SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10828]
OPERATIONS AND RECONSTRUCTION EFFORTS IN IRAQ
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
MAY 21, 2004
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
One Hundred Eighth Congress
DUNCAN HUNTER, California, Chairman
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
HOWARD P. ''BUCK'' McKEON, California
MAC THORNBERRY, Texas
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
WALTER B. JONES, North Carolina
JIM RYUN, Kansas
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
HEATHER WILSON, New Mexico
KEN CALVERT, California
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
JO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
ED SCHROCK, Virginia
W. TODD AKIN, Missouri
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
JEFF MILLER, Florida
JOE WILSON, South Carolina
FRANK A. LoBIONDO, New Jersey
TOM COLE, Oklahoma
JEB BRADLEY, New Hampshire
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCROB BISHOP, Utah
MICHAEL TURNER, Ohio
JOHN KLINE, Minnesota
CANDICE S. MILLER, Michigan
PHIL GINGREY, Georgia
MIKE ROGERS, Alabama
TRENT FRANKS, Arizona
IKE SKELTON, Missouri
JOHN SPRATT, South Carolina
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
LANE EVANS, Illinois
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
MARTY MEEHAN, Massachusetts
SILVESTRE REYES, Texas
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
JIM TURNER, Texas
ADAM SMITH, Washington
LORETTA SANCHEZ, California
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
CIRO D. RODRIGUEZ, Texas
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
ROBERT A. BRADY, Pennsylvania
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOHN B. LARSON, Connecticut
SUSAN A. DAVIS, California
JAMES R. LANGEVIN, Rhode Island
STEVE ISRAEL, New York
RICK LARSEN, Washington
JIM COOPER, Tennessee
JIM MARSHALL, Georgia
KENDRICK B. MEEK, Florida
MADELEINE Z. BORDALLO, Guam
RODNEY ALEXANDER, Louisiana
TIM RYAN, Ohio
Robert S. Rangel, Staff Director
Ryan Vaart, Professional Staff Member
Eric Sterner, Professional Staff Member
Justin Bernier, Research Assistant
Danleigh Halfast, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Friday, May 21, 2004, Conduct and Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom
Friday, May 21, 2004
FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2004
CONDUCT AND SUPPORT OF OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Hunter, Hon. Duncan, a Representative from California, Chairman, Committee on Armed Services
Skelton, Hon. Ike, a Representative from Missouri, Ranking Member, Committee on Armed Services
Hagee, Gen. Michael W., United States Marine Corps, Commandant of the Marine Corps
Myers, Gen. Richard B., United States Air Force, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
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Schoomaker, Gen. Peter J., United States Army, Chief of Staff for the Army
[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Hunter, Hon. Duncan
Skelton, Hon. Ike
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Documents can be viewed in the hard copy.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
CONDUCTS AND SUPPORT OF OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCHouse of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Washington, DC, Friday, May 21, 2004.
The committee met, pursuant to call, at 9 a.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Duncan Hunter (chairman of the committee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. DUNCAN HUNTER, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM CALIFORNIA, CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
The CHAIRMAN. The hearing will come to order.
Our guests this morning are General Richard B. Myers, United States Air Force, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; General Peter J. Schoomaker, United States Army, Chief of Staff for the Army; General Michael W. Hagee, United States Marine Corps, Commandant of the Marine Corps.
Welcome to the Committee, gentlemen. We look forward to your testimony, and we appreciate your appearance before the committee this morning.
We called this hearing because the Committee has focused all of its energy on moving our Defense Authorization Bill through the House and addressing the Abu Ghraib prison situation for much of the last month. While that is all very important, we must not forget that there is a war on, and our troops are in the thick of it.
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And we appreciate all your great work over the last several months in helping us to know what your requirements are and helping us to shape this Defense bill. I think we turned out a great product yesterday afternoon.
While the media has been absorbed with the misdeeds of a few Military Police (MP)s, our soldiers turned back an uprising by Muqtada al-Sadr and his Iranian supported al-Mahdi brigade. He and his militia are now cornered, and they have retreated into holy sites in Najaf, proving to Iraqis and the world that he has no respect for Islam or Iraq's future as a nation.
Ultimately, winning that war and building a secure Iraq are immensely important to the future, and we must not lose site of that. I called this hearing this morning to make sure we don't.
Gentlemen, we look forward to your testimony. And I want to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues, Republican and Democrat, on this committee who put together a Defense bill for your personnel and your services. And this year, the Year of the Troops, and we passed this bill out 60 to 0, which I think reflected the common ground we have in supporting our troops.
We want to thank you for the great relationship that we have had here over the last several months. When we needed information, we have received it quickly.
As we go through the conference with the Senate, when they turn away from this prison mess and get on with the work of maintaining our military, they will be producing a product, and we need to get into this conference and get this thing done and get it to the President's desk so we can have everything we need to continue to pursue our mission, not only in Iraq but in the Afghanistan theater and with our total force around the world.
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We look forward to continuing to work with you on a very close basis and produce a good product for the folks who wear the uniform of the United States and for our national security. Thank you for being with us.
I want to thank Mr. Skelton for all of his great work on shaping this bill and would turn to the gentleman from Missouri for any remarks he might want to make.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hunter can be viewed in the hard copy.]
STATEMENT OF HON. IKE SKELTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM MISSOURI, RANKING MEMBER, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
I join you in welcoming our witnesses, General Myers, General Schoomaker and General Hagee. I hope we can have a full and interesting discussion this morning.
As the Chairman noted, we passed a bill yesterday afternoon, Department of Defense Authorization bill, $422 billion. We think it is a good bill and good for the troops in particular. A good part of it, as you know, is the $25 billion supplemental, which we marked up and will help with the end strength and both of your services, the Army and the Marines. And I think that is a very, very positive step, and I hope you all will support that at the end of the day.
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I think the question we want answered today is where we are in all of this? There is reason for optimism. There is reason for pride. Our forces, acting in concert with our coalition partners, have accomplished a great deal, and we want to hear about that. And they are having success in some areas. Reconstruction efforts seem to be progressing.
And on the other hand, we are bombarded in the news media, not just with the incidents at the Abu Ghraib prison, pictures thereof, but more recently, yesterday, today, with the Chalabi situation. I hope you will tell us what you know about that. That is very distressing, because, as I understand it, we relied so much on him. And I was troubled when I watched on CNN and; I think I have the quote correct, former General Joseph Hoar said we are on the brink of failure. I certainly hope that is not correct. I would wish that you would address that.
Tell us the positives that are out there. Tell us how we are getting along and don't whitewash or varnish it or anything, because we want to know. We are in charge of maintaining oversight of what you do, and we must come out successfully in these two efforts. I will underline the word must. We will write a very damaging chapter in American history if we don't.
So, Mr. Chairman, with that lecture, I will yield my time.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Skelton can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. Well, on that note of optimism, we will move to our witnesses.
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And one thing, too, General Myers, that we are very concerned about is the status of forces in Korea. We are shifting the brigade, and we are moving a brigade. I think one of the smart things we are doing is moving our forces, resetting them out of the range of the 6,000 or so artillery troops from the north and getting them out of that artillery fan, which I think is a good thing.
But we are moving a brigade, roughly a tenth of the force, from Korea to Iraq, and from the information we have received; and maybe a little information about your evaluation of the capability of the Koreans to maintain defense, the state of their forces versus their threat to the north. I think that is now an important piece of this overall global footprint.
Thank you very much, gentlemen. And we look forward to working with you as we work this bill down through conference.
And this is why I think this is very timely. We have a little product out there that we hope it has met a number of your needs. And we need to know, as my colleague from Missouri said, the unvarnished outlook on what we have done and on the state of play in Iraq and on our global footprint. Thank you.
General Myers, the floor is yours.
STATEMENT OF GEN. RICHARD B. MYERS, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF
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General MYERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Congressman Skelton and Members of the committee.
I will just take this time to briefly share my assessment of our progress on the war on terrorism, and then, obviously, we will go into more depth.
First let me assure that the coalition remains strong. Two weeks ago, my staff co-hosted a coalition conference. Poland and the United Kingdom were the other co-hosts. It was an extremely productive session with senior military representatives from 53 countries as well as representatives from the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The goal of this conference was to share information, primarily from a strategic perspective, on the war on terrorism, focusing on coalition operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. We received tremendous positive feedback from the participants and are planning another conference this fall.
In Afghanistan, the 25th Infantry Division (ID) has replaced the 10th Mountain Division, and the Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) 180 continues combat operations in the south and the east. We are seeing steady progress in the destruction of the al Qaeda and Taliban and continue to focus on the kill or capture of high value targets.
Enemy attacks have been primarily targeting the Afghan Government and nongovernmental organizations. We believe that continuous presence provided by the provincial reconstruction teams is having a positive impact on the security situation, which is why we plan to expand this effort into additional regions.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are also focused on the national elections in Afghanistan now planned for September. We expect anti-government elements will attempt to disrupt or influence the elections, so we are working with the Afghan government, the interim security assistance force in Kabul and the United Nations (UN) to develop a comprehensive security plan to ensure the safety and the legitimacy of those elections.
In Iraq, we continue to move steadily toward the 30 June transfer of sovereignty. You heard General Abizaid stress how important sovereignty is. The Iraqi people want to know that their efforts are in support of their own country and their own government. Iraqi security forces went to work under an Iraqi chain of command and put their lives on the line for their own country.
Department of Defense personnel both here in Washington and in the Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility have been working very hard to ensure the 30 June transition is as smooth and effective as possible. On May 15, the Multinational Force of Iraq was officially stood up, which replaced our Combined Joint Task Force 7. This coalition headquarters is designed to coordinate and integrate the parallel efforts of Iraqi security forces.
Iraqi security liaisons will work within the headquarters and division staffs and coordination centers, and that will ensure at the tactical level that we are fully integrated with our Iraqi partners.
Of the 25 government ministries in Iraq, authority has been transferred to 11 of them already. Much work has been done on the part of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), the Department of State and Department of Defense and many other Government agencies and organizations to enable the transfer of the remaining 14 ministries. Members of my staff have participated in an ongoing series of planning conferences and exercises to ensure a productive relationship between a sovereign Iraqi government, the U.S. mission under Ambassador Negroponte and the Multinational Force Iraq headquarters under the command of General Sanchez.
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You specifically asked about the decision to send a brigade from the 2nd infantry division from Korea to Iraq. We think this decision makes sense. We need those forces in Iraq, and we will still have sufficient capability in Korea to meet our commitments to the alliance there. We are always very conscious of the stress on all our troops, active, Guard and Reserve, and the need to equitably share the deployment load.
Exactly what the troop requirement will be in the future is always something that General Abizaid evaluates and is never fully clear until we get closer to those decisions. I do think the situation after June 30 will still be challenging. There are positive signs, however, that the Iraqi people are ready to take responsibility for their future.
A recent report in the New York Daily News quoted General Latif, the leader of the Interim Fallujah Brigade. He told a gathering of sheiks and tribal leaders, quote, ''We can make them,'' meaning the Americans, ''use their rifles against us, or we can make them build our country. They did not come here to occupy our land but to get rid of Saddam. We can help them leave by helping them do their job, or we can make them stay ten years and more by keeping fighting,'' end quote.
Most Iraqis do want and deserve a peaceful, prosperous, democratic Iraq, and they understand why our troops are there. So it is especially frustrating when all the progress and cause for optimism is lost from public view. A few days ago a member of my staff, a Navy Captain went to southern Pennsylvania to give a talk to a Lion's Club. The people there told them when they go to church or out in the neighborhood, they often get to talk to soldiers who have recently come book from Iraq. The troops tell them they are making great progress in Iraq, and they are appreciated by the Iraqi people. The Lion's Club audience asked this captain why the situation looks so bad in the news, because it doesn't match the stories they hear firsthand from these soldiers who have just returned. I get the same question all the time, of course, as I am sure many of you do as well.
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I especially want to thank all of you who visited our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and other deployed locations and met with them in your districts and for helping to tell their story. You know what a great job they are doing. It is very important to give our troops due credit and give the American people an accurate view of the situation. Again, I thank you for all you do to support our brave men and women in uniform.
I haven't fully looked at your bill yet, but appreciate the fact that you have passed a bill and look forward to seeing all the details in it. I know some of the details, and we appreciate very much your support of our efforts. And with that, I am standing by for questions.
[The prepared statement of General Myers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, General.
STATEMENT OF GEN. PETER J. SCHOOMAKER, UNITED STATES ARMY, CHIEF OF STAFF FOR THE ARMY
General SCHOOMAKER. Chairman Hunter, Congressman, Skelton, distinguished Members of the Committee, I don't have a formal statement, but I would like to say a few brief comments.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC First of all, I stand with the Chairman on his statement, and I, too, would like to thank you for your support, continued support. I know we have had lots of dialogue as you have worked through this bill. We have had our points of difference, and I think that we have had very beneficial discussions as we have gone through. Although I don't know all the points of the bill, I understand that our points have been heard and that it appears that we have gotten great support and I thank you for that.
The United States Army continues to take the long view on this. We have two strategic vectors, and that is to support the Global War on Terrorism and transform the Army for the 21st century. And that is precisely what we are committed to do, and we are doing it.
And finally, I would like to say, I remain very proud of our men and women in uniform, not just our soldiers, but our sailors, airmen and Marines and Coast Guard's men, and I am proud to serve with them during this difficult time.
I thank you for your support, and I stand ready to answer your questions.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
General Hagee, thank you for being with us.
STATEMENT OF GEN. MICHAEL W. HAGEE, UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS, COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS
General HAGEE. Sir, it is good to be here.
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Mr. Chairman, Congressman Skelton and Members of this committee, I would also like to thank you very much for your great support. It means a great deal to those young Americans deployed throughout the world. Just in the last month, I had an opportunity to visit Marines, soldiers and sailors in Afghanistan and Iraq. In fact, I was in Fallujah. And I can report to you that their morale is high. They are focused on the mission.
And I believe there are three main reasons for that. They are well equipped. They know that they are well trained. And they know that we have the support of this Congress and the American people. And I cannot stress that latter point enough. That is the most often question I receive, do the American people understand what we are doing, and do they support us? I am always happy to be able to report that, in fact, they do.
Just ten days ago, I was in Hawaii and southern California and had an opportunity to talk with the spouses and families of our deployed Marines and sailors. Are they happy that they are separated from their Marines and sailors? Obviously not. But I can also report to you that they are quite proud of what they are doing. They understand the importance of what their Marines and sailors are doing, and they strongly support what they are doing.
Once again, sir, thank you very much for your support, and I look forward to your questions.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, General Hagee.
General Myers, we have got about 38,000 troops in Korea, and we are going to be moving out roughly a tenth of those troops for deployment to Iraq. Obviously, the defense of the Korean peninsula depends primarily on the Korean military, South Korean military.
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As I understand, we have some 19 infantry divisions, three mech Divisions. They have approximately the equivalent of seven wings of tacair, some of it modern, much of it less modern. Nonetheless, it appears that it is vastly superior to any air power that the North Koreans have.
Just giving us your view of the evolution of the South Korean military, which in the past has had big numbers but hasn't been modern, I would like you to give us your take of whether you think they have the wherewithal to carry this burden increasingly?
And General Schoomaker, you have the bulk of those troops in-country. Could you give us also your view on the capability of the South Korean forces and the capability of the American forces that will be in place after this move of approximately 3800 personnel to Iraq?
General MYERS. Chairman Hunter, it is a great question. Remember that all our moves in Korea are centered around our overall study of our global basing posture. This is part of it. It is looking at a situation on the peninsula, where in many cases we are in the same locations we were when the cease fire was signed back in 1953.
As you mentioned earlier, part of it is a consolidation move, and part of it is to give more responsibility to the Republic of Korea Armed Forces. As you mentioned, they have a total of 41 divisions; 21 active, 11 reserves, seven homeland divisions. General LaPorte, our Combined Forces Command and UN commander and U.S. Forces Korea commander, thinks that these forces are well-trained and generally very well equipped, well motivated. And we have been passing various tasks that used to be U.S. only tasks, in terms of some of the command and control and some of the missions, over time.
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The CHAIRMAN. Now, General, the information I saw was they have 21 active divisions, and of those, they have 19 infantry and 22 active divisions. But do they also have a substantial reserve or homeland division?
