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But, those of us sitting on this side of the room are really agonizing because we are the ones that have to go to the floor and vote on some of these issues and vote on possibly a resolution supporting the President if he decides to go in there. And clearly we know how the President feels; he has made that clear. The Vice President is equally strong; he was on television all weekend doing that.
And General Powell, who is a retired four-star Army general who has been a little more reserved. And then there are a lot of retired admirals and generals who are very concerned about this, and they are saying we should not do it right now—many of whom I know and worked with during my 24 years in the Navy, so I respect them in their beliefs.
I believe in preemptive and not reactive. I think if you can be pre-emptive, it is sure a heck of a lot better than trying to react. Just look at 9/11.
And I wonder, too, in my twisted mind, sometimes if we might not want to get the CIA to get a handful of people to go over there and take care of it for us because the thing that tears me the most is if we do this, we are going to be committing thousands and thousands and thousands of young men and women in uniform to fight this thing. Many of them are probably sitting right here in this room. I see a lot of students in here, and I look at them and think, will they be the next ones to go.
And we are and it is a huge commitment on our part. And I know I have to go vote.
My question to both of you is, if you had this voting card and you had the ability to go across the street and vote, how would each of you vote and why?
Ďr. Kay. Well, as you intended it to be, it is a tough question because it gets to not my technical expertise, but to my obligation as a citizen. In many ways you are at the same heart of Mr. Allen's question, which were also equally fair and equally tough.
But not to hem and haw around it, I think that, on balance, "regime change,” if you like that antiseptic term—that is, replacing the regime in Baghdad, and that is unlikely to be done by anything other than military force—is the only option we have for dealing with the weapons of mass destruction program.
I genuinely believe time is not on our side. These problems get worse. You have already seen in the press—and this gets to the reasons why—something that we suspected in 1992, and we now have a little bit more proof that they proceeded in the way of a classic Soviet chemical weapons program and went to what is called “dusty VX,” a form of VX designed to penetrate high-protective gear, and probably “novachuk”, agents which, in fact, you can produce with nonprescribed substances. That is an example of how they are progressing.
We know they tested two radiological dispersion devices prior to the Gulf War. They discovered what everyone who has tested a classical one--if you are going to be killed by the devices, by the explosion, not by radiation-and I don't want to go any further than this in open testimony—U.S. labs and others know that there are other ways to disperse radiation that is far more challenging than the classic way. Given enough time, the Iraqis will discover what those other ways are.
So, I just believe that when you are faced—and this is not-and I should have said this to Mr. Allen-it is not as if we are coming to the problem of Saddam for the first time in September of 2002. We have had 11 years of experience. And when he failed to live up to his obligation under Resolution 687 and 11 other resolutions of the U.N. to get rid of those weapons, I have absolutely no reason to believe he is going to change his spots.
I simply believe—and what is so extraordinarily hard for democracies—that is, to protect themselves and risk the lives of their sons and daughters when they don't have overwhelming proof in the form of having lost the first battle. And I just think the consequences are far too serious this time.
But, look, I understand your agony, and I am glad I don't have that voting card.
Mr. SCHROCK. So you would not tell me how you would vote?
Dr. SPERTZEL. And I very much agree with that. If there was a way of getting that regime to truly want to get rid of their weapons of mass destruction and no longer deceive or conceal, and if there was a way of getting the complete unconditional backing of at least the P5 members so that inspectors would have a chance, then I would say, go that way.
But that is not going to happen. You know, even the French proposal that has been made-already, China has indicated they are going to abstain and Russia hasn't decided, but they think they might veto it. That tells you how much support the inspectors are going to have. And I can tell you right now that the last year-anda-half that inspectors were in the country—when we went there as a chief inspector—we were on our own. We could not rely on being backed up by anybody, and yet we were there to face Iraq. And I don't see anything at all that suggests that the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) will face a better situation.
There is no alternative.
Mr. SCHROCK. Mr. Chairman, let me make one more personal comment. When I volunteered to go into the country of Vietnam and my mother was very upset-my dad understood, but he wasn't happy about it-I couldn't understand their concern. And they said, some day, when you are a parent, you will understand.
