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Mr. SAXTON. I am glad you and Condoleezza Rice are on the same track. I was worried there for a while but, General Clark, maybe you could respond to that last point in your interchange, which was if we find—if the inspectors find a bunch of empty rooms or are shown a bunch of empty rooms in this next inspection regime, how does that rally the world then to the United States' goal of disarming Iraq?
General CLARK. I think this goes into the design and inspections program itself. And, as I indicated earlier, I have not sketched this out in great detail. I could present something in writing to the committee if you would like, but there can be an inspection program set up which is echeloned in the sense of starting narrow and going broader and broader and more intrusive, until the concerns of the state which brings forward this requirement, i.e. The United States, are satisfied. And in the process, we are either going to push this far enough that we gain some other ends or we are going to hit a red line in which we will get the trigger. What I want to make clear is the difference I think between
Mr. SAXTON. Maybe you could explain how you get the trigger if they absorb us and they allow enough inspections to find empty rooms but nothing else, and at that point you want to see a galvanized world community behind the United States. Why would they galvanize behind an America which has gotten inspections, been absorbed by Iraq, and found nothing?
General CLARK. I think we need to look carefully at the composition of the inspection team, its authorities and information sources it uses, and that is why I say it is echeloned. It may start narrow and go broader.
Second, I think the experience of the inspection team is as they begin to work, they do find some levels of information. And, as we put people in there more and more on the ground, they will eventually find things.
But, I think the fundamental question is this: Is the purpose of the inspection team, is the value of it only in finding the weapons of mass instruction, or does it not also have value in impeding Saddam's weapons of mass destruction program, undercutting his authority, providing warning, establishing a trigger, and I think it has these broader impacts.
So, I think we should not be driven by excessive fear at this point that the inspections may come up dry from trying to work an inspection program that meets the broader purposes that serve the United States and our goals.
Mr. SAXTON. The stated goal is none of the above. It is to disarm Iraq, at least according to the administration.
General CLARK. This is one of the difficulties, and we are in open session and I don't mean to be anything other than direct and straightforward, but I think we know that programs like inspections have consequences that are beyond their stated purpose. And, certainly Saddam Hussein recognizes this and this is why he didn't want the inspectors there. Not that he couldn't fool them, but he couldn't be sure he could fool them all the time, with enough energy left over to pursue his aims and still do everything else.
Even though the inspections may have been of not full usefulness in terms of stopping his program, they provided other benefits, and
we should pursue those benefits within the time available as a way of building legitimacy for the United States and our concerns.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Allen.
Mr. ALLEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you both for being here. We have had a lot of conversation about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program and where we are going. I am concerned about what we are doing right now as a country, and I wanted to focus on a couple of things. If our goal is to win allies for dealing with Saddam Hussein, both here at home and abroad, it seems to me we have made some mistakes.
And, let me call attention to a couple of things. First of all, it seems to me that we can deal with Iraq without making into doctrines applicable to other countries and other times, you know, whatever it is we plan to do here. Example number one, regime change. It hasn't been enough for this administration to say we need to replace Saddam Hussein; we have to create a doctrine of regime change that for what are now called—the phrases keep changing, but they are now called terrorist states—we have the right to change those regimes.
The second component is preemptive strikes. It is not enough to deal with the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, which is real. It may not be immediate, but it is not that far in the future. It is very serious. But instead, we have a new doctrine put down on paper that says we claim the right to strike preemptively at other countries. We have developed a theory, I think—the administration has a theory of unilateralism as a fundamental approach to the world. All of this, I can tell you back home just in my district, creates unnecessary anxiety and hostility to what the administration is trying to do, and that is nothing compared to the reaction overseas.
And, I think that the question you posed, General Clark, about how do we move from here in a way that takes into account not only the military challenges, but the political challenges, is important. And, I want to begin with Mr. Perle and then have you respond, too.
