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capability and that given the time it will devote the resources and technical
The attitude of states in the region and even many of our European allies toward Iraq's WMD program is harder to understand. By 1996 the real aim of the inspections, the elimination of Iraq's WMD weapons and production capacity and the establishment of a long-term monitoring process, began to slide away in the face of resolute Iraqi defiance and the desire of the Russians and the French for short-term economic gain. We should also credit a successful Iraqi propaganda campaign that has gone largely unanswered and has convinced many in Europe and in our own country that the US is responsible for keeping on economic sanctions that have devastated Iraq women and children.
Major states in the region, certainly including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, are no longer willing to let an automatic anti-Saddam reflex define their policy in the Gulf. Even states, such as Kuwait and Bahrain, which are much more dependent upon the US for their security, are resisting US leadership when it threatens military confrontation. Equally important, Iran is no longer the marginalized state that it was in 1990-91 and has learned to skillfully play each crisis to benefit its long-term goal of removing US influence from the Gulf.
We are left with “allies' that lack sufficient military power to stand up to a rearmed Iraq, and that are increasingly unwilling to provide the US with the political support and operational bases that would allow the US to deal with Iraq even in its present weakened state. This same splintering of alliance ties can be seen in the non-regional allies that were a key part of Gulf coalition structure. The French are no longer willing partners, and the Russians can no longer be coerced or bribed into silent cooperation. If there were ever a psychological campaign that either was not fought or misfired, it has been the US effort to make the states of the Gulf and our European and Asian allies understand how much more dangerous the future is about to become as Iraq rebuilds its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, the Iranians further accelerate
their own efforts, and the rest of the region scrambles for political and military protection.
What choices are we left with? Few and mostly bad is the simple answer. The easy nostrums – support the opposition, containment as we did with the Soviets, or the UN Secretary General's 1998 statement " can do business with Saddam' - seem expensive, risky and, at best, only partial answers. The re-introduction of UN inspectors, now called UNMOVIC, not UNSCOM, into Iraq may well result not in constraining Iraq's WMD ambitions, but freeing them of all restraint. UNMOVIC is a product of a successful effort to remove UNSCOM from Iraq and replace it with an inspection regime more acceptable to Iraq. The Iraqi complaints concerning UNSCOM related to UNSCOM's insistence on unrestricted access to anything in Iraq it deemed relevant to determining the scope of Iraq's WMD program, and an equal insistence that they would not accept any time limit on how long it might take to accomplish this objective. If UNMOVIC were to compromise on either of these, we might end up with Iraq being declared free of WMD, when if fact all that would be certain is that UNMOVIC could not find any evidence of WMD.
The best hope of the opposition was in the chaos at the end of the Gulf War. This opportunity, however, was lost when the US decided to stand aside and let Saddam freely slaughter many brave Iraqis. In the intervening years US policy toward the opposition has grown to resemble nothing so much as the mating ritual of the female Back Widow – promising but quickly lethal to the male. I do not believe that it is true that supporting forces of democratic change is something that Americans are genetically unable to do. It is clear, however, that we generally have been so inept at it that it is likely to deplete the gene pool of promising opponents to tyrants before we are successful.
Containment has a nice ring and the virtue of a clear success in the fall of the Soviet Union. On the other hand, one can only despair that those who urge containment of Saddam as an appropriate policy have not examined the preconditions of the Cold War case to see if they exist in the Gulf. The US maintained for 40 years more than a million troops in Europe as part of its effort to contain the Soviets and invested vast resources in the social, political and economic reconstruction of Europe into a bastion of democratic values. In the Gulf there is no simple overriding fear of Saddam that will dominate all politics the way the Soviet threat did. For example, the Iranians who have every reason to fear the Iraqis will not see a US presence that contains Saddam as serving their interest. Many holders in the region of traditional tribal societal and fundamentalist religious values worry more about the threat of democratic and modern influences that flow from US presence than they do the threat from Iraq. Some of the states in the region are more fearful of a rapid democratic modernization of their societies than they are of Saddam.
Iraq is of a class of problems where all the easy answers seem to have been in the past and all the low risk, near terms options are not answers. But that is the past and future of the Middle East. If it is of any comfort, we should all acknowledge there were never any easy answers in the past.
What is clear is that unless we take immediate steps to address the issue of removing the Saddam's regime from power in Iraq, we will soon face a nuclear armed and embolden Saddam. With time, and we can never be sure of how long that will be, Saddam will be able to intimidate his neighbors with nuclear weapons and find the means to use them against the United States. Saddam's own actions to obstruct the efforts of the international community to carry out the removal of his WMD capacity as mandated by the UN Security Council at the end of the Gulf War accounts for the uncertainty as to the exact status of that program today. These same actions of obstruction, however, remove all doubt about his aim to acquire and enlarge his nuclear, biological and chemical weapons stockpiles. Absence the forceful removal of Saddam, unambiguous certainty as to the status of his WMD programs is likely to come only after the first use of these weapons against the United States and its friends. This is a very high price to pay – potentially many times over the human toll one year ago in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania - for clarity as to the exact status of any nuclear program.
U.S. POLICY TOWARD IRAQ
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES,
Washington, DC, Wednesday, September 18, 2002. The committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:05 a.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Duncan Hunter presiding. OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. DUNCAN HUNTER, A
REPRESENTATIVE FROM CALIFORNIA Mr. HUNTER. The committee will come to order. Today the Committee on Armed Services continues its review of United States policy toward Iraq. This morning's hearing marks a second of 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 Nations (U.N.) resolutions, its illicit development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and the threat that Saddam Hussein poses to the United States, the Middle East and the international community.
And I might let my colleagues know that this hearing in this series of hearings we have been having and will continue to have are being put forth at the direction of our chairman, Bob Stump. I talked to Bob just a little bit ago and Bob is doing well. He is still under the weather and undergoing some tests, but he gives his best to every member of the committee and every Member of the House and to you, Mr. Secretary, and wishes he could be with us.
Last week the committee received a classified briefing from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). In fact, we just concluded another briefing I think some 86 Members of the House attended just a few minutes ago. We also heard from former senior U.N. Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) inspectors, about Iraq's illicit weapons programs and Saddam Hussein's persistent efforts to thwart the efforts of the UN inspectors so that he might persevere and advance his weapons of mass destruction programs.
Tomorrow the Armed Services Committee will hear how the Iraqis built and sustained their weapons of mass destructions programs through the legal and illegal acquisition of Western technology, and how the United States's own export control system may have contributed to the problems we are now facing with Iraq. We also continue to plan further hearings for the coming weeks that will examine in greater detail the various aspects of the policy options before us.
Today, however, we are honored to have Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld before the committee to discuss U.S. policy to