SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 1062]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2000H.R. 1401
OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROGRAMS
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
FULL COMMITTEE HEARINGS
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AUTHORIZATION AND OVERSIGHT
MARCH 11, 1999
C O N T E N T S
THURSDAY, MARCH 11, 1999
FISCAL YEAR 2000 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTUNITED STATES POLICY IN THE PERSIAN GULF
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Skelton, Hon. Ike, a Representative from Missouri, Ranking Member, Committee on Armed Services
Spence, Hon. Floyd D., a Representative from South Carolina, Chairman, Committee on Armed Services
Slocombe, Hon. Walter, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Zinni, Gen. Anthony, Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command
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[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Spence, Hon. Floyd D.
Slocombe, Hon. Walter B.
Zinni, Gen. Anthony C.
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Documents Submitted for the Record.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Questions and Answers Submitted for the Record.]
FISCAL YEAR 2000 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTUNITED STATES POLICY IN THE PERSIAN GULF
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Washington, DC, Thursday, March 11, 1999.
The committee met, pursuant to call, at 9:35 a.m. in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Floyd D. Spence (chairman of the committee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. FLOYD D. SPENCE, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM SOUTH CAROLINA, CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
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The CHAIRMAN. The meeting will please be in order. We have been kind of waiting for Mr. Slocombe to get here. He is caught in traffic, I think, on the 14th Street Bridge, and we have other members coming in too from other meetings and other things. But we will go ahead and get started and let the General play two or three positions at one time here.
Today the committee continues its review of the security challenges facing the United States and the vital Persian Gulf region with testimony from the Department of Defense witnesses. We have with us this morning, when he gets here, Honorable Walter B. Slocombe, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and of course, General Anthony Zinni, Commander in Chief of the United States Central Command. Of course we welcome you, General, and as I said, Mr. Slocombe when he gets here.
Yesterday the committee heard testimony from a panel of witnesses who raised legitimate concerns over the coherence and direction of Administration policy toward Iraq. Underscoring this point, a senior United States military officer recently characterized current United States strategy with Iraq in last weekend's ''Washington Post'' as ''a strategy we fell into. It is not one that was originally planned.''
There appears to be some confusion within the administration over what official United States policy toward Iraq should be. In signing the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which supports efforts to change the Iraqi regime, President Clinton stated that, and I quote again, ''The United States is providing support to opposition groups from all sectors of the Iraqi community that could lead to a popularly supported government.''
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Yet in testimony before the Senate on the 28th of January, our General Zinni expressed doubts about this policy and stated that ''Even if we had Saddam gone by any means we could end up with 15, 20, or 90 groups competing for power. The effect that it might have throughout the region, because some of these causes that are ethnic, religious, stretch beyond the borders of Iraq, further destabilize the region.'' So we can let General Zinni expand on that this morning.
Beyond confusion over policy, the risks to our military posture in the Persian Gulf are also troubling. It has become increasingly apparent that the United States does not have the capacity to fight a second major theater war without exposing our troops to risks that many consider unacceptable.
Indeed, given recent press reports about personnel shortages and other shortfalls in forces deployed to the Gulf during Operation Desert Fox, I am concerned about the military risk we are running right now. At the strategic level, the risks to our interests in the Gulf are also significant, since our allies rely on the United States for their security but fear appearing too dependent.
We have to always remain mindful of how our allies in the region would react if crises elsewhere, in Korea or in the Balkans, put the timeliness of our military presence in the region in doubt. Under such circumstances, how would our regional allies respond to increasing threats from Iraq or Iran?
I look to our witnesses this morning to address these important issues and help us to better understand how the administration's policy will accomplish the stated objective of removing Saddam Hussein from power and protecting our vital national interests in the region.
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Before we proceed with the witnesses, I would like to recognize the committee's ranking Democrat, Mr. Skelton, for any remarks he would like to make.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Spence can be found in the Appendix.]
STATEMENT OF HON. IKE SKELTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM MISSOURI, RANKING MEMBER, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, thanks, and I wish to welcome General Zinni, the Commander in Chief of the Central Command; and I will welcome before the time he gets here, Mr. Walter Slocombe, who we look forward to hearing from.
Yesterday our committee heard testimony from a panel of outside witnesses on American policy toward Iraq, and today we receive the insights of two witnesses who are directly involved in American efforts in the Persian Gulf. Before any member of this committee rushes to judgment on what the U.S. policy should be, that member should listen carefully to the testimony today.
Mr. Chairman, recently I visited General Zinni and his very able staff at his Central Command Headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base, received an excellent in-depth review of the situation following Americanour developing policy toward Iraq. I would encourage all of our members to visit Central Command Headquarters and receive the same briefing that I did.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General Zinni has a thorough knowledge of the area. He understands the culture of the Persian Gulf region as few Americans do. In my opinion we could not have a better person in charge of our military efforts in this strategically important area of the world. I look forward to hearing his comments.
I am familiar, Mr. Chairman, with the bill of which you spoke, which incidentally I voted against. I being the country lawyer, I don't think we should telegraph our thoughts or intentions, much less legislatively, and I know that the General will touch upon this issue today.
So, General, we welcome you and thank you for coming up, and we look forward to hearing from you and hopefully Mr. Slocombe when he gets out of traffic. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, our witnesses' written statements and any other material you might have will be submitted for the record. General, you may proceed as you would like.
And I see Mr. Slocombe entering the room. We have introduced General Zinni and we explained to everyone you were held up in traffic. If you don't mind, we will proceed with the General, and you can lead off as you would like.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF GENERAL ANTHONY ZINNI, COMMANDER IN CHIEF, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND
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General ZINNI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As you said, I have submitted a statement for the record. I will just make a few brief remarks so we can get on with the questions. I feel confident the question and answer period will cover the issues that you and the ranking member have brought up.
I would just say, as you know, Saddam Hussein has generated a series of crises dating back to November of 1997 when he threatened to shoot down our U2 over Iraq, a U2 that was supporting U.N. efforts towards inspections. Since then we have gone through a series of operations, Desert Thunder, Desert Viper, Desert Fox, and over 200 direct challenges to the enforcement of our no-fly zones. Throughout this time, we have also continued the steady enforcement of our maritime intercept operations in the Arabian Gulf in order to stop the gas and oil smuggling efforts Saddam intends to conduct routinely.
Through all this, our forces have performed magnificently. Needless to say, I am extremely proud of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, Coast Guardsmen and civilians. They have given us near flawless performances under very difficult conditions, day in and day out.
We are all very appreciative of the support and concern expressed by all of you and for our men and women in uniform. I encourage all of you to come to the region and visit our troops. Many of you have, and those visits have been invaluable to the morale of our troops and to gaining a better understanding of the situation in this very complex region.
Mr. Chairman, thank you again, and I look forward to your questions.
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[The prepared statement of General Zinni can be found in the Appendix.]
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Slocombe.
STATEMENT OF HON. WALTER SLOCOMBE, UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR POLICY
Secretary SLOCOMBE. Mr. Chairman, as always, it is an honor to be here to represent the Department of Defense, and I welcome this opportunity to address the important issues arising out of our confrontation with Iraq. In the course of the questions I am sure we will deal with a lot of the issues about the military operations. I want to say a little bit about the broader political situation and the strategy that we are following with respect to Iraq.
In the short time since Desert Fox, Saddam Hussein has not only raised new challenges to Coalition operations in the no-fly zones, he has made new and direct threats to Iraq's neighbors. He has repeated his determination to break free of sanctions without complying with U.N. resolutions, and he has even been criticizing those U.N. Security Council members who have been most sympathetic to his cause.
I believe these actions show that he was badly shaken by the Desert Fox strikes, by his inability to rally support in the Gulf, and by the failure of his efforts to break the no-fly-zone system. But they also show that he remains dangerous, and we are very aware of the possibility he could lash out in a variety of ways. It is therefore clear that we must continue to deal with the challenges he poses.
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There are four elements to our strategy: maintaining sanctions; insisting on verified compliance with arms control obligations before there can be any question of relaxing sanctions; continuing our readiness to use military force if necessary; and over the long term, seeking a new government in Iraq.
First of all, maintaining the Coalition. Maintaining the support of the Coalition is key to our effort. Our diplomats have worked to sustain support in the U.N. for necessary measures and had a considerable degree of success in that regard. The support of the Gulf Coalition countries, Saudi Arabia and the smaller countries in the Gulf, remains critical to continued containment and to any prospect for success in a long-term policy with respect to Iraq.
Secretary Cohen is now in the final days of a trip to the region to consult with our friends. His consultations have reaffirmed our strong security partnerships. Our friends in the region have expressed interest in gaining access to early warning information on ballistic missile launches.
The broader situation is that while Saddam continues to have a substantial degree of popularity among the Arab populace and the Gulf countries therefore have to be very circumspect in what they say, the Gulf countries and their governments have been supportive of our policies at base because they understand the danger that Saddam poses to their interest and indeed to the Arab cause.