Mr. Perle, on September 10, there was an article in the Boston Globe, and basically there was the suggestion that-we are used to the hawks-and-the-doves kind of language now, but there was a suggestion in the piece that according to the hawks in the administration, Iraq is just the first piece of the puzzle. And I quote: “After an ouster of Hussein, they say, the United States will have more leverage to act against Syria and Iran, and we will be in a better position to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian, conflict and we will be able to rely less on Saudi oil”.
And, then there was another comment in here that among the more extreme version was a view elaborated in a briefing in July by a RAND Corporation researcher to the Defense Policy Board which you chair, Mr. Perle. That briefing urged the United States to deliver an ultimatum to the Saudi Government to cut its ties to militant Islam or risk seizure of its oil fields and overseas assets. It called Iraq the "tactical pivot”, and Saudi Arabia the “strategic pivot".
My question to you, Mr. Perle, first if you could comment both on the doctrines of preemption and regime change and then on the briefing that either you or your policy board heard. And, with re
spect to that component, I would be interested in whether you think that kind of threat against Saudi Arabia is the way the administration ought to move. And then I would like General Clark to respond.
Mr. PERLE. Well, thank you, Mr. Allen. First, on the question of doctrines, I think we sometimes do ourselves a disservice by discussing in doctrinal terms the specifics of a situation that may be unique. And, indeed in these matters there are almost never two situations that are exactly alike. So, I am not in favor of developing a doctrine of regime change. I am in favor of removing Saddam Hussein from power. And, I can imagine others posing a similar threat where one would also wish to see them removed. But, I don't think that doctrine is necessarily helpful, and I agree with you on that.
With respect to preemptive strikes, again, I don't think it makes much sense to develop this into a doctrine, although I think it is important to point out that waiting until one is struck first is not always the best way to protect ourselves. And in this instance, I happen to think that idea applies. And as for the theory of unilateralism, I haven't heard that advocated as such. I have never known any official of this or any other administration that would not much prefer to have broad support internationally for anything that we attempt to do.
What I think is an issue here is the question of how prepared we should be to act alone when, for whatever reason, we are unable to gather the support of other countries. And, I think what you are seeing here is a reaction to some years in the previous administration where there was a great emphasis placed on multilateral activity, on negotiating multilateral agreements, and acting in a multilateral context, and I think there is a sense that we went too far in that direction and maybe we need to assert the particularism that that is appropriate for a country that is unique and perhaps uniquely a target and therefore is bound to differ from time to time with other countries.
But, I certainly share your thought we shouldn't make things more difficult for ourselves by elevating specific contingencies to broad general principles. With respect to the briefing on Saudi Arabia, let me say, first, that the Defense Policy Board is an unusual institution. It is a group of people who come together from time to time, receive briefings, discuss the context of those briefings, and eventually, discuss their reflections with the Secretary of Defense. This usually takes place over two days.
We have encouraged a very broad approach in the sense that we want all points of view. And, there is no censorship. Nobody examines the briefer beforehand what he is going to say. An expert who is working hard to understand the complex issue that the board is trying to understand may well be invited to come and present to us. And, that particular briefing was a very interesting briefing. It was not as portrayed in the press. Whoever thought it was a good idea to turn over the slides from that briefing and the speakers notes, I think, was probably not present when the briefing was given, and therefore, assumed that everything in the speaking notes was said in the meeting.
That isn't the case. And, some of the more inflammatory quotations from the speaker's notes were,
in fact, never presented. Different members of the board had different reactions to that, but-to that briefing. But, I don't know anyone who stood up and said, now we have found an appropriate policy for dealing with Saudi Arabia. But, it was a provocative briefing and produced an interesting discussion among members of the board.
My own view is that we are quite right to say to the Saudi government, “The substantial amount of money that you have been distributing through extremist organizations is producing around the world a number of people, often young people, who are being driven to hatred of the United States and the West in general, and they pose a threat to us. They are the breeding grounds for the recruitment of al Qaeda and other terrorists, and we would be very grateful if you would stop that. We would not foment that sort of attitude against you, and we would be grateful if you wouldn't foment it against us."
