Sept 9 Senate hearing; Dvlpts
Iraq News, SEPTEMBER 14, 1998By Laurie Mylroie
The central focus of Iraq News is the tension between the considerable, proscribed WMD capabilities that Iraq is holding on to and its increasing stridency that it has complied with UNSCR 687 and it is time to lift sanctions. If you wish to receive Iraq News by email, a service which includes full-text of news reports not archived here, send your request to Laurie Mylroie .
I. UNSCR 1194, SEPT 9 II. ASSEMBLY TO RECOMMEND SUSPENSION OF UNSCOM ACTIVITY, AFP, SEPT 13 III. MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, TO AMERICAN LEGION, EXCERPT ON IRAQ, SEPT 9 IV. SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS, MIDEAST, HEARING ON IRAQ, SEPT 9 This is the 40th day without weapons inspections in Iraq. Scott Ritter will testify Sept 15, before the House Int'l Relations Committee ["Iraq News" should have details shortly]. On Sept 9, RFE/RL announced that Amb. David Newton, a career FSO, ambassador to Iraq from 84 to 88 and ambassador to Yemen from 94 to 97, has been appointed director of Radio Free Iraq. An Iraqi reader reported that to mark the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Amnesty Int'l is collecting signatures to support the declaration. To add your name: send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put YOUR NAME in the SUBJECT field and the following text in the message: "I support the rights and freedoms in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for all people, everywhere and specifically in Iraq." You can check also out www.amnesty.excite.com On Sept 9, the UNSC unanimously passed resolution 1994, suspending sanctions reviews, until Iraq rescinded its Aug 5 decision on UNSCOM inspections and cooperated fully with it. The UNSCR includes an "incentive" for Iraqi cooperation--a "comprehensive review" of Iraqi compliance, if Iraq cooperates. One reader, retired from DoD, expressed concern about the "mild conditions" Iraq seems to have to meet for the "comprehensive review." But "Iraq News" believes that that is not the immediate problem. Evidence mounts that Sen. John Kerry [D. Ma] was correct, when he said at the Sept 3 Scott Ritter hearing that Saddam's aim is to build proscribed unconventional weapons, not to get sanctions lifted [see "Iraq News," Sept 7]. AFP, Sept 13, reported on the Nat'l Assembly meeting to be held today. The English AFP quoted a senior assembly member as saying that it would recommend a complete break with UNSCOM. The Arabic version identified the assembly member as Khalid Shihab al-Duri, chair of the Arab and Int'l Affairs committee, who said that the assembly "will call with determination on the Iraqi leadership to take decisive action to put an end to the work of UNSCOM." Also, on Sept 9, Sec State Albright, in an address in New Orleans to the American Legion Convention, dealt with the subject of US Iraq policy, among others. It was very similar to Indyk's testimony that day to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mideast Subcommittee, even to the point of using nearly identical language, like "Iraq remains within the strategic box Saddam Hussein's folly created for it seven years ago. . . . If Iraq tries to break out of its strategic box, our response will be swift and strong." On Sept 9, Asst Sec State for NEA, Martin Indyk, along with Jeane Kirkpatrick, former UN ambassador, James Woolsey, former CIA Director, and Richard Murphy, former Asst Sec State for NEA, testified before the Senate. Sen. Brownback [R Ks] began the hearing by asking whether the US could live up to its position as the sole superpower, providing leadership, or whether it would follow a policy of transferring responsibility to a weak and divided UN. He said the committee would explore problems with Iraq policy, stated and unstated, and "we've got a lot of tough questions." Indyk began by saying that a lot of charges had been leveled against the administration and the Secretary of State personally for pursuing a duplicitous policy on Iraq and he would set the record straight. He said that the present goal was to deny Iraq the capacity ever again to threaten peace and security. He explained that year after year, Iraqi weapons capabilities had been unmasked. Still, Iraq would reconstitute its proscribed weapons if given the opportunity. Iraq's goal was to get sanctions lifted, while retaining its proscribed capabilities. Indyk then turned to Ritter, using the administration's well- established formula--Ritter is a fine fellow, but he doesn't see the big picture. Indyk also quoted a statement of Amb Butler, critical of Ritter, that had appeared in that day's NYT. He even likened Ritter to Saddam, as both, according to Indyk, were impugning UNSCOM's independence. Sen. Brownback began the questioning by hailing Ritter as "an American hero," explaining that Ritter was "a stand-up guy out doing his job." He then asked Indyk about US interference in the Jul and Aug inspections. Indyk explained that the US had "asked questions" about the July inspection and it was "adjusted." On the Aug inspections, Tariq Aziz had told Amb. Butler that there would be no more inspections, unless UNSCOM declared that Iraq was free of proscribed weapons. Indyk explained that the administration wanted to "keep the focus" on Iraq's blocking inspections, rather than muddy the waters with provocative inspections. He said that he was not aware of the time-sensitive nature of UNSCOM's information. Sen. Coverdell [R Ga] asked Indyk what "adjustments" the administration was pursuing. Indyk couldn't respond in open session. Coverdell also suggested that it might have been better to highlight Saddam's obstruction of inspections by letting them proceed and be blocked, rather than accept Iraqi diktat. Indyk replied that that was a "judgment call." Coverdell also suggested that the administration needed to review Ritter's Sept 3 testimony for inconsistencies between his account and theirs. Brownback seconded that. In her testimony, Jeane Kirkpatrick hailed Ritter as "a distinguished international civil servant," while James Woolsey included the administration's criticism of him among the major US errors since the Gulf war's end. Taking on Indyk, Woolsey distinguished between Ritter's effort to get the US to back more rigorous inspections and Saddam's aim, which was the reverse. In his testimony, Indyk also said those sympathetic to Iraq at the UNSC could find no defense in Iraq's suspension of inspections and that the administration was taking advantage of the "new atmosphere" there. Recent developments have put us on a ladder of escalating confrontation with Iraq. We won't let this situation of no inspections go on forever. Indyk ended his opening statement, saying that Iraq remains within the "strategic box" that Saddam Hussein's folly created seven years ago. And if he tries to break out of his box, "our response will be swift and strong." In questioning, Indyk maintained that diplomacy must be backed by the threat of force. "We have not taken the threat of force off the table. It remains an option." Sen. Robb replied that he hoped that we would never be in a position where we would take force off the table. Sen. Diane Feinstein's [D Ca] questioning was similar to her questions to Scott Ritter, Sept 3. She is concerned about the proscribed weapons that Iraq retains. She asked Indyk which UNSC members were having problems sustaining inspections. Indyk replied that it was France, Russia, and China. Feinstein also asked how many inspections there had been since Aug 5. Indyk said zero. He said that Butler had tried to conduct three inspections, but they had been blocked. Yet Indyk's answer was garbled. UNSCOM has not tried to conduct any inspections since Aug 5. Monitoring was blocked three times. Inspections are carried out at undeclared sites, while monitoring occurs at declared sites and involves both passive monitoring-cameras & etc-and visits to the sites being monitored. Indyk was referring to the three incidents that Butler reported to the UNSC Aug 12, and the NYT reported Aug 13. Sen Feinstein proceeded by observing that there were 600 tons of VX precursors in Iraq, enough to make 200 tons of VX. Indyk replied that was correct. Feinstein said that for over a month there had been no UNSCOM inspections. She asked about UNSCOM's discovery that Iraq had put VX in SCUD warheads, which Indyk confirmed. And she concluded, noting that given the presence of VX in Iraq, its extreme lethality, and its presence having been detected on a SCUD warhead, the UNSC members not supporting inspections "ought to heave to." It seemed she had the US in mind, as well as other UNSC members. Indyk replied by speaking about the imminent passage of UNSCR 1194 [it passed late that afternoon]. He said that after that, the UN wouldn't even discuss lifting sanctions. He recalled that Saddam had threatened "decisive action" in response and said the administration had other steps under consideration, while it had much stronger support than in the previous crises. In the second panel, Indyk/Iraq policy came in for a toasting by three of the four panelists--Kirkpatrick, Woolsey, and Eagleburger. Kirkpatrick explained that though she had listened very sympathetically, she couldn't understand what the policy was. It was not acceptable to give the American public the impression that the US was vigorously pressing a policy of inspections and then not do so. She said that the administration had an obligation to explain itself. It is a kind of "trust me" attitude about a matter that is so important that we went to war. "They owe us all some sort of explanation and perhaps apology" James Woolsey explained that since the closing hours of the Gulf war, the US had made a number of errors: 1) we stopped too soon; 2) we failed to support the popular rebellion in the south; 3) the response to Saddam's attempt to assassinate George Bush was weak; 4) we stood aside in 96, while Saddam attacked the democratic Iraqi opposition; 5) we've detained six Iraqi opposition members in California; 6) we've criticized Scott Ritter's principled stand; 7) overall, we've wasted the past seven years, punishing and ignoring those struggling against Saddam, while appeasing him. Richard Murphy was the only panelist to defend the administration. He said that US core objectives were to prevent Iraq from producing unconventional weapons and threatening its neighbors. Those objectives remained within our capabilities. He also underscored the importance of a question asked by Sen Feinstein-how long should Iraq be allowed to continue the present impasse over inspections? Murphy also explained that Arab criticism of US policy on Iraq had grown, in part, because Arabs doubt that the US will do enough to overthrow Saddam. Lawrence Eagleburger began with the same complaint as Kirkpatrick-- the policy is incomprehensible. What is the conclusion? Where does this lead us? Eagleburger described the policy