Second, sanctions are key to keeping the pressure on Saddam in denying his regime the financial resources to rebuild his power. But it is important that we make clear that the sanctions are not impacting the Iraqi people.
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The United States long supported the so-called oil for food program, whose introduction was delayed for a long time because Saddam Hussein refused to set up the system. It has now been set up. It is operating. It has been a substantial success in providing additional food, medical, and other humanitarian supplies to the Iraqi people. Just as an example, although conditions in Iraq, there is no question, are still difficult, Iraqi grain supplies, taking domestic and imported production combined, are now back essentially to their pre-1991 levels.
The oil for food program is working. And indeed it has the effect of assuring, from a humanitarian point of view, Iran's oil export earnings go exclusively for urgent humanitarian needs as well as for operating the oil production system and for paying a variety of international bills, but they cannot be diverted to Saddam's weapons programs and the desires of the elite.
We have supported various measures intended to make the oil for food program more effective, both because we think it should be more effectivewe have no quarrel with the Iraqi people and it does not serve our interest to have them sufferbut also for the practical reason that it is important to be able to say to the Arab world that we have taken steps to do what we can to alleviate any suffering caused by the sanctions program. We have, for example, agreed to lift the cap on the amount of oil that he can sell. We have streamlined the programs for approving transactions under the oil for food program.
The fact is that Iraq still does not cooperate fully with this. For example, there is over $270 million in medicines and other medical supplies that are sitting undistributed in Iraqi warehouses. The Iraqis still have not ordered the necessary goods to meet the targeted nutrition program for women and children. We are trying through our information efforts to get across more broadly in the Arab world the true character of who is responsible for the problems of the Iraqi people.
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Third, with respect to weapons of mass destruction, Iraq continues to be under obligations established in a whole series of U.N. resolutions to divest itself of WMD enough to get back into business. We want to see an effective inspection and monitoring system restored as soon as possible, and we are working at the U.N. to that end.
We will continue to reject proposals that would in effect move from disarmament to monitoring without compliance with disarmament requirements. At the same time we will continue to insist that any monitoring program itself be designed to ensure inspection and oversight on a continuing basis of Iraqi activities by technically qualified and politically independent professionals.
A sham inspection system would be worse than none at all, but the absence of an inspection system obviously poses new challenges. We have relied only on UNSCOM and IEA for information about Iraqi WMD programs. In their absence, we will continue to work to prevent Baghdad from reviving them. We will continue to focus our intelligence efforts on this important target and, as we demonstrated in Desert Fox, we are willing and able to use military force in response to Iraq's failures to meet its obligations. More specifically, we remain fully prepared to use military force if necessary. If we determine that Iraq is rebuilding its WMD capabilities.
As a key element of our strategy, the United States armed forces continue to maintain and will continue to maintain a powerful capability in the region. Their purposes are to defend against Iraqi threats against U.N. personnel, Coalition forces or Iraq's neighbors; second, to respond vigorously if Baghdad moves against the Kurds or seeks to rebuild its WMD programs; and, third, to enforce the limitations such as sanctions, the no-fly zones in the north and south, and the no-reinforcement zone in the south which have been placed upon Iraq pursuant to the resolution of the Security Council.
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By these and related measures we can and we will continue to manage the problem that Iraq poses to our interests and to the security of the region and indeed the world as a whole. We are prepared to do this as long as necessary and to devote to the effort the needed patience, determination, and resources.
We have no illusions, however that Saddam Hussein's regime will ever fully comply with its obligations or fundamentally change its international behavior. Accordingly, we have come to the conclusion that there cannot be a fundamental, long-term resolution of the security situation in the Gulf until there is a change of regime in Iraq.
We are therefore working along several tracks toward this objective, which is set out in the Iraq Liberation Act and in statements by the President and senior administration officials. That is, our purpose is to promote conditions that will facilitate the transition to a new regime in Baghdad.
Our efforts include increased cooperation with Iraqis opposed to the regime, both inside and outside the country. To that end, the Secretary of State has recently named a Special Representative for Transition in Iraq, Mr. Frank Ricciardone. We have also begun implementing the Iraq Liberation Act by the designation by the President of seven Iraqi opposition groups as eligible for U.S. assistance. These are important steps forward. They come in conjunction with efforts on the information side and so on.
We will continue to strengthen the opposition so that it can seek effective change in Iraq, but we should not underestimate the difficulties or close our eyes to the fact that in all probability this has to be a long-term strategy. We have to carry out this strategy of regime change, taking into account the realities of the situation.
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A regime change cannot be done by imposing a new regime by military force from outside, even assuming that such would be possible, which would be very doubtful short of an all-out ground invasion by American forces. Nor in our judgment is it proper to think of doing this by encouraging an internal insurrection before we are reasonably confident that the conditions exist that would make it possible for such an uprising to succeed. We will not play recklessly with the lives of the Iraqis or the Americans who must work with them for this to be a success.
Nor should we support a course of action that would or would seem to lead to the division of Iraq. The United States continues to support the territorial integrity of Iraq as necessary for stability in the region, as well as such support is critical to maintaining support for our efforts, both in terms of regime change and more broadly from key regional allies.
What we are trying to do is to create the political and military conditions that will permit a successful change of the regime and bring about the succession of an Iraqi government that is prepared to meet its obligations to the international community and live in peace with its neighbors as well as its own people, whatever their ethnicity or religious beliefs. To that end, we will work with groups inside and outside Iraq to share our goal, which is to work towards a new regime. We stand ready to help such a government integrate Iraq into the international community, and help the people of Iraq heal the country's internal wounds by integrating into a single united Iraq all the diverse elements of their society.
This is an overall strategy and it is a long-term strategy. We believe it is necessary and it will be effective to continue to contain Iraq and to promote the long-term goal of the emergence of a regime in Baghdad that can adopt genuinely different approaches both to its internal relations and how it handles its own population.
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I appreciate the opportunity to be here, and I look forward to answering your questions along with General Zinni.
[The prepared statement of Secretary Slocombe can be found in the Appendix.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much. Let me start off the questions by asking General Zinni his opinion on something that troubles me.
General, as we were discussing earlier, I have been concerned for a long time about our ability to execute the national strategy, being able to fight and win two nearly simultaneous major theater wars, especially since we have cut back on the force so much and our capability even since the Persian Gulf, 30, 40, 50 and 60 percent, and I just wonder about what effect this is going to have on our ability to execute the national strategy.
When I ask the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Chiefs what they thought about our ability to execute the national strategy, they say, ''Well, we can do it but it would result in moderate to high risk,'' and that kind of slides by. Most people don't put a casualty number on what moderate to high risk means. I was reminded the other day at Pearl Harbor we had casualties of a couple thousand people, I guess. That was a big disaster. Moderate to high risk in this kind of situation translates into hundreds and hundreds of thousands of casualties, and I think people don't understand the seriousness of it.
In any event, if in general terms Southwest Asia proved to be the second of the major theater wars, or even if forces now in Bosnia or soon to be in Kosovo maybe were not available to you, how would that affect your plans to defend that area? How would your deployment timeliness be changed? What would it mean in terms of casualties and territory lost? And how much longer would it take to wrest a strategic initiative from an attack?
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General ZINNI. Mr. Chairman, let me answer in general terms. I would be glad to provide more detail for the record because of the classified nature of some of the details.
Obviously being second puts demands on certain capabilities that are critical to us, for example, strategic lift. We rely heavily on strategic lift, especially in the initial phases of a crisis. We have to get in front of the problem in a hurry, get forces into places like Kuwait and get the forces we need out there to stem any offensive action say the Iraqis might attempt. That is critical to us. If strategic lift has demands on it elsewhere, another MTW or other operations, that would be our first concern, and it is my highest concern in terms of capabilities that I require to execute our war plans.
Other concerns would fall into the area of low density, high demand items. There are certain units and organizations, certain capabilities that we have few of, but these capabilities are in high demand everywhere regardless of the kind of operation, from low intensity to high intensity. These are things like intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance aircraft, units like civil affairs, electronic warfare capabilities, and many others. Again, I can provide those in detail. If they are in demand or use elsewhere and we have to compete for them, we don't get them or we get them in lower numbers, it would present a major problem and therefore increase the risk.
The danger in being second with reduced forces, as you mentioned, is it stretches out our war plan. Obviously we have a plan that is on a time line to conduct in its ultimate end a counteroffensive to rectify the situation. The longer we have to postpone that final phase, if you will, the longer we may be exposed to continuing operations against us and hence continuing casualties. It has the danger not only of casualties but maybe breaking the political will of some of our friends that we may rely on as we drag it out. And therein I think in general terms lies the risk.
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The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
Mr. SKELTON. Thank you.
General, in yesterday's hearing there was a great deal of discussion about Iraqi opposition groups. Let me ask you about this, and if you feel that your answer should be of a classified nature, just say so and we can ask you at a later moment.
