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[casi] Rumsfeld Testimony to Senate Armed Services Committee: Transcript (18 Sep 02)

The below transcript is worth a full and careful read.  Upon individual
request I will e-mail it as an MS Word attachment.


Source: US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, prepared testimony for US
Senate Armed Services Committee, 18 September 2002,


Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to
meet with you today.

Last week, we commemorated the one-year anniversary of the most devastating
attack our nation has ever experienced—more than 3,000 innocent people
killed in a single day.

Today, I want to discuss the task of preventing even more devastating
attacks—attacks that could kill not thousands, but potentially tens of
thousands of our fellow citizens.

As we meet, state sponsors of terror across the world are working to develop
and acquire weapons of mass destruction. As we speak, chemists, 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 is dangerous. And it is
growing with each passing day. We cannot wish it away.

We have entered a new security environment, one that is dramatically
different than the one we grew accustomed to over the past half-century. We
have entered a world in which terrorist movements and terrorists states are
developing the capacity to cause  unprecedented destruction.

Today, our margin of error is notably different. In the 20th century, we
were dealing, for the most part, with conventional weapons–weapons that
could kill hundreds or thousands of people, generally combatants. In the
21st century, we are dealing with weapons of mass destruction that can kill
potentially tens of thousands of people—innocent men, women and children.

Further, because of the nature of these new threats, we are in an age of
little or no warning, when threats can emerge suddenly—at any place or
time—to surprise us. Terrorist states have enormous appetite for these
powerful weapons—and active programs to develop them. They are finding ways
to gain access to these capabilities. This is not a possibility—it is a
certainty. In word and deed, they have demonstrated a willingness to use
those capabilities.

Moreover, after September 11th, they have discovered a new means of
delivering these weapons—terrorist networks. To the extent that they might
transfer WMD to terrorist groups, they could conceal their responsibility
for attacks. And if they believe they can conceal their responsibility for
an attack, then they would likely not be deterred.

We are on notice. Let there be no doubt: an attack will be attempted. The
only question is when and by what technique. It could be months, a year, or
several years.  But it will happen. It is in our future. Each of us needs to
pause, and think about that for a  moment—about what it would mean for our
country, for our families—and indeed for the world.

If the worst were to happen, not one of us here today will be able to
honestly say it was a surprise. Because it will not be a surprise. We have
connected the dots as much as it is humanly possible -- before the fact.
Only by waiting until after the event could we have proof positive. The dots
are there for all to see. The dots are there for all to connect. If they
aren’t good enough, rest assured they will only be good enough after another
  disaster—a disaster of still greater proportions. And by then it will be
too late.

The question facing us is this: what is the responsible course of action for
our country? Do you believe it is our responsibility to wait for a nuclear,
chemical or biological 9/11? Or is it the responsibility of free people to
do something now—to take steps to deal with the threat before we are

The President has made his position clear: the one thing that is not an
option is doing nothing.

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 and more immediate threat to the security of
our people, and the stability of the world, than the regime of Saddam
Hussein in Iraq.

No living dictator has shown the murderous combination of intent and
capability -- of aggression against his neighbors; oppression of his own
people; genocide; support of terrorism; pursuit of weapons of mass
destruction; the use of weapons of mass destruction; and the most
threatening hostility to its neighbors and to the United States, than Saddam
Hussein and his regime.

Mr. Chairman, these facts about Saddam Hussein’s regime should be part of
this record and of our country’s considerations:

Saddam Hussein has openly praised the attacks of September 11th.

Last week, on the anniversary of 9-11, his state-run press called the
attacks "God’s punishment."

He has repeatedly threatened the U.S. and its allies with terror—once
declaring that "every Iraqi [can] become a missile."

He has ordered the use of chemical weapons—Sarin, Tabun, VX, and mustard
agents—against his own people, in one case killing 5,000 innocent civilians
in a single day.

His regime has invaded two of its neighbors, and threatened others.

In 1980, they invaded Iran, and used chemical weapons against Iranian

In 1990, they invaded Kuwait and are responsible for thousands of documented
cases of torture, rape and murder of Kuwaiti civilians during their

In 1991, they were poised to march on and occupy other nations—and would
have done so, had they not been stopped by the U.S. led coalition forces.

His regime has launched ballistic missiles at four of their
neighbors—Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

His regime plays host to terrorist networks, and has directly ordered acts
of terror on foreign soil.

His regime assassinates its opponents, both in Iraq and abroad, and has
attempted to assassinate the former Israeli Ambassador to Great Britain, and
a former U.S. President.

He has executed members of their cabinet, including the Minister of Health,
whom he personally shot and killed.

His regime has committed genocide and ethnic cleansing in Northern Iraq,
ordering the extermination of between 50,000 and 100,000 people and the
destruction of over 4,000 villages.

His attacks on the Kurds drove 2 million refugees into Turkey, Syria and

His regime has brought the Marsh Arabs in Southern Iraq to the point of
extinction, drying up the Iraqi marsh lands in order to move against their
villages—one of the worst environmental crimes ever committed.

His regime is responsible for catastrophic environmental damage, setting
fire to over 1,100 Kuwaiti oil wells.

His regime beat and tortured American POWs during the 1991 Persian Gulf War,
and used them as "human shields."

His regime has still failed to account for hundreds of POWs, including
Kuwaiti, Saudi, Indian, Syrian, Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Bahraini and
Omani nationals—and an American pilot shot down over Iraq during the Gulf

His regime on almost a daily basis continues to fire missiles and artillery
at U.S. and coalition aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones in Northern and
Southern Iraq, and has made clear its objective of shooting down coalition
pilots enforcing UN resolutions -- it is the only place in the world where
U.S. forces are shot at with impunity.

