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
JUNE 16, 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
James M. Lariviere, Professional Staff Member
Justin Bernier, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Wednesday, June 16, 2004, Status of U.S. Forces in Iraq after June 20, 2004
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Wednesday, June 16, 2004
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 16, 2004
STATUS OF U.S. FORCES IN IRAQ AFTER JUNE 30, 2004
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
Ricciardone, Hon. Francis J., Coordinator for Iraq Transition, United States Department of State
Rodman, Hon. Peter W., Assistant Secretary of Defense
Sharp, Lt. Gen. Walter L., Director, Strategic Plans and Policy
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[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Hunter, Hon. Duncan
Skelton, Hon. Ike
Rodman, Hon. Peter W.
Sharp, Lt. Gen. Walter L.
Ricciardone, Hon. Francis J.
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.]
STATUS OF U.S. FORCES IN IRAQ AFTER JUNE 30, 2004
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWashington, DC, Wednesday, June 16, 2004.
The committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:05 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 committee will come to order.
This morning, the committee continues its examination of Operation Iraqi Freedom with a specific focus on the status of U.S. military forces following the handover of sovereignty on June 30th. We are also planning another hearing on this topic next Tuesday, June 22nd, with Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who is presently in Iraq reviewing these very issues for Secretary Rumsfeld.
To begin the committee's review of this topic, our witnesses this morning are the Honorable Peter Rodman, Assistant Secretary of Defense. Thank you, Mr. Rodman, for being with us. General Walter Sharp, Director for Strategic Plans and Policy. Thank you, General. And the Honorable Francis Ricciardone, Coordinator for Iraq Transition, United States Department of State. Thank you, sir.
So welcome to the committee, gentlemen. We look forward to your testimony, and appreciate your appearance before the committee this morning.
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Just two weeks from today, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq will hand sovereignty over to an Iraqi interim government. This event marks the latest step in a plan that has been unfolding since last fall. It will be followed by national elections to a transitional government just after the new year, a popular vote on a new constitution next fall, and direct elections to a constitutional government before the end of 2005.
Some people here and in Iraq may be impatient with the process, but I think Jefferson, Washington, Adams, and Franklin would be astounded at the speed with which things are happening. June 30th is a milestone on the road to a stable, democratic, and secure Iraq in which Iraqis decide the future of their own country. More importantly, the momentum toward a fully sovereign and democratic Iraq will accelerate. Already, roughly 60 percent of the Iraqi government has been turned over to Iraqi control. The Coalition Provisional Authority has issued an order transferring Iraqi security forces from under the command and control of the multinational force (MNF) to the Iraqi interim government.
Additionally, the multinational force is continuing its efforts at training the Iraqis to take over the security mission themselves. Roughly 150,000 Iraqis are on duty or in training to serve on the Iraqi Police Force, in the military, as members of the Civil Defense Corps, or in the Department of Border Enforcement. This is a clear sign that the Iraqis are moving forward and taking over the responsibility for securing their country. And obviously, the news of the sabotage of the pipeline is evidence of the importance of this standup, certainly of the security of facilities, security forces, and border forces.
The handover is significant on a strategic scale, but June 30th won't mean much change in the daily lives of our soldiers. They will still be in Iraq. They will face a determined terrorist enemy. They will still work with Iraqis to defeat that enemy. They will still be under American command. And I think that is an important point to establish. And I would hope, gentlemen, that you will speak to that point, because that is of interest to every American, is that our forces are under American command.
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They will need every ounce of support this country can muster to succeed in their mission. And this is where the outcome of Iraqi Operation, Iraqi Freedom will be decided, and this is where we must focus our attention in the coming months.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hunter can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. Gentlemen, thanks again for appearing before the committee. We look forward to your testimony. And at this time, let me recognize my partner, the gentleman from Missouri, the distinguished Mr. Skelton, for any remarks he might want to make.
STATEMENT OF HON. IKE SKELTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM MISSOURI, RANKING MEMBER, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, thank you. And thank you for calling this hearing. This is one that is very important, as we will soon learn from our witnesses.
And I welcome Secretary Rodman, General Sharp, Ambassador Ricciardone, and am glad to have you back with us.
There has been a fair amount of political progress since our last hearing on Iraq, and the Iraqis now have an interim leadership that will take that country from June the 30th, on through the national elections. I am pleased that the United Nations (UN) Security Council was able to pass a unanimous resolution that sets the basic framework in place for the American and multinational forces. I have had the opportunity to read and study to a limited extent the United Nations resolution, and we will ask you about that shortly. But the wording seems to say the right thing, concerning our forces and their ability to defend themselves and to do their job.
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The assassinations of government leaders and those associated with improving Iraqi infrastructure sadly will continue, in all likelihood, in the coming weeks and months. The release today of the results of the CPA Commission public opinion poll of course are disturbing. Only 10 percent of those polls support American troops, while 55 percent said that they would feel safer if our troops immediately left. This shows impact both of the ongoing violence and of Abu Ghraib prison situation, and it the demonstrates quite jarringly that we are not winning their hearts and minds. We have to develop a better partnership with the new Iraqi government.
I would like to raise two issues, if I may, Mr. Chairman. One is the Iraqi security forces; clearly we need to make faster progress toward the time when Iraqis can provide for their own security. The appointment of Major General David Petraeus to lead the training of these forces is, frankly, an excellent choice, and I look forward to our hearing with him tomorrow. But I think we need a strategic plan in this area with clear benchmarks that can be measured. That is why I offered an amendment to that effect in our defense bill, and I thank the chairman for his support in that effort.
The performance of the Iraqi security forces to date has been uneven. That is probably an understatement, but there is no force more important for Iraqi's future than that.
Second, while the Security Council's resolution is critical, it is appropriate and the program leaves no issues to be resolved, in the soon to be, sovereign Iraqi government. Both Secretary Powell and Prime Minister Allawi had letters referring to consultation regarding sensitive operations. But I would like to understand what additional arrangements will be working out over the next few weeks.
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I further understand that we will not have a status of forces agreement until after the elections next January. That concerns me a great deal. And the status of forces agreement (SOFA) also would include in it the rules of engagement. Now, rather than under the protection of U.S. forces that are enshrined in the resolution and existing CPA orders, I think it is critical that those protections be explicit in some sort of status of forces agreement which we look forward to in the near future.
Again, we thank you, gentlemen, for being with us, and look forward to your testimony.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Skelton can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman for his statement. And let me align myself with the last remarks of my good friend from Missouri. The rules of engagement that go directly to the force protection (FP) of our forces are of utmost importance to this committee and I think to every Member of Congress and every American. And we want to scrub in detail any prospect for changing rules of engagement from the ones that presently exist as a result of political interaction with this new government in Iraq. Very, very clearly, this committee will not countenance any accommodations that are made, which result in less force protection for American personnel. So I hope that is understood, and I hope and I believe also, gentlemen, that the administration is fully in agreement with that. But that is an area of great concern to us.
The CHAIRMAN. So having said that, again, Secretary Rodman, thank you for being with us this morning. We appreciate your appearance. And the floor is yours, sir.
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STATEMENT OF HON. PETER W. RODMAN, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
Secretary RODMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Representative Skelton, members of the committee. It is a privilege to appear before this committee again. You have a prepared statement which I have submitted, and I hope that will be
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, Mr. Secretary, all the all statements will be taken into the record.
Secretary RODMAN. Thank you. And so I don't need to go into the detail right now, but that statement does go into these questions in a certain degree of detail. It describes the UN resolution, it describes parallel letters sent to the Security Council by Secretary of State Powell and by the new Iraqi prime minister addressing these issues. And those letters reflect an understanding that we have already reached with the Iraqis on basic principles of security partnership. And that understanding which we have reached with the Iraqis is incorporated by reference in the UN resolution, and, in effect, blessed by the UN resolution. So the basic elements of
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Secretary, let me just say, Mr. Secretary. I have reviewed those letters and the UN resolution, and I think one thing all Americans would agree on is that we are well served by having a former military leader, that is, in Colin Powell in this position, where politics and political considerations can very easily result in making military policies that don't accrue to benefit of our troops. And I think it is good to have a guy who has done this before, I guess what I am saying, who knows what it means and knows what it means from both sides, the diplomatic side and the military side putting this thing together.
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So I didn't mean to interrupt you, but I think that is something that I am grateful for, and, I think, most Americans.
Secretary RODMAN. We can discuss, I am sure, in the course of the hearing, more of the details of this understanding that we have worked out with the Iraqis and which the UN, as I say, has blessed.
The point I would like to emphasize right now at the beginning is just, again, to reiterate, the significance of June 30th, because our basic strategy for defeating the insurgency is political as well as military. It is precisely to empower the moderates in Iraq to help them take responsibility for their country. And that is a way of marginalizing the extremists politically. And even while we and the Iraqis are hunting them down militarily, the political strategy is to fill the vacuum left by the old regime by helping Iraqis build their own new institutions and to take charge. And that is why we are very pleased with the new interim government. We think it is a group of capable and impressive people. And we are confident that we, and they, already have some basic understandings on the security partnership, and the details of that will continue to be fleshed out. And the security partnership is part of that political strategy of helping Iraqis take charge.
I think you have cited an opinion, the opinion polls which suggest, oh, the Iraqis are getting impatient. We understand that. As a political leader, you are familiar with the ''what have you done for me lately'' syndrome. We are absolutely convinced that the Iraqi people overwhelmingly consider what happened last year as liberation from a tyrant. But a year has gone by, and there is still some hardships, there is still uncertainties, and it is natural for them to resent the people in authority, and especially when the people in authority are foreign forces sitting there under the banner of occupation.
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So that is why it was absolutely essential to have this June 30th handover to begin the process of Iraqis taking charge of their own affairs. And, as I say, the security partnership with them will be part of the next phase.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
[The prepared statement of Secretary Rodman can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. General Sharp.
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. WALTER L. SHARP, DIRECTOR, STRATEGIC PLANS AND POLICY
General SHARP. Mr. Chairman, Congressman Skelton, members of the committee, I would like to also thank you for the opportunity to address you here today on this very important subject.
Before I begin, I would like to also thank you for the continued support of the men and women of our Armed Forces.
Today, Iraqi security personnel, the United States, and 31 coalition partners are working together to secure, protect, and establish peace and justice for all Iraqi citizens so they may enjoy a future of their own choosing. Establishment of a safe and secure environment is the single most important element for improved Iraqi quality of life because it enables relief efforts, a free political process, economic prosperity, and social opportunity.
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Multinational personnel have made significant progress along with the Iraqis in recruiting, training, and equipping Iraqi security forces. The Iraqi people have stepped forward. More than 225,000 Iraqi citizens have taken positions of various components of the Iraqi security forces. By the end of this month, over $3 billion will have been committed to Iraqi security forces for equipment, infrastructure, and training. And, if I might also add, that General Petraeus, as you pointed out, has been on the ground over there for approximately two weeks, and already the emphasis that he and we and the Iraqis are putting on the training and the equipping of the Iraqi security forces are being noted.
In his meetings that he has had with Prime Minister Allawi over the last several days, he has noted back to us the forward leaning and the desire for the Iraqis to take charge of their security responsibilities. They are moving forward, they desire to be out and be seen in front, and we are working together to make sure that they are trained and equipped to be able to accomplish that mission.
By the 30th of June, the United States and its coalition partners will transition control of Iraq to a fully sovereign Iraqi interim government. Our responsibilities will not end with the 30 June transition. Multinational forces will remain in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi people and with the authorization of the United Nations after the Iraqi interim government assumes its leadership responsibilities. These forces and increasingly Iraqi forces will continue to conduct offensive operations to defeat remaining anti-Iraqi forces, and neutralize destabilizing influences in Iraq in order to create a secure environment in which the people of Iraq can build their own future. They will also continue the current efforts to organize, train, equip, mentor, and certify credible and capable Iraqi security forces in order to continue the transition of responsibility for security from multinational forces to Iraqi forces.
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Concurrently, Iraqi and multinational forces will continue to conduct stability operations to support the evolving Iraqi government, the restoration of essential services, and the economic development. According to the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1546, the multinational force shall have the authority to take all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq. This UN Security Council resolution further requires that arrangements are put in place to establish a security partnership between the sovereign government of Iraq and the multinational force and to assure coordination between the two. In Prime Minister Allawi's letter, together with Secretary Powell's letter, both that are part of the United Statesor the UN Security Council resolution, serve as a foundation for establishing the coordinating mechanisms that will be essential to this unity of command in Iraq.
The security structures described in these letters will serve as a forum for the government of Iraq and the multinational force to reach agreement on the full range of fundamental security and policy issues, including policy on the sensitive offensive operations, and will ensure full partnership between Iraqi security forces and the multinational force through close cooperation and coordination.
I am confident that through this partnership wewe, the Iraqis, the coalition, and the U.S. Armed Forces, will succeed in establishing a secure and stable environment in Iraq.
Sir, I am happy to take your questions.
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[The prepared statement of General Sharp can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Ambassador, thank you for being with us this morning. The floor is yours, sir.
STATEMENT OF HON. FRANCIS J. RICCIARDONE, COORDINATOR FOR IRAQ TRANSITION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE.
Mr. RICCIARDONE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Skelton, members of the committee. It is an honor to be with you today. And thank you also for letting me put the more detailed and extended text into the record.
I would like to begin by paying tribute to the men and women who are serving in Iraq. Mr. Chairman, I know you have a son serving in Fallujah with the Marines. All of us as Americans are very, very proud of our countrymen serving, whether civilians or military. I also want to thank our coalition partners who are lending their civilians and their soldiers to the effort as well.
Mr. Chairman, on May 24th, President Bush outlined, very clearly, what we must do to support the mission in Iraq, and achieve freedom and democracy there.
Number one, hand over authority to a sovereign Iraqi government.
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Second, help establish security.
Third, continue rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure.
Fourth, encourage international support.
And, fifth, move toward free national elections.
We are making progress in all these fronts. The first one will be accomplished just two weeks from now as the Coalition Provisional Authority hands over power to the Iraqi interim government. And on that day, our relationship will change fundamentally. What I am here to report to you on, ladies and gentlemen, is the progress we have made in establishing the U.S. mission, the U.S. embassy that we need in Iraq to get the job done, to support our troops, to accomplish what we need to for the United States in support of the new Iraqi government.
In January, Secretary Powell called me back from Manila to Washington to work with the Department of Defense (DOD) in a single interagency team. My colleague and good friend, retired Lieutenant General Mick Kicklighter, just left for Baghdad last weekend where he is going to be through the transition. Mick and I have established a partnership and our two agencies have worked together extremely close and have made great progress toward. We now have a team effort that I am convinced will persist well through the transition and beyond.
I would like to update you, if I may, on the four areas Under Secretary Grossman covered when he last visited with you at the end of April.
