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States. And, I will remind everyone here, I am sure we all remember Secretary Perry in 1994 telling the North Koreans, “We will not let you develop a nuclear arsenal.” He could not have been more blunt and explicit about the preemptive threat that we were posing. And that was right in the period when the Clinton administration was having some trouble finding its sea legs on foreign policy, but we made a very strong statement.
And, I actually think preemptive threats are better like that when they are brought to a head quickly and up to then you do not talk about it, but you mean business, you say it for the whole world to hear, and you do it in a way that you can deliver the goods if you need to. In general, preemption is a hard thing to carry out. In general, it is not a big nuclear reactor that you can strike with an airplane and then walk away.
So, I question the general applicability of the doctrine. And, I think this administration, which already has a bit of an image problem for being unilateralists, would have been better advised not to adopt that doctrine, because a lot of people are going to see it as one more example of American assertiveness. And, I don't see that many benefits because I think terrorists are already on notice and state supporters and harborists of terrorists are already on notice after the President's excellent speech of September 20th, 2001, that we will not tolerate that.
I frankly do not see the benefit. I am worried also about the implications for the Indo-Pakistani problem. The administration gets a lot of credit, in my eyes, for how they walked those two countries back from the brink last June. But, that problem is not over yet, and we see Kashmiri infiltration of terrorists that Pakistan may have some hand in in the last few weeks. This problem has not gone away. And, the Indians can use our own doctrine to justify a preemptive strike if we are not careful. It is not going to be the primary reason they do it, but it could give them one more sort of diplomatic defense if and when they feel they otherwise have to anyway.
And, on the very last point-I am sorry to continue this discussion with Eliot on inspections—first of all, I would point out that the inspections that we had in the past were not very good, but the administration's own policy today is that inspections can work if you do them right: if you require a near-term compliance; if you require quick presentation of the goods and the databases and you let the inspectors back in and you have access to all sites. In that sense, I think Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rumsfeld's comments earlier in the summer were at odds with administration policy and, frankly, Mr. Powell and Mr. Bush, and perhaps Cheney and Rumsfeld themselves, have agreed to this new approach.
You have to make inspections better than they were before, but if you do that, I think they can work pretty well.
Dr. COHEN. I would rather they be truthful than consistent with administration policy. Mr. WELDON.
The gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Spratt. Mr. SPRATT. Thank you very much, and thank you both for your testimony.
Let me follow up on what you said about the post-conflict situation. Wes Clark sat where you are sitting just a few days ago, and
he said the problem is, you put American troops in a situation like this and they become lightning rods. I saw it graphically 20 years ago in Beirut. A month before the marines were bombed at the Beirut International Airport, a congressional delegation (CODEL) from this committee was there, and we came back and the senior members of that CODEL went to see Casper Weinberger and said, “For God's sake move those marines. They are in a totally untenable military situation.” That was a Thursday before the Sunday when 243 were blasted into oblivion.
When General Vessey came before us a week later, we said, “Whatever you are going to do, we know you do not want to cut and run, but for goodness sakes, move the men.” And he said, “It does not matter where they are, it is who they are that causes them to draw fire".
So a couple of lessons from that: we are likely to run into big trouble unless we have help from other countries in handling this. And, you should not feel empty-handed, Dr. Cohen, in not having a ready prescription. Neither has anyone else that we have talked to. We have probed them for answers to give us some depth and assurance that some of this planning is going on and they can see how it works out. It isn't there yet, and that is a major concern that we have; namely, that we will be there.
And Mike O'Hanlon, CBO, for better or worse, they took a stab at it. You are talking 15-, $20 billion. They are talking for a sizable force over 2 years, $91 billion, and for a small force, $33.6 billion. Big change, particularly if you run it out over 10 years. It is a substantial chunk of change that comes out of the defense budget, to what end we are not really sure. If it works, so much the better.
But, I can see a situation where we get Iraq back on its feet, a pro-western leader, somewhat, you might call it, by relative standards a democracy. And, they look to the east flank and say “The Iranians are building long-range ballistic missiles capable of reaching any point in this country. They also are building nuclear weapons, we believe. They will soon have the capacity to unleash those against us. We need to have a deterrent.” So you get an India-Pakistan situation right there in the heart of the Middle East. Is that unrealistic to picture as a possibility?