His regime has subjected tens of thousands of political prisoners and
ordinary Iraqis to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, summary execution,
torture, beatings, burnings, electric shocks, starvation and mutilation.

He has ordered doctors to surgically remove the ears of military deserters,
and the gang rape of Iraqi women, including political prisoners, the wives
and daughters of their opposition and members of the regime suspected of

His regime is actively pursuing weapons of mass destruction, and willing to
pay a high price to get them—giving up tens of billions in oil revenue under
economic sanctions by refusing inspections to preserve his WMD programs.

His regime has amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of biological
weapons—including anthrax and botulism toxin, and possibly smallpox.

His regime has amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of chemical
weapons—including VX, sarin, cyclosarin and mustard gas.

His regime has an active program to acquire and develop nuclear weapons.

They have the knowledge of how to produce nuclear weapons, and designs for
at least two different nuclear devices.

They have a team of scientists, technicians and engineers in place, as well
as the infrastructure needed to build a weapon.

Very likely all they need to complete a weapon is fissile material—and they
are, at this moment, seeking that material—both from foreign sources and the
capability to produce it indigenously.

His regime has dozens of ballistic missiles, and is working to extend their
range in violation of UN restrictions.

His regime is pursuing pilotless aircraft as a means of delivering chemical
and biological weapons.

His regime agreed after the Gulf War to give up weapons of mass destruction
and submit to international inspections—then lied, cheated and hid their WMD
programs for more than a decade.

His regime has in place an elaborate, organized system of denial and
deception to frustrate both inspectors and outside intelligence efforts.

His regime has violated UN economic sanctions, using illicit oil revenues to
fuel their WMD aspirations.

His regime has diverted funds from the UN’s "oil for food" program—funds
intended to help feed starving Iraqi civilians—to fund WMD programs.

His regime violated 16 UN resolutions, repeatedly defying the will of the
international community without cost or consequence.

And his regime is determined to acquire the means to strike the U.S., its
friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction, acquire the territory
of their neighbors, and impose their control over the Persian Gulf region.

As the President warned the United Nations last week, "Saddam Hussein's
regime is a grave and gathering danger." It is a danger to its neighbors, to
the United States, to the Middle East, and to international peace and
stability. It is a danger we do not have the option to ignore.

The world has acquiesced in Saddam Hussein’s aggression, abuses and defiance
for more than a decade.

In his UN address, the President explained why we should not allow the Iraqi
regime to acquire weapons of mass destruction—and issued a challenge to the
international community: to enforce the numerous resolutions the UN has
passed and Saddam Hussein has defied; to show that Security Council’s
decisions will not to be cast aside without cost or consequence; to show
that the UN is up to the challenge of dealing with a dictator like Saddam
Hussein; to show that the UN is determined not to become irrelevant.

President Bush has made clear that the United States wants to work with the
UN Security Council to deal with the threat posed by the Iraqi regime. But
he made clear the consequences of Iraq’s continued defiance: "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 the Members of the House and the Senate to support
the actions that may be necessary to deliver on that pledge. He urged that
the Congress act before the Congressional recess. He asked that you send a
clear signal—to the world community and the Iraqi regime—that our country is
united in purpose and ready to act. Only certainty of U.S. and UN
purposefulness can have even the prospect of affecting the Iraqi regime.

It is important that Congress send that message as soon as possible—before
the UN Security Council votes. The Security Council must act soon, and it is
important that the U.S. Congress signal the world where the U.S. stands
before the UN vote takes place. Delaying a vote in the Congress would send a
message that the U.S. may be unprepared to take a stand, just as we are
asking the international community to take a stand, and as Iraq will be
considering its options.

Delay would signal the Iraqi regime that they can continue their violations
of the UN resolutions. It serves no U.S. or UN purpose to give Saddam
Hussein excuses for further delay. His regime should recognize that the U.S.
and the UN are purposeful.

It was Congress that changed the objective of U.S. policy from containment
to regime change, by the passage of the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998. The
President is now asking Congress to support that policy.

A decision to use military force is never easy. No one with any sense
considers war a first choice—it is the last thing that any rational person
wants to do. And it is important that the issues surrounding this decision
be discussed and debated.

In recent weeks, a number of questions have been surfaced by Senators,
Members of  Congress and former government officials. Some of the arguments
raised are important. Just as there are risks in acting, so too there are
risks in not acting.

Those risks need to be balanced, and to do so it is critical to address a
number of the issues that have been raised:

Some have asked whether an attack on Iraq would disrupt and distract the
U.S. from the Global War on Terror.

The answer to that is: Iraq is a part of the Global War on Terror—stopping
terrorist regimes from acquiring weapons of mass destruction is a key
objective of that
war. We can fight all elements of this war simultaneously.

Our principal goal in the war on terror is to stop another 9/11—or a WMD
attack that could make 9/11 seem modest by comparison—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.

In his State of the Union address last January, President Bush made our
objectives clear. He said: "by seeking weapons of mass destruction, these
regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to
terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack
our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases
the price of indifference would be catastrophic." Ultimately, history will
judge us all by what we do now to deal with this danger.

Another question that has been asked is this: The Administration argues
Saddam Hussein poses a grave and growing danger. Where is the "smoking gun?"

Mr. Chairman, the last thing we want is a smoking gun. A gun smokes after it
has been fired. The goal must be to stop Saddam Hussein before he fires a
weapon of mass destruction against our people. As the President told the
United Nations last week, "The first time we may be completely certain he
has nuclear weapons is when, God forbid, he uses one. We owe it to… our
citizens to do everything in our power to prevent that day from coming." If
the Congress or the world wait for a so-called "smoking gun," it is certain
that we will have waited too long.

