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egy just right, even though I am not convinced that the resolution suggested by the President thereafter had the same tone.
And I hope the Congress will hold the President to the September 12th speech strategy not necessarily with binding stipulations, but with a strong sense of encouragement that a multilateral ultimatum with tough deadlines and trying to use inspections and disarmament if possible first is the right way to go, for a number of reasons, and I will get into those.
But, a. I think it can work. I think a toughened up and tightened up containment strategy can work; and, b. if we go to war, we need to go to war with as many allies as possible. It does not make sense, for example, to essentially say we can do this without the Saudis, let's not worry too much about getting them aboard. When you look at the political and military realities of that region, doing this war without Saudi infrastructure and Saudi support is such a way of fighting with one arm behind your back that I think we need to craft a strategy that will maximize the odds of countries like that one being with us, if and when we need to go to war.
So, I strongly support the President's September 12th strategy, because I think that is the way you get the Saudis on board, and others like that, if you need to ultimately use force.
Let me say, I do believe—and I agree with Eliot Cohen-I do believe that we can overthrow Saddam Hussein if necessary at the same time that we continue the operations against al Qaeda. There may be some political strains with certain key allies and maybe some political dangers with countries like Pakistan trying to overcrowd the agenda, but in military terms I strongly agree with that assessment, and I do not believe that we need to wait.
In fact, let me agree further with Eliot on the point that it is very hard to develop a national consensus to go to war. We have all seen that in the recent debate, and this body has been very instrumental in conducting that debate. We know this is not the sort of thing you can turn on and turn off, based on when you decide it is politically opportune.
So, even though I am not convinced that Saddam's overthrow is absolutely as urgent as Eliot has argued, I do believe that now that we are having this debate, let's have it now. We have the military wherewithal to force this to an issue, force this to a head right now if necessary, so for better or worse, let's have it now.
Finally, I think that we also need to remember, however, that even if war might be easy, it also might not be. And the last thing you can assume as an American military planner or a President or a Member of Congress is that this war will be easy. And in this sense I strongly take issue with the tone of several members of the Defense Policy Board, who in almost a quasi-official capacity have been suggesting this war would be a cakewalk, a walk in the park. These are their words, not mine. I think this is an irresponsible way to prepare the country for conflict, and I actually don't believe people associated with the Secretary of Defense should be using this sort of language.
I think if we are going to go into this, we need to recognize this could be tough. Eliot has pointed out how the Iraqi military has deteriorated and also how its morale may be very weak, and how it is essentially a house of cards held together by fear. But there is
another side to the same set of equations, which is the following: If you are going to do this war, for a number of reasons this is going to be a big war. This has to be a couple hundred thousand Americans, in my judgment, for a number of reasons. First of all, to maximize the chances that the Iraqis will crumble, you want to have them realize our victory is inevitable. You don't want there to be any doubt about this. You don't want to try some new, innovative concept of warfare with 30,000 or 40,000 Americans that might work and might fail, because Saddam is going to tell his troops under those circumstances, remember Mogadishu. If we just hang in there, extract some casualties and buy time, we can make the Americans change their mind. He is wrong if he makes that argument, but his commanders may not know that he is wrong.
You want to intimidate them. You want to overwhelm them. If you do this operation, you want to do it the way we invaded Panama in 1989 with overwhelming shock from multiple axes simultaneously. You don't want to be doing overly creative small operations here and there. So you have to do it as a big operation. That is point number one.
Point number two. If the Iraqis use the weaponry they have, even for a few days, and they use it reasonably competently-I am not talking about stellar military performance; if they simply use this weaponry reasonably competently—they can extract many hundreds of American combat deaths, and perhaps even a couple thousand. I agree with Eliot that predictions are dangerous, but we also need to have some sense of what we are talking here, and a very good study that he—as we all know that he was one of the directors of the Gulf War Air Power Study-pointed out, for example, that in the first three days of Desert Storm—the first five days, I am sorry, we actually had one-third of all of our aircraft losses in that time period because we were flying low, going after targets that were difficult to find, and we were vulnerable there to shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles and antiaircraft artillery.
