United States Department of Defense
On the web:
Media contact: +1 (703) 697-5131
Public contact: http://www.dod.mil/faq/comment.html or +1 (703) 428-0711
Testimony of U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld before the House Armed Services Committee regarding Iraq (Transcript)
Testimony as Delivered by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C., September 18, 2002.
HUNTER: The committee will come to order.
Today, the Committee on Armed Services continues its review of United States policy toward Iraq. This morning's hearing marks the second of a number of planned public sessions designed to educate and inform the committee and the American people on the various issues surrounding Iraq's continued violation of numerous United Nations resolutions, its illicit development of weapons of mass destruction and the threat that Saddam Hussein poses to the United States, the Middle East and the international community.
And I might add, to let my colleagues know that this hearing and the series of hearings we've been having and will continue to have are being forth at the direction of our chairman, Bob Stump.
And I talked to Bob just a little bit ago. Bob is doing well. He's still under the weather and undergoing some tests, but gives his best to every member of the committee and every member of the House and to you, Mr. Secretary, and wishes he could be with us.
Last week, the committee received a classified briefing from the CIA and DIA. In fact, we just concluded another briefing. I think some 86 members of the House attended just a few minutes ago. We also heard from former senior UNSCOM inspectors about Iraq's illicit weapons programs and Saddam Hussein's persistent efforts to thwart efforts of the U.N. inspectors so that he might persevere and advance his weapons of mass destruction programs.
Tomorrow, the Armed Services Committee will hear how the Iraqis built and sustained their weapons of mass destruction programs through the legal and illegal acquisition of western technology and how the United States' own export control system may have contributed to the problems we are now facing with Iraq. We also continue to plan further hearings for the coming weeks that will examine in greater detail the various aspects of the policy options before us.
Today, however, we are honored to have Secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld before the committee to discuss U.S. policy toward Iraq. He is the first Cabinet-level official to appear on the Hill regarding Iraq, so we are all anxious to discuss these matters with him today. Secretary Rumsfeld is joined by General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And welcome gentlemen. Thank you for being with us.
Mr. Secretary, before we ask you for your opening remarks, I want to invite Mr. Skelton, the distinguished gentleman from Missouri, the ranking Democrat on the committee to offer any comments he might have.
SKELTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And, Mr. Secretary and General, we welcome you and we look forward to your testimony today.
This is certainly a critical time for us to be considering American action against Iraq. President Bush has made clear to Congress, to the United Nations and the American people his determination to remove Saddam Hussein from power and to neutralize the threat posed by the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. And I applaud his realization that the threat posed by Saddam Hussein is one that faces the United Nations as a whole. And I think all agree that Saddam Hussein is a despot who has violated the Security Council's resolutions for years.
But having recognized the central role of the United Nations, we must take seriously its collective judgment about how to enforce these resolutions.
I'm not suggesting that Congress will or should only consider an option fully supported by the United Nations, but the administration must be able to answer fundamental questions about any decision to use force: Why must action be taken now? What's the threshold beyond which the United States can no longer wait for Iraqi compliance with Security Council resolutions or for U.N. action in the face of Iraqi defiance?
Beyond the decision to act with or without the United Nations, I've wrestled with a series of questions, which I've shared with the president. Exercising our Constitution responsibilities requires Congress to take into account not only these near-term considerations of how to act, but also the long-term implication for American security interests globally of using military force against Iraq.
Some of these questions have to do with waging the broader war on terrorism: How will the United States ensure that we continue to have international support for our efforts against Al Qaida, even if the administration seeks military action without Security Council approval? Do we have the forces, fiscal resources, munitions and other military capabilities to wage both campaigns effectively? How is the United States preparing to deal with likely Iraqi efforts to draw Israel into the conflict by launching missiles, possibly with chemical or biological warheads? What type of planning is going into succeeding and sustaining urban operations or on the battlefield made toxic by chemical weapons?
As members of the Armed Services Committee, we all share the commitment to making sure that our troops can succeed on the battlefield at the lowest possible level of risk should we decide to put them in harm's way.
In considering the long-term aspects and the question of use of force, I'm reminded of Karl Von Clausewitz' maxim, which is in his book on war: "That in strategy it is imperative not to take the first step without considering the last." We must think through carefully and now before we authorize military force how the United States would manage Iraq after Saddam fell. Planning for the occupation of Germany and Japan took years before the end of the Second World War. In today's dynamic battlefield, we don't have the luxury of years to prepare. How can we build a stable and a democratic Iraq that takes all major groups, Shi'a, Sunni, Kurd, into account? How will we handle members of the Baath Party and those scientists and those engineers that design weapons of mass destruction for Iraq? What military commitment will be required form the United States at the time of our victory and in the years to come?
Any decision to act against Iraq must begin with answers to these questions about the strategy for achieving victory and the long-term responsibilities that come with doing so. With answers to these questions, I look forward, Mr. Secretary and General, I look forwarding to supporting the president in helping to craft a congressional authorization to do so. I thank both witnesses for being with us today and for sharing your expertise in hopefully providing answers to these very difficult, but very important questions.
Thank you so much.
HUNTER: I thank the distinguished gentleman.
And, Mr. Secretary, our members on this Armed Services Committee have put in a lot of hours on this question. And we look forward to working with you and hearing your testimony. We thank you for being with us. The floor is your's, sir.
RUMSFELD: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Congressman Skelton, members of the committee.
I've submitted a rather lengthy statement, which I would like included in the record.
HUNTER: Without objection.
RUMSFELD: Thank you.
It sets forth a number of the elements of the case that the president presented with respect to Iraq in some detail, and also attempts to respond to a number of the questions that have been raised over recent days and weeks.
RUMSFELD: What I'd like to do is to hit some of the high points of that statement. As we all know, this is not an intelligence briefing. I understand that the committee has very recently, in fact maybe this morning, received an intelligence briefing. There was also an open hearing. So my remarks will reflect those two facts.
Today, I do want to discuss the task of preventing attacks of even greater magnitude than what was experienced on September 11, attacks that could conceivably kill not just thousands of Americans, but potentially tens of thousands of our fellow citizens. As we meet chemists and biologists and nuclear scientists are toiling in weapons labs and underground bunkers, working to give the world's most dangerous dictators weapons of unprecedented power and lethality.
The threat posed by those regimes is real. It's dangerous. And as the president pointed out, it's growing with each passing day. We've entered a new security environment in the 21st century, one where terrorists, movements and terrorist states are developing capacities to cause unprecedented destruction.
Today, our margin of error is notably different than was the case previously. In the 20th century, we were dealing with conventional capabilities for the most part; today, we're dealing with weapons of mass destruction that of course tends to be used not simply against combatants, but against innocent men, women and children as well. We're in an age of little or no warning, when threats can emerge suddenly to surprise us. Terrorist states are finding ways to gain access to these powerful weapons. And in word and deed, they've demonstrated a willingness to use those capabilities.
Moreover, after September 11, they've discovered a new means of delivering those weapons, terrorist networks. To the extent that they might transfer weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups, and we know terrorist groups are actively seeking those weapons, they could readily conceal their responsibility for attacks on our people.
So we are on notice: An attack very likely will be attempted. The only question is when, and by what technique. It could be months; it could be a year; it could be years. But it will happen, and each of us need to pause and think about that. 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 by then, needless to say, it will be too late. The question facing us is this: What is the responsible course of action for our country? Do we believe it is our responsibility to wait for a weapon of mass destruction, 9/11? Or is it the responsibility of free people to do something, to take steps to deal with such a threat before such an attack occurs?
AUDIENCE MEMBER [INTERRUPTS]: Yes, Mr. Rumsfeld, I think we need weapons inspections not war.
AUDIENCE MEMBER [INTERRUPTS]: Why are you obstructing the inspections? Is this really about oil? How many civilians will be killed? How many...
HUNTER: Secretary, would you suspend for a minute that we could ask the staff to see to it that our guests are escorted.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS [INTERRUPT]: Inspections not war. Inspections not war. Inspections not war. Inspections not war. Inspections not war. Inspections not war...
HUNTER: Have a nice day.
Mr. Secretary, We'll be with you in a minute.
Thank you, ladies.
Mr. Secretary, we're going to put them down as undecided.
RUMSFELD: Mr. Chairman, as I listened to those comments, it struck me what a wonderful thing free speech is. And of course, the country that threw the inspectors out was not the United States. It was not the United Nations.
It was Iraq that threw the inspectors out. And they had thrown them out and they have rejected 16 resolutions of the United Nations and stipulations. But of course, people like that are not able to go into Iraq and made demonstrations like that, because they don't have free speech.
I think one other point I'd make before proceeding is that there's obviously a misunderstanding on the part of those who think that the goal is inspections.
The goal isn't inspections. The goal is disarmament. That is what was agreed to by Iraq. That is what was understood by the United Nations. The ease with which people can migrate over and suggest that the task before the world is inspections. You can only have inspections when a country is cooperating with you. They have to agree that that's -- they have the same goal as those that are in attempting to validate something. So one would hope that those thoughts could be a part of this dialogue.
There are a number of terrorist states pursuing weapons of mass destruction -- Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria to name but a few. But no terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
RUMSFELD: These facts about the Saddam Hussein regime, I think, should be part of this record and our country's considerations. He ordered the use of chemical weapons against his own people, in one case killing some 5,000 innocent civilians. His regime invaded two of its neighbors and launched ballistic missiles at four of its neighbors. He plays host to terrorist networks, assassinates his opponents, both in Iraq and abroad, and has attempted to assassinate a former president of the United States. He's executed members of his cabinet.
He's ordered doctors to surgically remove the ears of military deserters. His regime has committed genocide and ethnic cleansing in northern Iraq, ordering the extermination of over 50,000 people.
His regime, on an almost daily basis, continues to fire missiles and artillery at U.S. and coalition aircraft as they fulfill the U.N. mission with respect to Operation Northern Watch and Operation Southern Watch. His regime has amassed large clandestine stocks of biological weapons, including anthrax and botulism toxin and possibly smallpox. His regime has amassed large clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons, including VX and sarin and mustard gas.
His regime has an active program to acquire and develop nuclear weapons. And let there be no doubt about it, his regime has dozens of ballistic missiles and is working to extend their range in violation of U.N. restriction. His regime 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 U.N. oil-for-food program, funds intended to help feed starving Iraqi civilians to fund his weapons of mass destruction program. And his regime has violated 16 U.N. resolutions, repeatedly defying the will of the international community without or cost or consequence.
As the president warned the United Nations last week, the Saddam Hussein regime is a grave and gathering danger. It's a danger we do not have the option to ignore. In his U.N. address, the president explained why we should not allow the Iraqi regime to acquire weapons of mass destruction. And he issues a challenge to the international community to enforce the numerous resolutions that the U.N. passed and that the Iraqis have defied, and to show that the U.N. is determined not to become irrelevant.
President Bush has made clear that the United States wants to work with the U.N. Security Council, but he made clear the consequences of Iraq's continued defiance. He said, quote, "The purposes of the United States should not be doubted. 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 members of the House and the Senate to support actions that may be necessary to deliver on that pledge. He urged that the Congress act before the recess. He asked that you send a clear signal to the world community and to the Iraqi regime that our country is united in purpose and prepared to act.
It's important that Congress send that message before the U.N. Security Council votes. Delaying a vote in Congress would send the wrong message, in my view, just as we are asking the international community to take a stand and as we are cautioning the Iraqi regime to respond and consider its options. It was Congress that changed the objective of U.S. policy from containment to regime change by the passage of the Iraqi Liberation Act in 1998. The president is now asking Congress to support that policy.
A decision to use military force is never easy. And it's important that the issues surrounding this decision be discussed and debated. In recent weeks, a number of questions have been surfaced by members of the Congress and others, some of the arguments raised are truly important. And in my prepared testimony I attempted to discuss in detail a whole series of those questions and what I believe to be appropriate responses.
But let me touch on a few this morning. Some have asked whether an attack on Iraq would disrupt and distract from the U.S. global war on terror. The answer is, that 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 all elements of the global war on terror simultaneously.
As the members of this committee know well, our strategy includes the ability to win decisively in one theater and be able to occupy a country, to near simultaneously swiftly defeat a country in another theater, to provide for homeland defense and a number of lesser contingencies, such as Bosnia and Kosovo. That is what our foresight and construct is. That is what was briefed to this committee. So let there be no doubt but that we can do both at the same time.
Our principle goal in the war on terror is stop another 9/11 or a WMD attack that could make a 9/11 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 regardless of the source.
Another question that's been asked is, where's the smoking gun? Well, the last thing we want to see is a smoking gun. A gun smokes after it's been fired. And the goal must be to stop such an action before it happens. As the president told the United Nations, "The first time we may be completely certain that a terrorist state has nuclear weapons is when, God forbid, they use one. And we owe it to our citizens to do everything in our power to prevent that day from coming," unquote.
If someone is waiting for a so-called smoking gun, it's certain that we will have waited too long. But the question raises another issue that's useful to discuss, and that's what kind of evidence ought we to consider is appropriate to act in the 21st century? In our country, it's been customary to seek evidence that would prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
RUMSFELD: That approach, of course, is appropriate when the objective is to protect the rights of the accused. But in the age of weapons of mass destruction, the objective is not to protect the rights of a Saddam Hussein. It's to protect the lives of the American people and our friends and allies. And when there is that risk, and we're trying to defend against closed societies and shadowy terrorist networks, expecting to find that standard of evidence before such a weapon has been used is really not realistic, and after such a weapon has been used, it's too late.
I suggest that if any of you insist on perfect evidence really are thinking back in the 20th century in a pre-9/11 context. On September 11, we were awakened to the fact that America is now vulnerable to unprecedented destruction, and that awareness ought to be sufficient to change the way we think about our security and the type of certainty and evidence we consider appropriate.
We will not have, we do not have and cannot know everything that's going on in the world at any time. Over the times, despite the very best efforts of enormously expensive and talented intelligence capabilities, we have repeatedly underestimated the weapons' capabilities in a variety of countries of major concern to us. We have had numerous gaps of two, four, six, eight, 10 -- in one case more -- years between the time a country developed the capability and the time that the United States of American became aware of it.
We do know that the Iraqi regime currently has chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction, and we do know they're currently pursuing nuclear weapons, that they have a proven willingness to use those weapons at their disposal and that they've proven an aspiration to seize the territory of and threaten their neighbors, proven support for and cooperation with terrorist networks and proven record of declared hostility and venomous rhetoric against the United States. Those threats should be clear to all.
Committees of Congress, interestingly, they're currently asking hundreds of questions and pouring over tens of thousands of documents -- pages of documents about September 11th. And they're asking the question, "Who knew what, when and why didn't we 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 the president made should be clear: If more time passes and the attacks we are concerned about were to come to pass, we would not want to have ignored those warning signs and then be required to explain why we failed to protect our fellow citizens.
Some have argued that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent, that Saddam Hussein is at least five to seven years away from having nuclear weapons. I would not be so certain. Before Operation Desert Storm in 1991, the best intelligence estimates were that Iraq was about five to seven years away from having nuclear weapons. The experts were flat wrong. When the U.S. got on the ground, they found that the Iraqis were probably six months to a year to 18 months from having a nuclear weapon, not five to seven years. We do know that he 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 simpler to deliver and even more readily transferred to terrorist networks, who could allow Iraq to deliver them without Iraq's fingerprints. If you want an idea of the devastation Iraq could wreck on our country with a biological attack, consider the recent unclassified Dark Winter exercise conducted by Johns Hopkins University.
It simulated a biological WMD attack in which terrorists released smallpox in three separate locations in the U.S. Within two months, the worst case estimate indicated up to 1 million people could be dead and another 2 million infected. Cut it in half, cut it into a quarter, it is not a nice picture.
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; that is to say he's probably deterrable, is the argument.
Well, Mr. Chairman, there's no reason for confidence that if Iraq launched a WMD attack on the U.S. that it would necessarily have an obvious return of address. There are ways Iraq can easily conceal responsibility for a WMD attack. For example, they could give biological weapons to terrorist networks to attack the United States from within and then deny any knowledge. Suicide bombers are not deterrable.
We still do not know with certainty who was behind the 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. We don't know who's responsible for last year's anthrax attacks. Indeed, our consistent failure over the past two decades to trace terrorist attacks to their ultimate source gives terrorist states the lesson that using terrorist networks is a very effective way of attacking the United States, seemingly with impunity.