Dr. COHEN. If I could try a couple of responses. I think your concern about American forces being a lightning rod is true. Of course,
ople did say the same thing before we went into Kosovo and also into Bosnia. And, in some ways, yes, but in other ways, no.
As you know, I am sure, better than I, when we went into Beirut, we went in with rules of engagement that were excruciatingly bad. We went in as a small contingent of peacekeepers.
Mr. SPRATT. Twelve hundred marines. It was a fairly sizable unit.
Dr. COHEN. In a way, that I think was unforgivable, among other things, because they were peacekeepers. They were not even going to have their M-16s locked and loaded. And I think there is a lesson to be learned there, that when we do go in—and I think the lesson has been learned in today's Yugoslavia, where today people realize that the American forces mean business, it is a different set of circumstances. And, our performance in Afghanistan with all of
its problems indicates it is a different set of circumstances. It is certainly a very serious set of concerns.
Mr. SPRATT. What Beirut suggests to me is you have to have a lot of forces, not a small force, or they will be vulnerable, as they were spread out over that whole country. So, 50,000 troops is probably a minimal estimate of what it would take.
Dr. COHEN. Probably, but it is very contingent on how this falls. If Saddam is overthrown in a military coup, as it looks like we are about to do something, and you have a well-established regime, that may be a world in which you have no American forces there whatsoever. If it is a world in which Iraq has fallen apart in the course of the conflict, then we may need numbers that are even larger. Again, this is just a big, big spectrum. At the end of the day, I don't think that should be—it is something to take very seriously, but not the ultimate deterrent.
On expense, one thing that does need to be pointed out, there is going to be a lot more Iraqi oil on the market, and I don't think it would be unreasonable to ask for
Mr. SPRATT. Whenever we should talk about it in those terms, the opposition immediately moves to the conclusion that that is alí this is about.
Dr. COHEN. There are going to be people in that part of the world that think that is all this is about anyhow. But, I don't think it is unreasonable for us to think about those issues. On Iraqi-Iranian relations, there I think the critical issue is not so much the IraqiIranian standoff in the future, it is the future of Iran. Iran has probably the most pro-American population in that part of the world, as well as the government that is most hostile to us. I think we should not be surprised if there are dramatic internal developments in Iran. I am not talking about invasion or anything like that, but dramatic internal developments in Iran which would be very favorable to the United States over the next five or ten years.
So, I think what we may be looking toward is some very different kinds of changes which may completely restructure international relations in that part of the world.
Mr. WELDON. I thank the gentleman.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Weldon, for having this hearing. These are both excellent folks here today. I have four or five or six questions, and if you all will be brief with your answers, then we can see what exciting things we can get to on the list.
I want to read a quote and have you respond. I want you to respond to the message, not the messenger, so I am not going to tell you who it is from, other than it is from a prominent U.S. Senator from Massachusetts in a speech that was made last week. One of the things he said was, “We also know that it is an open secret in Washington that the Nation's uniformed military leadership is skeptical about the wisdom of a war with Iraq. They share the concern that it may adversely affect the ongoing war against al Qaeda and the continuing effort in Afghanistan by draining resources and armed forces already stretched so thin that many reservists have been called for a second year of duty and record number of
servicemembers have been kept on active duty beyond their obligated service".
My question is—you may want to say that you have no knowledge about it—but with your think-tank intelligence network out there, do you agree with the statement that the Nation's uniformed military leadership is skeptical about the wisdom of a war with Iraq?
Dr. O'HANLON. Do you want to go through all the questions or one at a time? My sense is the Nation's uniformed leadership was nervous about the kind of rhetoric we heard a lot of last winter, not so much from the administration as from independent spokesmen, pundits and some people from the Defense Policy Board speaking in a mostly unofficial way, but with that slight trapping of Pentagon blessing, or at least implied. And I think the uniformed military did not like the talk of a cakewalk, and I think they were right.
However, I also think they are also right to say we are working awfully hard, and this is going to be a big added burden. But, I do not go to the extent of saying that we can't do this, or that the uniformed military opposes it. I don't think that is accurate.
Dr. COHEN. I would say, just to tell you about the general officers I know, some are anxious, some are more anxious, some are less so. I would also say just speaking as an historian, generals-good generals are always cautious about going to war.