But when I think of opposition groups, being somewhat of a historian, I think of the Free French headed by someone named de Gaulle, a very substantial, respectable and, as it turned out, effective opposition to the Nazis who occupied France at the time. When we speak of Iraqi opposition today, are there any groups or is there any group that would approach that level of effectiveness or viability?
General ZINNI. Congressman, in my view right now there aren't any groups that I could say that we could arm today that would march on Baghdad and successfully achieve regime change. I would subscribe to the cautions that Mr. Slocombe pointed out and the direction he pointed out about being very careful, being patient, and looking at these groups in the longer term.
I have been accused of being opposed to the ILA. I have never said that. I am all for getting these groups together. I am all for encouraging them to work out their differences. I am all for them speaking of a post-Saddam regime, and how they would see the structure and the coming together and the representation of all ethnic and religious groups and competing political groups in the country.
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I do not feel it is wise at this point to speak of providing weapons, creating camps for groups that are not viable. It is not well received in the region. Anyone that knows the region knows that there is no one in the region that believes that this can happen or should happen.
History teaches us in this region that you can change regimes, if that is your only goal, and you could end up with an Afghanistan or an Iran, Somalia. In the long run they could be more destabilizing. We all want Saddam gone, no one more than I want Saddam gone. But I would say you have to look closely at these groups, look closely at history in the region, and then look at what our interests are in this region.
Yesterday Mr. Woolsey pointed directly to me and said that there should be a sign on the wall at the White House Situation Room that Mr. Pollock and I ought to read. The implication was that it should say ''It is the regime, stupid.'' I would counter and say it is not just the regime, it is the region.
It is stability in the region that counts. That is what it is all about. That is what protects our interest and whatever you do to effect regime change, a noble goal, should be done with that in mind. Anything reckless, any two-page solution to this very complex problem, could get us in serious trouble, and that is the point I tried to make.
Mr. SKELTON. Thank you very much.
Mr. Slocombe, yesterday there were comments about we don't have a clear, coherent policy toward Iraq. If I heard you correctly, you did spell out a clear and cogent policy of our country toward Iraq. But would you be kind enoughI want to say in 25 words or less, that may be stretching it sometell us about America's policy toward Iraq in understandable one-syllable words, please.
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Secretary SLOCOMBE. I will do my best. I am not sure I can do it in 25 words.
We want to see a changed regime in Iraq, and that in some sense is our ultimate objective. For all the reasons that I tried to discuss and that General Zinni has tried to discuss, we do not believe that that is something which we can count on happening at any particular time, and certainly not real fast.
So we have to deal with the reality of the situation that we are going to have to continue to contain Saddam Hussein, because he is a danger to the region and he is a danger to the world because of his weapons of mass destruction, because of his repeatedly demonstrated aggression in the region. Now how do we do that?
As General Zinni said, first and foremost we do it by keeping a coalition together, a coalition in the Gulf, a coalition in the Security Council, a coalition in the world generally. I just had the opportunity to read the book that President Bush and General Scowcroft wrote which reviews their experience at the time of the Gulf War. It is clear from that that the biggest problem they had, that the biggest focus of their activity, because they knew how important it was, was keeping that Coalition together. So number one is keep the Coalition together, keep our friends and the people who share our interests working with us.
Number two is keep on the sanctions, try to find ways to reduce the impact on the Iraqi people, but don't get into a situation where we free up the oil money so that it can be spent not on food and medicine but on palaces and, more to the point, weapons.
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Third, keep a military presence in the region so that we can respond effectively, as we do on a day-to-day basis with the no-fly zones, and as we have demonstrated we are prepared to do when there are other challenges that require it.
I think those three elements: keep the Coalition, which keeps the basis we need to operate in the region, the political support we need; second, keep the sanctions which deny him the fruit that he needs to rebuild his program; and third, stand ready to use military force on a day-to-day basis to continue the surveillance and activities in the no-fly zones, and on a much larger basis if necessary in response to a series of things that he might do that would justify a military force.
It is not an instant solution. It won't fit on a bumper sticker. It is, I think, a policy which has worked historically for longer than most people thought it would to keep him contained, and there is no reason to doubt that we can continue to do that. But we have got to recognize this is a long-term effort until the happy day comes, and we will do what we can to accelerate the happy day, but this is a long-term effort until the day comes when there is a different and better regime in Baghdad.
That is not 25 words but I think it is a clear strategy. It is a clear policy. It is keep him in his box. Keep that box, which really is a box that we have to build with the Coalition, keep that box in effect until the day comes when we don't need the box anymore.
Mr. SKELTON. Thank you very much.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Skelton.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Welcome, Secretary Slocombe, General Zinni.
In November of last year when Iraq had completely shut down the UNSCOM inspection regime, our reaction was very negative, as it well should have been, and we were well on our way toward taking military action as a result of him having done so. The planes were actually in the air and assigned their targets when we received a letter from the Iraqi Ambassador saying ''Okay, we will cooperate,'' and suddenly the air strikes were called off.
Thereafter we got no cooperation, nothing from Saddam Hussein, just as anyone would have expected would be the case, but the air strikes were then called off. There were then air strikes that did take place in December. In November we had the agreement with all the nations in the region, is my understanding, and at least the acquiescence of the members of the United Nations Security Council, but we called that one off, and then in December we launched the air strikes with the support only of the British and the opposition of everyone else.
Was there any discussion, and how did the decision get made to call back the planes when they were in midair and to discontinue the November strike, and was there any change in the targeting between the attack that was going to be made in November and those which were ultimately made in December?
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Secretary SLOCOMBE. I will let General Zinni start.
General ZINNI. A couple of points of clarification.
First of all, in November we deployed forces into the Gulf in preparation for the strike because tensions were mounting, cooperation was waning. What we saw was dispersal around the target areas. We were actually seeing things we had desired to hit with missiles and planes being moved around, which degrades our ability to gain effectiveness on the target. At that point in time, there were those in the region that felt we should use more diplomacy, go the extra mile.
I think the decision, the very difficult decision the President made at the last minute to accept the compliance, with everybody realizing that Saddam would violate that, went the extra mile. It was difficult to do. None of us liked it. We would have preferred to strike. We all knew he would violate it. But what it did, it first showed that we weren't hell-bent to strike at all costs, which some believed in the region. It also showed we were willing to go the last mile.
The second time around, when we decided to execute Desert Fox, we had actually an easier time gaining the compliance of those in the region to allow us basing, overflight, dip clearances and all the things we needed to execute. In addition to that, I feel Desert Fox was more effective than what Desert Viper would have been because we learned a lesson from Desert Viper within theater forces, and we struck rapidly as soon as UNSCOM left and Ambassador Butler declared he could no longer do business in Iraq. There was not time to disperse.
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So in effect I would say two things clearly made this better for us. One, it gave confidence to our friends in the region. We weren't just out to strike with any cause. We would go the last mile. Second, by doing it after learning the lesson about deploying forces and triggering our intentions, we had better effect on target.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. The only thing I would add to that is I think, far from losing support in the region and internationally, the difficult decision to hold off was very important in building that support. I think we had more support as it turned out in December than we would have had in November, and certainly we had more support in December than we would have had in November if we had gone ahead and bombed in the face of an apparent willingness by Iraq to meet our demands.
Mr. BATEMAN. I certainly hear what you are saying and I am happy to have you say it, but it is certainly contrary to everything that was reported at the time, and in the context of the approval of the countries in the Middle East that the Secretary of Defense just recently visited and the United Nations Security Council members, which we did not have, and received public criticism from when we made the attack in December.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. I think it is the case that if Saddam Hussein had not done this last-minute gesture of pretending to agree, we could have gone forward in November on a good strong political basis. We would have had the problems about dispersal that General Zinni identified.
But the question that the President was faced with was, given that now Iraq is saying and the world knows that he is saying, yes, he will do what you want, do you want to go ahead and launch the strikes? It is true the planes were in the air but there was a considerable time before they were going to get there, whether it was a big problem militarily to stop it.
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And I think the dominant consideration was exactly this one that General Zinni has identified. It is hard for us to believe it, but there are a lot of people in the region, in the world, who believe that we are trigger-happy about Iraq and are out looking for a fight, and if we had gone ahead under those circumstances, those views would have been strongly reinforced.
I think there is no question a lot of us were worried, would we be able to hold the Coalition support? It turned out that we were able to hold that support and we had the added advantage, if you will, of having, as General Zinni says, gone the extra mile, showing far from being trigger-happy, we had been restrained. We were prepared to give it one last chance, and I think as it has turned out, that clearly giving it that one last chance, however difficult, and however all of us doubted it would make any difference in terms of what he did, it was important and helpful, apart from the particularities of the fact that the design of the strike allowed us to more clearly achieve surprise.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
The other gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Sisisky.