My son was commissioned as an ensign three weeks ago, and my wife and I are now my parents; we understand. And I take that seriously, and I don't want to send those kids into harm's way unless we are doing it for the absolute right reason. And if we go into it to win and we don't play the Vietnam game that we played-because we didn't go in that to win, and we lost 55,000 great Americans. If we send them in this time, we have got to go in to win and then get it over with.
Dr. SPERTZEL. To me, the alternative is likely that you could have thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of American citizenswomen, children, elderly-being killed by a terrorist weapon. And, frankly, if I were about 40 years younger, I would be on the line volunteering to go.
Mr. SCHROCK. If I were younger, I would, too. I understand that, and I agree with that. Thank you very much.
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, both gentlemen, for being here today.
I am going to ask a couple of questions, and the first one has to do with the cat-and-mouse games that you saw played with Iraq. And I would assume also maybe your insight into the mentality of Saddam Hussein and the regime there—I guess he is the regime in Iraq, because I think it plays importantly in the judgment we have to make.
And second, to your expertise in particular on the nuclear side of things: I have no doubt that Saddam Hussein is a bad guy, that he kills his own people, that he has chemical and biological weapons, that he used them against his own and used them against Iran in the war. But my question goes back to something that, really what Mr. Allen was talking about, this whole issue of "Why now? Why so immediate? What has changed?"
And one of the comments that you made, Doctor, was that we are not talking about a rational person. And my answer to that would be, yes, I would agree with you, except that when it came to selfpreservation, i.e., when he was at the end of the war, he sat down and he agreed to terms that would preserve his ability to be there in Iraq, to be alive and to be doing what he is doing today.
So as irrational as he is as a human being, there is this sense of self-preservation. So I look at him and I say, he is sitting there in Iraq, we have him contained. I have no doubt that he has weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological. I am not sure about the nuclear. If I were he, and I was sitting there, I would say, well, if I launch a first attack with this, everybody is going to come at me and they are going to annihilate me.
Because I believe our armed forces and our capabilities are enough that we can take him out and anything else in that region that we want to. I think he is more contained right now rather than if he thinks we are coming in to get him, or we actually come across the line to come in to get him.
So why would you tell us to move, knowing what you know mentally about the person we are dealing with?
Dr. Kay. Those are very good questions. Let me tell you why I don't think he is contained now, or if he is "contained,” we have changed the meaning of that word.
We have gone from a period in 1991, when we had a fairly tight, sanctioned regime of keeping things out and controlling the amount of revenue he has, to an Iraq that sells illegally. I am not talking about the oil-for-food program, but illegally has greater oil income per day than it had prior to the Gulf War.
Dr. Kay. And is progressively getting access—aluminum tubes are an example, but some examples are better than that getting access to the technology that will make his programs even more capable and competent than they are today.
So as I see over time his weapon expertise and let me say, I share and I hope I conveyed that, I share with all of you—I don't know where his nuclear program is today with a great deal of precision because he invests a lot of resources to keep us from knowing where his program is exactly. But, I am confident that having solved those technical problems, and with money, it will only get worse and not get better. So, over time, I see it a harder problem to deal with. And quite frankly, I would suspect if his nuclear weapons program-once you have two, three or four, it becomes a shadow that allows you to do other things, use chemical and biological against his neighbors and know that we won't go.
But you put your finger on the heart of the issue, and that is what sort of person he is and what does he care about his survival. We have a hard timelet me be sure I am not held by the chairman in contempt—we have a hard time believing that politicians mean what they say. If you read Saddam Hussein's statements about Israel, about the United States, about Saudi Arabia and all, this is an individual who, given-I am extraordinarily reluctant to believe we should give the awesome power and count on him being rational, to always believe his survival, and so he should threaten them and not use them.
And also, he is surrounding neighbors that are of two types, that I find we are not paying enough attention to the risk we are running. Most of his neighbors do not have enough military force to interfere in their own affairs. They are weak states. They depend on us for whatever security they have.