But the question raises an issue that it is useful to discuss—about the kind
of evidence we consider to be appropriate to act in the 21st century.

In our country, it has been customary to seek evidence that would prove
guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt" in a court of law. That approach is
appropriate when the objective is to protect the rights of the accused. But
in the age of WMD, the objective is not to protect the "rights" of dictators
like Saddam Hussein—it is to protect the lives of our citizens. And when
there is that risk, and we are trying to defend against the closed societies
and shadowy networks that threaten us in the 21st century, expecting to find
that standard of evidence, from thousands of miles away, and to do so before
such a weapon has been used, is not realistic. And, after such weapons have
been used it is too late.

I suggest that any who insist on perfect evidence are back in the 20th
century and still thinking in pre-9/11 terms. On September 11th, we were
awakened to the fact that America is now vulnerable to unprecedented
destruction. That awareness ought to be sufficient to change the way we
think about our security, how we defend our country—and the type of
certainty and evidence we consider appropriate.

In the 20th century, when we were dealing largely with conventional weapons,
we could wait for perfect evidence. If we miscalculated, we could absorb an
attack, recover, take a breath, mobilize, and go out and defeat our
attackers. In the 21st century, that is no longer the case, unless we are
willing and comfortable accepting the loss not of thousands of lives, but
potentially tens of thousands of lives – a high price indeed.

We have not, will not, and cannot know everything that is going on in the
world. Over the years, even our best efforts, intelligence has repeatedly
underestimated the weapons  capabilities of a variety of countries of major
concern to us. We have had numerous gaps of two, four, six or eight years
between the time a country of concern first developed a WMD capability and
the time we finally learned about it.

We do know that the Iraqi regime has chemical and biological weapons of mass
  destruction and is pursuing nuclear weapons; that they have a proven
willingness to
use the weapons at their disposal; that they have proven aspirations 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.

In his UN address, the President said "we know that Saddam Hussein pursued
weapons of mass murder even when inspectors were in his country. Are we to
assume that he stopped when they left?" To the contrary, knowing what we
know about Iraq’s history, no conclusion is possible except that they have
and are accelerating their WMD programs.

Now, do we have perfect evidence that can tell us precisely the date Iraq
will have a deliverable nuclear device, or when and where he might try to
use it? That is not knowable. But it is strange that some seem to want to
put the burden of proof on us—the burden of proof ought to be on him—to
prove he has disarmed; to prove he no longer poses a threat to peace and
security. And that he cannot do.

Committees of Congress currently are asking hundreds of questions about what
happened on September 11th—pouring over thousands of pages of documents, and
asking who knew what, when and why they didn’t prevent that tragedy. I
suspect, tha t in retrospect, most of those investigating 9/11 would have
supported preventive action to pre-empt that threat, if it had been possible
to see it coming.

Well, if one were to compare the scraps of information the government had
before  September 11th to the volumes of information the government has
today about Iraq’s pursuit of WMD, his use of those weapons, his record of
aggression and his consistent hostility toward the United States—and then
factor in our country’s demonstrated vulnerability after September 11th—the
case the President made should be clear.

As the President said, time is not on our side. If more time passes, and the
attacks we are concerned about come to pass, I would not want to have
ignored all the warning signs and then be required to explain why our
country failed to protect our fellow citizens.

We cannot go back in time to stop the September 11th attack. But we can take
actions now to prevent some future threats.

Some have argued that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent—that
Saddam is at least 5-7 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 at least 5-7 years away from
having nuclear weapons. The experts were flat wrong. When the U.S. got on
the ground, it found the Iraqi’s were probably six months to a year away
from having a nuclear weapon – not 5 to 7 years.

We do not know today precisely how close he is to having a deliverable
nuclear weapon. What we do know is that he has a sizable appetite for them,
that he has been actively and persistently pursuing them for more than 20
years, and that we allow him to get them at our peril. Moreover, let’s say
he is 5-7 years from a deliverable nuclear weapon. That raises the question:
5-7 years from when? From today? From 1998, when he kicked out the
inspectors? Or from earlier, when inspectors were still in country? There is
no way of knowing except from the ground, unless one believes what Saddam
Hussein says.

But those who raise questions about the nuclear threat need to focus on the
immediate threat from biological weapons. From 1991 to 1995, Iraq repeatedly
insisted it did not have biological weapons. Then, in 1995, Saddam’s
son-in-law defected and told the inspectors some of the details of Iraq’s
biological weapons program.
Only then did Iraq admit it had produced tens of thousands of liters of
anthrax and other biological weapons. But even then, they did not come
clean. UN inspectors believe Iraq had in fact produced two to four-times the
amount of biological agents it had declared. Those biological agents were
never found. Iraq also refused to account for some three tons of materials
that could be used to produce biological weapons.

Iraq has these weapons. They are much simpler to deliver than nuclear
weapons, and even more readily transferred to terrorist networks, who could
allow Iraq to deliver them without fingerprints.

If you want an idea of the devastation Iraq could wreak on our country with
a biological attack, consider the recent "Dark Winter" exercise conducted by
Johns Hopkins University. It simulated a biological WMD attack in which
terrorists released smallpox in three separate locations in the U.S. Within
22 days, it is estimated it would have spread to 26 states, with an
estimated 6000 new infections occurring daily. Within two months, the
worst-case estimate indicated one million people could be dead and another 2
million infected. Not a nice picture.

