SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-MI): Good afternoon everybody. The Armed Services Committee meets this afternoon to continue our hearings on U.S. policy towards Iraq. The purpose of these hearings is to give the administration an opportunity to present its position on Iraq, and to allow this committee to examine the administration's proposal with administration witnesses and experts outside of the government.
We welcome Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers to the Committee. Next week, the committee will hear from former senior military commanders on Monday, and from former nationals security officials on Wednesday. We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandates of the United Nations, is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them. Last week, in his speech to the United Nations, President Bush rightfully declared that the Iraqi threat is, quote, "exactly the kind of aggressive threat that the United Nations was born to confront." The president reminded the world that Iraqi aggression was stopped after the invasion of Kuwait -- in his words, "by the might of the coalition force and the will of the United Nations." And the president called upon the United Nations to act again, stating, "My nation will work with the U.N. Security Council to meet our common challenge. If Iraq defies us again, the world must move deliberately, decisively to hold Iraq to account. We will work with the U.N. Security Council for the necessary resolutions."
We in Congress applauded the president's efforts to galvanize the world community through the United Nations to deal with the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, and our actions now in Congress should be devoted to presenting a broad, bipartisan consensus in that critical effort. This does not mean giving a veto to the U.N. over U.S. foreign policy. No one is going to do that. It is an acknowledgment that Saddam is a world problem and should be addressed in the world arena, and that we are in a stronger position to disarm Iraq, and even possibly avoid war, if Saddam sees the world at the other end of the barrel, not just the United States.
Some have suggested that we also commit ourselves to unilateral action in Iraq, and that we do so now, in the middle of our efforts to enlist the world community to back a U.N. resolution or resolutions enforcing Iraqi compliance with unconditional inspections and disarmament requirements. They say that although we told the U.N. that their role is vital just a week ago, we should now say we are just fine in proceeding on our own. I believe if we really mean it when we say that we want the U.N. to be relevant that we should not act in a manner that treats them as irrelevant.
When Iraq invaded Kuwait in August of 1990, the United Nations, at the urging of former President Bush and with the full support of Congress, condemned Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, demanded that Iraq withdraw its forces, and in November of 1990, passed a resolution authorizing member states to use all necessary means to free Kuwait. Two months later, in January 1991, after debate and a close vote, Congress passed a resolution authorizing the participation of U.S. armed forces in that effort. The military campaign against Saddam Hussein in 1991 by the U.S.-led coalition was carried out with the active participation of most of our NATO allies, and the ground forces of several Muslim nations, and the support and backing of virtually every nation in the world.
U.N. resolutions paved the way for the establishment and enforcement of the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq, and for the air and missile attacks on Iraqi facilities related to weapons of mass destruction programs that it had in December of 1998 following Iraq's expulsion of the U.N. weapons inspectors. The experience of the last decade teaches us that in dealing with Iraq, the United States has been able to work with the world community through the United Nations.
A go-it-alone approach where we attack Iraq without the support and participation of the world community would be very different. It would entail grave risks, and could have serious consequences for U.S. interests in the Middle East and around the world. If we go it alone, would we be able to secure the use of air bases, ports and supply bases, and over-flight rights in the region important to the success of a military operation against Saddam Hussein? If we go it alone, would we continue to enjoy broad international support for the war on terrorism, including the law enforcement, financial and intelligence cooperation that has proven to be so essential? If we go it alone, what would be the impact on the stability of moderate Arab nations, and what would be our future relationship with moderate Arab and Muslim nations? And if we go it alone without U.N. authority in attacking Saddam, would he or his military commanders be more likely to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations in the region and against U.S. military forces in response? It (?) would be the case, if he faced a U.N.-authorized coalition, particularly if that coalition included a number of Muslim nations, as the coalition did during the Gulf War. If we go it alone, would other nations use our action as a precedent for threatening unilateral military action against their neighbors in the future?
Members of this Senate Armed Services Committee are ever mindful of the fact that confronting the threat posed by Saddam Hussein could ultimately lead to committing U.S. military forces, including ground forces, to combat. How, and under what circumstances we commit our armed forces to an attack on Iraq could have far-reaching consequences for our interests throughout the world and for the future peace and stability in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East.
I want to echo the statement that General Myers makes in his prepared remarks. America's military is the most capable and professional fighting force in the world. There is no doubt in my mind, and there should be no doubt in Saddam Hussein's mind that once committed our arms forces will prevail in any conflict. None of us seeks such a conflict, but if it comes, our military will have the full support of every member of body, whether they favor committing to a go-it-alone approach at this time or not.
SEN. JOHN WARNER (R-VA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Secretary Rumsfeld, I read with great interest an account of your testimony before the House yesterday, and I was particularly moved by your comments with regard to Israel and its role in the '90-'91 episode and the threats poised as a consequence of this extraordinary unrest relating to Iraq. I wrote the president a letter on April 2nd, a copy of -- excuse me, August 2nd, a copy of which went to you. And I went to the floor of the Senate today and put that record for the first -- that letter for the first time in the record expressing my deep concern about this conflict, and my compassion for the people of Israel who have suffered these devastating losses. And I would hope in due course that could be taken into consideration, because I think there's a connection between the unrest, as a consequence of the tragic disputes between the people of Israel and the people -- the Palestinian people, and the options that we face as we examine the problems in Iraq.
So, I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for this hearing. I begin by commending our president, President Bush, for the leadership he has shown on the issue of the threat to the world, not just the United States, the threat to the world posed by Saddam Hussein in his relentless drive to manufacture and acquire weapons of mass destruction. We would not be holding this hearing today -- we, in all likelihood would not be having the full attention of the United Nations, had it not been for the bold leadership given by President George Bush, together with the prime minister of Great Britain, Tony Blair, in bringing to the attention not only Great Britain and the United States but the whole world, the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. And I commend you, Mr. Secretary, I commend the secretary of state, Colin Powell, and others who have been in the very forefront of bringing into sharp focus threats posed by the weapons of mass destruction which he possesses today and which every single day he is working to augment and build.
Chairman, on August 27th, I wrote you as a follow-on to our regular discussions a letter requesting that the committee hold these hearings on Iraq, and you, of course, have readily -- and I have concurred on a series of hearings, the details of which are coming -- forthcoming. But we're going to go into this situation very carefully. In 1990 and '91, when I was privileged to be ranking member of the committee, together with Senator Nunn, our committee was critical to putting together a record for the historic debate that we had early in January.
The committee held a series of nine hearings in that period -- two closed briefings on the situation in the Persian Gulf in the fall and winter of 1990, leading up to the debate on the floor on January 10th and 12th, 1991. Those hearings developed the body of fact that was used during the floor debate, and indeed the equally important public debate on Iraq. The committee will fulfill that same important function today. I was privileged to be an author of that resolution that was debated on the floor, and it carried by a mere five votes. And my distinguished colleague to my right, Mr. Lieberman, was my principal co-sponsor on that resolution.
We started the committee hearings on Iraq on Tuesday, with testimony from the director of central intelligence, George Tenet, and the acting director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Rear Admiral Jake Jacoby. It was a sobering, thorough assessment that was given to all members of the committee -- a common base of knowledge about the clear and growing threat that Saddam Hussein poses to the United States, to the region, and to the entire international community. In particularly, Saddam Hussein's relentless pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver these weapons represents a present threat and an immediate challenge to the international community. Our president made that ever so clear in his speech.
We must end Saddam Hussein's continued defiance of the clear pronouncement of the international community as expressed in a series of 16 UN Security Council resolutions, beginning with the resolution, which mandated -- mandated the Council's terms and conditions for how the war was to end.
I remind my colleagues that Iraqis agreed in writing on April 6th, 1991 in a letter to UN Secretary General from the Iraqi foreign minister to accept the ceasefire conditions as embodied in UN Security Council Resolution 687.
Prior to that, we all watched as Iraqi generals, at the direction of Saddam Hussein, met in a tent at the Safwan Airfield in Iraq with General Norman Schwarzkopf, the brave commander who led the U.S. and coalition forces to victory, to discuss the conditions for a ceasefire. Those conditions have never been met.
It is now most appropriate that we hear from the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joints Chiefs on the role of the Department of Defense and particularly the men and women in uniform in implementing the U.S. policy towards Iraq as that evolves.
Most important is the readiness of our armed forces and their ability to carry out such military operations as, I repeat, as may be directed in the future.
Our president didn't go to the UN and declare war; he went to the UN to say it's time for you to become accountable to your charter, to your forbearers, to those who conceived this organization and to the world.
Again, one week ago our president gave an historic speech at the United Nations, challenged the UN to live up to its responsibilities, as stated in Article I of the UN charter. I quote: "To take effective, collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats of peace," end quote.
In my view, President Bush's speech was clearly one of the finest and most important speeches ever given by a head of state to the august assembly of the United Nations. The speech dramatically elevated the level of debate and the attention of world leaders on Iraq's conduct and continued defiance of the United Nations. It further challenged the nations of the world to think long and hard about what they expect from the United Nations. Is it to be effective and relevant and live up to its charter or is it to be irrelevant and fall into the dustbin of history, as did the League of Nations as the world descended into darkness in the aftermath of World War I?
Of equal importance, the president's UN speech articulated a clear, decisive and timely U.S. policy on Iraq; that is, to remove the threat before Iraq is able to use weapons of mass destruction now in his arsenal and every day being added to his arsenal. The U.S. is now firmly on a course to accomplish this policy and invites the nations of the world to join.
I remind my colleagues that the president's policy of regime change is the same policy that the Congress adopted with the unanimous support of the Senate in October of 1998 and the policy that President Clinton later endorsed and vigorously defended.
Over the past several weeks, many members of Congress and many American citizens expressed their hope for meaningful consultations between Congress and the president, as well as consultations with our allies in the United Nations. Our president has done exactly that.
It is now time for the Congress to express to the people of our nation and to the world its support squarely and overwhelmingly behind our president as he leads the international community. The price of inaction is far too great if the international community fails to confront this danger now once and for all.
By bringing his case to the UN President Bush clearly demonstrated his belief that the effort to counter Saddam Hussein is an international responsibility. The United States strongly desires multilateral action but if the UN fails to act the United States, like all other member nations under the UN charter, reserves unto itself the right to take whatever action is necessary to protect our people and our nation from the threat of Saddam Hussein.
Predictably, the Iraqi regime has responded to the president's speech with a tactical move designed to fracture the consensus that was forming in the United Nations. It is merely a trap, in my opinion, to buy more time for Saddam Hussein to further delay compliance with international mandates, as expressed in the 16 UN Security Council resolutions, and I shall not recite those resolutions but just place them in the record. How will we explain to the American people if in the wake of a future attack on the United States or U.S. interest directly by Saddam Hussein or indirectly through surrogate terrorists, equipped and directed by him, that we knew Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, that we knew he intended to manufacture and acquire even more and to use these weapons and yet at this time we failed to act?
Now more than ever before the Congress as a co-equal branch of the government must join our president and support the course he has set. We have to demonstrate a resolve within our nation and internationally that communicates to Saddam Hussein that enough is enough. He has to be convinced that the American and international resolve is real, unshakable and enforceable if there's to be hope of any progress of disarmament of his weapons of mass destruction.
To the extent the Congress joins and supports our president and sends a message unambiguously to the international community, the United Nations, is the extent to which the forthcoming resolutions of the UN will resolve this crisis.
I thank you.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Senator Warner.
Secretary Rumsfeld, we now turn to you and General Myers for your opening statements and then when it comes back to us we'll have rounds of six minutes each.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I thank you for this opportunity to meet with you today. I've submitted a rather lengthy statement where I set forth in some detail what I believe to be the situation with respect to Iraq. I request that it be made a part of the record and I would just make some briefer remarks, nowhere near that long, as an opening statement.
SEN. LEVIN: We will make your full statement part of the record.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Last week we commemorated the one-year anniversary of the most devastating attack our nation has ever experienced, more than 3,000 people killed in a single day. And today I want to discuss the task of preventing even more devastating attacks, attacks that could kill not thousands but potentially tens of thousands of our fellow citizens.
As you know, this is not an intelligence briefing; it is obviously an open hearing and my remarks will reflect those facts.
Further, I'm not here to recommend the use of force in Iraq or multilateral or unilateral, or to suggest that the president has made a decision beyond what he has told the United Nations and the Congressional leadership and indeed the American people. I am here to discuss Iraq, as requested by the committee and by the president, and to try to address a number of the questions that have come up during this national debate and public dialogue that's been taking place.
As we meet, chemists and biologists and nuclear scientists are toiling in weapons' labs in underground bunkers, working to give the world's most dangerous dictators weapons of unprecedented power and lethality. The threat posed by some of those regimes is real, it's dangerous and it's growing with each passing day.
We've entered a new security environment, one in which terrorist movements and terrorist states are developing the capacity to cause unprecedented destruction.
Today, our margin for error as a country is distinctly different than before. In the 20th century we were dealing for the most part with conventional weapons, weapons that could kill hundreds of thousands, generally combatants. In the 21st century we're dealing with weapons of mass destruction that can kill potentially tens of thousands of people, innocent men, women and children.
We are in an age of little or no warning, when threats can emerge suddenly, terrorist states are finding ways to gain access to these powerful weapons, and in word and deed they have demonstrated a willingness to use those capabilities.
Moreover, since September 11th we have seen a new means of delivering these weapons, terrorist networks. To the extent that they might transfer WMD to terrorist groups they could conceal their responsibility for attacks on our people.
So I submit, Mr. Chairman, that we are on notice that an attack will likely be attempted. It's a question of when and by what technique. It could be months or years, but it will happen.
If the worst were to happen, not one of us here today would be able to honestly say that it was a surprise, because it will not be a surprise. We have connected the dots as much as is humanly possible before the fact. Only by waiting until after the event could we have proof positive and then, of course, it would be late.
The question facing us is this: What is the responsible course of action for our country, with our history, our tradition? Do we believe it is our responsibility to wait for a chemical or biological or even nuclear September 11th or is it the responsibility of free people to take steps to deal with the threat before we are attacked?
There are a number of terrorist states pursuing weapons of mass destruction -- Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, just to name a few -- but no terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Mr. Chairman, these facts about Saddam Hussein's regime should be part of the record and of our country's considerations:
He's ordered the use of chemical weapons against his own people, in one case killing 5,000 innocent civilians in a day.
His regime has invaded two of its neighbors.
It's launched ballistic missiles against four of its neighbors.
He plays host to terrorist networks.
He regularly assassinates his opponents, both in Iraq and abroad.
He's executed a member of his own cabinet, whom he personally shot and killed.
He's ordered doctors to surgically remove the ears of military deserters.
His regime has committed genocide and ethnic cleansing in Northern Iraq.
His regime on almost a daily basis continues to fire missiles and artillery at U.S. and coalition aircraft.
He's amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of biological weapons, including Anthrax, botulism, toxins and possibly Smallpox.
He's amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons, including VX, Sarin and mustard gas.
His regime has an active program to acquire nuclear weapons.
His regime has dozens of ballistic missiles and is working to extend their ranges in violation of UN restrictions.
He has in place an elaborate organized system of denial and deception to frustrate both inspectors and outside intelligence efforts.
His regime has diverted funds from the UN's Oil for Food program, funds intended to feed starving Iraqis to fund weapons of mass destruction programs. He's violated 16 UN resolutions, repeatedly defying the will of the international community without cost and without consequence.
As the president warned the United Nations last week, his regime is a grave and gathering danger. It's a danger that we do not have the option to ignore.
President Bush made clear that the United States wants to work with the UN Security Council but he made clear the consequences of Iraq's continued defiance. The purpose of the United States should not be doubted, he said; the Security Council resolutions will be enforced or action will be unavoidable, and a regime that has lost its legitimacy will also lose its power.
The president has asked the members of the Congress to support actions that may be necessary to deliver on that pledge. He urged that the Congress act before the recess. Delaying a vote in Congress would send the wrong message, just as we are asking the international community to take a stand and as we are cautioning Iraq to reflect on its options.
It was Congress that changed the objective of U.S. policy from containment to regime change by passage of the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998 by, as I recall, something like a ten to one margin in both houses. The president is now asking Congress to support that policy. A decision to use military force potentially is never easy and it's important that the issues surrounding this decision be discussed and debated seriously.
In recent weeks a number of questions have been surfaced, many by members of Congress and others. Some of the arguments raised are important and in my prepared testimony I've tried to discuss in detail a number of those issues that have been raised, but let me just touch on a few here this afternoon.