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First, on people. Many people have focused on the fact that the embassy in Baghdad will be among our largest in the world. That is true. In fact, it would rank about number 3 of our 260 diplomatic and consular missions around the world. But more important than the size of it I think is the quality. Under the leadership of Ambassador Negroponte and others of our most senior and experienced foreign officers, civil service specialists, and U.S. Government employees of other agencies as well, I think Embassy Baghdad is taking shape as one of our very best, not just one of our largest. We will have about 900 Americans in under permanent assignments there under chief of mission authority, and ultimately about 550 foreign service nationals, that is Iraqi employees, for a total mission size of something under 1,500.
And that mission will include two temporary organizations, the Iraq reconstruction management office and the program contracting office. Those offices will be devoted to supporting the Iraq relief and reconstruction fund management and implementation.
From our global experience, we expect that over time, the number of Americans will decline a bit while the number of Iraqi employees will increase. And I will provide more detailed statistics in my formal testimony.
Our diplomats in Iraq will represent the United States and support Iraqi development programs not only in Baghdad, but also in Iraq's provinces. We are establishing four regional hubs in Kirkuk, Mosul, Hillah, and Basrah. And we also plan to embed foreign service officers in five United States military commands.
I would note here that our American security rests on our American diplomacy as well as our military power, and our diplomatic readiness will depend on the continued foresight and support of the President and the Congress to invest in training, protecting, and supporting all our people, foreign service, civil service, and foreign service nationals. We have used the recent increases in the Department's civil and foreign service workforce, including new positions planned in the 2005 budget to meet our staffing requirements in Iraq as part of the diplomatic readiness initiative. President Bush and Secretary Powell, with the support of Congress, had established the diplomatic readiness initiative to improve the training standards of our people and to address just such emerging foreign policy priorities.
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On security, this remains a dangerous mission. Our top priority is to keep our people safe while enabling our diplomats to accomplish our work with the Iraqi government and people in support of our forces. In the past few days, the Deputy Secretaries of State and Defense signed memoranda of understanding, making clear the security responsibilities and support that each agency will assume. Meanwhile, the security upgrade of the planned interim embassy buildings is progressing to meet deadlines.
We have selected a site for a future new embassy compound based largely on security. Fifty-one armored vehicles of the future embassy are already in Iraq, another 90 are on order, and we expect to receive many more from the Coalition Provisional Authority. And, to complement the security personnel who are already there under the United States military and CPA funded contracts, we have 30 diplomatic security personnel of the Department of State (DOS) and 10 other Department of State contract people who are already on the ground.
On buildings, we have a building in the green zone that will serve temporarily as the embassy chancery until we build a more permanent one. It is under renovation, it will be ready for occupancy before July 1st for the ambassador and a small number of staff. Until we build a new embassy compound, we will temporarily use the former Republican palace where the CPA is now located for most nonpublic purposes. We will also continue to use another building temporarily as the ambassador's residence. We have identified a site on which we will build a new embassy which could include all the offices, housing, and support facilities. We would expect to build and occupy the new facility within about 2 years of receiving the funding.
On the financial outlook, I could share our budget projections for you to operate the embassy. And I need to emphasize that what I present to you is an estimate, it is a snapshot that we have today, it is subject to very much change depending on conditions in Iraq. We now estimate the cost of operating the new mission in Iraq for the balance of this fiscal year to be in the range of $483 million. We will cover the cost in several ways.
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First, Congress has provided already about $97 million for an interim embassy facility and interim operations in our fiscal year 2004 supplemental appropriations. We also expect to have available existing fourth quarter portion of the operating expense budget appropriated for the CPA, $196 million, and, under the supplemental, up to 1 percent of the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund (IRRF) for another 184 million.
We estimate 2005 costs to operate the mission could amount to $1 billion, excluding construction of the new embassy facility and the program contracting office. The largest costs of running the mission are logistics and security. The Defense Department is covering those costs until needs can be assessed more precisely and we can determine supplemental requirements and come back to you and ask for more support.
Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. I will be glad to take any questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Ricciardone can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. And I will tell the members, I think we are passing out or getting together the UN resolution and the accompanying letters from Dr. Allawi and Colin Powell. I think it is clearand let me just ask this as a first question, Mr. Rodman. Usually in entering or working within a country with military forces, a status of forces agreement is negotiated. Obviously, that did not apply in this case. And it is not contemplated that we are going to have a status of forces agreement until we have the elections at the end of the year, first of next year. So, in reality, it appears to me that the letters that accompany the UN resolution, and especially Colin Powell's letter that lays out basically status quo, that the structure that is presently in place is a structure under which we are operating, for practical purposes that is the status of forces agreement. Is that not accurate?
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Secretary RODMAN. That is an important part of the answer. Secretary Powell's letter makes explicit reference to this issue of jurisdiction. The Prime Minister Allawi's letter refers to that indirectly, and the whole arrangement is blessed by the UN.
In addition, however, we have the Iraqi interim constitution that transitional administrative law says that existing CPA regulations will stay in effect until rescinded by new legislation. And that includes CPA order number 17, which is the present document which spells out status of forces protections for our people. And so thatby this document, the Iraqi interim constitution is the guiding document that governs the next 2 years, and CPA order 17 will remain in effect and give us those protections more explicitly, in addition to having the whole arrangement blessed by the UN Security Council resolution and clearly with the consent of the Iraqi interim government as reflected in the letter from the Prime Minister. So we think we have pinned this down in different ways.
The CHAIRMAN. And so for all the coalition partners, they can be assured that the status quo with respect to their forces as manifest in the CPA policy will be continued, and so they don't necessarily have to rely on the letters that Colin Powell hasthe letter that is attached to the resolution that Colin Powell issued. On the other hand, he does refer to the multinational force, and that basically the rules are going to be status quo. Is thathave you had any discussions with any of the coalition partners on this?
Secretary RODMAN. Well, first of all, you are correct, and Secretary Powell's letter refers to all contributing states being in this position.
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Second, I am sure we have had discussions with the British for quite some time as we were developing the concept for the next phase and I suspect with other coalition partners as well.
The CHAIRMAN. Okay. Let us say we have an interim, the government which is now going into place, and we have a security problem and they make a request for American forces to be moved to a certain location and undertake a certain mission. What happens?
Secretary RODMAN. Well, I think I will ask General Sharp to respond in more detail. But what we have outlined here is a security partnership, and it rests on a very clear sense of common interest of the two countries. It is not a legal contract as much as it is a political alliance, if you will. And as in any relationship of alliance or partnership, when any complicated situation arises you discuss it. And if the premise of common interest isn't there, then we shouldn't be in this situation at all. But, so it is not spelled out, every contingency is not spelled out in detail. What is described in the letters is a set of procedures, a set of channels of communication which describe how sensitive problems will be discussed.
The CHAIRMAN. But let me pin you down on that a little bit. Let us say you have a specific issue that comes up that is of interest to the interim government. They think there is a substantial security problem in a certain area in Iraq, and they make a request to American forces or to coalition forces to undertake a certain action. What is the blueprint for moving this issue with the Americans and for either engaging or not engaging in the policy that is requested?
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Secretary RODMAN. Well, if it can't be resolved low on the chain of command, it gets moved up the chain of command and can be discussed at a political level. One of the forums that we have agreed to engage with them in is a ministerial committee for national security. This is the top leadership of the Iraqi chain of command. And our commander will be able to communicate with the leaders of Iraq. But perhaps General Sharp wants to give more detail.
General SHARP. Sir, I can just add that all levels of command there will also be in the headquarters elements both Iraqis and coalition forces. And that has already been established and has started to be put in place. And these are both in U.S. coalition and Iraqi headquarters. So from a military perspective on how to coordinate operations and how to, as Mr. Rodman said, establish what the threats are, what the interests are that we have to go after in offensive operations is going to be done in partnership as it goes up. So I believe, to directly answer your question, what you refer to in your question, is really a group of both Iraqis and coalition forces working together to determine where these threats are, believe it is a threat there, then weand again, ''we'' meaning Iraqis and the coalitionwill go after to destroy that threat.
The CHAIRMAN. But what is the forum? Colin Powell, I think, refers to certain fora in which we will work in the fora described by Prime Minister Allawi in his June 5th letter to reach agreement on the full range of fundamental security and policy issues. What I am trying to do is get a sense of what happens, because precise things must happen before military action takes place. In the general, you don't simply have general discussions with general membership in the Iraqi leadership. Have you got specific points of contact who are designated to both deliver requests to the Americans and to consult with Americans on those requests? Or is, as General Sanchez's shop, along with Ambassadors Negroponte's shop, to put those together? How is this thing going to work, is what I want to know?
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General SHARP. Sir, we are in the detail discussions as Prime Minister Allawi and the minister of defense office and the minister of interior office are stand up. But what is envisioned is potentially a contact group or a commanders group that will be headed by General Sanchez and, if confirmed, General Casey, when he gets in country that will work with the Iraqi ministers of defense, the senior military representative on the joint force headquarters which will be the senior military officer there. That will be the top level of operations to work together to be able to do this.
There will also be out in the division level and the brigade level what has already been set up and will continue joint coordination centers (JCC)s. And these joint coordination centers are members of the military force, U.S. coalition, the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC), for example, the Iraqi Armed Forces, the Iraqi police to make sure that all of the operations in that geographic area are being coordinated and deconflicted so we don't have any problems along those lines. A lot of that mechanism at the lower levels is already in place, and what we are trying to do now is to link it from the top to the bottom so that the policy, the security interests of the country are continuous all the way across those realms.
The CHAIRMAN. And so, in the meantime, in general, all the prerogatives that have existed prior to June 30th with respect to the ability of our forces to move and to go after the enemy. And I know that is stated, carried out in Colin Powell's letter. And I would ask all members of the committee to take a look at that letter from Colin Powell, because for all practical purposes it appears to me that is the status of forces agreement at this point. But those are all preserved as they exist now. Is that your understanding, General?
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General SHARP. Yes, sir. Absolutely. Especially, in, I guess, it is the fourth to the last paragraph where he talks through the specific tasks that include offensive operations in there. And it is referred to also in Prime Minister Allawi's letter. He refers to the tasks that are in Secretary Powell's letter that authorize us to do that. And I guess the last point would be, again, the all necessary means that are referred to in the UN Security Council resolution.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, sir.
Secretary RODMAN. May I add, when Secretary Powell refers to existing arrangements, he is referring to CPA order number 17, which also spells that out.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
The gentleman from Missouri.
Mr. SKELTON. I felt pretty good about this until our Chairman asked you these last several questions. Secretary Rodman used the phrase: We think we have pinned this down in several different ways. We have a United Security Council resolution. We have letters between our Secretary of State and the interim Prime Minister Mr. Allawi. Then you said that it is not spelled out in detail.
I look at the letter from Dr. Allawi, the fourth from the last paragraph. It says: ''in addition, the relevant ministers and I will develop further mechanisms for coordination with the Multinational Force (MNF), intend to create with the MNF coordination bodies at national, regional, and local levels that will include Iraqi security forces, commanders, and civilian leadership to ensure that Iraqi security forces will coordinate with the MNF on all security policy operations issues in order to achieve unity of command of military operations in which Iraqi forces are engaged with MNF.''
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This letter refers to the future, and I am not sure what the phrase unity of command references or what that means.
People of authority told me some time ago, I think in this Chamber, that we were supposed to have a status of forces agreement on March the 31st. Am I correct? Am I correct?
Secretary RODMAN. That was last year's political timetable.
Mr. SKELTON. But I am correct?
Secretary RODMAN. That was the plan several months ago. Yes.
Mr. SKELTON. Of course. We don't have a status of forces agreement now? Do we?
Secretary RODMAN. CPA order 17 is a detailed document that looks atthat is a status of forces arrangement. And that order
Mr. SKELTON. Excuse me for interrupting. I am talking about an agreement between the Iraqis and us. Is there a status of forces agreement between the Iraqis and us which would include rules of engagement? Let me tell you why I am worried about this. And I am not overstating the case. You are going to have some sergeant or some corporal or some second lieutenant at some point not having the right understanding of what his rights and duties are.
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I remember so well talking to that sergeant in Beirut who was standing guard without permission to have bullets in his rifle as this truck came barreling through the fence and blew up and killed some 280 American Marines. I want to know, what will you transmit to the sergeants and the corporals down there regarding the rules of engagement which should be based upon the status of force? I don't want to argue with you, but to the sergeant down there, it is going to be very, very important.
Secretary RODMAN. I want to nail down, first of all, that CPA order 17 is a detailed status of forces arrangement which will continue in effect and has been blessed by the Iraqis and now has even the more exalted status of being blessed by a UN Security Council resolution, which is not true of most of our status of forces arrangements. So I think the SOFA arrangements are nailed down under international law and by very clear-cut bilateral understanding with the Iraqis, reaffirmed by the new prime minister. So the status of forces arrangements I think are detailed and nailed down. On the rules of engagement, perhaps General Sharp can elaborate on how that is covered.
General SHARP. Sir, as you know, the rules of engagement have been laid out in the orders that have been given to our troops. Those rules of engagement will continue as they are right now. That is point one. Point two is we always have the right to self-defense. And that is inherent in all, any type of mission that we carry out. So the rules of engagement for self-defense will be there without question. I believe, third, when the UN Security Council resolution says all necessary means, when Secretary Powell says we will continue to be able to do offensive operations, the tasks that are laid out in order to be able to provide a secure environment, when Prime Minister Allawi in his letter acknowledges that, that allows us to have the robust rules of engagement that we need in order to be able to accomplish the mission that you all, the President, and the UN have endorsed and given to us.
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Mr. SKELTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Weldon.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you all for coming. And let me add my praise for our troops. Almost everyone on this committee has been to Iraq and/or Afghanistan over the past several months, and I can tell you that we have been overwhelmingly impressed with the quality of the men and women who are serving America. And I can just tell you from the troops we have met up in Tikrit and Kirkuk to those in Baghdad and over in Kabul, the Kasakorams 2 (K2) case in Uzbekistan, our men and women are the best, and let no one be mistaken about that.
But I have the same concerns that my chairman and ranking member have mentioned in regard to the rules of engagement (ROE). We have to make sureand, General, this applies primarily to our military, and that is our responsibility here, making sure our soldiers and other military personnel are given the proper authority they need to defend themselves and protect their own lives and those of their colleagues. That is a major concern that I have as well. That it is clear, it is well defined, and the military understands what it can or cannot do. And that those rules of engagement are done with the best interests of our soldiers and military personnel in mind.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me also share, and perhaps for our other witnesses, especially from the State Department, my concern over, there has been some media reports of the latest poll in Iraq which has not been something that gives me a great deal of confidence. And now, granted, this poll was done right after the prison scandal that broke, but I saw one article that said 71 percent of the people in Iraq now depend on their family and friends for security more than they do the provisional authority. And 80 percent said they have no confidence in either the U.S., civilian authorities, or coalition authorities.