RUMSFELD: Some argue that North Korea and Iran are more immediate threats than Iraq. "Well, why not deal with them first?" the question goes.
Well, Iran and North Korea are indeed threats and problems. That's why President Bush named them specifically when he spoke about the axis of evil, and we do as a country have policies to address both.
But Iraq is unique. No other living dictator matches Saddam Hussein's record of waging aggressive war against his neighbors, pursuing weapons of mass destruction, using them against his own people, launching missiles against his neighbors, brutalizing and torturing his own citizens, harboring terrorist networks, engaging in terrorist acts, including the attempted assassination of foreign officials, violating international commitments, lying and hiding his WMD programs from inspectors, deceiving and defying the expressed will of the United Nations over and over again.
As the president told the United Nations, in one place, in one regime, we find all of these dangers in their most lethal and aggressive forms.
Some have asked: If containment worked on the Soviet Union, why not just contain Iraq?
First, it's clear from the Iraqi regime's 11 years of defiance that containment has not led to their compliance. To the contrary, containment is breaking down.
Second, with the Soviet Union, we faced an adversary that already possessed nuclear weapons, thousands of them. Our goal with Iraq is to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons.
Third, with the Soviet Union, we believed that time was on our side. And indeed we were correct; time was on our side. With Iraq, the opposite is true, time is not on our side. Every month that goes by with his weapons of mass destruction programs they are progressing.
Fourth, the containment worked in the long run. The Soviet Union's nuclear arsenal prevented the West from responding when --while containment did work in the long run, the Soviet Union's nuclear arsenal prevented the West from responding when they invaded their neighbor Afghanistan, if you think back. Does anyone really want Saddam Hussein to have the same deterrence so that he can invade his neighbors with impunity? Some have argued that if we do go to war the U.S. should first lay out details of a truly comprehensive inspection regime, which if Iraq failed to comply would provide a casus belli.
Well, I would respond this way. If failure to comply with weapons of mass destruction inspections is a casus belli, the U.N. already has it. It's proceeded over a period of many, many years.
The United States, as the president indicated, is not closed to the idea of inspections as an element of an effective response, but our goal can't be inspections, it has to be disarmament. That is where the threat is.
The purpose of inspections is to prove that Iraq has disarmed, which would require that Iraq would reverse its decade-long policy of pursuing those weapons, and that is certainly something that Iraq is unlikely to do.
Even the most intrusive inspection regime would have difficulty getting at all of his weapons of mass destruction. Many of his WMD capabilities are mobile. They can be hidden from inspectors no matter how intrusive. He has vast underground networks and facilities and sophisticated denial and deception techniques.
There is a place in this world for inspections. They tend to be effective if the target nation is actually willing to disarm and want to prove to the world that they're doing so; they're looking for a way to prove to the world that they have, in fact, done what the world asked them to do.
They tend not to be as effective in uncovering deceptions and violations when the target is determined not to disarm and to try to deceive. And Iraq's record of the past decade shows that they want weapons of mass destruction and are determined to continue developing them.
Some say that there's no international consensus behind ousting Saddam Hussein and that most of our key allies are opposed.
First, the truth is to the contrary. There are a number of countries that want Saddam Hussein gone, and increasing numbers are willing to say so publicly, and a quite large number are willing to say so privately; although, because a number of countries live in the neighborhood and he's not a nice neighbor, it's not surprising that some of them are reluctant to say so publicly.
The coalition we've fashioned in the global war on terror includes 90 countries, literally half of the world. It was not there on September 11. It was built one country at a time over a long period of time.
During the Persian Gulf War, the coalition that eventually included 36 nations when Iraq was attacked, but they were not there on August 5 when President George Herbert Walker Bush announced to the world that Saddam's aggression would not stand. That coalition was built over many months. With his U.N. speech, President Bush began the process of building international support for dealing with Iraq, and the reaction has been very positive. The president will continue to state our case, and I suspect that as he does so we will find that additional countries, in increasing numbers, will cooperate and participate. Certainly that has been our experience over the past days.
Some 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 useful point, and certainly there are ways to mitigate the risk of a chem or bio attack, but it cannot be entirely eliminated. And it is true that that could be a risk of military action were the president to make a decision for military action.
But if Saddam Hussein is that dangerous today, then that would think it would only make the case for dealing with such a threat stronger, because the longer we wait, the more deadly his regime becomes.
RUMSFELD: Moreover, consider the consequences if the world were to allow that risk to deter us from acting. We would then have sent a message to the world, about the value of having weapons of mass destruction, that we would deeply regret having sent.
The message the world should want to send is the exact opposite, that Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction has not made it more secure but made it less secure and that by pursuing those weapons, they have attracted undesired attention to themselves.
But I would suggest that, even Saddam Hussein, that if he were to issue such an order to use a chemical or a biological attack, that that does not necessarily mean his orders would be carried out. He might not have anything to lose, but those beneath him in the chain of command most certainly would have a great deal to lose. Wise Iraqis will not obey orders to use weapons of mass destruction.
Some ask, what has changed to warrant action now? Well, what has changed, is our experience on September 11. What is change, is our appreciation of our vulnerability and the risks that this country faces from terrorist networks, terrorist states armed with weapons of mass destruction and the nexus between terrorist networks and weapons of mass destruction. What has not changed is Iraq's drive to acquire those weapons, and the fact that every approach that the United Nations has taken to stop Iraq's drive has failed.
Mr. Chairman, as the president has made clear, this is a critical moment for our country and for the world. Our resolve is being put to the test. It's a test that, unfortunately, the world's free nations have failed before in recently history with unfortunate consequences.
Long before the Second World War, Hitler wrote in "Mein Kampf" indicating what he intended to do. But the hope was that, maybe, he would not do what he said. And between 35 and 60 million people died because of the series of fatal miscalculations. 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 risks of not acting. Saddam Hussein has made his intentions clear. He's used those weapons. He's demonstrated an intention to take the territory of his neighbors. He plays host to terrorist networks. He's hostile to our country. Because we have denied him the ability he has fought to impose his will on his neighbors, he has said in no uncertain terms that he would use weapons of mass destruction against the United States. He has at this moment stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons.
If he demonstrates the capability to deliver those weapons to our shore, the world would be changed. Our people would be at risk. Our willingness to be engaged in the world and our willingness to project power to stop aggression and our ability to forge coalitions for multilateral actions all could be put under question, and many lives could be lost.
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 that we see? 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 history, we see there have been many books written about threats and attacks that were not anticipated: "At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story Of Pearl Harbor"; "December 7, 1941, The Day The Admiral Slept Late"; "Pearl Harbor, Final Judgment"; "From Munich To Pearl Harbor"; "Why England Slept?"; "The Cost Of Failure." The list of such books is endless.
And unfortunately, in the past year, historians have added to the body of literature, and there are already books out on September 11th, wondering why those attacks weren't prevented. Each is an attempt by the authors to connect the dots, to determine what happened, and why it was not possible, before the fact, to figure out what was going to happen.
And our job today, the president's, the Congress' and the United Nations' is to connect the dots before the fact. It's to anticipate vastly more lethal attacks before they happen, and to make the right decision as to whether or not it's appropriate for this country to take action before it's too late.
We are on notice, each of us. Each of us has a responsibility to do everything in our power to ensure that when the history books of this period are written, the books won't ask why we slept and 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 for the country.
RUMSFELD: President Bush is determined to do just that. And this is why he has come before the Congress and why he has come before the United Nations and why he has set forth his case.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
HUNTER: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
And let me ask you, Mr. Secretary, for your perspective of the security balance in the Middle East when Saddam Hussein acquires the nuclear systems -- oh, excuse me.
General Myers, did you have a statement also?
MYERS: I do. I have a short statement, Mr. Chairman.
HUNTER: OK. Why don't you go ahead and then we'll lead with questions?
MYERS: OK. Chairman Hunter and Congressman Skelton, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.
Before I start, I'd like to take a minute and just thank Chairman Stump for his 26 years of service to our nation as a member of Congress. His service here and in the United States Navy, of course, is example for all of us in uniform and we wish him and his family well in the days ahead. And hope we can work again with him here in Congress.
HUNTER: Thank you very much, General.
MYERS: It's certainly an honor to appear before you to discuss the nature of the threat that Iraq represents to America and our interests and those of our allies and friends.
Mr. Chairman, I request that my written statement be submitted for the record.
HUNTER: Without objection.
MYERS: Thank you, sir. I will make some short introductory remarks and then will go right to questions.
The first thing that I wanted to cover with you was the nature of the threat that Iraq presents to us and the capabilities of our armed forces today, but I don't think there's anything that I can add to Secretary Rumsfeld's remarks. I agree with those. And so I'll leave that point and go on to my second point, and that is to tell you that our nation's military forces are ready and able to do whatever the president asks of them.
Your armed forces have made dramatic strides and capabilities over the past decade, and let me just highlight a few. As a result of support of Congress and the American public, our armed forces have improved intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability. These capabilities together with an enhanced command and control network give our joint warfighters a faster, more agile decision cycle than the one that we had a decade ago.
For our warfighters, this means that they have updated tactical information that is minutes or hours old, not days old. We also enjoy much better power projection capability to move our joint warfighting team. The strong congressional support for programs, such as the C-17 and the large, medium speed roll-on, roll-off ships have meant that we can deploy and sustain the force much, much better than in the past.
And finally, our nation's combat powers increased dramatically over the past decade. For example, the joint direct attack munition provides all of our bomber aircraft and a majority of our fighter aircraft a day-night, all weather, precision attack capability. Our ground forces have improved and have more accurate 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, of course, some key units are in high demand. Mobilization of Guard and Reserve forces have help to reduce the stress on some on some of these key units, but any major combat operation will obviously require us to prioritize the tasks given to such units.
While our military capabilities have improved over the past decade, the foundation of our success remains our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guardsmen. Their superior training, discipline and leadership are the core of our effectiveness. In my view, these qualities are the reason that our men and women in uniform enjoy the respect and high regard of other professional militaries around the world. It's also for these reasons that our military forces are so effective partners in any potential coalition.
Once again, I welcome the opportunity to be here today and make those two important points. First, Iraq remains a threat to our region, to the region, our interests and to Americans. And second, our nation's joint forces can accomplish any task that this nation may ask them to do.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
HUNTER: Thank you, General.
Mr. Secretary -- and General Myers you may wish to comment on this -- I would just restate this question: How do you see the security balance in the region with respect to U.S. interests when Saddam Hussein acquires nuclear systems?
RUMSFELD: Well, Mr. Chairman, my personal view is that a biological threat and a chemical threat is of a kind with a nuclear threat. And he has biological and chemical weapons. And he is aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons. The region knows that. The region knows this man very, very well. And they are frightened of him.
And I don't know precisely what it would do to the balance in the region for it to be demonstrated that he has a nuclear capability and the ability to deliver it, not just to his neighbors, but to others.
In my view, the thing that is critical in the region is the role that the coalition forces have played since Desert Storm to dissuade him from invading his neighbors.
RUMSFELD: He threatens the regimes of his neighboring countries frequently. And it is the United States and the United Kingdom and the fact that the U.N. resolutions have been a constraint on him in terms of the sanctions and the like, not a successful constraint because his programs have gone forward, but probably a constraint against him invading his neighbors. And my impression is that that's probably the most critical element of the balance of power in the region at the present time.
MYERS: Mr. Chairman, let me just add that when you think about Iraq developing nuclear weapons and the fact that they have an active ballistic missile production program, that when you put those two things together, you have to be very worried, like the secretary says. And I would say that it makes a very bad strategic situation, given that he has chemical and biological weapons, it makes a very, very bad strategic situation for his neighbors much worse.
RUMSFELD: One thing I would add, if you postulated that he had a nuclear weapon and the ability to deliver it, for example, some distances, which he is aggressively attempting to have, imagine trying to put together a coalition like we've put together for the global war on terrorism, we've put together a coalition as we've put together for the Gulf War, when countries know that by participating in such a coalition they and their cities and their populations could conceivably be targets. The purpose of a terror weapon is to terrorize. And it need not even be used to still be very effective, because it alters behavior. And in the hands of the likes of Saddam Hussein, that is a significant shift in capability and power.
CHAIRMAN: Mr. Skelton?
SKELTON: Mr. Secretary, I was going to ask you about the offer by Saddam Hussein and Iraq to have so-called "unfettered inspections," but I think you fully covered that in your earlier comments and your opening statement.
Mr. Secretary, you made a reference to the Second World War, what led up to it; A, regarding Pearl Harbor, B, regarding the rise of Adolf Hitler. We must look ahead in this whole effort, and I use the Second World War as an example.
What happens after we remove Saddam Hussein from power, he and his regime -- hopefully with a coalition -- but after the decision is made and after that action is taken? We had a plan in place regarding Japan, the occupation thereof, and it worked. We had a plan in place in the occupation of Germany and it worked, even despite the fact that the Soviet Union thwarted it for a while. And today we have, as you know, democracies in both Japan and in Germany. And a great deal of that is because of our foresight in putting together what we do after victory. And there's no question in my mind that the United States, either alone, hopefully with other coalition partners, should this come to pass, could decisively defeat the Iraqi forces.
But I pride myself being somewhat of a student of history. I know that planning for the aftermath of a successful military action is very important. Klauswitz (ph) said that in a strategy it's imperative not to take the first step without considering the last.
So let me ask you -- this is really one question, Mr. Secretary, but I will split it into two parts. What preparations are being made now for the administration of Iraq after Saddam falls and for the longer-term transition to a more permanent government? The second part of the question is, what's the level of diplomatic and military commitment to be made to Iraq after Saddam falls? And particularly, what's the estimate of American troops needed to ensure stability for the first year or in the long term or both? In other words, what does the future hold for us once victory is achieved?
RUMSFELD: Congressman Skelton, that's of course an exceedingly important question, and it is one that the president and the National Security Council have given a good deal of thought to. If the president were to decide that some action were necessary with respect to Iraq, there's no doubt in my mind but that the effort would be undertaken with partners, in a coalition, as you raised in your question.
I feel the same way about a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, that it would be clearly a coalition, conceivably a U.N. role. But it would require over a period of time, some military forces while that country transitioned from a repressive and vicious dictatorship to something notably different from that.
On the one hand, there's broad agreement with those that have been discussing this question that Iraq should be a single country and not be broken up into pieces. Second, that it should be a country that does not have weapons of mass destruction, a country that does not impose -- attempt to impose its will on its neighbors, a country that is respectful of the fact that it is ethnically diverse and is not a central government that would repress minorities in that country.
The numbers of troops that it would take in the early period, I don't think it's probably useful to discuss in this forum. It's interesting to go back to the Gulf War, the Iraqi army demonstrated its attitude about Saddam Hussein when 70,000 or 80,000 members of the Iraqi army surrendered and changed sides almost instantaneously, within a matter of days, some surrendering -- hundreds surrendering to single soldiers, because they have no great respect for their leadership in that country.
RUMSFELD: Going the next step and beginning to talk about democracy or things like that is a step I can't go because it seems to me that what's important is in that transition period, it would be important for the Iraqi people in Iraq and Iraqis from outside of Iraq who've been persecuted to participate in fashioning what would follow, And clearly, it has to be something that would be not a dictatorship and would be respectful of minority rights in the country and the rule of law and respect for its neighbors.
What that template might be is beyond my task, and clearly it's something that the president and the secretary of state and the Department of State and other countries in the coalition would be thinking through.
But the answer to your last portion of your question is, as to whether not the United States would have to make a military in the short run and a diplomatic and humanitarian and reconstruction effort in the longer term, the answer is yes. One would. One doesn't change what is without recommending something better.
The difference between this and Afghanistan, however, is that this is a country that has large oil revenues. So from a financial standpoint, it is an easier problem for the international community than a country that has been devastated by decades of conflict and does not have oil revenues to help buoy it up and bolster its recovery.
SKELTON: Thank you very much.
HUNTER: Thank the gentleman.
The distinguished gentleman from Utah, Mr. Hansen.
HANSEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I appreciate the comments by the secretary and the general. I think Mr. Skelton hit on a very tantalizing question there, what's going to happen if that does occur, who fills the void? It makes you wonder if there's someone in the wings there to do it like we saw in Iran back in that area, we've seen in other nations that somebody's waiting to do it.
