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body knows he is a bad guy. We all know that. We wish the actuarial tables would take over and rid him of being head of the regime. But clearly he is a lucky guy when it comes to that.
But isn't this really about the fact that we are standing alone with perhaps Great Britain at our side and some of our lesser allies—because he is standing on an oil field; and that we are the sole superpower, and that we have got allies who have, you know, warmed up to us in the post-September 11 environment and said some nice things and maybe done some nice things, but when push comes to shove and when it comes to the second-most-wanted man in the world, Saddam Hussein, because clearly we have a war on terrorism and the most-wanted man is still, I think, Osama Bin Laden. But when it comes to standing with us on what is clearly in the best interest of all of our allies, and frankly the world community, of getting rid of a guy that we know, once he has the power and capability will use these weapons in a very negative way against the world community, they have chosen oil and appeasement over us. Isn't that true?
Dr. SPERTZEL. Let me comment to this extent. There is no question that Iraq is sitting on what may be, or what some estimates have given, as the
Mrs. TAUSCHER. Richest.
Mr. SPERTZEL. -richest oil field in the world, currently unexplored. It has also been stated as early as 1996 that France, or French companies, had signed leases, at least six, to exploit those oil fields. And I have seen recently where Russia companies have also signed a number of leases also to exploit the same oil field. It is also worth recalling that up until March of this past year, that France was the leading trading partner of Iraq. And I said “was until March.” they were supplanted at that point in time by Russia. And that indeed is a big economic incentive. And whether that is what is driving their position, I can't say. But, the suggestive information is there.
Saddam is known for exploiting economic interests in the region and around the world. His awarding the contracts under the oil-forfood is based not on the quality of the product, not on necessarily the needs, but who his friends are. He lets that be known. And that is how he has been gaining friends around the world. So to that extent, yes, he is exploiting it and he is very, very good at it.
I do want to add one other comment on here. The issue is not Saddam, because if he died tomorrow you wouldn't see a change.
Mrs. TAUSCHER. Right.
Dr. SPERTZEL. There is an inner-core there that not very kindly, I liken to an inner-city street gang, run by a chief or a head who is absolutely and totally amoral and ruthless, but if something happens to that chief, there is somebody else to step in. And that, I think, describes appropriately the situation today in Iraq.
Dr. Kay. I think I have just discovered a difference with Dick Spertzel, my friend. As a physicist, I would prefer to run the experiment. I would actually like to see him dead tomorrow and let's see what the results were. But basically, you know, I agree.
Let me you know, that is a very tough question and it is at the heart of what we have tried to get at. One thing that made the early inspections so extraordinarily successful as opposed to later
problems that developed in the mid nineties was this united Security Council. And it is easy to focus on the economic incentives of the French and others that had—and I certainly have done that in some writing. But I also think we forget the very special time that 1991 was. Ā, Saddam had attacked an Arab state. I mean, it is sometimes good to have a stupid opponent. I probably shouldn't have to tell you this. Some of you may have benefited from it. And a stupid opponent is sometimes as good as being good in helping. Second, it was at the end of the Cold War in which there was an era of feeling things had changed.
I remember I had a private meeting with the Security Councilwith only interpreters and assistants available—when I came back from the parking lot. The first two states to compliment me on the behavior of the time were Yemen and Cuba, neither known for being personally good friends of myself or—and I have no relatives in either—or of the United States. It was that period of feeling.
It was also a period in which Russia, certainly in 1992 and 1993, Russia could be coerced or bribed into good behavior. It was a period in which Iran was marginalized. A lot of things changed in the mid-nineties. And the memory of what Saddam had done faded for a lot, compared to other things.
So I think some of our allies—I think economics is a huge interpretive factor. But we also have to say we probably didn't do a very good job of explaining the threat, and we took too long. Saddam knew—and this goes to the argument of time on his side—Saddam knew, and we knew, if he strung out the inspections long enough, eventually people would get tired.
The second time I came back from Iraq, I was in an elevator in New York in the Secretariat Building. Someone I didn't know cornered me in the elevator and said, you are responsible for children and women dying in Iraq. Her job was, in fact—and a very important job—taking care of feeding children and women around the world. And I tried to explain, “no, that was Saddam;" and she said, “no, because of you, the sanctions are continuing.” We did a very poor job of explaining and allowing Saddam to manipulate that. And that had impact among some of our European allies.
