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That isn't the case. And, some of the more inflammatory quotations from the speaker's notes were, in fact, never presented. Different members of the board had different reactions to that, but—to that briefing. But, I don't know anyone who stood up and said, now we have found an appropriate policy for dealing with Saudi Arabia. But, it was a provocative briefing and produced an interesting discussion among members of the board.
My own view is that we are quite right to say to the Saudi government, “The substantial amount of money that you have been distributing through extremist organizations is producing around the world a number of people, often young people, who are being driven to hatred of the United States and the West in general, and they pose a threat to us. They are the breeding grounds for the recruitment of al Qaeda and other terrorists, and we would be very grateful if you would stop that. We would not foment that sort of attitude against you, and we would be grateful if you wouldn't foment it against us.'
In my view, we can deal with the Saudi government, government to government. We have a mixed relationship with them. There are some positive elements. There is a negative element, and I think we ought to be discussing it with them and not threatening them in the way that it was wrongly reported that briefing proposed that
General CLARK. I think your questions about doctrine are very important questions. But, as you observe, and I agree, there is no requirement to have any doctrine here. I mean this is simply a longstanding right of the United States and other nations to take the actions they deem necessary in their self-defense. Every president has deployed forces as necessary to take action. He has done so without multi lateral support, if necessary. He has done so in advance of conflict, if necessary.
In my experience, I was the commander of the European forces in NATO when we took action in Kosovo. We did not have the United Nations' approval to do this, and we did so in a way that was designed to preempt Serb ethnic cleansing and regional destabilization there. There were some people who didn't agree with that decision. The United Nations was not able to agree to support it with the resolution.
Nevertheless, we did go to the United Nations and, as Ambassador Holbrook so well explained in an op-ed piece I think three weeks ago, going to the United Nations was a very important part of building legitimacy for the action that we ultimately had to take. But, the responsibility to deploy forces is ultimately the responsibility for the United States and its leaders alone, for no one else.
So, I think in this case that the doctrines of preemption and regime change have been actually counterproductive in trying to make the case against Saddam Hussein, because they tend to be misinterpreted. We have always talked within the military circles about the possibility of preemption. We have always worried about it. We worried about how you would get the specific information you needed. We worried about whether the action could be effective or not. We worried about what the consequences of that would be. But, it was discussed behind closed doors in a number of cases, I
And, nevertheless, we never felt a reason to publish a doctrine on it because the doctrine itself become as fact and an element in international relations. We saw the headlines in The Washington Post a few days ago that said the United States replaces deterrence with domination. And, I immediately began to get phone calls from European journalists who say what is an American domination.
This is what we have been worried about. And so, in that sense, I think it is we are much better off if we will focus on the problem at hand, which is the war against al Qaeda and the problem of Iraq itself and deal with those as specific problems which we must deal with.
With respect to the case of Saudi Arabia and a strategy in the area, I think it is very important that we have a strategy in this region. And, one of the things that is perplexing is that we have not seen an articulation of a strategy other than the occasional leakages like The Boston Globe article that you gave reference to. So, we don't really know if there is strategy or what we are specifically pointing to. I would simply observe that in 1973, a few years after you and I were out of college, I was in the Pentagon for a summer as an intern and I wrote a paper on the possibility of some day deploying U.S. forces to the Persian Gulf. And, I was warned by an old colonel at the time. He said, Captain, if you write a paper like that, that Senator Fulbright's going to have you over testifying before the Congress, and us too, and we are all going to get fired. And there were no U.S. forces in that region in 1973.
Since then we have encouraged Saddam Hussein and supported him as he attacked against Iran in an effort to prevent Iranian destabilization of the Gulf. That came back and bit us when Saddam Hussein then moved against Kuwait. We encouraged the Saudis and the Pakistanis to work with the Afghans and build an Army of God, the Mujahedin, to oppose the Soviets in Afghanistan. Now we have released tens of thousands of these holy warriors, some of whom have turned against us and formed al Qaeda.