The question that I've kind of been curious about is -- also, there's also the question, is there another nation that feels that we've brought her to her knees and now we can take over. You know, that's a very volatile area and there's been some tremendous battles between Iraq and Iran before. And I would wonder how the administration would look at a situation wondering if this other nation, Iran, would say, "Well, now, here's our chance," and how you'd handle that. I guess you possibly answered part of that when you said, yes, it would require a military presence at that particular point just to make sure that didn't occur.
You know, a lot of us on this committee gets awfully tired of our military being in Korea for 50 years, in Kosovo and Bosnia. It just seems, how do you ever get out of these places? How do you do that?
And the second thing I'd be curious to know, having been to the Prince Sultan Base a couple of times, what would be the reaction if the Saudis -- I've read a few things that they have kind of said they would be willing to let us use that base. I'd kind of like to hear it from your mouth.
RUMSFELD: First, with respect to Bosnia and Kosovo, we have been pulling our forces down over the past couple of years fairly significantly. We've been doing it with our NATO partners and Partnership for Peace countries that are participating. And the way you end something is to decide you do not want to be there permanently, and we don't. We covet no other country's land. We are not looking to occupy any country. Our goal is to be helpful and then go about our business.
The way you do that, in the case of Kosovo and Bosnia, has been to help build up the civil side, and what we're going to have to do in Afghanistan is see a lot more international support on the humanitarian side and the civil work side so that the security situation will continue to improve.
In the case of Iran, the small clique of clerics that are running that country I think have their hands full right now. They have a lot of foment in that country, their people are unhappy, and women and young people are putting pressure on the leadership. And while one has to be attentive to all the things that could conceivably happen, I think that the likelihood of what you suggested is somewhat less than modest.
Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia speaks for itself. They have said what they've said. Every utterance, publicly and privately, that I've heard in the last several weeks have been increasingly -- what's the word -- friendly, supportive, measured. They live in the neighborhood. Saddam Hussein has a vastly more powerful army than Saudi Arabia does. He has weapons that Saudi Arabia does not have. He threatened Saudi Arabia when he was invading Kuwait. And so, they've been measured.
But I would characterize, in answer to your question, their public and private comments as recognizing a good number of the things that I've characterized here today.
HUNTER: I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Spratt.
SPRATT: Mr. Chairman.
General Myers, thank you very much for your testimony.
Mr. Secretary, you described yourself as a skeptic on the efficacy of inspections. Let me make the case, though, for what inspections did achieve, at least in the first half of the '90s when UNSCOM was there.
They uncovered and dismantled 40 nuclear research facilities, including three uranium enrichment facilities and a lab-scale plutonium separation plant. That was in the mid-'90s. As last as May of 2000, the International Atomic Energy Commission found and destroyed an Iraqi nuclear centrifuge, which was stored in Jordan, and they also removed a lot of reactor fuel, fresh and irradiated.
On the chemical weapon side, they uncovered and destroyed 38,500 munitions, 480,000 liters of chemical agents, 1.8 million liters of precursor chemicals and 426 pieces of production equipment. There's still a lot of stuff unaccounted for, but that's a pretty substantial record there, at least worth the effort.
As to biological weapons, the issues are more unresolved. But it's my understanding that they found about 19,000 liters of botulism, 8,400 liters of anthrax, 2,000 liters of aflatoxin. They monitored 86 sites. They dismantled one south of Baghdad. They destroyed some biological bombs and some biological missile warheads.
And as to missiles, they were able to identify and account for 817 of 819 Soviet-delivered scuds, and they destroyed the scuds that they were still able to find in the inventory. They speculate that there may be anywhere between 40 and 80 additional scuds that they've been able to cobble together. But that's still a pretty substantial record of success, too.
And with respect to other means of discovering these facilities, if you look at what happened in the Persian Gulf War, we launched 2,400 sorties looking for scud missiles. We saw 42 launch plumes.
SPRATT: We launched eight preemptive strikes. We didn't take out a single one in the boost phase. So we actually accomplished something here with inspections that we weren't able to do with active combat means.
If inspections are robust, if they are fully backed by the Security Council unfettered, don't you think there's still something to be accomplished?
And in particular -- this concerns me -- we don't know for sure what they have in the way of biological agents, and we aren't sure how robust their VX, that dusty (ph) VX, persistent VX might be.
Wouldn't it be worthwhile before we launch an attack and send our young men and women in harm's way if we could get into that country and ferret out and find some of these final stocks so that they won't be used against us?
RUMSFELD: Well, first, let me say that no one with any sense rushes into war. It is something that one -- everyone thinks through very, very carefully. And that is why the president has not made a judgment as to precisely what he believes needs to be done. He has laid out the problem and he is looking for ways that it can be dealt with.
You're right about inspections. There is no question but that the inspectors found large numbers of chemical and biological weapons. And they found significant nuclear activities.
It is also true that when they finished they came up with a list of things that were unaccounted for, that they had every reason to believe existed, but they could not find, no matter how long they spent, years. And they tried. And it was a significant amount of chemical and biological capability they could not find.
Now, the Iraqi nuclear program which exists today proceeded apace while the IAEC was actually doing their job. And it's a very difficult job to do, because, as I said earlier, an inspection regime is designed to work with a cooperative country that's made a decision that they want to actually confess and have the things known and they work with them. A good deal of what the inspectors found was not because the Iraqi regime was working with them, it was because defectors came outside the country and cued them as to places they could look.
And of course, a couple of the most important defectors who came outside the country were his sons-in-laws who went back in the country and were later assassinated by Saddam Hussein.
No one ought to think that inspections don't have a role. And in my opening remarks I indicated, I believe they do. The question is, under what circumstances, with what countries, and after what kind of a decade-long record ought one to put their faith in those?
Now, is it conceivable that someone could -- of course, the goal is not inspections. The goal, as you point out, is disarmament. And is it possible that you could have a sufficiently intrusive inspection approach that would enable you to disarm that country if the same regime was in there and was determined to try to prevent you from doing that. At that point it's something other than inspectors, it is so intrusive and so powerful that it has the ability to enforce itself. And of course, that kind of force people generally call something other than inspectors.
SPRATT: But I think it's important to note the UNSCOM inspectors not only discovered and uncovered, they did destroy what they came up with.
SPRATT: ... no question about it.
RUMSFELD: No question about it.
As you know, the UNSCOM inspection regime is not what exists today. What exists today in UNMOVIC is a series of backtracking off of that because Saddam Hussein -- you could only inspect military installations. And that puts most of the country off base, you can't do that. And put in restrictions. You had to give notice.
And furthermore, they've had another decade -- another period of years to burrow under the ground.
RUMSFELD: They now have massive tunneling systems. They have mobile biological capabilities. They have been developing unmanned aerial vehicles, which are worrisome. They've got all kinds of things that have happened in the period when the inspectors have been out. So the problem is greater today. And the regime that exists today in the U.N. is one that has far fewer teeth than the one you were describing.
SPRATT: Thank you, sir.
HUNTER: Thank the gentleman.
HEFLEY: Mr. Chairman, and thank you, Mr. Secretary. You did a wonderful job I think of anticipating a lot of our questions and laying it out. And I appreciate that.
We know Saddam Hussein is a bad guy, a terrible guy, probably a psychopath. But I don't know that anyone has said he is stupid. Do you have any hope at all that if there is renewed pressure by the United States and the United Nations through resolutions or whatever, that the guy is going to say -- you know, it's been my sense that his bottom line is he wants to stay in power. He knows what we can do to him. Do you have any hope at all that he'll say, "Well I've got to take another course if I'm going to stay in power, this isn't working"?
RUMSFELD: As long as he has options, he will certainly take the best options he can find. And it seems to me that it's the task, and the president put it before the international community, that the task for the international community, if we want the United Nations to be relevant and their resolutions recognized as having some specific density, then what we have to do is to demonstrate to that regime that they don't have a lot of options other than disarming.
And you know, is it possible he could wake up one morning and decide he wants to go live with Baby Doc Duvalier or Idi Amin Dada or one of the former dictators of the world in some country of choice? Who knows? He clearly won't do that of choice. And if his next best choice is to stay there and acquiesce in everything that's requested of him, he's certainly given no indication of that in his background.
And you're quite right, he's not stupid. I've met him and talked to him and spent time with him. And he is a survivor. And he is a brutal, vicious dictator. HEFLEY: Would you comment insofar as you can in an open hearing on the strength of their military at this point? I guess I have, well, several -- Bill Clinton said the other night on the Letterman show that he thought a couple weeks of bombing and a week of ground forces and it'd be over. I don't know if we can be that optimistic.
One of the things I am concerned about is that if we attack him, he showed in the Persian Gulf War that he'll send missiles to Israel. If he sends dirty bombs to Israel, we know he has them, we know he has the capability of delivery, if he does that, I don't think we restrain Israel this time, and they just back off and say, "Well, we'll take it." Maybe they will. And then what does that do to our situation there in the whole Middle East?
Do we have the capability, do you think, of hitting him hard enough, fast enough, in the right places to see that he's incapable of doing that kind of thing? How strong? I understand that the Republican Guards that he fairly recently has purged their leadership. They're not too keen on him either. So that might not be a great strength for him this time. But we hear so many things, I don't know what's true and what's not.
RUMSFELD: Well, we have to begin questions like that of course with the fact that the president has made no recommendation at this stage with respect to using military force in Iraq. He has said what he's said.
There's no question but that Saddam Hussein's military capability today is less than it was during Desert Storm. And there's also no question but that the capability of the United States is considerably greater than it was during Desert Storm in terms of lethality. And there's also no question but that, as General Myers said, the United States is capable of doing those things that the country decides it would like it to do.
With respect to Israel, there is no question but that Iraq's neighbors, were there to be a conflict, would have a degree of vulnerability. And there's also no question but that that would probably not last for a very long time, that they would be vulnerable. And there's also no doubt in my mind but that it would be in Israel's overwhelming best interests not to get involved.
MYERS: Congressman Hefley, let me just add a couple of things to that.
His ground forces are roughly about half of what they were a decade ago. He's got 23 divisions today, of which six are Republican Guard.
You never know for sure, but the reports are that the morale is low, particularly in the regular army units, higher in the Republican Guard units, because the regime pays more attention to those units.
He's got about 300 combat aircraft, of which less than half are mission capable on any given day. And from what we can tell from reactions to some of our reconnaissance vehicles, not very tactically adept.
In terms of the threat that the forces there would present to Israel, clearly that would be in the missile regime.
MYERS: To not address Congressman Spratt's comment on that, but to just make one little comment. I think we're much better today because of some of things I said in my opening statement, in terms of our command and control and communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance will be much more effective in thwarting that threat to Israel today.
HUNTER: Thank you.
The gentleman from Texas, Mr. Ortiz.
ORTIZ: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'd like to welcome the secretary and General Myers this morning.
You know, we have huge responsibilities. As we listen to all this testimony, whether it's classified or in open hearing, and as we listen to the experts, sometimes it gets to be a little confusing to try to sort out all this testimony.
In my district, they quite often show me a statement that was made by General Zinni back in Florida when he was speaking to a group when he said that, "Most of us who have either fought in a war, have worn the uniform, do not want to go to war, but those that wear the civilian clothing are eager to go to war." I'm just wondering if there is something much deeper into this or information that we do not have? Because when we get that resolution this is going to be very serious business when we vote on it.
And I can remember when President Reagan was here and we decided to extend the time of the troops in Lebanon, I voted for it. And then we had 245 marines who died. I mean, this is very, very serious business. And we're trying to be sure that, whatever we do, that we make the right decision.
Another thing that my constituents ask me: Will this escalate? And for the first time, if we do that, if we attack Iraq, are we going to begin to see suicide bombers within the United States because we don't have the right intelligence? We know that there are cells in the United States. And these are things that we have to sort out. I want to make the right decision.
And I hope, Mr. Chairman, that we can ask the general, which I have a lot of respect for, to come and testify before this committee because we have huge responsibilities.
And maybe, Mr. Secretary, you can elaborate a little bit on this.
RUMSFELD: Yes, sir. It's an important question. And you can find generals and admirals on every side of these issues, you can find civilians on every side of these issues. Oversimplifying it, I think, is a disservice.
And it seems to me that anyone with any sense at all would approach the subject of using military force with a great deal of caution, with a great deal of care to the things that can go wrong, and there are any number of things that can happen and go wrong.
To go directly to your question, which was something like, if we were to engage in a military effort in Iraq, again, is it conceivable that that could stimulate terrorist attacks and suicide bombers and the like? I think we learned from September 11 that we don't have to go to war with Iraq to stimulate suicide bombers. They're are already there. They attacked us. They killed over 3,000 people. And it wasn't because we went to war with Iraq, it was because they decided that that's what they wanted to do. And that there are thousands of those people that were trained in Afghanistan and in other countries spread across this globe who are financed by people who think it's good to finance people to kill Americans and other people.
So I think that it would be fundamentally wrong to assume that there would be a cause and effect because we've already seen the effect without the cause. There is no question, free countries are vulnerable to people who are willing to give their lives to kill innocent men, women and children. That is the world we're living in.
The thing that's critically different today is this nexus between terrorist states that have weapons of mass destruction and have relationships with terrorist networks. And suddenly the people who are not deterrable, the people who are suicide bombers, to use your phrase, although they have not conventional capability potentially, but unconventional capability and the ability to pose enormous destruction on innocent people.
So I would like to add one comment on Mr. Spratt's question on inspections, if I might take this moment? There's no question but that Iraq went to school on the inspectors.
RUMSFELD: Did you? Yes.
And the longer they were there, the more they found how they worked and what they did and developed the ability to use more underground, more tunneling, burying more weapons in different locations, using many, many multiple locations, hundreds as opposed to one or two or three locations, and it is a moving target, I think it's safe to say.
RUMSFELD: I should also add to, Mr. Skelton, Congressman, I'm reminded that the Department of State has had a future of Iraq project effort going forward and they would be the department that obviously would be able to give you a greater granularity on that.
MYERS: Could I just chime in a little bit? For Congressman Spratt, I'd like to just tag onto what the secretary said. I think another way of saying that is that Iraq over the last decade has become a master -- a regime a master of deception.
And as you've said, they've done underground, they've gone mobile. They combine their biological and chemical weapons production with legitimate facilities, making it very difficult to sort out one from the other because they can convert so quickly.
I think we found out when we had U.N. inspectors over there that very often inspectors would come up to the front door, and out the back door went the evidence. We know that as well. So it's going to make this problem of discovery just very, very difficult.
ORTIZ: I simply wanted to make two points: One was that what they did accomplish shouldn't be diminished, particular in the early part of their efforts. It's substantial. And secondly, they need to be backed up if they're going to be put back there, and there might be some advantage to sending them back there robustly to try to ferret it out, particularly the VX and the biologicals that we might see thrown against us if we later invade.
RUMSFELD: That's a fair comment. I mean, those are issues one has to put on the balance -- the potential advantages that you're characterizing, and they're not nothing; they are something that isn't trivial -- and balance it against the attitude of the regime and the determination of the regime, which is for us to not have knowledge of what it is they're doing. If there's anything that's clear, that's it.
And second, the fact that time is passing, and how much time, how many years does one want to allow to pass given the progress that's being made with respect to their weapons programs?
HUNTER: I thank the gentleman.
Mr. Secretary, we had the inspectors in front of us, and the essence of their testimony was, in the early years, when we had a virtual occupation of the country, they were acquiescent, and that's when we made the fairly major finds. But that in the later years, the only person there when they got to these facilities, a vast majority, was a piano player. There was nobody else there. And they were met by the Iraqi bureaucracy at over 200 of these facilities with nothing inside. They were virtually hollow inspections.
Nonetheless, I think this is an area that our members are very, very interested in. And to the gentleman who spent a couple hundred hours on this issue, the fine gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Saxton.
SAXTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Just to follow up on the chairman's comments, Mr. Secretary. Last week we hosted before the committee Dr. David Kay, who is the former United Nations chief nuclear weapons inspector in Iraq, and Dr. Richard Spertzel, who was the former head of the biology section of the inspection team. And the message was unmistakably one of frustration, of inability to get the cooperation of the Iraqis, of experiences like being made to wait in parking lots for days and then to be turned away from a facility, and just the general notion that at least the inspection effort that was made in the '90s was unsuccessful to the point of finally being ejected from the country.
So that is a frustration which we talked about at length with Dr. Kay and Dr. Spertzel, and then asked them what it would take to be successful in a future effort at such an inspection. And they said that, without the total cooperation of the Iraqi government, that it would be next to impossible to do and with a team many times the size of the team that was previously in Iraq -- with those two conditions -- perhaps it could be successful.
