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tired, and Managing Director, Merchant Banking, of the Stephens Group, Incorporated, and a former Commander in Chief of the United States European Command.
And, gentlemen, we greatly appreciate you being with us this morning and sharing your wisdom and your viewpoints. We want to thank you for being with us. And, I also want to inform the full committee that this very robust schedule of hearings, both public hearings and classified hearings, are being done at the direction of the chairman of the full committee, Bob Stump. It was his feeling that we needed to educate not only members of the committee, but as many members of the House that it possibly could on this issue, so they can make an informed judgment when it comes time to vote.
And, I might let folks know that I think we have had about 120 non-committee members appear and listen in on the classified briefings that we have been holding. So, we are going to continue with these hearings and our goal is to see to it that every single member of the House who desires to have a classified briefing on this issue before this vote has an opportunity to do it, as well, of course, to attend our public hearings.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hunter can be found in the Appendix on page 329.)
Before we begin, I want to turn to my good friend the gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Skelton, the Ranking Member and offer any comments he might have.
STATEMENT OF HON. IKE SKELTON, A REPRESENTATIVE
FROM MISSOURI, RANKING MEMBER, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. I welcome Mr. Perle, General Clark. We look forward to your testimony. And, Mr. Chairman, to shorten the hearing just a bit, I ask that my prepared statement be entered in the record
Mr. HUNTER. Without objection.
Mr. SKELTON (continuing]. And state this is a very crucial and critical time for us in this country regarding proposed action against Iraq. The President has made it clear to Congress and the United Nations and the American people that he has the determination to remove Saddam Hussein from power. And, there are a number of questions that need to be answered, in my opinion, such as what can still be done before we must compel Iraq with use of force; what is the threshold beyond which the United States can no longer wait for Iraqi compliance with Security Council resolutions? To me, the aftermath-and all of us know and understand and appreciate the high capability of the American fighting forcewhat do we do in the aftermath that in my opinion looms as the Damocles sword
whatever might be successful deweaponization of the Iraqi regime?
So, where do we go from here? And, I hope our witnesses can give us the benefit of their wisdom on these and the other issues that come forth surrounding this very, very important issue that we in America face. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Skelton can be found in the Appendix on page 332.]
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman. And Mr. Perle, great to see you. I am glad that Washington traffic, while it held you up, didn't totally block you from getting into the city. Thank you for being with us. You have been with us many times, and I know all the members have appreciated your wisdom and insight. The floor is yours sir.
STATEMENT OF RICHARD PERLE, RESIDENT FELLOW,
AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE Mr. PERLE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for including me in today's hearing. As we confront issues of war and peace, our country is strongest when the Congress and the executive branch act in concert. In all the talk of the need for a coalition to confront Saddam Hussein, the coalition that matters most is to be found here in Washington at opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. The President, Secretary Powell, Secretary Rumsfeld and, most recently, British Prime Minister Blair have all spoken in recent days about the urgency of dealing with the threat posed to the American people and others by Saddam Hussein.
In what may well be the most important speech of his presidency, President Bush has argued eloquently and, in my view, persuasively to the United Nations in New York that Saddam's open defiance of the United Nations and his scornful refusal to heed its many injunctions is a challenge to the credibility of the United Nations itself. And, he has rightly asked the United Nations to approve a Security Council resolution that would force Saddam to choose between full compliance with the many resolutions he has scorned and violated and action to remove his regime from power.
Saddam's response calculating, deceitful, and disingenuousmoves only slightly in the direction of U.N. inspections of Iraqi territory and not at all to the disarmament, toward what really matters.
The statement issued in his name that he will accept inspections unconditionally is anything but unconditional. It is hedged as to the allowable types of inspection and the rules under which inspections will be conducted. As I understand it, Saddam is demanding an inspection regime in which advance notification is required and in which certain places are off limits to the inspectors, who would be limited in number, mobility, and armament. Even from a government whose cooperation we could count on, these conditions would be unacceptable; but, from Saddam Hussein, who has gone to enormous lengths to conceal his weapons program from previous international inspectors and continues to lie about them now, the sort of inspection regime that Kofi Annan has negotiated with Saddam would be a farce; not simply inadequate, Mr. Chairman, a farce.