It is a complicated issue but the important thing is what you started with. As long as the council is divided, inspections will never be effective.
Mrs. TAUSCHER. Well I hope that when the President goes to the U.N. on Thursday that he is prepared to take them to George Bush's woodshed, because it was very, very easy for most people to be supportive of the American people after the catastrophic attacks of a year ago. It was a no-brainer there almost. It was very clear that we were unwarrantedly attacked without provocation, that many thousands of people died, innocent civilians just going to work in the morning.
But I think the President should move toward making sure that people understand that we need them with us when it is not so easy and when it maybe takes a few minutes to think through the problem. And if you are not with us on this one, if you are not with us, understanding that we cannot as a peaceful world allow a man with this kind of record, a three-time loser, to have these kinds of weapons and expect that he is going to—what, not use them—then
you are not with us. And then I think we have got to start to make sure the people understand that we are going to start to count again, as we did a year ago, who is on our side and who is not. And if you are not with us on this, then you are an appeaser of him; and if you are an appeaser of him, then you are not going to be somebody that I am going to be supportive of.
Mr. HUNTER. Thank the gentlelady. Mr. Forbes.
Mr. FORBES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, gentlemen. And I am going to be very quick with my questions, because we are limited on time and I know you are tired.
One of the questions that has been puzzling me, and a little bit troublesome, is I saw on television and I have read some experts where a number of individuals who are colleagues of mine, Members of Congress, were very adamant just four years ago that some sort of strong action needed to be taken against Saddam Hussein and Iraq for a regime change. And they seem to have flip-flopped in the last four years, and I have been trying to look to see the evidence for that.
My question for you today, is there any evidence that you have at all to suggest that we should be more optimistic today regarding the success of weapons inspections or reducing Hussein's ability to develop and deploy weapons of mass destruction, short of a regime change, than existed in 1998, just four years ago?
Dr. SPERTZEL. Quick answer. No.
The second question I had is, we had some of the same debate that you heard today took place before the Persian Gulf War. And, Dr. Kay, I know you are probably the best expert we can bring in here on nuclear weapons. In your opinion, had we not gone into Iraq at that time, where would Saddam Hussein be today regarding the development of a nuclear weapon?
Dr. Kay. He would have nuclear weapons.
Dr. Kay. He would have more than one. By the end of the decade, that is, the end of the 1990s, turn of the millennium, he would probably have had around a dozen weapons.
Mr. FORBES. So, if the debate had ended differently before the Persian Gulf War, we would be staring at a Saddam Hussein today with probably at least a dozen nuclear weapons in his arsenal.
The last two questions I have for you, one for Dr. Kay and one for Dr. Spertzel. Dr. Kay, if, in your best opinion, with everything you have seen, the likely nuclear weapon that Saddam Hussein could or would develop within that six-month period or six-year period that he was talking about, if he was successful in developing and deploying that weapon in the United States, what would your opinion be regarding the likely death toll that it would have? And I understand there are a number of variables, but your best opinion that you would have.
Dr. Kay. I can't imagine you would do it without the intent of causing maximum destruction. I have never been a fan of people who believe you set nuclear weapons off as demonstrations, because you are not sure what the reaction of the people you are demonstrating to is. So, assuming that he was seeking maximum number of casualties, there is every reason to think, even if every
thing doesn't go right, you are in the 25- to 50,000 prompt fatalities or a larger number, depending on how you do it. And you know, there are places you can set off a weapon that would cause even more. I am not terribly happy to describe it, but there are ways you can magnify the casualties tremendously.
Mr. FORBES. And, Dr. Spertzel, for you—and I don't want you to describe the weapon, but the one that you think would most likely be used—if that weapon were developed and deployed, a biological weapon in the United States, what is your best estimate of what the death toll would be from that weapon?