Now that Iraq has agreed to unconditional inspections, the question goes why does Congress need to act. Well, if we want to measure the depth of their so-called change of heart, I suggest we watch what they do, not what they say.
On Monday they sent a letter indicating that they were ready to begin cooperating with the UN. Without hours they began firing and trying to shoot down coalition aircraft. There have been two inspection regimes. The ground inspection, they have thrown the inspectors out. The air inspections, the operation Northern Watch and Southern Watch have been continuing with coalition pilots flying at the risk of their lives. And since delivering the letter promising unconditional access, they have fired at coalition aircraft somewhere between 15 and 20 times, which is a considerable increase from the preceding period before the letter.
I would add that today I'm told that I believe the Iraqi foreign minister up at the United Nations made a speech and added a series of conditions to the unconditional proposal that had been sent by letter two or three days ago; suggestions that "the inspections must operate within guidelines, in a manner that respects Iraqi sovereignty and security" was the quotation I was given, although I did not have a chance to listen to the speech personally.
The point is that Iraq has demonstrated great skill at playing the international community. When it's the right moment to lean forward, they do. When it's the right moment to lean back, they do. It's a dance. They go on for months, and indeed they've gone on for years, jerking the U.N. around.
When they find that things are not going their way, they throw out a proposal like this. The issue is not inspections. The issue is disarmament. And the problem is a lack of compliance. As the president made clear in his U.N. address, we require Iraqi compliance with all 16 U.N. resolutions.
Some have asked whether an attack on Iraq would disrupt and distract from the U.S. global war on terror. The answer is no. Iraq is part of the global war on terror. Stopping terrorist regimes from acquiring weapons of mass destruction is a key objective of that war, and we can fight the various elements of the global war on terror simultaneously, as General Myers will indicate in his remarks.
A principal goal in the war on terror is to stop another September 11th or a weapon-of-mass-destruction attack that could make September 11th seem modest by comparison, and to do it before it happens. Whether that threat comes from a terrorist regime or a terrorist network is beside the point. Our objective is to stop them. Another question has been, what about a smoking gun? Well, Mr. Chairman, the last thing we want is a smoking gun. Gun smokes after it's been fired. And the goal must be to stop an attack of the type I've described before it happens. As the president told the United Nations last week, the first time we may be absolutely, completely certain that a country has nuclear weapons is when, God forbid, it's used. And we owe it to our citizens to do everything in our power to prevent that day from coming.
If the Congress (and?) the world wait for a so-called smoking gun, it's certain that it will have waited too long. I suggest that anyone who insists on perfect evidence really are thinking back in the 20th century and they're still thinking pre-9/11. On September 11th, we were awakened to the fact that America is now vulnerable to unprecedented destruction.
We have not, we will not and we cannot know everything that is going on in the world. Over the years, despite our best efforts, intelligence has repeatedly underestimated weapons capabilities of a variety of important major countries. We've had numerous gaps of two, four, six, eight, in some cases double-digit years between when a country of real concern to us began a development program and when we finally found out about it, that many years later.
We do know that the Iraqi regime has chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction, they're pursuing nuclear weapons, that they've proven willingness to use those weapons, and that they have a proven aspiration to seize territory of their neighbors and to threaten their neighbors, and that they cooperate with terrorist networks and that they have a proven record of declared hostility and venomous rhetoric against the United States. Those threats should be clear to all.
As you well know, the committees of Congress today are currently asking hundreds of questions and poring over tens of thousands of documents trying to figure out what happened, why September 11th occurred. Indeed, they're asking who knew what and when did they know it and why didn't somebody prevent that tragedy?
Well, if one were to compare the scraps of information that the government had before September 11th to the volumes of information the government has today about Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, his use of those weapons, his record of aggression and his consistent hostility towards the United States, and then factor in our country's demonstrated vulnerability after September 11th, the case that the president made in the United Nations, it seems to me, should be clear.
If wartime passes and the attack we're concerned about were to come to pass, I would not want to have ignored all the warning signs and then be required to explain why our country failed to protect our fellow citizens from that threat. We do know that Saddam Hussein has been actively and persistently pursuing nuclear weapons for more than 20 years. But we should be just as concerned about the immediate threat from biological weapons. Iraq has these weapons. They're much simpler to deliver than nuclear weapons and even more readily transferred to terrorist networks, who could allow Iraq to deliver them without Iraq's fingerprints on the attack.
If you want an idea of the devastation Iraq could wreak on our country with a biological attack, consider the recent Dark Winter exercise conducted by Johns Hopkins University. It simulated a biological weapon attack in which terrorists release smallpox in three separate locations in the United States. Within two months, the worst-case estimate indicated that 1 million Americans could be dead and another 2 million infected. It's not a pretty picture. Cut it in half. Cut it by three-quarters. It's still a disaster.
Some have argued that Iraq is unlikely to use weapons of mass destruction against us because, unlike terrorist networks, Saddam Hussein has a return address. Mr. Chairman, there's no reason to have confidence that if Iraq launched a WMD attack against the United States that it would necessarily have a return address.
There are ways Iraq could easily conceal responsibility for a WMD attack. They could give biological weapons to a terrorist network to attack us from within. Suicide bombers are not deterrable. They end up dead, and therefore the problem of being deterred is not something they worry about.
We still do not know with certainty who was behind the 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, for example. We don't know who was responsible for last year's anthrax attack. Indeed, our consistent failure over the past two decades to trace terrorist attacks to the ultimate source gives terrorist states the lesson that using terrorist networks is an effective way of attacking the United States with impunity.
Some ask, "Why did we have to be overthrown? Can't we just take out the capabilities that he has to threaten us?" While the president has not made a decision, the problem with doing that piecemeal is this. First, we simply do not know where all or even a large portion of Iraq's WMD facilities are. We do know where a fraction of them are.
And second, of the facilities we do know, not all are vulnerable to attack from the air. A good many are underground and deeply buried. Others are purposely located near population centers -- schools, hospitals, mosques, where an air strike could kill a large number of innocent people.
The Iraq problem cannot be solved by air strikes alone. Some have asked whether military intervention in Iraq means that the U.S. would have to go to war with every terrorist state that's pursuing WMD. The answer is no. For one thing, preventative action in one situation may very well produce a deterrent effect in other states. After driving the Taliban from power in Afghanistan, we've already seen a change in the behavior of several states.
Moreover, dealing with some states may not require military action. Indeed, I think they would not. In some cases, we see states where there's a good deal of unrest within the country. And take Iran, where their women and young people are putting pressure on the small clique of clerics who are running that country. In my view, it's possible at some point that it could flip, just like it flipped from the shah to the ayatollah. No one can promise that, but it is at least impressive to see the stirrings that are taking place in that country.
There is a place in this world for inspections. They tend to be effective if the target nation is actually willing to disarm and they want to prove to the world that they're doing so. They tend not to be as effective in uncovering deceptions and violations when the target is determined not to be disarmed. Iraq's record of the past decade shows that they want weapons of mass destruction and that they are determined to develop them.
Some people have suggested that if the U.S. were to act, it might provoke Saddam Hussein's use of weapons of mass destruction. That's a valuable point. There are ways to mitigate the risk of a chem-bio attack, but they cannot be entirely eliminated. And it's true that there could be that risk in a military action. But if Iraq is that dangerous, then it only makes the case stronger, because the longer one waits, the more deadly his capabilities will be every month and every year.
Moreover, consider the consequences if the world were to allow that list to deter us from acting. We would then have sent a message to the world about the value of weapons of mass destruction that we would deeply regret having sent to other countries.
The message the world should want to send is exactly the opposite, that Iraq's pursuit of WMD has made it not more secure but less secure; that by pursuing those weapons, they have attracted undesired attention to themselves from the world community.
Saddam Hussein might not have anything to lose personally, but beneath him in the chain of command, those other people would most certainly have a great deal to lose. And wise Iraqis will not obey orders to use weapons of mass destruction.
Some have asked, "Well, what's changed to warrant the action now?" Well, what has changed is our experience on September 11th. What's changed is our appreciation of our vulnerability and the risk that the United States faces from terrorist networks and terrorist states armed with weapons of mass destruction.
What's not changed is his drive to acquire those weapons and the fact that every single approach that the world community and the United Nations have taken has failed.
Mr. Chairman, as the president has made clear, this is a critical moment for our country and for our world, indeed. Our resolve is being put to the test. It's a test that unfortunately the world's free nations have failed before in recent history, with terrible consequences.
Long before the Second World War, Hitler wrote in "Mein Kampf" indicating that he intended -- what he intended to do. But the hope was that maybe he would not do what he said. And between 35 (million) and 60 million people died because of a series of calculated mistakes. He might have been stopped early at a minimal cost of lives had the vast majority of the world's leaders not decided at the time that the risks of acting were greater than the risks of not acting.
Today we must decide whether the risks of acting are greater than the risk of not acting. And Saddam Hussein has made his intentions clear. He has used weapons of mass destruction against his own people and his neighbors. He has stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and he is aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons. If he demonstrates the capability to deliver them to our shores, the world would be changed.
We need to decide as a people how we feel about that. Do the risks of taking action to stop that threat outweigh the risks of living in the world as we see it evolving? Or is the risk of doing nothing greater than the risk of acting?
The question comes down to this: How will the history of this era be recorded? When we look back on previous periods of our history, we see that there have been many books written about threats and attacks that were not anticipated: "At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor," "Pearl Harbor: Final Judgment," "Why England Slept." The list of such books is endless. And unfortunately, in the past year historians have already started to add to that body of literature, and there are books out on the September 11th attack and asking why they weren't prevented. Each is an attempt by the authors to connect the dots, to determine what happened and why it was not possible to figure out what was going to happen in the future.
Our job today -- the president's, the Congress and the United Nations, and indeed the free people of the world -- is to try to connect the dots before the fact. It's to try to anticipate vastly more lethal attacks before they happen and to try to make the right decisions as to whether we should take anticipatory self-defense actions or preventative actions before such an attack occurs.
Mr. Chairman, we're on notice, each of us. Each of us has a responsibility to do everything in our power to ensure that when the history of this period is written the books won't ask why we slept, to ensure that history will instead record that on September 11th the American people were awakened to the impending dangers and that those entrusted with the safety of the American people made the right decisions and saved our nation and the world from the 21st century threats.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my statement. And I would like to just say that it's a pleasure to see Senator Thurmond here and to have an opportunity to have him participate --
SEN. WARNER: The secretary is talking about you --
SEC. RUMSFELD: And this may very well be my last hearing before you, given your decision to retire, so it's a pleasure to see you, sir.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. We're delighted to have Senator Thurmond with us too, and we join your comments. It probably won't be the last time that you'll be before us before Senator Thurmond retires, but nonetheless, your sentiments are surely echoed by all of us. (Laughter.) General -- General Myers.
GEN. MYERS: Chairman Levin, Senator Warner, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.
I would also like to take a minute to recognize Senator Thurmond for his 48 years of service to our nation as a member of Congress. He's been a champion for our service men and women now for five decades. I think we also ought to recognize his service in the United States Army during World War II. That service is legendary, and he's become an example -- is an example for all the men and women in uniform today. Senator Thurmond, your departure, as you retire, the Senate will mark not just the retirement of a great senator, but it will also mark the retirement of a prominent member of the greatest generation. And we wish you, Senator, and your family, all the best.
Mr. Chairman, I request that my prepared statements be submitted for the record. SEN. LEVIN: It will be made part of the record.
GEN. MYERS: Then I will make some short introductory remarks and then answer any questions you might have.
I don't think I can add anything to what Secretary Rumsfeld has said on the threat that Iraq represents to America, our interests or our allies. So let me tell you that our nation's military forces are ready and able to do whatever the president asks of them. As a result of the support of the Congress and the American public, your armed forces have made dramatic strides in the past decade, and I'll just cover three key areas.
First, our intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance forces, together with our enhanced command and control networks, have given our joint war-fighters a faster, more agile decision cycle than the one we had a decade ago. For our war-fighters, this means that they have updated tactical information that is minutes to hours old, vice days old.
Second, we have a much better power projection capability. The strong congressional support for programs such as the C-17 and the large, medium speed -- medium-speed roll-on/roll-off ships has meant that we can deploy and sustain the force much better.
And finally, our nation's combat power had increased dramatically over the past decade. For example, the joint direct attack munition provides all of our bomber aircraft and the majority of our fighter aircraft with a day/night all-weather precision attack capability. Our ground forces have better and more accurate long-range 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, some key units are in high demand. The mobilization of the Guard and Reserve have helped to reduce the stress on some of the key units. Any major combat operation will of course 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 soldiers, sailors, airmen, marine, Coast Guardsman, and when I say that, I also include our civilians and the Reserve component obviously are all wrapped up in their. It's their training -- superior training, leadership and discipline that 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's also for these reasons that our military forces are such effective partners in coalition operations.
Once again, Mr. Chairman, I welcome the opportunity to be here today, and to tell you that our nation's joint forces can accomplish whatever mission the nation needs them to do. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, General Myers. As I indicated, we'll have a round of six minutes on the early bird rule.
General Myers, in June you told this committee that -- excuse me -- I think Secretary Rumsfeld, you said this in June, that because we have under-funded and over-used our forces we find we're short a division, we're short aircraft, we've been under-funding aging infrastructure and facilities, we're short on high-demand low-density assets. The aircraft fleet is aging at a considerable and growing cost to maintain. The Navy is declining in numbers, and we are steadily falling below accepted readiness standards.
It's been pointed out by a number of people regularly, and General Myers today, who testified that if our operations in the war on terrorism are expanded, we will be required to prioritize the employment of enabling units. You've testified, I believe both of you, that we are stretched mighty thin already, and I'd like you to explain if you can how we can carry out this significant additional commitment with the forces that we now have that are already stretched thing.
SEC. RUMSFELD: I make two points -- well, three points. One is that executive branch and the legislative branch have in the last two periods increased the budget of the Department of Defense in a considerable amount. Second, the -- under the emergency authority of the president, we've called up something in excess of 70,000 Reserves and some 20,000 stop-losses of people who would normally have gotten out who have not gotten out. Third, we have been in the process of trying to move more and more people from -- people in uniform out of activities that don't require a person in uniform and back into things that do require people in uniforms. Fourth, we have been drawing down our forces, for example in Bosnia and Kosovo, and trying to do it in other parts of the globe where -- where we felt it was a static situation and it was important to begin moving them out in ways -- doing it in cooperation with our allies and our friends.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you. General Myers, some have suggested that the U.S. military invasion of Iraq would be a cake walk. Give us your characterization, if you would, of what we could expect.
GEN. MYERS: I don't think there's -- any of the senior leadership, civilian or military, thinks that any combat operation is a cake walk. And certainly if the president were to ask us to -- to conduct combat operations in Iraq, that's certainly not how I would -- I would characterize it. Any time you put the lives of our sons and daughters at risk, calling it a cake walk is doing a disservice to them and to the country.
What we do know, and it's in written statement, but we do know that the Iraqi forces over the past decade for the most part are less effective than they probably were 10 years ago. That is not in all sectors. In their command and control, they've done a lot of work in fiber optics, so they're probably a little bit better there. In their air defenses, they're a little bit better there. Clearly in their weapons of mass destruction they've had since '98 to continue and increase their production of weapons of mass destruction, and that would be one of the things you'd be concerned about, about a potential conflict.
On the other hand, as I mentioned in my opening statement, the United States forces are -- are much better as well.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you. Mr. Secretary, in your judgement, is there any chance at all that Saddam Hussein would open Iraq to full inspections and disarmament if the alternative that he knew he faced was to be destroyed and removed from power?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I suspect that anyone's guess on that is as good as anyone else's. There certainly have been leaders in the world, dictators particularly, who have seen their run end and the game play out, and they've taken their families and some of their close supporters and gone and lived in another country in some sort of asylum. That's, I suppose, a calculation. The other calculation would be to admit to the world that for the last period of years he had been lying and he does in fact have these capabilities, but that's all right, the world can come in now and -- it would have to come in in such large numbers, and so intrusively just to find the weapons of mass destruction -- they're so well buried, they're so well disbursed, they're in so many different locations that it would take a massive intrusion into his country, his way of life, and I just don't know whether -- which choice he might prefer to take as an alternative.