The point is this: we know Iraq possesses biological weapons, and chemical
weapons, and is expanding and improving their capabilities to produce them.
That should be of every bit as much concern as Iraq’s potential nuclear

Some have argued that even if Iraq has these weapons, Saddam Hussein does
not intend to use WMD against the U.S. because he is a survivor, not a
suicide bomber—that he would be unlikely to take actions that could lead to
his own destruction.

Then why is Iraq pursuing WMD so aggressively? Why are they willing to pay
such a high price for them—to suffer a decade of economic sanctions that
have cost them tens of billions in oil revenues—sanctions they could get
lifted simply by an agreement to disarm?

One answer is that, as some critics have conceded, "he seeks weapons of mass
destruction… to deter us from intervening to block his aggressive designs."
This is no
doubt a motivation. But consider the consequences if they were allowed to

Imagine for a moment that Iraq demonstrated the capacity to attack U.S. or
European populations centers with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.
Then imagine you are the President of the United States, trying to put
together an international coalition to stop their aggression, after Iraq had
demonstrated that capability. It would be a daunting task. His regime
believes that simply by possessing the capacity to deliver WMD to Western
capitals, he will be able to prevent—terrorize—the free world from
projecting force to stop his aggression—driving the West into a policy of
forced isolationism.

That said, it is far from clear that he would not necessarily restrain from
taking actions that could result in his destruction. For example, that logic
did not stop the Taliban from supporting and harboring al-Qaeda as they
planned and executed repeated attacks on the U.S. And their miscalculation
resulted in the destruction of their regime. Regimes without checks and
balances are prone to grave miscalculations. Saddam Hussein has no checks
whatsoever on his decision-making authority.

Who among us really believes it would be wise or prudent for us to base our
security on the hope that Saddam Hussein, or his sons who might succeed him,
could not make the same fatal miscalculations as Mullah Omar and the

It is my view that we would be ill advised to stake our people’s lives on
Saddam Hussein’s supposed "survival instinct."

Some have argued Iraq is unlikely to use WMD against us because, unlike
terrorist networks, Saddam has a "return address."

Mr. Chairman, there is no reason for confidence that if Iraq launched a WMD
attack on the U.S. it would necessarily have an obvious "return address."
There are ways Iraq could easily conceal responsibility for a WMD attack.
They could deploy "sleeper cells" armed with biological weapons to attack us
from within—and then deny any knowledge or connection to the attacks. Or
they could put a WMD-tipped missile on a "commercial" shipping vessel, sail
it within range of our coast, fire it, and then melt back into the
commercial shipping traffic before we knew what hit us. Finding that ship
would be like searching for a needle in a haystack—a bit like locating a
single terrorist. Or they could recruit and utilize a terrorist network with
similar views and objectives, and pass on weapons of mass destruction to
them. It is this nexus between a terrorist state like Iraq with WMD and
terrorist networks that has so significantly changed the U.S. security

We still do not know with certainty who was behind the 1996 bombing the
Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia—an attack that killed 19 American service

We still do not know who is responsible for last year’s anthrax attacks. The
nature of terrorist attacks is that it is often very difficult to identify
who is ultimately responsible. 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 as proxies is an
effective way of attacking the U.S. with impunity.

Some have opined there is scant evidence of Iraq’s ties to terrorists, and
he has little incentive to make common cause with them.

That is not correct. Iraq’s ties to terrorist networks are long-standing. It
is no coincidence that Abu Nidal was in Baghdad, when he died under
mysterious circumstances. Iraq has also reportedly provided safe haven to
Abdul Rahman Yasin, one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists, who was a key
participant in the first World Trade Center bombing. We know that al-Qaeda
is operating in Iraq today, and that little happens in Iraq without the
knowledge of the Saddam Hussein regime. We also know that there have been a
number of contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda over the years. We know Saddam
has ordered acts of terror himself, including the attempted assassination of
a former U.S. President.

He has incentives to make common cause with terrorists. He shares many
common objectives with groups like al-Qaeda, including an antipathy for the
Saudi royal family and a desire to drive the U.S. out of the Persian Gulf
region. Moreover, if he decided it was in his interest to conceal his
responsibility for an attack on the U.S., providing WMD to terrorists would
be an effective way of doing so.

Some have said that they would support action to remove Saddam if the U.S.
could prove a connection to the attacks of September 11th—but there is no
such proof.

The question implies that the U.S. should have to prove that Iraq has
already attacked us in order to deal with that threat. The objective is to
stop him before he attacks us and kills thousands of our citizens.

The case against Iraq does not depend on an Iraqi link to 9/11. The issue
for the U.S. is not vengeance, retribution or retaliation—it is whether the
Iraqi regime poses a growing danger to the safety and security of our
people, and of the world. There is no question but that it does.

Some argue that North Korea and Iran are more immediate threats than Iraq.
North Korea almost certainly has nuclear weapons, and is developing missiles
that will be able to reach most of the continental United States. Iran has
stockpiles of chemical weapons, is developing ballistic missiles of
increasing range, and is aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons. The question
is asked: why not deal with them first?

Iran and North Korea are indeed threats—problems we take seriously. That is
why President Bush named them specifically, when he spoke about an "Axis of
And we 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 WMD against his own people and other nations; launching
ballistic missiles at his neighbors; brutalizing and torturing his own
citizens; harboring terrorist networks; engaging in terrorist acts,
including the attempted assassination of foreign officials; violating his
international commitments; lying, cheating and hiding his WMD programs;
deceiving and defying the express will of the United Nations over and over

As the President told the UN, "in one place—in one regime—we find all these
dangers in their most lethal and aggressive forms."