What would a robust inspection regime look like? It would at a minimum include tens of thousands of inspectors with Americans in key leadership and decision-making roles distributed throughout Iraq possessing an independent capability to move anywhere from dispersed bases to any site in the country without prior notification or approval, the right to interview any Iraqi or Iraqi resident together with his family at a safe location outside Iraq, appropriate self-defense capabilities for the inspectors so they can overcome efforts to impede them, and the like.
And, let me just observe in passing that the inspection team that is being readied has significantly downgraded the presence and the role of Americans. The senior-most American, as I understand it, is in charge of training. The critical function of activity evaluation—that is to say, what to make of the bits and pieces of evidence that may fall into the hands of the inspector-is in the hands of a Chinese official. So one has, I think, good reason to worry about whether an inspection arrangement, even if it is put in place, will in itself have the capability and the integrity that one would associate with a robust inspection arrangement.
Iraq is a very large country. My own view, and I am speaking personally throughout, but especially in this, my own view is even with a large and intrusive force, it is simply not possible to devise an inspection regime on territory controlled by Saddam Hussein that could be effective in locating, much less eliminating, his weapons of mass destruction.
In any case, the inspection regime known as the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) doesn't even come close. Its size, organization, and management and resources are all hopelessly inadequate for the daunting task of inspecting a country the size of France against Saddam's determined program of concealment, deception, and lying. The simple truth is that the inspectors will never find anything, the location of which has not been discovered through intelligence operations. Unless we can obtain information from defectors or by technical means that point the inspectors to specific sites, we are most unlikely to find what we are looking for.
We know, Mr. Chairman, that Saddam lies about his program to acquire nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. We know that he has used the years during which no inspectors were in Iraq to move everything of interest, with the result that the database he once possessed, inadequate though it was, has been destroyed. We know all this, yet, I sometimes think there are those at the United Nations who treat the issue not as a matter of life and death, but rather more like a game like pin the tail on the donkey or an Easter egg hunt on a Sunday afternoon.
The bottom line is this: Saddam is better at hiding than we are at finding, and this is not a game. If he eludes us and continues to refine, perfect, and expand his arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, the danger to us, which is already great, will only grow. If he achieves his holy grail and acquires one or more nuclear weapons, there is no way of knowing what predatory policies he will pursue.
Let us suppose that in the end, a robust inspection arrangement is put in place, and after a year or two it has found nothing. Could we conclude from the failure to unearth illegal activity that none existed? Of course not. All we would know is that we had failed to find what we were looking for, not that it was not there to be found. And, where would that leave us? Would we be safer or even more gravely imperiled? There would be a predictable clamor to end the inspection regime, and if they were still in place, to lift the sanctions. Saddam would claim not only that he was in compliance
with the U.N. resolutions concerning inspections, but that he had been truthful all along. There are those who would believe him.
Given what we now know about Saddam's weaponry, his lies, his concealment, we would be fools to accept inspections, even an inspection regime far more ambitious than anything the U.N. contemplates, as a substitute for disarmament.
That is why, Mr. Chairman, the President is right to demand that the United Nations promptly resolve that Saddam comply with the full range of United Nations resolutions concerning Iraq or face an American-led enforcement action.
I returned last night from Europe where the issues before you were being widely discussed. Perhaps the most frequently asked question put to me by various Europeans is, “Why now? What is it about the current situation that has made action to deal with Saddam urgent? He has been there for a decade.
My answer is that we are already perilously late. We should have acted long ago, and we should certainly have acted when Saddam expelled the inspectors in 1998. Our myopic forbearance has given him four years to expand his arsenal without interference, four years to hide things and make them mobile, four years to render the international community feckless, and its principal institution, the United Nations, all but irrelevant.
