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isted but they could not find, no matter how long they spentyears. And they tried. And it was a significant amount of chemical and biological capability they could not find.
Now, the Iraqi nuclear program which exists today proceeded at a pace while the IAEA was actually doing their job. And it is a very difficult job to do because, as I said earlier, an inspection regime is designed to work with a cooperative country that has made a decision that they want to actually confess and have the things known, and they work with them. A good deal of what the inspectors found was not because the Iraqi regime was working with them; it was because defectors came outside the country and cued them as to places they could look. And, of course, a couple of the most important defectors who came outside the country were sonsin-laws who went back into the country and were later assassinated by Saddam Hussein. So it is—no one ought to think that inspections don't have a role. And in my opening remarks I indicated I believe they could. The question is, under what circumstances, with what countries, and after what kind of a decadelong record ought one to put their faith in those?
Now, is it conceivable that someone could-of course, the goal is not inspections; the goal, as you point out, is disarmament. Is it possible that you could have a sufficiently intrusive inspection approach that would enable you to disarm that country if the same regime was in there and was determined to try to prevent you from doing that? At that point it is something other than inspectors. It is so intrusive and so powerful that it has the ability to enforce itself. And, of course, that kind of force people generally call something other than inspectors. But
Mr. SPRATT. I think it is important to note the UNSCOM inspectors not only discovered and uncovered, they did destroy what they came up with.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Exactly. No question about it. As you know, the UNSCOM inspection regime is not what exists today. What exists today in UNMOVIC is a series of backtracking off of that because Saddam Hussein says well, you can't go to—you could only inspect military installations, and that puts most of the country off base—you can't do that. And put in restrictions. You had to give notice. And furthermore, they have had another decade to another period of years to bury under the ground. They now have massive tunneling systems. They have mobile biological capabilities. They have been developing unmanned aerial vehicles, which are worrisome. They have got all kinds of things that have happened in the period when the inspectors had been out. So the problem is greater today and the regime that exists today in the U.N. is one that has far fewer teeth than the one you were describing.
Mr. SPRATT. Thank you, sir.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, Mr. Secretary. You did a wonderful job I think of anticipating a lot of our questions and laying it out. And I appreciate that. We know Saddam Hussein is a bad guy, a terrible guy, probably a psychopath, but I don't know that anyone has said he is stupid.
Do you have any hope at all that if there is renewed pressure by the United States and the United Nations through resolutions or
whatever, that the guy is going to say—you know, it has been my sense that his bottom line is he wants to stay in power. He knows what we can do to him. Do you have any hope at all that he will say, well, I got to take another course if I am going to stay in power, this isn't working?”
Secretary RUMSFELD. As long as he has options, he will certainly take the best options he can find. And it seems to me that it is the task—and the President put it before the international community—that the task for the international community, if we want the United Nations to be relevant and their resolutions recognized as having some specific density, then what we have to do is to demonstrate to that regime that they don't have a lot of options other than disarming. And you know, is it possible he could wake up one morning and decide he wants to go live with Baby Doc Duvalier or Idi Amin or one of the former dictators of the world or some country of choice? Who knows? He clearly won't do that of choice.
If his next best choice is to stay there and acquiesce in everything that is requested of him, he has certainly given no indication of that in his background. And you are quite right, he is not stupid. I have met him and talked to him and spent time with him. And he is a survivor, and he is a brutal, vicious dictator.
Mr. HEFLEY. Would you comment as far as you can in an opening hearing on the strength of their military at this point? I guess I have-well, Bill Clinton said the other night on the Letterman show, he thought a couple weeks of bombing, a week of ground forces, and it would be over. I don't know if we can be that optimistic.
One of the things I had concern about is that the—if we attack him, he showed in the Persian Gulf War that he will send missiles to Israel—if he sends dirty bombs to Israel, we know he has them, we know he has the capability of delivery. If he does that, I don't think we restrain Israel this time and they will just back off and say, "Well, we will take it.” Maybe they will. And then what does that do to our situation there in the whole Middle East? Do we have the capability do you think of hitting him hard enough, fast enough, and in the right places to see that he is incapable of doing that kind of thing?
