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annals of human history. It was not there on September 11th. It was built, one country at a time, over a long period of time. If we had waited for consensus, the Taliban would still be in power in Afghanistan today. The worldwide coalition was formed by leadership.
During the Persian Gulf War, the coalition eventually included 36 nations. But they were not there on August 2, 1990 when Saddam invaded Kuwait. They were not there on August 5th, when the President George H. W. Bush announced to the world that Saddam's aggression "will not stand." That coalition was built over a period of many months.
With his UN speech, President George W. Bush began the process of building international support for dealing with Iraq. The reaction has been positive. We will continue to state our case, as the President is doing, and I suspect that as he does So, you will find that other countries in increasing numbers will cooperate and participate. Will it be unanimous? No. Does anyone expect it to be unanimous? No. Does it matter that it will not be unanimous? No. But does the U.S. want all the support possible - you bet. Just as we have in the coalition supporting the Global War on Terrorism.
The point is: if our nation's leaders do the right thing, others will follow and support the just cause-just they have in the global war against terror.
Some say that our European allies may reluctantly go along in the end, but that U.S. intervention in Iraq would spark concern in the Arab world that not one country in that regions supports us, and many are vocally opposed.
That is not so. Saddam's neighbors are deathly afraid of him-and understandably so. He has invaded his neighbors, used weapons of mass destruction against them, and launched ballistic missiles at them. He aspires to dominate the region. The nations of the region would be greatly relieved to have him gone, and that if Saddam Hussein is removed from power, the reaction in the region will be not outrage, but great relief. And the reaction of the Iraqi people will most certainly be jubilation.
Some ask, but will they help us? Will they give us access to bases and territory and airspace we need to conduct a military operation?
The answer is that the President has not decided to take military action, but, if he does, we will have all the support we need to get the job done. You can be certain of it.
Another argument is that military action in Iraq will be expensive, and will have high costs for the global economy.
That may be true. But there are also dollar costs to not acting-and those costs could well be far greater. Consider: the New York City Comptroller estimates that the economic costs of the Sept. 11 attacks to New York alone were between $83 and $95 billion. He further estimated that New York lost 83,000 existing jobs and some 63,000 jobs the city estimates would have been created had the attacks not happened. One institute puts the cost to the national economy at $191 billionincluding 1.64 million jobs lost as a direct result of the 9/11 attacks. Other estimates are higher- as much as $250 billion in lost productivity, sales, jobs, advertising, airline revenue and the like. And that is not to mention the cost in human lives, and the suffering of those who lost fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers that day.
And we must not forget that the costs of a nuclear, chemical or biological weapons attack would be far worse. The price in lives would be not thousands, but tens of thousands. And the economic costs could make September 11th pale by comparison. Those are the costs that also must be weighed carefully. And this is not mention the cost to one's conscience of being wrong.
Some have suggested that if the U.S. were to act it might provoke Saddam Hussein's use of WMD. Last time, the argument goes, he didn't use chemical weapons on U.S. troops and allies because he saw our goal was not to oust him, but to push back his aggression. This time, the argument goes, the opposite would be true, and he would have nothing to lose by using WMD.
That is an important point. And the President made clear on March 13, 2002 the consequences of such an attack. He said: "we've got all options on the table because we want to make it very clear to nations that you will not threaten the United States or use weapons of mass destruction against us, our allies, or our friends."
There are ways to mitigate the risk of a chem-bio attack, but it cannot be entirely eliminated, it is true that could be a risk of military action. But consider the consequences if the world were to allow that risk to deter us from acting. We would then have sent a message to the world about the value of weapons of mass destruction that we would deeply regret having sent. A country thinking about acquiring WMD would conclude that the U.S. had been deterred by Iraq's chemical and biological weapons capabilities, and they could then resolve to pursue those weapons to assure their impunity. The message the world should want to send is the exact opposite. The message should be that Iraq's pursuit of WMD has not only not made it more secure, it has made it less secure-that by pursuing those weapons, they have attracted undesired attention to themselves.
But if he is that dangerous, then that only makes the case for action strongerbecause the longer we wait, the more deadly his regime becomes. If the world community were to be deterred from acting today by the threat that Iraq might use
chemical or biological weapons, how will the UN feel when one day, when Iraq demonstrates it has a deliverable nuclear weapon? The risks will only grow worse. If we are deterred today, we could be deterred forever--and Iraq will have achieved its objective. Or will the world community be deterred until Iraq uses a weapon of mass destruction, and only then decide it is time to act.
But I would suggest that even if Saddam Hussein were to issue an order for the use chemical or biological weapons, that does not mean his orders would necessarily be carried out. Saddam Hussein might not have anything to lose, but those beneath him in the chain of command most certainly would have a great deal to lose - let there be no doubt. He has maintained power by instilling fear in his subordinates. If he is on the verge of losing power, he may also lose his ability to impose that fear-and, thus, the blind obedience of those around him. Wise Iraqis will not obey orders to use WMD.