General MYERS. They have seven homeland divisions that basically are the rear area of security. And my information is 21 active, 11 reserve. And the mix between mechanized and so forth, I don't have that breakout in front of me. But we have over time; and General LaPorte is very comfortable in passing some of the missions to the senior military and their headquarters, thinks they can handle this. And it is time to move some of this responsibility to them.
So over time, over the last couple of years, we have been doing that. It has been, I think, welcomed by the Iraq military and the senior leadership in the Republic of Korea. We think it is the right thing to do as well. We do not think taking this brigade out is going to leave the security situation on the peninsula any less than it was when they were there. We think one brigade with all those forces we talked about, our remaining forces there, that we have a very robust presence to counter any threat from North Korea.
As I think Secretary Wolfowitz testified to, there is about $13 billion in enhancements to our forces that are committed to the peninsula in the next several years that are going to make our forces even more robust in terms of their capability to handle the threat. We are deploying additional Patriot systems to deal with the extensive missile threats that North Korea has. And we are going to rely on those things that we know where we have an asymmetric advantage, and that is in our tactical air.
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In a classified setting I can talk to you about that, too, but there are going to be some adjustments.
General SCHOOMAKER. Yes, sir.
I would just add to the Chairman's statement here that, since the first time I served in Korea, which was 1974, in the intervening 30 years, the situation on the peninsula, in my view, has changed enormously, and not only the standpoint of the development of the Rock Army and the Air Forces and Navy, but in terms of the way the terrain has changed there, the way in which the peninsula has developed.
It has fundamentally changed the way conflict would occur there, if, in fact, conflict does occur. In this form, it is probably not appropriate to talk about that, but I would tell you that I share General LaPorte's confidence that, you know, should we have to fight there, it would be a significantly different fight than it would have been 30 years ago.
And I share his confidence that this move of pulling a brigade off of there should not be of concern. And other than that, I fully support, you know, what General Myers has said here. I think there are other dimensions of our capability over there that play a far more important role than they have in the past.
General MYERS. I may have mis-stated. It is 23 active divisions, which come closer to adding up to the breakout. I think I said 21.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
The gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Skelton.
Mr. SKELTON. I don't know who to ask the question of, but have you considered backfilling the 4,000 numbers, the brigade that you are moving out of Korea into Iraq, backfilling them with either Guard or Reserve?
General MYERS. In Korea?
Mr. SKELTON. No, sir.
General MYERS. No, sir. We haven't. That has not been part of the calculation.
Mr. SKELTON. We seem to be getting two pictures of chances for success in Iraq. In speaking with you and in our trips to there, we get a pretty positive picture in talking with the troops that are there and talking with the leaders and, of course, some Iraqis. Things seem to be moving along, in particular, the reconstruction portion.
And then, here we are bombarded with negative images of what is going on in Iraq. So let me touch on a few of those if I may. How damaging is this prison situation, General Myers, in relation to winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqis?
General MYERS. Well, obviously, you know, the Iraqi people, I think, deserve to see how we handle this and they got a glimpse of that, I think it was yesterday or the day before when we had the first court-martial. There will be more of that.
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Obviously, the results of those events will be made public. And I think that most Iraqis whose contact is with our servicemen and women who are out there throughout the land from basically north to south understand that they are only there for one reason and that is to and it is a very noble cause, to give the Iraqis a chance for peace and prosperity. I think the majority of Iraqis understand that.
I think they probably understand that whatever abuse has occurred will be worked very hard by this Government, by our military. The process we have in place to work this, by the way, is a process that has been around for a long time, has stood the test of time.
And I would just note; the detainee issue has been an issue for the last 3, 3.5 weeks, but this investigation started back in January, and we already have one court-martial completed and other investigations going on to look at every little thread that we can possibly find here to see if there are other situations where abuse could have occurred that maybe we haven't uncovered yet.
I think the Iraqi people will look at our process. General Abizaid tells me as he talks to not only Iraqi leaders but other leaders in the region that what they want out of this is justice for those who have perpetrated these activities. I think they understand that the security situation in the country of Iraq is not something that the Iraqis can handle today. They are going to need coalition help. And we want to take that help and turn it into a partnership with the Iraqis.
And that is why we set up this new Multinational Force Iraq so we can start to create that partnership with the ministry of interior, ministry of defense and all the way down to their tactical units, that we are working with them, in concert with them, against the common enemy, to progress in Iraq.
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Mr. SKELTON. I am not sure you know enough to answer the question about the Chalabi situation, but is there anything you can touch on regarding that?
General MYERS. What I can say about the Chalabi situation is that it was the, my understanding is, and the reports to me say that it was the Iraqi minister of interior that wanted this action to happen, that it was Iraqi police who conducted the activity, that the role for U.S. forces was as an outer corridor and not part of the activity in any of the facilities or that business, and that the coalition provisional authority was notified of this. That is the limit of my knowledge.
But I think it is important that this was an Iraqi Minister of Interior initiative done by their police. And my understanding is that the evidence is now in an Iraqi court. That is a good process. It is Iraqis doing what they should be doing. And I don't know about the facts in the case about Chalabi and so forth, but to have the Minister of Interior, the police and the court connected, doing things they think are important, is a good sign.
Mr. SKELTON. Do you see a potential positive change or uplifting change in attitude of the Iraqi people come the June 30 sovereignty turnover?
General MYERS. Personally, I think that, as the UN helps set the stage for this turnover of sovereignty, and we know that the first folks that are selected to be the executive part of this new government will probably be temporary, but I
Mr. SKELTON. Called interim government.
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General MYERS. Interim government, I think the Iraqi people will have to take hope in that. The Iraqis are now going to be responsible for their own decisions, and they are going to have to make those decisions.
They will need help along the way, and we should provide help. I think we will be particularly strong in the security sector. That is where we need to cooperate for some time to come because there will be those, and I will point back to Zarqawi. The assassination of the President of the Interim Governing Council the other day is a terrible blow, and there will be people that will try very hard with tactics like that and other tactics of intimidation and so forth to keep from having political progress in Iraq. There are a lot of forces, though, on the side, and I think most Iraqis are on the side of, ''Let us progress, let us get our interim government going, let us enact a national assembly and get our constitution going.''
And there is reason for great hope that the Iraqi people will take this and run with it. It will not be without its challenges, both from a security standpoint and from a political standpoint, but I think it is time to get going. I have been in favor of moving this faster rather than slower. So I think there is cause for hope.
I think, any time you give people a chance to decide their own destiny, people that have the responsibility for these very important decisions they will be making, it is a good thing.
Mr. SKELTON. I have more questions, but I will reserve until later.
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The CHAIRMAN. Thank the gentleman for his thoughtful questions.
But I would turn to the Chairman of the Terrorism Subcommittee, Mr. Saxton.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Myers, General Schoomaker, General Hagee, thank you for being here this morning and thank you for doing the great work that you do.
And at every chance, I like to thank the folks who are in the field doing a great job as well.
General Myers, it is easy for us to talk about the past and what has transpired so far on the war on terror. It is a little more difficult to talk about the future. But I would like to talk about the future from this perspective. Some months ago, I invited a well respected columnist by the name of Tom Friedman to my office to talk about some columns that I had seen him author, that were printed in the New York Times, on Iraq.
And I called him because I found that what he was saying in the New York Times was kind of unusual for the New York Times. And basically, he was saying that the Iraqis will find a way to make a government work in Iraq, but they have to do it. And to put as bluntly as he did, he said, ''We have to get out of their face.''
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, recently in Fallujah, we have stepped back and put an Iraqi peace keeping force, if you will, we have put an Iraqi unit in charge of security in Fallujah. And that force, Iraqi force, has been in place now for, I am just going to guess, a couple or three weeks. I guess the question is, how is it working? And if it is working relatively well, does it lend credence to the fact that we can kind of look forward to stepping back, but still being there, of course, outside of the cities, turning security, in cities like Fallujah, over to an Iraqi force?
General MYERS. Congressman Saxton, that is an excellent question. I have read a lot of Tom Friedman articles. I don't know that I have read that one. He is very thoughtful.
In fact, we asked Mr. Friedman to lead a breakfast discussion the last time we had the combatant commanders in town for a conference and give us his views.
I am not the tactician or strategist in Iraq. That is General Abizaid's responsibility, but I can tell you, we are in agreement that we need to turn Iraq over to Iraqis. And there is always risk in that. And there is risk in the Fallujah situation. But it is a risk I believe we must take.
So far, the situation in Fallujah is working out okay. It does not mean that in 3 days from now or a week from now, we are not going to have to use force to achieve some of the objectives that we set out to achieve in Fallujah. That may still be the case. But we are working with Iraqis, the so-called Fallujah Brigade led by General Latif. He is working, I believe well with General Conway, the three star Marine who is responsible for operations in that sector. I am sure they have had many conversations.
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Maybe General Hagee can comment in a minute on that. My personal view is, this is the right way to do it. Like I said, there are risks with this approach, but we have our goals in Fallujah. And so far, the people of Fallujah seem to be responding.
General Conway is responding with lots of reconstruction projects for that area, which is something that has not been consistently applied. That is very, very important. The unemployment, as you might imagine, would be very high. I think General Conway and the Marines out there are probably the largest employer in Fallujah with the money you have made available for them to use in these kinds of situations.
So I would say, the trend is going in the right direction. We need to know when to use force. We need to know when to back off. We need to know when to lend the Iraqis help with the solution. But I am of the school, the more the Iraqis can do, the better and the faster we can get them to do that, the better as well.
And General Hagee is pretty fresh, having just talked to some of the folks out there.
General HAGEE. Yes, sir.
And like the chairman, I am also not the tactician or the operator over there, but I did talk with General Conway this morning. And I can tell you that, over the past couple of weeks, it has been very quiet in Fallujah. Not only is the Fallujah Brigade doing relatively well, but most importantly, the people in Fallujah are supporting that particular Brigade.
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As General Myers mentioned, the leader of that Brigade, in a news conference yesterday, along with the Mayor of Fallujah, talking with the Arab press, supported what was going on. And in fact, I have this second hand, but I believe it is correct that the mayor of Fallujah apologized for what happened to the Americans in Fallujah to the Arab press.
Over the past couple of days, some of the heavy weapons have been turned in to the Fallujah Brigade. But as General Myers said, this is a day-by-day process. We are optimistic, but there will probably be downturns as we move forward. We not only want to put, I say we, the Department of Defense, the American Government, an Iraqi face on this. We also want to put an Iraqi chain of command in place there. And right now, it is working quite well in the Amara province.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much. I thank the gentleman.
The distinguished gentleman from Texas, Mr. Reyes.
Mr. REYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And gentlemen, welcome. We appreciate the hard work that everyone is doing on this issue and in support of our military troops.
I want to start off by asking, has the security situation in Iraq deteriorated to an extent that congressional delegations (CODEL)s cannot be supported, because staff was telling us there is a question whether or not we are able to go in next week into Iraq?
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General MYERS. Congressman Reyes, I haven't gotten an update. During the hearing, we will have somebody research that question and get back to you.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. REYES. Earlier this week, we were told we have got about 210,000 Iraqis, combination of security, Army, police, that are being trained and prepared to take over their own security. My question is, what kind of a system do we have in place to evaluate their effectiveness, their ability to stand up against attacks, to be able to repel attacks? What method or evaluation do we have regarding those 210,000 Iraqis that we are training?
General MYERS. Congressman Reyes, it depends on what segment of that security force we are talking about, depends, will dictate what kind of system we have. With the Iraqi police, there is a formal certification system that certifies them after they are trained. And there is a mentorship program that we want to continue for some time, where we do joint patrols with them and so forth. There is a lot of leadership training that has to go on past the formal eight-week school that is being conducted now. And we think that can be done by coalition forces to help, you know, instill the sorts of traits we want these police officers to have as they go about their daily business.
In the Iraqi Army, the coalition is training them, and they will be certified like any Armed Forces. With the Civil Defense Corps, (CDC) each Army unit that trains one of those Corps certifies them. And compared to the police or the new Iraqi Army, it is a level below that. And so it goes all the way through. But there are certification regimes for each of those.
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I might mention that in this new organization, how we train, how we equip and how we mentor once we get back to the field are very important questions. And we have put General Petraeus, who was the commander of the 101st and I think just turned over command about 3 days ago, and he will be in Iraq between the 2 and 3 of June. He is coming from Iraq, changed command, and he goes back to work, the training and equip of these forces.
And he did a superb job up north in this capacity, and we put our very best to go back over there and work the very issues you are talking about to make sure we have a certification program. If I may, as has been said before, when people aren't properly trained, aren't properly equipped and if there isn't an Iraqi chain of command, it is not surprising that some of the performance, when the going gets tough, is less than perfect. But the equip issue, I think, has been solved.
That does not mean that everybody has their equipment today. For instance, I think, in cases of the police, they will be 94 percent equipped with their vehicles, their communications gear and their weapons by December, 94 percent. We should have done this earlier, but it was somebody else's responsibility for awhile, and now that will come under General Petraeus. But this equipment is on order and will be delivered. And that will be a very important component of allowing these people to do what they are supposed to do to protect their citizens. I think we can be pretty positive about those developments.
Mr. REYES. Thank you.
The other area I would like to ask a question on is the use of contractors. And I ask this question because, last weekend, when I was in El Paso, Halliburton was there recruiting for contract drivers and a few other duties particularly in Iraq. And a number of questions came up that I think it would be beneficial to get your perspective on.
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The first question is, where are we on allowing contractors to be armed, to carry weapons? I know a number of their families, of those contractors that are already in Iraq, that are from El Paso, have asked me why contractors are not allowed to carry weapons in a combat zone. And I see the red light is on. If you can answer that question.
General MYERS. I am going to have to get back to you for the record on the arming of contractors. I have not seen the final policy. Based on a lot of the issues that you know about and that you have raised, we have had an extensive review of the policy of arming contractors, because there are so many different types of contractors in country, and the needs are different.
So let me get back to you. I haven't seen the final policy. My guess is, it is probably close to being fully developed. I know General Sanchez is the final approval for that and has a practical view toward that. We got one of those questions when we had our town hall meeting in Baghdad, and General Sanchez was the one that answered it.
But let me get back to you. It is a concern. I understand why the families of contractors might be concerned. I need to see where our policy is, and it should be pretty close to being promulgated, and I will get you a copy.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. REYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. I think that is a very important question.
And General, the figures that I saw were to the effect that Halliburton has had 34 people killed in action, mostly running those ambush alleys, bringing food and supply up to our people in the bases in the Baghdad region. So obviously, having the wherewithal for defense and also having the requisite fire power attending those convoys, I think, is extremely important to this Committee. So if you can let us know what the state of play is here, that is important.
General MYERS. The other thing I would mention, when you brought up the convoys and our major supply routes, the major supply routes were a target in the April time frame. Looked like a fairly coordinated tactical approach trying to interrupt the convoys, as you said.
Since that time, General Sanchez and the division commanders have changed their tactics, techniques and procedures with respect to the major supply routes. And I think the overall situation now in terms of convoys and their security is much different than it was just three or four weeks ago because of the tactics, techniques and procedures that have been changed.
The CHAIRMAN. It might be useful for us to engage with you folks on a classified basis and take a look at that.
General MYERS. You bet.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And General Sanchez and his folks thought it was important. And they have done some pretty smart and aggressive things in that regard and, I think, cut down the instances where convoys were being disrupted.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman for his questions. The gentlelady from Virginia, Ms. Davis.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Thank you gentlemen for being here today. I know that you are under a lot of fire and a lot of questions. And I know you must get tired of it, but there are still some that we need answered. And I do thank you for your service.
General Myers, I think you were talking about the Iraqi forces when you said 94 percent of the equipment
General MYERS. I was talking about the Iraqi police service specifically in that case.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Let us go to our men and women. Do they have everything that they need? And you know, recently, a lot of our units over there had stays extended another 90 days. And I think General Abizaid is contemplating extending them even more. And now, we are taking 3,500 or so forces out of Korea and over to Iraq.
Getting to the end strength, do we have the troops that we need to do the rotations so our young men and women who are over there, who are doing a dynamite job, but you know, it gets to a point when you are living in that kind of stress and situation that, after a while it has to get to you and maybe you don't make the right decisions or the best decisions because you are just tired and you are working 12 to 14 to 20 hours a day. Are we giving them everything we need, number one? And number two, do we have enough folks, that we are not overworking the ones that we have?
