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 22, 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, Research Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Tuesday, June 22, 2004, Progress in Iraq
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Tuesday, June 22, 2004
TUESDAY, JUNE 22, 2004
PROGRESS IN IRAQ
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
Pace, Gen. Peter, Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Wolfowitz, Hon. Paul, Deputy Secretary of Defense
[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
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Hunter, Hon. Duncan
Skelton, Hon. Ike
Wolfowitz, Hon. Paul
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.]
PROGRESS IN IRAQ
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Washington, DC, Tuesday, June 22, 2004.
The committee met, pursuant to call, at 9 a.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Duncan Hunter (chairman of the committee) presiding.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCOPENING STATEMENT OF HON. DUNCAN HUNTER, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM CALIFORNIA, CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
The CHAIRMAN. The hearing will come to order.
This morning the committee will continue our review of the transition in Iraq, in particular, under what circumstances U.S. forces will operate post June 30th.
Our witnesses today are the Honorable Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and General Peter Pace, Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Welcome to the committee, gentlemen. We look forward to your testimony.
Mr. Secretary, last week the committee held a preliminary hearing on how the transition to Iraqi sovereignty will affect our forces in Iraq. That hearing was very helpful in understanding what just transpired in the U.N. and how those negotiations would translate into reality on the ground as U.S. Forces continue to carry out their difficult mission in Iraq.
Given that you have just returned from Iraq, the committee is very interested to hear your firsthand impressions on this and other topics, as well as how our operational commanders view these matters.
While the assumption of Iraqi sovereignty next week is an important and needed step, there is also no question that Iraq is not yet able to stand on its own two feet in terms of security. Iraqis and those foreigners who want to help them must be safe enough to go about their daily lives and get on with the business of rebuilding the country. Established democracies can be very strong in the face of terrorism. But Iraq's democracy is sometimes in the conceptual stages and could be derailed by bioterrorists if we or the Iraqis surrender to terror.
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Further, security is essential to the business of rebuilding Iraq. Coalition forces and the Iraqis have made great strides in repairing damage from the war and rehabilitating an infrastructure that suffered from 20 years of abuse and neglect under Saddam. But Iraq's young democracy is still burdened by Saddam's debt, and terrorists have identified the economy as a vulnerability. The world needs to come together to tackle this problem.
Finally, we need to help foster representative government and respect for individual liberties in Iraq. Again, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) has made great strides down this route with the issuance of a transitional administrative law and the creation of a sovereign Iraqi Interim Government.
I look forward to the rest of the plan unfolding next year as Iraq moves toward a constitutional government, but I wonder if we can't do more. The CPA, the United Nations, and the media have taken a very top-down view of things. But most of us here can tell you from experience that democracy works best from the bottom up. A fair number of Members of Congress learned the give and take needed in democracy on the city council and the state legislature. That is where Iraq's future democratic leaders are likely to be found.
The military did a great job in setting up local and regional governments. We need to find ways of bringing those individuals together in a constructive way, through a league of cities, or the Iraqi equivalent of the National Governors Association, Iraqis may learn from their common experiences as local officials unite them more than their different religious or ethnic backgrounds divide them.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That is where our strategic interests lie, in building a better future for Iraq, in partnership with the Iraqis.
Gentlemen, I know we share that perspective, so I am looking forward to hearing your views on the subject. So thank you, Mr. Secretary, and General.
And, Mr. Secretary, I know you have just gotten back. We had, incidentally, several good hearings last week on this transition and especially the military piece of this transition, how American forces would continue to provide force protection for themselves and for this fledgling government and how our rules of engagement would remain the same. I know you have obviously had a number of briefings from your people in field on that.
We also had a great hearing with General Petraeus from Iraq with respect to the stand up of the Iraqi military. We thought that was especially interesting and very instructive. And I know you have also been briefed by General Petraeus and his people while you were over there.
These next several weeks coming up are very important. So thank you for coming over to see us so soon after you got back. And we look forward to your testimony.
