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[casi] Powell Testimony Before US House Int. Rel. Comm. (As Prepared - 19 Sep 02)

Source: US Secretary of State Colin Powell, testimony (as prepared) before
US House of Representatives’ Committee on International Relations, 19
September 2002,


Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I am pleased to appear before you to
testify on the Administration’s position with regard to Iraq.

Congressman Hyde, Congressman Lantos, you and I have been discussing Iraq
for a long time. In fact, many of the committee members go back with me to
the days of the Gulf War.

In 1990, Saddam Hussein’s forces invaded Kuwait, brutalized the population,
and rejected the international community’s ultimatum to withdraw.

The U.S. built a world-wide coalition with the clear political purpose of
liberating Kuwait. The military instrument of that coalition, led by
America, had an equally clear military objective that flowed directly from
the political purpose: eject the Iraqi army from Kuwait.

The United Nations Security Council endorsed this purpose and objective, and
the international community responded with unprecedented political backing,
financial support, and military forces. As a result, we not only
accomplished our mission in the Gulf War, the way we did it was a model of
American leadership and international cooperation.

When the war ended, the UN Security Council agreed to take measures to
ensure Iraq did not threaten any of its neighbors again. Saddam Hussein was
a man after all who had sent his armies against Iran in 1980 and then
against Kuwait in 1990, who had fired ballistic missiles at neighboring
countries, and who had used chemical weapons in the war with Iran and even
against his own people. The United States and the international community
were strongly determined to prevent any future aggression.

UN Security Council Resolution 687 of 3 April 1991 fixed the terms of the
ceasefire in the Gulf. The fundamental purpose of this resolution and many
more that followed was restoration of regional peace and security by way of
a series of stringent demands on Iraq, particularly its disarmament with
respect to weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles with ranges
greater than 150 kilometers. Desert Storm had dramatically reduced Iraq’s
more conventional military capability while at the same time not leaving
Iraq so prostrate it could not defend itself against Iran.

Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, you know the rest of the story. You
heard the President relate it at the United Nations seven days ago today.
Iraq has defied the United Nations and refused to comply completely with any
of the UN Security Council Resolutions. Moreover, since December 1998 when
the UN’s inspection teams left Iraq because of the regime’s flagrant
defiance of the UN, the Iraqi regime has been free to pursue weapons of mass
destruction.  Meanwhile, the world has changed dramatically.

Since September 11, 2001, the world is a different place. As a consequence
of the terrorist attacks on that day and of the war on terrorism that those
attacks made necessary, a new reality was born: the world had to recognize
that the potential connection between terrorists and weapons of mass
destruction moved terrorism to a new level of threat. In fact, that nexus
became the overriding security concern of our nation. It still is. It will
continue to be for some years to come.

We now see that a proven menace like Saddam Hussein, in possession of
weapons of mass destruction, could empower a few terrorists to threaten
millions of innocent people.

President Bush is fully determined to deal with this threat. His
Administration is determined to defeat it. I believe the American people
would have us do no less.  President Bush is also aware of the need to
engage the international community. He understands how powerful a strong and
unified international community can be, as we have seen so well-demonstrated
in the war on terrorism in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The need to engage the international community is why the President took his
message on the grave and gathering danger of Iraq to the United Nations last
week. Moreover, it is the United Nations that is the offended party, not
Iraq, as some might claim.

It was United Nations resolutions that were systematically and brutally
ignored and violated for these past 12 years. It was United Nations
inspectors who found it impossible to do their job and had to leave the work
unfinished.  The President’s challenge to the United Nations General
Assembly was a direct and simple one: If you would remain relevant, you must

The President’s speech was powerful and energized the UN General Assembly
debate. It changed the political landscape on which this issue was being
discussed. Iraq is the problem. Iraq is in material breach of the demands
placed upon it by the United Nations.