as "fruitless," noting that Indyk had said that the US supported inspections, until Saddam blocked them. "Gee Whiz!" He cited Sen. Coverdell's question, why didn't the US go ahead with the planned inspection in Aug? Eagleburger said that he didn't understand a policy that sought to keep the focus on Saddam's blocking inspections. He asked what are you going to do? Hold a press conference every day? Sen. Brownback began the questioning saying that had listened carefully and agreed that we were in a mess, although that was predictable from the Annan accord. He complained that the administration hadn't explained when it intended to push a policy of reviving inspections. He said that he continued to believe that there is a different, private policy--also the view of "Iraq News." Eagleburger raised the danger of misperceptions, noting that it could be dangerous if Saddam perceived US weakness. Kirkpatrick noted that Saddam had a tendency to underestimate his opponent, even as she noted that the administration had not followed up its threats regarding UNSCOM and Saddam may understand that this administration doesn't follow up threats. Murphy said that Saddam was one of the great "misreaders." In 1991, he misread the likelihood of our losses. He thought thousands of bodies would be returned. If he is misreading Bill Clinton today, it would be part of a pattern. But why is it thought Saddam is "misreading" Clinton or our society more broadly? "Iraq News" believes that Saddam has Clinton/us dead-to-rights. Saddam is single-minded and focused; we are distracted and our attention divided. Moreover, something went very wrong in the seven years since the Gulf war. It became impossible to raise questions/discuss the Gulf war's unfinished business, because Saddam became so widely considered stupid and a bore. In fact, that was the origin of "Iraq News," as there came a point when the major media wouldn't publish anything about Iraq, because it was "not news." But that didn't happen immediately after the war. Despite the hoopla and ticker tape parades, enough people understood something was wrong. That was partly because of the way Bush handled the Mar 91 uprisings and the Kurdish exodus that followed, which drew the US back into Iraq. It was also partly because the Bush administration responded to criticism of sufficient weight by taking it on, not by sweeping it under the rug, with an "agitprop machine." Finally, it was also partly because of the extreme dissatisfaction of the Israeli Gov't, then headed by Itzhak Shamir, which was very concerned about Iraq's early, inadequate declarations about its proscribed weapons. The Shamir Gov't, it seems, understood that Saddam intended to live to fight another day and it set out to assassinate him. Unfortunately, a tragic training exercise occurred in Oct 92 and the mission was canceled by the new Rabin Gov't. In fact, it was under Clinton/Rabin that Iraq was forgotten. Rabin was in such a hurry for the peace process, that he kicked the unfinished business of the Gulf war off the agenda, while Clinton never wanted to deal with it anyway. So, almost everything that gave indication that the Gulf war was not over, was, perversely, treated as evidence that Saddam was "stupid." Thus, as Iraq lunged at Kuwait in Oct 94, Daniel Pipes, editor of the Middle East Quarterly, who had backed the way Bush ended the Gulf war-leaving Saddam in power, as a counter to Iran, or so Pipes thought-wrote in the WSJ Oct 14, "Stupid is as Stupid Does," about the Iraqi thrust at Kuwait. Somehow that stuck. And why not? It made Americans feel good about themselves. Moreover, the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, concluded at month's end, added to the general euphoria and cut off whatever debate there had been about the inadequacy of Clinton's response to Iraq's belligerence. Then, the next year, in early Aug, Hussein Kamil defected, precipitating the dramatic revelations that Iraq's most lethal capabilities had survived the war and Saddam had managed to conceal that from UNSCOM. They included a BW program much vaster than Iraq had acknowledged having, just a month before; the capability to produce a stable form of VX and weaponize it; and a nuclear program far more advanced than had been thought. Moreover, it was also learned that during the war, Iraq had deployed SCUDS with BW warheads, as well as bombs, to airfields in western Iraq. If Baghdad fell, commanders were authorized to fire the missiles at Israel and Saudi Arabia. That made news in Aug, but by Labor Day, it had become just more evidence of Saddam's "stupidity." Since Saddam had kept that material, sanctions would stay on. And besides, there was Oslo II, concluded shortly thereafter, to make everyone feel good. A euphoria/quasi-messianism was generated by the way Rabin pursued the peace process--he didn't have to completely ignore Iraq. And that bit Israelis particularly hard and left them, especially those on the center-left, with an enduring inability to understand the Iraqi threat. It is a phenomenon with which "Iraq News" has significant, direct personal experience. And as both Martin Peretz, The New Republic, Sept 7, and Tom Friedman, NYT Aug 29, observed, the peace-process was based on the premise, avidly promoted by Rabin, that along with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US victory over Iraq was so decisive that Israel's secular neighbors had no choice but to fall in line. Even Hafiz al Assad had made a "strategic