Some respond by saying, OK, Iraq poses a threat we will eventually have to
deal with—but now is not the time to do so.

To that, I would ask: when? Will it be a better time when his regime is
stronger? When its WMD programs are still further advanced? After he further
builds his forces, which are stronger and deadlier with each passing day?
Yes, there are risks in acting. The President understands those risks. But
there are also risks in further delay. As the President has said: "I will
not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril
draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the
world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most
destructive weapons."

Others say that overthrowing the regime should be the last step, not the

I would respond that for more than a decade now, the international community
has tried every other step. They have tried diplomacy; they have tried
sanctions and embargoes; they have tried positive inducements, such as the
"oil for food" program; they have tried inspections; they have tried limited
military strikes. Together, all these approaches have failed to accomplish
the UN goals.

If the President were to decide to take military action to overthrow the
regime, it would be not the first step, it would be the last step, after a
decade of failed diplomatic and economic steps to stop his drive for WMD.

Some have asked: why not just contain him? The West lived for 40 years with
the Soviet threat, and never felt the need to take pre-emptive action. If
containment worked on the Soviet Union, why not Iraq?

First, it’s clear from the Iraqi regimes 11 years of defiance that
containment has not led to their compliance. To the contrary, containment is
breaking down—the regime continues to receive funds from illegal oil sales
and procure military hardware necessary to develop weapons of mass murder.
So not only has containment failed to reduce the threat, it has allowed the
threat to grow.

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. We are not interested in establishing a
balance of terror with the likes of Iraq, like the one that existed with the
Soviet Union. We are interested in stopping a balance of terror from

Third, with the Soviet Union, we believed that time was on our side – and we
were correct. With Iraq, the opposite is true—time is not our side. Every
month that goes by, his WMD programs are progressing and he moves closer to
his goal of possessing the capability to strike our population, and our
allies, and hold them hostage to blackmail.

Finally, while containment worked in the long run, the Soviet Union’s
nuclear arsenal prevented the West from responding when they invaded their
neighbor, Afghanistan. Does anyone really want Saddam to have that same
deterrent, so he can invade his neighbors with impunity?

Some ask: Why does he have to be overthrown? Can’t we just take out the
capabilities he has that threaten us?

While the President has not made that decision, the problem with doing it
piecemeal is this: First, we do not know where all of Iraq’s WMD facilities
are. We do know where a fraction of them are. Second, of the facilities we
do know, not all are vulnerable to attack from the air. Some are
underground. Some are mobile. Others are purposely located near population
centers – schools, mosques, hospitals, etc. -- where an air strike could
kill large numbers of innocent people. The Iraq problem cannot be solved
with air strikes alone.

Some have argued that, if we do have to go to war, the U.S. should first
layout details of a truly comprehensive inspections regime, which, if Iraq
failed to comply, would provide a casus belli.

I would respond this way: if failure to comply with WMD inspections is a
casus belli, the UN already has it—Iraq’s non-compliance with UN inspection
regimes has been going on for more than a decade. What else can one ask for?

The U.S. is not close to inspections as an element of an effective response.
But the goal is not inspections—it is disarmament. Any inspections would
have to be notably different from the past. Given the history of this
regime, the world community hase every right to be skeptical that it would
be. And that is why, in 1998, the U.S. began to speak of regime change.

Our goal is disarmament. The only purpose of any inspections would be to
prove that Iraq has disarmed, which would require Iraq to reverse its
decades-long policy of pursuing these weapons. Something they are unlikely
to do.

There are serious concerns about whether an inspections regime could be
effective. Even the most intrusive inspection regime would have difficultly
getting at all his weapons of mass destruction. Many of his WMD capabilities
are mobile and can be hidden to evade inspectors. He has vast underground
networks and facilities to hide WMD, and sophisticated denial and deception
techniques. It is simply impossible to "spot check" a country the size of
Iraq. Unless we have people inside the Iraqi program who are willing to tell
us what they have and where they have it—as we did in 1995 with the
defection of Saddam’s son in law, Hussein Kamel—it is easy for the Iraqi
regime to hide its  capabilities from us.

Indeed, Hans Blix, the chief UN Weapons inspector, said as much in an
interview with the New York Times last week. According to the Times, (quote)
" [Mr. Blix] acknowledged that there were some limitations to what his team
could accomplish even if it was allowed to return. Mr. Blix said his
inspectors might not be able to detect mobile laboratories for producing
biological weapons materials, or underground storehouses for weapons
substances, if the inspectors did not have information about such sites from
the last time they were in Iraq or have not seen traces of them in satellite
surveillance photography." (Unquote).

When UNSCOM inspectors were on the ground, they did an admirable job of
uncovering many of Iraq’s violations—which is undoubtedly why Iraq had them
expelled. But despite the UN’s best efforts, from 1991-1995 Saddam was able
to conceal some of his nuclear program and his biological weapons program.
Some aspects were uncovered after his son-in-law defected and provided
information that allowed inspectors to find them. And even then, Iraq was
able to hide many of those activities from inspectors—capabilities he most
likely still has today, in addition to what he has developed in recent

There is a place in this world for inspections. They tend to be effective if
the target nation is cooperating—if they are actually willing to disarm and
want to prove to the world that they are doing so. They tend not be as
effective in uncovering deceptions and violations when the target is
determined not to disarm. Iraq’s record of the past decade shows the regime
is not interested in disarming or cooperating. Their behavior demonstrates
they want weapons of mass destruction and are determined to continue
developing them.

Some ask: now that Iraq has agreed to "unconditional inspections," why does
Congress need to act?