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General MYERS. You mentioned that you thought maybe General Abizaid said that we might extend the folks that we extended for 90 days some more? I never heard him say that. To my knowledge, that is not going to happen. What we have said is that we will backfill those approximately 20,000 that were held over, primarily the First Armored Division and the Second Calvary.
Hold them over and we are going to backfill them with forces that would have gone in later. We are going to move them forward and their support units. I don't know the numbers of the support units. By the way, let me make an advertisement for the First Armored Division and the Second Calvary.
Those folks were replaced and were basically in the Baghdad area. They were replaced there by the First Cavalry Division out of Fort Hood primarily in the middle of this big increase in violence that we had in April that started in Fallujah. During that time frame, they have repositioned in many different places.
So they showed great mobility, great tactical competence and took the fight to the enemy in terrain and positions they weren't familiar with. Terrific leadership at all levels, no doubt, down to the individual soldier level. They are still there. They are fighting hard. They have done a terrific job. I am going to see some of the families of the First Armored Division when I am in Europe for the Normandy services here coming up the first of June and will try to get a firsthand feel for how they are doing. But all indications, they are doing fine.
But there is no plan that I know of to extend them beyond the 90 days. We are going to replace them, but not extend them. Also, in terms of equipment, as far as I know, there are no equipment shortages that have been brought to my attention. I will tell you this, the requirements for up armored Humvees is likely to continue to grow. We have indications, while not a formal requirement yet, I think they are around 4,400/4,500 are required in Iraq in theater. That number could grow. It could grow by several more thousand. And we are paying attention to that, because that will dictate how we solidify the plans.
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Other than that, I don't know of equipment shortages that the Guard, the Reserve or the active forces have. I think we are sending them over there with everything they need.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Do we have enough of the right people for the jobs they are trained for? Are we being put in a position where we are putting our young men and women into jobs where they don't have the training?
General MYERS. I will start off the answer, and then I will turn it over to General Hagee and General Schoomaker. We have, obviously, as we know what specific tasks have to be performed, we take units and train them in those tasks before they go into theater, and we train them to those tasks.
Occasionally, we get into theater, and the mission changes a little bit, and people have to adapt. And I think the flexibility that our forces have is essential to be able to do that. But in the perfect world, we will send them over well trained for the task they are going to do. In the case of the active units, not much of an issue.
But in the case of the Reserve and National Guard, more of an issue, because you have to mobilize them to train them, to get them to go there, and we have to make sure we mobilize them in time. There is a tension here. We don't want to mobilize them too early and have them spend a lot of time here either training or in unproductive time. But at the same time, we want to send them over well trained. That is something General Schoomaker and his folks and the Army Reserve folks work very, very hard to make sure we mobilize them in an efficient way, train them in the task they are going to be asked to perform and move forward.
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Clearly, after major combat, there were units in theater, because of the swiftness of the victory of major combats, there were units that had to do things that, perhaps, they hadn't thought they were going to be asked to do. But as the situation is unfolding now, I think we can predict, for the most part, what we are going to ask units to do, and they should be properly trained before they leave wherever their home station, whether it is Europe, the Pacific or the United States.
General SCHOOMAKER. My answer is going to be quite complex, and a lot of it will go back to much of the testimony that we have had here before the committee in the past. I said our strategic vectors in the United States Army are to support the global war on terrorism, as we have been, based upon what the combatant commander requests, and, at the same time, to transform our Army to the 21st century.
And a great portion of this transformation is taking us out of our Cold War constructs and the unreadiness that, in particular, that we vested in our Guard and Reserve forces in a way that we resourced in the past and to build our Army in a way that gives us the kind of the numbers of brigades and support units that are required to sustain this level of effort over time.
And much of what we have come to you and have received great support on is assistance in both the funding and other authorities to be able to do this transformation. We are operating at a very high level of effort right now to support the war. And this gives us real tension, as we support the war, to also do that other vector, which is to transform.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And the short answer to your question, in my opinion, we have ample numbers of soldiers. Our challenge is organizing, training and equipping those soldiers into the kind of formations we will need for the future and the kinds we need today. I don't think we did a particularly good job in mobilizing last spring. I think that we compressed things. We did some things, and people worked very hard to do it right. But we saw that we had some problems in terms of equipping and training.
I think we did a much better job last fall because we started with greater lead time and anticipation, especially with the 30th, 39th and 81st brigades that we deployed, did a much better job in preparation there.
I can tell you for sure that we are doing a better job now. I mean, we have had alerts now four, five months in advance. We have programs going now. We have 2,500 National Guard soldiers that are going through military occupational specialty (MOS) qualification prior to mobilization, which really helps us post mode to do the kinds of things collectively we need.
We are doing a better job with medical readiness. We are doing a fantastic job getting our rapid fielding initiative and the equipment, the new body armor, the new weapons and all the rest of that. And we will continue to improve in this regard.
The longer we support this transformation, the broader the base of available units will be and the greater number of units. As I told you before here in testimony, we are moving toward an Army of between 77 and 82 Brigades. That number of Brigades, Active, Guard and Reserve, are going to allow us to sustain this level of effort indefinitely with adequate times between deployments.
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But right now, we are not there yet. As you know, we are supporting the effort in both Iraq and Afghanistan at a higher level than we anticipated doing six months ago. And so this is frustrating a little bit our efforts to transform.
But I am happy to tell you that, in spite of that, I think we are making some great progress. As you know, by the end of this year, we will have three more Brigades that we did not have last year. At the end of next year, we will have six more Brigades. That is the equivalent of two divisions of combat power over and above, within the same constraints.
Again, as I testified here, we requested 30,000 people, using temporary supplemental authority to fund those. The purpose was to prime the pump and to give us the head space we needed to do this transformation. We anticipate that once we have transformed, to bring it down within the levels that we are authorized under statute, in terms of end strength. And we think this is important because of the extraordinary cost of people today. We cannot afford in the future to be burdened with personnel costs in excess of what it takes for us to man the force.
And so I know we are still in a lot of discussion about all this, but that is about how simple I can make it in the short time we have available to us, but it is a very complex situation.
Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Thank you, General.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Arkansas, Dr. Snyder.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, gentlemen, we appreciate you being here on such short notice.
The Defense bill is coming up. And I hope, as you study, I hope you let us know if we need to do things differently, because we want to help you in this very challenging time.
General Myers, would a two year delay in the base closure process be helpful or harmful to the national security of the country?
General MYERS. A delay in the base realignment closure process would be very harmful to our national security.
Dr. SNYDER. You mentioned earlier, General Myers, with regard to the issues of prisoners and the detainees, that we are being watched how we handle this, and we have a process that is being worked by the military. And Secretary Rumsfeld has made mention of investigations going on, apart from criminal investigations, to figure out what happened.
It seems to me, the three criteria for judging how well we do on these investigations are, we get the facts out, people held accountable with justice so that both the perpetrators and the ones that are alleged are treated fairly. And we don't want to overreact and do things to the alleged perpetrators to somehow make a point if justice doesn't require it.
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Dr. SNYDER. But the third part of it is the part that I have the most concern about, is that the process will have to be perceived by as many people in the world as we can as one worthy of a transparent democracy.
And my two questions are in terms of the investigations that you know are going on, how will the perception when these investigations are concluded, will it be perceived as complete and factual and transparent with regard to civilians and Office of the Judge Advocate (OJA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) alleged perpetrators in some of these incidences?
General MYERS. Congressman Snyder, I believe it will be. And there are some things that I am not cognizant of in terms of OJA and others that are going to have to be worked very hard. But in terms of what I know about the military piece of this, that absolutely that will be transparent. There are things that we are looking at
Dr. SNYDER. Excuse me for interrupting. I believe that. I believe that the military side of it will be transparent. My concern is that the OJA side of it will not and we will end up with months and years of conspiracy theories. I have fear that your processes that you and General Abizaid think are important, as you think this is important here today, but will not reach to the OJA and CIA part of it.
General MYERS. The only problem I have is I can't speak for the other government agencies that might be involved. They are going to have to speak for themselves. It is important, though, that all of this is surfaced, the facts are known and we work at this, as you said, as swiftly as we can without prejudicing the process against those who may have been alleged to do something. You have to give it time to work in a thorough manner. Again, we have a time-tested way of doing this. And we have to let that process work. We have to do that. The perception, we can't leave any stone unturned. It all has to be on the table.
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Dr. SNYDER. I agree with that. One of the issues of transparency in October there was a press report that former senior Iraqi Air Defense Commander General Mahoush had been detained, and then at the end of November there were press reports that he died in this interrogation. I will just read part of it. Was being questioned on Wednesday when he lost consciousness after complaining that he did not feel well. The military said he was pronounced dead by U.S. Army doctor. The cause of death, interrogation techniques are under investigation, but General Mahoush was not hooded during questioning the 82nd Airborne said.
Has that press report been undated publicly or is that still considered accurate? As you know we have
General MYERS. I will have to get that for the record. I am familiar with the case. I don't know if it has been updated. I don't know if it has been closed out. I have some reference material here, and if I have a second, I will go through and come back to you and see if it is in that reference material. But we can get that for the record.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Dr. SNYDER. As you know, The Denver Post a few days ago had a concerning story specifically regarded General Mahoush that, in fact, he had died of asphyxiaton while being head first in a sleeping bag and the allegation; I have actually have a copy of the Pentagon report, that the allegation is that someone was sitting on his chest while he was in a sleeping bag with a hand over his mouth and he was asphyxiated.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General MYERS. I don't know about that.
Dr. SNYDER. That seems different than the report that was released.
General MYERS. I have read through summaries of all of those reports, and some of those investigations are ongoing. I never remember reading anything like that. That was not any of the allegations that I have read. But I can get that to you for the record.
Dr. SNYDER. I wanted to ask, Dr. Hamre was involved in a study, a report that came out in the middle of July. He reached seven conclusions, in fact, I think Secretary Rumsfeld asked him to do the study. Seven major areas need immediate attention. The coalition must establish public safety in all parts of the country. Iraqi ownership of the rebuilding process must be expanded at national, provincial, and local levels. Idle hands must be put to work. And basic economic and social services provided immediately to avoid exacerbating political and security problems. Decentralization is essential.
Number five, the coalition must facilitate a profound change in the Iraqi national frame of mind from centralized authority to significant freedoms, from suspicion to trust, from skepticism to hope. Number six, the United States needs to quickly mobilize a new reconstruction coalition that is significantly broader than the coalition that successfully waged the war. And number seven, money must be significantly more forthcoming and more flexible.
Secretary Rumsfeld as talked about desiring good metrics for measuring success and progress. Those seem like pretty reasonable ones but to me it seems like a lot of those are out of the hands of what we think of as traditional military function. How is the rest of the efforts going as far as putting idle hands to work and rebuilding and those kinds of efforts that are perhaps out of your hands?
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General MYERS. There is, I think, great progress on all fronts. And, Dr. Snyder, you are absolutely right, in my view. I have said this before. It applies to the war on terrorism, it also applies to the efforts in Iraq. From a military standpoint, we can't lose militarily, but we can't win with the military alone. It will take the effort on the political and economic fronts as well, which means reconstruction and so forth.
From the military point of view, these funds that we provide commanders to take action and employ people and fix things as they see they need to be fixed is extremely important. And you all have been very good about providing those funds and the flexibility to use them in the way that our commanders need to do that. I think that is a crucial element, not the whole of it, but the crucial element of what we are talking about here.
I think progress in the other areas has been very, very good. If you look at power production, some of the other water and sanitation, all of that seems to be doing very well. The marsh areas in the south that the Saddam regime wanted to dry up have been reflooded. There is lots of that kind of thing that has gone on in the country that I think give us great hope.
As time goes forward, with some of the funding that has been provided by Congress, with some of the funding that the Iraqis are going to have from their own resources, they need to start making their own decisions in these areas. They need to start figuring out how to protect their oil infrastructure which is under attack in a more sophisticated way today by those that don't want progress in Iraq. I mean, they are not just picking on the pipelines they are picking on key pumping stations. So that is what I mean by more sophisticated. The Iraqis more and more need to participate how they are going to address that threat. We can help. We can help train. We can help equip. We can provide advice. We can provide intelligence. But in the end, the Iraqis are going to have to do it.
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But I would agree that across a wide range of activities, which we measure, by the way, and I think we provide documents over here on Capitol Hill every week on how we are doing and how we are coming against some of these metrics, I think we are doing very well. But this is going to have to continue. We haven't got to the end of this. As we get closer and closer to 30 June, the Iraqis are more and more going to have to take charge of their own affairs.
As I mentioned in my opening remarks, many of the ministries have already been turned over to Iraqis. They are responsible now. They will help. The coalition will help. Various countries will help them through this process. But I think we have done a pretty good job measuring this. I think there has been a lot of progress made in other fronts.
Clearly, the most critical right now is the political front. And that is the one where the UN envoy Brahimi is in there working with the Iraqis to decide what the interim government is going to look like and who the personalities are going to be. We don't have visibilities in that right now, but I think shortly we will. And we will know who that is going to be and we will be off and running hopefully.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. The next gentleman is the gentleman from Minnesota, Mr. Kline.
Mr. KLINE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, gentlemen, for being here. I have said privately, I want to say now publicly and as often as I can how proud I am of our troops. We have shown the world, I think for some time, that we have the best soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in the world. I want to thank you and commend you because I think that you gentlemen here in front of us today are showing the world not only do we have the best troops but we have the best leaders in the world. I think that your testimony, your appearance before camera, your presence is very reassuring to our troops and to the American people. So thank you for that.
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We are here talking about how we are doing in Iraq. And we have had a number of terrific questions here today. I appreciate your answers. One of my colleagues on national television said the other day that we had suffered a defeat in Fallujah because we had put an Iraqi Brigade in and the Marines had withdrawn. And General Hagee, you haven't had nearly enough opportunity to speak today, so if you could address that and give me your assessment of this defeat that we have had in Fallujah.
General HAGEE. Once again, I am not the, as you know, Congressman Kline, not the operational tactical commander there. However, over the last couple of weeks it has been quiet in Fallujah. The number of attacks have gone down not only in Fallujah, but around Fallujah. People are starting to come back out in the streets. There is support by the citizens of Fallujah for the brigade that is there.
As I mentioned at a news conference yesterday, conducted by the Mayor of Fallujah, and the leader of the Fallujah Brigade for the Arab press, they were very supportive of what the Fallujah Brigade was doing and very supportive, publicly, of what the U.S. forces were doing.
It is Friday evening in Iraq right now. And from the mosques in Fallujah during prayers yesterday, they were also supportive of what was going on. If that is a defeat, we need more defeats like that. As both the Chairman and General Schoomaker have said, there is probably still going to be problems. This is risky. But I believe that this helps put an Iraqi face on it. We are allowing the Iraqis to conduct their own security and stability in that area and they are taking that mission on. We had to turn away individuals who wanted to join the Fallujah brigade just because we did not have enough room to house everyone there.
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Hopefully, if this continues in this particular direction, we will be able, when I talk about we, I am talking about General Metz and General Sanchez over there expanding this particular concept in that area. So I am actually quite optimistic about what is happening in and around Fallujah, sir.
Mr. KLINE. Thank you, General. It doesn't sound at all like a defeat to me either. It underscores something we all need to be careful of. You made the point, General Myers made the point, General Schoomaker has made the point you are not the tactical commander there and nor are we. I believe it is very important that we in Congress, while exercising our appropriate Constitutional oversight responsibilities, don't decide that we are tactical commanders either and become critical or suggestive of every decision that is made by the commanders in the theater. And clearly, to me there was a wise decision made and we have seen what appears to be a terrific results from it.
I am going to run out of time very quickly. I know how this works. I know, General Hagee, you have addressed this already, but I remember very well a discussion with you which you have reiterated here today where you said as you have traveled around the world talking to our Marines, and their families, that the most often asked question is general are the American people still with us. And you testified today that you are always very pleased to be able to say yes they are. But I am troubled that that is the question that they are asking. And I wondered if you would take another minute or two to talk about that.
Clearly this doesn't come out of thin air. They have some concerns or they wouldn't be asking those questions.
