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At the 29 July Senate Foreign Relations hearing "Iraq: Status and Prospects for Reconstruction" Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and [Whitehouse] Office of Management and Budget Director Joshua Bolten, and US Army Acting Chief of Staff Gen. John Keane testified. Reportedly, the hearing featured several "heated exchanges" between Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Minority Member Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Delaware) and Wolfowitz (see below for some of Biden's statements). Several Democratic Senators joined Biden in rhetorically challenging Wolfowitz. The Committee's Chair Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Indiana) also expressed concernd about the absence of specific cost information. [begin] Lugar said the administration should supply "at least some idea of what is likely to be required of the American taxpayer." [end] (1) Below also find a url to the C-Span video footage of the complete hearing. According to Biden's website, "On Thursday, July 31st U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE), the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, will deliver a major foreign policy address on U.S. policy in Iraq at the Brookings Institution. One year after he convened the Foreign Relations Committee hearings on Iraq, Senator Biden will review the Bush administration's handling of the war and its aftermath. Biden will also discuss the policy struggles within the administration and how these disagreements could affect the way America deals with other trouble spots around the world. Following the speech Senator Biden will take questions from the audience (time permitting)." (2) The speech will take place at noon. Biden's speech might be noteworthy, at least as an indicator of what forthgoing might happen in Congress (at least on the Democrat's side, although there are reports about Republican frustration with the Administration's regular unwillingness to provide direct answers related to occupation, reconstruction, cost, transition, etc.) that is Iraq-related. [begin] "I think you're going to lose the American people if you don't come forward now and tell them what you know, that [the reconstruction effort is] going to cost tens of billions of American taxpayers' dollars and tens of thousands of American troops for an extended period of time," Biden said, his voice just below a shout. Referring to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's penchant for saying certain things are "unknowable," Biden admonished Wolfowitz: "Please don't waste our time or yours by saying the future is simply unknowable. Pick a number. Pick an idea." [end] (3) [begin] BIDEN: I want to try to ask a couple very specific questions, and if you could help me by giving as quick an answer as you could. Mr. Bolten, what are your working assumptions on the cost side for the rest of '03 and for '04 for Iraq? BOLTEN: For the rest of '03, Senator Biden, on the cost side our working assumptions are those that Ambassador Bremer has brought back to us. He's anticipating expenditures in the range for the total of '03 of about $7.3 billion. BIDEN: How much will you be requesting for the remainder of the year, if any, from the United States Congress to fund that need? BOLTEN: We don't anticipate requesting anything additional for the balance of this year. BIDEN: And what do you anticipate for '04? BOLTEN: I don't know the answer to that. Ambassador Bremer has laid out a reasonably specific budget for the balance of '03, and I think he had an opportunity to discuss that with you. But even that was relatively crude because of -- they're just getting a handle on so many of the variables that are in play right now. BIDEN: Do you anticipate we'll be continuing to spend $4 billion a month for our troops in Iraq for '04? BOLTEN: That's roughly what we're spending now. Looking out over the immediate term, we don't have any reason for expect a dramatic change in that number, but I wouldn't want to predict beyond the next couple of months, because the situation is so variable. BIDEN: Don't you have to? I mean, we're talking about the '04 budget. We're going to be voting on that in the next couple months. What the devil you going to ask us for? BOLTEN: Well, in the '04 budget -- and, Senator, as you know, we've been very explicit about it -- we have not included the incremental costs of our fighting forces in Iraq, nor the costs of reconstruction. BIDEN: Why? BOLTEN: Simply because we don't know what they will be. BIDEN: Oh, come on now. Does anybody here at the table think we're going to be down below 100,000 forces in the next calendar year? Raise you hand, any one of you. You know it's going to be more than that. So you know at least it's going to be $2.5 billion a month. Give me a break, will you? When you guys starting to be honest with us? Come on. I mean, this is ridiculous. You're not even... WOLFOWITZ: Senator, to suggest that this is an issue of honesty really is very misleading. BIDEN: It is a suggestion of candor, of candor, of candor. You know there's going to be at least 100,000 American forces there for the next calendar year and you're not asking us for any money. WOLFOWITZ: Senator, I don't know -- I don't know what we're going to have there. BIDEN: Let me finish please. Let me finish. WOLFOWITZ: OK. BIDEN: And you are not asking us for any money in next year's budget for those troops. Now, what do you call that? WOLFOWITZ: Senator, there will be a supplemental request, there is no question about that. And there will be a supplemental request when we think we can make a reasonably good estimate of what will get us through the whole year, so we won't have to keep coming up here with one supplemental request after another so I don't sit here and say, "Well, maybe the number's going to be 100,000," and then it turns out it's 120,000, then people accuse us of being misleading or dishonest. We know what the number is now. We know what we're trying to do in terms of enlisting other countries. We don't know whether the Paks are going to come through with a division. We don't know whether the Turks are going to come through with a division. We don't know how rapidly we're going to be able to train Iraqis. BIDEN: Are you suggesting, if, in fact, they come through with divisions we're going to reduce American forces? WOLFOWITZ: I believe that that's exactly the purpose of getting foreign troops in. In fact, in southern Iraq today we are handing responsibility for key provinces in Iraq over to the Poles and the Spaniards and the Italians. And we're taking Marines out, we're not replacing them with Americans. BIDEN: So we're going to have a net reduction of American forces for the... WOLFOWITZ: I'm not predicting, Senator. I don't know until we get these Baathist criminals under control, we're going to put in whatever it takes to do the job. WOLFOWITZ: But we are trying to get other people to fill in for us. We're trying to get Iraqis to fill in for us. And I think by the end of the year or early next year, we'll have a much better fix on what it takes to get through the year. BIDEN: Do you have any expectation that you're going to be able to stand up an Iraqi army of any consequence in the next six months? WOLFOWITZ: There are two different things here, and then, thanks for giving me a chance to explain it. We're working on training an Iraqi army, which is a two- to three-year project to produce regular units, lots of training, lots of discipline. You don't need that kind of an army to guard six power lines, you don't need that kind of an army to take over for Marines guarding hospitals, you don't need that kind of any army to guard... BIDEN: That's the civilian defense force you're talking about. How long do you expect to have stand up... WOLFOWITZ: Civilian defense force -- we believe we can have thousands of those people available within about 45 days. BIDEN: Within 45 days. And how about the police? WOLFOWITZ: The police we're standing up rapidly, and as you noted correctly at the police academy. They're not all equally good. I visited a group down in Basra that still are struggling, but up north in Kirkuk, for example, the Iraqi police have taken over the whole function of... BIDEN: The Iraqi police have taken over in -- well, OK, I find this, kind of, incredible. The picture you painted -- are there any substantive changes or consequence you're recommending to the president or is everything going along as planned, you've, kind of, got everything on course here and everything's pretty well in hand? I mean, you've told us about how the military says we're well ahead of where we were in Bosnia. Are you happy with where we are, right now? WOLFOWITZ: Senator, I'm not happy with where we are right now and if there's any way to accelerate anything, we're looking at it. We're looking at how to accelerate training Iraqis. I've talked about that at some length. We're looking at emergency ways of accelerating electric power production; some of that is already under way. I believe the reason we are able to get the oil production up over a million barrels a day is because we brought in portable generators to provide electricity. That's the kind of... BIDEN: The report called for -- what? -- 5,000 of those. Are they up -- 550 diesel-driven emergency generators to be installed -- are they up and running? WOLFOWITZ: I don't know. I can check that for the record. I don't know the detail. But that is an example of where we're looking at acceleration. We're looking at acceleration in some nonmilitary areas. For example, up north, one of the big issues, the so-called de-Arabization. A lot of Kurds and some Turks were moved out of their homes in a, kind of, slow motion ethnic cleansing and Arabs were moved in. The Arabs would be happy to leave but it's going to take some money and some legal efforts to do that. We'd like to get that started more quickly than what was originally planned. Your point, Senator, which I agree with, is there's a window of opportunity here. I can't measure how long it is, but I do believe that the sooner we move within that window, the better off we'll be further out into the future; and that money invested now, even if it's not quite efficient, will save us a lot of money in the long run. And money invested on the civil side can help bring down that $4 billion a month that we're currently spending on our troops. BIDEN: My time's up, but I'm confused. General Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said that if we get these 30,000 additional foreign troops that there will not be enough for us to reduce our military in Iraq for months, possibly years, and he said we need more than 30,000 and even