.
Mr. GRAHAM. But make sure I have got this right, and I will shut up. There is no ally presently unavailable to us to accomplish the mission of regime change if directed by the President or the appropriate authority. Is that still the case, General Myers?
General MYERS. I will just stick with my statement. We are—the United States military armed forces is ready to respond to whatever the
Mr. GRAHAM. You don't know of anybody that we need waiting on the U.N. to bless this deal?
General MYERS. I will just defer to the Secretary on the U.N. piece of that.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Well, I would say this. We have already been advised that in the event that this country decides to—it is necessary to do something, by a number of countries, that they will cooperate in a variety of different ways.
Mr. GRAHAM. Absent U.N. approval?
Secretary RUMSFELD. Oh, sure, yes. There are other countries that are—that we would like to have cooperating in ways, and they have not made judgment. So the worst thing that the General could do would be to answer your question and say we don't need any more help, because the more help you get, the easier it is.
Mr. GRAHAM. I understand. God bless, and good luck.
Mr. Secretary and General Myers, thank you very much for your commitment to our country and for the obvious time you have spent in going into great detail to help us in making our assessment.
You keep referring to a number of countries that would help us. Can you tell us how many countries and who?
Secretary RUMSFELD. I could, but I shouldn't. A lot of these countries are frightened of Saddam Hussein. A number of other countries are attempting to work with us in the United Nations to fashion a resolution, and it is not for me to do. It is for them to announce what they decide. I don't make it my business to go around and say that this country or that country has told us publicly or privately that they will do this, that or the other thing.
Mr. MCINTYRE. And I respect that, and I appreciate your confidence, though, that we have other countries. Can you give us a ballpark? Are we talking about two or three? Are we talking about half a dozen? Are we talking about 15 or 20?
Secretary RUMSFELD. I guess it depends on what you mean by help. If you are talking about
Mr. MCINTYRE. They would be committed to this effort to change this regime.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Overflight rights to help us do it or various types of port access or base access or money or troops?
General MYERS. Fuel supplies.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Fuel supplies. It varies. It is all across the spectrum. In some cases, it will be totally public. In some cases, it will be totally private. But, no, I would not be inclined to try to come up with a number in a public session.
Mr. MCINTYRE. All right. Would you address a couple other issues that have been raised today?
What would be the potential number of American troops needed for such a military campaign against Iraq?
Secretary RUMSFELD. I am not inclined to talk about plans that conceivably could exist as to what one would do. I can say this, and the General can comment. We would not be short of troops.
The numbers that would be needed—obviously, everyone likes belts and suspenders. So you don't know about how long something is going to last or what it will require. You can't know that, because the first thing that goes by the board is a plan in a conflict. But we would not have problems with numbers of people.
Mr. MCINTYRE. All right. Well
General MYERS. I absolutely agree with that. The only thing I would say is it is very difficult if we were to sit here and talk about specific numbers. That would be, I think, of immense help to any potential adversary, so we have got to be careful of how we handle that.
Mr. MCINTYRE. All right. Well, within that realm, what percentage—I have two quick follow-ups. What percentage do you think would have to be Reserve and Guard? Do you have a percentage idea? Because we talk about how important they are. You have mentioned that today.
Secretary RUMSFELD. We already have 70,000 Guard and Reserve activated, and we have got 20,000 stop-holds on people not getting out, and we would need
some more. Mr. MCINTYRE. Some more would have to be called up. All right. And from being from an area in southeastern North Carolina and eastern North Carolina, which, of course, is home to Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Cherry Point, the list goes on, that are in our area that Congressman Jones, Congressman Hayes and I all share in in terms of representing or representing their families, there is a concern about overdeployment of troops.
Recently, I went to Afghanistan about 3 weeks ago with a CODEL of 11 Members of Congress on a bipartisan basis. Those troops are doing a great job; and I commend you, General Myers and Secretary Rumsfeld, for being about the mission and seeing the great success of our work in central Asia.
The next question, though, is what about the overdeployment of these troops? General Myers, you have admirably said that our country would be willing and absolutely, as you said, be able to follow any command that our Commander in Chief may give with regard to what our mission might need to be, but what about overdeployment? I mean, do we wear our troops out? Yeah, they can do it, but then what else suffers? We are concerned about readiness, you know, making sure they have everything at their disposal to do their job top notch, because we want to support our troops. But, in turn, how does that affect the human factor?
General MYERS. Let me take a stab at that.
The human factor, obviously, is very important. I think the one thing that is—you know, as we used to discuss this topic before September 11th, it was how do we in peacetime ensure that our troops are—that their tempo or their operational tempo, the impact on the families, the impact on the employers of our reserve component forces that are called up from time to time, what steps can we take to mitigate that? And we put in lots of measures, and we looked at that very, very carefully of
Obviously, now we are at war. We are at a global war, where the personnel tempo, the operational tempo, the impact on our families—we have, as the Secretary said, 70,000 plus Reserve component forces called up, which is tougher on their families, because they are generally geographically separated in most cases. Then, on top of that, you have the employers who lose the valid employees.
I would only say that from the Secretary's viewpoint and the senior leadership in the Pentagon, from the Secretary's level, from the
Joint Chiefs of Staff level, we are doing everything we can possibly do to mitigate the turbulence in these times. However, this threat is so serious to this country-9/11 is a great example, and the Secretary has talked, I think, eloquently about the potential with weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists. The potential for destruction to freedom-loving people anywhere, that this threat is so serious, that I think
And you probably found this in Afghanistan. I bet I could ask you, did you find anybody that said, "Gee, when am I going to go home? When is this mission over?” More likely, the question you got is, “What more can we do?” Because I think our military men and women understand exactly what this threat is to their families, to the folks back home and to their friends and allies.
So we have got to try to mitigate the impact on our forces, and we have taken many steps since 9/11. I mean, we started out, if you will, as if this were going to be a sprint. We understand this is going to be a marathon, and I think we have taken steps to try to mitigate the impact on our families. That will always be uppermost in our mind.
At the same time, that must be balanced against the risk to our country and our allies and friends; and we are trying to do that. I think we have to expect our armed forces, much like they did in World War II, steel themselves for the long haul. This will not be an easy short victory against terrorism, and I think our armed forces are up to that task.
Mr. MCINTYRE. In light of that, just in closing and not being able to give numbers or say how many troops you think would be involved, but yet being confident we can do this, do either of you expect this would lead to a reinstitution of the draft?
Secretary RUMSFELD. Not a chance.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Because we are currently at, what, a country of 281 million people, and we have got less than 2 million people in uniform. We are successful in attracting and retaining the force we need without using compulsion and without paying people 40 or 50 percent of what they would make in the civilian manpower market. Unless someone decides that there is some overall social good that is to be achieved by reinstituting the draft, it certainly would not be reinstituted for the purpose of attracting and retaining the people we need, because we are doing that.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Thank you very much.
Secretary RUMSFELD. I must say I have a bias on this subject. I was one of the original authors of the all-volunteer service back in the 1960s when I was in Congress.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Thank you very much.
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman; and the gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Kirk.
Mr. KIRK. Mr. Secretary, thank you for that answer. .
You grew up in my district, and we on the North Shore are terribly, terribly proud of you. I thank you also for your—the answer you just gave. I think the mothers and fathers of 19-year-old American boys are a little nervous about this, and you have categorically