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back to the conclusion as I look to the nuclear program and I talk to Dr. Spertzel about the biology program and other colleagues we have in the chemical and missile area, that five years from now, he is going to be more capable and more able to do it, and we would have to use more force which would increase the damage, danger, and deaths in Iraq itself to Iraqis.
So I mean, this is what I mean by the risk analysis. I think the question I am troubled with and have quite clearly come to the conclusion that if given the voting card, I would vote to authorize is, I really believe this is one of those cusp-like questions for democracy where early action, while never costless and never riskless, is almost overwhelmingly demonstrable, less costly, less risky than action that might have to be taken five years from now.
Mr. LARSON. I take it from that comment you have no faith in the ability to go in there, and given all the ample resources to thwart, to stop, to constrict, to prevent Saddam Hussein or his successors and no faith that, in that—in as much as sanctions, if they were truly enforced and that our allies, as Mrs. Tauscher points out, were brought to task as well as the corporations throughout this globe who are alsoand running this whole process, it seems to me that we ought to take a shot at that first. But I appreciate the depth of your conviction and the clarity which you have made your points today.
Dr. SPERTZEL. I would like to add a comment. To a degree, that is what we were doing from 1991 to 1998, and it didn't work. And with—you know, unless you are going to totally surround the border of Iraq with people that you can rely on, you are not going to stop material getting across that border. And I don't care who is behind it.
Mr. LARSON. From 1991 to 1998, doctor, initially everyone has said earlier there was early success that was enjoined. And then, it broke down. And from 1991 to 1998, at least, to my knowledge, we haven't seen his ability to do harm, "he" meaning that he hasn't been able to carry that out.
Now from 1998 forward, and absent our being in there and being tough, that is an open-ended question, and certainly I would agree with you. But if we were there with the full force and commitment that people of your capability and intelligence could bring to bear, I think that is at least worth a shot.
Dr. SPERTZEL. I would agree with you if you can get the backing. But, frankly, sir, I don't see any way in the world that you are going to get that kind of backing out of the Security Council, and if the U.S. tries to go it alone, you are at war. But, to do this through the U.N., which would mean doing it through UNMOVIC and the conditions by which it has been set up with not only the council itself—I hate to use this word, but maybe "meddling” is an appropriate one and certainly the role that we have seen the secretary general of the U.N., who seriously undercut the inspectors in February of 1998, Iraq will twist everything.
Mr. LARSON. Isn't that the gauntlet that the President is going to hurl down at the U.N. And that is consistent with everything that he has put out in the past as well, and I think that is the message. And upon the United Nations and the world hearing those demands, then everybody has a responsibility to take all the infor
mation and then act accordingly. And I think that will be helpful and instructive to Congress.
Dr. Kay. Mr. Larson, I certainly accept your challenge to design a world that would accomplish the goals that we all would prefer as opposed to the use of military force, preemptive or otherwise. The skepticism that you are hearing from us relates to the issue of a belief that is, as long as Saddam maintains his desire to do it, that world is going to look so much like occupation, that what we are afraid of is that the U.N. will recoil in horror, and "We can't do this to another member state," and you cut back and compromise to what is this ideal world to what will satisfy us, and I think the U.S. is a pretty large number of people, to a world that none of us can have confidence you are actually restricting his weapons of mass destruction role. It is the diplomatic process that occurs in any body as you try to reach a compromise that would include the most.
So it literally is a slippery slope when you start out with a shared objective, that I would share with you, of a regime that would be capable of doing this in a cooperative fashion without military force, but I end up with a regime that won't accomplish our objectives, and, in fact, leaves us with almost an impossible situation of ever then taking military action short of the weapon actually being used, because you will be able to say “Well, we have got a U.N. inspection force here,” but it has been so neck down from the ideal, that in fact it's a shielding force.
And many of us feel that by 1998, certainly 1997 and 1998, UNSCOM had almost become a shielding force for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction development program because we were so emasculated and unable to carry out the operation.
Dr. SPERTZEL. Absolutely. I think one of the most worst things that I can recall happening was when they allowed the declaration of sensitive sites and for a sensitive site, only three inspectors were allowed to go inside at one time. Now you get a facility maybe the size of the Rayburn Building and you send three people in there and expect them to find anything, not going to happen. And that was the conditions that were imposed on us.
