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Mr. HUNTER. Thank you, Mr. Secretary, and let me ask you, Mr. Secretary, for your perspective of the security balance in the Middle East when Saddam Hussein acquires the nuclear systems?
Oh, excuse me, General Myers, did you have a statement also? General MYERS. I do. I have a short statement, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HUNTER. Well, why don't you go ahead and then we will lead with questions.
STATEMENT OF GEN. RICHARD B. MYERS, USAF, CHAIRMAN,
JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF General MYERS. Okay. Chairman Hunter and Congressman Skelton, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. Before I start I would like to take a minute and just thank Chairman Stump for his 26 years of service to our Nation as a Member of Congress. His service here and in the United States Navy of course, is an example for all of us in uniform, and we wish him and his family well in the days ahead and hope we can work again with him here in Congress.
Mr. HUNTER. Thank you very much, General.
General MYERS. It is certainly an honor to appear before you to discuss the nature of the threat that Iraq represents to America and our interest and those of our allies and friends.
Mr. Chairman, I request that my written statement be submitted for the record.
Mr. HUNTER. Without objection.
I will make some short introductory remarks, and then we will go right to questions. The first thing that I wanted to cover with you was the nature of the threat that Iraq presents to us and the capabilities of our Armed Forces today, but I don't think there is anything I can add to Secretary Rumsfeld's remarks. I agree with those, and so I will leave that point and go on to my second point, and that is to tell you that our Nation's military forces are ready and able to do whatever the President asks of them. Our Armed Forces have made dramatic strides and capabilities over the past decade, and let me just highlight a few.
As a result of support of Congress and the American public, our Armed Forces have improved intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability. These capabilities together with an enhanced command and control network give our joint warfighters a faster, more agile decision cycle than the one that we had a decade ago. For our warfighters, this means that they have updated tactical information that is minutes or hours old, not days old. We also enjoy much better power projection capability to move our joint warfighting team. The strong congressional support for programs such as the C-17 and the Large-Medium Speed Roll-On/Roll-Off ships have meant that we can deploy and sustain the force much, much better than in the past.
And finally, our Nation's combat power has increased dramatically over the past decade. For example, the Joint Direct Attack Munition provides all of our bomber aircraft and a majority of our fighter aircraft a day-night, all-weather precision attack capability. Our ground forces have improved and have more accurate longrange weapons with the improved Army Tactical Missile System and a faster Multiple Launch Rocket System.
Today, we have sufficient forces to continue our ongoing operations, meet our international commitments, and continue to protect the American homeland. At the same time, of course, some key units are in high demand. Mobilization of Guard and Reserve forces have helped to reduce the stress on some of these key units, but any major combat operation will obviously require us to prioritize the tasks given to such units. While our military capabilities have improved over the past decade, the foundation of our success remains our Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen. Their superior training, discipline and leadership are the core of our effectiveness.
In my view, these qualities are the reason that our men and women in uniform enjoy the respect and high regard of other professional militaries around the world. It is also for these reasons that our military forces are so effective partners in any potential coalition.
Once again, I welcome the opportunity to be here today and make those two important points. First, Iraq remains a threat to our region, to the region, our interests and to Americans. And second, our Nation's joint force can accomplish any task that this Nation may ask them to do. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of General Myers can be found in the Appendix on page 142.]
Mr. HUNTER. Thank you, General, and Mr. Secretary and General Myers, you may wish to comment on this. I would just restate this question. How do you see the security balance in the region with respect to U.S. interests when Saddam Hussein acquires nuclear systems?
Secretary RUMSFELD. Well, Mr. Chairman, my personal view is that a biological threat and a chemical threat is of a kind with a nuclear threat, and he has biological and chemical weapons, and he is aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons.
The region knows that. The region knows this man very, very well, and they are frightened of him. And I don't know precisely what it would do to the balance in the region for it to be demonstrated that he has a nuclear capability and the ability to deliver it, not just to his neighbors but to others. In my view, the thing that is critical in the region is the role that the coalition forces have played since Desert Storm to dissuade him from invading his neighbors. He threatens the regimes of his neighboring countries frequently, and it is the United States and the United Kingdom and the fact that the U.N. resolutions have been a constraint on him in terms of the sanctions and the like, not a successful constraint because his programs have gone forward, but probably a constraint against him invading his neighbors. My impression is that it is probably the most critical element of the balance of power in the region at the present time.
General MYERS. Nr. Chairman, let me just add that when you think about Iraq developing nuclear weapons and the fact that they have an active ballistic missile production program, that when you put those two things together, you have to be very, very worried, like the Secretary says. And I would say that it makes a very bad strategic situation. Given that he has chemical and biological weapons, it makes it a very, very bad strategic situation for his neighbors, much worse.
Secretary RUMSFELD. One thing I would add, if you postulated that he had a nuclear weapon and the ability to deliver it, for example, some distances, which he is aggressively attempting to have, imagine trying to put together a coalition like was put together for the global
war on terrorism, and put together a coalition as was put together for the Gulf War. When countries know that by participating in such a coalition they and their cities and their populations could conceivably be targets, it would cause a-the purpose of a terror weapon is to terrorize, and it need not even be used to still be very effective, because it alters behavior. And in the hands of the likes of Saddam Hussein, that is a significant shift in capability and power.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Skelton.
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Secretary, I was going to ask you about the offer by Saddam Hussein and Iraq to have so-called unfettered inspections, but I think you fully covered that in your earlier comments and your opening statement.
Mr. Secretary, you made a reference to the Second World War, what led up to it, a, regarding Pearl Harbor, b, regarding the rise of Adolf Hitler. We must look ahead in this whole effort, and I use the Second World War as an example. What happens after we remove Saddam Hussein from power, he and his regime, hopefully with a coalition? But after the decision is made and after that action is taken?