How strong-I understand that the Republican Guards, that he fairly recently has purged their leadership, they are not too keen on him either, so that might not be a great strength for him this time. But we hear so many things that I don't know what is true and what is not.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Well, we have to begin questions like that, of course, with the fact that the President has made no recommendation at this stage with respect to using military force in Iraq. He has said what he has said.
There is no question but that Saddam Hussein's military capability today is less than it was during Desert Storm, and is also no question but that the capability of the United States is considerably greater than it was during Desert Storm in terms of lethality. And there is also no question but that, as General Myers said, the United States is capable of doing those things that the country decides it would like it to do.
With respect to Israel, there is no question but that Iraq's neighbors, were there to be a conflict, would have a degree of vulnerability. And there is also no question but that would probably not last for a very long time, that they would be vulnerable. And there is also no doubt in my mind that it would be in Israel's overwhelming best interest not to get involved.
General MYERS. Let me just add a couple of things to that. His ground forces are roughly about half of what they were a decade ago. He has got 23 divisions today, of which 6 are Republican Guard. You never know for sure, but the reports are that the morale is low, particularly in the Regular Army units, higher in the Republican Guard units because the regime pays more attention to those units. He has got about 300 combat aircraft of which less than half are mission-capable on any given day, and from what we can tell from reactions to some of our reconnaissance vehicles, not very tactically adept.
In terms of the threat that the forces there would present to Israel, clearly that would be in the missile regime. And to not address Mr. Congressman Spratt's comment on that, but to just make one little comment, I think we are much better today because of some of the things I said in my opening statement: In terms of our command and control and communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance will be much more effective in thwarting that threat to Israel today.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you very much.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to welcome the Secretary and General Meyers this morning.
You know, we have huge responsibilities as we listen to all this testimony, whether it is classified or in open hearing, and as we listen to the experts, sometimes it gets to be a little confusing to try to sort out all this testimony. In my district, they quite often show me a statement that was made by General Zinni back in Florida when he was speaking to a group, when he said, “Most of us who have either fought in a war, have worn the uniform, do not want to go to war, but those that wear the civilian clothing are eager to go to war.'
I am just wondering if there is something much deeper in today's information that we do not have, because when we get that resolution, this is going to be very serious business when we vote on it.
And I can remember when President Reagan was here and we decided to expand the time of the troops in Lebanon, I voted for it. And then we had 245 Marines who died. I mean, this is very, very serious business; and we are trying to picture that to be sure that whatever we do, that we make the right decision.
Another thing that my constituents ask me, will this escalate? And for the first time if we do that, if we attack Iraq, are we going to begin to see suicide bombers within the United States because we don't have the right intelligence? We know that there are cells in the United States. And these are the things that we have to sort out.
I want to make the right decision. And I hope, Mr. Chairman, that we can ask the general, whom I have a lot of respect for, to
come and testify before this committee because we have huge responsibilities.
Maybe, Mr. Secretary, you can elaborate a little bit on this.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Yes, sir. It is an important question. And you can find generals and admirals on every side of these issues. You can find civilians on every side of these issues. Oversimplifying it, I think, is a disservice. And it seems to me that anyone with any sense at all would approach the subject of using military force with a great deal of caution, with a great deal of care to the things that can go wrong. And there are any number of things that can happen and go wrong.
To go directly to your question, which was something like if we were to engage in a military effort in Iraq again, is it conceivable that that could stimulate terrorist attacks and suicide bombers and the like? I think we learned from September 11th that we don't have to go to war with Iraq to stimulate suicide bombers. They are already there. They attacked us. They killed over 3,000 people. And it wasn't because we went to war with Iraq. It was because they decided that that is what they wanted to do. And that there are thousands of those people that were trained in Afghanistan and other countries spread across this globe who were financed by people who think it is good to finance people to kill Americans and other people.
