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Mr. HUNTER. Beyond all the major operations that we undertook on their behalf. How much more do you think we could have done?
General CLARK. I think we did a great job taking care of Muslims. But, we weren't taking care of them because they were Muslim. We were taking care of them because it was right to do so and we could make a difference in the end.
Mr. HUNTER. But, that is not my point. The fact is we did. And yet, we seem to have had a rather dramatic attack on the United States that certainly, in your world, where we build up this rapport and we do good things for the Muslim world, which hopefully we would do and we gain their trust and respect by waiting on Saddam Hussein, we have done remarkable things, real things, things of substance, not words, but deeds, and yet we had an attack on the United States. Where were we lacking? How much more did we need to give that we didn't give?
General CLARK. I think we didn't fully appreciate the danger of al Qaeda. And you know, I start from the 11 of September of 2001 and work backwards and say not only the intelligence communities, but, you know, in the military, as you well know, we have a tendency to look up the chain of command and down the chain of command and we work it from top to bottom and we ask—we do an after action review after every operation. We ask what happened, why did it happen and how can we fix it. That after action review, sir, has not been done and those who were accountable have not been held accountable.
Mr. HUNTER. And, you also think that we should always think things out very clearly before we do them? Now, that would apply hopefully to inspections as well as military operations. You have never yet really fully answered this question. If the inspection regime is a product of a commission, a committee, a group, some members of which are not totally pro-American and don't believe that our intention of divesting Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction is totally their goal, and we have an inspection regime which ends up with our people looking at a bunch of empty rooms, how does that-how does that allow us to take the next step, and you are a person who thinks we should always look at the next step, of galvanizing world opinion as we stand in the empty room and we say “Now, will the world be on our side in taking military action,” how do we do that?
General CLARK. Well, I think the first thing is you have a very strong determination that is out in public and supported by this body that says if we don't get the assistance we need from the United Nations as a last resort, we will use force and we will solve this problem ourselves.
Mr. HUNTER. So you would—so if the United Nations doesn't give us a strong aggressive inspection regime, we should reject a weaker inspection regime and take military action?
General CLARK. I am not suggesting that.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. Now what if they give us a weaker—I think we can
General CLARK. You are leading the witness, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. I know. But this is a question that has to be answered. We know that the United Nations is not inclined to give us the kind of a rigorous enforced by armed troops inspection re
gime that all of our experts tell us you have to have to have a real inspection of Iraq.
General CLARK. We have to build up the leverage that our diplomats need. We have one of the greatest Secretaries of State we have ever had, General Colin Powell, up there. We have got to give him the backing he needs, the leverage he needs and the President has got to have what he needs to make it very clear what the consequences for the United Nations and our allies are if we don't move ahead. And, then we have got to roll up our sleeves, and we have got to do the dirty work and it is difficult work. It is hard work. It is work that lots of people find very cumbersome. We have got to deal with our allies. We have got to persuade them.
Mr. HUNTER. And, then what if they say a mild inspection regime similar to the last one that turned up a lot of empty rooms and smiling Iraqi bureaucrats. Would you then say we take military action.
General CLARK. I would say it would depend on whether we have exhausted all other possibilities. And, it is difficult. I don't want to draw a line and say, you know, “This kind of inspection, if it is 100 inspectors, that is enough.” I think we have got to have done everything we can do, given the time that is available to us before we ask the men and women in uniform who you know so well
Mr. HUNTER. You have gone over the generalities, but you have got to get down to the details. As I understand it, your position is if we—if you analyze this and looked at the requirement in terms of people, thoroughness and backing by force of a real inspection of Iraq, and the United Nations did not give that to us, you would then, rather than acquiesce to something that was a strategy for defeat, you would then take military action or you would not.
General CLARK. Well, as I have said, I don't think you can achieve a diplomatic resolution of this without the ultimate, without putting force on the table as the last resort, and it has got to be really on the table. And, I think, you know, I feel very comfortable, I think I have proved to this body that I am willing to use personally, that I have been able, when the time comes to pull the trigger, to pull the trigger. So you don't put that option on the table unless you really mean it. But you—I personally really mean that you have got to exhaust all the options first. You are giving me a hypothetical and I can't answer.
