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at 0600 that 0801. And, I think that makes a big difference. And I would rather be preemptive than reactive because 9/11/01—and we certainly don't want that again.
Mr. PERLE. If I could just say a word on this, I doubt that in any of the hearings that you have had on this subject someone at some time or another has not said that force must always be a last resort. What does that mean? Does it mean that force can only be used in such desperate circumstances that even implausible alternatives to force have been attempted? Even implausible alternatives to force have actually made it more difficult to accomplish the result by force.
I think it is one of the dumber cliches, frankly, to say that force must always be a last resort. Our purpose must always be to protect this country in the most effective way while seeking to minimize the loss of life not only on our own side, but for those with whom we find ourselves in combat. And, sometimes waiting makes it worse. Sometimes pretending that sanctions can solve the problem makes it worse. Look at the last decade of sanctions against Iraq since the end of the Gulf War. In many ways those sanctions have made it more difficult for us to take action today.
So, I don't believe that it is automatic that waiting is always better. You can wait to the point where you then do resort to force, you do so under highly adverse circumstances, and that is exactly what we face today. If we wait long enough on the theory that because force is a last resort, we can't use it now, we may well find ourselves taking more casualties with a less certain outcome when we ultimately do resort to the use of force.
So, the standard here is the effective protection of our country and our interests, and it is not some theoretical view that force can only be used after you have tried even implausible alternatives. And, what is wrong with General Clark's analysis is that the alternative he is proposing is wildly ineffective, and I think he knows that, because when you tried to press him on what we do when the inspectors show up in the empty room, you got a lot of very fuzzy stuff about building legitimacy.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Larson.
Mr. LARSON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Perle. Like many others in the committee, I associate myself with the remarks of Mr. Snyder earlier. I have come to the position that what distinguishes us from terrorists, of course, is the rule of law in that logically, from my perspective, going to the United Nations makes a great deal of sense. The President, I thought, was brilliant both in his speech and in his comments embracing the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), pledged to work on the Palestinian-Israeli situation, Secretary Powell talking about paying the money in arrears that we owe the United Nations. Clearly, I think a strong move—and the President, I think, squarely, as you said in your opening remarks, put the onus on the United Nations and also on Saddam Hussein in terms of keeping the peace.
What is perplexing to me is that by the same token, we have heard testimony over the last several weeks where most people from the administration say, “But you know what, that can't work.” Inspectors won't work; nothing short of force will work.
So, I guess my question is, why don't we just—why doesn't the administration come forward and say, well, let us declare war. If, in fact, Condaleeza Rice says, you know, we have proof now that there is this direct linkage in connection with al Qaeda, then clearly as has been outlined and also already authorized by this Congress, then why aren't we moving down this line? If—to play the devil's advocate, if time is the issue, and there is a feeling that we are letting time slip by, and the case has already been made, why not force? That would be my first question.
Second would be, along the lines of the resolution in 1998, there, also to create regime change, was discussion of a military tribunal, to bring this guy before a military tribunal and try him as a war criminal. There hasn't been much talk about that, and I would like to know if that is a course that the administration would pursue.
And, my last question deals with resources, and you focused on that, as well. It would seem to me that at the end of the day, when you peel away the veneer on this thing, it all boils down to oil. I am not saying that in a grand conspiratorial context, but from the standpoint that that is the resource that enables Saddam Hussein to purchase his weapons of mass destruction. And, if that is the resource, and if we said from the outset, dating back from September 11, that we are going to do everything to prevent terrorism including shrinking up their resources if there has been an exchange, if there is this community or collegiality amongst terrorists, clearly that is the method, that is the mode in which it can happen. But, what are the plans once we take Iraq to deal with oil and hopefully, from my perspective, to turn that resource into a humanitarian Marshall Plan for the very people that he has vanquished?
Mr. PERLE. If I could start with that first, the oil of Iraq belongs to the people of Iraq, and I would assume because we have never seized the natural resources of another country, our purpose would be to make sure that that oil was used for the benefit of the people of Iraq. For the moment it is used for the benefit of some of the people of Iraq, Saddam and his cronies in particular. So, that money would be used to rebuild the country and to settle Iraq's various legitimate obligations.
