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

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


[Mr. Chairman, members of]-- the committee, and I welcome this opportunity
to present the Administration's position with respect to our situation
regarding Iraq.

Mr. Chairman, Congressman Lantos, and other members of the committee, you
and I have been discussing Iraq for many years.  In fact, many of the
committee members go back to the days before the Gulf war when I came up and
testified on so many occasions about what we were doing in that buildup of
Desert Shield.

We all remember vividly that in 1990, Saddam Hussein's forces, as both of
you have noted,  invaded Kuwait, brutalized that population, and at that
time rejected the international community's ultimatum to withdraw.

The United States built a world-wide coalition -- we got the whole
international community involved at that time -- with the clear political
purpose of liberating Kuwait.  And the military instrument of that
coalition, led by America, had an equally clear military objective that
flowed directly from the political purpose, and that was to eject the Iraqi
army out of 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.  And as a result, we not only
accomplished our mission in the Gulf War, the way in which we did it was a
model of American leadership and a model of international cooperation.

When the war ended, the Security Council of the United Nations agreed to
take measures to ensure that Iraq did not threaten any of its neighbors
again.  Saddam Hussein, as you all both have noted and all will note, 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 at that time
were strongly determined to prevent any future aggression.

So United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 of 3 April 1991 fixed the
terms of the ceasefire in the Gulf.  And 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 possession of
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 that it could not defend
itself against Iran.  It just had finished a war with Iran and we did not
want to give Iran an opportunity to start that war up again from a position
of superiority.  The focus of 687 was on weapons of mass destruction, and
the resolutions that followed focused on that and other problems with Iraq
that I will touch on in a moment.

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 United Nations Security Council Resolutions that were passed.
Moreover, since December of 1998 when the United Nations inspection teams
left Iraq because of the regime's flagrant defiance of the UN, the Iraqi
regime, Saddam Hussein, 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, a more dangerous
place than the place that existed before September 11 or a few years ago
when the inspectors were last in.  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, a threat that could not be deterred, as
has been noted; a threat that we could not allow to grow because of this
connection between states developing weapons of mass destruction and
terrorist organizations willing to use them without any compunction and in
an undeterrable fashion.  In fact, that nexus became the overriding security
concern of our nation.  It still is and will continue to be so for years to

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.  This
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.  Just as an earlier President Bush did some 12 years ago, he
understands perfectly 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, a war on terrorism that is each day
producing new successes, one step, one arrest, one apprehension at a time.

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 people might claim.  Not just the United States, it is the
international community that should be offended.

It is a combination of United Nations resolutions that have been
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 one and it was a very simple one: if you would remain relevant, you
must act.  You must not look away from this challenge.

The President's speech was powerful.  I was there.  I listened to it.  I
knew what he was going to say, and I could see the energy in the room as he
delivered it.  It energized the United Nations General Assembly and it
energized the debate taking place at this 57th meeting of the United Nations
General Assembly.  It changed the political landscape on which this issue
was being discussed.  It made it clear that Iraq is the problem.  Iraq is
the one that is in material breach of the demands placed on it by this
multilateral organization, the United Nations.

The President made clear what was expected of Iraq was to repair this breach
if they could.  He made it clear that the issue, however, was more than just
disarming Iraq by eliminating its weapons of mass destruction and by
constraining its mid and long range missile capability.  The UN resolutions
also spoke of terrorism, human rights, the return of prisoners, the return
of property, and the proper use of the Oil-for-Food program.  And the
indictment that the President laid out didn't need much discussion or
debate.  Everybody sitting in that chamber last Thursday new that Iraq stood
guilty of the charges.  It convicted itself by its action over these past 12
years.  There can be no question that Iraq is in material breach of its

Over the past weekend while I worked the aftermath of the President's
speech, I saw the pressure build on Iraq as the Arab League, the Secretary
General and so many other nations pressed Iraq on the need to take action
because it stood guilty and nobody could deny the guilt.

And four days ago, on Monday, Iraq responded not with a serious offer but
with a familiar, tactical ploy to try to get out of the box, to try to get
out of the corner once more.  The Iraqi Foreign Minister said Iraq would let
the inspectors in ''without conditions.''  And this morning, in a speech at
the United Nations he challenged President Bush's September 12th speech.  He
even called for a discussion of the issue of inspection teams in accordance
''with international law.'' he said.  He is already walking back.  He is
already stepping away from the without condition statement they made on
Monday.  But he is not deceiving anybody.  It is a ploy we have seen before.
  We have seen it on many occasions.  And on each occasion, once inspectors
began to operate, Iraq continued to do everything to frustrate their work.