Mr. HUNTER. I am giving you a real scenario that is probably going to be voted on in the United Nations at some point, which is what is the size and make-up and what is the standard for the inspection team. And, we all know, and you know and I know that we are going to have people in the United Nations who are going to vote to have a much weaker standard than we want. And, we probably know that we are going to get a watered down inspection. And so, we are going to have, since you are the guy that says you have got think through everything, I am asking you, let's think it through. You get the watered-down inspection. And you know it is going to end up with us being in a lot of empty rooms in Iraq with smiling Iraqi bureaucrats. Would you then go for force?
General ČLARK. I would go for force if that is the last resort and there is no other way to do it, and we have done everything we can do to strengthen the case of the United States in terms of its
Mr. HUNTER. Let's assume that.
General CLARK. If you, if we are assuming we have done everything by your definition and by my definition, and there is no other option but the use of force, yes, we are going to use force because this is a national security problem affecting the welfare of the American people. But, if we are going to use force effectively, we have got to convey to the American people and, hopefully, to people all over the world why this is a problem. And Mr. Chairman, if I could just say in conclusion I have been all over this country in the last month talking to people, and nobody wants war and most people don't understand this problem. I happen, I think I do understand it because I have lived with it for a decade. Most people don't and they say, they don't see the connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. They are worried about what the consequences will be and they do feel the United States is—somehow we have accelerated the tempo here and we have left our public behind.
That is why hearings like this and this public dialogue is so very important. We have got to have the support. Having that resolution is the—and from the American people, and this body, is one of the strongest reinforcements we can give to our President and our diplomats in New York to get the resolution we need. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HUNTER. And thank you, General. Thank you for your testimony. And have a good, safe flight. Oh. Susan Davis, Susan Davis has waited here for a long time, General. I know you have got to take off, but can Susan have a shot at you before you leave? Susan,
Mrs. SUSAN DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Thank you very much for staying. And quickly, I think you mentioned preemption. You mentioned the fact that this is not preemption. But, I wonder if you could, you and certainly Mr. Perle, as well, this issue of perception and whether or not in, in the minds of some, would be setting some precedents, perhaps some dangerous precedents. India, Pakistan, what message does this send?
General ČLARK. I think that as a doctrine it is a very difficult doctrine. It is probably a flawed doctrine as expressed doctrinally. And unfortunately, it is out there in public. I heard the West Point speech. I was concerned when I heard the speech. We have talked about this for years behind closed doors. We have always imagined we might send in a hit team in to take out a chemical weapons factory. Suddenly, preemption becomes taking out a government and going to a regime change. It is a hugely different concept; now it is more like preventive war. And, the notion of starting a war to prevent one is a very difficult notion to sign up to in the abstract.
So you really have to see the particulars and when you put it out there in the abstract as a sort of operating principle, it is subject to misinterpretation, misunderstanding and replication by other states, and it is not in our interest for them to do that. So, I am concerned about this doctrine.
Nevertheless, I will tell you that having read the doctrine itself, or bits and pieces of it, there is much of it in there that is very standard and very much in line with what we have always done. But, we are dealing here with the problem of perceptions. And leadership. This is a country with global responsibilities. People
look to us all over the world to set the standard. Not only to be the strongest country, but to adhere to international law and support the institutions that we created in our own image. And so, I think when we—as my colleague said, there was some feeling over the last decade that somehow we had given away too much to multinational institutions.
Personally, I don't think that feeling was justified. I think there was a misunderstanding and it wasn't communicated correctly. But, whatever it is, we built those multinational institutions for our own selfish American interests. In 1945, as President Truman said when he opened the United Nations, we have to change from our aggressor's motto, or our enemy's motto, of “might makes right” and use the United Nations so that “right makes might”.
But, to work in those institutions, it is not them, it is us. We are in there. We are part of that institution and we have to lead it. We have a unique opportunity in the post-Cold War world to do so. We have a unique opportunity on this issue to do so, and I regret the fact that there have been some perceptions out there which have undercut our ability to do it. But, I hope that on this issue, that with General Powell up there and many others, that we will achieve the leadership we seek.
