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Mr. ALLEN. Mr. Chairman, thank you. And, gentlemen, thank you very much for being here. I appreciate your testimony, and I want to say at the outset, I do definitely share your concern about the Iraqi program—the various programs to develop weapons of mass destruction. It is clearly something we need to deal with. We have in Saddam Hussein, someone who can't be trusted, who doesn't play by the rules and causes problems in the region and for
But, I wanted to ask you in particular about what I regard as the evidence for your conclusion-particularly, I will pick on you, Dr. Kay, because it is in your testimony, and that has to do with the attribution to Saddam Hussein of an intention to use weapons of mass destruction in the next few years against the United States. And let me just point out why this is important.
The question of how quickly we need to move is related not just to capability, but also to whether or not we can see it is in Saddam Hussein's interest to move against his allies or against the United States; and obviously that is a matter of judgment. We have to make a calculation, and there are risks involved in any judgment.
But the amount of time is an important issue in deciding what the appropriate strategy is. And in your testimony, Dr. Kay, you said near the end, what is clear is that unless we take immediate steps to address the issue of removing Saddam's regime from power in Iraq, we will soon face a nuclear-armed and -emboldened Saddam. With time and we can never be sure of how long that will be—Saddam will be able to intimidate his neighbors with nuclear weapons and find the means to use them against the United States. And you refer to the first use of these weapons against the United States and its friends in saying, you know, that is likely to
As I put together the kinds of testimony we have heard here and what we have read in the newspapers, the Iraqi military is described as much weakened after the Gulf War. The morale of its regular troops, at least, is diminished. There isn't the same kind of capability there was before. U.S. and British planes fly over the northern part of the country, over the southern part of the country periodically attacking defense installations.
How do we get from a Saddam Hussein, as he is contained and hemmed in by U.S. and British air forces right now, to a Saddam Hussein who is likely within a short period of time not just to intimidate, but to use, particularly, nuclear weapons against either allies or the United States?
It is that leap that I have some trouble with, and I wonder if you could sort of give us any information, any evidence you have, to support the conclusion.
Dr. Kay. Well, let me address that directly and let me say we are talking about willingness to run risks and judgments.
First of all, I would suggest one should be careful about assuming that Saddam acts in a rational calculus that you and I would share. Quite frankly, I don't think you or I would have invaded Kuwait. It wasn't worth it; it was an extraordinary risk.
Having faced him and dealt with him on the ground, let me tell you, if you want to talk about evil, the way he has ruled his people with unconstraint-I mean, one of the ironies of Scott appearing
before the Iraqi parliament is that if there is ever an oxymoron that does not deserve to be in the same sentence, it is “parliament” with Iraq. He is not constrained by the normal political forces that you and I are.
What worries me, and it is my—that reflects my belief that we should not run that sort of risk, that, in fact, once he obtains a weapon-and I think the evidence is overwhelming of his attempts to obtain all of these weapons—if he is successful—and I have, perhaps less than you, not a great deal of confidence in the security system around the former Soviet Union. I am amazed that someone hasn't penetrated it yet
Mr. ALLEN. Can I stop you for just a minute?
I agree with what you are saying about him and the way he operates and certainly the way he operates in his own country. My question is, what evidence is there that Saddam Hussein is likely to make an offensive move against either his allies or the United States? Is there any evidence to support that kind of purpose?
Dr. Kay. I read his statements about the destruction of the state of Israel, and his support in supporting suicide bombers as an individual who, if he had the weapon, would use it.
I think if you ask the Iranians, “Do you believe if Saddam had nuclear weapons at the time of the Iran Iraq war, would he have used them?” He used everything else he had.
I just—and maybe I am reflecting 9/11; I mean, that is all burned into our consciousness. I would not run the risk of an individual with his track record having the ability to inflict tremendous harm.
You might be right. We might be able to deter him. I don't think like “mights” when you are talking about nuclear weapons in the hands of people like Saddam Hussein.