The Iraqis still have a lot of that. If you are fighting in the city, you have got to fly low unless you have a Special Forces person who happens to be in position to lase a target and you get lucky. In general, you are going to have to fly low to be accurate and to find targets. What that means is the couple of thousand shoulderlaunched surface-to-air missiles, several thousand antiaircraft weapons that the Iraqis have can be effective. They can be much more effective than the Somalis' rocket-propelled grenades, which brought down a couple of Black Hawk helicopters on that fateful night in October of 1993. So, I would simply argue, if we are not ready for some more of that kind of fighting, we are not yet serious. That would be an additional point.
Finally, we are going to kill a lot of Iraqi civilians, and Saddam Hussein is going to be the first person to make sure that happens. We are not so good at warfare that we can fight in an urban setting and avoid civilian casualties. If you look at the Panama experience, for example, or the Mogadishu experience, when we fight in cities to go after people and take down military, we generally kill more civilians of the other side than military, and that is using the most careful techniques that we have.
This is important, not simply for humanitarian reasons; it is important for political reasons. If we are going to go into this war, we have to be ready for the political fallout of that kind of effect being shown throughout the Arab world. There are going to be thousands of Iraqi innocents dying, and it is going to be shown on Al-Jazeera and CNN, and the whole world is going to see it.
What that means to me is it is one more reason why you have got to go in fast and furiously and big if you are going to do this, because you have got to win this war before that political fallout becomes so strong that you feel like you have to stop or pull back or negotiate for terms.
So, for a number of reasons, the only serious strategy, in my judgment, is to go in big and go in hard, and be ready for casualties, and see simultaneous objectives the way we did in the 1989 invasion of Panama, but on a much broader scale. When you do that, you have to fly low, you have to go inside of cities, and you may actually lose several hundred Americans, possibly even a couple thousand in a reasonable worst case.
The good news is we are not going to have any problem succeeding. I cannot see a way in which Saddam Hussein can stop us militarily. He can try to get Israel to retaliate against a Scud missile strike; he can try to splinter our coalition. That is obviously what he is trying to do right now. But I think militarily speaking, at least, he has no chance, and, therefore, even if this war is difficult, it will be quick, and it will be decisive, but once it is over, it will not be quick or decisive for us to come home. Because and I will finish with this comment and look forward very much to discussion thereafter–because, if we are going to do this right, I think we have to plan on a ten-year occupation of Iraq, plus or minus, involving anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 American forces; probably closer to the higher end at first, closer to the lower end over time.
As this committee knows, adding that burden to the current U.S. military workload will be of significant consequence. It may even require us to do certain things like temporarily increasing end strength. The war we can win with 1.4 million people on the active duty force. The occupation may require 1.5 million in the active duty force in order to maintain a rotation basis sufficient for the added people that we will need.
The cost of the war will probably be quite reasonable by the scale of the defense budget or the federal budget, and we have seen estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and other places: 30 billion, 40 billion, 50 billion. I think that general vicinity is probably about right. But, the long-term occupation costs per year could be 5-, 10-, 15-, 20 billion over an extended period of time, not so expensive that it should overwhelm other strategic arguments about this conflict, but expensive enough that we should take notice and recognize the consequences.
I said I was going to finish with that point, Mr. Chairman. Let me add one more point, if you don't mind, because I think it is critical to my original argument that we can accept some kind of a containment of Saddam Hussein, even if—if he does accept these resolutions, I think that containment with disarmament will work. The reason why I think that-Eliot has pointed out various reasons why Saddam Hussein is not always strictly predictable or
deterrable. I do share his concern, especially about the 1993 attempted assassination of former President Bush, which, as we, I think, would both agree, if that attempt had succeeded, imagine the consequences for Saddam Hussein. And yet he tried anyway, and that tells you something about his sense of vengeance.
And, I do acknowledge that is a point that works against my broader argument, but everything else we have seen from Saddam Hussein since 1991 suggests that he knows we are watching, we are vigilant, we are containing him, and if he moves against Kuwait again, if he moves against the Kurds, if he uses weapons of mass destruction, if he ever is tied in a documentable way to al Qaeda in a way that, in my judgment, he has not yet been, if any of those things happen, we will overthrow him, and he knows it. And, there is a bipartisan consensus in this country in favor of doing that.