Dr. SPERTZEL. The most likely means of delivering it would be to have when you are dealing with the weapons-grade materialis merely to have it released under the appropriate conditions. Several scenarios could be envisioned. This would be done in a covert means, not an overt, which would maximize casualties. I would envision maybe a multicity coordinated attack, not unlike the coordinated airplanes last fall. Then the number of casualties depends entirely on what the target is, but as few as maybe 20 grams of material would be enough, for example, properly released into a 14
16-story building, that would give you virtually 100 percent casualties of everyone inside that building where it was done in a way that it wasn't known that it had been released. So you can fill in the numbers by picking which building you want. And the ability to do that requires nothing special other than knowing proper scouting of the building and having the right quality material.
That is what worries me with Iraq being involved with bioterrorism, because he can have delivery boys without a great deal of specific knowledge, but as long as the product is properly prepared ahead of time, i.e., made in Iraq, I could envision other scenarios. I could envision one scenario, quite honestly, that potentially could involve upwards to a million people with a relatively small quantity of material.
Mr. FORBES. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman. Mr. McIntyre, do you have any questions?
Mr. MCINTYRE. Not at this time.
Mr. HUNTER. Okay. We will do a second round and, Ike and I had already had an opportunity to—oh, I am sorry. Mr. Andrews, yeah. Did you get a chance in the last panel?
Mr. ANDREWS. Yes.
Mr. ANDREWS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank both of our witnesses for their candor and their service to our country and for their very valuable testimony. In the last ten years, this Congress has voted to spend three trillion dollars to defend the United States. None of that did us much good at all a year ago tomorrow, when 19 people with box cutters and airline tickets decided to launch asymmetric warfare against us. I think that if we have done anything wrong in our national discussion about Iraq thus far, it is to discuss the threat of Saddam Hussein in terms of orthodox 20th century conventional warfare rather than in the context of the world we are actually living in.
Dr. Spertzel, if I read your testimony correctly, you have concluded that among the offensive bacterial agents the Iraqis presently possess is smallpox; is that correct?
Dr. SPERTZEL. That is correct.
Mr. ANDREWS. If they were to choose to use smallpox to launch an attack on the United States, how would they do it?
Dr. SPERTZEL. Again, if that is just in dry form, in powdered form, smallpox is relatively stable so getting it into the U.S. is not an issue.
Mr. ANDREWS. How much of a quantity would you need? How large would the box be?
Dr. SPERTZEL. Twenty grams of material, which I just cited, would accomplish an awful lot.
Mr. ANDREWS. And how large is that box?
Dr. SPERTZEL. Well, if you envision—a friend of mine, Mr. Bill Patrick, used to carry around prior to September of last year, used to as part of his show and tell, he used to carry a Ziploc bag, 1pint size, containing 200 grams.
Mr. ANDREWS. So an airplane passenger who puts a 1-pint Ziploc bac in his suitcase could carry that quantity into the United States.
Dr. SPERTZEL. Correct.
Mr. ANDREWS. And once it came here, how would it be used as a weapon?
Dr. SPERTZEL. If it is truly weapons-grade material, easily dispersible, it again, is a series of scenarios. It could be-it could be released into a building, which would require nothing special except knowing how to do it.
Mr. ANDREWS. So if individuals—would they pour this into the heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) system of a building?
Dr. SPERTZEL. Yes.
Mr. ANDREWS. Could climb through the HVAC system and leave empty the powder into the HVAC system. Let us assume that this was a building like the building we are in now, the Rayburn Building, which at any given time I suppose, has, I don't know, 2- or 3,000 people working in it. How many of those 3,000 people would likely survive that attack?
Dr. SPERTZEL. Depending on the strain selected—but since you are using smallpox, generally considered to have a 30 percent lethality. But it wouldn't just be the 200 because it is a covert attack. All of you are going out in your community
Mr. ANDREWS. So if someone became infected with the smallpox and then went to the Pentagon City Mall tonight and walked around, they could conceivably infect people there.
Dr. SPERTZEL. Not that fast, but somewhere in the incubation period.
Mr. ANDREWS. How long is the incubation period?
Mr. ANDREWS. So within 2 or 3 weeks, if 400 people were infected, what is your best estimate as to how many would be infected 2 or 3 weeks from now?
Dr. SPERTZEL. I am going to now rely on a faulty memory, but I believe that it is something like ten to one; that is, ten people exposed to the one original.