Dr. SPERTZEL. I would like to add one thing on the bio side. You have to have an understanding from the BW side that a country like Iraq could conduct a terrorist-a bioterrorist action in the U.S. and have complete, plausible deniability. Trying to pin it down, an agent, as coming from a laboratory or even a country is a virtually impossible task. We may have already been hit by something that was made in Baghdad, and I am referring to the anthrax letters last fall. We still don't know who made the product. And I can tell you one country that had the full capability of making such a product is Iraq.
Mr. ALLEN. Thank you both very much.
Dr. Kay, Dr. Spertzel, thank you both for being here and enlightening us and giving us another side of the story and, quite frankly, scaring us to death. Maybe that is what we need.
We have been consumed with this, it seems like, in this country for several weeks; you can't turn on the TV, pick up a magazine or newspaper without reading it. It is all we are hearing on TV. And clearly, we are dealing with a man who is a mad man and a regime that is mad, as well, and something is going to have to be done.
But, those of us sitting on this side of the room are really agonizing because we are the ones that have to go to the floor and vote on some of these issues and vote on possibly a resolution supporting the President if he decides to go in there. And clearly we know how the President feels; he has made that clear. The Vice President is equally strong; he was on television all weekend doing that.
And General Powell, who is a retired four-star Army general who has been a little more reserved. And then there are a lot of retired admirals and generals who are very concerned about this, and they are saying we should not do it right now-many of whom I know and worked with during my 24 years in the Navy, so I respect them in their beliefs.
I believe in preemptive and not reactive. I think if you can be pre-emptive, it is sure a heck of a lot better than trying to react. Just look at 9/11.
And I wonder, too, in my twisted mind, sometimes if we might not want to get the CIA to get a handful of people to go over there and take care of it for us because the thing that tears me the most is if we do this, we are going to be committing thousands and thousands and thousands of young men and women in uniform to fight this thing. Many of them are probably sitting right here in this room. I see a lot of students in here, and I look at them and think, will they be the next ones to go.
And we are—and it is a huge commitment on our part. And I know I have to go vote.
My question to both of you is, if you had this voting card and you had the ability to go across the street and vote, how would each of you vote and why?
Ďr. Kay. Well, as you intended it to be, it is a tough question because it gets to not my technical expertise, but to my obligation as a citizen. In many ways you are at the same heart of Mr. Allen's question, which were also equally fair and equally tough.
But not to hem and haw around it, I think that, on balance, “regime change,"if you like that antiseptic term—that is, replacing the regime in Baghdad, and that is unlikely to be done by anything other than military force is the only option we have for dealing with the weapons of mass destruction program.
I genuinely believe time is not on our side. These problems get worse. You have already seen in the press—and this gets to the reasons why—something that we suspected in 1992, and we now have a little bit more proof that they proceeded in the way of a classic Soviet chemical weapons program and went to what is called “dusty VX,” a form of VX designed to penetrate high-protective gear, and probably “novachuk”, agents which, in fact, you can produce with nonprescribed substances. That is an example of how they are progressing.
We know they tested two radiological dispersion devices prior to the Gulf War. They discovered what everyone who has tested a classical one if you are going to be killed by the devices, by the explosion, not by radiation-and I don't want to go any further than this in open testimony–U.S. labs and others know that there are other ways to disperse radiation that is far more challenging than the classic way. Given enough time, the Iraqis will discover what those other ways are.
So, I just believe that when you are faced—and this is not-and I should have said this to Mr. Allen-it is not as if we are coming to the problem of Saddam for the first time in September of 2002. We have had 11 years of experience. And when he failed to live up to his obligation under Resolution 687 and 11 other resolutions of the U.N. to get rid of those weapons, I have absolutely no reason to believe he is going to change his spots.
I simply believe—and what is so extraordinarily hard for democracies—that is, to protect themselves and risk the lives of their sons and daughters when they don't have overwhelming proof in the form of having lost the first battle. And I just think the consequences are far too serious this time.
But, look, I understand your agony, and I am glad I don't have that voting card.
Mr. SCHROCK. So you would not tell me how you would vote?