that. I don't get you guys. Myers says that, you're telling me, "We get these additional troops, we're going to draw down American troops." KEANE: Can I respond to that, Senator? BIDEN: Sure. KEANE: The two pacing items that involve U.S. troop commitment is one, obviously, the level of violence and the security situation we're currently facing. We have to get that down. And the second thing is the involvement of multi-national forces, and also, the Iraqis themselves, the civil defense forces that deputy secretary mentioned and also the Iraqi army and police forces. Those are our pacing items. And General Abizaid, when he looks to the future, does not want to look beyond March. But even with looking toward March, what he sees is definitely two multi-national divisions, probably by the end of September, and the possibility of a third that hasn't been committed yet, but the State Department and the Defense Department is working with that. If that does happen, that will reduce U.S. commitment by one division and also one brigade. And we're moving very quickly, obviously, to get the Iraqis to do more for themselves, to help defend their own people, and that's in its embryonic stages. KEANE: It's those two items -- the level of violence, multinational division participation, and also the Iraqis themselves will see us reduce the U.S. troop commitment. BIDEN: These forces are nowhere, and I'd be interested to see about your civilian force. But at any rate, I thank you. [end] (4) [begin] BIDEN: Mr. Chairman, if I could just briefly close my comments by saying that there is an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer on the 13th of -- two weeks ago. And it said a smaller circle of civilians in the Defense Department who dominate the planning of postwar Iraq failed to prepared for the setbacks that have erupted over the past two months. Based on the testimony here today, I think we're making the same mistake again. I think you're failing to prepare for what is the reality on the ground. I no more agree -- just for the record -- with your assessment that "Iraq is the hotbed of terror" now than I did when your assertions about Al Qaida connections at the front end. And I voted to go into Iraq and I'd vote to do it again. And it seems to me the failure of Iraq would be a lot worse than anything that happened before Iraq. The president, it seems to me, has to tell the American people, General, what you were saying earlier: Prepare them for what is expected of them. And it's going to be tens of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of troops for an extended period of time. That window is going to close in Iraq. But it's also going to close -- as my friend, Senator Corzine, was implying -- in terms of American public opinion if we don't start to level with them. Our credibility as a nation is at stake right now. And I think you're going to lose the American people if you don't come forward now and tell them what you know, that it's going to cost tens of billions of dollars of American taxpayers' dollars, and tens of thousands of American troops for an extended period of time. They think Johnny and Jane are going to come marching home. And I'd also point out that you need cops now, you need a different mix of troops now. And I didn't hear anything today to indicate that you're going to get that to happen. I think you've got it wrong in the first place in terms of prewar planning, the assumptions -- as you said, Mr. Secretary -- turned out to be an understatement of the problem. I think you're understating the problem again. BIDEN: We can do this. We can win this. We can win the peace. But you better start to tell the American people now, or they're not going to be around. They're not going to be around. They're going to be asking us to bring the boys and girls home, which would be a tragic mistake. So level with them. Billions of dollars, tens of thousands of troops, I'll vote for it, I'll support it, I'll stay with you. The president has to tell them now, now, now, now. LUGAR: Let me thank both senators. I thank the witnesses, especially for your testimony, staying with the hearing. We are at the end of the roll call vote, and this is why senators have disappeared. But we appreciate very, much your being here today. And we look forward to staying closely in touch with you. [end] (5) Hearing Url: http://www.c-span.org/VideoArchives.asp?z1=&PopupMenu_Name=Defense/Security&CatCodePairs=Issue,DESE;; 1. Esther Schrader, "Lawmakers Grill Wolfowitz on Iraq", Los Angeles Times, 30 July 2003, http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/iraq/complete/la-fg-costs30jul30,1,5847981.story?coll=la-iraq-complete 2. Senator Joseph Biden's office, press release, "Senator Biden to Deliver Major Policy Address on The National Dialogue on Iraq: One Year Later", 28 July 2003, http://biden.senate.gov/pressapp/record.cfm?id=206871 3. Esther Schrader, "Lawmakers Grill Wolfowitz on Iraq", Los Angeles Times, 30 July 2003, http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/iraq/complete/la-fg-costs30jul30,1,5847981.story?coll=la-iraq-complete 4. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, hearing, "Iraq: Status and Prospects for Reconstruction", transcript, Federal Document Clearing House, 29 July 2003 5. Ibid. Nathaniel Hurd Consultant on Iraq policy Tel. 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