I would be delighted to see Saddam Hussein tried as a war criminal. Having used poison gas against civilians, the case seems to me open and shut that he is a war criminal. The problem is getting our hands on him. But, that if we do get our hands on him, that would be an entirely appropriate next step.
Mr. LARSON OF CONNECTICUT. You asked the question, why not simply use force.
Mr. PERLE. The President has made the decision, and I think overall it was the right decision, to go to the United Nations, to challenge the United Nations to live up to its responsibilities and achieve Saddam's compliance with its resolutions. I think it is very clear that they had no intention of doing that until the President put that demand in front of them, that they would have gone on cheerfully, as they have for many years, allowing Saddam to scorn and flaunt U.N. resolutions, and they would have continued to behave like the old League of Nations.
If we are talking about last chances, I suppose this is a last chance for the United Nations to acquit itself and to do the right
thing. I am not sure I would have been willing to extend the last chance given the dismal record of the past, but he has embarked on that, so we need to see what they are prepared to do. But let me suggest this: If the best the United Nations can do is come up with an inspection regime that any sensible person knows will not succeed in uncovering Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, we will have accepted the appearance of a policy for the reality. There will be no policy, no effective policy, behind any such inspection regime. And, an inspection regime that has 220 inspectors for a country the size of Iraq, that puts the key decision-making official as to whether a violation has occurred or not in the hands of a Chinese official that operates under limits on where they can go, that is without sufficient mobility to go anywhere by surprise, that is not a serious inspection regime. And, if we settle for that, we will have made the decision not to confront Saddam Hussein.
Mr. LARSON. I agree. I think it should be robust, but I also think that if the President has yet to make up his mind with respect to the use of force, why should Congress make up its mind with respect to the use of force? Why shouldn't Congress go down the same line and follow the President and adhere to him along the lines of his resolve with the United Nations, and if that fails, as I am sure the President will watch closely, come back to the Congress, who, I believe, will also embrace him wholeheartedly, having gone through those processes, or if it turns into a sham, as you have pointed out?
Mr. PERLE. I think the President—and here I am only guessing, I have no inside information—I think the President has made up his mind. He has concluded that unless the U.N. takes action to enforce a number of resolutions to which he referred in that very impressive speech to the United Nations, the United States and others who are willing to join with us will take action, and I think he is asking for a congressional endorsement of that policy. And, I hope that the Congress gives him that support. I think it will be very helpful to him at the United Nations in getting their support and their cooperation.
But, I have grave misgivings about the pretense that inspections can solve the problem. I simply don't believe they can. It is a practical judgment. Can 220 inspectors in the country of size of Iraq
Mr. LARSON. Secretary Rumsfeld was very clear that it is not inspections, it is disarmament, and I think that should be the stated, goal as well. But, it is equally—I mean, I can't believe with the sophistication that the country has and with our ability to get in there and the initial success that Mr. Spratt outlined at one of the hearings we had, the initial success that UNSCOM had when they went in there, I can't believe given all the information that we have as it relates to biological and chemical weapons, that we are not going to be able to discover anything. I find that equally as incomprehensible.
Mr. PERLE. It is conceivable we could discover something, but we will discover that everything is inconceivable.
If I may add this point, General Clark referred on a number of occasions to creating a trigger, the idea being that once we-inspections can establish a trigger, was the phrase he used, the idea
being that once we go in, if we find either that Saddam denies usdenies the inspectors access to a site, or they actually find something at that site, that that somehow provides a trigger.
I am not quite sure what that means, and he is not now here to explain it. Does it mean if inspectors are prevented from visiting a site, that we immediately go to war? Does it mean we go back to the United Nations for a resolution? Does it mean that we negotiate access to that site at a time which agreement can be achieved? What happens if the inspectors set out for us a specific site because intelligence has become available that there is something to be found at that site, and three miles down the road on the only road leading to the site a tractor trailer has crashed. There is an accident, and the whole area is cordoned off, and the highway police, the Íraqi police, say, “You can't pass here,” there has been an accident. Does that mean war?