Now, I heard, with everyone else -- I observed the events of recent days when the Iraqi foreign minister wrote a latter to the secretary general of the United Nations, and forgive me for being skeptical, but I read this letter and I'd just like to read the two what I think are the operative paragraphs.
Paragraph two says: "I am pleased to inform you to the secretary of the decision of the government of the Republic of Iraq to allow the return of the United Nations weapons inspectors to Iraq without conditions." And then several paragraphs later it says, "To this end, the government of the Republic of Iraq is ready to discuss the practical arrangements necessary."
I guess this is kind of symptomatic of the problem. The problem is, in one paragraph we used the words "without conditions," and in several paragraphs later, we have to talk about the arrangements. So I guess I'm asking you for your take on this. Is this the same kind of thing that we ran into in the last inspection effort already in the invitation to come?
RUMSFELD: Well, I asked Secretary Powell about that who's been dealing, of course, with the United Nations about it, and I asked him this morning, and his view was that it is very obviously a tactical step on their part and not a straightforward, without-conditions approach.
SAXTON: Well, thank you for that. I wanted to just verify that I was reading the words and interrupting them as you did.
Let me ask another question. Going back years, we know that the Soviet Union was successful in developing a whole array of weaponized diseases known as biological weapons. They ranged from anthrax and smallpox, which are familiar terms to us, to the weaponization of plague and tularemia and (inaudible) and many other diseases.
Do we know to what extent the Iraqis have been able to borrow technology from others, perhaps including the Soviet Union -- the Russians, today -- or others, former Soviet states? And to what extent is this program developed in Iraq?
RUMSFELD: That really is a subject that I'd prefer to have asked of the intelligence community and in closed session.
RUMSFELD: But I can say obviously that they have had an enormous appetite for weapons, biological weapons and chemical weapons. They've taken these capabilities and weaponized them. They are continuing to do so today. They are looking not only at a variety of biological capabilities, but at a variety of ways of dispensing or weaponizing them so that they have a range of choices with respect to it.
HUNTER: Thank you gentleman.
The gentleman from Mississippi, Mr. Taylor?
TAYLOR: Thank you for coming Mr. Secretary and General Myers.
Mr. Secretary, there's not a single thing that you've said today that I disagree with. In fact, I think based on history and the element of surprise that was attained, first by the Israelis in '67 and then by the Egyptians and Arabs in '73, I would even add the element that since we as a nation are talking about going to war, and it's obviously being carried on a daily basis on all the cable networks, that we as a nation should not rule out a preemptive strike on the part of the Iraqis, particularly an act of terror against our citizens. For all the reasons that you outlined, to quote you, we should anticipate vastly more lethal attacks before they happen.
With that in mind, there is two questions that I would like to hear you address. Number one, half of our forces in the guard and reserve. For the Gulf War, one of the things President Bush, then President Bush did correctly, was almost a total mobilization of the guard and reserve. For the military factors that were involved, and also because, in my opinion, it made it clear to the American people that this is everybody's war. It's not the poor draftee FROM across town like Vietnam. It's everybody's war.
And I happen to -- having served in Congress and saw the mood shift of the American people, that's when the signs went up in front of the city halls and the county courthouses the following people from Bay, Saint Louis, following people from Waverland (ph) who proudly served in the Gulf War.
I think if we are talking of war, I think there has to be a mobilization of the Guard and Reserve prior to that vote. Because we had best expect the Iraqis to act either prior to that vote or immediately after that vote.
Second thing, Mr. Secretary, I just had a conversation with one of the senior chiefs from the New Orleans Fire Department. New Orleans, by southern regions, is a huge city. And yet that huge city, by southern standards, has only 18 people trained in chemical and hazardous material. I'm talking about a huge city by southern standards.
One of the things that this House voted very strongly on in just the past couple of weeks was the desire to have a weapons of mass destruction civil support team in every state. We now have I believe only 30, in the process of 30. It is my understanding that...
HUNTER: If you'll suspend just a minute, Mr. Taylor. And we'll accommodate your question here. Let me just let my colleagues know we've got a vote coming up. We intend to continue the hearing through the vote, and Mr. Hefley, if you could go vote early perhaps and come on back. We'll continue to hold the hearings, so we'll have some continuity. And I believe it's only one vote -- if the staff could correct me if I'm wrong.
Go ahead, Mr. Taylor.
TAYLOR: Mr. Secretary, it is my understanding that the House voted by, almost unanimously to have a weapons of mass destruction civil support team in the National Guard in every state, to be the first responders, to have the training and the equipment to help out what are, in many instances, volunteer fire departments, and there is in almost every instance under-funded fire and police departments to respond to what we know is eventually going to happen, just as you laid out very well.
My question to you is sir, why is your legislative shop over on the Senate side telling them that we don't need one of these in every state? And this comes from conversations that we've had with Senator Levin's staff and others.
RUMSFELD: Two comments on your questions and your statements. My understanding is that a study was made, and a number of these chem-bio elements units that were needed was calculated. And it was something less than 50. It was something less than one for each state. And it was based not on historical state lines, but it was based on population centers and geography and the ability to move these things around where needed.
The counter to that was that some people said, "Well, every state ought to have one." And they did not have a similar study that said that the additional cost would provide a benefit that merited that cost.
And when one is looking at the difference between ship building and the difference between chem-bio units and anti-terrorists and force protection and all of those things, they tend to make calculations about where those funds can be best invested.
Now that is not to say that any state can't have one themselves if they want one themselves. They can do it. But at the moment, in terms of priorities, the plan, the study that went forward, I'm advised reflected the best judgment of the people who understand these things as to how the coverage of our country could be best employed.
Second, with respect to reserve forces and guard, you're quite right. They represent an enormous fraction of our total capability. And you're also quite right that they were activated in large numbers in the Gulf War.
RUMSFELD: Clearly, all the discussion about the president coming to the Congress and seeking a resolution, the president going to the United Nations and helping them understand the circumstance, the security circumstances we're in, takes away any strategic surprise for Saddam Hussein. He is going to be watching what happens, and making his calculations and his judgments. That does not mean that you've lost all tactical surprise, but you've certainly have lost strategic surprise, so to speak.
I disagree completely that there should be a complete activation prior to a vote from the Congress. We already have 70,000 Reserves activated, and we already 20,000 plus people on stop losses who are not leaving the service. And we've got a very sizable force, and there's no question but that we would have activate Reserves for various functions and Guard, depending on what decisions are made. But I think it would be a fundamental mistake to think that it had to precede some kind of vote.
TAYLOR: Mr. Secretary, if I could. You made allusion to the Dark Winter scenario study done by Senator Nunn and others. One of the things he talked about was simultaneously biological attacks on a number of cities. One of the things that my friend from New Jersey has pointed out, as recently in September 11th of last year, when the attacks occurred in New York, in his home state of New Jersey, asked for one of those weapons of mass destruction teams from other states to participate, the answer from the governors was, "No, we're going to take care of our own."
As you so correctly pointed out, do we have to wait to be burned before we address this? Even if we start today, those teams aren't ramped up to at least 18 months to two years.
But a journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step. We have to start now. If you really believe that the Iraqis possess these weapons of mass destruction and have the intention to use them, why do we delay a single day in ramping up these teams so that every state has some degree of protection, and every state has some degree of training, and we know that the responders don't themselves die when they go to find out what happened, at least they have the equipment? Because I would think it's safe to say that, if they're only 18 chem-bio suits in the city of New Orleans, I doubt there are 18 chem-bio suits in the entire state of Mississippi.
RUMSFELD: Correct me if I'm wrong, but is this a Department of Defense controlled matter, or is it Homeland Security? I just don't know. MYERS: I think there are pieces in both places. And as I -- the only thing that I recall is that for first responders, I think, is, as Governor Ridge has said, first responders should be the civilians, and then we fold in where they can not handle a task. I think that is the policy.
TAYLOR: General, with all due respect, this is an attack on the American people. It's not a flood; it's not a tornado.
The second thing is the cities are not equipped for this. The city of New Orleans has over a million people. They've got 18 hazardous material suits, and the people who know how to respond to this -- 18 out of a million. And they're better prepared than most cities in the south. This is a national defense priority. And I would certainly hope that you all would all make it a national defense priority, and let's don't wait to be burned before we respond to it.
MYERS: I think Congressman, one of the things that the Department has done that's going to be really important in this area is the standup that -- of the new Northern Command, because that's exactly one of things they've got to address, is the planning and the training and so forth. And so those requirements could change over time. No question about that.
TAYLOR: ... that you'd keep an open mind on this, Mr. Secretary. And I'd ask you to help on it.
ABERCROMBIE: Will the gentleman yield?
HUNTER: I thank the gentleman, but Mr. Abercrombie -- and I know this is an important issue, and we would ask to have maybe a follow-up briefing for Mr. Taylor on this, but Mr. McHugh has been waiting to ask his question. We have a few minutes left before the vote.
RUMSFELD: I will get back to you on it.
HUNTER (?): And I'll get back to Mr. Abercrombie.
MCHUGH: Thank you Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, Mr. Secretary, General Myers, welcome, thank you for your service. As has been mentioned here a number of times, it's very difficult to talk about this issue in the open session. All of us have had the opportunity for briefings. I would hope all of us or certainly most of us have taken those.
But I get a bit concerned when I hear about -- as you noted, Mr. Secretary -- the fact that somehow the public record does not in any way justify legitimate ties or give cause for what we all hope never comes about, and that is military intervention. And I just want to say to those in the audience, I hope the two active participants in the hearing in an informal nature earlier as well take the chance to read your written testimony, Mr. Secretary, because in a very clear way, you can do so well. It spells out things not off-the-record, not that we have to make conclusions about or guesses, but the things this regime has done particularly vis-a-vis the United Nations, it really gives, I think, a rational person little reason to think that we have many options left.
My father had a couple of sayings. One was: Fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice, shame on you. That's a popular one. I'm not sure what the hell, "Fool me 16 times," means, and I hope we don't find out what, "Fool me 17 times," means. The other saying he had, and he would use it toward Saddam Hussein if he were still with us: People like that have a motto, "Play ball with me, and I'll stick the bat up your nose." He wouldn't say nose, but I will clean that up.
It just seems to me that, as I mentioned, the options are becoming less. But let me get off the editorial comment and go to a question.
I'd be interested, either Mr. Secretary, or General Myers, to the extent that you can tell us -- in Afghanistan, obviously, we had a very active surrogate army, the Northern Alliance, involved there. There's been a lot of discussion about the dissident groups, whether they get along or do not get along, the Kurds, the Shi'ites, et cetera in Iraq. To what extent would our military action, if it comes about, be predicated upon their involvement, relied upon their advancement as it was in Afghanistan?
RUMSFELD: Let me start by saying, the Iraqi people are repressed and are being subjugated by that regime. There is no doubt in mind, but the overwhelming majority are anxious to be liberated and be free of that regime. There are Iraqis inside that country by the thousands who feel that way. There are Iraqis outside that country by the thousands who feel that way. There are people in Iraq today who clearly would be helpful, not as well organized in many instances, as in the case in Afghanistan. And there are people outside the country who are anxious to be helpful.
I'd prefer not to get into numbers, and it would be a notably different situation than Afghanistan, but there's no question but that there would be Iraqis who would be helping to liberate their own country.
MCHUGH: Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
HUNTER: Mr. Abercrombie?
ABERCROMBIE: Yes, just as a follow up. General, I want to make sure that I understand, because this is for the record. You're actually contending that this Northern Command is going to take over the responsibility for the nation with respect to terrorist attacks in local communities and first response, that they will have that authority.
MYERS: Congressman Abercrombie, no. Absolutely not. That's not what I intended at all. I just said that the roles of the Department of Defense did not change for the stand up of Northern Command, but for once we'll have a command with a commander that will worry about the planning and training or support to lead federal agencies or civil agencies or state agencies in responding to disasters, be they natural or be they terrorist disasters. And that's all I said. I said we'll have a command to help find the balance that Congressman Taylor was talking about.
ABERCROMBIE: Well, how is that going to be any different from what's required by the Joint Forces Command right now, other than the fact that you're going to spend $300 million to put it together just to get started so it can start worrying?
MYERS: I think it's having one person in charge of it. Right now in the Department of Defense you have several people in charge of this. And I think putting one person that says, "That's my job, is to protect the American people. That's my...
ABERCROMBIE: You're answering my question by saying that person's going to be in charge. Are they or are they not? The question here is the practical realities involved. Is the Department of Defense going to participate in some way other than consulting? Is the Northern Command supposed to consult with the 50 states, who are already on their way to doing this?
The president has already said or is in the process or has vetoed the supplemental bill that we put forward to try and fund some of these things. Now, you've got to make a decision. I don't think you need this Northern Command. I'd like to see the $300 million go into financing what Representative Taylor was talking about so responders can do this under the National Guard all across the country. How is the set up of the Northern Command supposed to aid and assist in one iota what Representative Taylor was putting forward?
MYERS: I'll go back to my original comments, Congressman. Right now in the Department of Defense there are several entities that are responsible for whatever it is the Department of Defense is going to be asked to do to respond to either, as I said, natural disasters or chemical or biological or nuclear attack. What we want to do, and we have one entity then that's responsible for their defense -- what we want to do is put that responsibility under one command.
We think the situation has changed sufficiently, strategic environment has changed sufficiently, not just since September 11. This is an issue that goes back, as you remember, Congressman...
ABERCROMBIE: Are they local forces to be in charge, General, or is the Northern Command supposed to be in charge of, I guess, national civil defense?
MYERS: As I said, the roles of the Department of Defense will not change. In most cases, we'll be in support of lead federal agencies or other civil agencies, be they state or even more local.
ABERCROMBIE: So the Department of Defense does not intend to fund in any way, shape or form all of these requirements at the local level.
MYERS: I don't know what requirements you're talking about.
ABERCROMBIE: The requirements we're talking about is to be able to respond to a terrorist attach, which you contend has to have a Northern Command in order to respond.
MYERS: Well, the department's certainly going to fund the part of that that are the responsibility of the department.
ABERCROMBIE: It will fund the Northern Command so that you will have this gigantic new bureaucracy set up, initially drawing on apparently over-staffed other commands, because that's where you're getting the people from, so all the commands now must be over-staffed, because you're able to bring in apparently hundreds of people... MYERS: Congressman, when we stand this Northern Command up -- I may have to correct this record -- my recollection is it'll be the smallest combatant command that we have in the United States armed forces. It'll be the smallest.
As you said, we are not adding people to this, we're taking people from other staff reductions that have been mandated by Congress, by the way, that 15 percent cut. We're going to take manpower from those positions and put some of those, not all of the, of course, but some of those in this new Northern Command headquarters.
ABERCROMBIE: What are they going to do?
RUMSFELD: Let me leap in here, if I may, Mr. Congressman?
ABERCROMBIE: By all means, Mr. Secretary.
RUMSFELD: The Unified Command Plan allocates responsibilities throughout the world. Heretofore we have not had certain portions of the world covered by a unified or specified commander. They included Russia, the United States, Mexico, Canada and some other portions, water portions of the world. As we proceeded, we decided that given the changes in the world, we should allocate every portion of the globe to a commander and a command.
The cost for this command is going to come out of other commands. And the idea that it's going to be $300 million and a bunch of people milling around wasting money is just not going to be the case.
ABERCROMBIE: Despite the fact -- excuse me, Mr. Secretary -- the way it's proposed right now in the Joint Forces Command budget.
RUMSFELD: What I said is correct. The roll of the Department of Defense will not change with respect to the United States of America in this important sense. We're not asking the posse comitatus be changed, we're not suggesting that we go into a roll where we're the principal and other state, federal, local agencies support us. We would be functioning, as we have in the past, in a supporting role.
The general was exactly correct when he said that, at the present time we've got NORAD that functions in a supporting role to some extent; we've got DAMS (ph); the Army manages a whole host of things; we had 5,000 or 6,000 people at Salt Lake City for the Olympics.
ABERCROMBIE: All of which exist, Mr. Secretary, without a Northern Command and apparently function very well, unless you're saying that they have not done a good job to this point.
See, what I'm trying to say, Mr. Secretary is...
RUMSFELD: I hear you.
ABERCROMBIE: ... is actually we're doing a good job. And I can tell you Hawaii is only one part of the 50-state picture which is doing an excellent job of preparing for this, and they have excellent relationships, like with General Smith (ph) in the 25th out in Hawaii. The Department of Defense is very well represented. And the coordination is already there.