In my view, we can deal with the Saudi government, government to government. We have a mixed relationship with them. There are some positive elements. There is a negative element, and I think we ought to be discussing it with them and not threatening them in the way that it was wrongly reported that briefing proposed that
General CLARK. I think your questions about doctrine are very important questions. But, as you observe, and I agree, there is no requirement to have any doctrine here. I mean this is simply a longstanding right of the United States and other nations to take the actions they deem necessary in their self-defense. Every president has deployed forces as necessary to take action. He has done so without multi lateral support, if necessary. He has done so in advance of conflict, if necessary.
In my experience, I was the commander of the European forces in NATO when we took action in Kosovo. We did not have the United Nations' approval to do this, and we did so in a way that was designed to preempt Serb ethnic cleansing and regional destabilization there. There were some people who didn't agree with that decision. The United Nations was not able to agree to support it with the resolution.
Nevertheless, we did go to the United Nations and, as Ambassador Holbrook so well explained in an op-ed piece I think three weeks ago, going to the United Nations was a very important part of building legitimacy for the action that we ultimately had to take. But, the responsibility to deploy forces is ultimately the responsibility for the United States and its leaders alone, for no one else.
So, I think in this case that the doctrines of preemption and regime change have been actually counterproductive in trying to make the case against Saddam Hussein, because they tend to be misinterpreted. We have always talked within the military circles about the possibility of preemption. We have always worried about it. We worried about how you would get the specific information you needed. We worried about whether the action could be effective or not. We worried about what the consequences of that would be. But, it was discussed behind closed doors in a number of cases, I
And, nevertheless, we never felt a reason to publish a doctrine on it because the doctrine itself become as fact and an element in international relations. We saw the headlines in The Washington Post a few days ago that said the United States replaces deterrence with domination. And, I immediately began to get phone calls from European journalists who say what is an American domination.
This is what we have been worried about. And so, in that sense, I think it is we are much better off if we will focus on the problem at hand, which is the war against al Qaeda and the problem of Iraq itself and deal with those as specific problems which we must deal with.
With respect to the case of Saudi Arabia and a strategy in the area, I think it is very important that we have a strategy in this region. And, one of the things that is perplexing is that we have not seen an articulation of a strategy other than the occasional leakages like The Boston Globe article that you gave reference to. So, we don't really know if there is strategy or what we are specifically pointing to. I would simply observe that in 1973, a few years after you and I were out of college, I was in the Pentagon for a summer as an intern and I wrote a paper on the possibility of some day deploying U.S. forces to the Persian Gulf. And, I was warned by an old colonel at the time. He said, Captain, if you write a paper like that, that Senator Fulbright's going to have you over testifying before the Congress, and us too, and we are all going to get fired. And there were no U.S. forces in that region in 1973.
Since then we have encouraged Saddam Hussein and supported him as he attacked against Iran in an effort to prevent Iranian destabilization of the Gulf. That came back and bit us when Saddam Hussein then moved against Kuwait. We encouraged the Saudis and the Pakistanis to work with the Afghans and build an Army of God, the Mujahedin, to oppose the Soviets in Afghanistan. Now we have released tens of thousands of these holy warriors, some of whom have turned against us and formed al Qaeda.
My French friends constantly remind me that these are problems that we had a hand in creating. So when it comes to creating another strategy which is built around the intrusion into the region by U.S. forces, all the warning signs should be flashing. There are unintended consequences when force is used. Use it as a last resort. Use it multilaterally if you can. Use it unilaterally only if you must.
Mr. ALLEN. Thank you.
Mr. THORNBERRY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Clark, it seems to me the crux of the judgments you make is that time is on our side in the near term. I mean, that is really a bottom line. And, with a calculated risk. You went through the six months and so you are willing, I guess, to take the risk that time in the shortterm may not be on our side in exchange for the benefit that comes from having more international support. I guess my bottom-line question is how long would you mess around with that? How long is time on our side? What is the near-term during which time is on our side?