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General HAGEE. Sir, I am not so sure it is a concern. I would say that it is more that the young Americans that we have in the Armed Forces today are really quite sophisticated. They are well read, they keep up on the news, they know how things work. They also remember what it was in Vietnam. Sir, you and I both served in Vietnam. And we know the reception that we got when we came back. So these are sophisticated, young men and women out there. And I think that is a good question that they have on their mind. It is also a really good answer that we are able to deliver to them.
I have had the opportunity, as I am sure everyone on this Committee has, to be able to travel throughout the United States and talk to civilian groups. And it doesn't matter what part of the country I go to, what their political persuasion is, the support of what we are doing over there is very, very strong. And I am happy to report that to the young men and women we have over there.
Mr. KLINE. Thank you, General. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. And General Myers, I know you have to have had a hard stop, I think, at 11:15, but if I could ask your indulgence the gentleman from Tennessee is next, Mr. Cooper, maybe we could let Mr. Cooper have his question before you take off. Have you got
General MYERS. I think it is
General SCHOOMAKER. I have the hard stop there, sir.
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General MYERS. I think I am good to go.
The CHAIRMAN. Is it General Schoomaker that has the hard stop?
Okay. In that case, the gentleman from Tennessee is recognized. And General Schoomaker, if you have to take off, thank you for your for being with us today. Obviously we I have a lot of work to do with you. You have a big investment in this bill. There is a big piece of money in this bill for this new modularity that you are achieving, both with respect to personnel and equipment. And we want to work with you as we walk this thing down through conference.
General SCHOOMAKER. Thank you very much. We have some time yet. I have to depart at 11:15.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Cooper.
Mr. COOPER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We support our troops and we support you gentlemen. It is your civilian bosses in the Pentagon I am increasingly worried about. If you look at the front page of today's paper, you see a picture of Mr. Chalabi. You also see a picture of him seated right next to the First Lady of the United States at this year's State of the Union message. If you read the paper, you see that the Defense Intelligence Agency has been paying him and his political party $335,000 a month for years. We have terminated those payments apparently a week ago today. But today we hear the news that someone ordered the raid of his headquarters and ransacking in Baghdad yesterday. There are even allegations that he may have been an Iranian agent all the time. We don't know.
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The New York Times is saying that the Defense Minister or Interior Minister in Iraq did not order the raid, and no one can orderdetermined who did. But here we have a gentleman who is pictured in the paper with Secretary Wolfowitz, apparently very close to the Vice President Cheney, this seems to be a substantial development in the war when one of the most highly paid and trusted advisors may have deliberately misled our Nation for months and years. And some of our officials may have swallowed it hook, line, and sinker.
To me this is one of the most disturbing developments of the war. We don't have answers to this question. General Myers has said that the Interior Minister did order the raid.
General MYERS. That is the information that I have.
Mr. COOPER. Were there Americans present during the raid?
General MYERS. The information I have is that it was ordered by the Minister of Interior, that it was carried out by the Iraqi police service, that U.S. forces or coalition forces provided at outer cordon, so they were not involved in going into the facilities, an outer cordon, and that the evidence is now resident in an Iraqi court. That is the information that I have been told. I asked about that before we came over to make sure we had the latest information on that.
Mr. COOPER. If this man was on the U.S. payroll until last week, what has changed in the last few days to make him the subject of a raid of this type?
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General MYERS. That I can't tell you. What I can tell you is that the organization that he is associated with, has provided intelligence to our intelligence unit there in Baghdad that has saved soldiers' lives. So I know at least that part of it has been beneficial. I cannot comment on the rest. I just don't know.
Mr. COOPER. Do you know who invited him to sit next to the First Lady of the United States at this year's State of the Union message in January?
General MYERS. I have no idea.
Mr. COOPER. Has the overall intelligence that has been offered by Mr. Chalabi been accurate?
General MYERS. As I said, I can only say what has been said to me by the intelligence leadership in Baghdad that works for, then, the combined Joint Task Force 7 is that intelligence was accurate and useful in many cases.
Mr. COOPER. Many cases. What has changed in the last few days to make this man almost subject to arrest?
General MYERS. Sir, I can't answer that.
Mr. COOPER. You answered in response to Dr. Snyder. You gave some clarification of the statement that you have made in the past that I think is probably been misinterpreted when you said that there is no way that we can lose militarily in Iraq but there is no way that we can win either. If you would care to further elaborate, because I think most of our troops need to hear that their role is important.
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General MYERS. Their role is extremely important. We haven't lost a tactical fight we have been there in Iraq for that matter Afghanistan. The troops are doing superb work. Their work is absolutely essential to success in Iraq. At the same time, unless you have progress on the political front, if you don't have progress on the economic front, then it can't all be done by our U.S. forces and our friends and allies who are in there with us. That is what we mean when we say we can't lose militarily but we can't win it either. No, our forces are doing a superb job. Everything asked of them by the way, and more. We have asked a great deal of our forces. We have asked young men and women to do things that you would never suspect in helping set up you know, municipal governments to aid in that, to make judgments that you could never train anybody for. They have to do that with the values they carry forward from America into that country. They are doing that.
Mr. COOPER. We in Tennessee are particularly proud of General Patreus and the outstanding service that he has rendered and regret that the Nation has to call on him again.
General MYERS. When somebody comes back that has served in Iraq for a long time and to come back and then change command at the division and then to go right back, that is a true public servant that has only one thing on his mind, and that is to try to make that situation better in Iraq. He will I think be enormously successful.
Mr. COOPER. Amen.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. And General Myers, I think the discussion about General Patreus and the number of experienced hands that we have developed in this war against terrorism is, I think, raises a good point. That is that you have some great folks, who many of whom we have met with when we have been over there in country and Iraq and Afghanistan, you have got now in the active duty in our military leadership circles a lot of what you would call old hands. Do you ever think about putting, understanding these folks come back and they have assignments and duty status in Continental United States (CONUS) and around the world, have you thought about putting together a little group of old hands in some of these former division commanders and other leadership and talking with them a little bit and getting their take as we walk down this road toward the transition.
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Since they have been in those shoes and they have been in country, their experience is usually more insightful than people you might pull out of think tanks to give advice on this new, very important era in this transition.
General MYERS. Well, some of those old hands are still in Iraq. General Rick Sanchez is still
The CHAIRMAN. How about those that have come back here who might be available to
General MYERS. Right. Let me tell you how we are trying to use those. Everybody that has experience in Afghanistan or Iraq, I think I can say this without exception, we very carefully manage between the services myself and the Secretary in terms of where these people go to be effective. It is a little different than your question. And I can't get ahead of myself because some of these haven't been announced yet. But we are going to try and ensure that they are in places where they can affect major decisions on the war on terrorism befitting their background.
So we look at that very, very carefully. Some of them are in those positions now, some will be nominated to be in those positions shortly. It hasn't been approved by the President yet. But you bet. It is very important and I know both services look at that very carefully. We talk and try to make sure we have the right folks in the right places so we can take advantage of the experience that they have.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. You have a lot of talent. Just to have them available for comments as new faces are engaged in it, just to have some insights in certain areas could be invaluable.
General MYERS. That is one of the reasons, again, why General Patreus, not to draw on General Patreus, but that is one of the reasons he was he's going back. He was so successful overall in his where he was located in Iraq, but specifically on these issues that now he is going to work Iraq wide, with all his contacts with his knowledge, with his enthusiasm, that is why he is going back there to be part of this major part of this effort.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. The distinguished gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Franks.
Mr. FRANKS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you gentlemen. I know that you have already received words of appreciation this morning. But it is well known that you can never be thanked enough for your noble efforts. I realize that in any war circumstance there are always going to be challenges and difficulties, nothing can ever be a perfect operation, but you have come very close. I believe with all of my heart that the councils and history and eternity will deem your efforts worthwhile if we are able to see a beach head of freedom established in Iraq that could see the whole of humanity turned in a better direction. So I just want to add my own expressions of appreciation to you.
Having said that, I am sure that most of your focus is on this next paradigm shift that will occur on the 30th of June. I guess I have two questions related to that. The hope is all of us hope that the seat of freedom will germinate in the hearts of Iraqis and we can see this really go forward as we all believe it can. After the 30th of June, two questions, what do you believe will be the posture of the insurgency there, the terrorists, the enemy in general, how will that change, given the new Iraqi leadership, even if it is an interim structure? And second, how do you think the command structure will work? I mean, will it be a strictly a civilian sovereignty, will our troops, our generals, be subordinate in any way to the Iraqi leadership? Will they be there as partners if there are conflicts in strategy or if there are emergencies or if indeed ultimately we were asked to leave? I know these are pretty sweeping questions, but how will that command structure work and will our own generals be subordinated to Iraqi orders, as it were? And I am sure that that is as a lot of reticence on the part of all of us, including yourselves, but give us some perspective on that. I know that you have thought about it a lot. Again, your answer may outrun my time. So I just express, again, my appreciation to all of you.
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General MYERS. Thank you, Congressman Franks. I will start out and then my colleagues can join in any time they want to. The threat after 30 June, I think there will continue to be a big security threat progress in Iraq past 30 June clearly. Those that are dedicated, and I am talking about the Zarqawis of the world who are working a bigger issue they are working the issue of extremism versus a more moderate approach to governance, that that threat will continue to intensify. I think also, though, that the threat once you have an Iraqi interim government, that it will be seen as illegitimate by more and more Iraqis. Not only Zarqawi and the foreign fighters, but the former Ba'athists and so forth will be seen as more illegitimate, should help, I think, in working the security problem. At the same time, we have these Iraqi forces who will be as every month goes by better trained and equipped to deal with this.
In terms of the command and control arrangements, the way we view this is we want a partnership with Iraqis. We want to be able to share the threat situation with the Iraqi leadership so that as they view the threat as the coalition forces view the threat, that if we view it the same way, if we can agree on the threat, then reasonable people can come to conclusions about what you need to do. So the first thing we have to do is ensure we have the mechanisms to share the picture. That is already being done by General Fast and her people in Baghdad. It needs to be more intense, more regular, and a regular way of doing business. That will happen as soon as we have the right interlocutors on the Iraqi side, and then I think under the current U.N. Security council resolution 1511, under the transitional administrative law that the coalition forces have the authority to take whatever action they need to take.
But my view, again, is that we ought to view this as a partnership. We ought to work with the Iraqis on how we take whatever action is required. There will be some action that only coalition forces can do because we are only ones that will be trained and equipped to do it. There will be other actions that the Iraqi police or the Civil Defense Corp or the border force and so on can do, and they ought to do that or maybe they need to be help, maybe we need to be with them and support them. We see a partnership, to work through the issues. To be sure, there will be differences. To be sure, there will be challenges. To be sure, there will be risk. I can't tell you how it might work out. But I do know that there will be differences of opinion on how to handle issues.
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Another Fallujah, there will probably be great differences of opinion. But like this last Fallujah incident, if I may use that phrase, this was worked out with the Iraqis and General Sanchez and his folks and the 3rd Mech out in the west, that was worked out over time to come to this, the situation we have now which we think is going in the right direction. Time will tell. But that is the notion.
General SCHOOMAKER. I would add to that very simply, I had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Negroponte two days ago and listen to his view in a private way in view of his thinking in the way ahead. I think the establishment of an American embassy in the more traditional role of an embassy vice the CPA kind of role is an important dimension to this. The establishment of the multinational forces Iraq, which will continue to provide the command and control of U.S. forces that are there. And, of course, underneath that having General Patreus' effort which will support and mentor and train the Iraqi security forces in concert with the Iraqi governmental structures over there is a very important. I would just like to add to the Fallujah discussion here, General Patreus, in a different circumstance up north employed precisely these kinds of techniques that are being employed in Fallujah to great success. It is for that reason that I feel that the risks are worthwhile in Fallujah and the approaches being taken there is worth the risk. Because I think this is precisely what it is we want to do.
And, finally, I would say these hard core people, regardless of their persuasion, and the reason they are hard core, are going to take this opportunity to try to derail the efforts of the transition. I think we should anticipate that there will be increased levels of effort in a variety of places from a variety of people, but that this transitional period has to happen. We have got to get to it. And so therefore, I think that I have a certain sense of optimism that we will see some progress through it even though it will be difficult.
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General HAGEE. I would align myself, Mr. Congressman, with the Chairman and Chief of Staff of the Army. I really have nothing significant more to add.
Mr. FRANKS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. The distinguished gentleman from Mississippi, Mr. Taylor.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, gentlemen, for being here and giving us your time, and thank you for your service to our Nation and for all the young people that serve under you.
A couple of things. As you know we have had a huge rotation of National Guard and Reservists into Iraq. I recently met with the commanding officer (CO) of a returning unit, an engineering unit who told me that that every piece of equipment in his heavy engineering unit was left behind. I understand the reason for that.
General MYERS. What was left behind?
Mr. TAYLOR. Every piece of heavy equipment in his engineering unit was left behind. I would presume that is the norm. And I understand the reason for that. But since they are dual hatted as National Guardsman to serve both a State role and a national role, and since they are, in effect, the first responders in a part of the country that regularly gets hurricanes, my question is will the supplemental address the replacement of equipment for this unit and the other units who left their equipment behind, again I understand the need to leave the armored Humvees in theater. Are we taking the steps to replace what is left behind?
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Second question, General, I picked up an article from about a year ago dated April the 28th. And it is about the time of Americans first being captured in Iraq. The President responded to that probability by saying, and I am quoting, we expect the Americans who were captured to be treated humanely just like we will treat any prisoners of theirs that we capture humanely. If not, the people who mistreat the prisoners will be treated as war criminals. That is the commander in chief. The Congressman from Arkansas just mentioned a report in The Denver Post, that I am also aware of, that speaks of the head of the Iraqi Air Force who turned himself in this November, apparently was placed in a sleeping bag, head first, and suffocated while being interrogated. And again apparently within the Pentagon it confirms that.
This troubles me for a number of reasons, but number one, I think it puts young Americans at risk when they are captured. I think it provides our enemy with stories to make our intentions in Iraq look less than noble. And so for a great many reasons, this troubles me. If the Commander in Chief is saying they will be treated humanely, at what point was the message lost? Because, again, I can understand five or six bad apples in one prison. This did not occur at that prison. And if someone who surrendered is treated like this, I fear it is going to lead to fewer Iraqis surrendering not more at a time when we want them to surrender rather than prolong this conflict. Please, I would welcome your response of all of you gentlemen.
General MYERS. Let's do the first question.
General SCHOOMAKER. The first question is more appropriate for me, I think. I will take this for the record because I don't know the specific instance. I don't know whether we are going to convert that engineering unit to some other capability.
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Mr. TAYLOR. If I may, sir, so you don't have to look it up; it is the 890th.
General SCHOOMAKER. We will get that to you. But if we are going to retain it as an engineer unit, that is precisely what we use supplemental funding money to do and most likely we will redirect equipment that is here in CONUS to backfill that equipment that they have taken. But if we are going to convert it to some other capability, then, of course, we will use supplemental money to do that. But we will take the 890th and get back to you specifically on what the plan is.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
General MYERS. It is not lost on this committee, but when we talk about equipment just one more time, I think my colleagues would agree with this, we are using up equipment at a very rapid rate. We have lost many helicopters, I think about 70 helicopters have been lost in operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The equipment that we leave is being used very hard and more than we would ever use it in peacetime.
So as we look at future budgets and supplementals and so forth, we have got a program in, and we intend to do that, the ability to fix this equipment, if it can be fixed through depot or replaced if it has to be replaced. I know nobody is more sensitive about that than this Committee, and we appreciate it. But I think it is important to talk about that.
General SCHOOMAKER. One of the reasons we asked in the supplemental funding that you just talked to have procurement at this time because we do have about 70 helicopters the in the Army to replace. We have over 200 wheeled vehicles to replace that we lost. We have lost some 20 large systems tanks, Bradlees, these kind of things. And so that is why we have asked for some procurement money in the supplemental that is coming.
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General HAGEE. Even though our numbers are obviously not as great, we face the same challenge in replacing equipment and the equipment being used very, very hard.
Mr. TAYLOR. On the breakdown where our Commander in Chief has said how the Iraqis will be treated and how in unfortunately in some limited instances they were treated?
General MYERS. On a couple of points on that. First of all, you are exactly right, Congressman Taylor. How we treat detainees we can expect, of course, that others might treat us the same way. That is why it is important even though it was decided that the Geneva Convention didn't directly apply to; I am not going through the detail, but I will use that, in general in Afghanistan, we did say that we would treat our detainees humanely and in accordance with the tenets of the Geneva Convention.