There is one exception as an immediate neighbor, and that is Iran, which is engaged in a weapons of mass destruction program for which we have a hard time bringing any pressure to bear, because I think in our hearts those of us who dealt with them in the region recognize that that program in part is designed against Saddam. I suspect if Saddam stays in power and his weapons program goes ahead, the Iranian program will go ahead, and that just becomes a very, very dangerous region.
The reverse of that, however, is true and we haven't spelled that out. A replacement regime for Saddam Hussein that is committed to dealing peacefully with its neighbors is a tremendously attractive proposition in the Middle East.
Rich Spertzel and I can tell you in great detail about our appreciation of the middle class in Iraq, of the dedication of the scientific and technical learning they have. Imagine what would change if we had an Iraq that was committed to some form of democracy, such as it might as in the Middle East, and living peacefully with its neighbors. What a challenge that would pose for the Saudis, a challenge to the Iranians. The reverse side is one that I would prefer to deal with: the optimistic, hopeful side of what it might be without Iraq.
And let me say in my testimony-and Mr. Allen cited a point right below it-said Iraq is not Libya and that is why it is harder to eliminate the program. It is much more like post-Versailles, Germany.
But, Iraq is also not Afghanistan in terms of a functioning society that can be recreated. The ratio of population to oil to two river valleys, that for centuries have been irrigated, is a tremendous possibility for peace in a region that sadly needs it.
So I guess it is a personal decision. I would prefer not to run the risk of greater weapons in the hands of an individual like Saddam that attracts his neighbors either to cut deals with him or to develop their own weapons of mass destruction and try to deal with the future without him. I basically believe that is a lot better for our country and for his neighbors.
Dr. SPERTZEL. And I would like to add, if I might, that I guess one of my frustrations is that it seems to me that the decision is we either do something to change that regime's mind—and if that means changing the regime, so be it or we decide we don't really care what he does and we are willing to live with it, because don't expect containment. It hasn't worked. Embargo hasn't worked. Those borders are as leaky as a sieve trying to hold water. We knew that. We saw ample evidence of prohibited items that we were finding in our routine inspection sites. And inspectors aren't going to do it for you without a change in attitude and without the unconditional support of the permanent five members, which you are not going to get. So the decision is either we do something about it, or we don't do anything. But then let's stop talking about it.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Mr. Chairman, will you indulge me? The second question, it is a very quick answer from both of them.
Mr. HUNTER. All right. Very quick.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Nuclear knowledge, because you have it and I don't. An ability for Iraq to both have nuclear arms and a delivery system that comes here to the United States—I believe, not talking about walking in through terrorism. Terrorism I put in a different corner. It is something we are at war with right now. How far away, in your best estimate would that be for him?
Dr. Kay. With regard to a weapon, a device that would work, go to a fissile yield if he had the material, my best guess is somewhere around six months. Months not years, I have said, to do it. If he has to develop the fissile material himself, I can do no better than the German estimate, which is three to six years, but doesn't tell you when the clock started running on that three to six years.
The delivery method—I am not talking about terrorism. A shipping container that has a global positioning system (GPS) device or a command device strikes me, if I send it here-I mean, we are locked into believing that the only way you can deliver weapons of mass destruction is ballistic missiles or high-performance aircraft. There are other ways to do it if you have a different model to do it. I think if he wanted to destroy Tel Aviv, if he had a missile he would certainly prefer to use it. But, I think he will think of other ways to do it, delivering other than a missile.
I think in terms of his missile delivery program, the crucial ingredient—that we don't know enough about, but we have just got a little evidence-is foreign assistance. He has clearly gotten foreign assistance on his solid missile fuel production facility. We don't know exactly where that came from. If the sanctions come off the money runs. Could he get enough-I think that's end of the decade, next—somewhere in the next decade for missile delivery. But I would hate to see any policy based on that as the only way you can deliver a weapon of mass destruction. For biology, for example, as experts will tell you, a missile is a lousy way to deliver a biological weapon.
Ms. SANCHEZ. I am not talking about biology. I am talking about nuclear. I am sure he has got the other and got a way to deliver it. But, to us here, not in a typical walk-across or the nuclear suit