Mr. SISISKY. Good morning, gentlemen. I did send a helicopter for you. I called.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary SLOCOMBE. You can pay the bill for it.
Mr. SISISKY. No, the bill goes to the Secretary.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. Again, I do apologize for being late.
Mr. SISISKY. General Zinni, what is going on now with the Iraqi air defense and what we are attacking, and how is that playing out at the present time?
General ZINNI. Yes, sir. Since Desert Fox, obviously as you know, Saddam has declared the no-fly zones not applicable and he has challenged them. We have had over 220 violations. The violations have consisted of planes that have entered the no-fly zone, fighters that have come into the no-fly zone. They have consisted of radar illumination of our planes patrolling and monitoring the no-fly zone. They consisted of surface-to-air missiles and triple-A firings at our planes.
I have been given authority, in what has been described as expanded rules of engagement, in that I can, when we are challenged in any of these events I have mentioned, respond. I am not limited to responding to the specific asset, plane, surface-to-air missile that challenges us, but to any component of the air defense system, since he has declared a central policy and put the entire system against us.
So we choose our targets. If he in any way conducts one of these violations, fires at our planes or threatens us, then we respond. We respond by attacking targets of our choosing that are part of that entire air defense network. We have done so on well over a hundred occasions now with a great deal of success. We are very careful about how we do this, obviously trying to minimize not only casualties to ourselves but casualties to the civilian population, the people of Iraq.
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He has suffered greatly. I believe his air defense system has been tremendously reduced, in some places very critical assets reduced in significant numbers. We attacked communications, radar, surface-to-air missile sites, triple-A sites, signals, intelligence sites and all of things that compose this integrated system, and he still has been the loser.
It is still dangerous to fly. There is still the possibility that our pilots could be hit, and always a possibility we could have a mechanical failure over Iraq. I want to say that the professionalism and the skill of our pilots have minimized this a great deal. We could have been sucked into a lot of traps. Day-to-day he tries to find innovative ways to trap or trick our pilots, lure us into what is commonly known as ''SAMbushes,'' set up the kinds of formations, use different weapons systems not normally part of the air defense system to engage us.
In each case, our commanders in the region, our pilots, understand the threat, understand what is happening, and we have been able to counter or avoid these in every case. This continues, no apparent abatement on his part or falling off of this strategy in the future, and again today we have had violations in the order of what I have mentioned.
Mr. SISISKY. He has also attacked verbally his neighbors, too, has he not?
General ZINNI. Yes.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SISISKY. It seems very strange.
General ZINNI. Sir, since Desert Fox we have seen some very remarkable events. Probably most remarkable was his Army Day speech of the 5th of January where he lashed out vehemently against all his neighbors. He has been isolated.
I would go back to the previous question about going the extra mile and what it means in the region. I think all the leadership in the region is disgusted with Saddam. They have isolated him. His best efforts to try to recoup from his speech of January 5, to send emissaries out to try to make amends, have failed. His attempts to get the so-called Arab sheiks mobilized on his behalf have failed. I think what we are beginning to see internally and externally in the region, a clear realization that he is a danger, that he is not a man of his word, that he does pose a threat, and acceptance that we have to get on to another regime.
Mr. SISISKY. Mr. Slocombe, how important was UNSCOM to us? And if that is dead, I know we have other means. But how important was that, being on the ground, for finding weapons of mass destruction?
Secretary SLOCOMBE. There is no question that UNSCOM was valuable, but it was valuable in certain particular areas. First of all, when we had UNSCOM, we, the world, had information about an activity. We were able to go out and try and find out what in fact happened at the place or with those files, whatever. For a while that worked quite well, when UNSCOM supervised the destruction of very large quantities of very bad stuff. What finally happened was that process of being able to investigate simply collapsed. Iraq refused to cooperate. But for a while it was very important, but it was always subject to being turned off by him.
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Second, UNSCOM was important in monitoring what was going on at certain identified facilities, chemical plants, places where he had had activities in the past, with cameras and with periodic inspections. That process worked quite well for a long time and was a very important source of information about what was going on. One of the things I think people may not have focused on is, Ambassador Butler's report in December made clear not only was he interfering in these kinds of, if you will, investigatory inspections, he was beginning to interfere with the monitoring process, so that was no longer being produced.
So those were the two areas where UNSCOM was most important. The place where it was not very successful, and it is easy to see why it wasn't, was in finding out things entirely on its own, learning that there was a new activity which had not been reported from other sources, hadn't been admitted by the Iraqis. It had some limited success in that area, but UNSCOM teams would typically be 15, 20 people in a country the size of California. Without a degree of disclosure and cooperation, reliance on other sources, they were never going to be able to find very much by just going and looking for it in the abstract.
So the loss is a real one, I don't dispute that, but I think it is important to remember that we don't compare the situation we have now with UNSCOM not there, with an ideal UNSCOM being able to do all three parts of its work, but with the actual UNSCOM that was able to operate historically, and particularly the kind of restrictions that Iraq had put on it. This is not the appropriate forum to go in any detail, into how we do our best to try to make up for the loss of that information. We are able at least to some degree to do that.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. We are going to have a series of votes coming up, I understand about five different ones, and so it is going to take a while. But in any event, we will go ahead and try to get Mr. Hefley, recognize him, and we will break after him for the vote.
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Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Slocombe, the goals you outlined are certainly laudable and I don't think any of us would disagree with that, but I wonder if Saddam Hussein didn't go to the Huey Long school of political success. Huey Long, as you know, was a governor from Louisiana and also a Senator, almost President of the United States, and his basic tenet for success in politics was that you find an enemy or you create an enemy, and you attack that enemy and you get the people with you in attacking that enemy. In his case it was Standard Oil.
In this case, if Saddam Hussein did not have the United States, it had Iran for a while, but if it didn't have the United States, I wonder if it wouldn't have to invent a United States, a big bully with enormous power that he could stand up to and his people would rally around him because he was this great hero standing up to the United States. So you lock on with your radar and you sacrifice some artillery and some radar sites, and every time you do that, don't you go up in the polls, if they have polls in Iraq?
So I guess what I am asking, are we doing anything that is really moving us towards those goals you outlined? We are doing stuff, but I can't tell that we are making any progress down that road. And I can tell you that many of the neighbors who live in that neighborhood over there will tell you, because they have me, that they don't think we are accomplishing anything with this, that they don't think that this is a cohesive policy that will get us to any kind of goals, short-term or long-term. So can you reassure me that we are accomplishing something with this? We are stirring things up, but are we really getting anywhere?
Secretary SLOCOMBE. Yes, I think I can. I don't disagree with your description of Saddam wanting to portray himself as this valiant, beleaguered champion of the Arab cause and of the Iraqi people. I think there is a good deal of evidence that that pose is wearing pretty thin. In the written statement I have said what I think is appropriate to say publicly about what we know about troubles inside.
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I think the fact that we were in Desert Fox, we attacked targets like the Baath Party headquarters, like the headquarters in downtown Baghdad, that had an impression in terms of who is actually standing up and what is Saddam Hussein's ability actually to protect the structure of his power. The continuing failure of his efforts to break the no-fly zones I think has had an impact. Sure, he wants to say that he is exactly what you say.
I just don't think it is selling. Now, there are certainly people in the region, and not just in the region, who feel that the only answer is to get rid of him and get rid of him quick, and if there was a way to get rid of him quick, believe me, we would look real carefully at it. But we have looked at a lot of these plans which are a kind of silver bullet, magic trick approach, and it is not that we shy away from doing that sort of thing, but you can't produce a result like this by wishing for it. You can produce a lot of trouble. You can produce a lot of dead people, but you can't produce a success unless it is properly prepared and done very carefully and done very hard-headedly and realistically, without any romanticism or any wishful thinking.
I would like to ask, if I could, if General Zinni would address the issue, some of the impact that the attacks have had exactly on this issue of Saddam's prestige, both in the country and in the region.
General ZINNI. Sir, I think if you look at Saddam Hussein before Desert Storm, going back to the war in the Gulf, his military today is half the size that it was then. It is severely degraded, his readiness rates. We worry about our readiness rates. You would not want to be in the Iraqi army. His ability to maintain his equipment, the morale of his troops. He is executing officers.
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We know that he is snapping down on internal problems he is having. There is every indication he has executed the Ayatollah, who is the leader of the Arab Shia not just in his country but in the Arab world, and his two sons. We have seen demonstrations in the streets where he has had to use a heavy hand to put those down.
He is isolated in the region, in the Arab League, in the Gulf Cooperation Council. They longer sympathize with him. Certainly they sympathize with the Iraqi people. That is their concern. That is what they worry about. He no longer can drum up the kind of support or semi-support or at least get those in the region to be quiet about what he wants to do.