SEN. LEVIN: Do you agree with the intelligence community that the retention of power is Saddam Hussein's number one goal?
SEC. RUMSFELD: He certainly is a survivor. I mean, he killed people to get into the job in a coup, and he's managed to kill an awful lot of people to stay in there. I suspect that one of the first things he thinks about when he gets up in the morning is retaining power.
SEN. Levin: He swims laps. Is it the last thing he thinks about when he goes to bed at night?
SEC. RUMSFELD: He seems to go to bed at night in a different bed every night.
SEN. LEVIN: Wherever he goes to bed, do you believe with the intelligence community that that is the first and last thing he thinks about during that day?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, I guess I'm not part of the intelligence community. But there's no question --
SEN. LEVIN: Given that -- given that you --
SEC. RUMSFELD: -- he's survived.
SEN. LEVIN: Given that you believe and testified that agreeing to inspections is a dance or a rouse, and I think there's good reason to believe that -- to reach that conclusion, given the history here. But nonetheless, given your position on it, is there any purpose in the return of U.N. weapons inspectors?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, I think that's a -- that really is a question for the president and Secretary Powell. And Colin is working on that with his U.N. colleagues, and the president, needless to say, is addressing it with him and with the National Security Council. Look, we know there's been a pattern where the regime -- the U.N. inspections program was much stricter in the first period when it was UNSCOM called than it was more recently when it was called UNMOVIC and there have been a lot of instances where they've walked back and weakened the inspection program -- the inspection program that existed in that earlier period. There's no doubt in my mind but that the inspection program that currently is on the books wouldn't work because it's so much weaker than the earlier one, and we know the earlier one had some real successes, to be sure, and did end up destroying a good deal of material, but we know it -- that there were enormous quantities of things that were unaccounted for.
And the problem -- one of the problems is you get information from defectors and people who are willing to tell you something, but unless their families are outside of Iraq, they're not going to tell you, because they're going to be killed and their families are going to be killed. So, it's a very complicated problem. And I'm no expert on it, and the Department of State is working on it with our U.N. colleagues.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you. My time's expired. Senator Warner.
SEN. WARNER: Mr. Chairman. Mr. Secretary, General Myers very forthrightly just said that the conventional forces possessed by Saddam Hussein today are somewhat less than he had in the '90-'91 period -- I think we all agree with that -- but that his inventory of weapons of mass destruction has risen appreciably to a level far greater than any he'd ever require for defensive actions to protect the sovereignty of his country, so he's using them -- or amassing these weapons in all likelihood for offensive action and possibly exporting them. But as the calculus is made, should force be needed -- and I repeat, our president has said he didn't declare war in the U.N., he coming to seek action by them, and I think there's loose talk about war at this juncture and the use of force -- but the point I wish to make, if his conventional is down, is he more likely then to have to resort to the use of weapons of mass destruction should military action be taken? And what are the increased risk to those that, in uniform, undertake that action? And are we prepared?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I'll let General Myers comment on the precautions that are taken so that men and women in uniform can function in the event of such an attack.
To go the first part of your question, he can't do it himself. He can't use weapons of mass destruction by himself. He's running. He's moving around. He's constantly looking out for his own life. He would have to persuade other people. And it would be our task to do everything humanly possible to explain to the Iraqi people that we recognize that the bulk of the Iraqi people are hostages to a very vicious regime.
And certainly if you think back to Desert Storm, the Gulf War, something like 70,000 or 80,000 Iraqi soldiers surrendered in the first three and a half days. Several hundred tried to surrender to a newsman who didn't even have a weapon.
There are an awful lot of people who aren't very pleased with the Saddam Hussein regime, and he has to use some of those people to use weapons of mass destruction and we would have to make very clear to them that what we are concerned about in Iraq is the Saddam Hussein regime and the regime is not all the soldiers and it's not all the people and that they ought to be very careful about functioning in that chain of command for weapons of mass destruction.
SEN. WARNER: Do we read in that the presumption that he has delegated the authority to initiate the use of those weapons, in all probability to a level below him involving one or more persons?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I don't want to get into that question of command and control in that country. I will say this, that you cannot physically do it yourself, just like the President of the United States can't physically fly an airplane or make a ship go from one place to another or launch a rocket, drop a bomb. You need other people and those people, I don't believe, think very highly of that regime.
SEN. WARNER: General Myers, as to the military analysis as the conventional forces come down, he has to rely on weapons other than conventional to a greater degree. GEN. MYERS: Senator Warner, I think the answer is it's really unknowable how the regime would use weapons of mass destruction, but any planning you'd have to plan on worst case. You'd have to assume they would be used.
We are somewhat better off than we were a decade ago. Obviously the protective equipment has improved over time. It's still cumbersome, more cumbersome than it should be, but it's much better than it was a decade ago, much better than when I was wearing it out in the field.
We have better early warning and netting of our sensors today, so better detection capability and to tell what kind of attack we're under.
Of course, one of the things you'd think about doing would be attacking his delivery means or his weapons of mass destruction. As the secretary said, we don't know where all of that is so that would be problematic, but as it develops that would be one of the things I think that General Franks would pay a lot of attention to; if he were ever asked to do this, he would pay attention to them getting ready with their weapons of mass destruction.
SEN. WARNER: Well, I think that's reassuring what you are saying and that's important to have as a part of this record.
I'd like to go to a second point. Of recent there are individuals who have expressed a knowledge that within the Pentagon today there's considerable dissent or whatever quantum they said among senior officers as to the advisability of initiating the use of force in Iraq, should that become necessary. I'd like to explore that.
I go back again to the Goldwater-Nichols Act, which this committee wrote, and we carefully put in there these years ago that those views can be shared with the Congress. I remember 12 years ago on September 11th, 1990 in a situation remarkably similar to the hearing we're having today, I then asked chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell this question, quote, "The law now provides for individual members of the Joint Chiefs to express their views, if they have views inconsistent with those of the secretary and the chairman. In this instance, I presume there is full consultation among all members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff."
Now, I can understand, and from my experience in the Pentagon during Vietnam, we were asked, they asked, we asked them to give us their different views. As a matter of fact, it's some of those views that were given to Secretary Laird, Secretary Schlesinger and others that resulted in our policies in those days. I remember those meetings very well. I think that's proper.
But I guess I'm probing to determine whether or not there's any significant level of dissent, which causes you trouble in coming forward today and saying we are prepared to undertake such missions as may be directed by the president? GEN. MYERS: Senator Warner, I'll just keep it real short: Absolutely not.
SEN. WARNER: Secretary Rumsfeld?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Yes. Anyone with any sense has concerns about the use of force, because you simply do not put people's lives at risk without having a darn good reason and having thought it through.
Dick Myers and General Pace and I spend a good deal of time looking at all the things that can go wrong, all the things that conceivably are the downside, what could be a problem, what could be a difficulty, what is the worst case here, the worst case there.
I don't know a single civilian or military person who's involved in thinking about these problems in the Department of Defense who doesn't have concerns.
SEN. WARNER: You yourself --
SEC. RUMSFELD: One would be a fool not to. And I mean I read what you read in the paper, and my impression is it's inaccurate. I meet with the chiefs, I meet with the vice chiefs, I meet with the combatant commanders and I hear what they say and I know what they think, and I meet with civilian leadership.
My impression is that there are people across the spectrum both in the uniform and outside the uniform, and I urge the committee to call up anyone you want and ask them anything you want; let's hear what they have to say.
SEN. WARNER: I think that's clear.
My time is up, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much.
SEN. KENNEDY: Thank you.
Mr. Secretary, in response to the earlier question you indicated that Saddam Hussein can't use these weapons, weapons of mass destruction himself. He has to persuade other people, can't do it himself, he needs other people. Is it your intelligence now that he has persuaded other people and that they are in a go mode or hasn't he done that at this time?
SEC. RUMSFELD: We have no way to know. My impression is that if you ask any of those people today, they would say they're perfectly loyal -- at those high levels, totally loyal to their leader and one will not know until one gets to that moment. SEN. KENNEDY: Well, you take -- I guess your answer then is if he says go they'll go, I mean, is what I'm just hearing back from you.
SEC. RUMSFELD: No. You're misunderstanding. What I am saying is if he says go, the people he says go to it better think very carefully about whether that's how they want to handle their lives.
SEN. KENNEDY: But I want to join with those that recognize the great danger of Saddam Hussein and commend the president for going to the United Nations to try and find out a way of dealing with these weapons of mass destruction and clearly there are risks if we take no action. We know that Saddam has used the weapons before, but many analysts believe that Saddam is on notice now and he'll use these weapons only if his regime is about to fall; in that case, he will use everything at his disposal.
My question is what is the basis of your judgment that there's a higher risk if we don't go to war than if we do, since many believe that Saddam will use the weapons of mass destruction if his back is against the wall and his regime is about to fall?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, let me reverse it. If the argument goes one must not do anything because he has weapons of sufficient power that they could impose destruction on it that would be at an unacceptable level, then the next step would be that if that's the conclusion then in one year, two years, three years and he has even more powerful weapons and a nuclear weapon and longer range capabilities, then he is able to use those weapons of terror to terrorize the rest of the world, including the United States.
It's kind of like feeding an alligator hoping it eats you last.
SEN. KENNEDY: Well, I'm asking the question -- this might not be one year, two years, three years; this may be one month, two months, three months. And as I understand it, it's a very real possibility. Many of the analysts believe that when his back is up against the wall he'll throw everything at us, including using weapons of mass -- he hasn't got the nuclear weapons -- using weapons of mass destruction.
SEC. RUMSFELD: It's possible.
SEN. KENNEDY: And it's very possible, you recognize. So there's a good or a fair or it is possible, we'll leave it at that, it is possible that he'll use it and it will be used. Now, there's certainly a possibility that he'll use it against Israel as well. There is a possibility that Israel will respond with nuclear weapons as well. This isn't the best; it may not be the worst-case scenario, but all those are real possibilities.
What kind of situation do you see then in terms of Arab countries that may not have joined us in the war but are joining us now on the war on terrorism? What's going to happen and how do you see then the play out in terms of the situation both in Iraq and what we're going to be left with?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Those are all considerations that have to be very carefully thought through by the president and the Secretary of State and others.
We already do know that Saddam Hussein is willing to use weapons of mass destruction because he used chemicals on his own people. He's used them on the Iranians. I mean, this is a man who isn't shy about using them.
SEN. KENNEDY: No, we shouldn't be shy to think that he wouldn't use them if his back is against the wall and we wouldn't go in there not to win.
SEC. RUMSFELD: That's right.
SEN. KENNEDY: As you pointed out. We'd go in there hard and fast to remove Saddam Hussein. Is that correct, or his regime?
SEC. RUMSFELD: If that decision is made.
SEN. KENNEDY: Whatever decision is made, those that are going to be able to be in command and control of those weapons of mass destruction, that's why we'd be going in there, to minimize the dangers of weapons of mass destruction.
And he's used, as he's pointed out, the weapons against his own people, against the Iranians.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Exactly.
SEN. KENNEDY: So what makes you believe that he wouldn't use them if he knows that he's going down?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I didn't indicate that I believed he would not use them; I said I did not know, and it would be a function of how successful we were in persuading the Iraqi people, who I am persuaded large fractions want to be liberated. That is a terrible life they have and they're frightened of this man.
SEN. KENNEDY: They've been unsuccessful. SEC. RUMSFELD: That's right.
SEN. KENNEDY: This fear they've got, they've been unsuccessful in doing it.
Let me ask this question --
SEC. RUMSFELD: Can I answer on Israel? It is possible. He has fired missiles at four of his neighbors. We know that he did to Israel in the Gulf War.
In my view, it was in Israel's interest to stay out of the Gulf War and in my view it would be overwhelmingly in Israel's interest to stay out in the event that a conflict were to occur prospectively.
With respect to the Arab countries you asked about, they know what Saddam Hussein is. There isn't one of his neighbors who doesn't want him gone. You've talked to them. We know that. They live in the neighborhood and he's about several times stronger than they are, so they're careful about what they say publicly. And I don't blame them, but they have to know that he threatens their regimes. He tries to occupy their countries. So they would be enormously relieved if that clique running Iraq were gone.
SEN. KENNEDY: Do you think there's more of a chance or not more of a chance for Saddam Hussein to make his weapons of mass destruction more available to terrorist organizations or to al-Qaeda if we become involved in a war? Does that increase the dangers of liberation of these weapons or not? How does this fit into your calculation?
SEC. RUMSFELD: In my view, the only way you can prevent Saddam Hussein from providing weapons of mass destruction to terrorist networks is to disarm Iraq and not have them have those weapons while he's leading the country.
SEN. KENNEDY: Just a last point -- my time is up. If there were to be an attack on Israel and they have the Arrow and the Patriot missiles to try to shoot those down, those weapons would still have -- may very well have bio-terrorism materials, so it isn't like shooting down an explosive. That could very well land -- the products could very well land in Israel, I imagine, and I would imagine that that would cause a serious kind of reaction, which would be different from the previous war, would it not?
SEC. RUMSFELD: What you have stated is a possibility.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Kennedy.
SEN. HUTCHINSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Secretary, General Myers, welcome. As I read the White House discussion draft no a joint resolution that was sent over, I was reminded that there is -- it struck me that there is absolutely no more serious or sober decision that the Congress ever makes than voting on a resolution like this that would authorize a stamp of approval upon the use of force, and I appreciate that it was in that spirit that General Myers spoke a moment ago, that this is a very serious and sober discussion that we're having.
I appreciate the president's very forceful and convincing case that he made before the United Nations that we must deal sooner rather than inevitably later with Saddam Hussein and the threat that he poses, and I applaud his leadership in reminding the world community about Saddam's long record of support for terrorism and the pursuit of the use of weapons of mass destruction and the repression of his own people.
I believe that Saddam Hussein, in fact, does present a clear and present danger not only to the security of the United States but to his region and to the security of other nations in that part of the world.
You have made a very clear case that he not only possesses weapons of mass destruction but continues to accumulate and grow those weapons and I think that the doctrine of preemptive defense, as the president has outlined it, when the risk is high and the evidence is overwhelming becomes a moral imperative.
My constituents I think want to know, as Senator Kennedy pointed out, as the chairman has pointed out and others, that there is a risk, there is the enormous risk in going in when this dictator, this brutal international outlaw has weapons of mass destruction. I think they want to know that by going in and taking that risk that this world is going to be safer and that their children and their grandchildren are going to have a safer and more secure country and world to live in. The idea of inspectors, where we're waiting five months or a year and then we'll only not really deal with the issue at hand, which is the destruction of those weapons of mass destruction.
Mr. Secretary, if we do nothing, he's always sought to cause us to delay, to cause us to dawdle, if we do nothing and five years passes -- General Myers, I'd pose this for you as well -- knowing what you know, what kind of arsenal, what kind of threat would Saddam Hussein at that point pose for the world in which we live?
GEN. MYERS: Five years hence? I mean, a lot of it is hypothetical. I think you all have had the benefit of --
SEN. HUTCHINSON: A lot of the questions have been hypothetical today, so let's hypothesize it if we do nothing.
GEN. MYERS: Well, we're a long way out, but I think you had the benefit of Mr. Tenet's testimony, as you mentioned, and Admiral Jacoby. Clearly five years from now that's in the region where Iraq's interest in nuclear weapons might finally materialize into a weapon, and so I think obviously that would create considerably more strategic concern. There's already strategic concern; it would just make a bad situation much, much worse if he had that.
And we know he's continuing to produce the chemical and biological weapons. We have some idea, and I think you were briefed on what kinds we think the regime has. There are other ones out there that he doesn't have that in five years possibly he could find, and then I think you have to worry about the delivery means. And right now they think they have some missile delivery means, interest in other ways to deliver them. By then who knows? There could be other more easily obtainable delivery means, cruise missiles and so forth that could make it a lot more problematic.
SEN. HUTCHINSON: Mr. Secretary, do you have anything you could add to that?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, I would. If one looks at their capabilities over the last decade, they declined for a period when the no fly zones were robust, when the economic sanctions had some traction and when inspectors were on the ground.
In the last four years there have been no inspectors on the ground, the northern and southern no fly zones have been less robust and the sanctions have dissipated. Their borders are porous. There is no question but that they went down for a period in the first part of the decade to the middle. By '98 they're starting to come back up. Their conventional and their weapon of mass destruction capabilities are improving and they're improving every day, every month.
