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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
simply strike directly at Israel; or Israel, weighing the possibilities of blackmail or aggression, might feel compelled to strike Iraq first.
Now, Saddam has been pursuing nuclear weapons and we have been living with this risk for over 20 years. He does not have the weapons now as best we can determine. He might have the weapons in a year or two if the control for the highly enriched uranium and other materials broke down. I think his best opportunity would have been to go to his friend Slobodon Milosevic and ask for those materials during the Kosovo campaign, since there was active collusion between the Serbs and the Iraqis; but apparently, if he asked for them, he didn't get them, because the Serbs have turned them over for us. If he can't get the highly enriched uranium, then it might take him five years or more to go through a centrifuge process or gaseous diffusion process to enrich the uranium.
But, the situation is not stable. The U.N. weapons inspectors, however ineffective they might have been—and there is some degree of difference of opinion on that-nevertheless provided assistance in impeding his development programs. They have been absent for four years. And, the sanction regime designed to restrict his weapons materials and resources has been continuously eroded and therefore the situation is not stable.
The problem of Iraq is not a problem that can be postponed indefinitely. And of course, Saddam's current efforts themselves are violations of international law as expressed in U.N. resolutions.
Our President has emphasized the urgency of eliminating these weapons and weapons programs. I strongly support his efforts to encourage the United Nations to act on this problem. And, in taking this to the United Nations the President's clear determination to act if the United Nations can't, provides strong leverage for undergirding ongoing diplomatic efforts.
But, the problem of Iraq is only one element of the broader security challenges facing our country. We have an unfinished worldwide war against al Qaeda, a war that has to be won in conjunction with friends and allies, and that ultimately will be won as much by persuasion as by the use of force. We have got to turn off the al Qaeda recruiting machine. Now some 3,000 deaths on September 11 testified to the real danger from al Qaeda. And, I think everyone acknowledges that al Qaeda has not yet been defeated.
As far as I know, I haven't seen any substantial evidence linking Saddam's regime to the al Qaeda network, though such evidence may emerge. But nevertheless, winning the war against al Qaeda and taking actions against the weapons program in Iraq, those are two different problems that may require two different sets of solutions. In other words, to put it back in the military parlance, Iraqthey are an operational-level problem. We have got other operational-level problems in the Middle East, like the ongoing conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Al Qaeda and the foundation of radical extremist fundamentalist Islam, that is the strategic problem. We have got to make sure that in addressing the operational problem, we are effective in going after the larger strategic problem
So, the critical issue facing the United States right now is how to force action against Saddam Hussein and his weapons programs
without decrutrymm nr DCIS n al Qaeda or our efforts to dea! with other immediate and mavte cog-term security problems.
I woud ise 7 jer me juowrg cservations by way of how we could proceed. First I u. i to bezeve Caited States diplomacy in the Cated Vancns wil de strengtiered if the Congress can adopt a resolution expressing is jetzem zamon to act if the United Nations cannot act. The ise I tre must remain a U.S. option under active corsiderincn. Such cecgressiona resolution need not at this point auchcrize de zse ut tree. The more focused the resolution on Iraq, the cre Urused I s ja te probiem of weapons of mass destruction, the greater its tee Laited Nations, the more neariy traninces the rescizncc. the greater its utility is, the greater its impacts uc sie spicmasceturts underway.
The Presideci zdes accă securiny team have got to deploy imaginatzca. leverige. ad pacerce working through the United Nations. In the near term, size 's go our side and we should endeavor to use the tasted Vances at all possible. This may require a period of size or rspectors or the development of a more intrusive inspectica regue scco as Richard Perle has mentioned, if necessary, backed by force. It may irroive cracking down on the eroding sanctions regine and countries like Syria who are helping Iraq illegally export ou, and enabling Saddam Hussein to divert resources to his own purposes.
We have to work this problem in a way to gain worldwide legitimacy and understanding for the concerns that we rightly feel and for our leadership. This is what is leadership in the world must be. We must bring others to share our views and not be too quick to rush to try to impose them, even if we have the power to do so.
I agree that there is a risk that the inspections would fail to provide evidence of the weapons program. They might fail. But, I think we can deal with this problem as we move along. And, I think the difficulties of dealing with this outcome are more than offset by the opportunities to gain allies, support, and legitimacy in the campaign against Saddam Hussein.
If the efforts to resolve the problem by using the United Nations fail either initially or ultimately, then we need to form the broadest coalition, including our North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies in the North Atlantic Council, if we are going to have to bring forces to bear.
We should not be using force until the personnel, the organizations, the plans that will be required for post-conflict Iraq are prepared and readied. This includes dealing with requirements for humanitarian assistance, police and judicial capabilities, emergency medical and reconstruction assistance in preparations for a transitional governing body and eventual elections, perhaps even including a new constitution.
Ideally, the international and multinational organizations will participate in the readying of such post-conflict operations: the United Nations, NATO, other regional and other organizations, Islamic organizations. But, we have no idea how long this campaign could last. And, if it were to go like the campaign against the Afghans, against the Taliban in which suddenly the Taliban collapsed and there we were, we need to be ready; because, if suddenly Saddam Hussein's government collapses and we don't have everything