My French friends constantly remind me that these are problems that we had a hand in creating. So when it comes to creating another strategy which is built around the intrusion into the region by U.S. forces, all the warning signs should be flashing. There are unintended consequences when force is used. Use it as a last resort. Use it multilaterally if you can. Use it unilaterally only if you must.
Mr. ALLEN. Thank you.
Mr. THORNBERRY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Clark, it seems to me the crux of the judgments you make is that time is on our side in the near term. I mean, that is really a bottom line. And, with a calculated risk. You went through the six months and so you are willing, I guess, to take the risk that time in the shortterm may not be on our side in exchange for the benefit that comes from having more international support. I guess my bottom-line question is how long would you mess around with that? How long is time on our side? What is the near-term during which time is on our side?
General CLARK. That is a very important question, Congressman. And there is not a black and white answer to it. It depends on our sense of momentum and the progress that we are making. There are two contending forces at work here. One is that the longer we take, and the more momentum we build, and the greater coalition we build, the greater the likelihood that the Saddam regime and his repression will disintegrate, either at the first tap or even before we use force, simply because the will and determination of his subordinates can be eroded.
So, in that sense, the slower inevitable buildup works against him and works in our favor. On the other hand, the more certain he is that we are likely to use force against him, and sees no alternative, then the more likely it is that he is going to seek a means of deterrence and defense against us. So, if he wasn't working with al Qaeda before, if he can find anyone left in al Qaeda to work with, he may well be talking to them right now.
He may well be trying to figure out how to use what capabilities he has against us. And, this will become particularly urgent as we build up forces in the region, because as the forces go into the region, then we are going to have to be very aware of the fact that Saddam is somewhat unpredictable, and he may well decide to try to strike first against them or someone else.
So it is a trade-off. It is something that is going to be evaluated on a week-by-week, day-by-day basis by the administration, our military and political leaders. And, I think-I think the only thing you can say right now is that from this perspective, from the information that I have at hand, that the balance comes down on taking the time now in the next days and weeks, before the forces get there, to try to build the international coalition. The situation may look different in December or January.
Mr. THORNBERRY. Okay. Mr. Perle, if you want to comment on that, that would be great. But, I want to ask you to comment on another issue. We have heard from a number of witnesses. This, one of them described this week that the biggest foreign policy problem we are going to have in the future is managing resentment. And, so the argument that if we go in generally on our own, that we will so inflame people all around the world to hate us, that much more that the ranks of al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are going to grow. And, so we are creating a bigger problem in a way than we are solving.
You know, one of the answers in the literature is that, well, actually what people respect more is force. And, so it is the weakness that encourages this sort of attack against us. Can you give us your perspective on this argument about how acting in Iraq will inflame others to attack us and build this resentment which is a—in a way a bigger problem over the long-run, it is argued?
Mr. PERLE. I think a great deal depends on what happens in Iraq and how the American action and the American motives are perceived. If we were to go into Iraq, conquer it, seize its resources, appropriate them for ourselves and suppress a hostile population, I think that could certainly build resentment. I don't know anyone who is proposing that we do that. What I would like to see us do is go into Iraq, together with the opponents of the Saddam Hussein regime, liberate the people of Iraq from the scourge of that night
mare regime, assist the Iraqis in developing a decent and humane government, make sure that their resources are devoted to the rebuilding of that country.
And, I think under those circumstances, the world will see that the United States has acted not simply in its own behalf, but to the benefit of the people of Iraq. And, I have no doubt that once Iraq is liberated, we will learn what a brutal, brutal without precedent regime, the regime of Saddam Hussein has been. We will hear the stories from the survivors, from the sons and daughters and sisters and brothers and mothers and fathers about the murders, about the surgical mutilation of people who have crossed Saddam Hussein, about the use of rape as an instrument of policy and the like. And, I think, in those circumstances, things will change.
We faced this when we went into Grenada in the Reagan administration. And as it happens, the American forces were treated as liberators in Grenada. We saw much of the same thing in Afghanistan, which is a more complicated situation. But, a great many people were relieved to see the end of the Taliban regime. So, I think everything depends on our purpose and our steadiness of purpose. And, on the way in which that action is received by the people who are affected by it most directly.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Snyder.