You are right about him inventing enemies. He shot missiles at Israel. He engaged in war with Iran. He attacked Kuwait, shot missiles at Bahrain. He attacked Saudi Arabia on the ground. He will use weapons of mass destruction. He uses them against his own people, the Kurds in the north and Shi'ites in the south. He will use them against Muslims, he will use them against Arabs, he will use them against anybody.
Does he go up in the polls with his people who have suffered? I have got to believe and I do believe that if tomorrow Saddam was gone, there would be no monuments in his memory or no legacy. You would have a very relieved Iraqi people. Those are truly the ones that have suffered through all of this.
Have we gotten anywhere? Yes, he is much weaker than he was. It has been painful. It has been long. It has been eight years. Is he degrading? Yes. Does Desert Fox and do these attacks have any effect on him and his military? Certainly they do. We see it, we hear it, we know it. We can measure it.
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How long of this will it take to bring him down? I can't give you a good answer but I can tell you he is on that path down. The key here is to bring it down in an orderly way and not to cause more problems in the region in the end than we had with a contained Saddam. We want him gone. We want his regime out. We want it in a way where our interests and the interests of our friends in this region are protected. We want it done in a way that whatever succeeds him is good for the region.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you very much, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. Gentlemen, we are going to break for these votes. We will probably have to recess for about 45 minutes to get these three votes in.
The CHAIRMAN. The meeting will please be in order. I apologize to the gentlemen for keeping you waiting, but those things happen beyond our control, you know. But yet all of us, we have to respond to them.
Let's see who is next here. Mr. Vic Snyder, the gentleman from Arkansas, you are next.
Mr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Gentlemen, I was telling Mr. Spence yesterday that as you may know, he over 10 years ago had a heart and lung transplant and has done very well, and now a spokesperson on behalf of organ donation, and I think the greatest testimony to that is he beats everybody else back here after a vote every time. Maybe we all need one.
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I just wanted to ask two or three questions, if I might, about some of the things that we heard yesterday. I don't know if you have had a chance to look at some of the things that were said yesterday but just clarify them, if you could, for me.
Yesterday Mr. Woolsey, part of his recommendation is that we should be looking more aggressively to overthrowing Saddam Hussein through these opposition groups, and he recommended that we go from a no-fly zone policy, up that to a no-fly, no-drive zone policy, the idea being that we could take out any trucks, et cetera, that were moving into that area.
I would like you, if you would, General, to comment on that and I guess on two aspects: Number one, what that would potentially mean in terms of civilian versus military casualties on the ground, because I know that is something that concerns you all greatly with your munitions; but also, has one of the effects of the no-fly zone policy been that Saddam Hussein is now doing a lot more things on the ground than he would have before?
General ZINNI. Congressman, first of all, we do have no-drive zones. We have a no-drive zone in the south, and in fact there is a security zone in the north that was established during Provide Comfort, the first operation after Desert Storm, for protection of the Kurds. They are complementary to the no-fly zones, if you will.
They were designed to not permit Saddam to bring in more military heavy equipment, tanks and other things, into the region to punish the Shi'ites in the south or the Kurds in the north. He has military forces in those regions. He does conduct, for example in the south, counter-insurgency operations day-to-day, some of them very brutal, but we do have a sanction against bringing in additional or heavy forces for that purpose.
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If we were to imposethere have been several proposals: a countrywide no-fly zone, a more stringent no-drive zone where we permit nothing in. Anything like that would require more forces for implementation and enforcement. We would obviously need more intelligence surveillance, reconnaissance capability to know what is going on. We will have to be very discerning as to what we are seeing.
I think you brought up the point about damage, civilian casualties, understand what is being moved. We would have to be very selective in the targeting because obviously roads go through cities, towns, and bridges, are used for commerce and that sort of thing that you might interdict.
Mr. SNYDER. General, you say we already have a no-drive zone. Has that been enforced?
General ZINNI. It has been enforced in the past. He has moved forces to the Kuwaiti border in the past and we have responded. So there are times when we have responded. There are times that he has moved selective pieces of equipment that are technically violations, but if we haven't seen them used directly against some of the minorities, they may have been moved down for other purposes. He has some equipment for example there now that he has moved down, that we believe is because he believes that we are about to conduct an amphibious invasion of one of the peninsulas in the south. In those cases we haven't responded. So we have looked at the purpose and the intention of the use.
Mr. SNYDER. Yesterday Dr. Hillen, both in his written statement and in answer to a question, said that there was some inherent tension, conflict between a policy of keeping Saddam Hussein in a box and a policy of wanting to see him overthrown and replaced. Frankly, I couldn't see what the tension was after even asking him about it. I don't know if you had a chance to review his comments.
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Mr. Slocombe, do you have any comment?
Secretary SLOCOMBE. I haven't had a chance to review his comments but there certainly is no contradiction. Even if you thought that any of these schemes, trying to create athe no-drive zone is kind of a misnomer. If I understand the idea it is to try to use air power to drive the Iraqi military entirely out of some area so that then it would then become a safe zone. That strikes me as pretty impractical. But even if you thought one of these schemes was practical, it is going to take a while for it to work.
Mr. SNYDER. Then you would want him to keep him in the box?
Secretary SLOCOMBE. In the meantime you have got to keep him in the box. You have got to keep the Coalition, you have got to keep the military presence.
Mr. SNYDER. That is what it seemed like to me also.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. I don't have nearly as much confidence in any of these kind of, well, easy to explain but hard to understand, easy to state but hard to see how they work schemes for relatively quick, relatively easy overthrow. But even if you had a lot of confidence in them, even their advocates don't say they are going to instantly get you into Baghdad with a new government. In the meantime, you have got to hold the situation in check.
Mr. SNYDER. In fairness to Dr. Hillen, he was very clear yesterday that he did not consider those kinds of schemes to be free. I think he used the phrase ''very bloody potential environment'' there.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Kuykendall, any questions?
Mr. KUYKENDALL. No.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me, if I might, waiting for others to show up, I would like to ask you what the effect of not having an inspection right now means in real terms, from the standpoint of our ability to detect and to deter Saddam Hussein in what he is trying to do with weapons of mass destruction?
Secretary SLOCOMBE. Not having the inspections has no real effect on our ability to deter him because the inspectionwe rely on our own unilateral intelligence for all the strictly military warning and indicator type of information to identify the movements of his military.
I think it was in response to Mr. Sisisky's question that I talked about what UNSCOM did and didn't do, and there is no question that UNSCOM provided some important information, particularly in the area of having confidence that identified facilities, chemical plants, for example, were producing what they were supposed to be producing and not producing chemical weapons. Losing that is a real loss.
I don't think it is appropriate in this forum to go into what we try to do and what our instruments are to try to replace that loss, or how we also were able to collect information on those subjects.
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There is no question that the loss of UNSCOM is a real loss, but remember that one of the things he did was to begin to interfere substantially with UNSCOM's ability to do that surveillance and routine inspections. He was not only going after the surprise inspections and refusing affirmatively to provide information, he was also beginning to interfere with what had gone reasonably well up to that point, which was the routine inspections and ongoing surveillance.
The CHAIRMAN. I guess there is a message there somewhere.
Mr. BUYER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
In February the Personnel Subcommittee conducted a field hearing in Norfolk, Virginia, and we also did some retention hearings here at the Capitol, to include the pilot retention hearing, and it all revealed concerns about operational tempo. The effect of the OPTEMPO is a drain on morale, welfare, ultimate readiness, along with pay and retirement. Troops are packing it in, and many are citing the OPTEMPO and lack of predictability.
This concerns not only myself but I am sure it would concern you as a CINC, because CENTCOM is one of the few combatant commands that does not have permanently assigned forces. Yet the current military presence includes approximately 120 combat aircraft, 6,000 ground troops, 10,000 support troops, the U.S. Army's near permanent presence to support what you do, and exercises in your entire region.
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So according to General Tilelli, even what he gives in his presence in the Gulf, if sustained as planned for 90 days or longer, can dramatically endanger military readiness in his areas of responsibility. Which I note the Chairman opened with that sort of question to you, and it is something that is bothersome to me. But hear my series of questions to you.
Where does the bulk of your forces come from? How much out of U.S. forces in Korea, how much out of the Pacific Command, European Command, and Southern Command? I don't know. I am curious. That is one question.
And if you could in your answer, explaining that relationship with the force providers in dealing with the rotations and the back and forth deployments and how we properly do that would be helpful to me. Also, what additional measures can we take to reduce the strain on our forces without affecting combat capability?
Now, I note that would be maybe even a better question to ask of General Wes Clark with regard to peacekeeping missions, and as I mentioned to you yesterday, yours is the real world. I don't mean that to be detrimental to what they are doing about going into Kosovo. Perhaps the Marines in the first 30 days moving in the peacekeeping operations is a little different than what you are having to do in taking on an actual combatant.
Also, the issue on burden sharing by other nations, especially those depending on oil from the region. I noted in your testimony you opened with 70 percent of Japan's oil comes from this region. So on the issue on burden-sharing, I would like your response and that of Mr. Slocombe.