decision" for peace, the Mossad, Military Intelligence, and the Foreign Ministry all claimed. And that is why so many Israelis refuse to accept and incorporate, even now, the information that suggests the US did not win the war and Saddam remains very dangerous. A few do--like Ehud Ya'ari/Ze'ev Schiff/Gerald Steinberg, Bar Ilan University/the editors of the Jerusalem Post. But most do not and their work is so systematically distorted that it is fit for little more than wrapping fish. The most recent example of such work is Dr. Joshua Teitelbaum's "Gulf Arabs & Iran," in MERIA, Sept 9, 1998. Teitelbaum, the Saudi expert at the Dayan Center, Tel Aviv University, twisted himself into a pretzel to explain the Saudi-Iranian rapprochement that began in the spring of 1997, while avoiding much mention of the Saudi fear of Iraq. That, even as following the Feb 97 visit to Wash DC of a large Saudi delegation, headed by the Defense Minister, Riyadh recognized that even after the presidential elections, the Clinton administration was not going do anything about Saddam. So, the Saudis began turning to the Iranians to make the best of a bad business, even as one would never know that from Teitelbaum. Because this is such a serious matter, "Iraq News" will increasingly point out Israeli writing on Iraq and closely related issues that meets the standard of "fit-for-wrapping fish"-a stubborn and obstinate refusal to incorporate publicly available information on the Iraqi menace into their work. We are kidding ourselves, if we think Saddam does not intend to pay us back for what we have done. James Woolsey told the Senate Judiciary committee, Sept 3, that since the Gulf war's end, US policy toward Iraq has been "flaccid and feckless." Thus, "Iraq News" would respectfully suggest that is not Saddam who misreads us; it is we have not taken sufficient stock of what we have done and not done over the past years, regarding the threat from Iraq. Finally, the Sept 9 hearing ended with Eagleburger's protest that the present situation was intolerable. Passing the UNSC resolution achieved nothing. You have to be prepared to escalate. You have to take the risk of using force now, understanding you may not accomplish your objective. But it is better than doing nothing. But using force, with no clear objective in mind, is problematic. That would only bring us back to where we were last Feb. Rather, Woolsey suggested that the long term strategy should be to bring down Saddam's regime through overt means. Addressing Sen Brownback, Woolsey said that things had come to the point where a set of proposals that Richard Perle, Ahmed Chalabi, Bill Kristol and I made earlier this year should be adopted. The US should support the democrtic opposition in overthrowing Saddam. It can be done. But it requires leadership. Would Congress support it? Yes, if it understood the dangers--Iraq's missiles, terrorism, and unconventional weapons. "Iraq News" heartily concurs; the dangers are not properly understood, even now. Richard Murphy said that nothing James Woolsey had suggested would cause harm, while Sen. Brownback concluded the hearing, "We are in a mess. We have an administration policy that is difficult to follow. An administration that cannot or will not act and which invites challenges from abroad. Referring to the Senate hearings earlier this year, which Woolsey had alluded to, Brownback said that Mr. Woolsey and Mr. Chalabi had presented a long term policy, rather than just dropping a few bombs. IV. SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS, MIDEAST, HEARING ON IRAQ Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, "US Policy in Iraq: Public Policy and Private Diplomacy" September 9, 1998 The Chair, Sen. Brownback, [R KS] began by asking whether the US could live up to its position as the sole superpower, providing leadership, or whether it would follow a policy of transferring responsibility to a weak and divided UN. The US' word must be its bond. If we have made a commitment, we must keep it. The US reaction to Iraqi defiance over UNSCOM has been "tough on talk" but "weak on follow through." The committee is going to explore problems with Iraq policy, stated and unstated, and "we've got a lot of tough questions." Testimony of Martin Indyk Martin Inydk, Asst Sec State for NEA, began by saying that a lot of charges had been leveled against the administration and the Secretary of State personally for pursuing a duplicitous policy on Iraq and he would set the record straight. The goal of Desert Story had been to roll back Iraq from Kuwait, Indyk explained. The present goal was to deny Iraq the capacity ever again to threaten peace and security. Year after year, Iraqi weapons capabilities had been unmasked. We have constrained Iraqi operations through no-fly zones and the reinforcement of the US military position in the region. But the Iraqi threat has not been eliminated. Iraq will reconstitute its weapons of mass destruction, if given the opportunity. Iraq's goal is to get sanctions lifted, while retaining as much as possible of its residual WMD capability. We've threatened the use of force three times since the Gulf war. And the last time we did, in February, Iraq backed down. The people who level these charges are well-intentioned. We have nothing but respect for Scott Ritter. But Ritter works with a different set of facts, said Indyk, quoting Amb. Butler in that day's New York Times, to the effect that Ritter's statements were inaccurate and