President Bush made clear in his speech what Iraq must do to repair this

Iraq must immediately and unconditionally forswear, disclose, and remove or
destroy all weapons of mass destruction, long-range missiles, and all
related material.
Iraq must end all support for terrorism and act to suppress it, as all
states are required to do by UN Security Council resolutions.
Iraq must cease persecution of its civilian population, including Shi’a,
Sunnis, Kurds, Turkomans, and others, again as required by UN Security
Council resolutions,
Iraq must release or account for all Gulf War personnel whose fate is still
unknown. It must return the remains of any who are deceased, return stolen
property, accept liability for losses resulting from the invasion of Kuwait,
and it must cooperate fully with international efforts to resolve these
issues, once again as required by Security Council resolutions.
And Iraq must immediately end all illicit trade outside the oil-for-food
program. It must accept UN administration of funds from that program, to
ensure that the money is used fairly and promptly for the benefit of the
Iraqi people.
Over the past weekend I watched the pressure build on Iraq as the Arab
League, the Secretary General and others pressed Iraq on the need to take

Four days ago, on Monday, Iraq responded with a familiar, tactical ploy. The
Iraqi Foreign Minister said Iraq would let the inspectors in without
conditions. But he is not deceiving anyone. It is a ploy we have seen
before, on many occasions. And on each occasion, once inspectors began to
operate Iraq continued to do everything to frustrate their work.

In May 1991, for example, just after suspension of hostilities in the Gulf
War, Iraq accepted the unrestricted freedom of entry and exit without delay
or hindrance for UN inspectors and their property, supplies, and equipment.

In June 1991 – a short month later – Iraqis fired warning shots at the
inspectors to keep them away from suspicious vehicles.

Three months later, in September, the Iraqis confiscated a set of documents
from the inspectors. When the inspectors refused to comply with an Iraqi
demand to give up a second set of documents, the Iraqis surrounded them and
for four days refused to let them leave the inspection site. Finally, when
the UN threatened enforcement action, the inspectors were allowed to leave.

In February 1992 Iraq refused to comply with a UN inspection team’s decision
to destroy certain facilities used in proscribed programs and in April of
that year Iraq demanded a halt to the inspectors’ aerial flights.

Later, in July of that year, Iraq refused the inspectors access to the Iraqi
Ministry of Agriculture. The inspectors had reliable information that the
site contained archives related to proscribed activities. They finally
gained access only after members of the Council threatened enforcement

In January 1993, Iraq refused to allow the UN inspection teams to use their
own aircraft to fly into Iraq. In June and July of 1993, Iraq refused to
allow the UN inspectors to install remote-controlled monitoring cameras at
two missile engine test stands. In March 1996, Iraqi security forces refused
UN inspection teams access to five sites designated for inspection. The
teams entered the sites after delays of up to 17 hours – which of course
permitted the Iraqis to remove any incriminating evidence. In November 1996,
Iraq blocked UN inspectors from removing remnants of missile engines for
in-depth analysis outside Iraq. In June 1997, Iraqi escorts on board a UN
inspector team helicopter attempted physically to prevent the UN pilot from
flying the helicopter in the direction of its intended destination.

In that month also, Iraq again blocked UN inspection teams from entering
designated sites for inspection. In September 1997, an Iraqi officer
attacked a UN inspector on board a UN helicopter while the inspector was
attempting to take photographs of unauthorized movement of Iraqi vehicles
inside a site designated for inspection.

Also in September, while seeking access to a site declared by Iraq to be
"sensitive," UN inspectors witnessed and videotaped Iraqi guards moving
files, burning documents, and dumping ash-filled waste cans into a nearby

Mr. Chairman, I have left out much and could go on – all the way to the
departure of the UN inspection teams from Iraq in December 1998 because they
could no longer do their job. And I could talk about Operation Desert Fox,
the military action that resulted. But I believe you get the point.

The Iraqi regime is infamous for its ploys, its stalling tactics, its
demands on inspectors—sometimes at the point of a gun, and its general and
consistent defiance of the mandate of the UN Security Council.