What they need is support, and they don't need another command to come in on top of this. And the question has yet to be answered whether this Northern Command will in any way, shape or form support what is already being accomplished in all the 50 states.
How is it to support it, other then by standing there nodding its head?
RUMSFELD: I guess I don't know what you mean by, you say, how will it support all the things that are already being done so well by the 50 states? Any state can do what it wants. Any city can do what it wants. They can have their fire department. They can have chem-bio outfits. They can do these things.
ABERCROMBIE: Who is going to pay for what is required of them under the kinds of scenarios that you are outlining to us.
RUMSFELD: Who pays...
ABERCROMBIE: ... that are likely to occur if we go to war with Iraq?
RUMSFELD: Who pays is a function of what the Congress and the executive branch decide whether it's a federal responsibility. If so, which department or agency, which state or local governments have to do what. That's a mix that the Congress and the executive branch sorts out every year, as they make their decisions.
ABERCROMBIE: Fair enough. Fair enough. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN: Mr. Thornberry? THORNBERRY: Mr. Secretary, General, thank you for being here. Let me also thank you for what I consider a very clear and persuasive statement that effectively deals with a lot of the questions that are on our minds, as well as issues that are swirling around there.
As you were talking, I was reminded of a storyline in a television program. I don't even know if it's still on. But the main character would get a newspaper delivered to his door at the beginning of the program and in that newspaper it would have a story of a tragedy which was going to occur two or three days later. And the character's job was to try to prevent the tragedy before the newspaper became reality.
It seems to me that's kind of where we are. We know that end of the story, we know the tragedy if we do nothing. The question is, how, when we prevent it from occurring.
I guess the primary question on my mind -- and, General Myers, I may direct this to you -- is, if the president decides to take military action in Iraq, are we ready? And in particular, are we ready to have forces in an environment where weapons of mass destruction may be used against them? Maybe not initially, but eventually, if things all fall apart, as we think they will for that regime, desperate people use desperate measures. I'm concerned we have not given adequate consideration to our troops dealing in that environment for the last decade, not under your watch. I guess I would ask you, are we ready to deal with that environment and to do what the president orders you to do?
MYERS: Congressman Thornberry, let me first say that the short answer is yes. The longer answer is, over the past decade -- and I will admit, early in the decade our capability to deal with weapons of mass destruction for our soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines, Coast Guardsmen, was uneven, but in the last part of this decade, for the majority of it, we have made very good improvements in terms of sensors that detect attacks, in terms of being able to net those sensors together to provide, you know, area warnings for collective protection and in the kind of protective suits that our troops wear.
So we've made improvements in all those areas. And without getting into much more detail, obviously our forces prepare for that, they train for that, and would be ready to deal with that type of environment.
THORNBERRY: Let me ask you one other question, which goes to the issue of, can we do both the existing war on terrorism, as well as this other aspect of the war on terrorism?
There are reports today that the command for the existing war on terrorism may be shifting to the Special Operations folks. Are you able to comment on that? Is that happening? And if so, why and what you hope to gain by it?
RUMSFELD: Addressing that to me?
THORNBERRY: Whoever wants to. MYERS: I think what is being reflected in the paper -- and I haven't read the article, I read the headline and maybe a couple of paragraphs -- is the fact that, and the realization of course, that this is a global war on terrorism. And the combatant commanders as they're organized today, most of them, the theater ones, are organized on a regional basis. We have some that cross regional boundaries --U.S. Space Command, U.S. Transportation Command, the current Strategic Command and the new Strategic Command that is proposed to stand up --or will stand up here on 1 October.
Another one of those commands that can look globally is Special Operations Command. It has a global view of things. And for some aspects of the war on terrorism it's useful to have that global view. And without getting into the operational details of that, that's, I think, what we're seeing. I don't know that this reflects a great change in our strategy, and there's some elements -- and again, I haven't read the article -- but there's some elements that have not been finally decided yet that the secretary and the rest of the National Security Council will have to decide on.
But what we're trying to do is ensure that in a global war we have the kind of view -- in some cases a global view is required --because these networks -- I mean, they don't respect any boundaries, and as we know, they're in over 60 countries. It is absolutely a network, and it has to be addressed kind of in its total.
RUMSFELD: I skimmed the article, and it's fairly typical of articles that are reporting on something that hasn't happened. It wants to be first, not right. My guess is that when it's sorted through by the chairman and others, and by me and the National Security Council, it will look somewhat different than that article characterized it.
But the general is obviously quite right, you've got global problems, and having a global view of that is useful in some instances. But the idea that there's going to be a massive change and the Special Operations people will in every instance be the supported CINC or combatant commander is just not the case. They're going to be both, one would think, sometimes supporting and sometimes supported.
CHAIRMAN: Mr. Meehan?
MEEHAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Mr. Secretary and General, for your testimony. Appreciate it very, very much.
Mr. Secretary, can you tell me what you envision a weapons inspection -- or perhaps I should call it a disarmament regime in Iraq, how would you envision that? I understand and agree totally with the notion of weapons inspection is really not the goal, the goal really is disarmament. How would you envision that? And also, should that vision of disarmament be included in a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for such disarmament?
RUMSFELD: Those are questions that the president and the secretary of state have been addressing in the United Nations over the past period and ongoing. And I have really no idea what will evolve. There have been a whole series of thoughts about what the U.N. might do, and I know that Secretary Powell is discussing those with people up there. So I guess I'm really not in a position to know what either the U.N. will ultimately decide or what the president will ultimately decide with respect to what it looks like the U.N. might be marching towards.
MEEHAN: Well, Mr. Secretary, could we accomplish disarmament, in your opinion, short of declaring war on Iraq? In other words, is there a disarmament strategy that could be accomplished short of declaring war?
RUMSFELD: Well, sure. Saddam Hussein could decide that his future is limited and he'd like to leave. And you'd have a regime that decided it wished to cooperate with the United Nations with respect to those resolutions. And if you have a regime that does in fact want to disarm, which is what the stipulation is, what the U.N. has said, then obviously you could have inspectors participate and assist in that project and an international coalition to do it.
Another way to do it would be to persuade enough people in Iraq that the world would be a lot better world if that regime weren't there and they decided to change the regime. That's another option.
MEEHAN: Mr. Secretary, how would we know we have a regime that really wants to disarm?
RUMSFELD: Well, you'd have to have enough people from the international community physically in there disarming them to know, and you probably wouldn't know for a period of time. But any idea that a regime like the current one would be sufficiently intrusive, which is much less intrusive than the one that existed previously --the one that's currently up there on the drawing board -- I mean, you're not going to get people to defect and give you information about where these capabilities are if their families are in Iraq.
For example: How could a person who has a family in Iraq and relatives walk up to U.N. inspectors with this regime sitting on top of that power and say, "Hey, fellows, here's where you ought to go look. I know that this tunnel or that area is an area of opportunity for you." They're going to get killed. Their families are going to get killed. It's a tough crowd.
MEEHAN: Mr. Secretary, to follow-up on my friend from Texas, the comments that he made relative to the war against terrorism and the war against Al Qaida in Afghanistan -- and let me, first of all, congratulate you and the general and the tremendous job that our men and women in uniform have done in Afghanistan. I had an opportunity to travel there to see firsthand the outstanding job that they have done, getting rid of the Taliban and putting Al Qaida on the run.
At the same time, I'm troubled about reports of various terrorist cells that are still active in that country. Indeed, earlier this month, the attempted assassination of President Karzai, terrorists have already killed two ministers. It seems that in the past two or three months there's been a marked increase in violence and terrorist activity within Afghanistan. And clearly, this terrorism and violence is going to have to be addressed if the a government is to succeed there.
Do you see a need to increase our military presence within Afghanistan in response to this resurgent threat of violence and instability? And if so, what sort of commitment would that be?
RUMSFELD: It's not clear to me there has been a marked increase in violence in Afghanistan in recent weeks or months. It tends to be uneven. It spurts for a while and then it declines. Second, it tends to be geographical. There's been more of it in Kabul where the international security assistance force is, interestingly. No correlation. But the point being that the existence of the ISAF in Kabul is not an assurance of no violence.
But it's tended to be more in the northeast and southeast of Kabul where there has not been a stable set of warlords who have calmed down. There's competition. There's disagreement. It's local. Second, it's along the Pak border, and that's where a lot of Al Qaida and Taliban are. They want to go over the border, and we know that. So that's the worst area, the most difficult area. Although even that's been improving, and we've gotten some good news just in the last three or four days there where we're getting tip offs and what have you.
I regret to say this but the -- thank goodness the assassination attempt against President Karzai failed -- but I don't know that in that part of the world we're going to end assassination attempts. I think that they've been going on for decades. They went on before September 11. And it is a dangerous part of the world.
What has to happen over time is the security situation is going to be effected by reconstruction and the countries of the world that promise money, you've got to step forward and help that country develop the kinds of infrastructure so that they can cope with the millions of displaced persons -- refugees who were returning home. I think the indication that the security situation is not bad is that the refugees are voting with their feet. They're leaving where they were going in there and so are the internally displaced people. They're saying it's pretty good. Things are better than they were. They're better than they were where I was, and so I'm going to go back where I belong, and that's a good thing.
Now, numbers of troops. We're high right now. We're probably up over 9,000. We were averaging 4,600-5,000, something like that -- 5,500-6,000. We're now in the process of transferring some people in -- people out. Some other coalition countries have been reducing some of their forces in some instances as their forces were stressed. The ISAF, the Turkish government, fortunately, stepped forward and took over for the Brits, but their period comes to an end in December, and we ought not to be looking for someone for ISAF for another six months. We ought to look for somebody for a year or a year and a half or two years. And we'd be delighted to have more coalition forces in the country helping.
Do I think that the United States will have to make large increases? No, I don't. I think that we've got to keep chasing after the Al Qaida and the Taliban that exist in the country. We've got to make life uncomfortable for those in Iran and Pakistan who want to get back in the country. And we've got to support the Karzai government so that that reconstruction takes place and people begin to be convinced that their future's in that country and in that government and in the loya jirgah process rather than at the end of a rifle.
MEEHAN: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
HUNTER: Mr. Hostettler is going to be the next questioner, but, Mr. Secretary, I know you and General Myers have been receiving some messages from your staff. Do you want to take about a five-minute administrative break here to see if there's anything you have to do with your shops here?
RUMSFELD: Do you need one? MYERS: No, I'm fine.
HUNTER: Are you all set?
RUMSFELD: Yes, sir.
HUNTER: OK. Mr. Hostettler?
HOSTETTLER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you Mr. Secretary and General for your attendance.
Mr. Secretary, in following up with Mr. Ortiz's comments, I did not serve in the United States military, but I have been elected by mothers and fathers of service personnel and service personnel themselves who trust me to make the decision that we are now deliberating upon based on an imminent threat to our national security.
Selfishly, however, I do have young sons and daughters that may serve our country some day in the uniform of the U.S. military and I hope that the person who is occupying the office that I occupy today will likewise be resolved that they will decide to send them into harm's way only when they are convinced that our national security is under an imminent threat, and to be quite honest, I hope the person who is occupying the office which you occupy today that they will then realize their profound duty as much as I have concluded that you understand your duty.
HOSTETTLER: And for that, I thank you for your service. That being said, Mr. Secretary, I would like for you to respond to three points, and I'll try to make them briefly. The first is, I would hope that the administration would seek a declaration of war if it is our desire to change a regime that sits atop a government of a sovereign nation. And if the administration is so convinced and resolved, I think a declaration of war seems a constitutional fit.
Secondarily, in June of 1981, Israeli jets destroyed Osiraq Nuclear Power Plant that was under construction, and I'm not meaning by this point that we necessarily have to follow, but I just wanted to have you comment on the fact that a very threatened neighbor at that particular time in the region felt that they were under an imminent threat by a foreign power. And I'm not sure that Israel today feels as threatened. Given that time, they suffered U.N. condemnation, and even condemnation by us, even though I understand they were a party to the nonproliferation agreements. And there were inspectors in the country at that time I believe.
And then finally, as your initial comments and your opening statement point out, quote, "Chemists, biologists, and nuclear scientists, are toiling at weapons lab in underground bunkers, working to give the world's most dangerous dictators weapons of unprecedented power and lethality," end quote. And I believe that that statement may apply to other nations than Iraq, some of whom were not named as part of the axis of evil but have a vested interest in the demise of the West. And we may be desiring to send them a message with a strike against Iraq.
But, if I can offer a somewhat different rationale for, once again, you to possibly comment on. In your statement, you talk about what I think may be a case for military action against any foreign country that attempts to undermine the most prominent political institutions of another country. And that is, as you pointed out in April of 1993, there was what we believe an assignation attempt of a former head of state of the United States of America by Iraq. I think it is undermining of our fundamental political arrangement in this country for other countries to believe that they may frighten the United States as a whole and office holders specifically into a particular behavior once they leave office if they have not done something which a foreign power believes is in that foreign power's best interest.
And if we would like to send a message to any potential enemy that we will not abide by this type of attack against our most fundamental institutions of government, I can actually see a reason to do that. And I was puzzled why, in 1993, we didn't send that message more profoundly than we did. So if you could address those three issues, the issues of the declaration of war, why some neighbors may not feel as threatened as they have in the past, and then finally the idea of a different rationale for changing the regime in a country that has undermined our political institutions. Thank you.
RUMSFELD: Congressman, thank you so much.
With respect of a declaration of war, I'm trying to refresh my memory, but I don't believe we've had a declaration of war in this country since World War Two, and we've been through Korea, Vietnam, Haiti, you know, Panama, one thing and another, a whole series of things. There are a lot of -- I'm no lawyer, and there are a lot of legal implications to a declaration of war and considerations that need to be taken into account.
And clearly, over decades, the changes in our world circumstance have been such that successive presidents of both political parties and successive congresses have made a judgment that a declaration of war was either not necessary or inappropriate or both. I'm most certainly not the best person to go into the reasons for all those. And my recollection is that the reasons were different in different circumstances. So I would just leave it there.
With respect to Israel, thank goodness they did go in and take out the Iraqi nuclear capability when they did. Intelligence communities of the world were flat wrong as to how advanced their capabilities were and were dumb founded when they got on the ground after Desert Storm and found out that their estimates were wrong by a great deal.
RUMSFELD: Instead of multiples of years, it was less than one or less than two years before they would have had that capability.
I don't know quite how to respond to your -- or I should say also, the neighbors are frightened of Saddam Hussein today. Let there be no doubt. And if one privately sat down with the leading Israelis, they're concerned about the weapon of mass destruction capabilities of Iran, which are being developed as we sit here; of Iraq; of Syria, that is engaged in testing chemical weapons on almost a quarterly basis; of Libya; and they are attentive -- the neighbors in that region are attentive and deeply concerned. Let there be no doubt.
You're right, there's something about an assassination attempt or accomplished that goes so fundamentally to a country's structure and the way it governs itself that it is something that should be taken quite seriously.
HUNTER: The gentleman from Maine, Mr. Allen?
ALLEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you, Mr. Secretary, and General Myers for being here today.
Mr. Secretary, I agree with you that disarmament is the goal and that inspections are just a means to that goal. But I want to explore a little bit further the issue that Mr. Meehan was raising about --which is really -- ultimately comes down to whether the administration's goal is to eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction or to replace Saddam Hussein.
And let's test it this way. If you assume that a new, robust inspection's regime is able to satisfy the administration that Iraq has effectively dismantled, given up its weapons of mass destruction -- I don't think that would happen without a change in position in the Iraqi regime, but let's assume you get there -- would that satisfy the administration's goals in Iraq?
RUMSFELD: Assuming you get where?
ALLEN: Assume you get to a place where you're satisfied that, through a combination of Iraqi cooperation and a robust inspections regime, that you get to a place where you're satisfied as an administration that Iraq has effectively dismantled and disarmed its weapons of mass destruction, but Saddam Hussein is still in power, would that...
RUMSFELD: Well, that's a reach.
ALLEN: It's a reach, I know. I know. I grant you this is a hypothetical. But sometimes we get places by asking hypotheticals.
ALLEN: If that happens, would that satisfy the administration's goal?
RUMSFELD: The Congress, of course, has adopted a policy for the United States of America for regime change. Are you suggesting that if there was the certainty of disarmament, because of a regime that was so incredibly intrusive that, notwithstanding a regime that was against disarmament you were able to achieve disarmament, would the Congress then want to change the law and back away from regime change?