Mr. LARSON. Your points have been salient. I appreciate it. And I appreciate the forbearance of the chairman as well, and thank you for your comments. And I hope that the point of views that we have expressed also can be brought to forbearance as well. Thank you.
Mr. HUNTER. Thank the gentleman. And Mr. McIntyre hadn't had a question for either session.
Mr. MCINTYRE. I was here for the classified session and came back for this, and I appreciate you being here tonight. Just a couple of questions; maybe you can help. Having just returned to a trip to Afghanistan and central Asia, I particularly noted your comments on page four, Dr. Kay, middle of the page where you say, even states such as Kuwait and Bahrain, which are much more dependent upon the U.S. for their security are resisting U.S. leadership when it threatens military confrontation. We had an opportunity in our delegation of 11 Members of Congress to meet with the foreign minister of Bahrain, who expressed concern about Arab
states, our allies, and our historical allies being left out of any decision by the U.S. to attack Iraq.
According to the foreign minister, Bahrain and other Arab states are still concerned about being left out themselves of any decisionmaking by the U.S. with the unilateral decision by the U.S. to potentially strike, a lot of the Arab states start wondering who could be next, because they are not being included in the decision-making. Obviously, we need their air space, air bases, and use of the ports for our troops, which we know are doing such a good job over there now.
In your opinion, would the U.S. be able to regain the confidence and trust of our Arab allies after any such potential attack or do you think our relationship would be permanently and detrimentally affected in terms of cooperation to help our military?
Dr. Kay. My experience in the Middle East is that nothing succeeds as much as success that once you are successful, assuming that the application of military force by the United States was successful in quickly eliminating Saddam Hussein.
Saddam has no friends. We are lucky to have an opponent who has outraged most. It is not a love of Saddam to force this so much as two effects, a fear of the U.S. stirring up the hornet's nest and then not staying around, being happy with a couple of dozen cruise missiles and thinking it has accomplished something, and they still have to live with him. And the other quite frankly, is the issues, for them, Saddam is not number one in the streets or often in the palaces. What they view is a failure for us to deal with the Israeli Palestinian issue with equal seriousness. But I strongly believe that if we were successful, if we were to carry it out and were successful, we would find not resentment, we would find respect, admiration and “Thank God, he is gone”.
And now would you deal with our number one issue? So I think it is not an easy transition, but I think it is one that is doable.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Are you basically saying the other Arab countries that are in this position would just sit it out. Maybe they don't want to side with us or get involved because they were left out of the decision-making process, but at the same time, they are not going to get involved on Iraq's side either. They are just going to watch, wait, and see.
Dr. Kay. I don't think they will get involved on Iraq's side. I think collaboration takes many forms. And while we would often like to have you up front joining us in Kumbaya and saying you're with us, there are other forms of cooperation in the Middle East that you learn to live with.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Do you feel you would have that type of cooperation?
Dr. Kay. I certainly do.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Second, on page six of your testimony, near the end, you say this statement, which is a quite powerful one. "As we consider possible action, absent the forceful removal of Saddam, unambiguous certainty as to the status of his weapons of mass destruction program is likely to come only after the first use of these weapons against the United States and its friends”. Do we have and perhaps this is a note to think about as we conclude today's hearings, but do we have a self-fulfilling prophecy of inviting the use of chemical, biological, nuclear weapons by attacking Iraq preemptively.
Are we convinced, and I want to know if you are convinced, the two of you, that Iraq is preparing to use these weapons against the United States, its assets, not just to develop them. I mean, so much of what we have heard, generally the last two or three weeks, has been they are close to developing, they are going to develop them, the word has been developed. The question is, do you believe they are preparing to use them against America or American interests, or they would only be used in response to an attack?
Dr. SPERTZEL. If the U.S. does not agree not to stop bombing in the north and the south, frankly get out and stop interfering with the Iraqi regime's desires, whatever they happen to be, yes, I fully
, believe that Iraq is prepared to use weapons of mass destruction against U.S. interests at home as well as abroad. I happen to believe the one person that still believes we haven't found out yet who was behind the anthrax spores last fall. And when we do, there may be a lot of people surprised.