Mr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, gentlemen, for being here. Mr. Perle, if you don't mind, I am going to direct my questions to General Clark, since he is one of my constituents and I feel some obligation to report to his wonderful wife, Gert, how he does here today. And, I am sure he will feel an obligation to do the same with me.
General, if you don't mind, I am going to just summarize kind of where my thinking is on this, and you and I have talked privately before and I have found it the most, I guess, visceral issue in my six years here in terms of its potential impact on not only a lot of people's lives, but on our foreign policy. And a lot of what you have written and spoken about has shaped my thinking because you talk about military forces being the last resort.
In fact, you had a London Times piece at the end of August, "Why war should be America's last resort,” which is another way of saying, we have got to exhaust diplomatic resources before we pursue the war. I have looked on a way of saying to a balancing of risks, comparing the risks now, versus what risk we might incur by going ahead A, with a particularly unilateral military action against Iraq.
And, as I look at the reasons that people have outlined for why we should move ahead, even if we have to move ahead alone, we heard the term “drain the swamp,” meaning drain the swamp of terrorists after September 11. General Boyd had the comment in The New York Times of last week that he talks about if we go alone, that the near certainty of creating legions of new terrorists. I am not a military historian. I don't know what a legion is, but I think it means a lot of people. And, yet we look at how much energy was put into finding just one small cell we think in New York, and yet we are talking about potentially creating legions.
In your London Times piece, you also say attacking Iraq would detract from our primary mission against al Qaeda, supercharging
anti-American sentiment in the Arab street, boosting al Qaeda's recruiting and causing difficulty for modern Arab regimes. You go on to say our overriding priority must be to bring greater international resolve and cooperation into the war on al Qaeda to cut the support for Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, and to harmonize intelligence sharing and law enforcement in Europe and North America. This will take months and years of sustained effort.
The President is quoted today in the Post as saying the war on terror, you can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror. They are both equally as bad, and equally as evil and equally as destructive. I think I agree on the degree of evilness, but in terms of the prioritization, I have come down on your side; that the priority ought to be al Qaeda. The other arguments we have heard that this is a guy who has attacked his own neighbors. And, yet, as you have discussed, one potential sequel of a unilateral attack would be to motivate him to attack Israel.
We have heard the argument he has attacked his own people, which has been unfortunately terribly true. But a military attack, if it is not absolutely necessary, may unnecessarily motivate him to attack the Kurds and avoid a Northern Alliance type situation that occurred in Afghanistan. And then, of course, our overriding goal and the overriding goal of every American is to protect Americans and reduce the risks of damage and of harm to Americans. I have been meeting with, you know, retired military people. And, this is not from any classified briefing, but I just throw out a term.
Well, if things don't go quite as smoothly as we think, could we incur as much as 10,000 U.S. casualties? And I get the head nod, yeah that could happen if we had them, as General Boyd says congregated in a staging area and a chemical weapons attack. And then, I have heard terms of numbers of 70 to 80 to 100,000 troops that may have—U.S., that may have to be stationed in Iraq for up to 10 years, I would think at high risk at some point after being there for that length of time.
And then theyour comment about time. You very clearly stated we cannot postpone indefinitely, but on the other hand, that in the near term, time is on our side. And I—that is what comes down to me is, or why it comes down to me is that if time is on our side in this range, in the near term as Mack was asking about, this should be the time when we exhaust the diplomatic efforts and be sure that we don't incur the risks of going to war before we have done everything we can to avoid them. And, one other factor in this in my thinking is to me the number one strategic priority in the Middle East is dealing with Israel and Palestine.
And, you know, I had a conversation with Condoleezza Rice, I think in the second or third month of the administration, you know, please be more involved in this. And, I think now if we had all these resources and even the potential commitment of troops to enforce an Israeli Palestinian agreement what that might do and how it might change. And if we avoid going to war for 6 months or 1 year or 18 months, who knows what may happen for the good. And there certainly could be things for the bad. But, that boy may drop dead.