General Pace, thank you for attending this morning as well.
And before we go, Mr. Secretary, to you, let me turn to my colleague from Missouri, Mr. Skelton, for any comments he might want to make.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Mr. Hunter can be viewed in the hard copy.]
STATEMENT OF HON. IKE SKELTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM MISSOURI, RANKING MEMBER, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
Mr. SKELTON. Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman. Let me welcome Secretary Wolfowitz and General Pace back to this committee.
We appreciate your being before us and your testimony.
Mr. Chairman, recent revelations of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison, the continued attacks of insurgents against our forces, as well as the questions about how well the new Interim Iraqi Government will be able to govern all highlight the difficult and dangerous and uncertain situation in that country.
What is paramount now is that we need to have a concrete plan to ensure success in Iraq. And I am not sure today we see such a plan. We broke it; we must do our best to fix it.
Last July the Department came up with what amounted to a strategic plan for Iraq. The four pillars of this plan were establishing security, restoring essential services, creating conditions for economic development, and enabling the transition to democratic governance. It is clear that these goals have not been achieved, at least not to the extent that we had hoped, largely because we haven't established security, and rebuilding Iraq requires a stable security environment.
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It seems to me that there are some steps that the United States needs to take so that the world can have some confidence that the way ahead holds some prospects for ultimate success. First, we have to do a better job of internationalizing the situation in Iraq, so it is not just the face of U.S. Military that is primarily occupying that country.
The Administration should also specify the steps that will be taken to train the Iraqi Army, police and civil defense forces so that we can accelerate their ability to provide security and so we can be assured that we won't see a reoccurrence of the problems those forces have experienced in the past.
I know General Petraeus is doing his best; by the way, I think he is an outstanding American leader, but I think it would inspire confidence if more specifics about his efforts were widely known. If my view, we should also have an understanding now about what happens if a new sovereign government seeks to dictate our military operations in Iraq.
I don't think the Iraqi Government should be able to limit what our forces can do to hunt terrorists or to protect themselves. Conversely, I would have real concern if the Iraqi Government were to ask our forces to enforce that government's imposition of martial law, which the new interim Prime Minister is presently considering.
I have been saying for some time we need to have some kind of status of forces arrangement which will be binding upon the new government. I am not convinced that existing authorities are adequate. You will recall a status of forces agreement was to have been had by March the 31st, but that date came and went.
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And finally, I think we need a comprehensive public investigation into prisoner abuses. America's world image has been tarnished, and we need to prove to other nations, as well as to the Iraqi people, that the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison are not standard operating procedure for our military and do not reflect the values we stand for as a nation.
Looking longer term, in a broader sense, I see at least four potential strategic approaches that can be had to the Iraqi situation. First, we can stay the current course. We can continue in the present vein, trying to provide security, rebuild infrastructure and trying to create the conditions under which a new representative government may flourish. However, this approach brings with it the certainty of continued violence against our forces, as well as the new government, and will slow down the reconstruction process.
Second, we can cut and run. We can begin a relatively rapid withdrawal of our forces upon appointment of the interim government and leave it to the U.N., North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or Iraqis to provide security and stability to Iraq. This approach can result in Iraq descending into ethnic or religious squabbling, or both, national and regional instability and the prospect that Iraq will become a terrorist haven.
Third, we can increase our military presence, as well as that of other nations, and induce NATO into a significant military and political role until the United Nations can assume more responsibility and until security and stability ensue. Under this proposal, the number of U.S. forces in Iraq would increase, at least until after the elections and a more permanent new government may be installed.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Obviously, though, if we assign more forces to Iraq, there is the possibility that we will suffer more casualties. Realistically, we will not be able to increase our force level in Iraq by very much over the short term, frankly just because we don't have the troops.
