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Nistance and wesbirmane d he mes that Saddam Hussein is indeed an implacable menace Beyond this, the chances are very good shat once our intention to set termes dear, other states will find
ways of signing on with us for a variety of motives, some more and some less worthy.
Fourth, the Baathist regime is held together solely by fear. When the time comes that Iraqi officers and soldiers, secret police and functionaries no longer anticipate retribution by the regime, there is a good chance that they will cease to operate on its behalf. As the American military confronts the challenges of chemical and biological weapons and urban warfare, which are surely the most difficult challenges in such a campaign, we must remember that fact. If individual Iraqi officers know that they will suffer harm only if they obey Saddam's orders, they are unlikely to do so. Surely American military planners know this fact and will make use of it.
Saddam Hussein has been given many last chances. Indeed, announcing the beginning of Operation Desert Fox in December of 1998, President Clinton said that he had given Saddam Hussein his last chance. Some may persuade themselves that Saddam Hussein should have more last chances. Some will even suggest that the United States should defer action until next year, and the year after that, and the year after that. And if we follow such a course, one day it will be too late, and as regional nuclear war erupts, or as plague rages in our cities, we will wonder why we did not act. The real question is not why now, but why not years ago?
Almost as important as regime change is what follows; almost as important, because the truth is that even if Saddam is succeeded by a brute, we can expect him to be a chastened brute, one who knows the consequences of confronting the United States.
But America can and should aspire to more. To be sure, we are not by temperament or preparation well suited to exercise the kind of colonial administration, or at least certainly not for long periods of time, in the Arab World, and it would be absurd to expect transition in Iraq from totalitarian rule to Jeffersonian democracy. But it should be possible to establish a regime that would be authoritarian perhaps, but moderate; a regime that would safeguard basic civil and religious rights, that would free the Iraqi people from fear, and would maintain the unity of the country without threatening its neighbors, and that might pave the way in the long-run for a modern limited state.
Such an achievement would have beneficial consequences well beyond Iraq, including in our war against Islamic extremism. By itself, the United States cannot remake the Middle East, but it can do much to help the peoples of that part of the world do so. It cannot force Arab societies to come to terms with modernity, but it can aid those embarked on that enterprise.
The United States can support with its prestige and power liberals of all stripes, secular and religious alike, and foster decent, if not entirely free, governments. In this indirect but crucial way, the overthrow of Saddam will contribute to the larger contest against Islamic extremist violence.
There are other connections between September 11th and our war with Iraq. There are some ties between Baghdad and al Qaeda that have become more apparent in recent days, and in all likelihood there is more that the intelligence community either does not yet understand or that it has buried in secrecy. There is a deeper link as well. After September 11th, Americans now have a visceral
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toote Presdeci SAC e bard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power be treatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his regon se srity of the world. The best way to end that threat code and grasith a new Iraqi government, a government ready to bre peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people
However, one judges the success of his administration's policies, it xems to me that President Clinton had the assessment right, and that the time has come to act on his words.
Wr. WELDOX. Thank you. Dr. Cohen. (The prepared statement of Dr. Cohen can be found in the Appendix on page 409.)
Mr. WELDOX. Dr. O'Hanlon, welcome. Your statement will be entered in the record. And you may take whatever time you would like for your public comments. STATEMENT OF DR. MICHAEL OʻHANLON, SENIOR FELLOW,
THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION Dr. O'HANLON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is a great honor to be here before the committee and to be appearing with Eliot Cohen, who has made a lot of excellent points. I would like to agree with sume of what he said, much of what he said, but also emphasize the possibility that I think a strategy of containment can work if We get rigorous inspections and disarmament going again inside of brag. And in that spirit I would like to support strongly the SepSember 12th U.N. speech, which I think had the tone and the strat
egy just right, even though I am not convinced that the resolution suggested by the President thereafter had the same tone.
And I hope the Congress will hold the President to the September 12th speech strategy not necessarily with binding stipulations, but with a strong sense of encouragement that a multilateral ultimatum with tough deadlines and trying to use inspections and disarmament if possible first is the right way to go, for a number of reasons, and I will get into those.
But, a. I think it can work. I think a toughened up and tightened up containment strategy can work; and, b. if we go to war, we need to go to war with as many allies as possible. It does not make sense, for example, to essentially say we can do this without the Saudis, let's not worry too much about getting them aboard. When you look at the political and military realities of that region, doing this war without Saudi infrastructure and Saudi support is such a way of fighting with one arm behind your back that I think we need to craft a strategy that will maximize the odds of countries like that one being with us, if and when we need to go to war.
So, I strongly support the President's September 12th strategy, because I think that is the way you get the Saudis on board, and others like that, if you need to ultimately use force.
Let me say, I do believe and I agree with Eliot Cohen—I do believe that we can overthrow Saddam Hussein if necessary at the same time that we continue the operations against al Qaeda. There may be some political strains with certain key allies and maybe some political dangers with countries like Pakistan trying to overcrowd the agenda, but in military terms I strongly agree with that assessment, and I do not believe that we need to wait.
In fact, let me agree further with Eliot on the point that it is very hard to develop a national consensus to go to war. We have all seen that in the recent debate, and this body has been very instrumental in conducting that debate. We know this is not the sort of thing you can turn on and turn off, based on when you decide it is politically opportune.
So, even though I am not convinced that Saddam's overthrow is absolutely as urgent as Eliot has argued, I do believe that now that we are having this debate, let's have it now. We have the military wherewithal to force this to an issue, force this to a head right now if necessary, so for better or worse, let's have it now.
Finally, I think that we also need to remember, however, that even if war might be easy, it also might not be. And the last thing you can assume as an American military planner or a President or a Member of Congress is that this war will be easy. And in this sense I strongly take issue with the tone of several members of the Defense Policy Board, who in almost a quasi-official capacity have been suggesting this war would be a cakewalk, a walk in the park. These are their words, not mine. I think this is an irresponsible way to prepare the country for conflict, and I actually don't believe people associated with the Secretary of Defense should be using this sort of language.
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