We had a plan in place regarding Japan, the occupation thereof, and it worked. We had a plan in place in the occupation of Germany, and it worked, even despite the fact that the Soviet Union thwarted it for a while, and today we have, as you know, democracies in both Japan and Germany, and a great deal of that is because of our foresight in putting together what we do after victory. And there is no question in my mind that the United States, either alone, hopefully with other coalition partners should this come to pass, could decisively defeat the Iraqi forces. But I pride myself being somewhat of a student of history and know that planning for the aftermath of a successful military action is very important. Clausewitz's maxim said that in strategy it is imperative not to take the first step without considering the last, so let me ask you these-really there is really one question, Mr. Secretary, but I will split it into two parts.
What preparations are being made now for the administration of Iraq after Saddam falls and for the longer-term transition to a more permanent government? The second part of the question is what is the level of diplomatic and military commitment to be made to Iraq after Saddam falls and particularly, what is the estimate of American troops needed to ensure stability for the first year, or in the long term, or both? In other words, what does the future hold for us once victory is achieved?
Secretary RUMSFELD. Congressman Skelton, that is, of course, an exceedingly important question, and it is one that the President and the National Security Council have given a good deal of thought to. If the President were to decide that some action were necessary with respect to Iraq, there is no doubt in my mind but that the effort would be undertaken with partners, as in a coalition, as you raised in your question.
I feel the same way about a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, that it would be clearly a coalition, conceivably a U.N. role, but it would require over a period of time some military forces while that country transitioned from a repressive and vicious dictatorship to something notably different from that.
On the one hand, there is broad agreement with those that have been discussing this question that Iraq should be a single country and not be broken up into pieces; second, that it should be a country that does not have weapons of mass destruction, a country that does not attempt to impose its will on its neighbors, a country that is respectful of the fact that it is ethnically diverse and is not a central government that would repress minorities in that country.
The numbers of troops that it would take in the early period I don't think it is probably useful to discuss in this forum. It is interesting to go back to the Gulf War. The Iraqi army demonstrated its attitude about Saddam Hussein when 70 or 80,000 members of the Iraqi army surrendered and changed sides almost instantaneously within a matter of days, some hundreds surrendering to single soldiers because they have no great respect for their leadership in that country.
The going to the next step and beginning to talk about democracy or things like that is a step I can't go, because it seems to me that what is important is in that transition period it would be important for the Iraqi people in Iraq and people—Iraqis from outside Iraq who have been persecuted to participate in fashioning what would follow, and clearly it has to be something that would be not a dictatorship and would be respectful of minority rights in the country and the rule of law and respect for his neighbors.
What that template might be is beyond my task, and clearly it is something that the President and the Secretary of State, the Department of State and other countries in the coalition would be thinking through.
But the answer to your last portion of your question as to whether or not the United States would have to make a military in the short run and a diplomatic and humanitarian and reconstruction effort in the longer term, the answer is “Yes, one would.” One doesn't change what is without recommending something better.
The difference between this and Afghanistan, however, is that this is a country that has large oil revenues. So from a financial standpoint, it is an easier problem for the international community than a country that has been devastated by decades of conflict and does not have oil revenues to help buoy it up and bolster its recovery.
Mr. SKELTON. Thank you very much.
Mr. HANSEN. I thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the comments by the Secretary and the General.
Mr. Skelton hit on a very tantalizing question there. What is going to happen if that does occur, who fills the void. It makes you wonder if there is someone in the wings there to do it like we saw in Iran, back in that era. We have seen in other nations that somebody is waiting to do it.
The question that I would kind of be curious about is also there is always a question there is another nation that feels that we brought her to her knees and now we can take over. You know, that is a very volatile area, and there has been some very tremendous battles between Iraq and Iran before, and I would wonder how the Administration would look at a situation, wondering if the southern nation of Iran would say, "No, well, now, here is our chance," and how you would handle that?
I guess you have possibly answered part of that when you said yes, it would require a military presence at that particular point just to make sure that didn't occur.
You know, a lot of us on this committee get awfully tired of our military being in Korea for 50 years and Kosovo and Bosnia, and it just seems how do you ever get out of these places, how do you do that?
And the second thing I would be curious to know, having been to the Prince Sultan Air Base a couple of times, what would be the reaction of the Saudis? I have read a few things that they have kind of said they would be willing to let us use that base. I would kind of like to hear it from your mouth.
Secretary RUMSFELD. First, with respect to Bosnia and Kosovo, we have been pulling our forces down over the past couple of years fairly significantly. We have been doing it with our NATO partners and partnership-for-peace countries that have been participating, and the way you end something is to decide you do not want to be there permanently, and we know that we covet no other country's land. We are not looking to occupy any country. Our goal is to be helpful and then go about our business. The way you do that in the case of Kosovo and Bosnia has been to help build up the civil side, and what we are going to have to do in Afghanistan is see a lot more international support on the humanitarian side and the civil works side so that the security situation will continue to improve.
In the case of Iran, the small clique of clerics that are running that country I think have their hands full right now. They have a lot of foment in that country. People are unhappy, and women and young people are putting pressure on the leadership. And while one has to be attentive to all the things that could conceivably happen, I think that the likelihood of what you have suggested is somewhat less than modest.
Saudi Arabia speaks for itself. They have said what they have said. Every utterance publicly and privately that I have heard in the last several weeks have been increasingly—what is the word?friendly, supportive, measured. They live in the neighborhood. Saddam Hussein has a vastly more powerful army than Saudi Arabia does. He has weapons that Saudi Arabia does not have. He threatened Saudi Arabia when he was invading Kuwait, and so they have been measured, but I would characterize, in answer to your question, their public and private comments as recognizing a good number of the things that I have characterized here today.
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Spratt.