And so I understand this is a difficult task, and with the increased acts of terrorism that have occurred in the past several months, that would be a reason why the Iraqis would feel this way, but as we transition the authority of the government, it is another major concern that I have. And let me say that an issue that has not been addressed here, and this is really for the State Department and perhaps not appropriate in this hearing. Mr. Chairman, we talk about the transfer of power to the new Iraqi government. And all of us want it to succeed and all of us are happy with the work our troops have done and the work that Paul Bremer has done and General Sanchez has done. But I don't think any of that really answers the ultimate question of how stable Iraq is going to be after June 30th. I think the real question that needs to be answered, is what are we doing about Iran? In my opinionand I don't say this lightly.
Over the past year I have been working with some informants in Paris who are former leaders of the Shah's government, and almost every one of their predictions has come true, from their prediction 8 months ago that Iranians would funnel $75 or $70 million to Sadr. Back then, we didn't know who Sadr was and today everyone knows who Sadr is. I am not talking about the Iranian people, I want to make that clear distinction, because as the recent election showed, with only nine percent of the people came out to vote, they have no confidence in their government, at least in Khamenei.
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So I am clearly distinguishing between the Iranian people, who I clearly think want to be our friends and want to partner with us, and the radical Islamic fundamentalist regime that controls that country, Khamenei. My understanding is that Khamenei has set up a shadow operation separate from the government, a group of 8 or 10 people who are a terrorist network that are providing much of the financial and support of not just al Qaeda, but the radical fundamentalist regimes like Islamic Jihad and Hamas and the other terrorist groups that are fomenting unrest in Iraq.
And if you look at Iran, you can understand that very easily. You have a very unpopular government in Iran headed by Khamenei, that only nine percent of the people even bothered to come out and vote in elections this year because of their lack of confidence. And on one side you have Afghanistan moving toward a new constitution and a stable government; on the other side you have Iraq that, as of June 30th, will do the same. And then you have the symbol of terrorism for the past 25 years, Colonel Qaddafi giving up his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) without us firing a single shot. Well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that that radical regime in Iran has got to be extremely uncomfortable with what is going on in Iraq. And in my opinion, that is where the problem is. It is with Iran and it is with the funneling of money and support from the radical Islamic leadership in Iraq.
And so my question for the State Department, perhaps it can't be answered today, is, what is our strategy in dealing with Iran as the transition of Iraq's legitimate government to its people? What is that strategy? And my own opinion is we haven't done enough to cultivate a stable relationship with Russia who could play the most influential role in helping us deal with Iran. But I would hope that the State Department, besides the strategy of rules of engagement, the rules of the status of forces, besides the transitional authority, the ultimate elections, the convening of meetings in Iraq, the key thing for me is, what is our strategy in regard to Iran as this transfer takes place over the next several months and years? So, Ambassador, I would just ask for the record, is there such a strategy specific to Iran relative to this transfer of power and authority?
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Mr. RICCIARDONE. Congressman, I would like to get back to you on the larger question of Iran's strategy if you are talking about strategy toward Iran with respect to weapons of mass destruction and Russia and Afghanistan, all the points you touched on globally.
With respect to Iraq, I would make the point that the Iraqis are at least as concerned as we are. And we are very concerned about Iranian influence and machinations and sending in people and money and so forth. I know this personally from having spoken with many Iraqis. I know it is a concern of Prime Minister Allawi.
The overall strategy is really the strategy that the President has set forth for strengthening Iraq as a free country, a democracy, a prosperous one, strengthening the rule of law. All the things that we are doing to help Iraq become strong, not just to protect its internal security but also to open its economy, are all things that will work as antidotes to what Iran is trying to sow. Having dealt with Iraq for a couple of decades now, I can reassure you that Iraqis have a very strong Iraqi identity. People often suggest that because a majority of Iraqis are of the Shiite branch of Islam that there is some kind of natural affinity for Iranian meddling or Iranian influence. I have never found that to be true among the most devout Shiites that I have known, among the religious leadership that I have met at different times over the years.
So that is the main point. The Iraqis are even more concerned about Iranian meddling than we are, and we are extremely concerned. Number one.
Number two, our larger strategy for strengthening Iraq, training their Armed Forces, strengthening the rule of law by strengthening the judiciary, opening the economy, all those things I believe are the best way of confronting what Iran is trying to promote. Indeed, I think the Iranians fear that we might succeed in Iraq on all those fronts, and it will bleed over and destabilize what the Mullas are trying to do there.
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Mr. WELDON. Well, if I might, just to follow up. You are exactly right. I mean, that is the whole issue. The radical Islamic regime controlling Iran understands their days are numbered because of Afghanistan, because of what Qaddafi has done, and now because of what Iraq is about to do. They have the most to lose. When only nine percent of their people come out to vote in the elections this year, that is a clear indication, the student revolts that took place in Iran. But now it is time for us to stop playing games with the Iranian radical leadership and make the case publicly. And this is where the State Department, I think, has to take the lead. We do not have a problem with the Iranian people. I think ultimately they will be our friends once again. The problem is with Khamenei and the radical regime that controls Iran. And we have to call a spade a spade.
I mean, we know they are violating the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regulations; we know they are developing a nuclear weapons program; we know they are crashing on that; We know there has been ties to North Korean's nuclear program that they have benefited from; we know, they have developed a Shahab3, it is already deployed, they are working on the Shahab4. We know they are trying to develop a long-range missile. It is time to call the Iranian radical regime for what it is. That is where the problem is. And unless we make that statement clear and let Iran unequivocally know we are not going to tolerate that. I agree with all the points you have made. We have got to have Iraq be strong internally. They have got to be able to have a strong military force.
But we have got to do more to stop the radical regime in Iran. I happen to think that the only way to do that is through a united front with Russia. Russia has more access into Iran than any other country on the face of the other. They have been a client state of Russia. But we don't have the credibility with Russia right now to go in there jointly and clean up Khamenei's regime and lay down the case to them that we are not going to tolerate any further involvement. If we don't do that, I think we are going to see more of the terrorism that has been occurring, more of it fomenting, coming from Iran, and more problem with killing of our troops. And we just saw the Iraqi oil industry devastated.
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My understanding is they are losing a billion dollars because of this recent attack on a pipeline that just occurred yesterday or the day before. That is going to continue.
So I would just urge you go back to State and please tell our friends at State, that this is where I think the focus happens to be. And we have got to take the gloves off. And not to go to war with Iran, but we have got to have a clear strategy. Let the Iranian leadership know, and separate that from the Iranian people, that we are not going to tolerate their involvement in undermining this movement of the Iraqi people to a free society that they themselves can operate and control. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
And Mr. Langevin, you were the last guy here for the last hearing and we closed the hearing down before you got your question in. And it isyou are up, sir. And we apologize for missing you in the last run.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Not at all, Mr. Chairman. Thank you. I appreciate that.
And good morning, gentlemen. Thank you for your presence here today and your testimony.
I guess I would like to begin with our true presence in Iraq. And basically from conversations I would like to know if there is any indication as to what the expected U.S. troop presence will be in the coming years? And I know that has been an ongoing question and it has been speculated that we will be in Iraq for years. But what I would like to discuss this morning is what effectI want to know about any conversations that have taken place with the Iraqi government on troop presence.
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But also, could you speculate on the current situation in Iraq if the U.S. declared a date specific by which U.S. troops would be withdrawn.
Mr. LANGEVIN. In the same way that a certain date was set for transferring authority over to the Iraqis, if there were a date certain set for U.S. Troop withdrawal, what would the effects of that be, pro and con?
In addition to that, I understand that the Coalition Provisional Authority has issued an order stating that members of the multinational force were under the sole jurisdiction of their nation and were granted immunity from the Iraqi legal system. So my question is, has the Iraqi interim government indicated whether or not they will maintain that provision?
And also along those lines, under the provisions relevant of the U.N. Security Council's resolutions, does the Iraqi interim government have to sign treaties to join international organizations, such as the International Criminal Court (ICC)?
If you could take those.
Secretary RODMAN. Well, let me start on the number of troops, have we discussed that with the Iraqis? We are only at the beginning of discussing with the new team in Iraq what the security situation is. One thing we obviously want to do is sit down and talk and compare notes about how we see the threat and what the common strategy should be. So I am just not aware of any discussion that has gotten to that point yet.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Second, a certain date. I do not think it is a good idea. We have a clear idea of what the goal is, which is for Iraqis to be capable of handling security themselves. And the goal is to accelerate training, have them create their own chain of command, motivate their people and help them develop that capability as rapidly as possible.
At the moment, I don't think setting a deadline is a good idea. It might give encouragement to the wrong people, that they can wait us out. I think that we have a goal and a strategy to meet that goal. At the moment we don't think setting a deadline is useful.
On SOFA jurisdiction, have the Iraqis agreed to this? I think the answer is ''yes.'' In the transitional administrative law, which is their interim constitution, they explicitly say that CPA orders continue in effect until changed by legislation; that covers Order Number 17. The letter of the Prime Minister to the Security Council refers to the letter of Secretary Powell, all of these things are bound together with the blessing of the Iraqis, as I say, in several different ways.
So we are comfortable that this arrangement is firm.
General SHARP. Sir, I can just add, on your first question, on the troop presence. Reading from Prime Minister Allawi's letter, where he says, ''The government''he is speaking of the Iraqi Government; this is in the second paragraph''is determined to overcome these forces''the forces that are against the Iraqi Government right now''to develop security forces capable of providing adequate security for the Iraqi people.''
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And then he goes on to say, ''Until we are able to provide security for ourselves, including the defense of Iraq's land, sea and air space, we ask support of the Security Council and the international community in this endeavor.'' And all indications that we are getting from Prime Minister Allawi, from the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Interior is, they fully understand and they want Iraqis to take responsibility for the security of Iraq and are leaning very far forward in order to make that happen.
As we move and that partnership develops in order to be able to have their security forces capable of doing what the Prime Minister has laid out here, and the terrorists, the folks that are going against the Iraqi Government right now, that are trying to tear this down, are destroyed and killed, as that balance grows, then the continuing presence of our forces will be analyzed as we go through this.
I guess the last point is, there is also, as you understand, a desire for the Iraqis to get their face on this out into their cities. So there are discussions that say, okay, as Iraqi security forces in specific areas are capable to provide the security for the cities, then they will take the lead; they will take the responsibility there, and we will move in order to back them up, but to have a lot less presence within those cities.
And so adjustments aren't going to be made, troop presence-wise, across the whole country at one time. It will depend upon the security situation in each one of the different areas and the ability of the Iraqi security forces in those areas. That process has actually already started in many areas.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Thank you.
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Mr. RICCIARDONE. My understanding of the question is, would the interim government of Iraq have to take specific actions to join the ICC? Is that the question.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Yes.
Mr. RICCIARDONE. The answer is, yes, they would have to, except that they are not now members, except that my understanding very clearly is that the consultative process that led to the creation of the ICC specifically limited its authorities so that it could not commit the Iraqi people or government in perpetuity. Because it is not an elected government, it has deferred the mandate to do that, the authority to do that, until there is a permanent Iraqi Government in place that could make permanent international commitments such as signing the Treaty of Rome.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Colorado, Mr. Hefley.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you very much. I have 2 or 3 questions.
In light of the polling that Mr. Weldon referred to earlier, as we turn this over to the interim government, they, to be successful, must respond to the will of the Iraqi people. It is my understanding thatI think it was Colin Powell in the administration, someone in the administration who said that if the Iraqi people don't want us here, we will get out.
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Is there concern on your part that these guys who now become politicians, responding to their people, will say, yeah, we do want the Americans out? And, if so, what would we do there?
Second, the big story the last couple of days has been the idea that we will turn Saddam Hussein over to the Iraqis and let them do what they will with that. Well, that is all right to a point.
The point is that if they are actually going to try him, I think they ought to be the ones who try him and so forth. But are we seriously considering turning him over to them with the idea that they might turn the guy loose, and then he makes one of those miraculous comebacks again as he has done in the past?
And then, finally, Iraq is kind of an artificial country anyway, it seems to me, put together by the British and held together by a strongman, much as Yugoslavia was. Is there any thought that we are going to have trouble really putting Iraq as a whole together as a democratic country, or that this may indeed break into two or three countries before we are through?
Secretary RODMAN. Let me try. Opinion polls, as you know better than I, are elusive sometimes. We agree with the Iraqi people that it is time for the occupation to end. That is the lesson we draw, and we drew this a long time ago. We knew that it was very unhealthy for us to be there in that role.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You remember, a couple months ago, in April when there were serious military problems, some people said we should postpone June 30th; and we correctly said, no, that is the worst possible thing to do. It makes it all the more important for us to cross this important milestone of turning over authority to the Iraqis, giving them a sense that it is their own country again and changing the basis for our relationship with them.
Second, turning Saddam over to the Iraqis, this is still clearly under discussion between us and the Iraqis. They have set up this special tribunal with our support, precisely in order to handle trials of this kind. I think this is something that we will discuss with them, and this government, I think, shares the same objective.
First of all, he is a criminal. And second, there ought to be a fair process, you know, a respectable and decent process for dealing with him.
So we think this will be worked out. And if they want him, I am sure we will respond to that, we will work out arrangements that ensure his proper detention and security and so forth.
The third, on Iraqi as an artificial country, I am sure Ambassador Ricciardone will want to say something. But interestingly enough, this is the one problem we have not had; it is one of the most important problems that we did not have in the past year. The country has held together, the governing council held together. The Kurds, Sunni and Shi'a have been jockeying for position as they were negotiating the transitional administrative law. And there is some of that going on now, as those groups jockey for position and as they are working out permanent arrangements, but I am impressed by how well they have learned the arts of political compromise. They are all committed to the unity of the country.
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Zarkawi in his famous letter said one of his goals was to try to produce sectarian war among the communities, and he has failed to produce that result. So, we are pleased by how well over the past year these different communities have worked together politically and learned coexistence and compromise.
And so that, I think, is a crisis we have not faced.
Mr. HEFLEY. Do you want to add to that?
Mr. RICCIARDONE. I associate myself with the comments of my colleague from the Defense Department, on the first two points especially, on the third as well.
I think Iraq under dictatorship had a kind of phony or superficial national unity. It has actually a real national unity and identity, and under freedom and democracy some of the diversity of the different elements of Iraq are coming out. That is natural. It is good. It is healthy. At the end of the day it will probably make for a stronger national unity, ironically, than having a dictatorship that compelled the Kurds to submerge their own ethnic and linguistic identity, that compelled the Shi'a not celebrate their particular religious rituals, and so forth under a certain sort of sham that these things made them somehow less Iraqi or less part of the larger unity.
I am not at all worried about individual Iraqis saying, yes, I am an Iraqi, I am also a Kurd, I am a Shiite, I am a Christian, I am a Turkoman. Those things, as an American, strike me as quite compatible and normal. They are not normal under what Iraq went through for the past 30 years. I think Iraqis will sort this out.
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Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you very much.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Texas, Mr. Ortiz.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
You know, I would like to see this transfer of power work, but when I see this emerging picture coming out, it leaves a lot of people a little jittery and confused now.