And fourth, we can embark on a phased withdrawal of U.S. forces over time, and we can maintain a less visible presence in the interim. Our forces could withdraw from many urban places and cease aggressive patrolling in favor of safeguarding Iraqi infrastructure, and securing the borders against foreign incursions. At first, the model the Marines used at Fallujah seemed promising, but recent experience suggests their approach may not hold promise for use in other urban areas.
Some national security experts have even suggested setting a date certain by which our forces would ultimately withdraw from Iraq. I think there is value in deadlines, and perhaps a deadline for the withdrawal of our forces could foster stability and give the Iraqis confidence we do not intend to occupy their country for an indefinite period.
I suggest these various approachs as a way forward in Iraq only because I am not aware of any specific plan at this time that the administration has for long term success and for an ultimate end to our military presence in Iraq.
That is the question I get when I go home. How much longer are we going to be there? What puzzles me is that just a year ago the administration was talking about reducing our forces in Iraq. Now, unfortunately, we have still got 138,000 troops in Iraq. I see no end in sight.
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So, Mr. Secretary, do you see an end in sight? I do see the transition date of June 30 as a new opportunity. It gives us a potential fresh start toward a better Iraq. But if that goal is to be reached, the administration will have to do things better. There will have be to be better planning on how to rebuild Iraq and how to provide a stable government once elections are held. There will have to be more and better international participation than we have had. We in Congress will need better information about the cost of the war, the status of our forces, and about the prisoner abuse situation, as well as the kind of equipment that troops do and don't have. We need to perform able oversight so we can be confident that your actions are wise to our Country's needs.
Mr. Secretary, I don't think anyone here questions your resolve or questions the resolve of the President to succeed in Iraq. But there is a difference between resolve on the one hand and competence on the other. I think the American people need to understand that.
Regrettably, what has happened in Iraq so far, aside from the outstanding performance of our troops in the field; and I must say, they are outstanding, persuades that me that we have gotten the situation into a security quagmire.
Mr. Secretary, I welcome your thoughts about the way ahead in a strategic sense. I am also interested in what the Department of Defense (DOD) is doing to ensure our forces have the operational flexibility they need to remedy the damage to our international standing caused by the prisoner abuse scandal.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Skelton can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. Secretary, with that optimistic send off, thank you for being with us today. And we appreciate your coming to report to us on the status of this transition. The floor is yours, sir.
Mr. ABECROMBIE. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman, before we begin.
Mr. Chairman, I notice that the statement here from Mr. Wolfowitz is 25 pages long. Is it your intention to have all 25 pages read, or are we going to get a summary, perhaps under the five minute rule, so that we can move on to the questions.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, Mr. Abercrombie, both statements, as always, will be taken into the record. And the witnesses are allowed to proceed in the manner they see fit. And so we will leave that to the discretion of Mr. Wolfowitz and General Pace.
STATEMENT OF THE HON. PAUL WOLFOWITZ, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I hope I won't disappoint Mr. Abercrombie. I know I will please Mr. Skelton. I don't plan to read the statement at all. I will put it in the record.
I would like to just make some observations about my recent trip. And your comment on perspective in Washington versus the perspective out in field brings to mind the fact that we were standing around in northern Iraq talking to a couple of sergeants who were taking a few days of well-earned leave from very, very tough duty in a Baathist town in Iraq.
And they said, people back home just don't seem to see what we see out here. We are making enormous progress in this town. It used to be a stronghold for Saddam Hussein.
These are just two sergeants standing by the pool, volunteering. And it is something we heard almost everywhere, from Iraqis, from Americans, from the British general down in Basra.
It doesn't mean that there aren't serious problems in Iraq. We all know about the problems. But I think what doesn't get through in all of the reporting on problems is there has also been enormous progress.
I visited, Mr. Chairman, all five U.S. divisions, visited the British division down at Basra, and visited with the Polish commander of the Multinational Division, South Central. It is inspiring to talk to our troops, from the Private First Class (PFC)s on up to the generals. They are doing a magnificent job. They do it with enormous courage. They do it with enormous skill. And I think they really believe that they are making substantial progress, and I think they are. In fact, I think we are at a point now of a change that is properly described as historic.
