07 February 2002
Bush Statements on Terrorism Presage More Interventionist Policy, Berger Says
(Senate witnesses see toppling of Saddam Hussein as key step ahead)
By Ralph Dannheisser
Washington File Congressional Correspondent
Washington -- Policy pronouncements by President Bush in his State of
the Union address outlining an expanded war against terrorism "promise
a far more interventionist global American posture," the national
security advisor in the administration of former President Clinton
Samuel Berger told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he
backs aggressive action to deal with "the nexus between biological,
chemical and nuclear states and terrorism."
But the question is not whether to deal with these risks but how,
Berger said. "This is not a war we can fight with military power
alone," he told committee members. "Our objective must be not only to
destroy the terrorist networks that have attacked and threaten us; we
must do so in a way that makes the world more stable, not less -- that
isolates the extremists, not us."
And, he added, a critical element in that effort must be to commit the
resources needed to stabilize and rebuild Afghanistan, even if that
means participating in an international security force for some time.
Berger joined two other witnesses, retired General George Joulwan,
former supreme allied commander of NATO, and William Kristol, editor
of the Weekly Standard and chairman of the Project for the New
American Century, in discussing "What's Next in the War on Terrorism"
as Committee Chairman Joseph Biden (Democrat, Delaware) continued a
wide-ranging review of U.S. foreign policy in the aftermath of the
terrorist attacks of September 11.
Biden, in opening the hearing, reiterated a concern he has stressed in
recent days: that scarce resources better used to destroy Russian
weapons stockpiles or otherwise safeguard them from falling into the
hands of terrorist groups are being drained away to fund development
of the missile defense system aggressively being pushed by the Bush
"The budget priorities put forward by the administration, in my view,
are ones that we have a responsibility to debate and discuss," he
Joulwan agreed with Berger on the need for an international security
force in Afghanistan if the progress achieved there is to be
sustained, and said that that security effort will require "U.S.
leadership and direction."
While some have voiced distaste for "nation-building," a follow-on
effort in Afghanistan "is not nation building but security building,"
he said. And while the military campaign in Afghanistan has provided a
start, the administration must now "prepare our country for a long
struggle" against terrorist threats, the general added.
Biden and all the panelists shared the view that one key effort in
that struggle must be to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq -- a
country that Bush, in his State of the Union speech, lumped with Iran
and North Korea as constituting a threatening "axis of evil."
"Saddam Hussein was, is and continues to be a menace to his people, to
the region and to us. He cannot be accommodated. Our goal should be
regime change. The question is not whether, but how and when," Berger
Kristol offered his own answer to the question of "when," declaring,
"The short answer is that Iraq is next." He said that statement not
only reflected his own priorities, but came as "a straightforward
conclusion from President Bush's State of the Union speech, and from
the logic of the war itself....
"After uprooting al-Qaida from Afghanistan, removing Saddam Hussein
from power is the key step to building a freer, safer, more peaceful
future," he said.
(The Washington File is a product of the Office of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:
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