To begin with, we started to use some of Saddam Hussein's key people, or generals, to see if maybe they could help us with the security problems that we have; and the killings continue. Just recently the oil minister in Iraq was killed. I mean, why, now we are going to arm some of the people that will hopefully secure the country from all of these terrorist attacks.
I hope that I could feel as comfortable as you feel that this is going to work and that some day we will be able to pull our troops out. What assurances do we have that some of those people that now are taking part in this government will not turn against us?
I was there in Beirut when the terrorists killed 241 Marines. At this time, a group of Congressmen were in Beirut looking at the scene and we were being guarded by individuals, our military, who were carrying weapons without ammunition. And we asked them why. They said, because we don't want to create an international incident. Well, my God, we had just lost 241 young Marines.
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I mean, I just want to know, do you feel comfortable that in the next few days, once we transfer this power and some of the key people from Saddam Hussein are involved in helping out maintain peace, do you feel comfortable that this is going to work?
Secretary RODMAN. Well, sir, wefirst of all, we are not leaving on July 1. I mean, our forces will be there. And the process of building up Iraqi capability will take some time. So, if anything, there will be a gradual transition.
But we expect to make progress with the Iraqis, building up their national army, building up their police, what we have called the civil defense corps, which is a heavy police unit, and other forces. That is one of the most important things we have to do in the next period, to accelerate this process of training and equipping Iraqis.
I mean, they will have advantages over us. They know the country better. They will be motivated, we hope, to defend their country; and we think it is better that they are not doing this for the occupying power, they are doing it for a government of their own. So we expect them to be motivated differently and better after July 1.
But there is a security problem. This whole process is being assaulted by a determined minority of people who don't want Iraq to achieve this democratic outcome. And so there is a fight going on. But we think we have the overwhelming majority of the Iraqis on our side, not because it is our side, but because it is really their own side, their own democratic future.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, after July 1, I think the issue is going to be clearer for Iraqis. It is not about the Americans anymore, it is about which side are they on in terms of their own future? It will be difficult, but we think the Iraqis basically, you know, will do the right thing.
General SHARP. Sir, I would just like to address the Beirut issue.
Just to be clear, all U.S. Forces, nearly all coalition forces in the multinational force will be under unity command. For U.S. forces, it will go from the President to the Secretary of Defense to General Abizaid to General Casey, when he gets in theater, down to each of our individual units. The orders that he gives will be the core orders that will include rules of engagement, which are robust enough for not only self-defense, but also for the offensive operations that are required out there in theater.
We have learned from Beirut. We train our soldiers, all of them that are deployed in how to use their weapons, what the rules of engagement are, and we give them robust enough rules of engagement in order to be able to do what they need to do.
I mean, I can personally testify to this from not only Desert Storm, which obviously we are in that type of conflict, but I have also spent a lot of time in Haiti, in Bosnia, where if we had the Beirut problem, we would have worried about what we armed our soldiers with, what the rules of engagement were and what they weren't.
Because of the training that your military puts your forces through, that is not an issue anymore. We have rules of engagement. We have sufficiently trained forces in order to be able to properly protect ourselves from incidents like in Beirut.
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Mr. ORTIZ. Let me thank all three of you for your services.
Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The distinguished gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Schrock.
Mr. SCHROCK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, General, Mr. Ambassador, thank you for being here.
I have really enjoyed the line of questioning today. I think comments by the gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Skelton, have stuck with me. He talked about Beirut, and General, you just did too.
I think of the USS Cole. Certainly there was a sailor on that ship that could have done something had he been given permission to do it. Even if we had the most specific regulations in the world and they were trained to the nth degree, is that soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, still going to be afraid to fire for fear of the ramifications that he will catch from the folks back here in Washington? He may have done everything right, but you know the political process as well as I do. If someone perceives he has created an international incident, how are we going to be assured that these kids are going to be protected? That is one thing that bothers me.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Somebody mentioned a minute ago about the physical control or who is going to turn over Saddam Hussein to whom. It is my understanding that the Iraqis are going to have charge of him during the trial, but we are going to keep physical custody of him so the bird doesn't get away.
I guess I am concerned, too, about if the hand-over of sovereignty will also mean that the detainees that are currently held by our forces in Iraq, will be transferred to Iraqi custody as well? I am kind of curious about that.
General SHARP. Sir, on the detainees, you are absolutely correct on Saddam Hussein. The jurisdiction, as far as trial, working with the Iraqi Government, when they have a trial capability to be able to do that, I think the intent is to turn him over, to allow them to try him.
But rest assured we will not turn over Saddam Hussein or any of those other high-value detainees or any security detainees until we are confident that the prison system, the guard system is in place, that they are not able to walk out and escape.
Now, on the detainee issue itself, you know, in Secretary Powell's letter, he specifically lines out as one of the tasks that we need to be able to continue to do, internment, where this is necessary for imperatives or reasons of security. So we will have the authority to be able to continue to detain people who have committed crimes against the coalition, who are security risks or of intel value, in order to be able to do what we need to do there.
Do we want to eventually turn some of those over to Iraqis? Absolutely. But again it gets back to, do they have the capability to try these people? And they are starting that up now with the criminal court within Iraq. Do they have the ability to be able to detain them properly in prison? Those efforts are also ongoing. To be able to train Iraqi justice system prison guards? That has already started, in order to be able to give them that capability so they can have that capability in the future.
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Mr. SCHROCK. General, I think I have been listening fairly carefully. This may have been answered, but how will the requirement to coordinate and cooperate with the new Iraqi Government affect the rules of engagement for local U.S. commanders? If push comes to shove, who is going to have the final authority to say ''yes'' or ''no'' about something that needs to be done? Will we still have ultimate authority over that, or will the local folks at that point, have that?
General SHARP. Sir, for rules of engagement again, all necessary means gives us the authority to have control over that.
Now, the cooperative mechanisms, we are going to work very closely together, the coalition is really becoming a partnership. So where before it was the U.S. and 31 countries, it is now Iraq and 32 countries all working together to be able to do this.
But to specifically answer your question, it will be our commander on the ground. It will be the commander in the area that has the authority to establish the rules of engagement he needs, in order to be able to accomplish the missions that his commanders give him.
Mr. SCHROCK. Do they, meaning the Iraqis, do they understand that, or will they understand it by the time the turnover occurs two weeks from today?
General SHARP. Sir, I believe they do now, and that they will when it is done. Prime Minister Allawi's letter basically says that, when he endorses the tasks that are laid out in Secretary Powell's letter. The joint coordination centers that are already standing up or working in each one of the areas, as I described before, we have coordination among all of the security forces, and they are working very closely to understand that. So, yes, sir, I believe that it is in place.
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Mr. SCHROCK. I was going to ask if joint security patrols are going to be undertaken under Iraqi authority or control. So, I am hearing maybe that is not the case?
General SHARP. Sir, there will be joint patrols that take place, but the chain of command for multinational forces, within those patrols, will remain with the coalitionif it is in a U.S. sector, with the U.S., if it is in a Polish sector, with the Poles.
Mr. SCHROCK. Thank you.
My time has expired. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I want to thank the gentleman for an excellent line of questions. Let me, if the committee will indulge me, make one follow-on to Mr. Schrock's question.
You have a situation where the Iraqi political leadership wants to use the force and effect of American troops in a certain way: They talk to our ambassador and make that request; the commanding generalwhether it is General Sanchez or, later on, a successormakes a determination that in his view there isthe exposure of American troops or risks to American troops in a requested operation overbalances the political value. Who makes the call?
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General SHARP. Sir, I think it is clear that the multinational force, the coalition, is in command. If the Iraqis ask us to do somethingyour statement is interesting, in that if they ask us to do something that we agree is necessary to be done, I am confident we can work together with the Iraqis to get sufficient forces in order to be able to accomplish that.
If they ask us to do something that we disagree is necessary, we also have the authority to say, we are not going to do that, because we don't think it is necessary. They do have the authority to do it with their forces as laid out in the Security Council resolution.
The CHAIRMAN. I am asking the question slightly differently. Let's say Ambassador Negroponte agrees that it is the right thing to do, he wants to do it; General Sanchez feels that there is unnecessary risk to our forces, overbalancing risks to the forces; between Negroponte and Sanchez, who makes the call?
General SHARP. Sanchez, sir, because the chain of command again goes from the Secretary of Defense to General Sanchez to the troopers that are there on the ground.
Now, you know as well as I do, if that situation happened, it would be brought up to the highest levels within our government to make that decision. And you know that the Secretary of Defense always has the authority to be able to give more forces if he believes at that level it is necessary in order to be able to accomplish the task. But General Sanchez would never do a task that was given to him by anybody other than the Secretary of Defense unless he believed he had enough forces to be able to do that.
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The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
The gentleman from Arkansas, Dr. Snyder.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to pursue the same line, but from the other end, General Sharp, if I might, which is, if you are the person on the ground, and you are having a problem and you are trying to get some attention from someone, who are you going to call?
Back in April, I think it was late on a Friday afternoon, my office got a call, I was in Arkansas, but my legislative director got a call from one of my constituents who had just gotten off the phone with her husband, who had called her by satellite phone from someplace in the Ukranian sector. He is a contractor there, working for a private company. They were under attack and had been for some time, and had been very frustrated at getting the kind of help that they needed to get out.
And he now gives my staff and my office some credit for getting someone's attention on the fact that there was a problem there. They were escorted out the next day with helicopters overhead as they made a run and got out. We had a hearing with a British officer who said those things happen. It is key to have the right phone numbers to know who to call, which may not be the most satisfactory solution.
It seems like what you describe as a partnership now, can make it more difficult. We have been talking a lot about rules of engagement for our troops. I think we have thousands, and I would hope over the next decade we have thousands and thousands of foreign contractors in the process of rebuilding Iraq, who may not know exactly what this line of authority is, that they will be put in the position perhaps, if they have problems, of not knowing exactly who to call at what time.
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I know you can game this thing to death, and we are all asking these hypotheticals, but have you all considered these issues of the private sector and what they are going to do when they have difficulty?
General SHARP. Sir, I can start off, and I am sure that Ambassador Ricciardone can add on here, because this has been a line of discussions that we and the State Department have worked very closely together on.
As Ambassador Ricciardone laid out in his initial statement, they are establishing centers all around the country, which are going to be not only coordination centers between what the State Department is doing in reconstruction and what the military is doing, but they will also have elements there from United States Agency for International Development (USAID), they will have our civil affairs folks there. There will be a placefrom my experience in Bosnia, there is a place where non-government organizations (NGO)s, where other people that are trying to do reconstruction come, in order to be able to coordinate efforts at that local level.
One of those coordination things, that they will do, is to determine, what is the security situation? Is it safe for me to come and do this here? What is your estimate? Obviously, they have always got the ability to decide that on their own. But then also, going in, they say, okay, what are the security arrangements? If I get into trouble, what are you willing to come do? Who do I call? Exactly what is the risk?
Then, based upon all of that coordination, generally what happens, I think, is that the companies decide, okay, it is safe enough. I feel confident enough that if we have an issue, they will come and get me; or if not, you know, because of locality or other reasons, I need to hire my own security people to be able to help out along these lines. But we have worked very closely together to make sure that our boundaries mesh, are together, and that we have a place that we can do some of that coordination.
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Dr. SNYDER. But, I mean, hopefully as time goes by, you will have the Iraqi police? That is my question.
General SHARP. Yes, sir. Good point. These joint coordination centers that I spoke about earlier are also part of that same coordination and structure.
I mean, ideally what we would like to be able to do is have the people that you are talking about, the contractors, show up and go to the local Iraqi police station and say, hey, I am going to be working on the school down the lane here; what if I get into trouble or start hearing some problems, who do I call? And the answer is, you call right here, and, oh, by the way, we will have an Iraqi patrol or Iraqi police that walk by three times a day and see what is going on and provide security that way.
That is where we would like to be able to get to.
Dr. SNYDER. Okay.
Secretary Rodman, I wanted to ask you a question about your written statement. I didn't get it until this morning. I didn't know if we had it before then. I know this hearing was put together fairly quickly.
But one of the concerns that we have had over the last couple of years in the Congress is the information that we get, and you have a sentence in there that says, under a section, we will leave if the Iraqis ask our troops to leave?
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And reading from it, although we obviously would not stay if the Iraqi people do not want us to but, right now millions of Iraqis are afraid that we might leave prematurely.
Now, the problem I have with that, is that it is a fairly definitive statement. But, in fact, it is a more complex picture than that. I mean, if I have the results of these polls right, 55 percent think that they would be safer if we left, 92 percent see us as occupiers; on the other hand, 45 percent want us to stay until after permanent elections, and 41 percent want us to leave now. So, there is a slight plurality of the state.
But this is the kind of statement, in my view, overstates what is a fairly, I would think, complex analysis of trying to figure out what the Iraqi people want.
I don't know if you want to respond to that or not, but, I think it is a mixed picture.
You also have this issue of the Iraqi people. Well, relationships are often government-to-government, and the issue will be, if you have the Iraqi Government office-holders say, we don't want you around, it won't matter even if the predominant position of the Iraqi people is different.
I don't know if you can reply.
Secretary RODMAN. That is a fair comment. One shouldn't use phrases loosely unless one can back them up. What I would say in support of it is, that all of the moderate leaders of a country who are brought together in the new government and also reflected, I think, even in the governing council representing all of the communities, all of the regions, want us to stay.
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I think the question about, will we leave if asked, didn't come out of Iraq first; it was asked in Congress, it was asked by Europeans who somehow wanted assurance that we were giving full sovereignty.
All of the Iraqis we deal with, and I do think they are broadly representative of the country, want us to stay. It is reflected in the categorical statements by the leaders of the new government. The Kurds, the Shi'a, who are the majority, are part of this political process and support it. And there are a lot of the Sunni, maybe not enough of Sunni, but certainly a lot of the Sunni people are part of this new government. They want us to stay. They feel this is a war against extremism that they want our support for.
So I agree. I shouldn't use the phrase loosely, and it does kind of invite a critical question like yours. But I really think the essence of the matter is, as I described, that the overwhelming majority of the Iraqis do not want to be run by these terrorists, do not want their hopes for democracy wrecked by these extremist forces.
I think some of the same opinion polls do say that the Iraqis want to see a democratic process unfold, a large majority.
Dr. SNYDER. Well, just in closing, Mr. Chairman, I was struck by a statement of General Petraeus the other day. If I am quoting him right, I think he said that it is not so important that the conclusion be that the Iraqis love Americans, but that they love the new Iraqi Government. And so you can have the satisfaction with America as an occupying force and still achieve our success of having an independent and democratic Iraq. Thank you.
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Secretary RODMAN. That is correct. The President has said something very similar. That is a good way to express it.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Hayes.
Mr. HAYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First, Mr. Ambassador, for the State Department, what is your vision of our troop strength, to the extent you can answer it, and the shape of the force as the transition progresses in its early stages?