Dr. SNYDER. Let me ask you another history question, if I might. I am going to read another quote. “A conflict involving Americans killing Arabs will have a strong impact on Arab populations throughout the region. Anti-Americanism will rise, terrorism will increase, and radical Islamic forces will be strengthened. Even if we are victorious in battle, we will not will the psychological war. We may devastate Iraq but we will have sown the seeds of resentment that are likely to come back to haunt us in the future.”
That was Lee Hamilton's floor speech during the 1991 debate, and he told me the other day that he still believes his vote against going into Kuwait was the right vote, but that is for historians to decide.
What triggered my looking at that was in the New York Times a couple of days ago, Daniel Benjamin had a piece and the last statement he says is, “It is also a concern how a war in Iraq might further Jihadists' cause. With his regime threatened, Mr. Hussein might break the taboo of giving terrorists weapons of mass destruction. Moreover, as images
of the U.S. attacking another Muslim nation are beamed throughout the Middle East and South Asia, many will take it as confirmation of Mr. Bin Laden's argument that America is at war with Islam.”
And then he said this: “The last war against Iraq was a catalytic event for the Islamists who formed al Qaeda”.
My question is this: You may not have looked at this, but do you agree with the implication that, while we had a great military operation in 1991, it may well have contributed to the term “resentment” among the Arab world and may have contributed to recruiting for al Qaeda?
Dr. COHEN. I would say the operation did not, the aftermath did. And, in fact, I would say it was the success—one way of thinking
about it is the way—the road to Oslo and such advances in ArabIsraeli peace was mainly through Kuwait. We came out of that conflict with enhanced prestige in the Arab world able to do more. The aftermath, to include the sanctions regime, trying to keep our boot planted on the Iraqi neck, which failed, did cause a lot of resentment. So, I think there is a world of difference between those two things.
Dr. O'HANLON. I agree. The only point I would add is simply the nature of that war was much less harmful to Iraqi civilians than the next war is likely to be. In fact, citing the same excellent Gulf War Air Power Survey, that report estimated, and Bill Arkin estimated, that perhaps a couple thousand Iraqi civilians died in Desert Storm, a remarkably low tally by any kind of wartime standard. I think it could be ten times more, even if we fight as carefully as we can in an urban-combat setting in Baghdad.
Dr. SNYDER. I am preparing a letter to go to Secretary Rumsfeld how much we have looked at how much we have looked at in potential cost, et cetera, of, I guess for want of a better phrase, a second generation of Gulf War Syndrome. We are talking about substantial numbers of troops in Iraq, but this time potentially in Iraq for up to ten years, Dr. O'Hanlon, by your words. Is that something that you all have looked at, about the potential health monitoring, health effects, costs on veterans' health services?
And, my second question, on a totally unrelated topic, one of the lingering issues for the defense authorization biĩl is Senator Lugar's proposal to give the President the discretion to use the Cooperative Threat Reduction monies for countries other than the old Soviet Union. I think he is specifically thinking of Pakistan. Do you agree or disagree with Senator Lugar on that issue?
Dr. O'HANLON. I certainly agree with the Senator on that issue. And, on the issue of health of American troops, we are all befuddled by Gulf War Syndrome and continue to try to understand it. I do not have any answers for you, but I am relatively optimistic that once the combat phase of this operation is over, things will get better for everyone—Iraqis and Americans. So, I think casualties could be substantial, not Korea- or Vietnam-like, but substantial if things go in a difficult way in those first few weeks. But, I believe after that, even in an occupation, things will be better for all concerned.
Dr. COHEN. I have no expertise on health issues, and Senator Lugar's proposal sounds good to me.
Mr. WELDON. I now yield five minutes to our friend from Connecticut, Mr. Simmons.
Mr. SIMMONS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And, congratulations on a very informative free-ranging discussion.
Two brief points. If anybody has any questions about what it is like to operate in Military Operational Protective Posture (MOPP) gear or gear that the military uses in chemical/biological environments, try it in your normal civilian life for half a day and then imagine what it is like in a desert environment over 112 degrees. I see a few nodding heads. It is not easy. It is very difficult and very challenging.
And, I would also remark from my own experience that inspections can be very useful. I know Iraq complains that they have an