Mrs. SUSAN DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Do you think that
Mr. HUNTER. And I hate to cut the gentlelady off, but I have been reminded by Mr. Snyder that the General is going to miss his plane.
Mrs. SUSAN DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Okay. I don't want to hold him up. Mr. Perle, could you respond.
Mr. HUNTER. General, we want—I know Ike Skelton wants to say good-bye before you leave.
Mr. SKELTON. I just want to say thanks so very, very much. Thank you.
General CLARK. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you.
Mr. HUNTER. And, we will have some staff folks help make sure the General gets his car and is able to
General CLARK. Taxi, sir.
Mr. HUNTER. Get that limousine and make sure we get him to the airport. Mr. Perle, you want to respond to Ms. Davis' question.
Mr. PERLE. Sure. General, as you leave, I just want you to know, I think your testimony is hopelessly confused and I want to explain why. But, I didn't want him to think I waited till he left the room before saying that.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. General, we will see you later, and Mr. Perle has got a few kind remarks about your testimony. Go ahead, Mr. Perle.
Mr. PERLE. I think the question about the precedent-setting nature of an action intended to preempt an even worse action that might take place. And, here I think we are talking about unique circumstances. Not to be too legalistic about it, the current state of relations between the United States and Iraq, and indeed between the international community and Iraq is that a ceasefire is in place. That ceasefire is contingent upon Iraq observing a number of United Nations resolutions, all of which have been violated. Under international law and common practice and common sense, a ceasefire predicated on the compliance where there is noncompli
ance ceases itself to exist. And I, therefore, believe that we would not be preempting as we would if we chose some innocent target in another set of circumstances and decided to attack. We would simply be responding to the breakdown of the ceasefire.
Mrs. SUSAN DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Mr. Perle, would it can you talk about other countries, as well then? Do you see any concern that that could be leveraged by other countries to justify actions down the line and should we be worried about that?
Mr. PERLE. Actually, I don't. I don't partly because of the unique circumstances. There is no-none of the other instances that are often referred to in this context involve blatant violation of U.N. resolutions in the context of a ceasefire. But, I also think that countries on important matters like war and peace pay close attention to their interests. And, the arguments they may advance are not the motivating factor. So, I think it is important to distinguish between what drives an India or a Pakistan or any other country to take military action and the argument that they may erect to support that. I don't think the decision-making is affected by precedents of the kind that you are concerned about.
Mrs. SUSAN DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Okay. Thank you.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Schrock, you didn't have a chance to finish your last question because we had to go to the vote with a minute left. If you want to take a little more time, go right ahead, sir.
Mr. ŠCHROCK. Sure. I would love to know Mr. Perle's, you know, the General said time is on our side. My guess is you do not believe that.
Mr. PERLE. No, I don't believe it. And I, frankly, I don't think he made a very convincing case in support of that cliche. But, it was one of many cliches. At the end of the day, when you sought to elicit from him a reconciliation of the view that time is on our side, with what he acknowledged to be our ignorance of how far along Saddam Hussein is, he had no explanation.
Mr. PERLE. He seems to be preoccupied—and I am quoting nowwith building legitimacy, with exhausting all diplomatic remedies as though we hadn't been in diplomacy in the last decade, relegating the use of force as a last resort, to building the biggest coalition; in short, a variety of very amorphous ephemeral concerns alongside which there is a stark reality, and that is that every day that goes by, Saddam Hussein is busy perfecting those weapons of mass destruction he already has, improving their capabilities, improving the means with which to deliver them and readying himself for a future conflict.
So, I don't believe that time is on our side, and I don't believe that—this fuzzy notion that the most important thing is building legitimacy as if we lack legitimacy now. After all the U.N. resolutions that he is in blatant violation of, I don't think that should be the decisive consideration.
So, I think General Clark doesn't want to see us use military force, and he has thrown out as many reasons as he can to develop for that, but the bottom line is he just doesn't want to take action. He wants to wait.
Mr. SCHROCK. In an ideal world it would be nice if we didn't have to use military action. I used the analogy when I was in the Navy, and the ship got underway at 0800, I would rather be at the ship