misleading. Indyk said he would put forward some facts, implying that his "facts" would decisively refute Ritter. Indyk explained that the US was the biggest backer of UNSCOM. It provided vital technical support. The Secretary of State had issued a directive June 23 on the need to support UNSCOM. US diplomacy internationally was to keep the heat on Iraq. The suggestion that the US had urged other governments not to support UNSCOM was not true. In fact, this summer UNSCOM was able to conduct an inspection of a site where it found new evidence that Iraq had lied about its chemical weapons. The US hoped to maintain the unity of the UN Security Council on Iraq, as the only other option was to send US forces to Baghdad. Thus, the US needed the support of others for: 1) sanctions; 2) inspections; 3) the use of force. Saddam seeks to divide the UNSC. But the US seeks to isolate Saddam. We want to keep the world spotlight on Iraqi actions, not US actions. The continuation of UNSCOM's work is essential if we are to achieve the goal of eliminating the Iraqi WMD threat. UNSCOM must be seen to be independent. Indyk said that both Ritter and Saddam were undermining the perception of UNSCOM's independence, as he again referred to Butler's comments in the NYT. The purpose of every US contact with UNSCOM was to move closer to the goal of eliminating Saddam's proscribed weapons, but our tactics are not rigid. We made tactical suggestions regarding the timing of inspections. No nation has done more to support UNSCOM. On August 26, Butler told the Wash Post that he never had any doubt about US resolve. On a few occasions our advise to UNSCOM had been cautious. In January, our military operations were incomplete and Ramadan was approaching. Indeed, Ritter himself opposed the inspection of the Ministry of Defense on the grounds that it would lead down a slippery slope of confrontation. Indyk suggested that that was the same reasoning the US had used on other occasions regarding inspections and it was a legitimate consideration. In July, one inspection was postponed. But there were other intrusive inspections going on. We supported the August inspection, but the issue became moot, when Iraq unformed UNSCOM on August 4 that there would be no more inspections. At the UNSC, those sympathetic to Iraq can find no defense or sense in Iraq's action and we are taking advantage of the "new atmosphere" there. Recent developments have put us on a ladder of escalating confrontation with Iraq. We won't let this situation of no inspections go on forever. Iraq remains within the "strategic box" that Saddam Hussein's folly created seven years ago. And if Saddam Hussein tries to break out of his box, "our response will be swift and strong." Sen. Brownback began the questioning by saying that Scott Ritter is "an American hero." As Brownback explained, he is a "stand-up guy out doing his job." Brownback said that in his Senate testimony the week before, Ritter had refuted the charge that he was dictating US policy. His reply was that he was an implementer, dealing with time sensitive information. Brownback then turned to Indyk, saying you don't deny that the US did step in to delay inspections in July and August? Indyk replied that there were two instances in which the administration spoke to Amb. Butler in July and August. In July we were briefed about inspections and we had questions about one or two of them. We asked Butler those questions. Our concern and only motive was that Saddam Hussein would not be the beneficiary of inspections that did not produce results. Indyk also said that I can't judge how time sensitive Ritter's information was. I wasn't aware of it. Brownback suggested that the administration was making an operational decision. Indyk replied that we raised questions, questions about whether this inspection would be productive. In early August, Tariq Aziz told Amb. Butler that Iraq would not allow further inspections, unless Butler said that Iraq was free of proscribed weapons. So we wanted to keep the focus on Saddam Hussein's blocking of inspections, rather than muddy the waters with provocative inspections. We were already receiving attacks by other UNSC members on UNSCOM. One inspection was "adjusted" and one was blocked. We asked questions about the value of certain inspections. Brownback asked, "Did you ask that the date be changed? Indyk said, "Date, not the date." The chairman of UNSCOM made the decision. In the first case, we asked questions. In the second, we suggested the focus should be on Saddam Hussein. We asked questions about particular aspects of the inspections. As far as I'm aware, it was not about the date. Sen. Charles Robb [D, Va] suggested that other US measures in response to Iraqi obstructionism were possible, like no-fly and no-drive zones to rachet up the pressure for Iraqi compliance then to respond with US military action. Indyk replied that he wanted to be careful I answering, because we don't want to telegraph our punches. There was a range of pressure points. In particular, the US was now focused on the sanctions regime, which had been under attack from those who wanted sanctions lifted. Saddam had two objectives. One was to retain his residual WMD. The other was to get sanctions lifted. But our objective was to deny him both. Sanctions were important to deny him the ability to rebuild his military, including his WMD. If we can use Saddam's refusal to cooperate with UNSCOM as a way to strengthen the sanctions regime, we