Mr. RICCIARDONE. Congressman, I am really not the person to make determinations about troop strength.
Mr. HAYES. I know you can not, but what would you like to see from the State Department's perspective? What type of forces, Special Operations, civil affairs, infantry, what
Mr. RICCIARDONE. American forces.
Mr. HAYES. Yes, American forces that work with the Iraqis.
Mr. RICCIARDONE. Sir, what I would like to see is precisely what we are doing. It is not merely the military forces we have got there. As I say, I don't have the expertise to determine the numbers or the mix.
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What makes me optimistic, or at least confident that we are on the right track is, we are standing up the right kind of United States mission, interagency mission. That includes civilians, it includes military, includes civilians from the Department of Defense to all bear down with a unity of purpose in specific areas. Training of the security forces of Iraq, that is a Defense Department/MNF responsibility in Iraq. No question, the commander is going to be doing that with the policy guidance of the ambassador.
What is unusual in the Iraq context is that the MNF will be doing that and, in addition, will also be directing and implementing the training and equipping of the civilian security forces. But we are going to be doing this together. We are going to be the supporting force, if you will, in this context, although we are civilians. We are going to be supporting the U.S., and the coalition military in this particular area and in so many others.
The President has laid out the strategy of supporting elections. There, the embassy, the mission, is the leading force, if you will, with the training programs that go along with this. We use USAID, but we will be the supporting unit. There the MNF will be helping all over the country to make sure those elections come off right.
So I know your question, sir, was more limited to military forces. I am a diplomat. I am used to marshaling all of the resources of the U.S. Government, including military forces, with the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Justice, the Department of State. And when you bring all of the resources of the United States Government to bear on a problem, we are unstoppable. I am quite optimistic we are going to be doing that in Iraq.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HAYES. I appreciate your optimism. You answered my question partially by what you are saying. I heard you say you wanted a significant focus, and that is reasonable, on continued training for both civil and military Iraqi forces. I agree with that.
Now, Secretary Rodman, what is your vision of how the Defense Department wants to shape the force as the transition begins formally on the 30th, and then moving forward?
Secretary RODMAN. Well, I think General Sharp will be able to contribute to this answer as well, but first of all, our relationship with Iraq will be different. We will be there as a partner, not as an occupying force. And our mission really at that point becomes to accelerate the training and equipping of Iraqis to enable them to take on a greater responsibility, including for security, just as they are able to take on responsibility in other spheres of life. That is what our mission becomes.
I mean, our forces will be there. We will be in command of the multinational force. But I think the imperative is to accelerate, hasten the day, when the Iraqi security forces can take on the major responsibility.
General SHARP. Sir, from a military perspective, when you look at the current plan, the strategy that Central Command has, that is evolving into a partnership with Iraqis, there are basically five elements of that plan from a military perspective.
Again, this is with Iraqis also. Number one is to, with the Iraqis, build the Iraqi security institution capability. This is what General Petraeus is all about. This is what we are trying to do across all of the lines of the security forces. And the Iraqis are fully on board with being able to help do that.
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Will some of those change? Yes and there are discussions ongoing right now with General Petraeus as he works with the Iraqis to do what is really needed in the country. And it is not just coalition forces, but how do the Iraqi forces need to be shaped, sized, what should their missions and roles need to be? We are working that very closely with the Iraqis right now, so that we can, with them, establish security within the country.
Second, to defeat the insurgency we have got the forces to be able to do that, again with the strike forces that we have and with the forces that we are training and equipping on the Iraqi security forces.
Conduct counterterrorism operations, continue civil military operations. We are doing that across the board, not just with our 800-some civil affairs officers that are there, but really with all of the troops there and with the funds that you all have authorized for the commanders to be able to use in each different area and to improve and support Iraqi enforcement of the rule of law.
As I talked about earlier, we are working with Iraqis to be able to stand up a prison system. The Justice Department, the State Department are working very closely to be able to stand up a justice system, to have fair trials within the country.
So these are the types of forces and the types of lines of operation that we are working against.
Mr. HAYES. I appreciate the specificity of your answer. And part of the reason for my question is, there seems like occasionally, it is isn't meant as total criticism, but I am wondering if the Defense and State Department are closely communicating on what they are going to do and how they are going to do it.
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And as we go forward, that is crucial. We have got 11 out of 25 ministries that have been transitioned, but I do get a feeling that we have created more bureaucracy sometimes with the State Department than we create here in Washington. So I hope going forwardand this is an optimistic timewe have been partners all along, we have never been an occupying force, except for the propaganda agents of various people.
So, again, I appreciate your cooperation and encourage you going forward.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank the gentleman.
The gentlelady from California, Mrs. Tauscher.
Ms. TAUSCHER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General, and Mr. Secretary, Mr. Ambassador, I have been asking for a status of forces agreement since the moment I was told that we would actually close down the CPA and put an embassy up and move from an occupying force to a partner. My concern has not been mollified by these letters.
Mr. Ambassador, is it true that we have a status-of-forces agreement with every country with whom we have troops deployed?
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. RICCIARDONE. Ma'am, I don't know if that is true. My guess is, it could be. I will check.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Ms. TAUSCHER. My understanding is that it is. And in this case, we are not going to have a status-of-forces agreement. We are going to basically have correspondence crossing between the United States and this new interim government. And I understand, Mr. Secretary, the reason for that is because this government has not been elected. Is that true?
Secretary RODMAN. That is right. It was the consensus of the Iraqis that this caretaker government not have that power, to negotiate such agreements.
Ms. TAUSCHER. Well, if the country's government doesn't have the power to negotiate an agreement that we would have with every other entity, why should I be satisfied with this letter that, effectively, is from the same people that don't have the power to do a status-of-forces agreement?
Secretary RODMAN. Because the same Iraqi consensus confirmed that CPA Order 17 would remain in effect until an elected governmentCPA Order 17 is a verywe can get you a copy of it.
Ms. TAUSCHER. I have seen it.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary RODMAN. It is in fact a status-of-forces arrangement.
Ms. TAUSCHER. But the CPA, with all due respect, is going out of business. So we have an agreement that they did not make, by people that didn't make it, with an entity that is now out of business. And I am just concerned that this is not as strong as it needs to be to protect our forces.
I appreciate the questions offered by the chairman and Mr. Weldon and the ranking member and Mr. Snyder. I am frankly dizzy trying to understand all of these people that are meant to make these very cumbersome decisions, if we have troops at risk and our command now has to go to the interim government; and if our decision is that we have a force protection issue, and we have got to protect these troops. The Iraqis' interim government folks don't think that we are really at risk, but we want to make a move. Are you telling me that we can or you don't know?
Secretary RODMAN. This is the law of the land in Iraq for the rest of this year, CPA Order 17. The Iraqithe Transitional Administrative Law (TAL), the interim constitution, says that CPA orders remain in effect. And so that, I think, is the core of it.
You have the letters that are, in addition, blessed by the U.N. Security Council; and under the phrase ''all necessary measures,'' we think it is overdetermined.
You are absolutely right to have raised this issue from the beginning. You and the chairman and the ranking member have raised this with us repeatedly; and you are right, and I can try to assure you that we asked the same question, because we have the same concern for our forces.
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And we think that we have multiple solutions that reinforce each other. But the law of the land in Iraq will be CPA Order 17, which spells it out. And we are encouraged by the fact that the new Iraqi Government is blessing it. It is not in dispute.
Ms. TAUSCHER. I agree with you, Mr. Secretary. But, with all due respect, it will work until it doesn't. And at that moment, we are going to have troops at risk.
But I want to ask the ambassador a question. Right now, in Afghanistan, we are hopeful that there will be an election in September, which is basically a date that was postponed from earlier this year. They have only registered 40 percent of the likely eligible voters in Afghanistan. I am concerned about whether this September date is going to slip. We have a very aggressive date for an election in Iraq, December-January. Are there precinct maps of Iraq? Have we figured out how to register people? Have we figured out how to do the basic little civic affairs lessons that we need to do in order to understand who is in this precinct and how many people are going to vote, and what their version of a census is, so that we understand how to apportion people for their general assembly equivalent? Do we have any of that stuff done? There isn't going to be any election by the end of this year or even 2005 if we don't have some of this done; and you can't do it if people are afraid to go and register because they are going to get shot in the marketplace.
Mr. RICCIARDONE. Congresswoman, you have identified the enormous administrative tasks, as well as the security burdens and challenges that are there. I am glad to be able to tell you, we have accomplished a lot of that, or I should say the United Nations, actually, under Ms. Pirelli has accomplished much of that.
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Indeed, much of the information was already there to be had. A lot of survey work has been done. A lot of the nitty-gritty precinct identification and so forth has been done. But much more does remain to be done in terms of registration, voter education, and all of that. We have the expertise to do that. We have the financial resources, now, thanks to the money that you all provided in the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund.
USAID is preparing to support U.N. and international efforts on that. It is a huge amount of work. I believe we can get it done. And many Iraqis are saying, can't we do it sooner? I don't know. It is an ambitious schedule. But we do have a program and programs in place, and others we can put in place to do it. And thank you for giving us the resources to do it.
I have got some expert advice, ma'am, on the question you just asked. And the answer is, in fact, we have forces in Haiti without a SOFA right now. So it is at leastthere is that one exception. I had understood that historically there have been othersKorea, for example, took us many years after the Korean conflict to actually get a status-of-forces agreement with that country.
So it is not unprecedented, put it that way, not to have a status-of-forces agreement when the people clearly want us there.
Ms. TAUSCHER. I will agree that it is not unprecedented. I will tell you, it is unwise. I think we understand why we don't have one in Haiti. There really is an interim caretaker government in there.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC While we were negotiating for a very long time perhaps with South Korea, we do have one now. And that is why we are assured that the 37,000 troops that are there are at least protected, and we have rules of engagement.
Mr. Chairman, if I can just close with one suggestion. I understand that it is vitally important for us in this political process, going forward, that I think we would all like to have an understanding for how the political parties in Iraq are getting stood up. And I am all for understanding that the outcome that we are trying to achieve is actually not only achievable, but assured by understanding how this is happening.
I appreciate Secretary Rodman's comments about getting the Iraqi moderates to be able to survive this process. As a moderate myself, I am also interested in understanding how that might happen. But I think it is really important for this committee and others to understand how this is happening, because this is where the slip between the lip and the cup is going to be a price we will pay for decades.
I think it is vitally important to turn over sovereignty. I think it is vitally important to stand up a legitimate Iraqi Government. But it is going to take a lot of time, tender loving care, and a lot of initiative on our part.
So I hope, Mr. Chairman, that we will have another hearing and perhaps mostly with State Department folks, and certainly the good folks from the Defense Department, to keep us informed over the next few months of how this is going to happen. As politicians, we have a little expertise in this, and perhaps we can assist.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. I think members of the committee, as evidenced by their statements this morning, understand how important this is. We will do a lot of work on this. We need to do some classified work, too, in terms of sharing of information on military operations.
And I would just ask if the committee would indulge me for just one minute of follow up on this as we continue to get a little deeper in this question of requests for American military action.
And we went through my question, if General Sanchez felt that a military action was not warranted or was too risky that even though you had a recommendation that it be undertaken by Ambassador Negroponte, General Sanchez would be the determining entity, although the matter would move up the chain of command very quickly, and ultimately result in a decision by the White House if it was a substantial enough issue.
If General Sanchez is going to make a decision on a request for military action by the new independent government of Iraq, what criteria, General, would General Sanchez be basing that decision on? Is he to makeis he to evaluate political value, or value to the Government of Iraq, and balance that against risk to American forces? What are his criteria?
General SHARP. Sir, his criteria are based upon the mission that is given to him by Central Command in order to be able to provide a secure and stable environment within Iraq.
The CHAIRMAN. But that is a very general mission. And the request for force use will be in the specific.
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General SHARP. He will evaluate that against the enemy that he has, the troops available, the time that he has in order to be able to do this operation. He will make a call. He will not send forces if he knows that he is not able to accomplish the mission that he set to do.
The CHAIRMAN. But General Sanchez will necessarily have to consider, at some point, political considerations. The force and effect of the American military in Iraq is very large and of great power, and the use of it will be called upon, and requested by the Government of Iraq.
It is still a little bit vague as to when you get into the specifics of the operation, and the specific operation is requested, and it is an operation where the independent Government of Iraq feels that it is necessary to carry out its mission, whether it is a protective mission or some other aspect of security. At some point, the American who makes a determination as to whether the operation goes forward, will have to balance political considerations with military risk.
Now, that is a little different from giving a commander an objective to take a hill or secure a position or engage a terrorist force. Do you understand what I am saying?
General SHARP. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. A piece of that is diplomatic. Is General Sanchez vested with the authority to make that balance, to make that judgment? Or whoever takes that position?
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General SHARP. Yes, sir. He has the obligation to be able to take a look at the missions that either CENTCOM gives him, or he has in discussions with the Iraqis, as to what they believe and we believe is necessary in order to be able to accomplish the overall strategy.
Taking a look at that mission, he will use all of the training that he has had to determine the troops that he needs, in order to be able to successfully accomplish that mission within the risk level that will allow us to be able to do that. If he has the forces to be able to do that, then he will accomplish it. If he does not have the forces, he has several options. He has the options of going back to the Iraqis and saying, I understand this is important, but in order to be able to do this we need your forces to come help in order to give us the required forces.
He has the ability to come back to the Secretary of Defense and ask for the same thing. But he is not going to do a mission that he believes is of too high a risk in order to be able to accomplish the mission for our troops.
The CHAIRMAN. And so I take it he obviously will look for the political component of this, or whether or not this is of value in a political sense to the U.S., to Ambassador Negroponte and to State; is that right?
General SHARP. Yes, sir. They are going to be working very closely together. And General Sanchez will have in his headquartersas this stands up, actually have general officers in the embassy, in Ambassador Negroponte's area so that the coordination, intel operations, political, are very closely intertwined, because we have learned over and over again in operations like this that we have to be of one mind as we move forward from the military and from the political side.
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And I am absolutely confident, because of the work that Ambassador Negroponte and General, Kicklighter which he talked about earlier, have done, those coordinating mechanisms. The way that we are standing this U.S. mission up, the way we are standing up MNFI, the multinational force of Iraq up, those mechanisms are tight; and when they are completely stood up here very soon, we will be able to coordinate that very effectively.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank you for that answer.
And the gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Wilson.
Mr. WILSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And General, Ambassadoralso, Mr. Secretarythank you for what you have done and your service. And I am very grateful because I really believe that we have had an awesome, historicalwonderful 21/2 years. Who would ever dream that there would now be 50 million people who are living not under a totalitarian regime, who now have the opportunity to experience democracy, many people, even countries for the first time?
Additionally, the key point, that is of great concern to me, is to protect the American people. We have now worked to establish communities which no longer harbor and support terrorists. There are no longer going to be terrorist training camps in Afghanistan or Iraq. This is to protect the American people. And I am just very, very grateful on behalf of the people I represent.