There is absolutely no reason at all to expect that Iraq has changed, that
this latest effort to welcome inspectors without conditions is not another

Let’s be clear about the reason for their announcement. The Iraqis did not
suddenly see the error of their past ways. They were responding to the heat
and pressure generated by the international community after President Bush’s

The United States has made it clear to our Security Council colleagues that
we will not fall for this ploy. This is the time to apply more pressure, not
to relent. We must not believe that inspectors going in on the same
conditions that caused their withdrawal four years ago is in any way
acceptable. These four years have been more than enough time for Iraq to
procure, develop, and hide proscribed items well beyond the reach of the
kinds of inspectors that were subject to Saddam’s cheat and retreat approach
from 1991 to 1998.

The United States has determined that Iraq’s obstruction of UN Security
Council resolutions and its gross violation of its obligations cannot
continue. In his speech to the General Assembly, the President challenged
the Security Council to live up to its responsibilities. The UN Secretary
General, Kofi Annan, said the same thing. We, our closest allies, and our
friends around the world are prepared to do our part to enforce Security
Council resolutions and render harmless the Iraqi threat. We are discussing
now the best way to proceed with the other members of the Security Council
and with close friends. We are trying to find a solution.

If part of the solution involves an inspection regime, it must be a regime
that goes in with the authority of a new resolution that removes the
weaknesses of the present regime and which will not tolerate any Iraqi
disobedience. It cannot be a resolution that will be negotiated with Iraq.
The resolution must be strong enough and comprehensive enough that it
produces disarmament, not just inspections.

Many UN members, including some on the Security Council, want to take Iraq
at its word and send inspectors back in without any new resolution or new
authority. This is a recipe for failure.

The debate we have begun to have within the Council is on the need for and
the wording of a resolution. Our position is clear. We must face the facts
and find Iraq in material breach. Then, we must specify the actions we
demand of Iraq – which President Bush has already shown us. And we must
determine what consequences will flow from Iraq’s failure to take action.

That is what makes this time different. This time, unlike any time over the
previous 12 years of Iraqi defiance, there must be hard consequences. This
time, Iraq must comply with the UN mandate or there will be decisive action
to compel compliance.

We will listen to other points of view and try to reach agreement within the
Council. It will be a difficult debate. We will also preserve the
President’s ability to defend our nation and our interests.

Some have suggested that there is a conflict in this approach, that U.S.
interests should be our total concern.

But Mr. Chairman, both of these issues are important. We are a member of the
UN Security Council. We are a member of the UN. It is a multilateral
institution whose resolutions have been violated. But the United States, as
a separate matter, believes that its interest is threatened. We are trying
to solve this problem through the United Nations and in a multilateral way.
The President took the case to the UN because it is the body that should
deal with such matters as Iraq. It was created to deal with such matters.
And President Bush is hoping that the UN will act and act in a decisive way.

But at the same time, if the UN is not able to act and act decisively -- and
I think that would be a terrible indictment of the UN -- then the United
States will have to make its own decision as to whether the danger posed by
Iraq is such that we have to act in order to defend our country and our

And Mr. Chairman, our diplomatic efforts at the United Nations would be
helped by a strong Congressional resolution authorizing President Bush to
take action.

The President should be authorized to use all means he determines
appropriate, including military force, to enforce the UN Security Council
resolutions Iraq is defying, and to defend the United States and its
interests against the threat Iraq poses, and to restore international peace
and security to the region.

I ask for your immediate action on such a resolution to show the world that
we are united in this effort.

Mr. Chairman, my colleagues in the intelligence community and in the
Department of Defense are giving the Congress what it will need with respect
to intelligence on Iraq and on military contingency planning. So I won’t
speak to those areas.

But let me say this about the Iraqi threat before I stop and allow the
greater part of this time for your important questions.

We can have debates about the size and nature of the Iraqi stockpile of WMD
and of mid- and long-range missiles. But no one can doubt the record of
Iraqi violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions, one after
another, and for twelve long years.

And no one can doubt that the Iraqi dictator’s intentions have not changed.
He wants weapons of mass destruction as clearly as he wants to remain in

These two realities stare us in the face and cannot – must not – be avoided.

Thank you and I’ll stop there and take your questions.


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

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