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Here is what I would like for Mr. Slocombe to respond about what we are doing with Japan and burden-sharing, and I would like to ask General Zinni as a CINC: If Japan would participate, what would be your recommendation for an area in which they could participate and still be able to be constitutionally within their framework?
Also, and the last question is, in your opinion, what steps should we undertake to tighten the noose or perhaps to make the box tighter on Saddam? I view this at the moment as an escalation. Not only is Saddam recalcitrant, he is more so. So we are only then responding to what he is presently doing. So my question then to you for the record is, instead of having the no-fly zones in the north and in the south, should we have a total no-fly zone for the entire country to reduce his capabilities?
General ZINNI. Sir, to begin with on where our forces come from, you are correct, we have no assigned forces. We count on three other CINCs primarily: European Command, Pacific Command, and Atlantic Command. The bulk of our forces come from the Atlantic Command and the Pacific Command. But of course at times we draw from forces from EUCOM. There are times, because of the requirement now for us, for example, to have a carrier presence all the time, that we will draw the Mediterranean carrier out to cover our gaps where we have them with Pacific carriers.
Obviously we are part of the cause of OPTEMPO problems that you mentioned. We try to work very closely with the force providers to understand how to alleviate these problems. Let me give you some examples.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have adjusted the times of deployment based on proficiency and skills and the nature of the community and the strain on it. For example, our flying squadrons deploy for 45 days, our ground units for 90 days, our naval units for 6 months.
You might look at the differences and wonder why. Well, in some cases, the training and the proficiency and skills for the flying units aren't maintained very well out there. Despite the fact they are flying in Iraq, it is not the kind of high-skill involvement they need, so we have shortened the duration. That may mean they may come more often but for a lesser period of time.
The ground units, the Army units in Kuwait, for example, it is superb training. Some of the soldiers on the ground compare it favorably to the NTC, the National Training Center, in their deployment. They are able to go to the field with all their weapons, with air cover, free maneuver. Kuwaitis obviously provide us with all the training we need and those units come back highly proficient, well motivated, appreciative of the training, and there is no loss. It can take the place of training they might be doing back home.
Our naval units are on standard six-month rotations, amphibious ready groups, ships, carrier battle groups, and we maintain the standard portal-to-portal requirements. We try to workone advantage we have in not having assigned forces, we constantly look for adjustments to these forces.
Believe it or not, in the time period I mentioned, we have been through all these crises, we have actually reduced the number of aircraft in theater, the number of routine normal aircraft by 30. I think if we get through these crises and if we got back to the patrolling of the no-fly zones the way we did at precrisis, we might even have further reductions.
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Prepositioning has helped us. It shortened the time that we need to get in, the amount of forces we need on the ground. So we have looked at less expensive, less taxing ways to make up the difference that we need in time and closure and maybe taxing of strategic lift and other things. We work constantly with our force providers to find this, but it is difficult. We know we are part of the strain. And we are a theater like Southern Command with no assigned forces. Somebody has to provide them for us.
There is an advantage to that, in that we can tailor our forces, then, and we can constantly look, since we have no permanent presence out there, at reducing them when we don't need them. Increased capabilities, increased munitions capabilities have allowed us also to use less force to accomplish the same mission.
In terms of burden-sharing, I would say that the countries in the region pick up a lot of the expense of our forces being out there. If you were to total it up, if you would look at 1998 and look at all the contributions, direct contributions in what is called assistance in kindfood, fuel, waterif you were to look at the construction costs, if you were to look at the relief we get from some of the taxes and others, land provisions, lease arrangements, we exceed $500 million a year on average burden-sharing support in the region for our presence.
The countries have picked up well over half the cost of construction. The Saudis, for example, just built a friendly forces housing complex at Prince Sultan Air Base. It allows our troops to move out of tents into rooms, air conditioned facilities, at considerable expense, probably close to a $200 million facility.
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We have countries out there that buy American. What I mean by that, because of our presence and because we want to be interoperable with them, because we want to build a strong coalition, areas that we are concerned about like theater missile defense, they look to our technology and they look to our defense industries for the kinds of equipment that make them interoperable. If you look at the past 25 years in our region, there is over $100 billion that have been spent by these countries in American defense industry. I think in a way that says something about our presence. In a way it is partly burden-sharing, and they are willing to step up to that kind of equipment.
What do we need from other countries outside? By the way, these countries do participate with thisfor example, in maritime intercept operations, we have the ships from these countries and small boats out working. Kuwait, for example, Kuwaitis also provide defensive counter air when we are flying to protect our bases over Kuwaiti air space.
From outside we get obviously British and French involvement. The French are not flying Southern Watch now, but they were. Their planes are still there. They may resume. The British have obviously flown Desert Fox and participate in the maritime intercept operations. We have ships from other NATO countries and outside NATO. Through these crises I mentioned the past year, Australia, New Zealand, a number of other countries have sent forces.
What can we use from countries, perhaps like Japan, that constitutionally may not be able to commit forces? I think picking up part of the tab and the burden-sharing, the operational costs, the costs of our day-to-day involvement out there, those things certainly help. The O&M funding for this, as you well know, comes out of our services' hide, my service components. That certainly would help.
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We can certainly use forces. Ships from other countries can be well used in the maritime intercept ops and take some of the pressure off our forces, too. Countries like the British that fly with us, their Tornadoes are very valuable to us. When the French and the Brits fly, they provide almost all the land based tactical reconnaissance aircraft that we use. That takes another one of those low-density, high-demand items that we have and takes the pressure off in terms of deployments. So specific things like that are very valuable to us.
In times of crisis, assets that help us, weapons of mass destruction protection, detection units, decon units, things like that are very valuable if they would be earmarked for movement to join us, since we are very short of those kinds of things, and many of those kinds of things may be in our Reserves and places we have to pull on frequently and where there will be need for elsewhere in the world.
So that is kind of a short list, Congressman. It is what I think may be of some help.
Mr. BUYER. The last questionMr. Slocombe, you were going to answer about burden-sharingthe last point was the tightening of the box on Saddam, should we take away his entire air space?
I apologize to go on at length on this, Mr. Chairman, but if we are going to continue our presence in the Gulf, should we begin to think outside the box and begin to have assigned forces to CENTCOM instead of doing all this type of thing, and if we want to escalate and take away his entire no-fly zone for the entire country, I mean, should we begin tightening that noose? I am willing to discuss that.
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General ZINNI. Sir, first of all, I don't believe we should have assigned forces. I am not after having a small empire out there, building permanent forces. I don't think I would ask us to invest in the military construction, the things that we would need in terms of continuity. We would have to put units down on the ground with dependents and all that goes with it. I don't think politically it would bear well on the region.
I think the price we would pay here isn't necessary. We are paying a price through OPTEMPO and rotation, but I get highly trained units that come for a specific period of time, that work in a very harsh environment. It sends a political signal, too, that we are not there permanently. We defuse the propaganda arguments that we are there to stay, that we are seeking to colonize the region. I think there is a lot of gain in doing it the way we are doing it.
I do think if we want to continue to tighten the noose on Saddam, there are many things that we are doing, not only militarily. Keep the sanctions enforcement down, encourage our friends in the region like the Jordanians, for example, who have stepped up smuggling control and put a reinforced division on the border, help them with their military because they have stood up and are supporting us in this; continue to talk about the post-Saddam regime, encourage those and help those that are working toward that, being careful with thewho we are and what we do, as we discussed earlier.
If we are to take the next step to enforcing a countrywide no-fly zone, it would require a significant amount of force, more than I have out there now, to monitor and patrol. He will challenge it. It will cause us to respond to challenge it. If we have to respond to challenging it, we are going into the center of Iraq, which is a much more difficult proposition than the south and north in terms of air defenses and concentration of his forces.
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We will automatically lead ourselves into very heavy kinds of strikes and operations, which will require not only more force, definite political decisions. And then if you are going to be selective about taking down air defenses and things that fly, you are probably going to be forced into the next step in attacking broader targets, much as we did in Desert Fox. And I think I would not want to see us get incrementally eased into that, but make a conscious decision that we are going to take that step and, most importantly, have the support of our allies in the region to go to that step.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. Mr. Buyer, you asked specifically about Japan. For historical reasons I think the chance of Japan contributing in any military sense in the Gulf is very low. Japan does of course provide very substantial host nation support for U.S. operations in Japan, for U.S. facilities. It runs to billions of dollars a year.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Taylor.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and Mr. Slocombe, General Zinni.
General Zinni, I remember in April of '91 after the war a large number of Congressmen went over. We met with some young pilots, and one of them asked the question then, ''If I am shot down enforcing this no-fly zone, what happens?'' Obviously we don't have anywhere near the resources we had in April of '91. I think it is still a very fair question to ask. What happens? What is the response? He is shot down and he is captured.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General ZINNI. Yes, sir. I would like to answer for the record the details of combat search and rescue, because of obvious classification. As to what we would do, obviously it depends, and the ''depends'' means where and how and what we can do. We have an ability, a capability for combat search and rescue. Obviously I would not want to tell that pilot that in every circumstance we can make guarantees.