A great deal of this dual-use capability that's moving into that country, dump trucks, massive numbers of dump trucks. And they take the tops off the dump trucks and they put artillery on the back of it. Fiber optics, as General Myers mentioned; they're doing lots of things that are not in the WMD category.
GEN. MYERS: Let me just add, and the last point I would make on five years from now, I think there's a great danger there that this nexus between those states that produce and conduct research and development on weapons of mass destruction in terrorist organizations, I think there's the greatest threat in the future. I mean, we're dealing with a terrorist organization today, al-Qaeda. There are other terrorist organizations that by then that this could be just that much worse. I think it will be easier to conceal things, move things around.
SEN. HUTCHINSON: So it's great risk now; waiting could be much greater risks for our security and the world. GEN. MYERS: I think that's certainly the potential.
SEN. HUTCHINSON: Mr. Secretary, we have had discussions before about protection against chemical and biological weapons, and I wondered if you could comment on necessary countermeasures should Saddam utilize a weapon of mass destruction, should military action by the United States be required at some point.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, I'd rather have -- I think General Myers commented on the capabilities of our forces to deal with a WMD attack that affected our forces or neighboring countries or staging areas.
SEN. HUTCHISON: General Myers?
GEN. MYERS: The only thing I'd add to my previous comments -- I mean, we are better off than we were 10 years ago, both in warning and in our protection. I think we are better able to handle emerging targets that might be related to WMD delivery systems or movement of material. And we've also just started -- I think it was three days ago, Mr. Secretary, we started inoculations again for anthrax. And so I think the steps that can be taken to protect our force, no matter where they are, are much better than they have been, and are fairly robust.
SEN. HUTCHISON: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Mr. Chairman, may I clean up one item in my comment to Senator Kennedy? I just ran through my head that he mentioned the possibility that Israel might engage in a nuclear response, were they attacked. I would not want to leave that hanging out there with the implication that I agree with that.
SEN. LEVIN: Senator Byrd.
SEN. BYRD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding these hearings. Mr. Secretary, to your knowledge, did the United States help Iraq to acquire the building blocks of biological weapons during the Iran-Iraq War? Are we in fact now facing the possibility of reaping what we have sown?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Certainly not to my knowledge. I have no knowledge of United States companies or government being involved in assisting Iraq develop, chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.
SEN. BYRD: Mr. Secretary, let me read to you from the September 23, 2002 Newsweek story. I read this -- I read excerpts, because our time is limited: ""Some Reagan officials even saw Saddam as another Anwar Sadat, capable of making Iraq into a modern secular state, just as Sadat had tried to lift up Egypt before his assassination in 1981. But Saddam had to be rescued first. The war against Iran was going badly by 1982. Iran's 'human wave attacks' threatened to overrun Saddam's armies. Washington decided to give Iraq a helping hand. After Rumsfeld's visit to Baghdad in 1983, U.S. intelligence began supplying the Iraqi dictator with satellite photos showing Iranian deployments. Official documents suggest that America may also have secretly arranged for tanks and other military hardware to be shipped to Iraq in a swap deal -- American tanks to Egypt, Egyptian tanks to Iraq. Over the protest of some Pentagon skeptics, the Reagan administration began allowing the Iraqis to buy a wide variety of" -- quote -- "dual use" -- close quote -- "equipment and materials from American suppliers. According to confidential Commerce Department export-control documents obtained by NEWSWEEK, the shopping list included a computerized database for Saddam's Interior Ministry, presumably to help keep track of political opponents; helicopters to transport Iraqi officials; television cameras for video surveillance applications; chemical-analysis equipment for the Iraq Atomic Energy Commission, IAEC, and, most unsettling, numerous shipments of bacteria/fungi/protozoa to the IAEC. According to former officials, the bacteria cultures could be used to make biological weapons, including anthrax. The State Department also approved the shipment of 1.5 million atropine injectors, for use against the effects of chemical weapons, but the Pentagon blocked the sale. Helicopters, some American officials later surmised, were used to spray poison gas on the Kurds. The United States almost certainly knew from its own sate!
llite imagery that Saddam was using chemical weapons against Iranian troops. When Saddam bombed Kurdish rebels and civilians with a lethal cocktail of mustard gas, sarin, tabun and VX in 1988, the Reagan administration first blamed Iran, before acknowledging, under pressure from congressional Democrats, that the culprits were Saddam's own forces. There was only token official protest at the time. Saddam's men were unfazed. An Iraqi audiotape, later captured by the Kurds, records Saddam's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as Ali Chemical, talking to his fellow officers about gassing the Kurds. 'Who is going to say anything?,' closed quotes, he asks. Quote, 'The international community? F-blank them,'" exclamation point, closed quote.
Now, can this possibly be true? We already knew that Saddam was a dangerous man at the time. I realize that you were not in public office at the time, but you were dispatched to Iraq by President Reagan to talk about the need to improve relations between Iraq and the U.S. Let me ask you again: To your knowledge, did the United States help Iraq to acquire the building blocks of biological weapon during the Iran-Iraq War? Are we in fact now facing the possibility of reaping what we have sown? The Washington Post reported this morning that the United States is stepping away from efforts to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention. I'll have a question on that later. Let me ask you again: Did the United States help Iraq to acquire the building blocks of biological weapon during the Iran-Iraq War? Are we in fact now facing the possibility of reaping what we have sown?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I have not read the article. I, as you suggest, I was for a period in late '83 and early '84, asked by President Reagan to serve as Middle East envoy after the Marines -- 241 Marines were killed in Beirut. And as part of my responsibilities, I did visit Baghdad. I did meet with Mr. Tariq Aziz, and I did meet with Saddam Hussein, and spent some time visiting with them about the war they were engaged in with Iran.
At the time our concern of course was Syria, and Syria's role in Lebanon and Lebanon's role in the Middle East, and the terrorist acts that were taking place. As a private citizen, I was assisting only for a period of months. I have never heard anything like what you have read. I have no knowledge of it whatsoever, and I doubt it.
SEN. BYRD: You doubt what?
SEC. RUMSFELD: The questions you posed as to whether the United States of America assisted Iraq with the elements that you listed in your reading of Newsweek, and that we could conceivably now be reaping what we've sown. I think -- I doubt both.
SEN. BYRD: Are you surprised at what I've said? Are you surprised at this story in Newsweek?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I guess I am at an age and circumstance in life where I am no longer surprised about what I hear in the newspapers and magazines.
SEN. BYRD: That's not surprising. I'm of that age too -- (laughter) -- somewhat older than you. But --
SEC. RUMSFELD: Not much.
SEN. BYRD: -- how about that story I've read?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I see stories all the time that are flat wrong. I just don't know. All I can say --
SEN. BYRD: How about this story?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Pardon me?
SEN. BYRD: How about this story?
SEC. RUMSFELD: As I say, I have not read it. I listened carefully to what you said, and I doubt it!
SEN. BYRD: All right. Now, the Washington Post reported this morning that the United States is stepping away from efforts to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention. Are we not sending exactly the wrong signal to the world at exactly the wrong time? Doesn't this damage our credibility in the international community at the very time that we are seeking their support to neutralize the threat of Iraq's biological weapons program? If we supplied -- if we supplied, as the Newsweek article said, if we supplied the building blocks for germ and chemical warfare to this mad man in the first place -- this psychopath -- how do we look to the world to be backing away from this effort to control it at this point?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, senator, I think it would be a shame to leave this committee and the people listening with the impression that the United States assisted Iraq with chemical or biological weapons in the 1980s. I just do not believe that's the case.
SEN. BYRD: Well, are you saying that the Newsweek article is inaccurate?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I am saying precisely what I said: that I didn't read the Newsweek article, but that I doubt its accuracy.
SEN. BYRD: I'll be glad to send you up a copy.
SEC. RUMSFELD: But that I was not in government at that time, except as a special envoy for a period of months. So one ought not to rely on me as the best source as to what happened in that mid-'80s period that you were describing.
I will say one other thing. On two occasions I believe when you read that article you mentioned the IAEC, which as I recall is the International Atomic Energy Commission, and mentioned that it -- some of the things that you were talking about were provided to them, which I found quite confusing, to be honest.
With respect to the Biological Weapons Convention, I was not aware that the United States government had taken a position with respect to it. It's not surprising, because it's a matter for the Department of State, not the Department of Defense. If in fact they have indicated, as the Washington Post reports, that they are not going to move forward with a -- I believe it's an enforcement regime -- it is not my place to discuss the administration's position when I don't know what it is. But I can tell you from a personal standpoint I -- my recollection is that the Biological Convention never -- never -- anticipated that there would even be thought of to have an enforcement regime, and that an enforcement regime on something like that, where there are a lot of countries involved who were on the terrorists list, who were participants in that convention, that the United States has over a period of administrations believed that it would not be a good idea, because the United States would be a net loser from an enforcement regime. But I -- that is not the administration's position. I just don't know what the administration's position is.
SEN. LEVIN: Mr. Secretary, we are going to have to leave it there, because you are way over --
SEN. BYRD: This is a very important question --
SEN. LEVIN: It is indeed, but -- I agree with you on the importance, but you are way over time, senator.
SEN. BYRD: I know I'm over time, but are we going to leave this question out there dangling?
SEN. LEVIN: Just one last question.
SEN. BYRD: I ask unanimous consent that I may have an additional five minutes.
SEN. LEVIN: No, I am afraid we can't do that. If you could just do one --well, wait a minute -- ask unanimous consent -- I can't stop you from doing that.
SEN. : Without objection. (Laughter.)
SEN. BYRD: Mr. Chairman?
SEN. BYRD: Just one last question. Would that be all right, just to wind that up? Senator Byrd, if you could just take one additional question -- one additional question.
SEN. BYRD: Well, I have never -- I've been in this Congress 50 years -- I've never objected to another senator having a few additional minutes.
Now, Mr. President -- Mr. Chairman, I think that the secretary should have a copy of this report -- (laughter) --
SEN. BYRD: -- this story from Newsweek that I have been querying him about. I think he has a right to look at that.
SEN. LEVIN: Could somebody take that out to the secretary? SEN. BYRD: Very well. Now, while that is being given to the secretary, Mr. Secretary, I think we are put into an extremely bad position before the world today if we are going to walk away from an international effort to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention against germ warfare, advising its allies that the U.S. wants to delay further discussions until 2006 -- especially in the light of the Newsweek story. I think we bear some responsibility.
SEN. INHOFE: Mr. Chairman, may I -- for a point of order?
SEN. LEVIN: Can we just have this be the last question -- if you would just go along with this, please, Senator Inhofe?
SEN. INHOFE: I'd only say though, in all respect to the senator from West Virginia, we have a number of senators here, we have a limited time of six minutes each, and we are entitled to have our six minutes -- so that should be a short question, if it's the last question.
SEN. LEVIN: If we could just make that the last question and answer, I would appreciate it. The chair would appreciate the cooperation of all senators.
Secretary Rumsfeld, could you answer that question, please?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I'll do my best. Senator, I just am glancing at this, and I hesitate to do this, because I have not read it carefully, but it says here that "according to confidential Commerce Department export control documents obtained by Newsweek, the shopping list included" -- it did not say that there were deliveries of these things. It said that Iran -- Iraq asked for these things. It talks about a shopping list.
Second, in listing these things, it says that they wanted "television cameras for video surveillance applications, chemical- analysis equipment for the Iraq Atomic Energy Commission, the IAEC" -- and that may very well be the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission, which would mean that my earlier comment would not be correct, because I thought it was the International Atomic Energy Commission. But this seems to indicate it's the Iraq Commerce Commission.
SEN. BYRD: Mr. Chairman -- and I say to my friend from Oklahoma I'm amazed that he himself wouldn't yield me time for this important question -- I would do the same for him. Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask --
SEN. INHOFE: I yield my five minutes, senator.
SEN. BYRD: I thank the distinguished senator. Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask the president -- the secretary -- and not -- I don't just like to ask him, but I ask him to review Pentagon records to see if the Newsweek article is true or not. Will the secretary do that? SEC. RUMSFELD: It appears that there are Department of Commerce records as opposed to Pentagon, but I can certainly ask that the Department of Commerce, and to the extent that it's relevant the Department of State, look into it and see if we can't determine the accuracy or inaccuracy of some aspects of this, yes, sir.
SEN. LEVIN: And we'll go one step further than that. I think the request is that the Defense Department search its records. Will you do that?
SEC. RUMSFELD: We'll be happy to search --
SEN. LEVIN: And we will ask --
SEC. RUMSFELD: -- the Commerce Department.
SEN. LEVIN: We will ask the State Department and the Commerce Department to do the same thing.
SEC. RUMSFELD: We would be happy to.
SEN. LEVIN: And we would also ask the Intelligence Committee to stage a briefing for all of us on that issue so that --
SEN. BYRD: I thank the chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: -- the question. Thank you very much, senator.
SEN. BYRD: Thank you.
SEN. LEVIN: We will ask Senator Graham and Senator Shelby to hold a briefing on that subject, as it is a very important subject.
SEN. SESSIONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Secretary and General Myers, thank you for your leadership. The American people have been comforted with your wisdom and judgment, your honesty and directness, as we have moved for months now since September 11th. You've had a consistent message about the danger of Iraq in recent months. There's no mystery about it. You've been open with the world, the American people, the Congress of the United States. And so it's getting time for the Congress to act. I appreciate you asking for that, and I hope, as Senator Warner has noted, that we take as many hearings as we need, that we debate it fully. But we need to assert whether or not we are going to back the -- develop a support for the policies that have been articulated by the president of the United States.
Mr. Secretary, I noted that in the letter that Saddam Hussein wrote that he would actually ask in inspections, said he would do it unconditionally, he also notes explicitly that he subjects that openness to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation of Iraq. Now, I don't know how precisely how legal historians would account for it, but in '91 it seemed to me that Saddam Hussein basically sued for peace. He gave up certain of his sovereign rights in order to preserve his regime from destruction, and it was on the eve of destruction. He said that he would renounce and stop weapons of mass destruction, destroy those weapons, and we could inspect to prove that he was telling the truth about that. And he did that because he virtually had no other choice. And the U.N. backed that with resolutions. The United States cooperated, and so forth. But do you see within the very document itself this letter in which he offers in one paragraph unconditional inspections, and later on he says they're subject to his territorial integrity and his sovereignty that there is an internal contradiction there?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Senator, this is a matter that the Department of State and Secretary Powell are dealing with, and therefore I am not as current as I should be. I do see several things that at least need exploration, and it may very well be that one could characterize them as inconsistent. One is the point you made: within the very four corners of the letter there seem to be inconsistencies. It's a matter for Secretary Powell to worry through with the Iraqis and the U.N.
Second, the speech that was made today by I believe the Iraqi foreign minister contained within it -- at least the materials I've been provided as I was leaving to come over here -- it was a speech that was given within the last few hours -- also contained conditions and qualifications. Third, if Iraq has decided to be in a mode of allowing inspections, there are two types: there are ground inspections and air inspections. And, as I indicated in my opening statement, in the last three days since the letter you are referring to was delivered, the Iraqis have sighted on coalition air forces somewhere between 15 and 20 times at U.S. and British pilots who are enforcing U.N. resolutions and flying in the northern and southern so-called no-fly zones.
SEN. SESSIONS: I would agree that many, many indicators tell us that this is -- as I believe the chairman indicated -- more likely a ruse than a sincere offer of inspections. That puts the United Nations I think ultimately in a very important position. They have a moral responsibility in my view not to dodge this question. They have a moral and very legal responsibility to confront what would appear to any fair observer, I think, a violation consistently of the resolutions they passed and they approved for the salvation of the Saddam Hussein regime. So I feel strongly about that. I think the president correctly, giving a decent respect to the opinions of mankind, made his speech to the U.N., and stated his case. But I do believe that ultimately one veto in the U.N. Security Council shouldn't obstruct us from doing what we may have to do, unfortunately, before it's over.
General Myers, are you satisfied with where we are in terms of our military capabilities and our weaponry, such as our smart weapons to conduct this war, if it is some comes, effectively?
GEN. MYERS: Senator Sessions, from about a year ago from last October to the end of this August -- so it's about one year -- we have approximately 10,000 more precision munitions than we had a year ago. And we, thanks to the Congress's we've facilitized industry to essential produce at the highest rates they are capable of. That rate will continue to increase, and I think we don't get to a rate that -- their highest rate until for about another year yet.