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For the first time in almost half a century, Iraq is about to have a sovereign government that is committed to the rule of law, to the values of freedom and democracy, a sovereign government that is committed to undoing the enormous abuse and damage that has been inflicted on that country by Saddam Hussein.
With all respect to the Ranking Member, we didn't break Iraq, Saddam Hussein broke Iraq. Broke it in a viscious, horrible way, almost beyond imagining. It is going to be a big job to repair it. But I feel much more confident than before this trip, after spending many hours with the new Prime Minister and members of his government, that there is an Iraqi team ready to take charge on July 1st and committed to fixing that damage.
We spent almost eight hours in discussions over the course of three days with Prime Minister Allawi and his national security team, including his new Defense Minister, his new Minister of the Interior, and his National Security Advisor. Also had meetings with the new President of Iraq, with the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq.
When I say ''we,'' it was a multinational team. I was accompanied on the American side by our Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, General George Casey, whose nomination, as you know, now is before the Senate to become Commander of Multinational Force Iraq; and by the current Deputy Chief of Mission in Iraq, Jim Jeffrey, Ambassador Jim Jeffrey, who will take over on July 1st as the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) to our new Ambassador, John Negroponte. We were also accompanied by representives of the British Government and the Polish Government.
The talks were wide ranging. I think one of the things that is very impressive, there was no question who was in charge in those talks, it was the Iraqi Prime Minister. He spoke forcefully for his delegation, and he laid out his plans. Many are ambitious plans for an Iraqi national security strategy that will confront what he correctly describes as an evil enemy, and build up Iraqi security forces to deal with that challenge.
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I would confess, going into those discussions, there was some concern on our side that his plans might be too grandiose, that they might be more idea than substance, that they might reject the considerable progress that we believe we have made already in our own efforts to build Iraqi security forces.
I am happy to report that the conclusion of our discussions, I think, was a very realistic meshing of our existing plans with his adjusted plans and his somewhat more ambitious plans.
General Petraeus, whom you mentioned earlier, commented that building Iraqi security forces has to be approached as steering a large supertanker, not a high-speed power boat. It can't turn on a dime. Prime Minister Allawi does not plan to turn it on a dime, he plans to turn it in a reasonable way, with a very clear sense in my view, a very clear sense of priorities.
One of his recurrent themes was the Iraqi Army as a symbol of national strength. He continues to say that he believes it was a mistake to have disbanded the old Army, and it would not surprise me, at least as a symbolic move, if he were to undo that order when he becomes prime minister. But he is interested in something much more than symbolic gestures. He is interested in constructing an Iraqi army that reports to Iraqi officers through an Iraqi chain of command that is responsible to a sovereign Iraqi Government.
I think we have put in place some important building blocks that he can do that with. One of those building blocks is an organization that we have been working on called the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps. We talked about this a lot, because, to the Iraqis, the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC) has a lot of problems, starting with its name. As translated into Arabic at least, it sounds more like a branch of the fire department than a branch of the Army.
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I think also its performance around the country has been mixed, and very disappointing in some areas, including the areas I think the Prime Minister was most familiar with. Significantly, it has performed extremely well in two parts of the country: in the far north in the city of Mosul, where General Petraeus was, in fact, responsible for organizing.
He introduced some concepts that were unique to that area, but I think are now going to be applied throughout the country. Much more effective ways of organizing the Civil Defense Corps (CDC) than was done in most other places.
And that Civil Defense Corps up in Mosul performed outstandingly on the night of April 9th when the enemy attacked the Government House in Mosul. The Governor of the province, who is a Sunni Arab, by the way, stayed in the Government House all night when it was under attack, while the Iraqi police initially refused come on duty; and I think one might forgive them, because they were definitely outgunned by the enemy. The Civil Defense Corps and the facilities protection service people stood their ground, beat off the enemy attack and eventually the police came back.