If President Bush were to decide to take military action, the U.S. wil execute his order and finish the job professionally-Saddam Hussein and his regime would be removed from power. Therefore, with that certain knowledge, those in the Iraqi military will need to think hard about whether it would be in their interest to follow his instructions to commit war crimes by using WMD-and then pay a severe price for that action. The United States will make clear at the outset that those who are not guilty of atrocities can play a role in the new Iraq. But if WMD is used all bets
I believe many in the Iraqi Armed Forces despise Saddam Hussein, and want to see him go as much as the rest of the world does. Those who may not despise him, but decide they would prefer to survive, may desert and try to blend into the civilian population or escape the country. This is what happened in Panama, when it became clear that Noriega was certain to be on his way out.
Some say that Saddam might succeed in provoking an Israeli response this time – possibly a nuclear response-and that this would set the Middle East aflame.
We are concerned about the Iraqi regime attacking a number of its neighbors, and with good reason: Saddam Hussein has a history of doing so. Iraq has attacked Bahrain, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Iraq is a threat to its neighbors. We will consult with all of our allies and friends in the region on how to deal with this threat.
But the fact that they have blackmailed their neighbors makes the case for action stronger. If we do nothing, that blackmail will eventually become blackmail with weapons of mass destruction-with significantly new consequences for the world.
Some have said the U.S. could get bogged down in a long-term military occupation, and want to know what the plan is for a post-Saddam Iraq?
That is a fair question. It is likely that international forces would have to be in Iraq for a period of time, to help a new transitional Iraqi government get on its feet and create conditions where the Iraqi people would be able to choose a new government and achieve self-determination. But that burden is a small one, when balanced against the risks of not acting.
In Afghanistan, our approach was that Afghanistan belongs to the Afghans-we did not and do not aspire to own it or run it. The same would be true of Iraq.
In Afghanistan, the U.S. and coalition countries helped create conditions so that the Afghan people could exercise their right of self-government. Throughout the Bonn process and the Loya Jirga process, a new president was chosen, a new cabinet sworn-in, and a transitional government, representative of the Afghan people, was established to lead the nation.
If the President were to make the decision to liberate Iraq, with coalition partners, it would help the Iraqi people establish a government that would be a single country, that did not threaten its neighbors, the United States, or the world with aggression and weapons of mass destruction, and that would respect the rights of its diverse population.
Iraq has an educated population that has been brutally and viciously repressed by Saddam Hussein's regime. He has kept power not by building loyalty, but by instilling fear-in his people, his military and the government bureaucracy. I suspect that there would be substantial defections once it became clear that Saddam Hussein was finished. Moreover, there are numerous free Iraqi leadersboth inside Iraq and abroad-who would play a role in establishing that new free Iraqi government. So there is no shortage of talent available to lead and rehabilitate a free Iraq.
In terms of economic rehabilitation, Iraq has an advantage over Afghanistan. A free Iraq would be less dependent on international assistance, and could conceivably get back on its feet faster, because Iraq has a marketable commodityoil.
Some have raised concerns that other countries elsewhere in the world might take advantage of the fact that the U.S. in tied up in Iraq, and use that as an opportunity to invade neighbors or cause other mischief.
There is certainly a risk that some countries might underestimate our capability to handle Iraq and stop their aggression at the same time. But let there be no doubt: we have that capability.
Last year, we fashioned a new defense strategy, which established that we will and do have the capability to near simultaneously:
Defend the U.S. homeland; • Undertake a major regional conflict and win decisively-including occupying a
country and changing their regime;
The United States can do the above, if called upon to do so.
Another argument is that acting without provocation by Iraq would violate international law.
That is untrue. The right to self-defense is a part of the UN Charter. Customary international law has long provided for the right of anticipatory self-defense-to stop an attack before it happens. In addition, he is in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions. Those concerned about the integrity of international law should focus on their attention his brazen defiance of the UN.
Some ask: What has changed to warrant action now?
What has changed is our experience on September 11th. What has changed is our appreciation of our vulnerability-and the risks the U.S. faces from terrorist networks and terrorist states armed with weapons of mass destruction.
What has not changed is Saddam Hussein's drive to acquire these weapons. Every approach the UN has taken to stop Iraq's drive for WMD has failed. In 1998, after Iraq had again kicked out UN inspectors, President Clinton came to the Pentagon and said (quote):
"If [Saddam) fails to comply, and we fail to act, or we take some
At the time, the U.S. massed forces in the Persian Gulf, ready to strike. At the last minute, Iraq relented and allowed UN inspectors to return. But predictably, they