Well, the problems with the regime are, as you point out, weapons of mass destruction and the fact that they won't disarm. There are also repression of their own people, there are also threatening their own neighbors and those other things that I suppose led the Congress to pass a statute favoring regime change.
ALLEN: If I could make two points, my question was not about what Congress might or might not do; I grant you that's hard to determine. My question was really about the administration and what the administration's policies would be.
There are lots of dictators that we have allowed to continue in operation around the globe. We haven't set a policy of replacing them all. I'm trying to get at where the administration is with respect to weapons of mass destruction.
I grant you it's a reach to assume that there is a change in position of the current Iraqi regime, but if there were, would that be enough?
RUMSFELD: That, of course, is a judgment not for the secretary of defense of the United States. It's a judgment for the president and the Congress.
ALLEN: Let me ask one follow up then. If Saddam Hussein believes that we are determined to take him out no matter what he does, what reason does he have to cooperate in any measure?
RUMSFELD: He always has the opportunity to flee. He always has the opportunity, as he's tried to, to persuade people that he's a changed leader. And he tries and he fails, because he isn't a changed leader.
I guess you know the answer to that, as well as I do. He can do what he will, and he does.
What reason does he have to cooperate? Well, if I were he I would have plenty of reasons to cooperate. I wouldn't want to be threatening my neighbors. I wouldn't want to be developing these weapons to threaten the world. I wouldn't want to be dealing with terrorist states. So he'd have plenty of reasons to cooperate.
But you're suggesting that I'm supposed to answer for somebody who thinks so fundamentally different than you or I. It's hard.
ALLEN: I grant you.
Can I ask you one unrelated quick question?
HUNTER: Let me just tell the gentleman. We've got about 45 minutes left with the secretary and we have about 15 members yet who have questions. So if the gentleman could make it very quick.
ALLEN: Very quick, because I think I know the answer, has the administration given any thought to how to pay for the war? Larry Lindsey said it might be $100 billion to $200 billion? Have you had any conversations about how to pay for it?
RUMSFELD: Sure, we have.
ALLEN: Any that you can reveal?
RUMSFELD: Well, needless to say, what one would do -- it's not knowable what a war or conflict like that would cost. You don't know if it's going to last two days or two weeks or two months. It certainly isn't going to last two years, but it's going to cost money. And it is -- the cost compared to 9/11 is so insignificant, compared to the loss of lives, compared to the billions of dollars that were lost in material things and in market values and in disruptions in people's lives in not being able to fly or go places or do things and the concerns of families, and it would be modest to be sure.
ALLEN: Thank you very much.
RUMSFELD: Other countries, undoubtedly would contribute, just as other countries are contributing currently to the global war on terrorism.
HUNTER: Mr. Chambliss, the gentleman from Georgia?
CHAMBLISS: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
And, Mr. Secretary and General Myers, unlike our earlier guests, I'm not undecided. I know that you gentlemen care deeply about the men and women that serve under you and you're not about to put those men and women in harm's way unless it's absolutely necessary, unless there is a security interest of the United States at risk.
CHAMBLISS: And I thank you for the great job you have done, the great job you are doing today. And I hope you'll pass that on to all your troops out there, General.
MYERS: Sir, we'll do that.
CHAMBLISS: Mr. Secretary, you alluded earlier to the fact that there are other nations that we know to be terror-sponsoring nations who have manufactured and stockpiled weapons of mass destruction. You referred to the other two countries in the axis of evil, Iran and North Korea. You also mentioned Syria and Libya.
Is there ongoing conversation that we know of between those countries and Iraq with respect to weapons of mass destruction?
And secondly, what would be your thought on citizens or nationals of those terror-sponsoring countries who have weapons of mass destruction participating as members of an inspection team going into Iraq looking for weapons of mass destruction?
RUMSFELD: Well, there's no question but that Iraq has relationships with countries that are on the terrorist list. They also have relations with terrorist networks. They also have Al Qaida currently in the country, among other -- Abu Nidal just, they say, committed suicide with four or five slugs to his head; that's a hard thing to do -- but he was in Iraq. So there's no question about those relationships.
As far as those -- the current so-called UNMOVIC inspection regime, as I understand it and looked at it last time, does not have any people who are representatives of their own countries. It is currently to be -- which is unlike UNSCOM which did have people who were representing their countries serving on those teams.
The people that are I believe on the inspection team that's currently in place are all U.N. employees from a host of different countries. And we would have no control whatsoever over what countries they happened to be from because they're U.N. employees. And that would be something that would be decided by the U.N. -- not a happy prospect.
CHAMBLISS: Does that give you cause for concern?
CHAMBLISS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
HUNTER: I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Arkansas, Dr. Snyder?.
SNYDER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you both for being here, not only for all your service the last couple of years but just for sitting through this ordeal. The committee keeps growing each year and it just makes your ordeal longer each year.
Just want to make one comment first about your goal of disarmament. I think that's the correct way to phrase it. When Dr. Kaye (ph) was here the other day, he made the comment that in his first two years he wished he had had the authority to issue green cards; that it would have made his work a lot easier. And that may be something we need to consider now. Perhaps even with military, that if a scientist and his family can get safely out of that country, not only will they not be contributing to that program but they may have information to give.
Because the reality is if this U.N. thing should work, and I realize that it's a longshot, disarmament, their industrial base will be intact, and it can easily be converted. And getting the scientists out may be every bit as important as destroying the armaments.
I wanted to ask specifically, Mr. Secretary, about the issue of the congressional resolution coming up -- I guess it's coming up.
For months now the White House and Mr. Wolfowitz and then you yourself today has stated the president has not yet made a decision regarding military force. One could make the argument that if the president has not yet decided regarding making military force, that the American people would be better served if their Congress is not asked to pass a resolution authorizing military force as the best route to go until the commander in chief has made that choice.
I know for some members, the issue of whether the United States essentially goes alone versus goes as part of a U.N. force with the broad support of the international community is perhaps the key issue.
And yet if we're asked to decide that in the next week or two before this U.N. process and all its convolutions and how it moves so slowly, if it is not yet resolved, a lot of members are not going to have that information.
SNYDER: Help me understand why it's necessary to have the Congress pass a resolution when the commander in chief has not yet made that decision, knowing that we could come back even after adjournment -- if the commander in chief says come back, we'll come back.
RUMSFELD: The president has said time is not on our side. He said the one option we do not have is to do nothing. He's been very clear.
Personally, I cannot imagine that we could consider the key issue for the United States as to how it's going to provide for the security of the American people to be dependent, hinged on, rooted in what the United Nations and the coalition forces may or may not do. I just think that we have an obligation as Americans to look at our circumstance clearly -- to try to get international support, which we're doing up at the U.N. But to believe that absent that, absent some particularized U.N. resolution, we should do nothing, I think clearly goes fundamentally against what the president said, because he believes the one option we don't have is to do nothing.
You could reverse it. Why wouldn't the U.N. say, the world say, "Gee, until the Congress does something, why should we do anything?" And then you've got those Alfonse and Gaston.
I mean, my view of the world is that what leadership does is it decides what it believes to be the circumstance, it states the case, it provides a direction, and it goes out and tries to persuade members of Congress and nations of the world as to what we believe is the right thing.
SNYDER: I understand...
RUMSFELD: There will be not doubt but that there will be other countries assisting the United States of America in the event that the United States of America decides that that is the only course available.
SNYDER: I understand your comments about leadership. My question was motivated by the fact that you again today stated very clearly the president has not yet made up his mind about military force, and yet we're being asked to -- I would say, I know the president made this comment the other day too, about why would any member of Congress up for reelection defer to the U.N., but it's a more complicated issue than that. As General Clark has pointed out in some of his writings -- General Wesley Clark -- the potential impact of the United States going alone, if we had to go alone, if we chose that route, on international cooperation on our war against Al Qaida.
So, I mean, it's a balancing of risks and looking at factors. And I think for certain members of Congress, I think probably a fair number, and a fair number of constituents back home, the issue of whether we go alone or not, it's more than just us going alone and not being part of the U.N., it is its impact on the international cooperation on the war on Al Qaida. As you stated earlier, we all get in trouble by oversimplifying.
Thank you again for you service.
RUMSFELD: Thank you. You know, the coalition we have on the global war on terrorism of 90 countries, I believe is the largest coalition in human history. That problem is real. Iraq is part of that problem. And the connection between weapons of mass destruction and global terrorist networks is the nexus that causes the problem.
So I do not think that it would have in any way an adverse effect, nor do I believe for a second that in the event a decision is made to go forward that the United States would be alone. We already know for a fact that's not true. There are any number of countries have already announced their support.
HUNTER: Thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Graham?
GRAHAM: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, I do appreciate you being here. I wouldn't want to sit there and have to answer all these questions, but that's the hand you've been dealt, and you're doing it well. But I'm going to ask you some very specific questions.
Do you view a regime change as an act of self-defense -- a regime change in Iraq as an act of self-defense by this country?
RUMSFELD: I've wrestled with what is self-defense. When we're dealing with terrorism and the fact that they can attack at any time, at any place, against any technique and you can't defend it every time, in every place, against every technique, the only way you can defend yourself is by going after the terrorists.
And in this case, it seems to me that when you used the phrase "regime change," if one believes that it's possible to leave the regime and eliminate the threat, then clearly you don't need to change the regime. But self-defense does require, I believe, the ability to prevent a terrible attack on our country.
GRAHAM: Do you view the Iraqi regime -- obviously as a threat --but that's a big question to me. If it's a matter of self-defense, you don't need the U.N. to sanction.
RUMSFELD: Oh, of course not. The U.N. Charter provides for every country to provide for their own defense. GRAHAM: Well, why don't we just be honest with people? Everybody in the administration has been telling us that Saddam Hussein has to go. That's what the gentleman's question was about. No matter what we do with inspections -- we had two weapons inspectors in here said that, "It's really a joke, you'll never find what you need to find, they're masters at deception." We just need to level with people, here in this country and in the world: Post-9/11, we view Saddam Hussein as a threat to this country, period.
And if that's the case, when we go consult our allies and consult the U.N., we should tell them that is our view. And I think there's some mixed messages going on here, and I think we need to be very clear with the American public and with our allies.
And in that regard, General Myers, you said early on that you could do whatever was asked of you by the president and the Congress. Do you need any allies that we don't have today to accomplish a regime change by force if you were directed to do so?
MYERS: I think clearly, for lots of reasons, that from a military standpoint it's preferable to have those allies and friends that want to be with you. And as the secretary said, we have people that we know today would be with us if we were asked to do that.
GRAHAM: So the answer is, if you were directed by the appropriate authorities in this country to implement by force a regime change, you could do that.
MYERS: In that hypothetical case, absolutely.
RUMSFELD: Let me say just one word about this mixed message. I personally don't think so. I think the president's speech was very straightforward.
GRAHAM: Well, I understand. But here's the mixed message part of it: If we do believe it to be an act of self-defense, as I do, then the whole idea of going to the U.N. to get approval and pass a resolution to defend yourself is not necessary legally or morally.
MYERS: It is not necessary. And the president, in effect, said that.
GRAHAM: The fact that he's doing it, I don't object to. But we're going to find ourselves in a situation here soon, where the letter received from Iraq is going to create great confusion over there. And what I would like to hear from you, if possible, that you will promise the American people we will not let U.N. politics prevent us from defending ourselves as we see fit.
MYERS: I think the president, in his speech, made very clear that the one choice do not have is to do nothing. And I would say that I agree completely that having other countries aboard is a help and it's desirable. And it's worth trying to get them. And we are trying, and we are being successful.
GRAHAM: But make sure I've got this right, and I'll shut up. There's no ally presently unavailable to us to accomplish the mission of regime change if directed by the president or the appropriate authority? Is that still the case, General Myers?
MYERS: I'll just stick with my statement. The United States military armed forces is ready to respond to whatever...
GRAHAM: But you don't know of anybody that we need waiting on the U.N. to bless this deal?
MYERS: I'll just defer to the secretary on the U.N. piece of that.
RUMSFELD: Well, I would say this: We have already been advised that, in the event that this country decides that it's necessary to do something, by a number of countries, that they will cooperate in a variety of different ways.
GRAHAM: Absent U.N. approval?
RUMSFELD: Oh sure.
MYERS: That's correct.
GRAHAM: Thank you.
RUMSFELD: There are other countries that are -- that we would like to have cooperating in ways, and they've not made judgment. So the worst thing that the general could do would be to answer your question and say, "We don't need any more help," because the more help you get, the easier it is.
GRAHAM: I understand. God bless and good luck.
HUNTER: Thank the gentleman.
Then gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. McIntyre?
MCINTYRE: Thank you.
Mr. Secretary and General Myers, thank you very much for your commitment to our country, and for the obvious time you've spent in going into great detail to help us in making our assessment.
You keep referring to a number of countries that would help us. Can you tell us how many countries, and who?
RUMSFELD: I could, but I shouldn't. A lot of these countries are frightened from Saddam Hussein. A number of other countries are attempting to work with us in the United Nations to fashion the resolution. And it's not for me to do. It's for them to announce what they decide. I don't make it my business to go around and say that this country or that country's told us publicly or privately that they'll do this, that or the other thing.
MCINTYRE: And I respect that and I appreciate your confidence, though, that we have other countries. Can you give us a ball park? Are we talking bout two or three, are we talking about half a dozen? Are we talking about 15 or 20?
RUMSFELD: I guess it depends on what you mean by help. If you're talking about...
MCINTYRE: They would be committed to this effort to change this regime.
RUMSFELD: Overflight rights to help us do it, or various types of port access, or base access or money or troops...
MCINTYRE: Fuel supplies.
RUMSFELD: Fuel supplies. It varies. It's all across the spectrum. And in some cases, it'll be totally public. In some cases, it'll be totally private.
But no, I would not be inclined to try to come up with a number in a public session.
MCINTYRE: All right. Would you address a couple of other issues that have been raised today? What would be the potential number of American troops needed for such a military campaign against Iraq?
RUMSFELD: I'm not inclined to talk about plans that conceivably could exist as to what one would do.
I can say this, and the general can comment, we would not be short of troops. The numbers that would be needed -- obviously everyone likes belts and suspenders. So you don't know how long something's going to last or what it's going to require. You can't know that, because the first thing that goes by the board is a plan in a conflict. But we would not have problems with numbers of people.
MYERS: I absolutely agree with that. And the only think I would say is that it's very difficult -- if we were to sit here and talk about specific numbers, that would be, I think, of immense help to any potential adversary. And so, we've got to be careful how we handle that.
MCINTYRE: All right, well, within that realm, what percentage --I have two quick follow-ups -- what percentage do you think would have to be Reserve and Guard? Do you have a percentage idea? Because we talk about how important they are; and you mentioned that today. We already have 70,000 Guard and Reserve activated, and we've got 20,000 stop-holds on people not getting out. And we need some more.
MYERS: Some more would have to be called up.
MCINTYRE: All right.
And being from an area in southeastern North Carolina and eastern North Carolina which, of course, home to Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Cherry Point, the list goes on, that are in our area that Congressman Jones, Congressman Hayes, and I all share in terms of representing or representing their families, there is a concern about overdeployment of troops.
MCINTYRE: Recently I went to Afghanistan about three weeks ago with a CODEL of 11 members of Congress on a bipartisan basis. Those troops are doing a great job. And I commend you, General Myers and Secretary Rumsfeld, for being about the mission, and seeing the great success of our work in central Asia.
The next question though is, what about the overdeployment of these troops?
General Myers, you have admirably said that our country would be willing and absolutely, as you said, be able to follow any command that our commander in chief may give with regard to what our mission might need to be. But what about overdeployment? I mean, do we wear our troops out? Yes, they can do it, but then what else suffers? We're concerned about readiness, you know, making sure they have everything at their disposal to do their job top-notch, because we want to support our troops. But in turn how does that affect the human factor?
MYERS: Let me take a stab at that. The human factor obviously is very important. I think the one thing that is -- you know, as we used to discuss this topic before September 11th, it was how do we in peacetime ensure that our troops are -- that their tempo, their operational tempo, their personnel tempo, the impact on their families, the impact on our -- the employers of our reserve component forces that are called up from time to time, what steps can we take to mitigate that? And we've put in, you know, lots of measures. And we looked at that very, very carefully.
Obviously, now, we're at war, we're at a global war where the personnel tempo, the operational tempo, the impact on our families --we have, as the secretary said, 70,000-plus reserve component forces called up which is tougher than them -- on their families, because they're generally geographically separated, in most cases, and then on top of that you have the employers who lose valued employees.