think that that is useful. Indyk explained the only language that Saddam respected was force. Diplomacy must be backed by the threat of force. "We have not taken the threat of force off the table. It remains an option." Sen Robb replied that he hoped we would never be in a position where would take force off the table. Sen Paul Coverdell [R Ga] asked Indyk what "adjustments" were you pursuing with Amb. Butler? Indyk replied that those were sensitive details, which he couldn't reveal in public session. Coverdell asked whether it was to have Scott Ritter removed? Indyk replied that we did not seek to have Ritter removed. We had questions which were not directed at Ritter personally. We did not object to Ritter's inspection in August. I told Charles Duelfer that we had no problem with that. Other members of the UNSC did have problems. But we wanted to keep the focus on Saddam's blockage of inspections. Coverdell suggested that it might have been better to highlight Saddam's obstruction of the inspections by letting them proceed, and be blocked, rather than just accepting Iraq's saying so. Indyk responded that that was "a judgement call." He referred to the RCC's August 5 statement announcing the suspension of inspections and explained that UNSCOM and its chairman were under strong assault at the UNSC. One member was charging UNSCOM with provocations, even as the RCC issued its August 5 statement. Coverdell suggested that Ritter's testimony needed to be reviewed again by the administration. There were clear inconsistencies, which sometimes happened. Sen. Brownback emphasized the need to follow up the record of Ritter's testimony. Sen. Diane Feinstein [D Ca] asked, since August 5, how many inspections have there been? Indyk replied zero. Indyk explained that Butler had tried to conduct three inspections, but they had been blocked. However, passive monitoring was going on. Feinstein asked which parties in the UNSC were having problems sustaining inspections? Indyk replied that Russia, France, China were permanent members who believe that the best way to insure Iraqi compliance was to provide incentives by closing files, partially lifting sanctions. But we won't go along with that. Feinstein observed that there were 600 tons of VX precursors in Iraq, enough to make 200 tons of VX. Indyk replied that was correct. Feinstein said that Iraq had weaponized VX. Indyk replied that was correct. Feinstein said that for over a month there had been no inspections in Iraq and Iraq could have moved around its stockpile of VX precursors. Indyk said yes, but if UNSCOM inspections had been ongoing, that still could have happened. Feinstein said that I guess what bothers me is that VX is known to be in Iraq and there is a commitment to a regime of inspections. What is keeping countries from carrying out their responsibilities to back those inspections? Indyk replied that they assess their national interests differently. Feinstein asked about VX warheads. Indyk recounted Butler's submission to the UNSC on Iraq's having put VX in SCUD warheads. He also explained that UNSCOM had recently come across a document on chemical munitions that Iraq had used during the Iran-Iraq war. The document was discovered in July at Iraq's Air Force headquarters. It is still in Iraq's possession, in violation of the UN resolutions. The document showed that Iraq used 50% less chemical munitions during that war than it claimed to have used, leaving a question as to what happened to the thousands of chemical munitions Iraq claimed were consumed. Feinstein replied that it seems to me that the presence of VX, which is so dangerous,--a thousandth of a gram on the skin is lethal--found on a warhead, that those nations not supporting inspections ought to heave to. Indyk replied that following passage of the UNSC resolution suspending sanctions reviews, the UN wouldn't even discuss lifting sanctions. And the vote would be unanimous. Saddam has threatened "decisive action." We'll see about that. There is under consideration other steps that we will take. We are finding this time that we have much stronger support than in the previous crises. Sen Robb stressed the importance of maintaining sanctions. Sen Brownback asked how was it possible that the UN Sanctions Committee had cleared Iraq to receive shipments from the Khartoum plant that the US bombed that was involved with the production of a VX precursor. Indyk replied that the "oil for food" resolution was instituted because of US concern for the Iraqi people and had been expanded at the initiative of the UNSG. The expansion met Iraq's requirements for food, medicine, and then some, including infrastructure. But because oil prices had dropped, Iraq couldn't pump enough oil to meet its allowed sum. Yet at the same time the US made sure that dual use equipment did not got to Iraq. The US has the ability to exercise "tight control" over what goes into Iraq. Indyk explained that he personally was not aware of the exact details of the Sudan contract. Testimony of Jeane Kirkpatrick Former UN Ambassador, Jeane Kirkpatrick, began the testimony of the second panel. She said I can't fathom quite what the administration intends in response to the testimony of Scott Ritter, a distinguished international civil servant. I was shocked when I read what was reported, that the administration was seeking to discourage intrusive inspections. I thought there must be some explanation. But I haven't found it. I thought hard about the UN