The breakdown is what we are trying to figure out. And we have the issue in Abu Ghraib. We still have one of the key reports that has to be done is the General Fay report who is looking at the military intelligence piece of that to see how that was involved with the military police part. We don't know that yet because we haven't seen his report. He is back in the United States. He has been in Iraq, he has been in Germany. He's back here now. I think we are on a several week timeline for him to finish that report. It again is administrative in nature. It can result in administrative action against people. So there will probably be some time for people to respond to some of the things that will be alleged in that report. So it will have to go through its process. But that is part of the answer. The other part is these individual cases come up and I think they are all being looked at by the folks in the Army that do the criminal investigations that people will have to be held accountable for that.
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And we have got other things going on to see if there is any guidance that was issued by anybody that would lead people to believe that that kind of behavior was appropriate. So far we haven't found that guidance that says that is appropriate behavior. Just the opposite, in fact. But we have a lot of things going on as we talked about with Congressman Snyder we have to get this up on the table and everybody have a look at it.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, gentlemen.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. And just want to let you know, General Schoomaker and General Hagee and General Myers, we have placed a lot of money in this supplemental that we bolted on to our bill. We tried to get ahead of the curve there. We have over $500 million in the bill we passed last night for helicopter replacement for Army aviation alone. We similarly have money for the Marines in that category. So we are moving ahead and we will try to get you a read-out on the precise dollars that we have for war losses across the world before you get out of here today. So the next gentleman in our lineup here is the gentleman from Oklahoma, Mr. Cole.
Mr. COLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And let me begin, if I may, by associating myself very strongly with my colleague, Mr. Kline's remarks, and Mr. Franks. We are very appreciative of the job that each of you do and more importantly even the outstanding men and women that you lead. So I think you have just conducted yourselves magnificently. I know this is a particularly difficult and troubling and trying patch that we are going through, but you have enormous respect on this committee and certainly appreciation for what you do.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me, if I can, sort of switch the focus a little bit. Because we spend a lot of time, as we should, talking about ourselves and talking about our allies. I want to talk a little bit about our enemies and get your impressions on that and make an observation and get a comment. As I look at the enemy, I break them down into three different categories. We have foreign fighters, maybe even state supported, but foreign fighters, al-Qaeda types associated with terrorism are there. We have got the Saddamists, the remnants of the regime, we have maybe some folks like al-Sadr, that sort of Shia extremist. And they don't really have a common theme between them.
We are having to contend with them but they are not linked by a common ideology. They really have a very different vision each one of them for Iraq. Some people want an internal jihad, some people want a sort of Shia theocracy like Iran. Other people want to go back to the old Saddam regime.
And all the information we have is that none of those alternatives are particularly attractive to the Iraqi people, speaking broadly. We have for all the problems and difficulties that we face, a pretty attractive vision out there that we are working toward, democratic country, a free country, a country that runs its own affairs, a country that, at some point, would be free of our direct involvement in any way shape or form.
I believe the President very firmly, when he says we want to stay there as long as it takes to get it done and not a day longer. We want to come home a as soon as we can but not leave something behind. So I would like to you talk from your perspective, I would love it if all three of you could address it, just describe the nature of the enemy as you see it, how it has evolved over the last year, because obviously it has changed in some ways become more sophisticated, and how you assess how we line up with them and how the Iraqi people view this conflict between us, Iraqi security forces as our allies, and these very different types of enemies that you are dealing with.
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General MYERS. Well, Congressman Cole, I think you have done a good job of pretty much outlining the threat that we face. And it does have different elements. We are seeing, I think, more coordination between them, coordination of convention, not of even states or philosophical agreement, but tactical agreement that they can help one another share weapons and so forth.
I think there is probably great dislike among the various elements for the other elements, but they are willing to cooperate to some degree. And I think we are seeing some of that. I think we saw some of that on the attacks of the major supply routes. Some of that cooperation, again, more of convenience, certainly not to be looked at as a popular uprising in Iraq, nothing like that, but at the tactical level some cooperation.
And you are right, there is, in the Shia population, there is not homogeneity in their view of how Iraq ought to go forward. There is lots of different thoughts in that community. We think Sadr and his thugs are more and more isolated. Again the strategy there, we haven't talked much about that strategy, but the strategy is to let Iraqis try to solve that problem. He is wanted in connection with the murder of one of the clerics, and Iraqis need to bring him to court and determine what his involvement was. And I think they are interested in doing that. I think they know they have to do that.
Our role is to make sure that his thugs aren't disrupting security in other parts of the country or in Karbala and Najaf without being right there in their holy places. So we have tried to work that much like Fallujah with Iraqis. So there is that part of it.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The foreign fighters probably characterized, and Zarqawi, we can't ignore him. We think he's still in Iraq. He's working a different agenda. It is the bigger agenda that is being worked in Iraq beyond the former regime elements. I will get to them in just a minute.
That agenda if you go to the 30,000 foot view, that agenda is that extremism should win out and part of the tenants there, as we heard from Osama bin Laden and others and Zarqawi, while not al Qaeda, is affiliated with them and has the same view, and many other extremists do as well, and that is that they want to bring down our way of life. They have said it and they want to do it. They certainly do not want an Iraq that is in any way democratic, is in any way where the people have a say in their future. They would like to see it apparently an anarchy, because he is the one that talked about while we can't make the coalition leave so we will start a civil war between the Sunni and the Shia here. That view is the one that has threatened Europe, that has threatened us, that results in the Madrid bombings, that results in the bombings in Riyadh, that resulted in September 11th.
That threat is still there. While we have been very successful in addressing it from a military standpoint and, in some cases, diplomatic standpoint, and we have done away with the safe havens and a lot of the leadership has been rolled up and we have stopped lots of attacks, it is still there. There are people that believe so strongly that they are willing to commit suicide. There is that element not only in Iraq but throughout the region, for that matter throughout the world. We know those cells.
Mr. COLE. Would it be fair to say, General, we would be dealing with those people whether we were in Iraq or not? In other words
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General MYERS. In my view, that's absolutely right. This is a view of the world. And Iraq is a convenient place for them to be. But it is a view of the world that with or without our involvement in Iraq would be out there and would have to be dealt with. Absolutely. It pervades many, many countries, and you know the story.
But that is the 30,000 foot view. It is also why we in America and American people ought to care mightily about how successful we are in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. We have about 1,000 troops in the Horn of Africa and other places in the world, why we need to be successful and why it also can't be just a military, it is all elements of national power that have to carry this fight.
To the former regime elements, we have had various names for them over time but the people that are part of the Ba'athist regime, part of the solution there is to give them hope that they have a future in Iraq. And that hasn't been done perfectly. I think what you are seeing in Fallujah now is part of that process to give these people that provided a lot of the senior leadership to Saddam's regime you are giving them hope that there is a way forward without just fighting the coalition, that there is economic hope. And that is why I mentioned that the Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) out there is perhaps the largest employer out there, that they use their funds that the commanders have to help establish work for a lot of people that are out of work. Then they have to be coaxed into the political process. These are not going to be their natural instincts, but they have to be coaxed into that process.
I think, in fact, the coalition forces can help, certainly the UN can help, the Iraqi interim government is going to have to help make them see that there is a future here that they can be part of that decision making process, however it works out, for their future. And that is a big part of it. But I think you have named the threat.
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It is not the same throughout the country. If you look at the north, the north is relatively stable, relatively prosperous. Somebody brought up the fact that Patreus, that the success of General Patreus had in the north was very high. We saw that during these recent attacks in April. There were lots of demonstrators that stormed up to the government buildings in Mosul. And who turned them away and who settled the issue there? It was the Mayor, it was the police, and it was the Iraqi Civil Defense Force that we trained. Iraqis took care of their own situation up in Mosul which could have been a very dynamic one if they hadn't acted.
General SCHOOMAKER. If I could very quickly add. I agree with the chairman and with your description in general of the foe, and I am speaking basically from a past life here and some experience, I would caution that we rush too quick to; while it is very important for us to attempt to define and understand the threat, I would caution about rushing to judgment and closure on that. Because I think this is a very dynamic threat. And I think there will be some surprises yet to come in the woodpile, so to speak, in terms of what might be some of the motivations and what might be some of the sources. And I think depending upon how things go, we need to think about this in a broader context than just Iraq. That there are all kinds of other possible motivations and we need to keep our aperture pretty wide to recognize how this may develop in the future.
And in my view when we talk about this, as I think about it, I think it is global, I think it is going to be long, I think it is not just defined by Iraq. And I think this is something that we are going to have to learn as we go and just be careful we don't even up stereotyping and buying into definitions here that may limit our understanding about what it is we should be doing. I hope that doesn't overconfuse the issue. But I am worried about our tendency to want to always come to closure and overdefine a stereotype, and then kind of stick our stake in the ground and miss the obvious for that reason.
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General HAGEE. Congressman Cole, I will try hard not to pile on even though I agree with both of my colleagues here. The elements that you described I think are out there. I sort of put them in one pile, call them hard core. They are not really for anything in my mind. They are against what Iraq is trying to do, what Afghanistan is trying to do, what a lot of other countries over in that area are trying to do. And I think Tom Friedman called some of the other people over there ''individuals standing around.'' in other words, they are attracted to whoever they think is going to win. As the Chairman talked about, I think that is where our focus needs to be. It is where our focus was in Fallujah, to separate this hard core element from the average Iraqi, if you will, and give them something to fight for rather than something to be against. I think that is what you are seeing down with the great work that the 1st Armored Division has done and the see the support waning for Sadr down there because they are starting to see that there is something that might be worth fighting for. So I agree with them, look at it just a little bit differently.
Mr. COLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your indulgence. Just in closing, I think it is important we remember who the bad guys are and the good guys are in this particular confrontation. We certainly have our difficulties and our challenges, but our people have done a tremendous job. And the elements that we are dealing with do not wish the United States of America well, and do not wish the Iraqi people well. Because the future that they would impose upon them, whether they are the hard core Saddamists or the jihadists would be a terrible fate for them. So I just hope as we work our way through the challenges, we always remember that. I really do believe you gentlemen are associated with a very noble cause. You are doing great things for our country and, frankly, you are doing great things for people in other countries to provide them with some security, some freedom and some opportunities and hope for future. So again, thank you for what you do.
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The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. You know one message that has flowed from all these comments is that we have gone back to Fallujah a number of times and with the successes up north it is apparent now that some of these solutions are custom made. And there are solutions that depend on the creativity and the talent of the military leadership that happens to be in that area of operations (AO). I think that may be a message for us.
That may be instructive for us with respect to this transition. You have got obviously a country with lots of disparities. And one size fits all, or the attempt to homogenize this thing may not be the right direction. What we do is may depend on our ability to look at different areas and come up with different solutions.
And I am reminded of being in the museum at Fort George where the Scots are recruited for the British Army. The old recruiting posters that they used to use to bring the highlanders into the recruiting office said you will be with your own clan. And that gave when you had those little British squares fighting against enormous odds, one reason the squares held is because they were clans. That may be to some degree the same give us some of the same instruction that we received from this Fallujah experience. And I would hope we use that.
General MYERS. You are exactly right, Mr. Chairman, in terms of flexibility that is exactly the right picture, I think.
The CHAIRMAN. The distinguished gentleman from Florida, Mr. Meek. Thank you for the work you have done and the number of recent trips that have you taken on behalf of the Committee. We appreciate the work you did on the bill yesterday.
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Mr. MEEK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am glad to be here this morning. I just had a few questions of General Myers. I am sorry that the Assistant Under Secretary of Defense is not here, Honorable Wolfowitz. And I am sorry that Secretary Rumsfeld is not here. Because I believe that this morning I mean waking up this morning and watching the Today Show and seeing the pictures that have leaked out of the Pentagon or leaked from somewhere, is now on the Washington Post Web site, is available for everyone throughout the world at 7 a.m. This morning, videos, this is a major, major issue.
General, I want to ask you, did you have any indication that this was leaked to the Washington Post?
General MYERS. Absolutely not.
Mr. MEEK. So you learned it this morning when the rest of us learned the fact that they had it.
General MYERS. I think the staff meeting this morning somebody said they had leaked out. I believe it was this morning.
Mr. MEEK. I am overly concerned about the leaks that are coming out of our government. It is jeopardizing troop safety. Last time that you were here and Secretary Rumsfeld was here, I said it gave me no pleasure but this is what I am talking about as relates to the future days in this effort against terrorism and what we are doing in Iraq.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MEEK. And I can't help to say but paper after paper, news report after news report, some of it is very much unbelievable, but some of it you have to believe about some of the things that are going on. There are six investigations, and, Mr. Chairman, and General Myers, if we can, I would like a paragraph on each one of those investigations and what they are doing.
General MYERS. Absolutely. We can get that to you.
Mr. MEEK. That would be good.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me just tell my colleague, too. We have an arrangement whereby we have regular briefings, ongoing briefings as these investigations and prosecutions walk down, in which the Department of Defense (DOD) comes over and all Members are invited, all Members on the Committee are invited to it. In fact, we will invite the full House Membership, and so we will be kept up to date as these investigations walk on down.
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, may I add there, too, because it is of great concern, making the front page of the paper, would it be possible, from what you know, during those briefings to give us the ongoing situation regarding Mr. Chalabi, please?
General MYERS. Sure.
Mr. MEEK. General Myers, being very, very concerned about it, I know that there are hopefully provisions on the ground in Iraq that are being taken. Some of the things that were in the Washington Post today were very disturbing about what some of the witnesses or Iraqi prisoners have testified, of an Army translator forcing sex with an underage individual, having someone denounce their religion and thank Jesus Christ for their life. This is really, really very disturbing that this took place, and I can't help to say that outside of how we handle this situation, not only dealing with the individuals that are under court martial right now, there has been time after time we have said there are six bad apples, there are a few bad apples, and every day we are finding out that this apple cart is getting bigger. And I am concerned not only about getting to the bottom of this but also about getting to the top of it, and I think some of the folks that are wearing suits and ties and running around Washington, D.C., in and out of the Pentagon, there has to be more questions asked. Mr. Chairman, I am glad we are here this morning. There have to be more questions asked. We have to know more. The American people have to know more, or we are going to continue going back and saying, what I really meant; and the fact that you and the rest of the individuals at the Pentagon, and I would include the Secretary, I am assuming that he learned about this this morning, too, is very disturbing that this continues to happen.
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And I just want to know, is there anything within the Pentagon as it relates to the leaks, because I think that you are looking into the leaks trying to find out where they are coming from, because I believe, General Myers, that there are one or two things. One, either there is someone that is saying, I am going to leak information because it is being suppressed at the top and they not handling it in the way they should; or, two, we have a situation, I guess, that is a normal thing that happens here in Washington, D.C.
I am asking these questions not based upon news reports I might have watched this morning. I am asking these questions because we have troops right now in an area trying to do the job that we have asked them to do. I respect them. I pray for them daily. But we continue to have these, dropping the ball on keeping the information within the Pentagon and the lack of, I think, Mr. Chairman, in all due respect, I don't think that we are doing what we are supposed to do as a Committee on the oversight of what is happening right now here in this House. And I hope and pray that from this day on that we have hearings, that we have real discussions about what took place, when it took place, who knew what, when, so that we can be able to not only speak to the American people in our districts, but we can also let folks know that we are, I mean, the people in the Arab world and throughout the world and allies that we need in this effort against terrorism, that we will get to the top of this.
We are concerned about the bottom, but we are also concerned about the top, and all the way from the Secretary to reports the New York Times would have you think that he green lighted certain things to take place. I mean, these are questions that we have to allow the Secretary to, one, come before this Committee and let us know what he knows; and if it is untrue, it is untrue; but to release a press release saying, oh, it is unfounded, and then we are done with it, I have a problem with that.
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So, General, if you can, please let us know what is going on as it relates to the leaks there. Please also let us know if you hear of anything else as it relates to news reports that are going to come out, because we are getting our information through the media; and being on Armed Services Committee, that is not one of the reasons why I am here. I could be at home, you know, reading and stuff. I would like to hear it from you all before we see it in the paper, and if you all did know about it and the Chairman wasn't called, I don't know, I can't speak for the other body, but it is important that we know this information so that we will be able to handle it.
And, Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for having this hearing today, even though it was called yesterday, and a lot of the Members I am pretty sure would have been here if there was future notice. And I was asked around earlier, I have only been here, this is my first turn, but some of the other members have been here for several years. Well, General, I will leave it at that.
I asked you a couple of questions, but I guess, Mr. Chairman, we can have a discussion about this hearing being called the day after we passed a bill on the floor, I guess we are getting an update on Iraq. I am appreciative that we are having this hearing, but at the same time I am not. Why was this hearing called today after we passed the bill?
General Myers, if you would just
The CHAIRMAN. In fact, Mr. Meek, you don't have to ask General Myers to respond, because I want to respond to you. I don't know if you have been missing these hearings, but we have had a full blown hearing with the Secretary of Defense answering questions on Abu Ghraib. We have had also, with all the Members of the House invited full briefings, classified briefings with the Secretary answering all questions that were asked of him. We have had full showings of the pictures made available, not just to the Members of the Committee on numerous occasions, more than one, but also all the Members of the House. We have spent more time on Abu Ghraib than we have on any weapons system in this $422 billion, and we have 141,000 troops in combat. We have pulled the combat commander, at the request of the other body apparently, because I told him to go home and not be here on Friday, because I wanted him to be back leading his troops, because we have had 66 attacks on American troops in Iraq in the last 24 hours. We have taken casualties. We have taken a couple of killed in action (KIA), and a combat leader should be in front of his troops.
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So I don't know where you were, but we have had more hearings, open and closed, on this one subject than any other issue that has been before this Committee, and as a result of those hearings and as a result of the Taguba report, we have embedded changes in the criminal justice system and the treatment of prisoners in the bill that presumably you voted for last night.
This issue has not only been given a lot of publicity and attention, but we have had numerous attempts to get any, even classified or open facts from the Department of Defense, and you will continue to get that. We will have as we walk down through this, this prosecution, we will have regular briefings by DOD as to precisely what those prosecutions are.
And let me tell you, every single member who is being charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for these offenses at Abu Ghraib is under one admonition: Tell the truth, tell the whole truth, tell nothing but the truth.
So if somebody was ordered to do something bad, that person is going to talk. At least that has been my experience in the criminal justice system. They will give their testimony, and they are urged to be absolutely truthful. You are going to hear that.
So what we have to do at this point is remember that you have 141,000 troops in combat who need leadership, who need protection, who need refocus, and to those ends, while perhaps we haven't had as many cameras because we haven't done as many open hearings as they have on the other body, on the other hand we have something the other body doesn't have. You know what we have got? We have got armor for the troops in our budget, because we went down and worked this budget and put in a supplemental that it was
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Mr. SKELTON. Would the gentleman yield?
The CHAIRMAN [continuing]. Provides 500I will, just as soon as I finish. I will tell my colleague, we provided for the $500 million for replenishment for helicopters, because we were doing our job and doing our work. So this is a question of balance, and I think there has been enormous focus on this problem that you are talking about.
But this is not the only problem in the world, and there have been, even though you apparently are looking forward to having more people being charged, to this day, to my knowledge; and I get the updates on this, there are seven people out of 2.5 million people in uniform charged with offenses. Now, if that list grows, you say the apple cart is getting bigger. Yes, it did get bigger by one so far. It has gone from six to seven. If it grows, so be it. And let's let people tell the truth, and let the chips fall where they may.
In the meantime, I would just tell my friend, we have a war to fight, and we need to focus on that war. We need to win that war.
I would be happy to yield to my colleague.
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, in our prior conversation earlier, General Abizaid will be made available to us in the very near future. Is that correct?
The CHAIRMAN. Well, certainly. I will not pull a combat commander out of his theater. Now, General Abizaid is stationed here, but General Sanchez is stationed in Iraq. And when you have ongoing combat operations, when you are having an average of 60 attacks per day on your forces, you need to be leading your forces, and so I will not pull General Sanchez out of theater.
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The other fact that I think you should be appreciative of, Mr. Meek, is that General Sanchez did everything exactly right. When this thing happened and the first troop came forward on January 13th, General Sanchez did this by the book. He immediately initiated an investigation and announced it to the world on January 16th, and it was those investigations that walk down to the court martial proceedings that are being undertaken right now and the conviction that was achieved a couple of days ago.
So General Sanchez did his job, announced to the world that we Americans were investigating ourselves. If General Sanchez had not done that, then this Committee would be well placed in our oversight job to have been very concerned about that and to have worked that and focused on that and been very, very tough with General Sanchez. But he did his job, he was able to point to briefings that he gave before the world press where we announced that we Americans, while we are fighting a war, are investigating ourselves.
So I think that refocus is appropriate, and I think it is time to win the war. And I would hope you would agree with that.
Mr. MEEK. Mr. Chairman, will you yield?
The CHAIRMAN. Certainly.
Mr. MEEK. Let me tell you, we are in the same vehicle when it comes down to winning this war, and that is the reason why I am asking the questions that I am asking
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The CHAIRMAN. Well, but let me just take my time back, Mr. Meek. Were you here for the full blown committee hearing we had with Secretary Rumsfeld?
Mr. MEEK. Mr. CHAIRMAN, yes; but would you allow me, please, sir, I mean, you have control of the time or whatever
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. MEEK [continuing]. Mr. Chairman, we are in the same vehicle as it relates to winning this war, and I will tell you that right now. Everything that you just said, of course I did vote for the DOD bill that we passed, and I had an amendment to make sure Secretary Rumsfeld sat right there at that table and said, hey, guess what? I didn't know what I need to know because I am not in the chain of command.
And we passed an amendment that we all agreed upon to help give him direction in being able to set up something as it relates to the Air Force.
I don't have an issue with General Sanchez. I have an issue with the fact that we have court martials that are going on at the very bottom of the situation. I just said in my opinion I don't believe that we are doing what we are supposed to do to get to the top of the matter, and the top doesn't stop at General Sanchez, in my opinion.
So what I am saying, Mr. Chairman, and very respectful, we have had Secretary Rumsfeld once in a public hearing, once in the Chamber in a closed hearing. I will tell you that a lot of the issues that are coming out now goes to the very top. Questions have to be answered, okay, Mr. Chairman? And I am just saying that we should have more hearings on it.
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The CHAIRMAN. Well, we will.
Mr. MEEK. That is all I am saying, and I am sorry, Mr. Chairman. I hope, once again, that I didn't offend anyone. And I am sorry for trying to be a Congressman asking questions that may not necessarily be welcomed, but, Mr. Chairman, I look forward to working with you. As you know, I am a hard worker for you on this Committee. I try to do everything I can, but I am concerned about the troops just as much as the next person, and if anyone believes that I am not concerned about the troops, then they have another think coming.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, Mr. Meek, let me just tell you, first, we have continuing hearings with Secretary Rumsfeld. He briefs us regularly. All the developments in the war on terrorism walk down, you are going to have a chance, as you always have, to have him on a regular basis ever since the initial action in Iraq. So that is not a one time thing. We will have a continuing opportunity to do that.
Now, let me go back to my base point. You have said that you think that we are prosecuting the people at the low end and somehow there are people at the high end who may need to be prosecuted. People are under an admonition in a military proceeding to tell the truth. They are going to tell the truth. If somebody has committed a crime and somebody else told them to do that, they are going to say that, and they will then have the opportunity, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, you will have prosecutions that then will attend any other personnel who become involved.
Now, every one of those defendants is right now under that admonition to tell the truth, and they are doing it presumably, so let's see where those prosecutions go. But the military justice system isn't just for enlisted people. The military justice system has resulted is for justice across the board and prosecutions across the board. So let's see that operate.
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And I appreciate the exchange, but I know we probably have a few other Members who want to ask some questions.
Mr. MEEK. Oh, of course, Mr. Chairman, and I appreciate you taking time out to definitely state that we are going to have future hearings on this issue and that anywhere that there has been a decision that has been made that might have green lighted some of the activity, that we would look into it. And I respect that, and I want to let you know that I am glad to be on the Committee.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, it is good to have you here, Mr. Meek.
Mr. MEEK. Thank you, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And we will keep working together.
Mr. MEEK. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. The distinguished gentleman from Florida, Mr. Miller, is recognized.
Mr. MILLER OF FLORIDA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And in view of the time, I just have a statement and one short question, and I don't expect really to have a reaction from the table on this statement. But, recently, the Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, attacked the Commander in Chief, and I think that her comments were also aimed at the leadership that is prosecuting this war on terror. And I want to say that I think the words that she used were something like incompetent and inexperienced, and there may have been some other words that she threw in for effect.
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And I look at the three gentlemen that we have been listening to most all of the morning, and I know that you are in the positions that you are, because the Commander in Chief wants you there. And then I think of the words that she has used like incompetence and inexperienced, and I can't help but wonder what in the world this person is thinking. If she would just attend just one of these hearings and listen to what is being said by those that are prosecuting this war on terror, and spend less time trying to bash those who are trying to protect this country, she might learn a thing or two.
Now, I just want to say that I am heartened by the fact that this war is not being run by the polls, and the fact that this battle plan is not being shaped by the elite media that is out there that is trying to force the public opinion against the stated mission.
And with that being said, I just want to ask a question in regards to the supposed wedding party engagement that took place a couple of days. And if you could comment about that issue, or add any additional insight that hasn't already been spread around in the press.
General MYERS. I would be happy to, Congressman Miller. The strike took place at 3 o'clock in the morning, in the desert. There were no facilities close by. It was vehicles and tents. All of the intel pointed to this being bad guys. There were, I think, six women there, and there were two children that were with them as well that were injured. But we feel at this point very confident that this was a legitimate target, probably foreign fighters, still to be determined their relationship to Zarqawi, but not out of the question. And that is probably all I can say in the open hearing.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC On the other hand, like all of these situations, we will investigate this to make sure we know for sure what we have, but the intelligence right now and what we found at the site, which were weapons, are the sort of things that you might not expect at an alleged wedding party, were not consistent with that. They were consistent with folks trying to come into the country across the desert and folks staying for the night, trying to make it into Iraq, those were the indications we had, and we think we had a very legitimate target.
Mr. MILLER OF FLORIDA. I just want to say thank you to both of you, and I want to remind my colleagues on this Committee that anytime any one of us has a question that we want to pose to any Member of the leadership of the United States Military or of the Executive Branch, all we have to do is pick up the telephone and that question gets answered. It does not have to be asked or answered in a public hearing with a ''got you'' question.
I have never been denied any information that I have asked from the DOD, and I have to say I am so respectful of the job that you are doing and so respectful of the men and women that are out there that are prosecuting this war on terror. I know that they are making America a safer place, and I appreciate the service to our country.
General MYERS. Thank you, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
I just wanted to give you an update, gentlemen, on what we did pass. The Committee doing its work here did Army Aviation, a reconstitution of $498 million Humvees, 1,340,000,000, and that includes new Humvees plus the bolt up armor. Trucks, from tankers on down through cargo trucks, $25 million. Plus the medium trucks in Title I we have, so we have got half a billion dollars in trucks. Reset maintenance, we have got $574 million. And operation and maintenance (O&M) war costs, 10,807,000,000. We will give you the breakout on that, but that is a combination of the base bill and the $25 billion supplemental that we bolted on to the base bill.
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So we took most of those numbers and most of those requirements out of your requirements that you submitted to Mr. Skelton and myself on the unfunded requirement list. So we want you to know we think we have a fairly robust package, but if you think there are changes that need to be made, please let us know.
General MYERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General HAGEE. Thank you, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And the gentlelady from California, Mrs. Tauscher.
Mrs. TAUSCHER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Myers, General Hagee, I think you hear the frustration in some of our voices. I am, frankly, thankful that we don't hear frustration in your voice. I cannot tell you how disappointed I am that we have so many troops on the ground that a year and a half after declaring major combat operations over, that we are having 60 attacks, at least, a day.
So I think that there is really a lot that has to be answered for and that we have to understand, and I am increasingly of the belief that our military has done such a phenomenal job. The outcome of the war was never in doubt militarily, but the failure of this administration to have a political solution and public diplomacy running on the same track that you were on is the reason that we are here today, still wondering what we are going to do with 40 days to go to turn over power to God only knows who.
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Now, General Myers, do you believe that we need a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) on July 1st? We are going to have 140,000 troops, 35,000 other Americans, contractors, some driving trucks, some feeding our troops, others interrogating. Do we need a Status of Forces Agreement on July 1st to protect our troops and to articulate whether we can actually drive convoys up from Kuwait, whether we have takeoff and landing rights out of the airports, whether we can actually deliver treatment to troops that are injured in the field? Do you believe we need to have one? And who would it be that we can negotiate that with between now and June 30th?
General MYERS. Good question. Our viewpoint is with the U.N. Security Council 1511, with the transitional administrative law, that we have the protections we need for our troops. It would be a good thing if in a future United Nations Security Council resolution, which I think Secretary Powell has told people he hopes to have before 30 June, that we would codify some of that protection in this new Security Council resolution.
Mrs. TAUSCHER. General Myers, I have to interrupt you. With all due respect, I have not even heard of a draft of a new U.N. Security Council resolution.
General MYERS. Oh, there is a draft.
Mrs. TAUSCHER. Is there?
General MYERS. The State Department is responsible for that, and there absolutely is a draft and
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Mrs. TAUSCHER. Well, the State Department, with all due respect, is also responsible for negotiating SoFA agreements, and because the Pentagon has been running the CPA and because we don't have a political solution, we have basically troops on the ground at risk, because we have not done the job that we were meant to do, which was to provide a political opportunity for the people of Iraq. And when we put that June 30th date out there arbitrarily in November, we set off, I believe, this chain reaction of everybody deciding that the American government had put the table down, had set the chairs and turned on the music, and they had better get a chair before June 30th. And they are shooting their way to the table right now.
Now, we have no idea who is going to take over on June 30th, so we can't negotiate an agreement for our troops on July 1st. And frankly I don't want to be sitting here on July 3rd to find out, oops, we thought we had it covered, perhaps by the same lawyers who gave us all the information about the Geneva Conventions not applying to the people in Guantanamo Bay and other places. I just can't sit here any longer, with all due respect, General Myers, and take people's assertions that things are being taken care of when this thing has been botched so badly so far.
General MYERS. Well, there is a lot in that question. I will just tell you from a military standpoint, that this date of 30 June is extremely important; that the military played a role in moving that date from the right to the left in the schedule, so it occurred earlier; that one of the things that is going to help our troops the most is to get Iraqis in charge of Iraq. General Abizaid will tell you that. General Sanchez would tell you that. I will tell you that. That is extremely important. It is, as you mentioned, a very challenging task.
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We are trying to change a country that had a dictator who ruled through fear and terror for many decades and turn that into a society that can make its own decisions in some sort of democratic process. Very, very difficult to do that.
The U.N. envoy, Brahimi, is in there right now. The U.N. is seized with this matter trying to determine, and will determine here I think shortly, who the leadership of the interim government will be; and we are already working with the Minister of Interior, the other ministers that have been stood up, the Ministry of Defense, to forge these relationships so, when they are in charge, that we have those relationships already set up.
Mrs. TAUSCHER. I understand that, General Myers.
Let me ask you a question. Secretary Colin Powell the other day said something I think that shocked everybody. You have to watch these Sunday shows. If you don't watch the Sunday shows, you don't know what is going on. And Colin Powell, you know, I am afraid I am missing an hour and a half of CNN right now, frankly, with all due respect, because that is where I am going to find out what is going on.
Mr. MILLER OF FLORIDA. I am missing Fox.
Mrs. TAUSCHER. With all due respect, Mr. Miller, I sat here and listened to you politically attack the leader of my party, who I think asked some very serious and sobering questions, and if you are going to turn this into a political meeting, perhaps you should leave this building to do that.
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General Myers, listen to me, please.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me just advise all of our Members, we are in a political season, but everybody is an independent contractor and has a right to their opinion, and the gentlelady is expressing herself very, very assertively, and the gentleman from Florida expressed his opinions, and I think shortly General Myers will express his opinion.
Mrs. TAUSCHER. When I get my question finished, perhaps, Mr. Chairman.
We have, I think, Colin Powell saying the other day, shocked everybody, that if the new government then comes in on June 30th, asks us to leave, that our military would leave. How exactly in the environment that we have; which is more volatile than we expected, very, very dangerous, 60 attacks every day, many people being killed every day; how exactly could we possibly get 140,000 troops and 25 to 35 American people, contractors, out of Iraq safely if we were told we had to leave, if we are the ones that are providing basically the only security on the ground?