So I think that it would be fundamentally wrong to assume that there would be a cause and effect, because we have alread seen the effect without the cause. And there is no question free countries are vulnerable to people who are willing to give their lives to kill innocent men women and children. That is the world we are living in. The thing that is critically different today is this nexus between terrorist states that have weapons of mass destruction and have relationships with terrorist networks. And suddenly the people who are not deterrable, the people who are suicide bombers, to use your phrase, only have not conventional capability potentially, but unconventional capability and the ability to pose enormous destruction on innocent people.
So I would like to add one comment on Mr. Spratt's question on inspections if I might take this moment. There is no question but that Iraq went to school on the inspectors, and the longer they were there, the more they found how they worked and what they did, and developed the ability to use more underground, more tunneling, burying more weapons in different locations, using many, many multiple locations, hundreds as opposed to one or two or three locations. And it is a moving target I think it is safe to say.
I should also add to Mr. Skelton: Congressman, I am reminded that the Department of State has had a Future of Iraq Project effort going forward, and they would be the Department that obviously would be able to give you a greater granularity on that.
General MYERS. Could I chime in a little bit for Congressman Spratt? I would like to tag along with what the Secretary said. I think another way of saying that is that Iraq over the last decade has become a master, a regimea master of deception. As he said, they have gone underground, they have gone mobile, they combine their biological and chemical weapons production with legitimate facilities, making it very difficult to sort out one from the other because they can convert so quickly.
I think we found out when we had U.N. inspectors over there that very often inspectors would come to the front door, and out the back door went the evidence. We know that as well. So it is going to make this problem of discovery just very, very difficult.
Mr. SPRATT. I simply want to make two points. One is what they did accomplish shouldn't be diminished, particularly in the early part of their efforts. It is substantial. And second, they need to be backed up if they are going to be put back there. There might be some advantage to sending them back there robustly to try to ferret out, particularly the VX and the biological weapon agents that we might see thrown against us if we later invade.
Secretary RUMSFELD. That is a fair comment. I mean, those are issues one has to put on the balance. The potential advantage is that you are characterizing that they are not nothing, they are something that isn't trivial, and balance it against the attitude of the regime and the determination of the regime, which is for us to not have knowledge of what it is they are doing. If there is anything that is clear, that is it. And second, the fact that time is passing, and how much time, how many years, does one want to allow to pass given the progress that is being made with respect to their weapons programs?
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman. And, Mr. Secretary, we had the inspectors in front of us. The essence of their testimony was in the early years, when we had a virtual occupation of the country, they were acquiescent, and that is when we made the fairly major finds. But then in the later years, the only person there when they got to these facilities, the vast majority, was the piano player. There was nobody else there. And that they were met by the Iraqi bureaucracy at over 1,200 of these facilities, with nothing inside. They were virtually hollow inspections.
Nonetheless, I think this is an area that our members are very, very interested in. And the gentleman has spent a couple hundred hours on this issue, the fine gentleman from New Jersey Mr. Saxton.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just to follow up on the Chairman's comments, Mr. Secretary, last week we hosted before the committee Dr. David Kay, who is the former United Nations chief nuclear weapons inspector in Iraq, and Dr. Richard Spertzel, who is the former head of the biology section of the inspection team. And the message was unmistakably one of frustration; of inability to get the cooperation of the Iraqis; of experiences like being made to wait in parking lots for days, and then to be turned away from a facility; and just a general notion that at least the inspection effort that was made in the nineties was unsuccessful, to the point of finally being ejected from the country,
So that is a frustration which we talked about at length with Dr. Kay and Dr. Spertzel, and then asked them what it would take to be successful in a future effort at such an inspection. And they said that without the total cooperation of the Iraqi Government, that it would be next to impossible to do; and with a team many times the size of the team that was previously in Iraq, with those two conditions, perhaps it would be successful.