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September 26, 2002

Today, the Committee on Armed Services continues its review of United States policy toward Iraq.


This morning's hearing marks the fourth in a number of planned public sessions designed to educate and inform the Committee, and the American people, on the various issues surrounding Iraq's continued violation of numerous United Nation's resolutions, its illicit development of weapons of mass destruction, and the threat that Saddam Hussein poses to the United States, the Middle East, and the international community.

The Committee has received a classified briefing from the

a Intelligence Community in each of the last three weeks, which we also opened up to all Members of the House in the last couple weeks. We also heard from former UNSCOM inspectors about Iraq's illicit weapons programs and Saddam Hussein's persistent efforts to thwart U.N. inspections.


And we heard from an Iraqi defector who ran Saddam's nuclear weapons program; he told us how the Iraqis built and sustained their weapons of mass destruction programs through the acquisition of Westem technology, and how the United States' own export control system may have contributed to the problems we are now facing with Iraq.

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld appeared before the Committee last week to discuss and defend the Administration's policy toward Iraq. And yesterday morning the Committee met behind closed doors with several retired generals to hear their views on this critical issue, with a special focus on military options.

The Committee is planning on holding another hearing next Wadnesday on the topic of U.S. policy toward Iraq.

Today, however, we wii hear from two well-known gentlemen who have distinguished themselves in the world of foreign and defense policy

• The Honorable Richard Perle is a Resident Fellow at the

American Enterprise Institute and Chairman of the Defense
Policy Board and

• General Wesley Clark, USA (ret.), is Managing Director,

Merchant Banking at the Stephens Group, Inc., and a former
Commander in Chief of U.S. European Command.

Gentlemen, thank you both for agreeing to appear today. We look forward to your testimony.

But before we begin, I want to invite Mr. Skelton, the Ranking Democrat on the Committee, to offer any comments he might have.

Thank you Mr.Skelton.

Mr. Perle, the floor is yours.

being that once we go in, if we find either that Saddam denies usdenies the inspectors access to a site, or they actually find something at that site, that that somehow provides a trigger.

I am not quite sure what that means, and he is not now here to explain it. Does it mean if inspectors are prevented from visiting a site, that we immediately go to war? Does it mean we go back to the United Nations for a resolution? Does it mean that we negotiate access to that site at a time which agreement can be achieved? What happens if the inspectors set out for us a specific site because intelligence has become available that there is something to be found at that site, and three miles down the road on the only road leading to the site a tractor trailer has crashed. There is an accident, and the whole area is cordoned off, and the highway police, the Iraqi police, say, “You can't pass here," there has been an accident. Does that mean war?

The trigger that the general refers to is not automatic. It isn't black and white. And if I had to guess, I would guess that the inspections are more likely to produce a safety catch than a trigger, because the situations are almost certain to be ambiguous. And, where they are not inherently ambiguous, Saddam can make them ambiguous. So, the idea that we will be better off with an inspection regime than acting on the basis of the knowledge we already possess seems to me quite misplaced.

Mr. SAXTON (presiding). Mr. Skelton would like to ask a question and make a comment.

Mr. SKELTON. I am seeking back in my recollection, 1991, was there not an earlier resolution by Congress that preceded the one that authorized the one to use force? There were two resolutions, as I remember.

Mr. PERLE. The resolution, I recall, the one that was voted rather closely in both houses, but more closely in the Senate, was the resolution authorizing the use of force. I don't recall one prior to that.

Mr. SKELTON. That is my recollection-okay, thank you.

Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Perle, let me I keep wanting to call you Doctor. I am not sure why.

Mr. PERLE. I never finished the dissertation.
Mr. SAXTON. You must look like a very scholarly person, I guess.

Let me just make an observation and see what your response might be. In the international community, there seemed to be and perhaps this is an oversimplification—two views of how to proceed in these kinds of situations. I just spent the last two days taking part in a Russian-American forum, and frankly, I think that we have a lot to learn from the Russians because of their experience in matters that are very similar to the matters that we are discussing, particularly with regard to Chechnya. And, they have observed over the last several years, I guess, that their activities in fighting terrorism often beget more terrorism.

They used the example of apprehending, I guess, and killing Katov, which generated a spate of more terrorism, and others that they have captured over the years that have generated a spurt of more terrorism. So, they caution us as much as General Clark would to try other things first.

And then, on the other hand, I have been quite a student of the Israeli experience over the last number of decades, and I observed for many years that the Israelis looked at opportunities to combat terrorism as saying, if you committed an act of terror, be ready for what follows. And, for many years it worked. And then, the Israeli experience seemed to soften some, and episodes of terrorism grew.

So, there is this notion somehow that being tolerant to a point with terrorists will somehow get us to the point where we can deal with it in some other way, and I haven't been able to identify that other way.

So, I guess my question is this: The rationale that being tough with terrorists begets more terrorism is one point of view that is definitely out there as the Russians that were here think today, and on the other hand, we can look at experiences that we have had where we have stood up against terrorists and over time have been successful, and I just would like to get your impressions.

Mr. PERLE. It is a very interesting question. In the Russian case, particularly with respect to Chechnya, I think the Russians have done a great deal of damage to the civilian population of Chechnya and, by the careless way in which they have used force, have killed a great many civilians who were not terrorists. Now, you have seen your family destroyed. You are the sole survivor. You weren't engaged in any act of terrorism. The attack against your family was without any obvious justification. Might you become a terrorist? Might you become so embittered that you will take up arms against the people who did this?

It is entirely possible, but the context is very important. Everything depends on why the terrorists are motivated to become terrorists in the first place. And, I don't believe that the terrorists we now face, particularly the al Qaeda type of terrorism, is a product of anything we have done. It is a product of who we are and what we are and what obstacle we put into place of the ambition of these terrorists. And, in that sense we are not producing terrorists by the action we take. We are producing terrorists because we exist, and I know of no way that we can accommodate terrorists on that issue except by suicide. So the right policy, it seems to me, is to oppose terrorism with the full range of instruments available to us.

I had the privilege of meeting not long ago with Le Kwan Yu from Singapore, a very wise man, and he said on this occasion, he said, "What did we ever do to justify acts of terror against us by al Qaeda-associated groups?” What that rhetorical question drove home for me was the absence of a connection between any action or provocation by us and the terrorists who were arrayed against us. Singapore had done nothing that could be used as a basis for a plot to destroy Singapore, and yet the Singapore authorities uncovered a plot to do grave damage in that country.

So, I think we have to use the means that are at our disposal. To say if we fight terrorism, we will breed more terrorists is to throw up our hands and accept defeat in the face of terrorism, and that clearly is not sensible or an acceptable outcome.

Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much. And, thank you for being here. You have been very generous with your time this morning. We have been here for three hours, and I know that I can speak for other Members of Congress in wanting to thank you and General Clark for helping us to gain a better perspective of these

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