environment. I thought there must be some agreement with the UNSG which was complex, half-stated that UNSCOM would avoid provoking Iraq, while Iraq would cooperate. Iraq enjoys more standing in the UN than most Americans understand. And there is within the UN a powerful drive to conduct its activities on the basis of consensus. Consensus become an end, as well as a means. So I though there maybe some agreement between the Secretary of State and the Secretary General and maybe that wasn't so bad-although we would need to know about that. But what seems not reasonable is to give the American public the impression that the US is vigorously pressing a policy of inspections and then not to do so. The Secretary of State's comments [about Scott Ritter], seemed very angry, that if he were looking at the problem from her perspective, he would see a broader picture. The administration has an obligation to explain itself. But no matter how one bends over backwards to understand their view, it is unacceptable. It is a kind of "trust me" attitude about a matter that is so important that we went to war. "They owe us all some sort of explanation and perhaps apology." Testimony of James Woolsey Former CIA director, James Woolsey, said that since the closing hours of the Gulf war, we made a number of errors. 1) We stopped too soon. 2) The rebellion in the south should have been supported; the US should have shot down Iraqi helicopters. 3) The reaction to Saddam's April 1993 attempt to assassinate George Bush-striking an empty building a night-was too weak. 4) In 1996, we stood aside when supporters of democracy were massacred in Iraq. 5) The US detained Iraqi opposition members in California for no good reason. 6) We erred in criticizing Scott Ritter for taking a principled stand. 7) We erred in spending seven years in dealing with Iraq in which we punished/ignored those struggling against Saddam, while we dealt lightly with/appeased him. Woolsey then spent the rest of his testimony taking issue with Martin Indyk. Woolsey noted that Indyk had said that US policy with regard to inspections was not duplicitous. It is far too clumsy to call it duplicitous. We are reversing Teddy Roosevelt's dictum. We are speaking loudly and carrying a flimsy stick. We are speaking like a sheep in wolf's clothing. Martin Indyk said that Scott Ritter plays into Saddam's hands. But Scott Ritter said that the US is pushing UNSCOM into a weaker position. But Saddam is trying to change UNSCOM in the reverse direction. Scott Ritter said that on a number of occasions we have inspected what was not strategically important and not inspected what was. Efforts to be "productive," Ritter's term, will be confrontational, because Saddam's personal security apparatus hides the weapons. This requires more than a numerical scorecard, as if inspections were beans to be counted, as Indyk suggested. Woolsey rejected Indyk's characterization of the motives of the pro-Iraq UNSC members, as if they represented some respectable definition of national interest. France is after contracts, while Russia wants to collect old debts from weapons sales. Testimony of Richard Murphy Richard Murphy, former Asst Sec State for NEA, said that the administration had been charged with weakness, malfeasance, and betrayal. I've been critical of the administration when it has had tough rhetoric and not been willing to back it up. Our core objectives are to prevent Iraq from producing unconventional weapons and threatening its neighbors. These objectives remain within our capabilities to achieve. The US has shifted from the military to the diplomatic option. This is not a new policy. We've always stood ready to deter Iraqi aggression. UNSCOM has its value. Sen. Feinstein asked an important question. How long should Iraq be allowed to continue the present impasse? But going it alone is not attractive. It is a shrewd tactic to pin responsibility on Saddam Hussein. But no one in the administration denies that the use of force might be needed. We can't compel Iraq to surrender its proscribed weapons, but we can punish it. We don't have support from the regional powers for an attack on Iraq. The emphasis on diplomacy in recent weeks reflects the lessons learned from the past two crises. Time and regional developments have eroded the UNSC consensus on Iraq and the US has an overriding interest in maintaining financial control over Iraq's income and in long-term weapons monitoring. Arab criticism of US policy on Iraq has grown, because 1) Arabs doubt that we will do enough to overthrow Saddam; and 2) the lack of progress in the Arab-Israeli talks, as compared to 1991-96. The US orchestrated anti-terrorism conference two years ago at Sharm al Sheikh couldn't be duplicated today. Testimony of Lawrence Eagleburger Lawrence Eagleburger, former Sec State, began by explaining that I thought that I might get some clearer sense of the administration's policy on Iraq. But I don't think I got it. [Jeane Kirkpatrick vigorously nodded her head in agreement]. What is the conclusion? Where does this lead us? Eagleburger described US policy as "fruitless." Eagleburger explained that Martin Indyk has said that the US supported inspections, until Saddam Hussein blocked them. "Gee whiz!" He cited Sen. Coverdell's question, why didn't the US go ahead with the planned August inspection. I don't understand what is being said about a policy that we're going to focus on Saddam Hussein's blocking the inspections, unless you go ahead with