We watch that inventory very, very carefully. We watch where they are, and as I said earlier in my remarks, I think we have the right equipment -- and especially the people -- to do the job.
SEN. SESSIONS: Well, I thank you for that positive report about the willingness and capability of our military forces. They are the world's best people. Many Americans still envision war as it has been in the past, soldiers charging machine gun nets with hand grenades. I hope -- and I know your doctrine is to avoid those kinds of things as much as possible, to maximize the military capability of our soldiers while minimizing their risk. Thank you for what you do. Thank you, Mr. Secretary, for pushing to transform our military to make it even more capable in this new modern world of warfare. Thank you very much.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Sessions. Senator Cleland. SEN. CLELAND: Mr. Secretary, reflecting on his two tours in Vietnam, Secretary of State Colin Powell wrote in his 1995 memoirs, quote, "Many of my generation, the career captains, majors and lieutenant colonels seasoned in that war vowed that when our turn came to call the shots we would not quietly acquiesce in half-hearted warfare for half-baked reasons that the American people could not understand or support."
Mr. Secretary, as one of the young captains in that war, I also cannot acquiesce in half-hearted warfare for half-baked reasons that the American people cannot understand or support.
In his excellent book on the Vietnam War, Colonel Harry Summers wrote: "The first principle of war is the principle of the objective. It's the first principle because all else flows from it." He said, "Prior to any future commitment of the U.S. military forces, our military leaders must insist that the civilian leadership provide tangible, obtainable goal. The objective cannot merely be a platitude but must be stated in concrete terms."
Mr. Secretary, it does seem to me in the wake of 9/11 our mission in this country, and certainly the number one mission of the United States military -- the number one objective is to go after those who came after us September 11th of last year. That's been my concern all along. As someone who grew up in a household where my father had served at Pearl Harbor after the attack, I am well aware of this country's great response to that attack, that day of infamy, and it took us three years to ultimately shoot down the man who planned that attack, Admiral Yamamoto. But we ultimately found him, we ultimately killed him. It does seem to me our objective, our number one objective, is to kill or capture Saddam Hussein and his terrorist cadre, and that that is what we ought to be about in our number one objective in the use of American military force.
My concern is that the last time you testified before this committee you said you didn't know where Osama bin Laden was. It's painfully obvious we have not captured or killed his terrorist cadre and that they are still at large. We're still trying to roll up their cells around the world, including in America today.
My concern, Mr. Secretary, is that we're shifting the objective here. The president came to the Congress last year and got the Congress unanimously to support -- and I supported it -- going after those who came after us. In his inimitable phrase which I remember, he said, "We will bring them to justice or justice will come to them."
Since that time, we've brought justice in many ways to Afghanistan, but we haven't nailed our number one objective. Mr. Secretary, is that still your number one objective in terms of this war on terrorism? SEC. RUMSFELD: Senator, it seems to me that the number one objective was not to find a person and kill a person. It's not about retribution or retaliation. The task that the president set out for the global war on terrorism was to put pressure on terrorist networks and countries that provide haven and safe haven for terrorist networks. And that he has been doing, with 90 countries cooperating.
We have put a substantial amount of pressure on the al Qaeda. They are having much more difficulty recruiting, retaining their people, planning, moving between countries, raising money.
Now, you're quite right; we don't know if Osama bin Laden is dead or alive. He certainly -- we do know he's not active. We haven't heard hide nor hair of him since December. That is not a surprise. Finding one person is a needle in a haystack, and it's a big world. And he may very well be alive. He may be incapacitated. He may be dead.
But the truth is, regardless of what he is, his network is in duress. It's difficult. It could commit a terrorist act in some country, this country or another country, tomorrow. But it is under pressure, let there be no doubt. And that was what the global war on terrorism was about. The president described it as an iceberg; that much will be happening below the surface of the sea.
And we've got wonderful people in uniform and out of uniform in the Department of Defense and in the Central Intelligence Agency and in the Department of State and the Department of Treasury and in 90 countries working on this problem. And as you properly said, in the one case where there was heavy kinetic activity, there's been substantial success. The Taliban are gone. They're not training thousands of more terrorists in Afghanistan, to the great benefit of the world.
Now, therefore, I guess I would just say my number one priority is to do what we're doing. And the fact that UBL may or may not be alive does not mean that that is a failure at all. Indeed, it's being quite successful, in my view.
SEN. CLELAND: And the military people that I talk to, both on active duty and who have been on active duty, people that I respect, are very concerned that if we have a major military engagement in Iraq, it will only take away from what I consider our number one military objective. How do you respond to that?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Yes, sir. As I said earlier, I think you can find military people who feel that and I think you can find a lot of military people who don't feel that way. Partly it's whether or not you think dealing with the problems of weapons of mass destruction potentially in the hands of terrorist networks is part of the global war on terrorism. See, I can't imagine suggesting that dealing with Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, as the president is attempting to do, is a distraction from the global war on terrorism. It's part of the global war on terrorism. That's my view.
SEN. CLELAND: And in terms of the objective in Iraq, is that the objective, then, from which all else falls or flows? Is the objective the dismantlement or the dismembering or the elimination of his weapons-of-mass-destruction manufacturing sites, and that if we accomplish that, has the objective been reached?
SEC. RUMSFELD: There is no question but that that is the -- that nexus is worrisome and would be a critical element. If you did that, if you were on the ground in whatever way, peacefully or not peacefully, and you were able to find all of the manufacturing and storage and weaponized capabilities involving chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, and you still had that regime, Saddam Hussein's regime, which we know intends to have those weapons, is determined to have those weapons, you would have accomplished the immediate problem but you would have left in place a regime that would go right back, in my view, to developing additional weapons and threatening its neighbors and repressing its people.
So it seems to me if one were to, of necessity, have to get the weapons of mass destruction in the most difficult possible way, through force, and the least desirable way, obviously, and you had done that, one would think that you would care about the -- at least I would hope our country would decide to care sufficiently about the Iraqi people and the neighbors there that the government that replaced that regime would be a government that would have a single country that would not threaten its neighbors, would not have weapons of mass destruction, and would provide reasonable opportunities for the minorities, the ethnic minorities that exist in that country, and not repress them.
SEN. CLELAND: My time is up, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Cleland. Senator Collins.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, in the first five years of the weapons inspections in the 1990s, UNSCOM had considerable success in detecting and dismantling Iraq's weapons-of-mass-destruction programs, including numerous sites. For example, there were three clandestine uranium enrichment programs, a biological weapons facility south of Baghdad.
Obviously, later in the decade the inspections became increasingly ineffective and eventually ceased. But at one point over a number of years, the inspectors did make considerable progress.
Your testimony today seems to dismiss altogether the use of inspections. While all of us are understandably skeptical, given Iraq's history, the knowledge that he will otherwise be obliterated gives Saddam a powerful incentive to comply. Shouldn't we at least pursue unfettered, rigorous inspections before resorting to military force?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Senator, I don't read my testimony to be dismissive of the use of inspections. I think I said that there is a place for inspections in our world. And that place tends to be when you have a government that has decided to disarm and is inviting inspectors to determine for the world that they have, in fact, done so.
Unless there's a government that is willing to allow unfettered inspections and has made a decision to disarm and offers assistance to that process because their goal is to tell the world that they have, in fact, done that, then inspections are very difficult.
Now, you're quite right. In the early period of UNSCOM, there were significant successes, in a number of instances because of defectors helping them and cuing them as to go where to look. However, UNSCOM also announced -- I believe it was UNSCOM before UNMOVIC that they could not account for enormous volumes of chemical and biological weapons.
In their report, as they demonstrated their successes, they simultaneously demonstrated their failures and said, "We can't find them; we don't know where they are; we can't find defectors to tell us where they are. And there's no way on the earth that the Iraqi regime is going to be able to demonstrate where they are."
So it was a mixed picture. And I quite agree there's a role for inspections in our world, but it seems to me that we've gone through 11 years. And one has to approach it, as you suggest, with a good deal of caution. And I should add that the Iraqis have not offered unfettered inspections.
SEN. COLLINS: You have stated previously that there are al Qaeda terrorists hiding in Iraq. I have two questions to follow up on those statements. One, is there evidence that Saddam Hussein or other high Iraqi officials are actually sheltering members of al Qaeda? And, second, is there evidence, any evidence, that Saddam has conspired or is conspiring with members of al Qaeda?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I'd be happy to give you that information in the closed session, which is supposed to follow this one. But there is no question but that there are al Qaeda in Iraq in more than one location. There have been for a good long period. And the implication or suggestion that a vicious, repressive dictatorship that watches almost everything that happens in this country could be unaware of al Qaeda operatives functioning in their country.
SEN. COLLINS: The State Department just last year issued a report listing the nations that are supporting terrorism. And the State Department said that once again Iran remains the most active state sponsor of terrorism in 2001.
What differentiates the activities of the regime in Iraq from those in Iran, given that the State Department has placed Iran ahead of Iraq as far as the support of terrorism? And in addition, we know that Iran also is pursuing weapons of mass destruction.
SEC. RUMSFELD: You're quite right, Senator, that both countries have active chemical, biological and nuclear programs. There is also no question but that the State Department report is correct. The Iranians are currently harboring reasonably large numbers of al-Qaeda. They're trying to keep that information from the bulk of their population. The al-Qaeda are functioning in that country, both transiting and located and operating.
Second, Iran is without question sending money and weapons and people down to Damascus, Syria, down to the Beirut-Damascus road into Lebanon to engage in terrorist acts in that region, including against Israel.
What's the difference? One difference is that there are 16 resolutions of the United Nations that Iraq has violated. The international community has been told by Iraq that it's irrelevant.
A second thing that's different is as much as I would like to see it, I do not believe that it's likely that in Iraq you would have the people able to overthrow the government. In the case of Iran, that country spun on a dime and went from the Shah of Iran to the Ayatollah some years back.
If one looks at what's taking place there today, particularly since President Bush's speech, the axis of evil, where he spoke to the Iranian people and demonstrated the world concern about how they're being treated -- they're being ruled by a small clique of clerics and the women and the young people in that country don't like it and they have an awareness of what's taking place in the rest of the world. And I do worry about their weapon programs, I do worry about their proliferation. I also think there is at least a chance that that country could change its regime from inside and it would be a wonderful thing for the Iranian people and the world if it did. SEN. COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Collins.
SEN. REED: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Mr. Secretary. We have been in conflict and confrontation with Iraq for over ten years. It's been a process of thrust and parry and as you point out in your testimony they have been quite adroit at maneuvering particularly diplomatically. It seems to me that their strategy is today to invite as quickly as possible the inspectors into Iraq, to cooperate, although I would concede and I think you would agree that the cooperation would be self-serving, cynical and transient, but that poses the real problem to anyone contemplating operations against Iraq, that such operations might be in the context of the presence of UN inspectors in Iraq, those UN inspectors might even concede or admit or perceive cooperation.
I want to ask two questions. First, are you familiar with the authorization language that was sent up to us this afternoon by the White House?
SEC. RUMSFELD: No, I'm not. Someone handed it to me when I walked up here. Do you mean the resolution?
SEN. REED: I'll read it to you.
"The President is authorized to use all means that he determines to be appropriate, including force, in order to enforce the United Nations Security Council resolutions referenced above, defend the national security interests of the United States against the threat posed by Iraq, and restore international peace and security in the region."
Would you read that, Mr. Secretary, empower you to conduct offensive operations even if there are UN inspectors in country maintaining to the world that they are carrying out the resolutions of the UN?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Senator, the last thing I'm going to do as Secretary of Defense is to try to interpret a resolution that I've not read. I'm not a lawyer. It's a matter for the Department of State and the White House that undoubtedly drafted this. And what it might or might not authorize is not for me to say.
SEN. REED: Well, let me ask simply do you have any comments on the wisdom of such a potential scenario, where we would be attacking while the UN was in country? And again I raise this issue because I don't think it's that farfetched. It seems to me what the Iraqis are trying to do: get UN inspectors in the country, UN inspectors say they're getting cooperation, we all understand it would take months of simply administrative work in which the Iraqis could be quite, quote/unquote, "cooperative." Wisdom of attack in that situation?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, clearly I can't read the Iraqis' minds and I have to admit that, but their ploy consistently has been to delay and to pretend and then to change their mind and then to alter their position.
Now, you're right, that takes time and time is to their advantage. The longer the time is the less likely there's something going to happen. The more inspectors that are in there, the less likely something is going to happen. The longer nothing happens, the more advanced their weapons programs go along. The longer things are delayed the greater likelihood that world attention will turn elsewhere and the UN will once again go back into the mode that we've been in for the last 11 years of being inattentive to those violations.
So I guess I agree with you with respect to the likelihood that that is their expectation for the reason for their offering the inspections supposedly.
SEN. REED: Mr. Secretary, I would suggest that that might be a very likely scenario in which we would be contemplating military action. I think it bears great study by the administration.
General Myers, let me turn to a more operational question. Throughout the afternoon we've talked about the use of CBR, chem-bio weapons. Many times the response in not just this hearing but others is to point to the facility of our military units to deal with these weapons, and I acknowledge that. When we're buttoned up in tanks, when we have protective suits on, we can minimize and mitigate the threat dramatically.
But it seems to me, based upon the experience in the Gulf War and you are more astute, sir, than I am, that our biggest vulnerability will be in the ports of disembarkation where it will up to 30 or 60 days to inflow the armor and the troops to marry up with the armor to move out on a ground attack, that the one lesson that is compelling from the Gulf War, at least I would suggest to the Iraqis, if you let the United States build up you'll lose every time and you'll lose decisively, which suggests the possibility, likely, highly likely that they will use chemical and biological weapons against the port of disembarkation in the region before we conduct ground operations.
Can you comment upon the probability of that, on the likelihood of that and to the extent that would disrupt our operations?
GEN. MYERS: Well, absolutely, Senator Reed.
I can't -- I mean, it's very hard to calculate the probability, so we assume worst case. And without getting into a lot of the operational details, again the first thing you would do is try to attack whatever infrastructure associated with WMD you could. That would be the first thing you would do.
We talked about some of the passive defenses. You would also have active defenses in terms of PAC-3. The PAC-3 missile, of course, as you know, is specifically designed for the slower missile delivery systems. Any other delivery systems, aircraft or whatever, you'd work air defenses very hard to ensure they wouldn't be a factor.
And then you'd try to -- and again I don't want to treat too far into the operational details, but you would make sure that you don't have a single point of failure. You would take steps to plan ahead so you could work around these issues.
There is no doubt, and I don't want to paint too rosy a picture here, weapons of mass destruction would be a horrible thing to have on the battlefield. They could panic a civilian population for sure, which would cause you problems alone. It would slow down the fight. It can cause us problems in logistics, as you mentioned.
And so at least in this area if we were asked to do that, we would plan for worst case and we would plan around that.
SEN. REED: My time has expired and I don't require a response, but in addition I would assume there is significant collateral damage to the civilian population and others if these weapons are deployed, and I assume that's correct.
GEN. MYERS: It depends on how they're employed, but like I said, one of the things you'd worry about is panic among the civilian population and then you'd have to try to mitigate that some way and certainly it would be a planning factor.
SEN. REED: Thank you.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Reed.
SEN. ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would ask the chairman if it is true or if it is his wish that the Intelligence Committee, which is meeting as we speak and in the midst of the 9/11 investigation that seems to be ongoing and in the midst of being investigated by itself by the FBI, if we're going to ask to have a hearing on a recent magazine article about something that happened allegedly 20 years ago in regards to the U.S. supplying materials to Iraq in reference to their capability with weapons of mass destruction. We might also ask them to have additional questions in regards to the oil for food program, which Saddam has used billions I think to build up his weapons of mass destruction; sanctions' violations on the part of the French and the Russians and for that matter China, which has also aided and abetted that ability, and yes even our own counter-threat reduction program, of which I am a very strong supporter and the security of the same, in regards to the secret cities that Russia has, and quite a bit of this kind of material, and I would hope that that hearing would include that as well as speculation on something that happened 20 years ago.
Let me say that basically I have a real quick question. This is for General Myers. General Myers, on page eight of your testimony you indicated we have made similar improvements virtually to all aspects of our joint team -- I think we all know that this will be a joint exercise -- and improved joint war-fighting team.
And the secretary has also indicated that as well. I don't remember which page it was on, but he certainly made reference to that.