Additionally, it has provided resolve and backbone to our allies. In the last 72 hours, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, even the country of my heritage, France, have arrested significant terrorist cells. It is just a worldwide effort. And I want to thank the Department of Defense, the Secretary of State, for what you have done to protect this country.
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Additionally, I am so grateful for the military leadership and the leadership we have had from Ambassador Bremer. I have had the opportunity to be with General Sanchez in Baghdad. It is just so inspiring to see the people who are leading our country and the leadership of General Franks, General Abizaid, General Petraeus, I had the opportunity to meet with him at Mosul, on and on, it has been reassuring.
I wish more of the American people could have seen President Karzai yesterday. I had met with him several weeks ago at the Presidential palace in Kabul. But he came to the United States to thank the American people. Those of us in the Afghan Caucus had the opportunity to meet with him one-on-one. And he thanked the American people for liberating his country.
I also had the opportunity last week, in a bipartisan delegation, to meet with Iraqi President, Ajil al Yawer. It was incredible. Again, he thanked us for the sacrifices of American families to liberate their country, which ultimately protects the United States.
A perspective I have is that, in regard to a status-of-forces agreement interpretation, rules of engagement, I just retired last year after 31 years with the Army National Guard where I gave briefings on this topic.
Additionally, I want to joinChairman Duncan Hunter and I both have sons who are serving in Iraq. So the questions I would have for you on that particular topic are two items that can be actually be answered yes or no: One is, will the American troops, as we proceed, be under U.S. Military command? And the other question would be, will the U.S. troops be under the Uniform Code of Military Justice?
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General SHARP. Sir, yes, to both questions.
Mr. WILSON. And that is the key point of all for those of us who have worked on this issue and briefed American troops over the years.
I want to thank you for what you have achieved. I want to thank our troops. God bless our troops. Thank you very much.
Mr. SIMMONS. [Presiding.] Mr. Cooper.
Mr. COOPER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Ambassador, I would like to focus on U.S. embassy personnel over there. What are their rules of engagement? Will they be allowed to carry weaponry when they leave the Green Zone or their embassy compound, or the chancery, whatever you want to call it?
Mr. RICCIARDONE. Normally, we deploy with talking points.
Mr. COOPER. I know what you do normally. But this is an exceptional situation. This will not look like any other embassy in the history of U.S. Diplomacy.
Mr. RICCIARDONE. In each embassy the ambassador determines firearms policy, not just the carrying of them for all agencies under his or her authority, but also the import of them. That will be done there as well.
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To be honest
Mr. COOPER. What are going to be the rules? It starts in a couple of weeks. What are the rules?
Mr. RICCIARDONE. I would have to check and see what the firearms policy will be there. It really is a post-specific decision. It is done with the best judgment, taking into account what all of this law enforcement and the security people believe is necessary.
Mr. COOPER. What waivers will U.S. embassy personnel have to sign before they go to Baghdad? Is this considered the ultimate hardship post?
Mr. RICCIARDONE. It is a danger post. It is a high-danger post. We recognize that.
No waivers or special authorities would be necessary. To go back to your first question; as diplomats, they would be free to carry firearms. It would be a determination made by the ambassador as to whether the ambassador will permit them to do so and in what circumstances.
Mr. COOPER. Will spouses and children be allowed to accompany embassy employees?
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. RICCIARDONE. No, not initially.
Mr. COOPER. My impression, reading the columnist Tom Friedman, that even the highway linking the airport and Baghdad within the Green Zone has been subject to violent and fatal attacks in recent weeks. That is the main artery into the country, so if that highway is not secure, then I would presume that no highway is secure, and certain car bombs have been detonated even entering the Green Zone.
So, it looks as if our embassy personnel will not be able to mix freely with the population of the Nation and will not be able to conduct their normal State Department activities.
Mr. RICCIARDONE. It will not be normal. It will be very difficult. Not all highways are blocked at all times. Indeed, if the airport or the road-to-downtown highway was not blocked at all times, or you are right, we couldn't survive. It is a dangerous environment. It will be difficult. We will not have the normal environment of free and easy contact with the host people that we have. But we will have contact.
Mr. COOPER. Will the U.S. embassy personnel, when they leave the compound, always be escorted with U.S. military troops?
Mr. RICCIARDONE. Not U.S. military necessarily. We have the Department of State Security Bureau that is specialized in protecting civilians, diplomats, dignitaries all of the time in dangerous environments. This is a far more dangerous wartime environment than we normally operate in. We have Department of Homeland Security (DHS) security people, broad-area security provided by the multinational coalition.
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We have a very precise memorandum of understanding, as I mentioned in my testimony, between State and DOD, that specifies who will provide what forms of security in what circumstances. I would be glad to brief you on that in great detail, sir.
Mr. COOPER. Let me turn to Iraqi security forces. They will be under the command of the interim government?
General SHARP. Yes, sir. They will be under the command of the interim government, the ministry of defense for the army and the civil defense corps, and then the police and the ministry of interior.
They do have the authority and Prime Minister Allawi's letter lays out in there that if they are going to do operations with the coalition under unity of command, they can chop them, take on tactical command of our forces in order to be able to employ them on that operation, or they can do operations on their own as long as they are in those mechanisms, we talked about earlier, out there to do that.
Mr. COOPER. So our General Petraeus is training Iraqi security forces who are under the command of the interim government, non-U.S. forces?
General SHARP. For command purposes, that is correct. They are under the command of the minister of defense. However, for the operations during the actual training portion of it, they are under the command of and control of General Petraeus.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COOPER. Unfortunately, some of the Iraqi security forces in the past who have been trained by us have then either not fought or in some cases turned on us while wearing the uniforms that we gave them and using the weapons that we gave them. What is there to ensure that the forces we are training now will not turn on us.
General SHARP. Sir, we are taking a lot of lessons learned out of the time that you talked about, and that is one of the first things that General Petraeus is working on over there.
What happened is that we did not have the leadership from the top level down through the middle level of the Iraqi security forces in place during those operations. We trained very hard, for example, on the police, on very basic police scales, but did not have the mid level or the upper level leadership in place. That has beenthat is and has been corrected. There are new schools out there, we are establishing noncommissioned officer schools that will work in order to be able to establish that strong chain of command.
Second, I think what may end up being most important is as Iraq takes full sovereignty, and as the Minister of Defense, the Minister of Interior and Prime Minister have said over and over again: This is our responsibility. We are going to take charge of security. And at that high level, you know, leadership of pulling this country together is apparent now and will be even more apparent. Combine those two together, and I am very optimistic on success.
Mr. COOPER. Leadership is important.
Mr. SIMMONS. The gentleman's time has expired. The Chair recognizes Mr. Reyes for 5 minutes.
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Mr. REYES. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Gentlemen, thank you for being here. I also want to talk about some issues that are currently exclusively in the domain of the U.S. and could be complicated as we talk about this trilogy of the Iraqis, the U.S., and perhaps the UN being involved in this process after June the 30th.
For instance, let me just talk about a couple of examples. Currently, we have a policy where if, as a result of U.S. action, there is damage to property, to animals, to some of the Iraqi citizens, that there are military officers that are authorized to negotiate and pay on the spot for that damage. Obviously, if the Iraqis are going to take over, I hope for their own security, will our policy change in making restitution for that damage, damage done by the Iraqi protection forces or military? Because, if I understood you correctly here, the U.S. forces, it is the expectation that they will be kind of in a back-up mode to the Iraqi military or civil defense forces, police. So if they do the damage, do we still pay, or how is that going to work?
General SHARP. Sir, I believe the details will have to be worked out. But that will be an Iraqi issue. I mean, the more and more they take over security responsibilities in their country, in a fully sovereign country, the actions that they do, they are accountable for. And so how they decide to deal with that, with their personnel, their people, their Iraqi citizens, I believe will be up to them.
Mr. RICCIARDONE. That would be an internal Iraqi affair. If Iraqi government officials cause harm to Iraqi citizens, they would be accountable under Iraqi law, one presumes.
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Mr. REYES. Would that also apply to these sabotage attacks that ocurred over the last couple of days, where they have bombed the oil pipelines? Since the Iraqis are theoretically in charge of their own security and in charge of their own infrastructure, would the repair of that infrastructure, would that be the obligation of the Iraqi government, or would it be money that we are going to have to front for them?
Mr. RICCIARDONE. For now, we are providing all kinds of support, not only in repair but actual construction of plants, equipment, water, sewage, power, oil facilities that just needs to be done. We are doing this under the assistance program we have got. But at the end of the day, these are Iraqi national assets that they will have to not only construct, but repair when they wear out or repair and replace when sabotage occurs.
Mr. REYES. So that, if I understand your answer correctly, that means that after June 30th they assume responsibility for not only for the protection but also for the rebuilding and in the case of sabotage due to failure on the part of their protection forces to maintain security protection, infrastructure, that becomes their nickel. Is that correct?
Mr. RICCIARDONE. They already own their national facilities.
Mr. REYES. No. I am talking about the responsibility for reconstruction, the responsibility for restitution, the responsibility for rebuilding as a result of a failure on their part to maintain security, to maintain protection, to maintain infrastructure intact.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. RICCIARDONE. And I would suggest to you, sir, that they have that responsibility now, increasingly
Mr. REYES. No. And I have been to Iraq four times. We currently have military armed officers that have money and authorization to go and make restitution, to go and make reimbursement for damage created. I am simply asking if, after they takethey assume control, if that responsibility goes away from us. Because that is important to me. That is important to us, because we are having to fund this through supplementals. And I guess my biggest concern here is that if we don't have the ability to protect, if we don't have the responsibility to make sure that things stay in working order, why in the heck should we be continuing to pay for the repair of oil pipelines, for restitution of houses and farm animals and vehicles and all of these other things? Has that been thought through? Is that policy, come June 30th, going to be enacted?
Secretary RODMAN. I think there are different kinds of situations that you have blended together. One is restitution if U.S. or friendly forces do some damage to civilians. And certainly right now we take responsibility for that. Damage to the oil industry caused by terrorists is a different situation. Now, and I think as the Ambassador is saying, we have turned over a lot of that authority already to the industry. It has a source of revenue, has quite a lot of revenue itself. Now, we are helping the training of different police forces that have a role in that.
Mr. REYES. Well, the reason I ask that question is because the last time, which has been a couple of months ago, I was with Chairman Hunter, we were told that in those particular cases, the one you are just citing that where a pipeline is destroyed, we paid for its rebuilding. It is not the Iraqi government, it is not the industry. We pay for it. The rationale given to us then was that it has got to be back up quickly, they don't have time to negotiate or find out who is going to do it when, how, or even why. So those are the kinds of things that I hope we have thought through.
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Those are the kinds of things that are going to be important to members on both sides, because our constituents are going to expect some accountability from the new government. The responsibility cannot continue to be borne by our government, if we don't have the authority to protect and to preserve these kinds of entities there in Iraq.
And I appreciate your indulgence, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much.
Secretary RODMAN. We owe you a definitive answer on that, sir.
Mr. REYES. Thank you, sir.
Mr. SIMMONS. We thank the gentleman for his statement and his question.
The gentleman from Mississippi, Mr. Taylor, for five minutes.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you gentlemen very much for sticking around so long.
General Sharp, I see you are the director of strategic plans and policy. Would that include plans for the rotation, the next rotation next spring?
General SHARP. Sir, not directly. The J3, the operations officer handles that. But I do have some details of that.
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Mr. TAYLOR. Based on the last rotation, if my memory serves me right, we were shipping equipment out of places like Jacksonville and Charleston starting in September, October. When does the rotation of the equipment start for this cycle, and what size of a force do you anticipate having one year from today?
General SHARP. Sir, the plan for the size of the force, what we are planning for and what is in the next rotation, is the same size force basically we have today. We will look at to see along the lines whether we have to adjust that or not. When the force will actually arrive and move is kind of a sliding scale. We have tried to laid this out so we don't have this whole influx of 138,000 at once in and out. So, it is over a four or five month period.
The equipment question to get at is we are really trying to leave as much equipment so that troops can fall on equipment over there, especially when you get into such areas as radios, command and control centers and things like that.
Mr. TAYLOR. Which leads to my next question. My next question is, at what point one year agoone year from today, what percentage of our Humvees do you expect will be up-armored? What percentage of our vehicles will be protected with some sort of electronic jammers against improvised explosives? I would presume, with a similar sized force, that you are going to have the same equipment in place. You know of this committee's concern about up-armor and you know about this committee's concern about improvised explosives.
General SHARP. Yes, sir.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TAYLOR. To what extent will it be solved one year from today?
General SHARP. Sir, by my dataand I will get back to you to verify that this is true. But the data from the J3 is as follows: Currently, by October of this year we will have 84 percent fill of a requirement that was developed for up-armored Humvees several months ago, a requirement of 4,454. We will have 84 percent of that filled.
Mr. TAYLOR. If I may, General, that doesn't answer my question, because your goal may be less than 100 percent. I need to know, of the Humvees that will be there a year from today, what percentage of them will be up-armored. And of the approximately 19,000 vehicles that I presume we will still have there a year from today, what percentage of them will be protected from improvised explosives using some form of electronic jammer?
General SHARP. Sir, I will have to get back to you on that.
Mr. TAYLOR. Okay. Second question. Early in this conflict, a friend of mine from the United States Army Special Forces pointed out what he thought was a glaring mistake, and that was the moving into the palaces. Of course, we did it for the short-term need of getting the kids a shower, out of the heat in the summer, out of the cold in the winter, and with a wall around them certainly cut down on people sniping. But long term, he thought it was creating a terrible problem of guilt by association. Bad things happened in those palaces; and when you just move into that palace, in the eyes of a fairly simple people, you become the bad guy. They are doing? Without electricity, you are living in the palace. You have just replaced a bad person in that palace.
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I read with great interest where General Zinni, apparently privately not before this committee, expressed the same concerns. I continue to think that is a problem. One year from now, what are our plans to be in those palaces? What percentage of those palaces will have been turned back over to the Iraqis for use as universities or whatever? And what percentage of our force will be in Bosnia-type encampments? That would really send two messages. They are made of plywood: We are going to keep our guys comfortable, we are going to keep them warm in the winter, cool in the summer they are going to get a shower, but we are not here forever.
General SHARP. Sir, I can't give you the exact percentage. Again, I will get back to you. But I can tell you that it is definitely General Sanchez and General Abizaid's desire to move out of the palaces as soon as possible. And you laid out perfectly the reasons that we are there right now, for security purposes. And as we get the new camps built, not only do we want to move out of palaces, we would like to be able to move out of cities so that, again, we are not in and interfering with the Iraqi security forces doing what they need to be able to do there. So that is the intent. I will get back with you on the exact plan that the Army has in order to be able to accomplish that.