Iraq has demonstrated great skill at playing the international community.
When it's the right moment to lean forward, they lean forward. When it's a
time to lean back, they lean back. It's a dance. They can go on for months
or years jerking the U.N. around. When they find that things are not going
their way, they throw out a proposal like this. And hopeful people say:
"There's our opportunity. They are finally being reasonable. Seize the
moment. Let’s give them another chance." And then we repeatedly find, at the
last moment, that Iraq withdraws that carrot and goes back into their mode
of rejecting the international community. And the dance starts all over

The issue is not inspections. The issue is disarmament. The issue is
compliance. As the President made clear in his UN address, we require Iraq’s
compliance with all 16 UN resolutions that they have defied over the past
decade. And, as the President said, the UN Security Council—not the Iraqi
regime—needs to decide how to enforce its own resolutions. Congress’s
support for the President is what is needed to further generate
international support.

Some have asked whether military intervention in Iraq means the U.S. would
have to go to war with every terrorist state that is pursuing WMD?

The answer is: no. Taking military action in Iraq does not mean that it
would be necessary or appropriate to take military action against other
states that possess or
are pursuing WMD. For one thing, preventive action in one situation may very
well produce a deterrent effect on other states. After driving the Taliban
from power
in Afghanistan, we have already seen a change in behavior in certain
Moreover, dealing with some states may not require military action. In some
cases, such as Iran, change could conceivably come from within. The young
people and the women in Iran are increasingly fed up with the tight clique
of Mullahs—they want change, and may well rise up to change their leadership
at some point.

Some say that there is no international consensus behind ousting Saddam—and
most of our key allies are opposed.

First, the fact is that there are a number of countries that want Saddam
Hussein gone.  Some are reluctant to say publicly just yet. But, if the U.S.
waited for a consensus before acting, we would never do anything. Obviously,
one’s first choice in life is to have  everyone agree with you at the
outset. In reality, that is seldom the case. It takes time, leadership and
persuasion. Leadership is about deciding what is right, and then going out
and persuading others.

The coalition we have fashioned in the global war on terror today includes
some 90 nations—literally half the world. It is the greatest coalition ever
assembled in the annals of human history. It was not there on September
11th. It was built, one country at a time, over a long period of time. If we
had waited for consensus, the Taliban would still be in power in Afghanistan
today. The worldwide coalition was formed by leadership.

During the Persian Gulf War, the coalition eventually included 36 nations.
But they were not there on August 2, 1990 when Saddam invaded Kuwait. They
were not there on August 5th, when the President George H. W. Bush announced
to the world that Saddam’s aggression "will not stand." That coalition was
built over a period of many months.

With his UN speech, President George W. Bush began the process of building
international support for dealing with Iraq. The reaction has been positive.
We will
continue to state our case, as the President is doing, and I suspect that as
he does so, you will find that other countries in increasing numbers will
cooperate and participate. Will it be unanimous? No. Does anyone expect it
to be unanimous? No. Does it matter that it will not be unanimous? No. But
does the U.S. want all the support possible – you bet. Just as we have in
the coalition supporting the Global War on Terrorism.

The point is: if our nation’s leaders do the right thing, others will follow
and support the just cause—just they have in the global war against terror.

Some say that our European allies may reluctantly go along in the end, but
that U.S. intervention in Iraq would spark concern in the Arab world—that
not one country in that regions supports us, and many are vocally opposed.

That is not so. Saddam’s neighbors are deathly afraid of him—and
understandably so. He has invaded his neighbors, used weapons of mass
destruction against them, and launched ballistic missiles at them. He
aspires to dominate the region. The nations of the region would be greatly
relieved to have him gone, and that if Saddam Hussein is removed from power,
the reaction in the region will be not outrage, but great relief. And the
reaction of the Iraqi people will most certainly be jubilation.

Some ask, but will they help us? Will they give us access to bases and
territory and airspace we need to conduct a military operation?

The answer is that the President has not decided to take military action,
but, if he does, we will have all the support we need to get the job done.
You can be certain of it.

Another argument is that military action in Iraq will be expensive, and will
have high costs for the global economy.

That may be true. But there are also dollar costs to not acting—and those
costs could well be far greater. Consider: the New York City Comptroller
estimates that the economic costs of the Sept. 11 attacks to New York alone
were between $83 and $95 billion. He further estimated that New York lost
83,000 existing jobs and some 63,000 jobs the city estimates would have been
created had the attacks not happened. One institute puts the cost to the
national economy at $191 billion—including 1.64 million jobs lost as a
direct result of the 9/11 attacks. Other estimates are higher—as much as
$250 billion in lost productivity, sales, jobs, advertising, airline revenue
and the like. And that is not to mention the cost in human lives, and the
suffering of those who lost fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, sisters
and brothers that day.

And we must not forget that the costs of a nuclear, chemical or biological
weapons attack would be far worse. The price in lives would be not
thousands, but tens of thousands. And the economic costs could make
September 11th pale by comparison. Those are the costs that also must be
weighed carefully. And this is not mention the cost to one’s conscience of
being wrong.

Some have suggested that if the U.S. were to act it might provoke Saddam
Hussein’s use of WMD. Last time, the argument goes, he didn’t use chemical
weapons on U.S. troops and allies because he saw our goal was not to oust
him, but to push back his aggression. This time, the argument goes, the
opposite would be true, and he would have nothing to lose by using WMD.

That is an important point. And the President made clear on March 13, 2002
the consequences of such an attack. He said: "we’ve got all options on the
table because we want to make it very clear to nations that you will not
threaten the United States or use weapons of mass destruction against us,
our allies, or our friends."