During the recent challenge that we called the Millennium Challenge '02, I am summing up here, and there has been some speculation that the Red Team effectively used what we call asymmetric warfare to seriously impede the ability of the Blue Forces, which were our forces, to put forces ashore or to get to the fight, i.e. the sunken fleet was resurrected and the experiment simply continued.
My concern is that the techniques used by the Red Force under the command of Lieutenant General Van Ryper, a former Marine, might represent similar tactics used by Iraq on the war against our forces.
And my question is how prepared are we for an enemy using simple techniques to defeat and circumvent our technology, which we have, and all of the advantages that you have cited, General, which I believe we have, and also the will of the American fighting force, which I believe that we have, against classic asymmetrical warfare?
Let me just say, if I can find it here, in the course of the experiments -- and the reason I'm asking this is that on the authorizing committee here, and we're the appropriators, we pushed awfully hard for the money for this exercise. A lot of the services didn't want to do this, but they have.
General Van Ryper succeeded in using cruise missiles in unique ways to overwhelm the Navy's GS Radar and sink the entire simulated Blue Armada of 16 ships. The Red Team simply stood them up again.
Basically, despite a stark disparity in the technological sophistication between the two sides, the U.S. forces proved susceptible to the Somali's basic war-fighting tools, which included the use of smoke pots to disorient the American troops and the communication via word of mouth and drum beating. And that sort of hearkens back to Somalia. Basically what the general said, "I am warning against mirror imaging the thinking of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and his lieutenants. Somehow you've got to get out of the western mindset and as much as you can recognize you're dealing with different cultures, different ways of thinking, different warfare; i.e. asymmetrical warfare."
The JFCOM or the Joint Forces Command has done no analysis on why the Red Team has had such great success. I know they will. I know they'll report it to the secretary. But I am concerned about this in regard to American war-fighters. Where are we on this?
GEN. MYERS: Well, Senator Roberts, I have a great deal of respect for General Van Ryper. I happened to go to a joint war- fighting course with him, as a matter of fact, a few years back.
SEN. ROBERTS: Yeah, he spoke very highly of you when he came into my office.
GEN. MYERS: And so I hold him in respect, but -- and not to dwell on the Millennium Challenge piece of this, but it was an experiment where sometimes things had to be reset to try to figure out and achieve the objectives we wanted to do.
SEN. ROBERTS: But the war on Iraq, General, is not going to be an experiment.
GEN. MYERS: I understand.
SEN. ROBERTS: And it's not going to be an exercise.
GEN. MYERS: I'm going to get to that and, Senator, I think that the worse thing we could do is think we're better than we are, and that's a big danger. I know that in this case in the Middle East General Tom Franks, that is clearly in his mind all the time. We try to get Red Teams, people like General Van Ryper, to look at various scenarios and try to think differently than we think. We know it's a different culture. We understand those sorts of things.
But I would say this, that Millennium Challenge, I visited every location except Camp Lejeune on Millennium Challenge, and I spent time on the Coronado, I spent time at Ellis Air Force Base where the Air Force was, I spent time down in Norfolk and I suspect you probably did too. I don't know for sure. The thing that makes the difference and that is not at the tactical level but at the strategic level of what we were trying to look at is our decision cycle, not the specific weapons. This was a scenario, of course, that was in the future, so there was a lot of hypothetical weapons introduced. But the thing we were really trying to investigate is can we make our decision cycle, our ability to think inside the enemy faster than any potential adversary. And I think that was one of the greatest outcomes is that we think we have ways to do that, to be even better. We're pretty good today. We found out we were pretty good in Afghanistan. We still need improvement. We still need to improve our joint war fighting. I'm not here to say that it's perfect by any stretch of the imagination.
But that was one or the big outcomes of the Millennium Challenge that I think we can all be very proud of that would probably translate very well into future conflict.
Now, as you get down to specific weapons systems and tactics and techniques there are different issues there, but it's the decision- making, it's the planning ability, the ability to take the information and turn it very quickly and use it again are things that we looked at very hard in the Millennium Challenge.
Again, one of the things we have to guard against is thinking we're better than we are, and I can guarantee you General Tommy Franks doesn't think that and I certainly don't.
SEN. ROBERTS: But if we think faster and we disrupt his command and control and some of the questions that were pertinent to the secretary and that he was trying to say that basically you don't know in terms you plan for it, then that certainly would disrupt Saddam's ability to launch the weapons of mass destruction or to draw Israel into the race or going to the scorched earth policy, et cetera, et cetera.
If we think faster and disrupt his command and control, then that is in part the answer, if not the answer.
GEN. MYERS: Yes, sir. Yes, Senator, that's correct.
SEN. ROBERTS: Okay, thank you. My time has expired.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Roberts, and I would address this to you, but all the members of the committee that if there are additional subjects that you would like to be briefed on by the intelligence community -- I use the word "briefed" not a hearing when I made reference to Senator Byrd -- that if there are subjects that are relevant to your consideration of this issue, to you and all members of the committee, please give me those subjects. I will make the same request --
SEN. ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, I have no --
SEN. LEVIN: Let me finish. I will make the same request on your behalf as I did on Senator Byrd's.
SEN. ROBERTS: Yeah, I had understood that you said a hearing and that's what I said what I said. I'm sure every member can go the Intel Committee and get briefed on precisely the question that the senator brought up. So I appreciate the chairman's answer. SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much.
Senator Bill Nelson.
SEN. BILL NELSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, if our objective is regime change in Iraq and if, as Senator Reed just read the resolution that was just sent up here today, that it is also to promote the peace and stability in the region, could you share with the committee what is the plan that once you've taken out Saddam that we will have a military presence there for quite a while in order to make sure that there is peace and stability in the region and that there is not another Saddam that rises up that gives us the same problem in the first place that we have?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Senator Nelson, I think what I would say is that the immediate objective is disarmament. I think a case can be made -- and the policy of the United States government, including the Congress, is regime change. But I think the reason the Congress came to that conclusion and the president talks of regime change as a policy of the United States is because it's at this stage so difficult to imagine disarmament without regime change.
With respect to what might follow, the Department of State has given thought to that. It's hard to know precisely. The things that I sense broad agreement on in the international community is that it would be enormously unhelpful if Iraq were split up into multiple states, that it should be a single country, that that's best for that region, that it be a government that does not have weapons of mass destruction, does not threaten its neighbors and provides through some mechanisms of elections and representation to assure that the ethnic minorities in that country are treated properly and that they're not repressed or disadvantaged.
Again, the president has not made a decision, but if one assumes, as your hypothetical question does, that force is used, disarmament takes some period of time. One would think there would have to be a military presence, undoubtedly a coalition presence or a UN presence, for a period of time and it will take some time to find all of these locations, because there are so many and they're so well hidden.
Iraq's economic circumstance is quite different from Afghanistan in the sense that they do have oil revenue, substantial oil revenues and therefore from a reconstruction standpoint and from a recovery standpoint one would think that during that period where the disarming is taking place and by an international, presumably an international or coalition force of some sort, and presumably Iraqis from inside the country and from outside the country would have some sort of a mechanism whereby they would decide what kind of a government or template would make sense, just as was not similar to Afghanistan but that principle that it was the Afghan people that decided that, and I would think it would be Iraqi people. They will be liberated people and they will have choices they haven't had for many, many years.
I would think that during the period the economic circumstance of not just that country but the neighboring countries would be enormously benefited. I mean, it has not been a happy part of the world under his leadership.
And beyond that, I think part of it would be left to the Department of State, part of it would be left to the Iraqi people and part of it would be left to some sort of an international coalition that would be participating.
SEN. BILL NELSON: Mr. Secretary, you really have stirred up McDill and the Tampa area. I'm quoting from the "Tampa Tribune" of a couple of days ago. "Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Monday ridiculed the location of U.S. Central Command in Tampa while asserting that a certain logic points toward a move closer to potential battle zones near the Persian Gulf. General Tommy Franks, headquarters for war operations in Asia and the Middle East, has been pressing for a move," Rumsfeld said. Quote, "Tom Franks has been after me to do that ever since I arrived in the Department," Rumsfeld said, "and there's a certain logic to it."
Can you help unstir what's going on down there?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, you will not find a quote anywhere that even begins to approximate Rumsfeld ridiculing -- notwithstanding what I am sure that outstanding newspaper had to say. Ahem. It is true that before I arrived back in the Pentagon in January of last year the Central Command has had a concern about its location. And this did not arrive with Tom Franks talking to me. It preceded me. Is that correct, general?
GEN. MYERS: That's correct.
SEC. RUMSFELD: And part of the reason I mentioned, when I was asked -- and it's the time zone. If you have got a command center that is, how many? -- six, five and a half, six and a half time zones away, it makes everything a little harder. And the European Command is in Europe. Our Pacific Command is in the Pacific. And our Central Command, for that whole region -- Afghanistan and the Middle East, that whole portion of the world -- is in Tampa, Florida. That does not say anything against Tampa, Florida, except that Tampa, Florida happens not to be located in the Central Command just by happenstance well before I arrived. And Tom Franks has ever since I have arrived raised this issue with me, and he is in the process of moving some pieces of things so that he and some of his key people will be capable of functioning in that part of the world. Is that pretty close?
GEN. MYERS: Yes, sir. I think the intention is the forward element. And, you know, Senator Nelson, there was a lot of debate during the high tempo combat in Afghanistan about where General Franks should be. And I think this was part of that argument. But we are talking about a forward element that General Franks could fall in on from time to time. SEN. NELSON: Is that what you are speaking of, a forward element? Or are you talking about a complete relocation of the Central Command?
GEN. MYERS: Senator, I think now what is being discussed is an element -- the capability, the equipment, the infrastructure, to fall in on from time to time. I think that's the discussion now.
SEN. NELSON: Well, I am obviously going to have to visit with you on this. The political sensitivities is one reason that it's not been located over in that area, which is why we didn't have it, for example, in the Gulf War. And General Schwartzkopf had moved an element over there for the conduct of that war. I take it similar, General Myers, to what you are saying that is being done here.
GEN. MYERS: I believe that's correct. And I think it's -- it's to be decided how permanent and forward element you would have, how large it would be. You would certainly, I think from a military point of view, you would want to have some infrastructure there that people could fall in, where you would have the communications and so forth, rather than having to lay that in every time -- terribly expensive to do it that way.
SEC. RUMSFELD: I will say Florida of course is host to the Special Operations Command. It's host to the Naval Aviation Training Command. I lived in Florida as a pilot in the Navy and the Southern Command. It is a state that is hospitable to the military, and that's why there is a great deal of military activity in the state -- because they are so well treated.
SEN. NELSON: Mr. Chairman, just in closing I would like to thank both of these gentlemen, because I am sure they have the input into the president's speech at the United Nations in which he drew attention to the downed American pilot, who is Scot Speicher, and of which I have visited with both of these gentleman ad infinitum, and of which is just going to be another element that we are going to have to consider when we go into Iraq.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Nelson.
SEN. NELSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Senator Inhofe.
SEN. INHOFE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have four things I am going to try to cover real quickly. First of all, Mr. Secretary, I think that I don't want people to misinterpret at a future time the answer you gave to the initial question that was a very good question by our chairman, which is, How can we carry out the war with the readiness problems that we have? Having chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee on Readiness, we have very, very serious problems, and I wouldn't want your response to be interpreted in some way that our Guard and Reserve are going to be able to take care of the in- strength problems and all the others that we have. So I just only ask you to -- you know, right now I think I heard you say in previous hearings that historically in the 20th century, during peacetime, that the average percentage of gross domestic product, has been some 5.7 percent to go to defense. It's -- and then during wartime 13 percent -- 13.3 percent. And it has been in the last few years less than three percent. Only in this more optimistic budget we are in right now it's 3.1 percent. So I would just like to have you at least clarify the fact that we'll make a statement that we need to do something about our overall defense, but you can no longer go after modernization to make sense of readiness or RPM accounts at the expense of --
SEC. RUMSFELD: Senator, you are exactly right. There is no question but that the chairman and I and others have testified before this committee and before the House, discussing the fact that our aircraft fleet is aging, that our ship-building numbers are not at the levels they should be, that the housing situation for many of the men and women in uniform are substandard, and you are exactly right.
On the other hand, my answer was correct to the chairman that we are capable of performing the kinds of tasks that we are discussing here.
SEN. INHOFE: But -- yeah, but -- and I agree with your answers. I -- Senator Reed brought up this new document that I had not seen until the course of this particular committee hearing, and but I think it's important that we go back, as Senator Nelson said, to the excellent speech that the president made before the United Nations. In that speech he talked about things that would have to happen to preclude his effort for a preemptive strike. He said such things as it "will immediately and unconditionally forswear, disclose, and remove or destroy all weapons of mass destruction, long-range missiles, and all related material." He said it will "immediately end all support for terrorism and act to suppress it." All these were conditions that the president outlined. And in this document that I just read he talks about other things that have to take place. Somehow it seems to be some percentage of our population, maybe at this table and elsewhere, that if all of a sudden we decided that Saddam Hussein was going to allow inspections, inspectors to come in -- first he said unfettered, and now he's already reneging on that. He has had a long history of lying about this -- never allowed this to happen before. I see it as nothing more -- nothing more than a stall tactic, a delay. This could delay it for maybe a month or two months or six months. Time is not our friend in this case. So this has concerned me.
But even if he had some kind of revelation, and we believed that what he said was true, there are still other conditions that are listed here to which they would have to comply. So my question to you is it is not -- I assume it's not just the weapons inspectors that would keep us from wanting to do the preemptive strike -- there are other conditions that must be met?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Senator, I am really at a disadvantage. I have not had a chance to read the resolution. And my understanding is that this resolution was being worked on at the White House with the congressional leadership, number one. Number two, it's my understanding that the resolution was being fashioned in a way that it was as close as possible to a prior resolution that existed in the Congress.
SEN. INHOFE: Well, just forget about the resolution and just say there are other things that have to be done other than weapons inspectors in order to satisfy us? That's -- such as the president outlined in "unconditionally forswear, disclose, and remove" all --
SEC. RUMSFELD: Clearly the president's speech is the driving document --
SEN. INHOFE: Exactly right. And I would ask both of you, or at least express the concern and repeat something that you have stated before. I see us going into another round of hand-wringing. This has disturbed me all during the '90s when we -- things were happening with Osama bin Laden. We remember the 1992 threat to some 100 servicemen in Yemen. We remember the 1993 Somalia incident that he took credit for, the 1993 initial attack on the World Trade Centers. We sat around wringing our hands -- then Khobar Towers happened, then Kenya, Tanzania, then U.S.S. Cole. And we kept on wringing our hands. And I want to read to you something that was stated by President Clinton -- in this case I agreed with him -- and that is: "The risk of inaction and the consequences of inaction." This was President Clinton August 20th of 1998. He said, "Countries that persistently host terrorists have no right to be safeguards. It will require strength, courage and endurance. We will not yield to this threat. We will meet it, not matter how long it would take. This would be a long ongoing struggle between freedom and fanaticism, between the rule of law and terrorism. We must be prepared to do all we can do as long as it takes." Quote -- further quoting -- "The risk from inaction to America and the world would be far greater than action, for that would embolden the enemies, leaving their ability and their willingness to strike us intact." Do you think that applies today? SEC. RUMSFELD: I think it's very well stated. I have not heard the quote, but his point about the -- he raises the very important point that it is understandable that we talk about the risks of action, because they are very real. But it is critically important that we look at the risks of inaction.
SEN. INHOFE: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. If my time is not expired, I do have a couple of --
SEN. LEVIN: Well, it is now --
SEN. INHOFE: Okay.
SEN. LEVIN: -- but you were -- (laughter) -- you were gracious before, so I can't deny you one more question.
SEN. INHOFE: Okay. I think Senator Kennedy --
SEN. LEVIN: I'd like to, but I can't.
SEN. INHOFE: I'm sorry?
SEN. LEVIN: I'd like to, but I can't. (Laughter.)
SEN. INHOFE: Senator Kennedy talked about the people of Iraq have been unsuccessful in overturning Saddam Hussein. In 1996 there was a real effort by all the opposition groups -- not just the Kurds of the north, as some have said -- and it was their understanding at that time that the United States would be joining them. So that was a mission that never did take place. As a result of that, of our turning our backs and walking away, thousands and thousands of Kurds in the north were killed -- and others. Do you think at that time if we had the United Front that was talked about, that we might not be sitting here today worrying about Saddam Hussein?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, you know, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight I am sure we can look back over the years at any number of incidents where if things had been done differently the outcomes would have been better. And certainly that was not a happy prospect situation.