The trigger that the general refers to is not automatic. It isn't black and white. And if I had to guess, I would guess that the inspections are more likely to produce a safety catch than a trigger, because the situations are almost certain to be ambiguous. And, where they are not inherently ambiguous, Saddam can make them ambiguous. So, the idea that we will be better off with an inspection regime than acting on the basis of the knowledge we already possess seems to me quite misplaced.
Mr. SAXTON (presiding). Mr. Skelton would like to ask a question and make a comment.
Mr. SKELTON. I am seeking back in my recollection, 1991, was there not an earlier resolution by Congress that preceded the one that authorized the one to use force? There were two resolutions, as I remember.
Mr. PERLE. The resolution, I recall, the one that was voted rather closely in both houses, but more closely in the Senate, was the resolution authorizing the use of force. I don't recall one prior to that.
Mr. SKELTON. That is my recollection-okay, thank you.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Perle, let me I keep wanting to call you Doctor. I am not sure why.
Mr. PERLE. I never finished the dissertation.
Let me just make an observation and see what your response might be. In the international community, there seemed to be and perhaps this is an oversimplification—two views of how to proceed in these kinds of situations. I just spent the last two days taking part in a Russian-American forum, and frankly, I think that we have a lot to learn from the Russians because of their experience in matters that are very similar to the matters that we are discussing, particularly with regard to Chechnya. And, they have observed over the last several years, I guess, that their activities in fighting terrorism often beget more terrorism.
They used the example of apprehending, I guess, and killing Katov, which generated a spate of more terrorism, and others that they have captured over the years that have generated a spurt of more terrorism. So, they caution us as much as General Clark would to try other things first.
And then, on the other hand, I have been quite a student of the Israeli experience over the last number of decades, and I observed
for many years that the Israelis looked at opportunities to combat terrorism as saying, if you committed an act of terror, be ready for what follows. And, for many years it worked. And then, the Israeli experience seemed to soften some, and episodes of terrorism grew.
So, there is this notion somehow that being tolerant to a point with terrorists will somehow get us to the point where we can deal with it in some other way, and I haven't been able to identify that
So, I guess my question is this: The rationale that being tough with terrorists begets more terrorism is one point of view that is definitely out there as the Russians that were here think today, and on the other hand, we can look at experiences that we have had where we have stood up against terrorists and over time have been successful, and I just would like to get your impressions.
Mr. PERLE. It is a very interesting question. In the Russian case, particularly with respect to Chechnya, I think the Russians have done a great deal of damage to the civilian population of Chechnya and, by the careless way in which they have used force, have killed a great many civilians who were not terrorists. Now, you have seen your family destroyed. You are the sole survivor. You weren't engaged in any act of terrorism. The attack against your family was without any obvious justification. Might you become a terrorist? Might you become so embittered that you will take up arms against the people who did this?
It is entirely possible, but the context is very important. Everything depends on why the terrorists are motivated to become terrorists in the first place. And, I don't believe that the terrorists we now face, particularly the al Qaeda type of terrorism, is a product of anything we have done. It is a product of who we are and what we are and what obstacle we put into place of the ambition of these terrorists. And, in that sense we are not producing terrorists by the action we take. We are producing terrorists because we exist, and I know of no way that we can accommodate terrorists on that issue except by suicide. So the right policy, it seems to me, is to oppose terrorism with the full range of instruments available to us.
I had the privilege of meeting not long ago with Le Kwan Yu from Singapore, a very wise man, and he said on this occasion, he said, “What did we ever do to justify acts of terror against us by al Qaeda-associated groups?” What that rhetorical question drove home for me was the absence of a connection between any action or provocation by us and the terrorists who were arrayed against us. Singapore had done nothing that could be used as a basis for a plot to destroy Singapore, and yet the Singapore authorities uncovered a plot to do grave damage in that country.
So, I think we have to use the means that are at our disposal. To say if we fight terrorism, we will breed more terrorists is to throw up our hands and accept defeat in the face of terrorism, and that clearly is not sensible or an acceptable outcome.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much. And, thank you for being here. You have been very generous with your time this morning. We have been here for three hours, and I know that I can speak for other Members of Congress in wanting to thank you and General Clark for helping us to gain a better perspective of these