General MYERS. Let me start at the beginning of this. We have the authority in the current U.N. Security Council resolution, clearly have the authority, and we have the authority in the transitional administrative law to stay. So that authority is clear. If asked to leave, we don't want to be places where we are not wanted; so then you have to say, well, are we going to be asked to leave? No, because the Iraqis understand that the security has to be a partnership for some time in the future, because, as you said, those who don't want Iraq to prosper, I mean, there are people, let me just go back to Zarqawi. We have read the letter. He is executing everything in that letter he has said he was going to do. He has tried to stir up violence between the Sunni and the Shia, probably responsible for the vehicle borne explosive device that killed the president of the Iraqi Governing Council.
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We have folks that do not want progress to happen. Iraqis know that the coalition forces working with them are the answer to the security problem for some time to come, especially since Iraqi forces, police included, are not fully trained and equipped and manned at this point to take over.
So I think we are going to be wanted. I think we are going to be asked to stay. I think the worst thing, the worst fear the Iraqis have is that we would leave, because the country could potentially go into anarchy and chaos, and nobody wants that.
Clearly the leadership that is going to be standing up here shortly won't want that.
Mrs. TAUSCHER. Mr. Chairman, I hope that we can keep these hearings much more on the policy than the politics, and I have to tell you that I am sitting here, I have been here for quite a long time, to be sitting here and have colleagues from the other side commenting while I am asking questions is not only rude and inappropriate, but it is sending, I think, a message that these hearings are increasingly becoming political. And I think that you don't want that, and I certainly know that we don't want that.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me just say to my friend, we have a good deal of collegiality, and I think we all have a sense of humor, and the gentlelady mentioned that she was getting her news from CNN, and the gentleman said he liked Fox. I don't think that comment went beyond the pale, and it reflected the fact that we all engage with each other, and that was not a mean comment.
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In fact, I think Fox probably likes it. They wanted to have at least equal billing, but I assure the gentlelady this: She will always have her time. She will have her time, and her time will be protected, to ask her questions and receive her answers, and she will be treated with great courtesy and respect. And we do. And I don't think the comment that Mr. Miller made was beyond the pale. So let's all work together. We are coming down the line. We have a tough problem here, because we are coming down the line in a political season, and we are all partisan, we all have a partisan hat that we all wear.
On the other hand, we have this great common ground that produced this defense bill in which we got a vote in this committee of 60 to 0 in favor of the bill, and so we have to make an extra effort to keep our eye on the ball.
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, I have a number of questions, but I want everyone else to get their questions in first, because I don't want to be shortchanged.
Mrs. TAUSCHER. Mr. Chairman, I can't figure out if you are talking on my time or I am talking on yours, but if I could just close by saying.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, sure
Mrs. TAUSCHER [continuing]. To General Myers, and General Schoomaker has left, and certainly General Hagee, thank you very, very much for your continued service. Thank you for the leadership you provide, the phenomenal men and women in our military. These are very, very tough times for them and for their families. It is a tough time for this country, and it is time for us to be very frank and very clear about what we have to do to provide security for the American people. And I just want to tell you that I am deeply concerned about what is going to be happening over the next how many days till this transfer of sovereignty is right and until we get ourselves to an understanding of who exactly is going to be running that country. Because we are going to have lots of people, Americans, in Iraq on July 1st, a much more important day to me than this transfer to somebody that I don't know who it is yet on June 30th. And I have got to be assured, as we all should be assured, that on July 1st we have conditions on the ground to protect ourselves and our interests.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SKELTON. May I have a follow on question to that? What is the mechanism, General, for choosing the interim government, if you know?
General MYERS. Obviously I am not the expert. The mechanism is basically, my understanding of the mechanism, it is basically the United Nations. Their special envoy, Brahimi, who is in Baghdad at this time, is working with Iraqis, is working with other coalition partners, coming up with the interim government. And it is the U.N. that is working that issue.
Mr. SKELTON. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
General MYERS. And that exhausts my knowledge of the particular process.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentlelady for her questions, and the gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Wilson, is recognized.
Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And, Generals, thank you very much for being here today and being so thorough in your answers. I truly have such faith in you. I have faith in our civilians who are in the Department of Defense. I have faith in our troops. The perspective I have as a Member of Congress, of the Armed Services Committee, a person who just completed 31 years service in the Army National Guard myself as a veteran, I am just so grateful for the military protecting our country.
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Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA. Additionally, of course I am very proud to be, as is the Chairman, we are parents of persons who have been deployed to Iraq, and so we have different perspectives, but in each perspective I have I come back to one conclusion, and that is I have faith in our military leaders and in our troops. And of course it has been, thanks to the Ranking Member Ike Skelton and Chairman Hunter, I have had the opportunity to visit with our troops in Uzbekistan and Kurdistan, Qatar, Bahrain, in Kuwait and in Iraq itself, and everywhere that I have been I have seen the next greatest generation. These young people are motivated. They know what they are doing, which is that they are changing regimes that had harbored and supported terrorists, and successfully so in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and I believe also the ripple effect in Libya. Who would ever dream that Mu'ammar Qadhafi would renounce the use of weapons of mass destruction and also disrupt terrorist organizations? So the success that is coming out of the war on terror, I am very, very appreciative.
With all the other developments that have been going on, there has been a greater recognition of Zarqawi than ever before, but this really shouldn't be new. Somehow I am amazed the media hasn't picked up on it, but on February the 5th, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared before the U.N. and detailed the connection beginning in 2000, beginning with the direct relationship of March 2002 of Zarqawi with Baghdad, with Saddam Hussein, and now of course ultimately, in Jordan. I learned firsthand of his threat to the people of Jordan when I visited last month which could have killed, it has been variously estimated, and it is been explained and reexplained about the chemical attack there. But of course then the murder of Nick Berg, again a Zarqawi situation.
Can either of you comment on the efforts to uncover Mr. Zarqawi, the brutal murderer that he is?
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General MYERS. I think all I can say in an open hearing is that we have a force that is dedicated to going after him, and it is a force that has access to all types of intelligence. And, by the way, the interrogation process is an important part of that, as we find people in the battle space, as we pick up some of his lieutenants. And we are working that very hard. He is indeed an extremist with no compunction to kill men, women and children, has done so. If indeed that was his hand that we saw in the Nick Berg murder, then we don't need much more than that. But we are working very hard, and we have got folks that that is what they do is to try to track him down.
Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA. And indeed, the Secretary of State pointed out the connection of Osama bin Laden and Zarqawi, the terrorist network that was established in Baghdad, and so I again appreciate so much what is being done, because indeed it was a success story in Jordan that the explosives in the cell were determined before they acted.
General MYERS. Absolutely. The Jordanian people did a great service to lots of Jordanian citizens in that case. It could have been very tragic.
Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA. Another development that has been surprising to me is the lack of coverage, and I hope there will be further reports, but in the improvised explosive device which was determined to have possibly chemical elements with it, possibly sarin gas or mustard gas, can you tell us more about that, that occurred just this week?
General MYERS. There was a device that was part of a, as you mentioned, part of an improvised explosive device that had what appears to be the chemicals that mix together to produce the sarin effect. We knew it, because two of the explosive ordnance disposal people that dealt with this device were affected by these chemicals in what we think was a minor way at this point, but it affected them. They looked at the chemicals. They are still being evaluated to make a positive identification. We think if it was, that it was from an old stockpile of weapons that were the sarin gas weapon, absolutely. And previously we found residue of the mustard gas in weapons.
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Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA. Well, that has been a great concern of all of ours, and weapons of mass destruction, and I hope that as soon as a report can be provided that it will be done. And, again, I just am so proud. God bless our troops, and we will remember September the 11th.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General MYERS. You are exactly right about the troops, and we can't say that enough. Those folks are operating in some very, very difficult conditions, and what we need to remember, when I visited Abu Ghraib, I think it was last week, the conditions for the detainees are pretty severe. The conditions for our forces that are maintaining the camp and the well-being of the detainees is pretty severe as well. It is a tough environment. It is in the middle of combat. And yet our folks handle this with real grace, real skill and real courage every day all across Iraq, all across Afghanistan. The American people should be so proud. I think they are very proud of these
Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA. Well, and I know every time that the chairman sends us over to encourage them we come back more encouraged. The encouragement, really it is almost in reverse, and we are very, very grateful.
General MYERS. Exactly. I am the say way, obviously.
Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA. Thank you.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The distinguished gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Ryan.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thought we would never get here, although I was enjoying the banter.
The CHAIRMAN. But first, Mr. Ryan, what is your favorite TV station, just to put you on the spot?
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. I was going to say I get my info from Imus in the Morning.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. A couple of questions. First, I know the gentleman from Florida had left and there was a statement made about our leader Nancy Pelosi, and I don't want to further politicize this but she was a Ranking Member on the Intelligence Committee. She is the leader of the minority party in the United States Congress. She is constantly briefed by the White House, and I think it is dangerous to get in the position here where any kind of questioning of what is going on here is somehow unpatriotic or is somehow uninformed or ill-informed. I just wanted to say that.
General Myers, September 11th I think has been identified by most people as an intelligence failure. Ambassador Wilson and the whole situation with him and his wife and the intelligence gathering operation that he went on I think shows further intelligence problems that we have had, and now the recent blow up of Mr. Chalabi that we are seeking to arrest some of his employees for kidnapping, torture, embezzlement, these employees getting paid and funded by the United States taxpayer. Now we have put Chalabi in a position where he has many contacts in oil industries, in the banking systems in Iraq, and is in a real position to continue to be a puppeteer in many ways, whether he has the United States' blessing or not.
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And the question, General Myers, is have we been duped by a con man?
General MYERS. I don't have the information that can allow me to make that judgment. I don't have all the information. Like I said earlier, I do know that the people in the Iraqi National Congress have provided very good intelligence to our forces in Iraq that have prevented our soldiers from dying, and that is what I know about the situation. I cannot talk about whether we have been duped or not. I think that remains to be seen probably. I just don't know.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. The reports that we are reading out of the newspaper or getting on Imus the Morning are saying that Chalabi is and has through his contacts, it seems like he was playing both sides, and now there is reports that he was helping out Iran, and you have no information on this?
General MYERS. I have some information. We would have to go to a closed hearing to talk about it.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. Well, I look forward to that.
Some of the info on the prisoner abuse problems that we had, and General Taguba was here, and he mentioned a couple other things. He said the problem was there was a lack of supervision, and another problem was there was a lack of training, and these soldiers are so amazing and so courageous and so patriotic through their actions, not just their words, and I know that there would not be a soldier over there who in any way, shape or form would want to somehow hurt the United States in any way or hurt our position in the world or our ability to stand for what the United States has always stood for.
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Just as a matter of training, did anyone tell these MPs do not abuse these prisoners, do not film it, because if you do you will put the American diplomacy in grave danger? Did anyone directly tell those MPs that?
General MYERS. I will check to make sure I am right, but I am confident in the talks we have had with the people who have been involved in this, absolutely, they had very clear instructions about the Geneva Convention applying. They had very clear instructions about treating everybody humanely and that every interrogation technique had to be part of a plan and the plan approved at the appropriate level for the techniques being used.
So clearly they were instructed properly.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. The problem I have; and I am having trouble reconciling this, is we send these kids over there, and they are so patriotic. They would never do anything if they completely understood the ramifications of their behavior. And so hopefully as we have further hearings we can somehow piece this together.
General MYERS. I think that is true for 99.9999 % of them. There are always people that get in trouble. There is always a small percentage in any population that gets in trouble. There is a lot more to know, and that is why I mentioned the General Fay report that is going to look at the military intelligence piece of this to see if there were instructions given that might be along the lines that would be counter to what I said, and we will just have to wait and see. So there is a lot more discovery to go through.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. You brought up the Geneva Convention. Did you or any members of your staff have any idea that there was a movement among some legal people within the White House Legal Counsel Office to try to skirt the Geneva Convention?
General MYERS. I don't know that I can answer that question about skirting the Geneva Convention. I know that there was a debate about the applicability of the Geneva Convention to the conflict in Afghanistan and to the al Qaeda and to the Taliban, and I was part of that debate.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. And one of the positions was that; and maybe because of September 11th, the kind of war we are in, that the Geneva Convention is somehow outdated. During that debate which side were you on?
General MYERS. Where I came down on the debate was that reciprocity is an important aspect of this and that we ought to treat people the way we ought to be treated if we are captured. And there are the other aspects of the Convention, though, that this is a convention that tries to shape people's behavior who are involved in conflict in a way that protects innocent men, women and children, and clearly there were some combatants on the battlefield, the Taliban and al Qaeda, who were not complying with that.
So it was a tough issue, but reciprocity is an important aspect of this, and we have talked a little bit about it before today, and that is why even for the issue of the applicability of the Geneva Convention in Afghanistan we said that we would treat people humanely and in accordance with the Geneva Convention, even though it might not apply to the al Qaeda or to the Taliban.
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Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. So your position is you lean toward applying the Geneva Convention as we have traditionally applied it?
General MYERS. We want our folks to be treated humanely and in accordance with.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. Okay. That is good to know, too. How much time do I have here, Mr. Chairman?
The CHAIRMAN. We have been fairly lenient with all members. The gentleman can go right ahead. But let me ask you, General, how is your time schedule and General Hagee? How are you folks doing? Are you okay for a bit?
General MYERS. Yes, sir, for a bit.
The CHAIRMAN. Go right ahead.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. I appreciate that, Mr. Chairman.
I want to switch gears here for just one second, a little bit about Afghanistan. This military intelligence unit that the New York Times reported today, and I am sure it has been in other publications, the unit that served in Afghanistan was moved to an Iraq, is that correct?
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General MYERS. I don't know that. We have to be very careful with the facts here, and I don't know that. I can get it for the record.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. Well, it is reported here that the Afghanistan military intelligence was moved from Afghanistan to Abu Ghraib in Iraq. I know we have also had discussions in this Committee and elsewhere about hundreds of millions of dollars that were moved from Afghanistan to Iraq, and some of that is explained off as being dual use for some of the money. We know troops have been moved from other places of the country, from Afghanistan into Iraq. And Afghanistan now, they are selling more narcotics. They are raising enormous amounts of money through the illegal drug trade, and much of this money is making its way back into al Qaeda to fund further terrorists' actions. And the question that I had before the war and many of us had before the war, aren't we taking our eye off the ball? What should I go home and tell, given these set of facts, how do I go home and explain to someone in Youngstown, Ohio that we haven't taken our eye off the ball in Afghanistan, we can focus both on Afghanistan and Iraq, but all these resources, all this attention, all the energy seems to have shifted?
General MYERS. Congressman, what I think I would tell your constituents back home is that we have plused up our forces in Iraq, I mean in Afghanistan since the springtime by about 5,000. We have put an additional headquarters in there, that we have intensified hunt for the high value targets in that area and have dedicated additional resources for that.
In addition, NATO has a political ambition to expand their influence in Afghanistan and their responsibility to more than just the interim security assistance force in the Kabul region, that they want to expand that influence through the provincial reconstruction teams up to the north and then down to the west, that we have created, and the exact number I will give for
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Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. How many exact troops, NATO?
General MYERS. About 6,000 NATO troops.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. So roughly over 20,000 troops total in Afghanistan?
General MYERS. Roughly. Roughly. I don't have the numbers. I can look them up, but I don't have them in front of me.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. That is fine.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
General MYERS. We have a significantly enhanced presence for a couple of reasons. One is it is the time of year when the terrain becomes more passable. It is also the time of year leading up to elections where we know that there will be those forces, the remnants of the Taliban, others that don't want a government to succeed in Afghanistan, and certainly the al Qaeda that will try to disrupt the erections that are planned now for September.
The precursor to elections, of course, is voter registration, which the U.N. is busily doing, and we have got to provide the appropriate security for that along with the Afghan national army and other coalition forces, and we are doing that.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have not taken our eye off the ball in Afghanistan. Things are actually going fairly well. We have stood up, I will get it for the record, but five or six or seven new provincial reconstruction teams. We have more on the docket to stand up as a way to bring not only security but other government services, interagency, international services to the Afghan people. So there has been a lot of attention paid, and with I think some very good success.