I would only say that, from the secretary's viewpoint, and from the senior leadership in the Pentagon, from the secretary's level from the joint chiefs of staff level, we are doing everything we can possibly do to mitigate the turbulence in these times.
However, this threat is so serious to this country -- 9/11 is a great example, and the secretary has talked, I think eloquently about the potential with weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists, the potential for destruction to freedom-loving people anywhere -- that this threat is so serious, that I think -- and you probably found this in Afghanistan; I bet I could ask you, did you find anybody that said, "Gee, when am I going to go home? When is this mission over?" More likely, the question you got is, "What more can we do?" Because I think our military men and women understand exactly what this threat is to their families, the folks back home, and to our friends and allies.
And so, we've got to try to mitigate the impact on our forces. And we have taken many steps since 9/11.
I mean, we started out, if you will, as if this were going to be a sprint. We understand it's going to be a marathon, and I've think we've taken steps to try to mitigate the impact on our families. That will be always be uppermost in our mind.
At the same time, that must be balanced against this risk to our country and to our allies and friends. And we're trying to do that. I think we have to expect our armed forces, much like they did in World War II, steel themselves for a long haul. This will not be an easy, short victory against terrorism. And I think our armed forces are up to that task.
MCINTYRE: In light of that, just in closing, and not being able to give numbers or say how many troops you think would be involved, but yet being confident we can do this, do either of you expect this would lead to a reinstitution of the draft?
RUMSFELD: Not a chance.
MCINTYRE: And would you like to say why?
RUMSFELD: Because we are currently -- what? -- a country of 281 million people, and we've got less than 2 million people in uniform. We are successful in attracting and retraining the force we need without using compulsion, and without paying people 40 or 50 percent of what they'd make in the civilian manpower market. And unless someone decides that there's some overall social good that could be achieved by reinstituting the draft, it certainly would not be reinstituted for the purpose of attracting and retaining the people we need, because we're doing that.
MCINTYRE: Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
RUMSFELD: I must say I have a bias on the subject. I was one of the original authors of the all-volunteer service back in the 1960s when I was in Congress.
MCINTYRE: Thank you very much.
HUNTER: I thank the gentleman.
And the gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Kirk?
KIRK: Mr. Secretary, thank you for that answer. You grew up in my district, and we on the North Shore are terribly, terribly proud of you.
I thank you also for your -- the answer you just gave. I think the mothers and fathers of 19-year-old American boys are a little nervous about this. And you have categorically said there will be no draft. And I think people are tremendously heartened to hear that.
You talked about what would happen with a military action against Iraq, and we know that Israel was hit the last time. We have developed Arrow anti-missile systems with the government of Israel. I really have to commend you for taking the leadership to provide early warning data to Israel, which she did not have, to make those defenses more effective. What else can we do to make sure that Israel has done everything possible to handle the threat of Iraqi missiles?
RUMSFELD: There are other things that we're contemplating in the event that they become necessary, not just for Israel, but for some other neighboring countries as well as force concentrations in the region.
KIRK: I hope we can do everything possible. I know that in providing the early warning data, that takes some technical effort, and I would hope that we would accelerate that.
Aren't we already at war with Iraq? The American people think that we are peace with Iraq, but the Iraqi military sees the U.S. and British armed forces bombing them about every week. Is that not right?
RUMSFELD: I don't know that I would characterize it quite that way, but you're quite right. We currently are in a conflict with Iraq. And we've been in a diplomatic battle, we've been in an economic battle and we've been in a military battle. We have Operation Northern Watch and Southern Watch going on for any number of years. Coming over in the car, Dick Myers, I forget how many times he said we are -- our planes have been fired at in the last month or two.
We're not over there bombing willy-nilly. What we're doing is enforcing U.N. resolutions, and our men and women are flying aircraft over the northern and the southern zones for specific purposes to keep the Iraqi government from punishing the Shia in the south or the Kurds in the north, to be aware of what's taking place in terms of the no-fly zones. And when we do it, which they agreed -- it's not like this is -- it's all part of the whole, the resolutions -- they shoot at our aircraft. It's the one place on the face of the Earth where American men and women in uniform are getting fired at with impunity, day after day after day.
General Myers, how many times have we been fired at?
MYERS: In the last two and half years, 2300 times.
KIRK: Mr. Secretary, we have been offered unconditional entry of U.N. inspectors in Iraq. Since that offer...
RUMSFELD: No, we haven't.
KIRK: Oh, well. But at least it was on paper from the Iraqi government.
RUMSFELD: Come on.
KIRK: But let me ask you this question: Since that letter arrived two days ago, have Americans been fired at by Iraq in Northern Watch?
RUMSFELD: I just would have to go back and check to the exact time the letter was handed over in the United Nations, or wherever it went. And then the last thing -- it's an interesting point.
KIRK: I see your staff saying, no, and I know that sometimes we have quiet days. I would hope that you would let us know the moment U.S. armed forces, who are enforcing a U.N. resolution...
MYERS: Good point.
KIRK: ... are fired on by Iraq even after the delivery of this letter. It's an important point.
MYERS: It's a good one.
KIRK: My last question is -- to just say something, because my old squadron is in Incirlik right now and, obviously, their mothers and fathers worry about them, and they look at the news. When you get back home from a mission, you're pretty much glued to CNN.
What would you say to the men and women in the armed forces right now about any potential operation?
RUMSFELD: Well, there's no question but that these folks, as you point out, voluntarily put their lives at risk and they do it day after day as a way of our country's contribution to peace and stability in the world. And it is a dangerous world, it's an untidy world and the role they're playing is just enormously important. And they do it selflessly.
I've been around, as Dick Myers has, visiting bases in this country and bases around the world and in that part of the world, and I can say that these folks are ready to do that which this country decides is appropriate to do and necessary to do to defend the American people.
MYERS: I might just add that being at Incirlik is a long way from home and sometimes it's difficult for the folks there to feel the appreciation of the American people. It's easier here in Washington.
Last week, going through the anniversary events of September 11th and then traveling throughout the country as we both do, universally the American people very much appreciate what our armed forces do for them. And I think being a long way from home sometimes that's hard to see. But if we could say one thing to them, I'd say that.
KIRK: Mr. Secretary, the United States Navy was born in my district -- the only boot camp. And I will say that I have never seen a secretary held in such admiration by the men and women in uniform. And I thank you for your service.
HUNTER: I thank the gentleman.
Mr. Andrews from New Jersey, and then Ms. Wilson?
ANDREWS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Mr. Secretary, Mr. Chairman, for your very clear, very persuasive efforts this morning. I reflect on something that Mr. Hostettler said, that there's nothing we do around here more grave than the decision we're asked to engage in this morning, the decision you are engaging in. But I don't think gravity should obscure clarity. There's two arguments that I hear around the country and, frankly, here this morning that I think need to be disclaimed, as you have very effectively this morning.
The first is that any effort to effect a regime change in Iraq is distinctive from the war against terrorism. I think they are part of the same thing.
RUMSFELD: That's exactly right.
ANDREWS: You have said that so persuasively, but if I can offer some advice, I think that's something that has to be said to the American people repeatedly and with the clarity that you both have done so this morning.
Second is this effort, in the face of the record, to carve out this position that somehow says that this regime in Iraq can cooperate with a robust weapons inspection and destruction program by an outside force. I find the proposition to be completely contradictory in terms. When you look at a regime that, by my count, on 12 occasions since 1993 has made the same public promise that it made 36 hours ago and violated the promise each time; as we heard just a few minutes ago, a regime that 2,300 times in recent years has attacked U.S. planes that are there because they're enforcing a set of U.N. resolutions that are designed to obstruct this regime from murdering people living in its own country.
I think that's an indisputable record. And this idea somehow that it's logically possible to see this regime behave a way that is consistent with the destruction of the weapons of mass destruction or facilities, I find to be a non-sequitur.
Having said that, I am concerned that the Iraqis, who seem to be, if at nothing else, skilled at manipulating American public opinion, may be in a position to make the case that they're doing so and go through some elaborate ritual that will show that inspections are increasing and stepping up -- and let's suspend disbelief for a moment and assume that, in fact, there is some real progress in identifying the sites of weapons of mass destruction, destroying some weapons of mass destruction, finding the production capabilities, how long do you think it would take to complete such a program to the satisfaction of those of you entrusted with the responsibility?
Let me tell you the reason I ask the question and then I'll ask it. How much time do you think it would take the Iraqi regime to make a covert connection with a terrorist organization, convey to that terrorist organization a weapons of mass destruction, let that weapon be used against the people of the United States and disclaim responsibility for it?
That would be pretty logical strategy for Saddam, wouldn't it? He would get the benefit of distracting U.S. public opinion, he'd get the collateral benefit of murdering tens of thousands of United States citizens and he'd claim no responsibility for it in world affairs. Is that a scenario that you find plausible?
RUMSFELD: I find everything you have said plausible.
First, you're exactly right, that the United States has not nominated Saddam Hussein's regime for this attention. It nominated itself. And the Iraqi people are really, in many respects, hostages to that regime. I think to suggest that all the Iraqi people are complicit is just certainly not the case. And I think we have to keep that in mind because they have a terrible circumstance. They've been dealt a bad hand with that regime.
The third point you made concerning misinformation and disinformation, you are exactly right. The Iraqi regime is enormously skillful. They make the United States and our friends and allies around the world look like rank amateurs in terms of manipulating the press.
We are already seeing movements of military capabilities into close proximity of hospitals, schools, mosques to be prepared in the event that the United States were to do something so that they could then either, on the one hand, hope that those targets not be hit, and if they are hit, use disinformation about the damage that's taken place. They've used human shields on any number of occasions where they take prisoners and use them in the front as shields.
And your last point is the problem. It is that nexus between terrorist networks, sleeper cells which exist around the world today, the openness of our country and other free people, and, therefore, our vulnerability at the hands of those kinds of weapons.
ANDREWS: Well, Mr. Secretary, you said it as well as I've heard it this morning, and I thank you for that service that you've done, but I think it needs to be said by a lot of us as often as possible.
The notion that there needs to be Iraqi conduct -- further Iraqi conduct to justify the conclusion that this is a risk with which we can no longer live is wrong. The capacity to enable such conduct by someone else is the risk that we face. And this idea somehow that the charade of governmental cooperation with weapons destruction is good enough I find to be a very dangerous misconception.
I thank you for your time.
RUMSFELD: Thank you, sir.
HUNTER: I thank the gentleman.
H. WILSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I did want to underscore, Mr. Secretary, something my colleague, Mr. Snyder, said, and the need for clarity when the time comes for that clarity.
I understand the challenge that you and the president and the administration face of laying out now what the threat is, what the challenge is, what the evidence is, building support for addressing that, building the coalition and putting it together and the support in the Congress. But at some point there will be a time for clarity, particularly because I believe that our political objectives should drive our military strategy and our military strategy will drive our forces and so forth.
H. WILSON: And I hear differing objectives, and maybe they are all part of this. But I think that there will come a time when there will need to be that clarity of objectives. Whether it is stopping Iraq from acquiring weapons of mass destruction or enforcement of the U.N. sanctions or regime change, all of those objectives will require very different military strategies, they will have different risks and different probabilities for success. And at the appropriate point, I hope we will hear exactly what the president wants, what the objective is with respect to Iraq.
I did have some questions, probably, principally for you, General, about our readiness to move forward. We've heard reports that the Army's 10 divisions are at low levels of readiness. They've been rotating in and out of different missions over the last year. Our U.S. fighters and reconnaissance and refueling capability and command and control are also not necessarily at high rates of readiness. Could you comment on that, and how long and how you're going about getting them up to speed for what may be a new operation?
MYERS: You bet. Over the last several years, as you well understand because Congress has been such a big part of it, there have been many resources put into the readiness equation, and that continues again in '02. Part of that was in the '02 supplemental.
Our forces, our Army divisions, our carrier battle groups, our wings, our Marine expeditionary forces, they are in a very high state of readiness and they are ready for -- again, for whatever they might be asked to do.
Obviously, there are some resources that we just don't have enough of. And again, some of those have been addressed by Congress, some of our intelligence and reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities. We know some issues we have with our tanker fleet. But taking all that into consideration, and we do, and we have to prioritize that today, we had to prioritize it in peace time, we had to prioritize like I said today in our war on terrorism, we're going to have prioritize it in any future operation.
Some of those issues have been addressed by Congress. We've added more airplanes, more P-3s for the Navy EP-3s. We've added more RC-135s. We've added some training and simulation capability to help mitigate the impact on the operational assets. But we're still going to have to prioritize those and work those very hard.
Having said that, I'll go back to my original statement. The units in our armed forces are prepared for whatever is asked of them. And their state of readiness right now is quite good.
H. WILSON: General, I get, kind of, that same answer, "We'll do what we're told to do. By God, we'll go do it." At the same time, I also get conflicting information about, "Now, we've done 20,000 sorties over the United States," and those are lot of flying hours, but not necessarily the combat hours and the bomb-dropping hours and the hours for guys in the back of AWACS doing intercepts to keep their skills up. And I wonder if you could comment a little on that.
MYERS: Well, those are all valid comments. And I'd understand those in particular, because I used to do that mission.
Having said that, we have forces for the defense of this country, the air defense forces. We have other forces that are committed to deploy. And again, without getting into a lot of detail here, I think we're ready -- we're trying to mitigate that. That's what I talked about earlier.
What we have to try to find is a rhythm that we can get into that mitigates those kind of impacts and ensures that our people are ready.
For instance, in the Balkans, most of the forces going to the Balkans in the future will be from the reserve component, and that's so the active duty forces will be ready for other tasks, perhaps. And that's a conscious decision.
As you know, we've tried to mitigate the impact on our air defense here in the United States. Again, without going into a great deal of more detail, we have tried to reduce the times when we ask the AWACS to be present, and we've supplemented land-based radars with other radars to try to make up for some of that capability. So we're trying to take steps across the spectrum to ensure that we don't run any particular aspect of our force in the ground. Having said that, we have some forces that are working very, very hard.
H. WILSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
HUNTER: I thank the gentlelady.
The gentleman from Connecticut, Mr. Larson?
LARSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And let me add to the chorus of those who have congratulated you both for your outstanding service, and Secretary Rumsfeld and General Myers, especially for your moving and fitting tribute last week at the Pentagon, as well.
My questions, I think it was Mo Udall said, "Most of what needs to be said has been said, it's just not everyone has said it," but moving forward, we distinguish ourselves from every other nation by the rule of law. And obviously, the case that has been made by the president in front of the United Nations I think warrants us taking Saddam Hussein to the court of law and trying him as a war criminal. I'd like to know your feelings about that. Secondly, General Myers, I'm recently back from the Middle East, as well, and having been to Incirlik and Prince Sultan and to Adoa (ph) and Qatar, again, the men and women who wear the uniform of this country are outstanding, well-prepared, well-equipped, well-trained, a credit to this nation. But one thing that came up in some of our discussions was the need for us to get out the humanitarian story about this nation and all the things that we've been doing. And particularly, we talked about maybe even the need to embrace Al Jazeera and those, in terms of the ongoing things that we're doing in a very positive nature. If you could comment on that.
And my third and probably most poignant and salient question from my standpoint is this whole idea of the war on terrorism. We've been saying from the outset that we've got to dry up resources. And when you look at Saddam Hussein, it becomes clear to me that the great enabler for Saddam Hussein is oil. It becomes clear to, I think, many of us, some from different perspectives than other, that in order for us to ultimately be tactically successful, when you look at the very nations and those who've gotten around sanctions, from what I've read and from what we've heard in committee, it's been that they end-run the sanctions in their desire to get control of oil. And whether that's France, whether that's Russia, whether that's China, whether it's multinational corporations, at the end of the day it's all about oil.
My question then is, if, in fact, the president deems that with the sword of Damocles hanging over the head and creating this regime change that has been sought in 1998 and is being pressed forward today, who will, and what strategies, who will -- once we take over Iraq, who will control oil in Iraq?
RUMSFELD: Well, I'll take a couple here, real quickly. The subject of war crimes, of course, is something that's been discussed. I don't know that there's been any resolution within the administration.
With respect to the situation in Iraq and the fact that sanctions -- they get relaxed, the borders are quite porous, there's an awful lot of military equipment that flows back and forth across Iraq's borders. And you're quite right, the money comes from oil; they have that capability.