Given what we are doing today and where we are doing it, I have a degree of confidence that we have all the resources that we need to make the outcome about as favorable as we can make it without being able to guarantee that. I think as you might know, this is situational dependent, where he comes out, what is on the ground, what condition he is in, what is the nature of other actions that may be going on. That may all affect this. It is not for want of capability out there. This capability has been reinforced recently, by the way, and I have everything I have asked for.
Mr. TAYLOR. General, let me be a little more clear. He is shot down and he is captured. What happens?
General ZINNI. If he is shot down and he is captured, I think now we are over to a policy decision.
Mr. TAYLOR. Do we have a policy in place?
Secretary SLOCOMBE. We would have a policy that we would respondone of the red lines for a strong military response, going well beyond what we are talking about on a day-to-day basis with the no flight zones, would be an attack on, a shooting down of a Coalition, U.S. or British aircraft. I don't think in this context it is appropriate to go beyond that.
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Mr. TAYLOR. Do the rules apply if it is a French aviator or British aviator? Same rules?
Secretary SLOCOMBE. Yes, in some sensethe short answer is yes. It is obviously somewhatyou would consult those countries closely if it was one of their aviators that was involved.
Mr. TAYLOR. At your convenience, General, I would like to know what the response is. If for some reason you choose not to say it publicly, I would at least like to hear it privately.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. One of the things I think we have all got to realize isI don't want to say fortunately because it hasn't been because of good fortune. It has been because of training and careful planning and good preparation and all of that, but there has also been some element of good fortune. We have not lost a pilot or lost a plane in Northern Watch or Southern Watch, even due to just engine failure or something like that which can happen anywhere, any day. I think all of those of us who are involved in this and all Americans need to understand that inevitably this activity carries with it the risk
Mr. TAYLOR. Which is why I asked the question.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. I understand that. I don't want to give the impression we have not focused on that, and we are not making our decisions and our policy on the assumption that this is a risk-free, casualty-free operation.
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Mr. TAYLOR. General, my last questionI have noticed that the publications that cater to the military, Army Times, Navy Times, by and large the editorial staffs are prophets of doom and rarely report good news. And I am sure that any one of the 535 Senators and Congressmen who has ever said maybe we shouldn't be there, I am sure they are widely quoted in the Army and Navy Times, Air Force Times.
Would it serve any morale purposes, would it serve any diplomatic purposes or any military purpose for Congress to go on record in the spring of 1999 saying we continue to support the mission, we continue to support the no-fly zone?
General ZINNI. Congressman, I think that would be received extremely well by all of us in uniform. I make a great effort to explain to our troops why we are there. I have yet to find anyone that challenges it out there or doesn't understand it. Sometimes the conditions are harsh, sometimes the deployments are long, sometimes they are frequent, and there are those stresses but I don't think anyone doesn't understand why they are there.
Sometimes the troops have difficulty understanding the debate back here, and I think some gesture like that would certainly be well received and enforce their belief in what they are doing. I mentioned in my opening comments here an encouragement to visit the region, and many members of this committee have, as have other Members of Congress. I can't tell you how much that does for our forces out there.
They know it is not the greatest place in the world sometimes to go to, the middle of the desert, to an air base that is very isolated or to visit a ground unit on the border of Kuwait, but when they see their elected representatives out there standing with them, and I have seen this, and telling them how much they think of them, you make my job much easier.
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Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, General.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Snyder.
Mr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Zinni, just one more question. I hope it is not considered an unfair question. This is our second day of having discussion about our policy in Iraq and we have heard, you know, words and criticisms about an incoherent policy, a confused policy, a policy without an exit strategy. I know you have heard those things. You referred to the debate.
From your perspective as the military commander, does our policy that you are the one that is tasked to carry out, does it have sufficient clarity and sense of purpose that it is clear to you what your mission is?
General ZINNI. It is to me, Congressman. First of all, I would say this is an extremely complex region, an extremely complex problem, only one problem that we have in the region. We can go into Iran and the other threats, terrorism and the things that further complicate the region.
I see the policy that I am asked to implement as forcible containment and as one that is working toward the eventual change of regime in Baghdad, but done in a way that maintains the primary objective, which is regional stability, keep our friends with us, keep the region stable. To keep the region stable for our interest, our interest clearly being the free flow of energy in this critical part of the world where most of the world's oil and natural gas is located, to make sure we have access to the region.
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A simple look at the map shows we have to transit this area. It is the hinge plate of three continents, with the Suez Canal, Bab El-Mandab, Straits of Hormuz, passage that we need through there to maintain stability in this region, because instability in this region not only upsets the other interests but tends to spread and become very disruptive.
We have vested interests in the peace process and other things that go on that we try to maintain. Quick short answers that don't work in the long run tend to be destabilizing. It is hard to do containment. There aren't clear 100 percent advantages. There are times when the road is going to get bumpy with our friends and the way we implement it, but I don't see any other recourse.
There are only three ways I see to resolve this problem. One is to give me the forces I need and say we are going to end it and go to Baghdad, and I think there are all sorts of problems and tough political decisions associated with that and I am not advocating that.
The second is to contain and degrade his capabilities until he is no longer a threat, much like we have done in other places in the world.
The third is to try to bring him down, from within or without. That is a crap shoot in my mind and we have to be, as I think Secretary Slocombe said, very careful in how we pursue that. I am for that if it will work and if we can do it in a sensible way.
I have trouble with a lot of the proposals that are being made now, so I see for right now the best course is that containment policy that I am ordered to implement at this time.
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Mr. SNYDER. Thank you, General.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
Mr. MALONEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Zinni, Mr. Slocombe, thank you for your testimony today and thank you for, I think, great work in a very, very difficult situation in the Mideast. General Zinni, I would just like to follow up. Earlier today you had testified that the multiple deployments that are occurring, Iraq and Bosnia and Kosovo, potentially place a, quote, ''high demand on low-density assets with regard to the surveillance and intelligence.''
I would like to inquire in particular in regard to J-STARS. The President did include procurement monies in his budget for the 14th J-STARS, and I would like to inquire of you as to the utility of the Joint STARS operations in your region and your assessment on how many of those systems the armed forces might need to ensure that you and CENTCOM have the J-STARS, you need not preempted by circumstances in other areas. In other words, how far can we spread this thin resource? How many do you need to make sure you have enough to do your job?
General ZINNI. Sir, let me give you a general answer and then ask if I can answer for the record the number in our war plans, because of the classification requirement.
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J-STARS is extremely valuable to us. In times of crisis and build up, it is one of our earliest deploying assets we want to bring in theater. It is necessary for us to get a clear ground, big picture across the border, particularly as we look at southern Iraq and any movements of forces.
I have been out there in the past year during crises when we have deployed J-STARS, been at the console with the ground station and looked at this, and the capability is amazing. It is like looking at traffic monitoring in a major city, with experienced operators to point out exactly what is on the ground, where it is and what strength and what it is doing and where it is moving. You can imagine the value of that to us.
That kind of capability in multiple areas that we feel threatened 24 hours a day is what drives the number that I will give to you in these. It is a high-demand requirement by our forces, especially our ground forces who want to have that view of what is coming at them, and of course for those of us who do the targeting and prioritization to put air or other systems against it. I can't say enough for the capability, and I will provide the numbers.
Mr. MALONEY. Very good. Thank you, gentlemen.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. All set.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Maloney. The time is drawing short but I do have a few other questions I might ask, maybe one for here and maybe for the record.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC First of all, General Zinni, do you have adequate theater missile defenses to protect our troops and our allies in the area?
General ZINNI. Sir, my biggest concern in terms of dealing with a threat in the region, my first priority now is theater missile defense. We have in place capabilities. My concern is what we are seeing are growing potential enemy capabilities. I think you are well aware of the missile development that some of our potential enemies have. It is a direct and significant challenge to what we possess.
We have a requirement to bring in a significant amount of our own capability to counter this, but in addition to that, we need to bring our coalition, our allies, our friends up to speed. We are looking for an interoperable theater missile defense system out there. It is just not good enough for us to have a U.S. system.
In this light, we are working with our allies to develop a coalition capability. We obviously need more. We certainly do not have sufficient assets to protect host country assets that we rely on, ports, airfields, things of political and of other significance to them that they are going to expect protection for if they allow us to use their bases and sign up to support us in any military endeavor.
We have begun this process now. The Secretary of Defense is out there talking about the shared early warning that we would like to share with our coalition countries, alerting them to the potential missile launches, to provide the immediate response. This is vital to us to sort out identification of friendly forces and combat ID, to make sure we assign to the right targets.