Dr. Kay. On the issue of whether Saddam—and I think you made a distinction between Saddam and Iraqi military forces—if we were to use military forces and come at him for regime change, his removal and replacement, I certainly think Saddam would attempt to use it, but I am actually more optimistic that you are dealing at that point with individual missile commanders who, if they know Saddam, and there is little doubt now they understand that if American military force is exercised to replace the regime, I think many of them will cut deals and will decide "I really shouldn't fire this weapon because I may be held personally responsible, and tomorrow morning may not be the best thing that happens to my family and my life.”
So I think the tactical deterrence and perhaps more so in a terrorist state, we may find a lot of those weapons not used. We are lucky that those weapons—the command and control system is not one like we would have, and even ours was never always that tight where the President could exercise and it was guaranteed to happen. So I think we may actually escape large scale use of it if we are smart and go at the head of the snake and get the head early before he can do it because a lot of people in Iraq-I am absolutely convinced that probably no more than 250 or 350 at the very core, that if it is clear they are gone or they are in the process of going. It is going to be much like the end of the Second World War when we worried about the Nazis retreating to the Bavarian Alps.
Where did they retreat to? The American zone. They didn't retreat to the Bavarian Alps. Everyone suddenly wanted a transition from a Nazi to a freedom fighter and being in the American as opposed to the Soviet zone. I suspect if it is clear that we are going to exercise effective military force, we are going to discover a lot of people who always oppose Saddam and were only there because of the terrorism and would like to live a better life.
Mr. MCINTYRE. So in essence-and you started out, Dr. Kay, by saying Saddam Hussein would attempt to use it. Do you agree with Dr. Spertzel that you believe he is preparing to use these, and he is not just developing them.
Dr. Kay. I am convinced that he is preparing to use them for political effect. The use of a weapon doesn't involve necessarily going off particularly when you have weak neighbors. The intimidation is shadowing effect of showing, demonstrating that it has chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, at some point will change the politics in the region and get the effect. I think if I were Israel, the possession of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction in the hands of Saddam Hussein would be fundamentally disturbing because I think he has an animosity and desire to destroy the State of Israel.
Dr. SPERTZEL. I don't think there is any question about the latter, because the one thing that we constantly heard was Israel's taking out the Osirak reactor back in 1981 and that is bitter at all levels.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman and that was a very good line of questions. And now the distinguished ranking member, the gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Skelton.
Mr. SKELTON. I want to say a special thanks. It has been one of the best hearings we have had in this room and your efforts are well appreciated. You also point out the old adage that you just can't pit a snake. So we thank you for your comments and I hope a lot of folks heard exactly what you said.
Mr. HUNTER. I thank the gentleman. And I thank Mr. Spratt too, in supporting the idea that we have some pretty robust hearings. I think this has been good for the whole committee.
Mr. SPRATT. I second what the chairman and Ike said. But let me end on an anecdote. We went to—Duncan, I believe you were with us when we went to the Persian Gulf and met Tariq Aziz at the Hotel Rashid. And he began the meeting by—this was before we reflagged the Kuwaiti tankers. It was during the Iran-Iraq war. And he began by chiding us by not giving Iraq greater support. We are fighting your fight for you because after all, you were severely embarrassed by the Iranians and they are certainly not your friend. You should be supporting us more openly and more vigorously. And Larry Hopkins, a Republican Member, spoke up and said, “Mr. Secretary, if your country was not openly and aggressively using chemical weapons in violation of Geneva conventions, we might be supporting you more openly and vigorously.”
And Tarik Aziz said, “Well it is a policy, the official policy of my country, to deny that we are using chemical weapons, but I won't maintain that pretense. What I will tell you is that the Iranians are fanatics and if they were to prevail in this war they would take over our country and change it radically, and we cannot permit that to happen and you should appreciate why. And I will say this: Yes, we are using chemical weapons, and if we had nuclear weapons we would use them too.”
Mr. HUNTER. And to note, Mr. Saxton, do you have any final thoughts or questions here?
Gentlemen, once again, thank you very much. I want to thank the members of the committee. I think we have had a great hearing, and I hope you will be available because you have an insight that very few people in the world have because of your experiences in Iraq, attempting to make weapons inspection work. And we now