SEN. INHOFE: Thank you. I appreciate your service, both of you, to our country.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Inhofe. Senator Carnahan.
SEN. CARNAHAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you too, Mr. Secretary, and General Myers, for your service and for your patience today. Last week at the United Nations, President Bush laid out a scathing indictment of Saddam Hussein. He reminded us that Saddam has ignored the world's command to disclose and destroy all weapons of mass destruction, and he challenged the United Nations to assert its authority and enforce its will. Well, I agree with the president that Saddam Hussein cannot be allowed to ignore these requirements and continue to develop weapons of mass destruction. Some of our allies, however, around the world, say the threat is not imminent, or that Saddam will likely share his weapons with other terrorist groups. Well, I think that is an unrealistic and risky assumption, after the attacks on our country last year, and knowing that al Qaeda is very actively seeking, biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, we in the United States simply do not have the luxury of waiting, or hoping, or leaving the future to chance. We have a duty -- not only to America, but to mankind, to make an affirmative response.
Earlier this year 60 scholars, including former Senator Moynihan, wrote a statement in response to the September 11th attacks, and they entitled it, "What We Are Fighting For: A Letter From America" -- and this is part of what he had in there: "Reason and careful moral reflection teach us that there are times when the first and most important reply to evil is to stop it." And that is precisely what we must do. I ask that the full statement that I have may be part of the record, and I have a few questions.
SEN. LEVIN: It will be made part of the record.
SEN. CARNAHAN: Thank you, sir. Mr. Secretary, before the United Nations inspectors left Iraq in 1998, Iraq frequently played hide the ball when it came to the weapons. They placed them in presidential palaces or underground bunkers. The U.S. military has far greater tools at its disposal than the inspectors in terms of being able to track down these weapons. Would you comment on your concerns about the ability of the inspectors to find all of the stockpiled chemical and biological weapons?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Yes, senator. There's -- it is -- the inspectors can be very good -- very good at what they do. But if the government of Iraq is not going to cooperate, then it is just an enormously complex and difficult job, and there isn't any way to know how well you have done of certain knowledge, unless you get people talking to you, and you -- and in Saddam Hussein's Iraq anyone who talks to an inspector runs the risk of being killed -- and his family -- his or her family and their relatives. And so you almost have to get everybody out of the country that had any knowledge and interrogate them outside, and have them tell you. But then if they ever wanted to go home they would be faced with the same problem. So it is -- the connection between disarming the weapons of mass destruction and regime change is to me awfully tight. It's very difficult to accomplish it without it.
SEN. CARNAHAN: Yes, if you were to -- if Saddam Hussein does not have access to weapons of mass destruction, how can we make sure he doesn't have access to them, if he remains in power?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, you would have to have continuing inspections, I suppose, and that would be just as difficult, as long as he, as he has over the past decade, been resistant to the inspectors, rather than cooperative.
The model for successful inspectors is one where the government is caught doing something and they are penalized, and they decide that their life and their circumstance and their future is better not being penalized and being willing to give up those weapons. But if the government isn't cooperative, their ability to frustrate and to deny and deceive is extensive.
SEN. CARNAHAN: General Myers, it took several months to mobilize a force that was ready to initiate Operation Desert Storm. I understand that our current airlift and sealift capabilities allow for us to deploy forces much more rapidly. Could you describe the differences between our capabilities now and those that we had during the Gulf War, and how the changes might impact the speed with which we are able to position our troops in the area?
GEN. MYERS: You bet. First of all, we have the C-17, and it's got great support here in Congress. We don't have enough of them yet, but the program I think starts to buy the correct number that we see -- you'll see it in the '03 budget. And its reliability, its cargo- carrying capability, and particularly its ability to go into relatively short airfields really enhances our airlift piece of this equation.
The second part that I would mention is the shipping. As I recall from Desert Storm, we had to activate ships. We had mechanical difficulties. It frustrated our ability to move cargo, equipment and personnel to the Gulf. Today, as I mentioned in my opening statement, we have 17 of the 20 medium-speed roll-on/roll-off ships already delivered. They were delivered as of last year. My view is this will make a big difference in our ability to move supplies and equipment into any region where the United States military might be asked to go. So I think we are much better postured in that respect than we were a decade ago.
SEN. CARNAHAN: In your prepared testimony you mentioned the use of immunizations and new detection equipment as part of our effort to manage the threat of chemical and biological attacks. Could you elaborate a little bit more on how our troops are equipped to defend themselves against such biological attacks? GEN. MYERS: Absolutely. Any armed forces that we think are going to be in -- under the threat of weapons of mass destruction, will have their personal protective gear, which as I said earlier has improved over time. The suits today that they wear, the protective suits, are lighter than they were previously. We have good masks today that can protect against chemical and biological elements. We also have decontamination sets today that are new since a decade ago. And then we have warning systems that are much better than we have had in the past for not just local area, but for wider area networks that we can put together. I mean, none of this is going to make countering weapons -- it's going to help us counter weapons of mass destruction. That would be obviously a terrible event if it were to occur, for the reasons that I think I talked about earlier. But we are reasonably well prepared.
Now, the other part of that is you don't have to -- if you think an adversary is going to employ weapons of mass destruction, there are lots of things you can employ to discourage that. The secretary has talked about part of that. I think you can encourage those folks that have to carry out those acts this would not be in their best interests, that after any conflict people that had been involved in the use of weapons of mass destruction, employing them on civilian populations or other people's armed forces, would be held under very high scrutiny, and life would probably prove miserable for them when the courts got through with them. And so there's that aspect of it.
There's also the aspect of defense. And I mentioned the Patriot, the Patriot 3, which has recently been fielded. We know our capability during Desert Storm with the Patriot was about -- we had about a 50 percent chance of hitting the incoming warhead. Much approved now with the Patriot 3, designed specifically for that kind of threat -- has normally one of the classified numbers, but very good capability today against Scud type missiles and other short-range missiles.
So I think if you put all that together, does it mean that it's still not going to be a horrific event that we are going to have to fight our way through. Is it going to slow us down? Probably. Will it cause us maybe to change our plans in a localized area? Could it possibly be -- and will any plan we do against any adversary takes that into account as best we can, and we'll plan for the worst case, and protect our troops.
You mentioned immunizations, and we have started again with the anthrax immunizations this week, and we'll continue those.
SEN. CARNAHAN: Thank you. My time is up.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator Carnahan. Senator Dayton.
SEN. DAYTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I've had the benefit of my colleagues questioning this afternoon, and so I have a statement I'd like to introduce into the written record. There is a question at the conclusion of it, Mr. Secretary, and I want to preface my remarks by just saying to both of you what enormous respect I have for both of you and your professionalism and your dedication to our country -- what you wake up every morning having to think about, and think about during the day and night and before you go to bed is an awesome responsibility and one whose gravity and enormity you share with a few others in the administration -- the president, the vice president, others -- and I think your country is enormously in both of your debt for what you have undertaken. And I thank you and want to acknowledge that.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Thank you very much.
GEN. MYERS: Thank you, sir.
SEN. DAYTON: And I, you know, have enormous respect for the convictions you bring for the inevitable difficulty of the assessments that you are making, and that we are also here in the Congress being asked to make now during these times.
And based on what I have been able to learn what I have been told in these last really few days of information, it occurs to me that the menace of Saddam Hussein is real and serious, and probably -- and that there's important elements that we cannot know because of lack of U.N. inspection that makes this even more conjectural. So I take what you are facing and this nation is facing with enormous gravity. But I also take it as enormous implications. And it's not clear to me what is right at this time precipitously threatening the national security of the United States of America that -- and you mentioned, Mr. Secretary, yesterday before the House Armed Services Committee, you said -- the quote I have here is that the "United States must act quickly to save potentially tens of thousands of citizens" -- that paraphrasing in the article.
What concerns me is your insistence and the administration's insistence that the Senate rush to judgment on these critical decisions, and that it is imperative that we do so very quickly. And we have already heard from -- not from either of you but others that if we don't make those decisions, take those necessary actions that are being requested, we are unpatriotic, blind, cowardly, and we're irresponsible if we don't provide this blank check that is called for, requested in this resolution now to use by the president by whatever means he determines is necessary and appropriate to remove Saddam Hussein from power, which is a goal and objective which I believe we all share.
I am not an historian or a scholar, but I -- and maybe it's a subject of some debate -- but according to the Congressional Research Service analysis, the United States has never in its history launched a preemptive attack against another country. I'll quote from the report, and Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask to be introduced into the record at the conclusion as part of the record. It says, "The historical record indicates the United States has never to date engaged in a preemptive military attack against another nation. Nor has the United States ever attacked another nation militarily prior to it first having been attacked, or prior to U.S. citizens' interests first being attacked, with the singular exception of the Spanish- American War."
In the last 50 years we had our leaders confronting other dangerous -- confronting dangerous leaders in other countries who possess weapons of mass destruction, ones in fact we knew could bring devastation to this country and to the world. Republican presidents and Congresses, Democratic presidents and Congresses, approached these situations fraught with peril not by starting a war -- not by launching a preemptive attack or an invasion of another country, but protecting the country and preserving the planet by preventing war, not initiating one.
This attack that is being contemplated would most likely destroy Saddam Hussein. I don't doubt the enormous military capabilities of our country and the courage of our fighting men and women, as we have seen most recently in Operation Enduring Freedom. But it would also -- if the historical record is as I stated destroyed a 213-year consistent foreign policy of this country, and the 50-year or more military principle of this nation, which has served as well -- it has not only protected our country and its people; it's elevated our moral leadership around the world; it has contributed enormously to the international stability and security of the planet and the saving of the human race from the terrible devastation of a nuclear holocaust.
This attack, if we undertook it, would be a shock to that world order of enormous magnitude. It would have, I believe, profound consequences for the future. There are other countries, as you are well aware, around the world who are developing weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear capabilities. There are some who arguably now possess them, who have governments -- some of whom have governments who are unfriendly, even hostile to the United States -- countries that will inevitably experience leadership changes in years ahead, which may produce leaders even more ominous to the United States national security than we face today. And preemptive attacks on those growing future threats are viewed as our policy by other governments, nations around the world. And if this becomes the national precedent, I again think we risk a dangerous destablization of the international order, and a danger -- that and a serious damage to the national security of the United States.
So given the near-term and long-term consequences of these decisions, as enormous as they are, again I have difficulty with the rush to judgment that we are told we must make, or again we are told we are unpatriotic, blind or cowardly or irresponsible if we don't make this rush to judgment. I have just a couple more, Mr. Chairman. Bear with me please. Last September 2001, after the dastardly attack against the United States, Congress acted swiftly, decisively, and in the Senate unanimously to support the president. We passed a resolution that the president signed into law one week after September 11th, that gave the president the broad, sweeping authority that he has used so well on behalf of this nation. However, I look back and I was not here then in 1998 -- there was a very different timetable. In January that year Iraq refused inspection of presidential sites by the U.N. Special Commission to oversee the destruction of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. President Clinton then requested a congressional resolution, and on February 2nd, the Republican majority leader -- and I'll just read some excerpts here -- again, I ask it to be put in the record, Mr. Chairman --
SEN. LEVIN: It will be made part --
SEN. DAYTON: -- stated that he had hoped -- "I hoped we could" -- these are direct quotes -- "I hoped we could get to the point where we could pass a resolution this week on Iraq, but we really developed some physical problems and nothing else." Now I am skipping here. "So we have decided the most important thing is not to move so quickly, but to make sure that we have had all the right questions asked and answered, and that we have available to us the latest information about what is expected, what is going to be happening with our allies around the world."
It goes on: "The Senate is known for its deliberative actions, and the longer I stay in the Senate the more I have learned to appreciate it. It does help to give us time to think about the potential problems and the risks and the ramifications, and to frankly press the administration. Despite our areas of agreement we have clearly reached, Senator Daschle and I have been working together, making sure every word is sanitized in the potential resolution. It is obvious we cannot get it done this week for physical reasons as much as anything else. And I remind my colleagues and the American people that it was five months after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, five months before Congress passed a resolution authorizing the use of force to expel him. In this case we have a bipartisan effort, trying to make sure that the right thing is going to be done and the right language is developed. Unlike what we had in the early 1990s when the speaker and the majority leader were working to defeat the administration's policy, you now have a speaker and a majority leader and the Democratic leader in the House all working together with the administration to make sure that the language is right and that the actions are right.
"Yes, more time may be needed for diplomacy and more time to think about the long-term plans. But a point will come when the time will run out and action must go forward. But I just want to make that point clear today" -- skipping ahead again -- "nobody should interpret the fact that we don't vote on a resolution today as meaning that we are not united in the fundamental principles. We are. But we want to make sure that when we do take military action we have thought about all the ramifications, and the resolution that we come up with will have the involvement of 100 senators, with 100 senators being present and voting, and that every word is the appropriate word that reflects the best interests of the American people."
And I would just go on to point out that it was not until six months later, August 14th of 1998, that President Clinton signed a resolution that had been passed by the Congress along these lines; that it was one that did not in fact authorize the use of force against Iraq. It urged the president to take appropriate action. But two months later, on October 31st, 1998, the so-called Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 was passed, which stated -- and references have been made to this today, and elsewhere -- that it is the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. But it specifically did not authorize the use of force to carry that aim out. And in fact, the president was attacked and criticized harshly by members of this body in December of 1998 when he initiated the bombing of Iraq, which I don't have time to go into.
But I just in light of all this, as I say, the precedent in 1991 and 1998 was that this body take the caution and the care and the deliberation necessary. And I guess I want to ask my question: What is it that overrides all of that and is compelling us now to make a precipitous decision and take precipitous action, authorize precipitous action?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Senator Dayton, first thank you for your generous comments. Second, it bothers me greatly to hear those words you've used in a hearing that General Myers and I are participating in. As you indicated, neither he nor I would ever use words like you've repeated twice. Nor would the president. Nor do I believe anyone in the administration would. And I think any implication to the contrary would be an enormous disservice. I have no idea where you heard those words, but I would bet a dollar to a dime that no one in this administration would say that. And I can assure you I wouldn't -- nor would I think it.
SEN. DAYTON: I take that as seriously as you do, sir.
SEC. RUMSFELD: The issues that you've raised are important issues. The issues that the country is seizing are important issues. They need to be talked about. They need to be debated. They need to be discussed. I have raised this issue repeatedly before this committee and elsewhere for over a year. These are complicated questions. They are breaking new ground. There is in my view nothing precipitous at all about what's being discussed here. President Clinton discussed it with a great deal of urgency. Eleven years have passed. I have personally discussed it here, and with members of the House and members of the Senate on numerous occasions. We have moved into a new national security environment. It is different. The history you cited is interesting. It is important. It is relevant. But the circumstance we are in is notably different than when that history was written. I'd take slight exception, although it may be a matter of semantics, but if you go back and think about the attack on Afghanistan, Afghanistan didn't attack us -- the al Qaeda did. They just happened to have been trained in Afghanistan. And we took anticipatory self-defense. We took a preventive action. We made a conscious decision that that country was a haven for those people, and they were training thousands of them, and sending them all over the globe, and they killed 3,000 of our people. So when one asks, What's happened, what's different? -- what's different is 3,000 people were killed using admittedly unusual techniques, but basically conventional techniques -- not weapons of mass destruction. What's new is the nexus between terrorist networks like al Qaeda and terrorist states like Iraq and Syria and Iran and others, and the fact that there are suicide bombers who if they start using weapons of mass destruction are going to impose damage on our country and our friends and our allies around the world that will not be 3,000 -- it will be 30,000 people dead. I think that in answer to the question, What'!
s different? What's happened? What's changed? -- that I would say that's changed.
Second, go back to the Cuban missile crisis. The Russians -- the Soviet Union didn't stick missiles in Cuba. They didn't shoot missiles at the United States from Cuba -- they tried to. They got started. And President John F. Kennedy looked at it and allowed us how he thought that wasn't a very good idea. And what did he do? He imposed a quarantine -- a blockade, which they use the euphemism for international law reasons and called it a quarantine. That was preemptive. That was not waiting to be attacked. That was a decision that the risk to our country was sufficiently great, that that administration was in support of the Congress, made a conscious decision to interject itself into it at great risk of a nuclear exchange, and stopped it -- not after it happened -- not after people were dead, but before people were dead -- enormously important.