the inspections. What are you going to do? Hold a press conference every day? It is nice to say that we haven't taken the use of force off the table. In 30 years of government, I learned you can send the wrong message. If the other side doesn't believe it, it's no good. Going back to the Feb 23 accord, if I were Saddam Hussein, I wouldn't believe it. Your actions have to demonstrate that and I don't think we've demonstrated it. We made it very clear that the US was reluctant at best to go ahead with inspections. When you analyze what was said today, I don't know what it means or where we go next. I get concerned when people say we must take the diplomatic option. What diplomacy? What is the consequence of France, Russia, China being unhappy about inspections? Sanctions will remain, as long as the US is prepared to veto. I don't know what the policy is. I can understand the rationale for being cautious, but where is the denouement? Where do we say enough is enough? What I listened to today is a policy that leads nowhere and our concern for showing caution is going to send a message to Saddam that we don't want to use force. Questioning Sen. Brownback said I've listed carefully today and I agree that we're in a mess, although that was predictable from the Annan accord. We haven't explained when we're going to push a policy of reviving inspections. I continue to believe that there is a different private policy. Eagleburger remarked that misperceptions can be dangerous. It can be dangerous if Saddam perceives US weakness. Kirkpatrick said that Saddam has a known tendency to underestimate his opponent. He did that in Kuwait. He may be doing that with UNSCOM or he may understand that the administration issues threats and doesn't follow through. Woolsey, responding to a question from Brownback as to how much the Lewinsky scandal had weakened Clinton's ability to conduct foreign policy, said that even strong presidents can take weak positions, citing Bush in Mar 91 and Clinton in Jun 93 [when he struck Iraqi intelligence headquarters at night] and vice versa. Woolsey cited Nixon in the fall of 73, when he took decisive action, as the 1973 Arab-Israeli war broke out. But Woolsey acknowledged that it was more difficult under present circumstances to recoup lost ground and to recover from past mistakes. Murphy said that Saddam was one of the great "misreaders." In 1991, he misread the likelihood of our losses. He thought thousands of bodies would be returned. If he is misreading Bill Clinton today, it would be part of a pattern. Eagleburger spoke of the impact of scandal on presidential decision-making, referring to the Nixon administration, in which he served. He explained that under such circumstances debate about a decision becomes strung out, as some worry about the critics who will charge that any decisive action was taken to distract attention from the scandal. Sen. Robb said, with respect, there is a difference between having current responsibility and not. I supported the 1991 gulf war and helped rally support for it on my side of the aisle. In 1991, another day or two would have been useful, but the intelligence was flawed. Eagleburger said there was need for the use of force now. If we have to act unilaterally, so be it. Whether it will work or not, I don't know. Passing the UNSC resolution suspending sanctions reviews achieves nothing. You have to be prepared to escalate. You have to take the risk of using force now, understanding you may not accomplish your objective. But it is better than doing nothing. Kirkpatrick said I would share the problem with the Congress and the people. Robb suggested that Congress wouldn't support the administration's use of force. Kirkpatrick rejected the idea that Congress would do that. If the problem is that bad, people need to know. It is better than misleading them. We need to consider whether there are issues that are so important that we need to support the use of force. Woolsey suggested that the long term strategy should be to bring down Saddam's regime through overt means. The policy isn't going anywhere. You can't figure it out. I agree with Lawrence Eagleburger. Woolsey also explained the dangers in Iraqi coordination with Sunni Muslim religious extremists. He noted that a number of leading Sunni extremists call Saddam the new caliph, while "Allahu Akhbar" is written in Saddam's own calligraphy on the Iraqi flag. It is comparable to Stalin, who in WWII, embraced the Greek Orthodox church. Woolsey said that people like Osama Bin Ladin are looking to Saddam Hussein. By being weak on Saddam, we are being weak on Bin Ladin and terrorism. Woolsey further said that things have come to the point where a set of proposals that Richard Perle, Ahmad Chalabi, Bill Kristol and I made earlier this year should be adopted. The US should support the Shia, Kurds, the entire democratic opposition, in overthrowing Saddam. It can be done. But it requires leadership. Would Congress support it? Yes, if it understood the dangers posed by Iraq's missiles, terrorism, unconventional weapons. Murphy said that nothing James Woolsey suggested would cause harm. Sen. Brownback concluded the hearing, "We are in a mess. We have an administration policy that is difficult to follow. An administration that cannot or will not act and which invites challenges from abroad. Mr. Woolsey and Mr. Chalabi presented a long-term policy, rather than just dropping a few bombs.
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