Dr. SPERTZEL. And I very much agree with that. If there was a way of getting that regime to truly want to get rid of their weapons of mass destruction and no longer deceive or conceal, and if there was a way of getting the complete unconditional backing of at least the P5 members so that inspectors would have a chance, then I would say, go that way.
But that is not going to happen. You know, even the French proposal that has been made—already, China has indicated they are going to abstain and Russia hasn't decided, but they think they might veto it. That tells you how much support the inspectors are going to have. And I can tell you right now that the last year-anda-half that inspectors were in the country—when we went there as a chief inspector—we were on our own. We could not rely on being backed up by anybody, and yet we were there to face Iraq. And I don't see anything at all that suggests that the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) will face a better situation.
There is no alternative.
Mr. SCHROCK. Mr. Chairman, let me make one more personal comment. When I volunteered to go into the country of Vietnam and my mother was very upset-my dad understood, but he wasn't happy about it-I couldn't understand their concern. And they said, some day, when you are a parent, you will understand.
My son was commissioned as an ensign three weeks ago, and my wife and I are now my parents; we understand. And I take that seriously, and I don't want to send those kids into harm's way unless we are doing it for the absolute right reason. And if we go into it to win and we don't play the Vietnam game that we played-because we didn't go in that to win, and we lost 55,000 great Americans. If we send them in this time, we have got to go in to win and then get it over with.
Dr. SPERTZEL. To me, the alternative is likely that you could have thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of American citizenswomen, children, elderly-being killed by a terrorist weapon. And, frankly, if I were about 40 years younger, I would be on the line volunteering to go.
Mr. SCHROCK. If I were younger, I would, too. I understand that, and I agree with that. Thank you very much.
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, both gentlemen, for being here today.
I am going to ask a couple of questions, and the first one has to do with the cat-and-mouse games that you saw played with Iraq. And I would assume also maybe your insight into the mentality of Saddam Hussein and the regime there—I guess he is the regime in Iraq, because I think it plays importantly in the judgment we have to make.
And second, to your expertise in particular on the nuclear side of things: I have no doubt that Saddam Hussein is a bad guy, that he kills his own people, that he has chemical and biological weapons, that he used them against his own and used them against Iran in the war. But my question goes back to something that, really what Mr. Allen was talking about, this whole issue of "Why now? Why so immediate? What has changed?"
And one of the comments that you made, Doctor, was that we are not talking about a rational person. And my answer to that would be, yes, I would agree with you, except that when it came to selfpreservation, i.e., when he was at the end of the war, he sat down and he agreed to terms that would preserve his ability to be there in Iraq, to be alive and to be doing what he is doing today.
So as irrational as he is as a human being, there is this sense of self-preservation. So I look at him and I say, he is sitting there in Iraq, we have him contained. I have no doubt that he has weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological. I am not sure about the nuclear. If I were he, and I was sitting there, I would say, well, if I launch a first attack with this, everybody is going to come at me and they are going to annihilate me.
Because I believe our armed forces and our capabilities are enough that we can take him out and anything else in that region that we want to. I think he is more contained right now rather than if he thinks we are coming in to get him, or we actually come across the line to come in to get him.
So why would you tell us to move, knowing what you know mentally about the person we are dealing with?
Dr. Kay. Those are very good questions. Let me tell you why I don't think he is contained now, or if he is "contained,” we have changed the meaning of that word.
We have gone from a period in 1991, when we had a fairly tight, sanctioned regime of keeping things out and controlling the amount of revenue he has, to an Iraq that sells illegally. I am not talking about the oil-for-food program, but illegally has greater oil income per day than it had prior to the Gulf War.
Dr. Kay. And is progressively getting access—aluminum tubes are an example, but some examples are better than that-getting access to the technology that will make his programs even more capable and competent than they are today.
So as I see over time his weapon expertise and let me say, I share and I hope I conveyed that, I share with all of you—I don't know where his nuclear program is today with a great deal of precision because he invests a lot of resources to keep us from knowing where his program is exactly. But, I am confident that having