You mentioned one thing that needs attention. A strategic issue in Afghanistan is the drug issue. It is recognized by our ambassador. It is recognized by our military, it needs to be dealt with. And it is probably going to be a long term problem, but it has all of the downside that you mentioned. It is a serious strategic problem to the health of that society, and we have got to deal with that eventually.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. What is our immediate reaction to that? Because something needs to be done. I mean, if you are making billions of dollars on
General MYERS. They alreadythe problem with this year is the crop came in early and they already harvested the crop. So as we come across labs, as we come across the drugs themselves, we take care of them.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. So they already harvested the drug crop?
General MYERS. My understanding is they already harvested the crop this year.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. How did we not know that was happening?
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General MYERS. It is the responsibility of another government for the drug business, just like it is the responsibility of another government to train their police.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. Which government, General?
General MYERS. The United Kingdom, the British. The British have the drug issue as their issue.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. So the United Kingdom is in charge of the drug issue in Afghanistan?
General MYERS. That is correct.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. They harvested the crops early, and now we will have another year of drugs on the market funding al Qaeda?
General MYERS. Well, I don't know what they are going to fund, but the problem you always have
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. Well, it is clear they were funding al Qaeda. I mean, that was home base.
General MYERS. But that is a strategic issue that needs to be dealt with, and it is going to take more resources to do that. And I am not talking about military resources. I am talking about lots of other resources if we want to get at it.
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Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. Well, what are we going to do? That is billions of dollars if the crop has already been harvested.
General MYERS. That is right.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. So we have another year before we can have any impact on the financing of the drug trade going to al Qaeda?
General MYERS. A strategy is being developed. We have a very, very good ambassador, as you know, there who is working that problem very hard, as is the
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. With all due respect, General, how good of an ambassador is he if the United Kingdom is in charge of the drug trade and this is outrageous to me. We have another year's worth of drugs that are going to be on the market, sold, money going to al Qaeda, and the reason is that the harvest came in early. What are the people doing on the ground?
General MYERS. Congressman, we have a series of very serious problems in Afghanistan, of which drugs and the cultivation
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. Drugs is the problem, General.
General MYERS. No. It is not the problem. It is one of the problems, Congressman, with all due respect. It is one of the very serious problems. It is not the only problem. We have al Qaeda that want to bring down any hope that we have in Afghanistan to get through elections and get a government stood up and go along with a constitution. We have Taliban who are trying to decide whether to be part of this new government or to obstruct the situation. We have roads to build. We have lots of things to do. Drugs are an important strategic problem. They must be dealt with.
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Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. I agree, because if al Qaeda doesn't have the money, the funds, then the dissension among the ranks, you know, if you don't have the necessary tools.
I mean, I am from Ohio. We know when the corn is coming in a little early. I mean
General MYERS. I don't know if we knew or not. All I know is that the crop came in early. I know that. I have been told that.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. Let me just say, Mr. Chairman, I appreciate you being so generous with the time. That is outrageous that a crop can come in early, that the reason we don't know about the drug trade and we can't have any kind of intervention on the drug trade this year is because the crop came in early.
General MYERS. I didn't say we couldn't have intervention. I said the crop came in early.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. But the drugs are going to be in the market, they are going to be sold and that money is going to go back to al Qaeda. We know it goes to al Qaeda.
The CHAIRMAN. I think the gentleman has worked this issue fairly thoroughly, and any additional information we can get, General Myers, on the narcotics problem, have our British allies move us some information, if the gentleman wants to have additional information on that, let's try to get it to the Committee.
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Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. And I would like to see how the UK is handling this situation and what their strategy is.
The CHAIRMAN. Let's see if we can't get a briefing over here and maybe have a UK officer come over and give us some info from their perspective here, General.
I would just say to my friend, though, we have a big drug crop that is harvested every year in the United States that we have been trying to eradicate for the last 30 years. We have never successfully eradicated the drug crop, we have spent tons of money on it, and we have obviously a drug crop also in other places like Mexico, Central America. So no one has ever claimed that but for a slight mistake we can eliminate the drug crop from Afghanistan.
So what I would ask the gentleman to do is this. General Myers has told you that the British, our British allies are the folks that have been working that problem in the alliance. Why don't we have them come over?
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. That would be great.
The CHAIRMAN. And give us a briefing on how much progress they have made and what they have to do to advance the ball.
The CHAIRMAN. But this is a massive problem which we have never been able to eliminate domestically.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. My point was that people in Ohio and my district think we took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan, al Qaeda, which is responsible for September 11th, and now because resources are being diverted to Iraq. And my only point is that, if we were completely focused on that, would we have been able to stop that drug trade and will we have enough money and information and people on the ground to say, Hey, guess what
The CHAIRMAN. I think that is a good question, but I think it is going to take information from our British allies.
General MYERS. Have we taken our eye off the ball in Afghanistan? I would say, no. I can say that with all sincerity.
We have actually increased the number of forces. The number of drug shipments that have been interdicted, the number of labs that have been destroyed, are not insignificant, even though that is not our primary mission over there. We have not taken our eye off the ball in Afghanistan.
This is a problem that is over time, in a very poor country, people are going to produce whatever produces money for them. And this is something, as I was pointing out, this is a strategic problem that has to be dealt with. I don't think it is primarily a U.S. Military problem. There are other ways to deal with this. And I am not even sure it is a U.S. problem. But as most
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. What is not a U.S. problem?
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General MYERS. I don't think necessarily the drug problem is a U.S. problem. I think it is going to take the international community of which we are part of, obviously, to deal with this problem. It is going to take lots of resources and lots of different approaches. We are interdicting some of these drugs by our Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf and other places over there.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. Al Qaeda wants to destroy the United States and kill the infidels. I would think the drug problem in Afghanistan is a big problem.
General MYERS. We are going to be part of that solution, but other folks can help as well.
Mr. RYAN OF OHIO. We are here to work with you, but I do, respectfully, think we have taken our eye off the ball in Afghanistan and has been proved by some of the comments here today.
So thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman, and we will try to get additional briefings made available for all Members of the committee with respect to the drug problem in Afghanistan.
The gentleman from Missouri has some additional questions, so why don't we go to those before we wrap up here?
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I am sending down to you, General Hagee and General Myers, a summary of the additional combat loss replenishment and up armoring that we have manifested in this bill, in the base bill we just passed and the $25 billion supplemental. So I want to get that to you.
If you have additional comments on things that you need or any differences, as I said, most of those are derived from lists that you submitted on unfunded requirements.
But as we walk this thing down through the conference, we need that other body to shift their focus away from the massive publicity they have been giving to Abu Ghraib and get back to winning the war. And when they do that and get their lists put together, we will be conferencing with them on it. Any additional input you folks have would be welcome.
The gentleman from Missouri.
Mr. SKELTON. I had stepped out of the chamber to speak to General Schoomaker as he was leaving when, evidently, some comments were made about our Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi. And I am very disturbed that occurred.
But I must tell you, that I had the opportunity to travel with her to Iraq and Afghanistan, and there is no more caring American than she in dealing with the troops that she met, not only in the field but in the hospitals.
Now to some questions, General.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. And if the gentleman would just allow me for one minute. Let's both stipulate that the Minority Leader, Ms. Pelosi, and the President of the United States, George Bush, are both acting in good faith in trying to win this war against terrorism.
Mr. SKELTON. My first question
The CHAIRMAN. Did I hear a stipulation there?
Mr. SKELTON. Yes. We all are Americans. We in this Committee are charged with maintaining and raising the military of the United States. We in this Committee are charged with overseeing what the military does. That is our job, and we take it seriously. And I take great pride in the fact that we have worked so long and so well on a bipartisan basis.
It bothers to me to no end when partisanship creeps in here because, when the soldier, sailor, airman or Marine is out there doing point duty, he is not thinking about politics; he is thinking about doing his duty.
So let us do our duty as best we can. Ask the tough questions. I am about to do that. Get the answers. Raise and maintain the military, provide oversight. That is what we need to do.
Now, what is this going to cost us, General, between now and the end of the year and then for next year? Your best estimate, please.
General MYERS. End of the fiscal year or calendar year?
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Mr. SKELTON. Fiscal year, excuse me.
General MYERS. They are going to present the mid-year review of that today, in fact, in about an hour-and-a-half. They are going to go through that in the Pentagon to come up with the definitive numbers. And if you can allow me, I will get that to you.
Mr. SKELTON. Would you make those available to our entire committee then?
[The information referred to can be viewed in hard copy.]
General MYERS. We will try. It will be up to the Secretary, but we will sure try.
The CHAIRMAN. Also the Ranking Member and I are very concerned about the last few months of this fiscal year. So we have an effective-upon-enactment provision in this bill that we passed that would allow you to reach forward. So I know we got a good analysis from the Marines that on our request several weeks ago that shows how tight it is going to be in the last few months of this year, but that is an important aspect of what the ranking member just asked for. So if we could add that to it.
General MYERS. It is an important aspect and if I may, did you say, in your bill, you would authorize the use of these funds upon enactment?
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. That is right. That is going to require cooperating from the other body and from the Appropriations Committees, but we want to take a close look at that, General. And I will have our staff point that out for you here and give you a little analysis on it, but we know it is going to be tight in the last few months.
General MYERS. Going to be very tight, and it would be very helpful.
Mr. SKELTON. Would appreciate that information.
I know there is a war on, and I realize that is number one. But I am concerned over the abuses, and one just came to my attention this morning where a son was brought into the prison cell where his father was hooded and naked and then his hood was removed and, from the newspaper reporting, it said, ''Regarding the young son, he was crying because of seeing his father.''
I think that there is a Damocles sword hanging over our security problem that really has to be addressed. We have to do that in conjunction with winning the war. We can't let it divert us, I understand. But we still must address the issue fully and squarely.
The issue of command atmosphere, where does it begin, where does it end. And I don't wish to belabor the point, but I trust that, in the days and years ahead, with the briefings we have already received and we understand we are going to receive on a weekly basis, we would certainly appreciate knowing the progress being made and the transparency being made because we want to let the Iraqis know, the world know, the Americans know that this is not a typical American military behavior.
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General MYERS. You are right. We need to do that.
Mr. SKELTON. I have some other questions.
These are tough questions. But let me put them to you, Mr. Chairman. A comment was made by a retired four-star general, ''We are on the brink of failure.'' true or false?
General MYERS. I don't remember the comment. Referring to what, Iraq?
Mr. SKELTON. Iraq.
General MYERS. I don't think so. There are a lot of challenges left, and we know people are going to try to disrupt this process, and there will be many more killed. A Government official, a municipal official in Fallujah, I think, was assassinated yesterday even though things are going fairly well there.
No, I don't think we are on the brink of failure; I think we are on the brink of success here. I think, as the new transitional government stands up, there will be traction there with the Iraqi people that will be very important to them. And I think we will continue to move forward.
Mr. SKELTON. Is the U.S. occupation of Iraq a stabilizing or destabilizing influence?
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General MYERS. I think it has been stabilizing. I think, as we said before, we have to quickly get out of the United States and our coalition doing this work and let Iraqis do this work. And that will be even more stabilizing as Iraqis take over. And I think the Fallujah example is one example of that.
Mr. SKELTON. What will the U.S. Military exit strategy be?
General MYERS. The exit strategy should be that, as you move along in the security front, the economic front, the political front, as they all move along simultaneous which they have to do because none can exist without the other two, that our strategy has to be to form this partnership with Iraqis which we are in the process of doing right now, and, through the transition of their sovereignty, we will continue to do and then Iraqis will more and more pick up the security responsibility.
Their forces will become better trained and better equipped through next spring, and that will be our exit strategy when they are able to take care of their own security and when their political process is mature to the point that they can handle the kind of problems that they have to handle security-wise, politically and economically, in that country.
Mr. SKELTON. Should General Abizaid feel that there is a need for additional troops, will they be provided to him?
General MYERS. Absolutely.
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SKELTON. Thank you so much for being with us today. These are ongoing questions that I hope we will have the opportunity to visit with you in Iraq and Afghanistan about the world, in general. We have the finest military ever. And it pains me to see any problem arising when most young men and women; I know the ones I represent, are really hardworking, patriotic, decent young folks. And I hate to see any disparaging of the military reputation.
So the sooner we get to the bottom of those abuses and remove that Damocles sword, as the Chairman says, we cannot take our eye off the ball of winning the war against the guerrillas in Iraq and the terrorists elsewhere. Second place doesn't count in that. So we are with you and we thank you for your service.
General Hagee, thank you so much.
General Myers, thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. Gentlemen, thanks for being with us today. And you know, I reflected on the fact that some 16,000 people, uniformed personnel in that theater, have won the Bronze Star, 127 Silver Stars for Valor on the Field of Combat, over 3,000 Purple Hearts. And obviously, the Americans who have given the full measure of devotion, we want you to know and them to know that we appreciate them.
Let me tell you, looking at those commendations the other day, I was impressed with the courage that was manifested in those actions that are described. Our Marines and soldiers and airmen that have been in that conflict are every bit as fine and courageous as the people that hit the beachheads at Normandy, Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Pork Chop Hill, the Chosin Reservoir chosen reservoir operation, the great battles of Vietnam which America never lost, Quezon, Hue City where a number of your Marines fought hand-to-hand.
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I read about some of the hand-to-hand fighting that took place in Afghanistan and Iraq the other day and in our more recent, the First Gulf War, many acts of heroism. And our troops who have been conducting this operation are every bit as courageous as those people. We appreciate their operations, their courage and their efforts.
This bill endeavors to give them the tools that they need to get the job done, and that is why it is so important, General Myers and General Hagee, that you scrub this bill. As I said, there are many provisions here that the Democrats and Republicans on this Committee have put in to make sure that you have a lot of flexibility, that you are able to rehab the equipment that is coming out of theater, replenish ammo stocks, weapons stocks and operate very robustly through what is going to be a difficult time because there is going to be an upswell of violence as we get closer to this handoff.
I would hope, General Myers and General Hagee, that you urge and look carefully at this custom making that we have done in some of these communities like Fallujah where we have customized the American approach to the character and, in some cases, unique characteristics of some of these communities. And I think that customized approach, using the creative talents of our military leadership who are there in-country, I think can produce some good results.
So I would hope that you would look at that, and I know you are, but I think that has to be an important element in this transition.
I hope the transition, General Myers, also has an element, that there is a major element of military transition because, as Napoleon said, ''I make my generals out of mud.'' His generals came out of operations. And we need to have continued operations with this new Iraqi military we are standing up. Having a transition of sorts, putting a little bit of weight on the shoulders of the Iraqi military is, I would think, should be an important part of this overall transition. So I would hope we would emphasize that.
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Mr. MEEK. Mr. Chairman, just for information purposes. I want to make sure and General Myers and the rest of the brass that is here, we have a very proud moment coming up with the dedication of the World War II Memorial. And I just want to say that I hope that we are airing that to the troops throughout in Afghanistan, those that have downtimes, so they will have an opportunity to see those patriots honored by this country. I wanted to mention that.
On the tail end of that, Mr. Chairman, I want to know how productive I believe this meeting was on both sides of the table for the Pentagon and also for Members of this committee. And I am glad that we are moving forth in an era of making sure that we have more meetings like this, but commending our World War II veterans and those that will be here in wheelchairs, it is going to be a very patriotic moment for this country.
The CHAIRMAN. And I want to thank the gentleman and thank the gentlelady from California for her recognition of CNN today and Mr. Miller for his great recognition of Fox News. I don't know if there are some other stations they would like to throw out.
But I wanted to thank the Ranking Member, because he reminds me of the importance of looking at history. You know, a couple of days ago, Mr. Meek, I went to the memorial service for one of those grand old veterans, Cornelius Smith, up in Riverside, California, who was officer of the day at Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. And his father won the Congressional Medal of Honor in the 1800s and whose great uncle was the last courier out of the Alamo. Have a family who seemed to be at remarkable points in our history at critical times.
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And there were so many of those great veterans, including my father, who were at that memorial service. That reminded me of that legacy that they have left us. I wanted to mention to the people who are on the field today, they carry that same spirit of courage and devotion to our country as those great solders of World War II. And we have to keep our eye on the ball, and we have to support them; 300,000 people have served in that Iraq theater. And I know we are concentrating on the seven prosecutions right now. But 300,000 have done a great job. We appreciate it. We are going to keep supporting them, general. Thank you.
[Whereupon, at 12:17 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.]