And, I think you have seen the consequences that he has not moved against Kuwait. For example, in 1994, he moved a couple of brigades south. And then Secretary Perry announced Operation Vigilant Warrior to send 50,000 Americans back to that region. Saddam immediately backed off. He has not attacked the Kurds, except in that one moment in 1996 when they were actually fighting each other, and he took sides in that war temporarily. In other words, he is opportunistic, he is dangerous, he is ruthless, but he also wants to survive. And most of his actions, especially since Desert Storm, prove that he cares more about survival than about anything else.
Now, I acknowledge all of the caveats. It is not a perfect case. There is room for debate and for worry here, and I do think that Saddam is not—you cannot make a slam dunk case that he is always deterrable. But the overall body of evidence suggests that if we can take his weapons of mass destruction away from him, prevent him from getting a nuclear weapon, and keep our military presence in that region robust, I believe that containment can continue to work.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Dr. O'Hanlon can be found in the Appendix on page 390.]
Mr. WELDON. Thank you both. You made some excellent points. I am sure that we will have some engaging questions for you.
I would like to start out with two questions, and then defer to my colleague and ranking member.
Frank Anderson, former Near East Division Chief for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), said recently, and I quote, “What he is going to do,” referring to Saddam, "is what he has always done: push us right to the edge,” meaning that Saddam Hussein will play this game holding out the fact that he is going to be open to inspections, but then when you get into the details, as we have just seen recently in a discussion by Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadanhe told reporters just several days ago, “Well, they are not going to come in and disrupt our country, they are not going to inspect our presidential facilities, which means we are not going to have the kind of aggressive, capable inspections that the President is calling for."
So, do you agree with Frank Anderson? Do you think this is going to continue as an attempt by Saddam to split the coalition, as he is trying to do with the French and the Germans and some of the other nations that have not gone along with our President's request?
Dr. COHEN. I absolutely agree with that, and I think the difficult thing we have to do is admit that he is better at that game than we are. He is a pro. He has been winning. If you just look at where we have been since—where we were, early on, when we had UNSCOM that was effectively ripping apart his nuclear program. As Mike mentioned, I ran the Air Force's study of the Gulf War. One of the things that sobered us was what really took down that nuclear program was review and inspections, not bombing.
If you looked, though, at the progression since then, he has just gotten better and better. They were able to thwart the end of the UNSCOM inspections. They have been out from under the inspections now for four years. They have also been able to thwart sanctions.
So, I think we have to accept that fact. He is really good at this. He has got friends overseas, or countries that at least have enough of a common interest that they will work with him and help him to thwart us. So if we go down this path, I think we are going to play a losing game.
Dr. O'HANLON. Mr. Chairman, I agree with this concern. That is why I think you have to front-load the inspection process. I agree very much with Secretary Powell's point that we need a new resolution, because you need to demand results in the first couple of months while our military lever is poised and ready to strike within a time frame that is soon enough that we could have a war before the summer heat.
So, you need to demand some results, essentially this fall, and I think you can do that by telling Saddam, "listen, we are very confident. We can't tell you exactly how many liters of anthrax that you have. We are very confident that you have this many liters of preparatory agent or constituents and this many liters of sarin. And we know how many artillery shells we have seen in your documents that you have developed and have not yet been accounted for.” You need to see some of those things, presented and destroyed, in the first couple of months.
In addition to that, and an important point that I would add, I believe the nuclear program is easier for us to essentially contain than the chemical and biological programs, because it is even though they have gone underground with the basement bomb program, usually you need fairly large infrastructures, centrifuges, that sort of thing, to enrich uranium, unless they get lucky and buy fissile material on the black market. Therefore, I think that we have a pretty good chance of making the inspections work to keep the nuclear program in check, and to me that is the single most important thing.
So, if we have an inspection process that demands results in the first two or three months, keeps a lid on the nuclear program, and even if there are small infractions and violations on the chemical and biological front, I still think that is a fairly robust containment policy. But we have got to see results in the next few months.