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I mentioned before that our friends in the region are spending significantly in capabilities like Patriot and other systems. There is a need to make these interoperable and connect them. The short answer is, the missile technology put against us is growing. I am worried about our ability to counter it, I am worried about the amount of capability that we have that we can get there in time, and I am worried about our allies and their ability to interface with us in this kind of defense which requires extreme interoperability.
The CHAIRMAN. That is the point I want to make, I think. You say there is a requirement for it, working for it, you want this and all the rest, but the fact is we don't have it now, not adequately. Even the Patriot is not adequate, that is what we had before, even upgrades which we don't have deployed yet.
General ZINNI. I would say the potential enemy missile development capability is growing rapidly too.
The CHAIRMAN. That is a concern we share on that. One other thing, the rules of engagement, can you tell us what they are, and have they been expanded just recently?
General ZINNI. Sir, they have been expanded, and because of the classification of rules of engagement, I would like to answer for the record on what they are and spell them out.
The CHAIRMAN. Finally, one last thing. We talked about, Mr. Hillen and others talked about the problems we have with OPTEMPO, and that we have reduced forces now throughout all of our military and we have them scattered all over the world in various commands and everything else and we are stretched thin. No matter what kind of face you want to put on it, we are stretched thin. We are trying to do more with less, and requirements keep growing for us to be at different places.
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And all of those kind of things, given that, now we are faced with voting here today on committing more troops to another place in the world, Kosovo. And I was just wondering what effect this would have us sending more troops somewhere else, on your ability to carry out your mission and especially the one I referred to earlier today, your ability to fight say the second major theater war, if we have more troops committed to the Balkans and Kosovo in addition to all the other places in the world.
General ZINNI. I would say my concern would fall into two areas: The immediate concern if we had a crisis, obviously things I mentioned before, strategic lift, demand for low-density assets, heavy demand on logistic combat support elements that have multiple requirements around the world. They get strained pretty significantly.
In the shorter term, I mean in terms of day-to-day operations in our AOR, as I said in answer to Congressman Buyer's question, that we rely on other CINCs to provide us forces, so I am drawing from the common pool, if you will, that may support these other commitments. So when I go back and ask for squadrons or battalions or ships that have to come out, these may be the same units that are providing that support elsewhere and it may be a double tax.
I am not in a good position to answer that. The CINCs to the force providers, ACOM, PACCOM, and EUCOM would better, I think, describe the strain, but obviously from my end I can see multiple demands on the same forces. We are going to pay a tax for that.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. Mr. Chairman, could I?
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. Yes, sir, Mr. Secretary, take a shot at it.
Secretary SLOCOMBE. It is certainly the case that any new deployment has to be looked at very closely from that point of view. The fact is that we are talking about 4,000 troops, which is a significant number but in absolute terms not a very large number, that there are plans to ensure that in the event of a secondthis problem of the impact of deployments like Bosnia or Kosovo, if it happened, tends to have an impact only on the second of the two major theater wars. There are plans in place to assure that those forces could be withdrawn and made available to participate with the division from which they would be drawn, so that the flow of forces is not interfered with.
Now, obviously any situation in which you had two major theater wars, one actually going on and the other apparently imminent, would be an extreme situation and lot of other things would have to change. The administration of the Department of Defense clearly have taken the position that in those circumstances we would not permit the deployment of forces to an operation like Bosnia or Kosovo, important and useful as they are, to interfere with the potential success of a major theater war. We in fact sent up a report within the last week or so going into excruciating detail in a classified way as to how this would actually work, using the Bosnia case as an example.
Second, given the vote that is going to be taken this afternoon, I cannot refrain from saying that I think that if the House of Representatives were to vote this afternoon against authorizing a U.S. participation, they would have a very deleterious effect on negotiations that are going on now.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. My main concern in wrapping it up, and I do appreciate you both being here today, you have helped us with our job, and my immediate concern and long-term concern after all is our ability to carry out the national strategy that we have before us, to defend this country and our people against attack from foreign countries, and to assure that in any event that the casualties resulting from these things are as low as possible. And that is why I say when we stretch ourselves too thin, we up the risk.
That means lives. In human terms, it means more American lives being lost, and that is why I resist all these things as fervently as I do, because I am concerned about the fact that we have to protect our own people, especially our own troops out there who are deployed, and to have someone say that we have to run a high risk, a moderate risk even, that is unacceptable in terms of losing people. You have to consider losing people when you get anything this way. But every time we do something, we make it more difficult, and the result finally being, we lose more people. That is what I am concerned about.
Again, thank you very much for what you are doing, General, congratulations being a Marine and Central Command. I think you must be the first. Is that a record, a Marine being a Central Commander?
General ZINNI. No, sir, we have had two previous Marines, actually three if we count the RJDF.
Mr. Hill, did you have a question?
Mr. HILL. Yes, I think I do. General, I am fascinated. Politically we have made Saddam Hussein this villain and the threat to world peace and politics. Perception is everything, of course, and I understand that, but in your view militarily, how much of a threat is he and the Iraqis and the army, how much of a threat are they really to the region? What can they do? What is their potential?
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General ZINNI. Sir, obviously his military has been greatly reduced since Desert Storm. As I mentioned in previous testimony, it is about half the size, and things like readiness and training have been greatly degraded and eroded over that decade or so.
He still possesses the largest military in the region, especially the ground forces. There is an advantage in demographics. If you look at the Kuwaitis, the Saudis and other things, other counties, they have spent a lot of money in their own defense but they don't have the numbers of people that they could actually put in the field against the large number of divisions and units that Saddam has. So he is a threat in terms of sheer size comparative to others in the region.
Now, obviously he is not that much of a threat conventionally when we are there and when we close the force properly to meet any aggression. The biggest concern are the weapons of mass destruction and the potential there. Obviously we all felt that when UNSCOM was in doing its business that we were at least keeping him on the run and trying to find out as much as we could. Without any kind of inspection regime, I worry about that.
We attacked in Desert Fox his delivery capability, particularly missiles and missile development and fuel for missiles, but we don't know what he may have. Capabilities like chemical and biological capabilities are easy to produce. Dual use facilities, pharmaceutical plants, pesticide plants could easily convert or produce simultaneously that kind of capability.
Delivery systems is a little more difficult, but in this day and age it can be simplified, and that, I think, is the most dangerous threat at this point. As long as we are there conventionally I feel he is not a threat to his neighbors in the region. If we are not there, he is conventionally. Weapons of mass destruction is another story. We need to keep the pressure on and find out what he is up to, because that is where he presents the most significant threat to the region.
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Mr. HILL. Well, as a follow-up to the Under Secretary, then, since you outlined a policy of containment earlier in your presentation, what is the hope for the future of putting in a regime there or a regime developing eventually, and what kind of time period are we looking at for there to be a regime in there that will be more friendly towards that area and towards the United States?
Secretary SLOCOMBE. I think it is impossible to identify a time frame because it depends so heavily on developments inside the country, some of which we have absolutely no control over, some of which we may and we hope to be able to influence by working with groups inside and outside the country.
That is precisely the reason that I think, because we can't put a firm date or even absolute confidence that there will be a date when there will be a change in the regime, we have to continue this containment policy because, as General Zinni said, as long as we are there, as long as he is contained, as long as the Coalition holds together, as long as the sanctions are on so he can't spend his oil money on weapons, he is a manageable military threat.
You take those constraints away, and the size of the country, the fact that it has very substantial oil resources, a ruthless government, and absolutely unchanged ambitions that dominate the whole region, the situation becomes very, very different. But I am afraid I have to tell you that until it happens, we will have to continue the containment. I am afraid I can't tell you that anyone can predict with certainty when that will be, but our interest will stay out there. That is the reason we need to stay out there.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HILL. I don't understand the politics of the Iraqi government, of course. What would happen if he disappeared? Who would take over? What would happen?
Secretary SLOCOMBE. That is one of the reasons, as General Zinni, said we have to be careful about what it is we are trying to do. Now, personally, I would be willing to take almost any alternative on the ground that it could hardly be worse, but sometimes you say that and then they turn out to be worse.
What we hope to do is to establish, by a process that will take time and patience, to establish a consensus political group inside and outside Iraq so that any successor government, first of all, will not be a threat to its neighbors; and, second, will be able to run a united geographically, territorial integrity maintained that is basically fair to the very diverse ethnic and religious groups that live in Iraq. That is our vision of where we ought to try to go.
People say, well, you get another general, he will be just as bad as Saddam. Personally, that is a risk I would be willing to take, but it would be far better if we could have a regime where some people in this regime might have some role in it, but a regime that reflected a much broader range of Iraqi opinion.
Mr. HILL. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Smith, do you have a question?
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SMITH. No, thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Again, I apologize, gentlemen, for running over. We appreciate again your contribution. Thank you very much.
General ZINNI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. The meeting will be adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 12:24 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
March 11, 1999
[This information is pending.]