Mr. Chairman, I will call your attention and the members' attention to the
written statement that I have submitted, and I ask that it be put in the
record, where I record a dozen examples of Iraq's defiance of the UN
mandate.  Cited in that longer statement is everything from intimidation at
gunpoint to holding up inspectors while all the incriminating evidence was
removed from the site to be inspected.  It is a litany of defiance,
unscrupulous behavior and every sort of attempt at noncompliance.  And by no
means have I listed everything, only a sampling.

The Iraqi regime is infamous for its ploys, stalling tactics, its demands on
inspectors, sometimes at the point of a gun, and its general and consistent
defiance of the mandate of the United Nations Security Council.  There is
absolutely no reason to expect that Iraq has changed, that this latest
effort of theirs to welcome inspectors without conditions is not just
another ploy.

Let's be absolutely clear about the reason for their announcement Monday and
what their Foreign Minister said today.  They did not suddenly see the error
of their ways.  They did not suddenly want to clear up the problems of the
past 12 years.  They were responding to the heat and the pressure generated
by the international community after President Bush's speech.

The United States has made it clear to our Security Council colleagues that
we will not fall for this ploy.  This is the time not to welcome what they
said and become giddy, as some have done.  This is the time to apply even
more pressure.  We must not relent.  We must not believe that inspectors
going in under the same conditions that caused their withdrawal four years
ago is in any way acceptable or will bring us to a solution to this problem.
  These four years have been more than enough for Iraq to procure, develop,
and hide proscribed items well beyond the reach of the kinds of inspections
that were subject to Saddam's cheat and retreat approach from 1991 to 1998.

If inspectors do go back in because the UN feels it is appropriate for them
to do so, they must go back in under a new regime with new rules, without
any conditions and without any opportunity for Iraq to frustrate their

It is up now to the United Nations Security Council to decide what action is
required of Iraq to deal with this material breach of the United Nations
mandate.  If part of that solution that the Security Council comes to
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, and not just

Many United Nation 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.  It's a recipe for failure, and we will not support that.
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 laid out in his speech last week.

And then here's the key element.  Here's what will make it different from
what we did in the past, and this must be an essential element of any road
going forward, any plan to go forward from the Security Council.  We must
determine what consequences this time will flow from Iraq's failure to take
action.  That is what makes this 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 we'll try to reach agreement
within the Council.  It will be a difficult debate.  We will also preserve
at all times the President of the United States' authority and ability to
defend our nation and our interest, as he sees fit -- do it with our
friends, do it with the United Nations, or do it alone.  But the President
has made it clear that this is a problem that must be solved and will be

Some have suggested that there is a conflict in this approach, that US
interests should be our total concern.  But Mr. Chairman, both of these
issues, both multilateral and unilateral, are important.  We are a member of
the United Nations Security Council.  We are a member of the United Nations.
  It is a multilateral institution whose resolutions have been violated.
But the United States, as a separate matter, believes that its interests are
threatened even if the United Nations has not continued to come to that

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.  President Bush is hoping that the UN will act in a
decisive way.  But at the same time, as he has made clear, and my other
colleagues in the Administration have made clear and I make clear today, if
the United Nations 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 to defend our interests.

And Mr. Chairman, our diplomatic efforts at the United Nations would be
helped by a strong, 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 United
Nations Security Council resolutions that 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 know that the Administration has provided language to the Congress.  I ask
that the Congress consider it carefully and quickly, and I ask for immediate
action on such a resolution to show the world that the United States is
united in this effort.  To help the United Nations understand the
seriousness of this issue, it would be important for all of us to speak as a
nation, as a country, and to give this powerful signal to our diplomatic
efforts in the United Nations.

Mr. Chairman, my colleagues in the intelligence community and my colleague,
Secretary Rumsfeld, are giving the Congress additional information with
respect to military ideas and options, with respect to the intelligence
supporting the conclusions we have come to.  So I will not take any time to
do that here today, but I am prepared to answer any questions in these areas
that you think I might be competent and qualified to answer.

But let me say this about the Iraq threat before I stop and allow the
greater part of our time available for your important questions to be
answered.  We can have debates, discussions and disagreements about the size
and nature of the Iraqi stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, and we can
discuss whether they are or are not violating the range constraints on the
missiles that they have.  But no one can doubt the record of Iraqi
violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions.  That is not
debatable.  It's a fact.  It's a stated fact.

And no one can doubt Iraq's intention to continue to try to get these
weapons of mass destruction unless they are stopped, and that is also not
debatable.  And I hope that will help to shape our debate and our
discussions and the important decisions that we may have to make as a
nation.  These two realities -- their intention and their continued
violations over time -- are indisputable.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I will stop and look forward to the questions from
the committee.  And once again, I ask that my full statement be put in the


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

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