We can, of course, choose to defer action. Some counsel that. To wait and hope for the best. That is what Tony Blair's predecessors did in the 1930s. That is what we did with respect to Osama bin LO en. We waited. We watched. We knew about the training camps, the fanatical incitement and the history of acts of terror. We knew about the Cole and the embassies in Africa. We waited too long and 3,000 innocent civilians were murdered.
If we wait, if we play hide-and-seek with Saddam Hussein, there is every reason to expect that he will expand his arsenal further, that he will cross the nuclear divide and become a nuclear power.
I urge this committee, Mr. Chairman, to support the President's determination to act before it is too late. Thank you.
Mr. HUNTER. Thank you, Mr. Perle. I appreciate your statement. [The prepared statement of Mr. Perle can be found in the Appendix on page 335.]
Mr. HUNTER. And General Clark, you have been a very well-respected leader of the U.S. military through some difficult times for the United States, and we appreciate your service and thank you very much for being with us on this very challenging issue. The floor is yours, sir. STATEMENT OF GEN. WESLEY K. CLARK, U.S. ARMY (RETIRED)
General CLARK. Thank you very much Mr. Chairman, Representative Skelton, and distinguished members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.
This is a committee that has been very strongly supportive of the men and women in uniform, and I want to thank you personally for the support that so many of you have given to me during some very, very tough times when I was in uniform. And, on behalf of all the men and women and their families, we really appreciate this committee, your commitment, your willingness to give up your own time to come out and visit with the troops, your determination to work interests on behalf of the troops and families when there is nothing but your duty as representatives of the people on the line. And, we recognize it and we appreciate it and we are grateful for it.
I want to tell you also I am very honored to be here, because I believe that in our democracy, discussions of critical strategic issues—and this is certainly one--at an historic time strengthen the United States, they don't weaken us.
Public information, public dialogue, and public discussion is what this country is all about. And, certainly when we are considering a course as fraught with uncertainty as that which appears to be unfolding before us, we need the wholehearted understanding and resolution of the American people. And, I am particularly honored, Mr. Chairman, that you would ask me as a retired military officer to come back and appear before you and that you would consider my opinions and concerns relevant to the issue at hand, even though I have left the United States Army and I am now engaged in another profession, which is under question-investment banking. And so, I am delighted to be with you, sir. I have submitted a written statement, but I would like to summarize
Mr. HUNTER. Welcome back, General.
Mr. HUNTER. Without objection, your statement will be taken into the record.
General CLARK. There is no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat. I was in the Joint Staff in October of 1994. I think the date was the 8th of October, Thursday morning. The intelligence officer walked in and said, “Sir, you are not going to believe this. Here are the pictures. You can't believe that this is the Republican Guard. They are right back in the same attack positions that they occupied four years ago before they invaded Kuwait. And here are the two divisions, and there are signs of mobilization and concerns north, and we can't understand it."
And, General Peay was the commander of Central Command (CENTCOM). Shalikashvili, I think, was visiting Haiti at the time with Secretary of Defense Perry, and we rushed together and we put together a program. General Peay deployed some 15,000 American troops and aircraft over to block it. And, after a few days Saddam Hussein recognized what a difficult position he had put himself in and withdrew the troops. But, we had not expected it. It was an unanticipated move. It made no sense from our point of view for Saddam Hussein to do this, but he did it. It was a signal warning that Saddam Hussein is not only malevolent and violent, but he is also to some large degree unpredictable, at least to us. I am sure he has a rationale for what he is doing, but we don't always know it.
He does retain his chemical and biological capabilities to some extent. And he is, as far as we know, actively pursuing nuclear capabilities, though he doesn't have nuclear warheads yet. If he were to acquire nuclear weapons, I think our friends in the region would face greatly increased risk, as would we. Saddam might use these weapons as a deterrent while launching attacks against Israel or his other neighbors. He might threaten American forces in the region. He might determine that he was the messenger of Allah and