There are ways to mitigate the risk of a chem-bio attack, but it cannot be
entirely  eliminated—it is true that could be a risk of military action. But
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 weapons of mass
destruction that we would deeply regret having sent. A country thinking
about acquiring WMD would conclude that the U.S. had been deterred by Iraq’s
chemical and biological weapons capabilities, and they could then resolve to
pursue those weapons to assure their impunity. The message the world should
want to send is the exact opposite. The message should be that Iraq’s
pursuit of WMD has not only not made it more secure, it has made it less
secure—that by pursuing those weapons, they have attracted undesired
attention to themselves.

But if he is that dangerous, then that only makes the case for action
stronger—because the longer we wait, the more deadly his regime becomes. If
the world community were to be deterred from acting today by the threat that
Iraq might use chemical or biological weapons, how will the UN feel when one
day, when Iraq demonstrates it has a  deliverable nuclear weapon? The risks
will only grow worse. If we are deterred today, we could be deterred
forever—and Iraq will have achieved its objective. Or will the world
community be deterred until Iraq uses a weapon of mass destruction, and only
then decide it is time to act.

But I would suggest that even if Saddam Hussein were to issue an order for
the use chemical or biological weapons, that does not mean his orders would
necessarily be carried out. Saddam Hussein might not have anything to lose,
but those beneath him in the chain of command most certainly would have a
great deal to lose – let there be no doubt. He has maintained power by
instilling fear in his subordinates. If he is on the verge of losing power,
he may also lose his ability to impose that fear—and, thus, the blind
obedience of those around him. Wise Iraqis will not obey orders to use WMD.

If President Bush were to decide to take military action, the U.S. will
execute his order and finish the job professionally—Saddam Hussein and his
regime would be removed from power. Therefore, with that certain knowledge,
those in the Iraqi military will need to think hard about whether it would
be in their interest to follow his instructions to commit war crimes by
using WMD—and then pay a severe price for that action. The United States
will make clear at the outset that those who are not guilty of atrocities
can play a role in the new Iraq. But if WMD is used all bets are off.

I believe many in the Iraqi Armed Forces despise Saddam Hussein, and want to
see him go as much as the rest of the world does. Those who may not despise
him, but decide they would prefer to survive, may desert and try to blend
into the civilian population or escape the country. This is what happened in
Panama, when it became clear that Noriega was certain to be on his way out.

Some say that Saddam might succeed in provoking an Israeli response this
time —possibly a nuclear response—and that this would set the Middle East

We are concerned about the Iraqi regime attacking a number of its neighbors,
and with good reason: Saddam Hussein has a history of doing so. Iraq has
attacked Bahrain, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Iraq is a
threat to its neighbors. We will consult with all of our allies and friends
in the region on how to deal with this threat.

But the fact that they have blackmailed their neighbors makes the case for
action stronger. If we do nothing, that blackmail will eventually become
blackmail with
weapons of mass destruction—with significantly new consequences for the

Some have said the U.S. could get bogged down in a long-term military
occupation, and want to know what the plan is for a post-Saddam Iraq?

That is a fair question. It is likely that international forces would have
to be in Iraq for a period of time, to help a new transitional Iraqi
government get on its feet and create conditions where the Iraqi people
would be able to choose a new government and achieve self-determination. But
that burden is a small one, when balanced against the risks of not acting.

In Afghanistan, our approach was that Afghanistan belongs to the Afghans—we
did not and do not aspire to own it or run it. The same would be true of

In Afghanistan, the U.S. and coalition countries helped create conditions so
that the Afghan people could exercise their right of self-government.
Throughout the Bonn process and the Loya Jirga process, a new president was
chosen, a new cabinet sworn-in, and a transitional government,
representative of the Afghan people, was established to lead the nation.

If the President were to make the decision to liberate Iraq, with coalition
partners, it would help the Iraqi people establish a government that would
be a single country, that did not threaten its neighbors, the United States,
or the world with aggression and weapons of mass destruction, and that would
respect the rights of its diverse population.

Iraq has an educated population that has been brutally and viciously
repressed by Saddam Hussein’s regime. He has kept power not by building
loyalty, but by instilling fear—in his people, his military and the
government bureaucracy. I suspect that there would be substantial defections
once it became clear that Saddam Hussein was finished. Moreover, there are
numerous free Iraqi leaders—both inside Iraq and abroad—who would play a
role in establishing that new free Iraqi government. So there is no shortage
of talent available to lead and rehabilitate a free Iraq.

In terms of economic rehabilitation, Iraq has an advantage over Afghanistan.
A free Iraq would be less dependent on international assistance, and could
conceivably get back on its feet faster, because Iraq has a marketable

Some have raised concerns that other countries elsewhere in the world might
take  advantage of the fact that the U.S. in tied up in Iraq, and use that
as an opportunity
to invade neighbors or cause other mischief.

There is certainly a risk that some countries might underestimate our
capability to handle Iraq and stop their aggression at the same time. But
let there be no doubt: we have that capability.

Last year, we fashioned a new defense strategy, which established that we
will and do have the capability to near simultaneously:

Defend the U.S. homeland;
Undertake a major regional conflict and win decisively—including occupying a
country and changing their regime;
If necessary, swiftly defeat another aggressor in another theater; and
Simultaneously conduct a number of lesser contingencies—such as Bosnia,
Kosovo and Afghanistan.

The United States can do the above, if called upon to do so.

Another argument is that acting without provocation by Iraq would violate
international law.

That is untrue. The right to self-defense is a part of the UN Charter.
Customary international law has long provided for the right of anticipatory
self-defense—to stop
an attack before it happens. In addition, he is in violation of multiple UN
Security Council resolutions. Those concerned about the integrity of
international law should
focus on their attention his brazen defiance of the UN.