RUMSFELD: The answer is that the -- with respect to the last part -- the president's obviously not made a decision. Those issues are not fully resolved. But there's no question but that the circumstance of Iraq, were the regime to be changed, would be that they do have revenues from oil, and it would be managed by whatever government, temporary in the first instance and permanent thereafter, would exist.
LARSON: Could those revenues be used to pay for the humanitarian effort and rebuilding of Afghanistan and actually getting the money directed at the people that have been denied that money from the outset?
RUMSFELD: You'd certainly think so.
LARSON: And that's the kind of thing that I think should be clarified.
RUMSFELD: Absolutely. And needless to say, they wouldn't be being spent on weapons of mass destruction and conventional capabilities to threaten their neighbors. That's where that revenue's going right now, the oil revenues, it's going for things that are in direct violation of the U.N. resolutions.
With respect to the humanitarian assistance, you might just want to comment.
MYERS: You bet. I think, first, we can do a better job of talking about what we've done in the humanitarian area. If you take Afghanistan, it was just after we started the conflict there that we have C-17s flying over the country dropping humanitarian rations. These were not routine missions. We had F-15s and F-16s with them to protect them against the potential ground threat. They would slow down to a very slow air speed, making them very vulnerable to ground fire if they were to be engaged. So I mean it was not done without some risk, but it was thought to be so important to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe that we did that.
And that's always part of any planning of any military operations. That continues in Afghanistan today, as you're well aware, with humanitarian civil affairs projects, trying to make the life better for the Afghan people.
Have we communicated that perfectly? Probably not. And we need to do a lot better job of that. I totally agree with you.
HUNTER: Thank the gentleman.
And the gentlelady from Virginia, Ms. Davis?
J. DAVIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you, gentleman, for being here.
Mr. Secretary, I think we all know the war in Afghanistan, we couldn't have done it without the carriers out there. I have two questions. One is, when could we expect to see the public release of the Defense Science Board study on the CVNX? I think it was due last March, and as of yet I don't have any information that it's been released, and I'd like to have the opportunity to review that.
My biggest question to you is, at the beginning of your statement you said, in quotes, "Iraq is part of the war on terror." Then later on you said, in quotes, "Our job is to connect the dots before the fact." I've heard a lot of testimony about Iraq being somehow involved with terrorists or in the war on terror. Could you give me any specifics to tie them to the war on terror right now so that I can connect the dots back home?
RUMSFELD: Well, I don't know what you can do back home.
J. DAVIS: With my constituents.
RUMSFELD: I understand. It's not clear to me what's public, is my point.
J. DAVIS: OK.
RUMSFELD: There's no question but that there are -- that Iraq has been listed as a terrorist state for many years. Iraq has engaged in terrorist acts. Iraq is currently offering rewards to the families of children who do the suicide bombings. I think it's $20,000, $25,000 per family. There are currently Al Qaida in Iraq. There are other terrorist groups in Iraq.
RUMSFELD: The connection it seems to me, however, ought to be looked at slightly differently. There's no question but the intelligence community can give you a good deal of detail if one's looking for it, and they would be happy to do so.
But I don't know that -- it seems to me the critical point is the one that Mr. Andrews raised. And it's that nexus between a country that is actively developing weapons of mass destruction that is known as a terrorist state, and the use of those weapons, whether by them or, through a proxy, a terrorist network. And it is that that has changed the equation in the world in this 21st century.
So even if they did not have terrorist connections, which indeed they do, the potential they have to use terrorist networks to dispense weapons of mass destruction is what's qualitatively different in our current circumstance.
MYERS: Can I add? Could I add one thing? It's probably obvious, but I think it bears repeating, and that is, as you know in Afghanistan, as we would recover documents from Al Qaida and equipment, it left no doubt of their quest for weapons of mass destruction. I mean, there was absolutely no doubt that they tried to make them, they have manuals on how to use them, how to disperse them. And it goes back to that nexus again. And I just -- I would say for one of the threats we're facing, Al Qaida, that they clearly, there's no doubt in anybody's mind that they want weapons of mass destruction, and would use them.
RUMSFELD: I will look into the Defense Science Board report.
J. DAVIS: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
RUMSFELD: Thank you.
J. DAVIS: And thank you, Mr. Chairman.
HUNTER: Thank the gentlelady.
RUMSFELD: Mr. Chairman, may I just make one comment to Congressman Kirk?
RUMSFELD: Someone checked, and the answer is that today is September 18th, and this says that on September 17th, Operation Northern Watch aircraft reported receiving fire on three occasions, at 3:14, at 3:20 and at 3:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on the 17th.
KIRK: So after the arrival of the letter, Iraqi armed forces fired on coalition aircraft implementing a U.N. resolution?
RUMSFELD: I don't know what time the letter was delivered. I do know what time they were fired on.
KIRK: Thank you.
HUNTER: I thank the gentlewoman.
Maybe the air defense folks in Iraq were at the Dairy Queen when the letter was sent out...
... so they never got the word.
The gentlelady from California, Ms. Davis?
S. DAVIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you, Mr. Secretary and General Myers, for being here, and for spending so much time. I appreciate it.
I think the issue that you raised at the beginning of your testimony and my colleague has just mentioned it as well, I think the public is having difficulty connecting the dots with the war against terrorism. And, in fact, what I hear in my district is that we haven't completed that war yet.
And knowing the effort that still has to be made in Afghanistan, I guess I would ask, you know, does it surprise you that people are concerned about that? And how you expect that we can continue to make that case if, in fact, you think that's an important case to be made.
And the other issue that I wanted to raise was the question that's being asked of me, is basically what will this war look like? I think that the American people are used to fairly antiseptic wars, and yet we know that, given the situation that you've talked about, if, in fact, the weapons of mass destruction and biological chemical weapons are mobile, that they're underground, that we've even said that the inspectors would never find them, you know, then how do we address them in a war against the weapons of mass destruction rather than the people of Iraq? Can you speak to this without obviously speaking in a classified fashion?
RUMSFELD: Thank you.
S. DAVIS: How can I answer my constituents on those issues?
RUMSFELD: Sure. It's interesting. I noted that the Iraqi Liberation Act passed the House in 1998 by a vote of 360 to 38, I am told. Just overwhelming; you know, ten times the support.
What's taken place since that act was passed has been nothing good and all bad. My guess is that these -- first of all, it ought not to be surprising. It is not surprising to me, and I don't think it ought to be surprising that these are tough issues; that we are in a new security environment as a country; that it is important that the public engage these issues and think about them and discuss them and analyze them, because they're enormously important questions.
RUMSFELD: And we have seen a shift in how one defends oneself and it is plain different today. And the American people will understand that as they think about it. And I think they have understood it, and increasingly.
What would war look like? You're right, you're not going to deal from the air with weapons of mass destruction. That is to say, if the president and the Congress and the country and the world decided that something needed to be done and Iraq was uncooperative -- continued to be uncooperative, the idea that you could address their weapon of mass destruction capability from the air is just factually not true.
It is -- it would take deep penetrators and it would require capabilities that would not be pleasant to have to use. That means you would have to address the problem from the ground.
And what it would look like, how long it would last is not knowable, but it is a country that has probably got military capabilities something like 40 percent of what it had 10 years ago, and ours are much more lethal. And it's got a population that is held hostage and is not enamored of the government, and it's got a military that has a pattern of recognizing that's it better off not fighting for terribly long.
And yet nonetheless anyone who thinks it's easy or clean or antiseptic is wrong. It is a terribly difficult, dangerous business.
S. DAVIS: Can you conceive of a situation where we really would not necessarily need to dismantle the underground network of weapons that they may have?
Because I think the issue has been raised whether it's regime change or whether it's disarmament. And in fact we may never be able to get to all the weapons of mass destruction.
RUMSFELD: Oh, it's doable. If the regime wanted to cooperate, it's eminently doable. I mean there are people there who know where they are, there are people who -- if the regime said, "Look, enough of this nonsense, invading our neighbors and developing nuclear and chemical and biological weapons, and threatening the regimes of neighboring states, threatening officials of other governments. We're not going to do that anymore, we're going to cooperate, we're going to change," it's perfectly possible to go in there and get rid of all that stuff. Takes time. You have to do it from the ground, but it can be done.
S. DAVIS: And, Mr. Chairman, one more quick second.
Just whether or not we can conduct effective operations against Iraq without the help of allies in the Middle East; could we do it without their help?
MYERS: I think we've -- I mean we've addressed it in a couple of previous questions, that we expect to have some help. And I think our reluctance to talk about exactly how to characterize that is probably for good and sufficient reasons. But we would expect to have some help, as a matter of fact.
HUNTER: I thank the gentlelady.
The gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Wilson?
J. WILSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And Mr. Secretary, General Myers, thank you very much for being here today. I think the testimony that you've provided has been very convincing, the facts that you've presented which have been in the American media over and over again, but thank you for reiterating that. But also I really enjoyed the logic that you presented today in answering many of the questions and concerns.
And I have a unique perspective. I personally am a very proud member of the Army National Guard, currently, the only one serving in Congress. Additionally I have three sons who are in the military, in uniform, and so I have a concern and interest as a parent, but also have faith in both of you. And I know of your devotion to those of us and our children who are in the military. And I just feel so confident with both of you in charge, and it means a lot.
I also want to thank you two for your recognition of the role of the National Guard and Reserves. We are trained, we are committed, there'll be no need for a national draft. Our personnel are very enthusiastic.
I had the privilege of serving annual training at Fort Stewart in May and Fort Jackson in August, and I saw firsthand the active Guard and Reserve. There's a deep commitment.
I also appreciate in the testimony it was brought out about the economic consequences of September the 11th, the murder of over 3,000 American citizens in New York, in Pennsylvania, at the Pentagon. But then the economic consequence that was itemized, Mr. Secretary, of $250 billion. You then identified Dark Winter exercise, where, within two months, a million Americans could be killed, and this would be spread out all over the United States.
Did that report indicate the economic catastrophe that would be caused by such havoc?
RUMSFELD: I don't believe it did. I think it was more done from a medical standpoint.
J. WILSON: And the reason I bring that up is I was elected to Congress nine months ago today. My role was a real estate attorney prior to coming here, and I don't think people realize that, aside from the loss of life, the economic consequence of, say, the collapse of the insurance industry.
J. WILSON: And then you wouldn't be able to have loan closings everywhere in the United States, not just where the attack occurred.
And I really do appreciate the comments of my colleague from New Jersey, that he raised the situation of possibly a ploy, but this is just so far-reaching. And again, I appreciate your recognition that the challenge we have is action or inaction.
RUMSFELD: Thank you very much for your very generous comments.
After serving on active duty as a Navy pilot, I also served in the Reserves for a number of years, and I quite agree with your assessment.
I just was passed another note that -- from the National Command Center that coalition aircraft were fired on today in Operation Northern Watch at 4:31, 4:33 and 4:40 Eastern Time on September 18th.
HUNTER: Another exclamation on their (inaudible) abide by the U.N. resolution.
J. WILSON: And Mr. Chairman, further confirmation as you identify that there is a new Hitler that needs to be addressed. Thank you, no further questions.
HUNTER: I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Rhode Island, Mr. Langevin?
LANGEVIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Good afternoon, Mr. Secretary, General.
RUMSFELD: Good afternoon.
LANGEVIN: I too want to join my colleagues in thanking you for being here and for your testimony and for the job you're doing. As I was standing and today's hearing I think was very helpful in allowing us to better understand your thinking and where we're headed and what we're proceeding to do.
Not so much a question, but really just a comment, if I could --an observation. I, as many of my colleagues, are withholding judgment as to whether we're going to support a resolution to authorize use of force and, of course, it will depend on what that resolution will look like and such. I would just say that, from my standpoint I have observed, and I speak for many of my colleagues I believe as well, we've seen a marked difference in the debate both before the president went to the U.N. and after the president went to the U.N.. And clearly, he's building a stronger case against Iraq and doing it in the context of bringing the international community into the debate and into any proposed action that would be taken.
And I think that's important for us to keep our moral authority in the world as the nation's sole remaining superpower. And I would just urge you and your colleagues to continue to urge the president to continue down that path. I think it's the right thing to do and ultimately will have a better outcome and be most effective.
So I thank you again for the job you're doing.
RUMSFELD: Thank you very much. I'm sure the president agrees with the comments you've made.
HUNTER: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary, and thank you for having the endurance that you had, you and General Myers, to go through the entire committee. I think this has been very worthwhile to listen to you and discuss this with you.
Let me just throw out one last thing, Mr. Secretary, I think is of some concern, and that is that we're going to have a hearing tomorrow on the technological capability of Iraq and how it's been enhanced by illegal and in some cases legal means -- by technology transfer from the West, including, sadly in some cases, from the United States.
Do you have any thoughts on how we -- and this is a situation that recurs throughout the world, not just Iraq -- but how we as the leaders of the Western world should attempt to stem this flow of technology which at some point may be used to kill our own uniformed people on the battlefield?
RUMSFELD: History suggests it's a very difficult thing to do; that people -- immediately after a tragedy, people step forth, other countries, and agree to a set of sanctions, that, "Let's prevent this hostile nation from having these capabilities." And so they end up with counter-proliferation activities and consultations and meetings and make lists of things that should be prohibited. But over time, as things relax, we find that someone wants to cut a corner and someone wants to sell something they shouldn't be selling.
You're exactly right. You're going to have a very full hearing tomorrow, because there's a great many things that are moving into that country that are increasing Iraq's military capability every day. They're buying dump trucks, taking the top of the trucks off, and sticking artillery pieces on them. They're buying transporters that are too narrow for a tank and then expanding them six, eight, 10, 12 inches so that they are perfectly capable of carrying a tank.
It is a reality that for a period the capability of Iraq, after Desert Storm, dropped. And it is also a reality that in recent years, because of dual-use technologies, because of general relaxation of tensions, that they're able to go forward and have these capabilities.
One thing that it seems to me is important is that, in the event that a decision is made to use force with respect to Iraq, the United States will want to know from other countries what it is they have been selling Iraq that can be used militarily so we can know some of the kinds of technological capabilities that they may have that we may not know.
And I know for a fact that before Desert Storm, some consultations were made by the United States to other countries to try to determine had they sold things to Iraq that could impose a danger that the United States was not aware of, and the answer was yes, and they were able to find out that information and save lives because of that information.
So you can be certain that we'll be interested to know what countries have been doing with Iraq.
HUNTER: And Mr. Secretary, with respect to the Export Administration Act, which is often discussed and which we may see very shortly in terms of coming to the House floor, this committee has always stood very firmly on the side of having intensive review and monitoring by your shop, by DOD, on the basis that the people who know what military potential is with respect to certain items is the military, not necessarily people in the Department of Commerce.
And I would hope that you would stand with us in ensuring that we have in our -- in any Export Administration Act that's passed, that we have a strong DOD monitoring of American products and American technology. I'd hope you would stand with us on that point.
RUMSFELD: Well, I'd have to see what proposals are made, I just don't know. But there's no question but that a DOD role tends to be helpful in those deliberations.
HUNTER: Thank you, and General Myers.
MYERS: Mr. Chairman, if I may, can I go back a couple of hours to a comment that -- well, maybe it was an hour and a half ago, that Mr. Ortiz made...
MYERS: ... and it had to do with either the eagerness or reluctance of using force? And I would like to just say that I don't think there's anybody that considers the use of force seriously that isn't reluctant to use force, for the simple reason that, Mr. Wilson said, it puts our sons and our daughters at risk.
On the other hand, if our nation's freedom is at stake, which I think in this war on terrorism it clearly is, then I don't think any of the folks that we have serving today are the least bit reluctant to risk their lives for our freedom. And I just -- it's not a question of being eager, I think everyone's reluctant for the reasons I said, but the threat here is very, very serious.
HUNTER: Thank you very much, General, and I think that the committee would concur with that.
And so thank you again, Mr. Secretary, General Myers, for a very thorough analysis and discussion of this problem that is foremost in the nation's mind today. I appreciate it.
HUNTER: And you know one thing the president said that we've talked about the president sending messages, Kofi Annan said that President Bush's speech galvanized the world community to focus on Iraq and to bring some force to bear. And I think that's a good description of the American leadership that not only he has shown, but that you've shown in the last several weeks. So we appreciate that. We look forward to working with you.
RUMSFELD: Thank you very much.
MYERS: Thank you.
HUNTER: And this hearing's adjourned.
Transcript provided by Federal Document Clearing House.