Mr. TAYLOR. Okay. The last question. What is the target date of getting total control of the weapons we have already captured? Like many members who visited in the middle of September of last year, I was really dumbfounded when David Kay, who was sent there by our government, told us that he felt like we had too small a force, and his proof in the pudding was that the weapons we had already captured were being regularly stolen by the insurgents and used against us. At what point do we have total control of the weapons that we have captured, either seen to it that they are destroyed, or at least kept in our hands?
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General SHARP. Sir, as the chairman has testified, number one, we identify new weapons caches every single day out there. There is a call made as far as how pilferable these items are. Now, where weapons are easily taken, ammunition is easily taken, we guard that. And I don't have today's figures, but we guard the great majority of those that are absolutely required. Where we decide that we can't, for either the purposes of they are not needed, because you are not going to carry a huge thing away in the back of a truck, we either bulldoze them or we go and look at them occasionally as we go through.
I don't think we will ever get to the point where every single cache is guarded by an individual 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We make the call based upon, as I said, what we believe the military necessity is and how pilferable that is, with the goal to be able to get as much of it as possible so that it cannot be taken away and used against us.
Mr. SIMMONS. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Chairman, one quick question. For the record, I would like to know what percentage of the improvised explosive devices in our estimates that have been used against us were at one time under our control, but lost back to the enemy.
General SHARP. I will take that for the record.
[The information referred to can be found in the hard copy.]
Mr. SIMMONS. I thank the gentleman. And the Chair joins the gentleman in expressing concern over the use of the palaces, and joins the gentleman in concern over the percentage of up-armored equipment that we have a year from now.
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The gentleman from Texas, Mr. Turner, is recognized for five minutes.
Mr. TURNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, I think the President was right when he set the June 30th date and he stuck to it, because I think timetables are important. They drive events, cause everyone to focus on the objective, and I think it was important because it sent a message to those who have looked upon us as occupiers, that we intended to turn over control to the Iraqis.
I think the same logic applies to our presence there in terms of our military. And Mr. Langevin asked you a question earlier about certain dates. I would hope that the President has requested, and if he hasn't that the Pentagon has prepared, a detailed timetable specifying the training of the Iraqi Army, the civilian forces, the police, to complete not only with dates but numbers of Iraqis that will be trained. And it would seem to me to be entirely consistent with the President's setting of the political transition date to set a date for the withdrawal of military forces from Iraq. It would seem to me that, in a year and a half, if we haven't been able to train enough Iraqis to allow them to defend themselves against the insurgents, that we have failed in our ability to train the forces necessary to provide the Iraqis the capability to provide their own security.
And I would like to see the plan. I would like for this committee to see the plan for the training of the Iraqi forces, complete with the dates, the numbers, the costs. And if there is additional cost involved, I am sure that Congress would be amenable to providing the additional funds.
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But I think that even though we like to believe that our title as occupiers will be erased by the political transition, I think the truth of the matter is those on the street in the Arab world are not going to perceive that the occupation has ended until the troops are gone. And I think if we set a date, everything in the Pentagon would be focused on the accomplishment of that date, that objective. And if it comes down to a year and a half from now and we find that the goals have not been accomplished and the new Iraqi government turns to us and pleads for us to stay, I am sure that we can change course and make the necessary adjustments.
But I really would urge you to consider very seriously the value of a date. The only thing I heard you say against a date was that you thought it might allow those who oppose us, the insurgents to lay back and wait until we have gone and then take us on. That is not the way it would play out. The way it would play out is as the Iraqi forces grow, their capabilities increase. And if we can't accomplish it in a year and a half, I don't think you will accomplish it in five. And I think it sends a good clear message to the world, to the Iraqi people, and to the American people that would be well received.
Secretary RODMAN. Sir, we can give you the figures and the timetable of what, of the training schedule, our targets for training the different elements of the Iraqi forces, and what we hope to accomplish. But I continue to believe that certainly in present circumstances a fixed deadline for unconditional, unilateral withdrawal would be a mistake.
Mr. TURNER. Expand on that. I heard you say earlier that you thought maybe the insurgents would hide behind a log and not do much between now and then. Which would be a great thing, by the way, if they were to lay behind the log and not do anything and allow us to stand up the Iraqi forces and create stability and peace for the next year and a half. But beyond that, no decision is irreversible. And if, in a year and a half from now, it was determined that things had gone to hell in a handbasket and the Iraqi government is begging us to stay around, the world community, I am sure, would support that decision as well.
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So give me another reason that it would be ill-advised to set a timetable and to drive the course of events by our dictates rather than putting us in a position, as I think has been suggested when Secretary Powell was asked what is going to happen if we are asked to leave, and he said, well, I guess we will leave. The truth of the matter is, we don't need to be in that position. We need to state it clearly up front what the plan is, and nobody will be asking us to leave if we do so.
Secretary RODMAN. I think the key word is ''unconditional.'' if we set a deadline and say no matter what happens we are leaving, we are kind of washing our hands of responsibility and sending the wrong kind of message to the Iraqi
Mr. TURNER. I didn't ask you that.
Secretary RODMAN. Well, but that is what it means. A fixed deadline for unilateral withdraw means we are going to do it. But let me add, you said the situation might go to hell in a handbasket. My worry is that setting such an unconditional deadline might contribute to the unraveling of the situation. It could undermine the morale of the people that are counting on us.
My sense is that the Iraqis that we are working with want reassurance right now that we are going to stay with them for the period of time that they need us. And it is very hard to put a target date on when those circumstances will change.
Mr. TURNER. Well, I think you have to put a target date on your planning. I think if we don't have a plan somewhere that we could roll out and show this Congress right now of what the training schedule is, what the period of standing up is, and what our expectations are over the next several months and years, then I think we have certainly failed. So I am sure there is one there. Am I right, General Sharp?
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General SHARP. Sir, absolutely. And we have a plan that we could show you that lays out by month when equipment is produced, it lays out by month exactly how many of the Iraqi security forces have gone through the different levels of training. It lays out the plan.
Now, having said that, as I said earlier, General Petraeus is there right now working with this new ministry of defense and ministry of interior. And adjustments will come to that plan, and we will again have a plan that comes from that, that stands up all the Iraqi security forces.
Mr. TURNER. On that plan, do you have a date where you have made a judgment that at that point in time the Iraqi forces, police forces, civilian forces, Army should be able to defend against the types of threats and the types that we know are there and probably will continue to be there for a while?
General SHARP. Sir, we have a date that shows when they are properly trained by the standards that we are laying out for them now. As conditions change, things will change. We may have to change some of those training things. But, yes, we have dates that say, based upon the standards we have as far as certifying and training these, all five of the lines of operation, when that they will be to 100 percent based upon the current plan. And, again, I don't think we are going to get major adjustments from the Iraqis as they stand up these two new ministries, but there will be modifications made and we will adjust the plans to those with the Iraqis.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TURNER. Could you give us the date that you anticipate the forces will be sufficient to handle their own defense?
General SHARP. Sir, I can give you the date that they will be trained to the standards by which that we have set and agreed to Iraqis. Whether they will be sufficient will depend upon the circumstances at that time in order to be able to accomplish those missions.
But to answer your question, for example, the current plan for the Iraqi police is that they will be fully trained and equipped by June of 2005. For the border, by about the same time as far as the training. Although I will say that, for the border police, the latest discussions I have heard from General Petraeus, and you will be able to quiz him a little bit more about this tomorrow when he testifies in front of this committee, is that there is a belief that service will probably have to change because there is not sufficient personnel, we don't have the sufficient berming around the country to be able to basically close the borders down. So I think some of his initial assessments, which he will talk to you tomorrow, probably will lay some of that out.
The Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, by this September, as it is currently planned. But, again, in that case the Iraqis are looking very hard at what is the long-term prospect for the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps? What do we want to do with them? Do we want to have them as a National Guard, as a gendarme? Do we want to incorporate them into the Iraqi Armed Forces by some component and all? And those discussions are going on literally as we speak right now to make that determination.
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So we have a plan, we are making adjustments. And I can tell you when we will get to those levels. But, again, we have to look at the security situation on hand in order to be able to answer your question fully.
Mr. SIMMONS. The gentleman's time has expired.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Florida, Mr. Meek.
Mr. MEEK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ambassador, I wanted to pretty much ask the question about the governing council in Iraq and their ability to be able to hold the line. And knowing the members of the governing council, is there any evidence of those members wanting to be a part of an elected Iraqi government?
Mr. RICCIARDONE. Congressman, you are referring to the governing council that is now out of business, right, that ended and has been succeeded by the IIG?
Mr. MEEK. That is correct.
Mr. RICCIARDONE. A number did want to participate. Others did not. There was jostling. They were involved in the consultations with the Lakhdar Brahimi of the United Nations in which Mr. Bremer participated. A number of them have remained involved, not merely in the IIG but also among the ministers. There is some continuity and some change.
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Mr. MEEK. One of my concerns, because now they have a little free time now to go out and talk and give speeches, things of that nature. It may end up being a difficult situation for us as it relates to the United States, also the United Nations. As you know, just yesterday, here in this country there was a Gallup poll released that 57 percent of Americans feel that the administration is not handling the war well.
Fifty-two percent of Americans feel that we went to war for all the wrong reasons. I am saying all of that to say that, I believe as we start to head toward elections, which I understand will be in early 2006, 2005, I don't believe that we are going to be able to have those elections. But if we were to be able to have those elections, those individual, since we are trying to create this democracy, are going to be out there campaigning and they are going to be saying things. I believe that there are those that are out there saying that we need to work with the Americans, we need to thank the Americans for what they have done. I don't see that being one of the issues or one of the main speeches that these individuals will be giving. They will be talking about an independent Iraq. And from what we are hearing of the polling in Iraq, I mean, the love that we thought we would have is not necessarily out there. How do you think diplomatically and safety wise for the troops, how will that atmosphere affect the safety of our troops and our mission to be able to make sure that we are able to carry out our rules of engagement as we see them?
Mr. RICCIARDONE. I think the plan that the President has laid out, that the United Nations has laid out, is a convincing one, it is one that has the support of the Iraqi people. The plan sets out a series of steps over the next couple of years until there is a permanent democratic government of Iraq. It seems broadly accepted by the Iraqi people. There will be forces that try to undermine it. No question. There will be violent opposition. No question. I think the Iraqi people want so badly for the future to come that they will prevail.
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Mr. MEEK. You mentioned earlier, Ambassador, the urge that many Iraqis would like to have the elections more sooner than later. What is the driving force behind that urge?
Mr. RICCIARDONE. Their eagerness to be free, their eagerness to have democracy come, to have what they have heard about existing in much of the rest of the world.
Mr. MEEK. Mr. Ambassador, I am sorry to cut you off. To be free from what?
Mr. RICCIARDONE. Not only to be free of tyranny, which they are free of. They want elections, they want to run their own country. Yes, they want the occupation to end and have made that clear. President Bush has made clear our job was to go in and not to run Iraq, not to occupy it, but to set them free. So we want the same thing.
Mr. MEEK. Some from a scale of 1 to 10, how do you think they feel about us leaving and their willingness to have elections more sooner than later? Do you think from 1 to 10 you think it is like a 5 or a 4 or 7 or 8?
Mr. RICCIARDONE. I think scales of 1 to 10 don't apply to people that have lived under dictatorship and have been able to keep opposing thoughts in their same minds as a matter of daily life. On the one hand, they want protection. They want us there to help them secure their country and to give them confidence, to give the world confidence. On the other hand, they also want us to leave. The same people, the same individuals who want us to leave also want us there at the same time.
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Mr. MEEK. Well, it is going to be unfortunate, Mr. Ambassador, you know, we are in a difficult situation as we see it today. We are going to have individuals campaigning who want to be a part of this elected democracy that we have asked or that we are working towards, including the United Nations. We have a situation that our own State Department and the United Nations personnel that is out there now, they don't have a safe way of living there. We have one of the most dangerous situations there in Iraq.
I feel that it is very important for us to look at the worst so that we don't treat this as another day at the office, because we have individuals that are out there that are trying to make it the worst situation possible so, that what we want as a goal as Americans never sees the light of day. And I look at Afghanistan. We had the President here just the other day, and he is non-elected democratically at this particular time.
We had to set back elections to be able to see that come to fruition. I think in September we are going to have to set the elections back again. So we really have to pay very close attention. The State Department is going to play a very strong role in that, because I think it is going to have a lot to do with American troops and their safety and what is going to happen, not only how Iraqis feel about this process but how the American people feel about this process. And if we were to say that politics won't play a major role in our goals and objectives here in this room, I think, you know, that would be an understatement just to look at how they feel. We have to look at how Americans feel, especially as relates to our troops and how they feel about their mission. I think they are going to do everything they have to do to make sure that they carry out the order. I think it is the management of the war and the transition is the thing that all of us in this room have to continue to communicate with.
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So I would hope that the Chairman Hunter and the ranking member, that we continue to have this kind of conversations discourse so that we can really work toward trying to look at the worst-case scenario. I know that it is hard to talk about the bad and the ugly; it is always easier to talk about the good. But I am very fearful of what is going to happen to many of those individuals that are out there trying to set an atmosphere for elections. At this point, I don't see it clearly, and I don't think that we will be able to see it for some time. And there has to be some additional thinking on this.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SIMMONS. I thank the gentleman.
The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California, Ms. Sanchez, for 5 minutes.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you, gentlemen, for being before us once again to testify. I actually have a question with respect to the Kurds. I want you to think ahead, because I keep trying to figure out what does a stable Iraq country look like, stable enough for us to be able to withdraw the majority of our troops and not be in a conflict situation, one in which the people of Iraq, whoever that might be and whatever form might be, feel like it is their country and they are actually running things. And I don't think it is going to happen on June 30th, by the way. I think we are many years away from what that picture looks like.
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But I, in particular, want to know how you think we are going to resolve the looming conflict that I see between the Kurds and the Arabs in Iraq, especially with the flash point of Kirkuk. I want to know how we are going to use our military and the diplomatic tools we have to help the Iraqis resolve this flash point, which I believe is an important one, for civil war.
Now, the Kurds, I think, have been consistent and faithful allies of the American forces. They made the northern front possible during the war. And they, unlike Arab-based forces, have fought with us these last few weeks in Fallujah. Their cooperation with us, I think, has embittered Sunni insurgents, and it has heightened the Kurds' expectations for American support when their separatist aspirations come to roost in the coming year. What is our position and our strategy on the question of Kurdish autonomy?
In particular, given that when the UN passed its resolution recentlyand one of you mentioned earlier the transitional administration law or TAL, which was approved by the interim government, Sistani rejected that and, to some extent, has lost some of its luster. And the UN resolution failed to endorse the TAL despite heavy lobbying by Kurds. Why did the UN not do this? Well, because the TAL contained provisions for limited Kurdish autonomy and a right of veto over any provision in the permanent constitution.
So, my question is, what do you see happening in the future when this flash point comes to a head? And all three of you can take that question.