Some ask: What has changed to warrant action now?

What has changed is our experience on September 11th. What has changed is
our appreciation of our vulnerability—and the risks the U.S. faces from
networks and terrorist states armed with weapons of mass destruction.

What has not changed is Saddam Hussein’s drive to acquire these weapons.
Every approach the UN has taken to stop Iraq’s drive for WMD has failed. In
after Iraq had again kicked out UN inspectors, President Clinton came to the
Pentagon and said (quote):

"If [Saddam] fails to comply, and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous
third route which gives him yet more opportunities to develop his weapons of
mass destruction… and continue to ignore the solemn commitment he made…. he
will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will
conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of
devastating destruction…. The stakes could not be higher. Some day, some
way, I guarantee you, he’ll use that arsenal." (unquote)

At the time, the U.S. massed forces in the Persian Gulf, ready to strike. At
the last minute, Iraq relented and allowed UN inspectors to return. But
predictably, they
kicked them out again ten months later. They have not been allowed to return
since. He has not only paid a price for that defiance, he has been rewarded
for his defiance of the UN by increased trade from a large group of UN
member nations.

If, in 1998, Saddam Hussein posed the grave threat that President Clinton
correctly described, then he most certainly poses a vastly greater danger
today, after four
years without inspectors on the ground to challenge his WMD procurement and
development efforts. To those who still ask—that is what has changed!

Some have asked what are the incentives for Iraq to comply—is there is
anything the Iraqi regime could do to forestall military action? Or is he
finished either way?

Our objective is gaining Iraq’s compliance. Our objective is an Iraq that
does not menace its neighbors, does not pursue WMD, does not oppress its
people or threaten the United States. The President set forth in his speech
what an Iraqi regime that wanted peace would do. Everything we know about
the character and record of the current Iraqi regime indicates that it is
highly unlikely to do the things the President has said it must do. So long
as Saddam Hussein is leading that country, to expect otherwise is, as the
President put it, to "hope against the evidence." If Saddam Hussein is in a
corner, it is because he has put himself there. One choice he has is to take
his family and key leaders and seek asylum elsewhere. Surely one of the one
hundred and eighty plus counties would take his regime – possibly Belarus.

Some ask does the U.S. needs UN support?

The President has asked the UN Security Council to act because it is the UN
Security Council that is being defied, disobeyed and made less relevant by
the Iraqi regime’s defiance. There have already been 16 UN resolutions,
every one of which Saddam Hussein has ignored. There is no shortage of UN
resolutions. What there is is a shortage of consequences for Saddam’s
ongoing defiance of those 16 UN resolutions. The President has made the case
that it is dangerous for the United Nations to be made irrelevant by the
Iraqi regime.

As the President put it in his address last week, "All the world now faces a
test, and the United Nations a difficult and defining moment. Are Security
Council resolutions to be honored and enforced, or cast aside without
consequence? Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding, or
will it be irrelevant?"

But the President has also been clear that all options are on the table. The
only option President Bush has ruled out is to do nothing.

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 is a
test that, unfortunately, the world’s free nations have failed before in
recent history—with terrible consequences.

Long before the Second World War, Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf indicating what
he intended to do. But the hope was that maybe he would not do what he said.
  Between 35 and 60 million people died because of a 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 has used
weapons of mass destruction against his own people and his neighbors. He has
demonstrated an intention to take the territory of his neighbors. He has
launched ballistic missiles against U.S. allies and others in the region. He
plays host to terrorist networks. He pays rewards to the families of suicide
bombers in Israel—like those who killed five Americans at the Hebrew
University earlier this year. He is hostile to the United States, because we
have denied him the ability he has sought 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 chemical and biological weapons, and is pursuing nuclear weapons.
If he demonstrates the capability to deliver them to our shores, the world
would be changed. Our people would be at great risk. Our willingness to be
engaged in the world, our willingness to project power to stop aggression,
our ability to forge coalitions for multilateral action, could all be 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 these risks of living in the world we
see? Or is the risk of doing nothing greater than the risk of acting? That
is the question President Bush has posed to the Congress, to the American
people and to the world community.

The question comes down to this: how will the history of this era be
recorded? When we look back on previous periods of our history, we see there
have been many books written about threats and attacks that were not

"At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor"
"December 7, 1941: The Day the Admirals Slept Late"
"Pearl Harbor: Final Judgment"
"From Munich to Pearl Harbor"
"While England Slept"
"The Cost of Failure"

The list of such books is endless. And, unfortunately, in the past year,
historians have added to that body of literature—there are already books out
on the September 11th attacks and why they were not prevented. As we meet
today, Congressional committees are trying to determine why that tragic
event was not prevented.

Each is an attempt by the authors to "connect the dots"—to determine what
happened, and why it was not possible to figure out that it was going to

Our job today – the President’s, the Congress’ and the UN’s is to connect
the dots before the fact—to anticipate vastly more lethal attacks before
they happens—and to make the right decision as to whether we should take
preventive action-- before it is too late.

We are on notice—each of us. Each has a solemn responsibility to do
everything in our power to ensure that, when the history of this period is
written, the books won’t ask why we slept—to ensure that history will
instead record that on September 11th the American people were awakened to
the impending dangers—and that those entrusted with the safety of the
American people made the right decisions and saved our nation, and the
world, from 21st century threats.

President Bush is determined to do just that.


Nathaniel Hurd
90 7th Ave.
Apt. #6
Brooklyn, NY  11217
Tel. (M): 917-407-3389
Tel. (H): 718-857-7639

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