You have an important responsibility. Everyone here today has said this is a serious critical judgment that each member of the House and Senate is going to be making. Each one should make it anyway they feel best. They have got to do what they have to do. They have got to think -- search their soul and make a judgment. There are people today, as I have said earlier in the Intelligence Committee, trying to connect the dots about September 11th. How did it happen? What did we know? What evidence did we have? What was the immediacy? What should somebody have done if we had had evidence on September 9th or 10th? Would I have favored an anticipatory self-defense? You bet.
SEN. DAYTON: That's what I am asking -- the question sir is what evidence, without asking the most secrets -- because you are right -- and there are times when a decision of that magnitude has to be made that suddenly, and that, as you said, President Kennedy did so with full expectation at that time that it might very well result in a nuclear holocaust. And most -- I am not, again, I am not a historian, but I would say that's the closest we ever came to destruction. So he is certainly aware of the enormity of the decisions that were being forced upon him by the events. And I guess I am asking again --
SEC. RUMSFELD: Sure.
SEN. DAYTON: -- if the events are forcing the rapidity of this decision upon us --
SEC. RUMSFELD: I accept that. See, I don't see it as a rush to judgment, myself. It seems to me 11 years is a long time, 16 resolutions violates is a long time. Four years since the inspectors were thrown out. Each year that goes by those weapon programs are developing further and further, and let there be no doubt that's a fact.
Now, if one is looking --
SEN. DAYTON: I am not aware that we have been discussing, however, in the times that we have been here and the like, and you obviously had your attention focused elsewhere. And, again, I don't question at all the assessment of the seriousness of --
SEC. RUMSFELD: No, I know you don't.
SEN. DAYTON: -- but I am not aware until somewhere in August, at least this senator was not aware of this kind of military initiative being seriously contemplated for as soon as it is now being discussed.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, if you go back to President Clinton's statement, in what year I forgot -- '98 or '99 --
SEN. DAYTON: In the last year and a half --
SEC. RUMSFELD: -- it's hard to fashion a statement that could have reflected a greater degree of urgency than the one that was just read.
SEN. LEVIN: I think we are going to have to --
SEC. RUMSFELD: I'm sorry -- could I just --
SEN. LEVIN: If you could just finish the thought, because we want to get to Senator Akaka.
SEC. RUMSFELD: I will. If someone is looking for the kind of evidence that would be used in a court of law to prove something beyond a reasonable doubt, it isn't going to happen. he only certainty we'll have is if in fact such an attack takes place, and that's too late. The task of connecting the dots before the facts is a whale of a lot harder than doing it after the fact. And look how hard it is for the Intelligence Committee to try to look at those scraps of information and piece it security. Some are going to have to take the evidence that I've submitted, that the president presented at the United Nations, that Secretary Powell is presenting today, and think about it, and ask, How do we feel about moving into the 21st century, a world of weapons of mass destruction, and moving away from where we had traditionally, as you said, absorbed an attack, let it happen, and then marshal our forces and gone on, and knowing that we were going to lose thousands of people? How do we live in the 21st century when it isn't thousands but potentially tens of thousands? That his not an easy question. I don't suggest it is. And, as far as I am concerned, any member of the Senate or House can vote any way they want, and I will respect them and believe in my heart that they reached down in their souls.
SEN. DAYTON: Thank you for your response. I just would say the intent of our policy was not to absorb attacks and then retaliate -- it was to prevent attacks. And I'll leave it at that. But I'll agree with you that the world is a different place and it will continue to be. Thank you both. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your indulgence. And I apologize to Senator Akaka.
SEN. LEVIN: Senator Akaka.
SEN. AKAKA: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I ask that my full statement be placed in the record.
SEN. LEVIN: It will be made a part of the record.
SEN. AKAKA: I want to commend Secretary Rumsfeld and General Myers for what they are doing in trying to get us to come to some decision. And my feeling has been that we need to work to gain multilateral support for our policy in Iraq. And I want to take the time for commending the president for going to the United Nations, for a new resolution establishing firm conditions and timelines for compliance by Saddam Hussein. Just as General Myers indicates in his submitted testimony today that our joint war-fighting team will act in concert with our partners to defeat Iraq's military, if we are going to engage in a policy of nation-building in lands far from our shores, we are going to need as well to act in concert with the international community. And I think we believe this, and we are seeking this, and we hope it will come to this before we make our decision, or even after that.
Mr. Secretary, in the first Persian Gulf War, we did not drive our forces into Baghdad, in part because we did not want to get into a conflict that could have been considered messy of nation-building in a post-Saddam Iraq. In response to Senator Nelson's question you seemed, well, unclear as to what the administration's post-conflict strategy would be. And my question to you is: Who is responsible in the administration for putting these plans together? And, to the best of your knowledge, who - -are these being done?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Senator, with all respect, I didn't think I was unclear at all. I thought I was quite clear. The answer to the question is that the president of the United States is ultimately responsible, and he has assigned the Department of State to establish a group of people to think that issue through. And what I was able to provide is the specifics that have thus far been reasonably well thought-through, and then to acknowledge the reality of two things, two unknowns. One is that the United States undoubtedly would not be doing it alone; they'd be doing it either with the United Nations or with an international coalition, and other people would have voices in that. And second, that -- maybe I'm old-fashioned, by I think that the Iraqi people ought to have a voice in its as well. And it's not -- I am not omniscient. I can't look down on the earth and say, Well, this is how the U.N. would decide, or This is how the coalition would decide, or this is how the Iraqi people would decide. I think the lack of clarity reflects a respect for the reality that exists.
SEN. AKAKA: General Myers, the need for multilateral support, some have indicated that it's because we need that kind of assistance. So my question is: Can we defeat Iraq's military forces without any direct help from our allies?
GEN. MYERS: Senator, obviously depending on the type of military operation you engage in it is usually made easier by support and help from allies. And we have had great support as you know so far in the war on terrorism, particularly the Afghanistan piece, but other pieces as well. And in any potential conflict it would be desirable to have certain allies and partners be with us, and they would all contribute probably in different ways. I am reminded of how the Japanese are contributing right now to our war on terrorism by providing, at my last count -- and I am sure it's old by now -- but 48 million gallons of fuel oil to our U.S. Navy ships that are using the Pacific to support the war on terrorism. So it might range from that to combat troops, overflight, to basing to staging -- anywhere we might possibly beat this war on terrorism. So certainly help from our friends, allies and partners is a desirable thing.
SEN. AKAKA: Switching to Afghanistan, has an assessment been made concerning the impact, General Myers, on our troops security in Afghanistan, the ability to continue the mission of eliminating al Qaeda, and on Afghanistan's stability if we are forced to draw troops, intelligence assets and weapons away from Afghanistan for a war in Iraq, and if you can share this assessment, I certainly would like to have a response.
GEN. MYERS: Sir, we have even taken a broader look than that. As important as Afghanistan is, we have looked at the defense strategy in the Quadrennial Defense Review and applied force structure to the various missions that are outlined in that, the tasks that are outlined in that strategy. And the conclusion was that we have adequate force structure, properly equipped to carry out the defense strategies. That would certainly include our ongoing operations in Afghanistan. And it's not so much an issue of the number of troops. We have in fact modest numbers inside Afghanistan. I think today the numbers are around 10,000 -- that's approximate -- and they'll probably -- they go up and down over time as units rotate in, as units rotate out as the need diminishes. But, you are right, there are some assets that are in short supply, and I think I indicated that in my opening statement. Intelligence surveillance, reconnaissance assets have historically been in short supply. We tried to fix this through our budget requests in recent years, and in '02 we have made some headway there. You'll see some more requests for those types of assets in '03. We are going to have to -- we have to prioritize them today. We have to prioritize them in peacetime, for that matter. We have to prioritize them today when we are in the global war on terrorism. And we will have to prioritize them if we are asked to do something else.
But our conclusion is that we have the assets to do whatever it is the president asks us to do.
SEN. AKAKA: Thank you very much. My time has expired, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Just limit the next round to one question each, given the hour. Mr. Secretary, in various ways here today you've really signaled that you do not believe the inspections are a possible way to achieve disarmament. You've signaled that in so many different ways. You've said that you don't see how it's possible without regime change. I asked you a question about is there any chance at all that Saddam would open Iraq to full inspections and disarmament, if the alternative was that he knew he would be destroyed -- and you really did not answer that. You said that's just sort of not your area -- the State Department and the president are working on that question. But --
SEC. RUMSFELD: I --
SEN. LEVIN: When you were asked -- when I asked you in your judgment is there any chance at all that Saddam Hussein would open Iraq to full inspections and disarmament, if the alternative that he knew he faced to doing that was that he would be destroyed and removed from power -- any chance --
SEC. RUMSFELD: Has he opened up to inspections --
SEN. LEVIN: Any chance -- any chance --
SEC. RUMSFELD: I'm sorry, I am still having trouble with the question. You say is there any chance that Saddam Hussein would open up to inspections, if he knew that by opening up to inspections --
SEN. LEVIN: No, if he knew that the alternative to refusing to open up and disarm was that he would be destroyed.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Your guess is as good as mine. I mean, if --
SEN. LEVIN: You have a guess?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I really don't. I just don't know.
SEN. LEVIN: But my question is is there any chance.
SEC. RUMSFELD: There's always a chance of anything. You know, the sky could fall. SEN. LEVIN: And, finally, it's about -- it's about that level of chance, I gather.
SEC. RUMSFELD: I don't know. I honestly just don't know. And how he -- if looking at it rationally -- although I can't climb in his head -- but I mean, looking at it rationally, there have been plenty of dictators who just up and left when things looked bleak, and they've gone to live in some nice country and taken away all the money they've stolen, and there they are.
SEN. LEVIN: And then a moment ago you said the only certainty that we will have, relative to weapons, is after an attack, after he used them against -- after he attacks.
SEC. RUMSFELD: If -- I think what I said was that you would gain perfect certainty as to what he would do after they are used.
SEN. LEVIN: Not quite. You said the only certainty. The only way that we can have any certainty about what he has is after he uses them.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Unless you have disarmed him.
SEN. LEVIN: You didn't add the unless.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Maybe it's late in the day, and I forgot to add it, but obviously if you disarmed him, then you have perfect certainty on the ground. I talked about that earlier today.
SEN. LEVIN: You do acknowledge that there is at least a possibility that he could be forced to disarm before he attacks?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Of course.
SEN. LEVIN: Without being attacked?
SEC. RUMSFELD: It is possible he could wake up tomorrow morning and decide he should leave and go. He could possibly wake up tomorrow morning and be sincere about inspections, and invite everybody in and change an 11-year behavior pattern.
SEN. LEVIN: There's a lot at stake in terms of whether --
SEC. RUMSFELD: There is. SEN. LEVIN: -- whether or not we support a really good inspection regime and back it up with the threat of authorized force in the U.N. There is so much --
SEC. RUMSFELD: There is a lot at stake.
SEN. LEVIN: There is understandable skepticism coming from you, and I think that that's again understandable. But what there isn't is the support for what I thought the president asked at the U.N., which was we want robust inspections, we want disarmament. And the message I'm getting from you today is it ain't possible without regime change. That's the message I'm getting.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, I think you'll find that -- I hope you'll find that my testimony today is very much supportive of the president's speech in the U.N. I think if you reread it you will find that he is exactly where I am on what I've said today. He did not rule out inspections. He didn't even mention the word "inspections," to my knowledge. So I can't see any inconsistency with it. I think it's important to recognize that it's the Department of State that works with the U.N. on inspections, and not the Department of Defense, and that I am certainly not the world's leading expert. All I do is look at facts. And when I get asked a question by a member of the Senate, I answer it to the best of my ability. And if I get asked what's the pattern over the past 11 years, the pattern is that the U.N. has been jerked around consistently for 11 years. That's just the fact pattern.
SEN. LEVIN: I couldn't agree with you more. It's about time that you -- we support that effort in the U.N. Senator Warner.
SEN. WARNER: Let me see if I can clarify this line of questioning, Secretary Rumsfeld. I think you have very clearly, and -- it's been a valuable hearing, I'll state that here and now, by both our secretary and our chairman -- a very valuable hearing. And you have indicated I think -- and I agree with you -- that the inspection regime that is now written up by Hans Blix, and the one which Iraq is called upon to be used, is not likely to produce anything of value, and it will be ineffective.
But I think where we need clarity is that Secretary of State Colin Powell I think very courageously is trying to negotiate with the Perm 5 and others a blueprint of a regime for inspections with specific time tables, specific missions, specific dates, and an assumption of cooperation that could be effective. And if that were devised, voted on affirmatively by the permanent members and others in the Security Council, that that could possibly bring about a beginning towards disarmament. Am I correct in that?
SEC. RUMSFELD: I do not know. The last time I talked to Colin on this I was aware that others were proposing a variety of resolutions for the United Nations, but it's not clear to me that you are correct by suggesting that the United States has -- of that type. SEN. WARNER: Then I somehow -- I followed this as closely as I can --
SEC. RUMSFELD: But you're right.
SEN. WARNER: But I thought we were engaging the Security Council in an effort to try to fashion a regime that the Security Council of which we are a member, permanent, would consider all right. This should be given a try. Otherwise, what is it that we are negotiating up there right now?
SEC. RUMSFELD: The president's speech set out a position that he believes was the correct one.
SEN. WARNER: And I agree with our president.
SEC. RUMSFELD: And Colin Powell's task is to then work with the other members and try to achieve something that is as close as possible to what the president set forth in his remarks. My understanding -- and, again, I'm -- the secretary of State is the one dealing with this, not me -- but the last visibility I had into this -- and you were there -- there were others proposing a variety of resolutions or ideas, and it was in the discussion stage. Some included inspection regimes, some did not. So I think I answered you correctly when I said the last I knew they may very well be being discussed, but it is not clear to me that it has been proposed by Secretary Powell. I just do not know.
SEN. WARNER: All right, then I don't have any information above yours -- except what I listened to. I made a joint appearance with him on Sunday -- the chairman and I appeared on "Late Edition" with him. I listened very carefully. But somehow I got the impression that we were seeking to explore the options by which there could be a regime fashioned with very specific things, and the clause in it, and a resolution, that if Iraq failed to meet all specifics in that resolution, then member nations understandably could resort to such use of force that they deem necessary to protect their security interests.
SEC. RUMSFELD: I think you are exactly right that some countries have proposed that, and that that is part of the discussion. It is just not clear to me that Colin did.
SEN. WARNER: All right, we'll put that to one side. Then I ask this question -- just a follow-up: In the event that a draft resolution is put forth at Security Council -- if a permanent five member -- any member of the Perm 5 were to cast a veto -- not abstain, but cast a veto -- wouldn't that have the effect of forcing the hand of those member state nations which feel that their security interests are at risk, given the current conditions of Saddam Hussein and his mass destruction weapon inventory? And it forces their hand -- no other option but to use force, and that would in all likelihood be the United States and hopefully Great Britain. SEC. RUMSFELD: That would be a judgment for the president, not me.
SEN. WARNER: Thank you.
SEN. LEVIN: Last question -- Senator Dayton.
SEN. DAYTON: Mr. Secretary, what in your view would be necessary to occur in Iraq that would give us the necessary assurance that our national security is not going to be threatened by his military capability? What -- the inspections -- I understand you are -- fully concur with your concerns about him and his dodging and weaving and delaying and the like, and he has been duplicitous throughout all these years, as you said. So is there anything that could be done that would give us the assurance necessary that that threat had been removed or brought within the restraints of the U.N. resolutions?
SEC. RUMSFELD: Senator, there is no question but that if Iraq were to comply with the U.N. resolutions that they would have disarmed. They would not have any of those programs. They would also not be threatening their neighbors. They would not be doing a host of other things that they do that are representative of those resolutions. That is what this is about. And there's no question but that if for whatever reason, by whatever mechanism, it was clear that they had disarmed, that that would, I am confident, reassure the international community and the United States.
SEN. DAYTON: Thank you.
SEN. LEVIN: Senator Dayton, thank you. Our witnesses, we want to thank you. We promised that you would be out of here by six o'clock. I believe we have kept that promise. We have kept you and us sort of on schedule. We are very much appreciative of your presence. It's been a very helpful hearing to us, and we stand adjourned.
SEN. WARNER: I share that.
Source: Federal News Service.