Secretary RODMAN. Well, let me start. The answer is that this is politics. Politics is going on in Iraq. And there have been a number of episodes over the last year where there were seeming disagreements or a great feud building up particularly in the negotiation of the TAL. But it was resolved politically by a group of people on both sides who shared the premise that they were inthey were all Iraqis. We have seen this flare-up again, it is true, because there were contrary expectations about what would be in the UN resolution. But that is being resolved. I mean, Prime Minister Allawi has already been discussing this with the Kurdish leaders and giving them some reassurances. I mean, part of the
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Ms. SANCHEZ. Some reassurances to what? I mean, it is pretty obvious what they want, and it is pretty obvious that the Shiite or the Sunni in particular aren't going to stand for that, especially when you are looking at a very oil rich area which the Sunni wants and the Kurdish feel is theirs. So, I mean, what reassurance? I guess I am trying to figure out what reassurance?
Secretary RODMAN. They are working this out. I mean, the obituary of this government has been written too many times. There were fears that the governing council was going to split apart, and it didn't split apart. The foreign minister of the country is Kurdish. The Deputy Prime Minister is Kurdish. They are working this out. You know, the UN Security Council resolution did not mention the TAL explicitly, but it also blessed the political timetable that came out of the TAL. It blessed a number of other provisions.
We were discussing SOFA issues there in the TAL, and the Security Council resolution has blessed this.
You know, it is politics. I mean, I am struck by the fact that ever since last July when the governing council was formed they have all operated on the basis that they were all Iraqis, they need to learn to co-exist, they have disputes and they are jockeying for power and position and jobs, and they work it out. There have been many predictions that Civil War would break out. Zarqawi is trying to stimulate civil war.
But I am struck by the fact that in the face of repeated provocations, the unity of the different groups in this society has held together. And they will solve it as political figures do. They will compromise, they will allocate jobs in a different way, they will give reassurances. I think since the war, they have all agreed that they are on the unity of the country. Certainly, the Kurds, you are absolutely right, they have been good allies of ours. We certainly owe them, you know, protection for their interests. But they have no support for independence they know, and they have welcomed the fact, they have accepted the fact that they are Iraqis and they are launched as all the other Iraqis are on this enterprise of a unified country. And I am confident that they will work these things out politically.
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Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, Mr. Secretary, for that answer, although that was quite frankly not very appetizing or fulfilling. I guess I am struck by the fact that every tough milestone that we have set to meet so far we have pushed off for the future. And that goes back to the question that Ms. Tauscher had about the forces agreement which was supposed to be done in March and of course didn't get done, and almost every milestone that was set a year ago leading to this June 30th deadline has never been met.
And now, every difficult situation we keep pushing off. And I think that leads back to this real problem that so many of us on this committee, not just this side, but so many of us on this committee see is really a lack of plan and adherence to a plan with respect to the situation in Iraq.
Is that an indication that my time is over, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. SIMMONS. You are 2 minutes over, and there are 2 other members waiting.
Ms. SANCHEZ. I have other difficult questions. I will submit them for the record. And I hope I get better answers than just, you know, it is political. It is political.
Mr. SIMMONS. We thank the lady for her questions and her comments.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Chair recognizes Mr. Ryan of Ohio for five minutes.
Mr. RYAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate it.
Yesterday's New York Times had an article in it that said the tribunal in Iraq will be headed up by Mr. Chalabi's nephew. Are you guys familiar with this? After all that has been done and all that has been said about how we got into this war and the behavior of Mr. Chalabi and the kind of misinformation that a lot of us believe this government received, doesn't this give the perception that Mr. Chalabi's nephew is going to be responsible for the tribunal for Saddam Hussein? Doesn't this give the perception that this is going to be a kangaroo court? I would like each of you to comment on that.
Secretary RODMAN. Well, Mr. Chalabi's nephew was appointed by CPA as head of the deba'athification. I don't think he is involved in the special tribunal. Is he?
Mr. RICCIARDONE. He is, actually.
Secretary RODMAN. Then I should defer to my colleagues here on that.
Mr. RICCIARDONE. I will be glad to address that. I actually had the privilege of working with Ahmed Chalabi, known also as Sam, a few years ago in the previous administration I was involved in working with the Iraqi opposition. And one of the projects we had going was on the rule of law. They were looking ahead to anticipate the problems that would arise on the happy day when Saddam Hussein would go down, whenever that would occur and through whatever means. And we worked with a number of Iraqi judges, lawyers, law professors, anyone we could find with experience.
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Chalabi turned out to be a world-class lawyer with, if not education, practical experience in the United States and I think legal education in the United States. He did a lot of pro bono work, no payment at all for him doing this. We worked hard to establish curricula for Iraqi training courses for police academies we worked hard to set up judiciary structures.
Mr. RYAN. And I am not questioning him. We can't, we don't pick our family. We all know that. But I am just talking sheer perception. Doesn't this not look good given everything that has happened over the past few months and all the information that has come out in the New Yorker and all these different other articles? Doesn't it reflect poorly on the process? And I know he may not have anything to do with anything.
Mr. RICCIARDONE. I can't speak to how he was selected. I know he has emerged doing it.
Mr. RYAN. But wouldn't you agree that it would be perceived very poorly around the world?
Mr. RICCIARDONE. Not necessarily. As you just said, sir, one can't pick one's relatives. This is a man with a track record of doing rule of law work for Iraq. He has a distinguished international record. If Iraqis decide that they don't have confidence in him, Iraqis will be free to remove him and put someone else in. So if Iraqis perceive it is a problem, I am sure they will deal with it.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. RYAN. Thank you. Also, yesterday's Washington Times has an article where Mr. Pearle was saying that the UN plan for elections will bring disastrous consequences for the people in Iraq. I would like each of you to comment on that. He is referring to the system which will encourage people to vote strictly along the lines of ethnicity and sectarian practice rather than local political issues. Can each of you comment on that?
Secretary RODMAN. Well, let me start. There have been some concerns raised about the particular voting method that has been selected. This is treating all of Iraq as a single district, having proportional representation, and having party lists. And the UN representative selected that method on the grounds that it is the simplest to implement quickly. But, you know, those of us who are amateur political scientists have raised some questions, and this may still be discussed in our government and of course with the Iraqis, because other examples where this kind of electoral system may or may not produce the optimum result.
So this is something being discussed, I think widely, and I don't want to prejudge it. And there were good reasons proposed by the UN experts. But there is an interesting debate going on about the possible effects of such a voting system. You know, what kind of political structure, what kind of political stability.
Mr. RYAN. Do you believe it would have disastrous consequences?
Secretary RODMAN. That is not the adjective I would use. But I know a number of people who are concerned, asking the legitimate question, whether this is the best kind of system. The alternative would be something like we and the British have of constituency, constituencies electing their representatives. But that does take more time to organize. So I think there a legitimate issue here.
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Mr. RYAN. Mr. Ambassador, do you believe it has disastrous consequences, in your opinion?
Mr. RICCIARDONE. I would say I don't have the expertise to judge. It is up to Iraqis to figure out what system will work best for them. For me, the key question is what methods, what system, what procedure will give the greatest confidence in the results. And there is going to be a wide range of options, there will be no perfect one. Every one will be fraught with downsides as well as advantages. At the end of the day they have got to pick one, do it, and get the results. And that will happen.
Mr. RYAN. I guess this next question may be for you, General, regarding Fallujah. We were in control of it and we transferred control. Is there talk now of us taking control over again?
General SHARP. Sir, we are watching very closely the Fallujah brigade. The First Marine Division is watching very closely the circumstances there. It changes from day to day. There was a patrol that we went in jointly with, with them at the Fallujah brigade just the other day that was successful. I do not believe that this is a model for the future as far as how we want to do this. But the final determination as to where we will end up with Fallujah, what type of operations we will need in order to be able to accomplish the mission there is still to be determined, watching very closely by that division commander.
Mr. RYAN. It is very scary to think we have already transferred some power over to them and it is really not working out all that well. Do you have some concerns?
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General SHARP. Yes, sir, we have concerns. But I think we have all said all along that we and the Iraqis want to give to the Iraqis the authority and the responsibility for their own security. In the same breath, we have also said there will be times that they falter. But we need to take our hand off the bike, and we realize the bike will fall sometimes. But as long as they get back up, which I am confident that they will to push forward what is needed, it is what we need in this progress, in this way ahead.
Mr. SIMMONS. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. RYAN. Mr. Chairman, can you indulge me for one final brief, very brief question to the Ambassador?
Mr. SIMMONS. Very brief.
Mr. RYAN. One of the issues when we had a hearing here a few weeks ago on Afghanistan was regarding the drugs and production and harvesting and all that. One of the issues there was the court system and the inability to havewhether it was subpoena power or to get search warrants and things like that. We have been talking a lot about troops. But I think what undergirds, that is, the ability to go to the courts and do this in a fair way. How are the court systems coming together? The timewe haven't talked much about the timetable, and if we did, I missed it. Can you just briefly tell me where the courts stand right now?
Mr. RICCIARDONE. Sir, with your permission, I will just take that and get back to you. I honestly do not have the expertise to answer that.
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Mr. RYAN. Mr. Secretary or General, do you know?
Mr. RYAN. No?
Mr. SIMMONS. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. RYAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SIMMONS. The gentleman from Hawaii, Mr. Abercrombie.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I guess it has come down to me. I will tell you that I think this is complete political lunacy. What I conclude from what you are saying is that the United States military is going to be set adrift in a desert sea on June 30th. The unreality of what is taking place here, of what you are saying is just stunning. General Sharp, you talk about as long as they get up. Well, who is going to get up? What do you mean as long as they get up? You said you are going to accomplish the mission. General Sanchez said the mission, for example, in Fallujah was to capture or kill this cleric Sadr.
I see on television yesterday the President saying, well, maybe he is going to run for office. The Coalition Provisional Authority has a poll given to this committee today that shows that Sadr is the second most popular person in the country. 67 percent approval, second only to Sistani's 70 percent approval. Now, do you contend, General Sharp, to tell me that you are going to continue to send United States military personnel into Fallujah, and put them in harm's way under these circumstances? Is that what you mean by accomplishing the mission?
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General SHARP. Sir, in Najaf, where Sadr is, there is actually movement that the Iraqi police forces there are starting to do a lot better job in order to do be able to do that. Sadr's militias are going away. What the discussions away have been
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Going away where?
General SHARP. They are stopping the attacks in Najaf, in Karbola of our forces and of the coalition forces. And the progress
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. That is because we have withdrawn them. Right?
General SHARP. No, sir, it is not. It is because the Iraqi security forces in that area are getting much better in order to be able to do what they need to do.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Let me tell you what the poll shows today about whether you support page 32. Would you support or oppose the idea of you or a member of your household joining the security forces, which include the new Iraqi police, the new Iraqi Army, and the other support? Less than 1 out of 10 people will support anybody in their household even joining this new Iraqi police. This is a fantasy.
General SHARP. Sir
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Supposed to put this police together more than a year ago, and they haven't come into existence yet. There is a fantasy. You can't answer this, General Sharp. You have got to answer this over here in the State Department and the rest of it. You have got the poll in front of you. Am I quoting correctly?
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Secretary RODMAN. Yes, that is correct. But I think General Sharp
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. That is a fact. Thank you very much.
Secretary RODMAN. There are 220,000 Iraqis under arms in the police and the Army
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. And you have got confidence in them?
Secretary RODMAN. Well, we are training them and equipping them. And they are very brave people. They are taking casualties, and most of them are doing well and showing up for work. And as the General saying, in the south
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. So then we won't have to use United States military any longer to carry on these duties once this sovereignty takes place on the 30th. Is that correct?
Mr. Rodman. No, that is not correct. That is not the intention.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Then who is going to have the authority? Who has the authority to direct them and under what General Sharp called the details? On July 1st, who directs the United States military with respect to any action about, say, a remnant of this cleric Sadr's people operating in Fallujah? Will it be the United States military or the Iraqi authority? Who?
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General SHARP. Sir, it will be the United States military working with the Iraqi authorities to be able to do it in the partnership that we talked about.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. What does that mean?
General SHARP. Sir, what it means is that we will sit down with them just as we sit down with our other coalition partners and determine what is required to be able to have a secure environment in
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. So when the shooting starts, you are going to sit down and have a group discussion?
General SHARP. Absolutely not, sir. Absolutely not. As we do all of our plans, we sit down and plan out what the operations are. We determine what type of patrols that we need, what type of capabilities that we need. Iraq will be part of that discussion.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. On page 341 of the poll: The following statements apply to those who attack the coalition forces and those who work with them. Of those who believe the coalition is trying to steal Iraq's wealth, 73 percent of the Iraqis believe we are trying to steal their wealth. 70 percent believe all foreign forces must leave at once.
Mr. Ambassador, you are sitting here telling us the Iraqis want us to stay. 70 percent believe we should leave at once. 64 percent believe that the national dignity requires the kind of attacks that are being made on us in Fallujah. 64 percent. This is a fantasy. This is lunacy. You have got to start setting the time for us to be able to get our troops out of there and to establish a timetable for it and to see to it that we can leave honorably without subjecting them to this kind a situation.
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If we continue to have hearings like this in which this kind of fantasy is put forward as policy of the United States, the only thing that is going to take place is continued maiming, continuing deaths of our troops over there, and the complete failure to be able to carry through on anything that might have been contemplated when this attack began over a year ago. Nothing that has been said here today by you gives me the slightest indication or the slightest confidence that anything even remotely approaching what you say is going to take place is going to be able to be accomplished. Nothing.
Mr. SIMMONS. I thank the gentleman for his comments.
And I would ask my colleague from Mississippi if he has any closing remarks that he would like to make for the record? Hearing none, gentlemen, I want to thank you on behalf of Chairman Hunter.
I will share with you the fact that back in the mid 1990's, President Clinton announced that the administration had agreed in principle to keep U.S. troops in Bosnia only for a period of 1 or 2 years; but my recollection is we continue to have troops in that part of the world, which demonstrates the challenges that we face as Americans in a difficult and dangerous international situation.
The comment was made earlier that the embassy in Baghdad will have substantial challenges. I know Ambassador Negroponte, I met him almost 20 years ago in Tegucigalpa. I think he is the man for the job. But it is a very difficult job. I served as a civilian out of the embassy in Saigon at a time when we were challenged in that environment, and I share with my colleagues concern that working with the multinational force, working with the new Iraqi government is going to be a challenge. It is not going to be easy. It is not going to be easy to determine how the brigade will provide security for the UN when on occasion the UN decides, for political reasons, that they have to make decisions about security, and that can place people at risk, and that certainly happened with the last year when the UN mission was attacked.
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So these are very substantial challenges that we face that you have put before us, but I also believe that this committee has exercised its oversight responsibility in a very substantial way on both sides of the aisle, and I suspect that that will continue into the future.
Again, on behalf of the Chairman, we thank you for your service and your testimony. And this hearing is now over.
[Whereupon, at 1:02 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]