I think it is significant also that General Carter Hamm of the 2nd Infantry Division, in charge up in Mosul, General Petraeus' successor, made sure that the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps knew throughout the night that if they got into really deep trouble, U.S. Forces were there to help out. That is what General Petraeus described as embracing Iraqi security forces, letting them do the job as much as they possibly can, but making sure that they have the courage that comes from knowing that there is a backup.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think that is a model for the future. The more rapidly we can move to that model, the more rapidly we can not only bring our numbers down, but I think, more importantly, bring our people off the front lines. That is good for us and it is good for the Iraqis.
The Prime Minister is also organizing a new unit called the Iraqi Intervention Force, which will basically be a division created out of the Army structures that we were training, but oriented toward urban security. That, in fact, is his first priority.
I would emphasize here, one of things that was also impressive as we talked about funding requirements is, this is a man who understands that you need to have a sense of priority, that some of his requirements may exceed what is currently available or at least what is currently available in our supplemental funding.
There is Iraqi funding. By the way, I would point out that some $20 billion of Iraqi funds, both Oil for Food and oil revenues that have already been put into the Iraqi budget since the liberation of Baghdad, and more on the way. But those funds have many demands on them. One of the things we hope to get from the international community is more support for training and equipping Iraqi security forces.
His first priority, as I mentioned, is this Iraqi Intervention Force. His second priority is something they call the Iraq Special Operations Force. That will consist of a counterterrorist force, similar to what we would call a Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT), with some 760 troops, and a supporting commando battalion that is similar to a Ranger battalion of slightly over 800.
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The third priority is this new Iraqi National Guard, which, as I said, is built on the old Civil Defense Corps, but with, if I might call it the ''Petraeus concept of organization.'' and very importantly, from Prime Minister Allawi's point of view, with a much stronger officer structure.
It would be organized into 50 plus battalions, organized into 18 bridages, that makes one brigade for each province, organized, in turn, into six division headquarters which turns out to be one division headquarters for each multinational division that is in Iraq. Each of those headquarters presents both a requirement and, I think from the prime minister's point of view, an opportunity to bring back officers from the old Iraqi Army who were clean and who are committed to a new Iraq. I believe he sees that as important not only in terms of building capable security forces and restoring Iraqi pride in their Army, but also in reducing potential sources of dissatisfaction among the former officers that the enemy can feed off of.
His fourth priority is to continue the development of two divisions of the regular Army, troop strength of some 27,000. He is also interested in adding two more divisions as well as potentially three corps headquarters to the National Guard, but they agree that both of those are lower priorities that can be deferred until we get first things first and second things second. This is definitely further down the list.
General Petraeus will be leading the effort in Baghdad to allocate resources, to determine the resource implications of these enhancements, and to make allocations among them. As I said, there may be requirements that go beyond what is currently budgeted in our supplemental. We will look to Iraqi resources, we will look to international contributions, and we will see as we go. But there is a great deal that can be accomplished already within the present famework.
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We also had a lot of discussion about command and control arrangements. The Iraqis proposed and we accepted the creation of a Joint Operations Center at the national level as well as Joint Coordinating Centers at the regional and local levels. These centers will perform two functions, first of all, making sure that the operations of our forces and Iraqi forces are well coordinated and well integrated until they have filled in the gaps in their own chain of command and communications, it enables them to have an effective chain of command by working in parallel with us.
We committed ourselves in the letter that Secretary Powell sent to the United Nations, in parallel to the letter that Prime Minister Allawi sent to the United Nations, to have close coordination and consultation with the Iraqis on sensitive security issues, including the initiation of sensitive offensive operations. We committed again in these meetings that those consultations will be serious consultations. It is a process that one might say started it with our visit, but I think will be carried forward on an almost daily basis by Ambassador Negroponte and General Casey when they arrive.
Finally, the Iraqis also expressed an interest in getting support from the international community and are particularly eager to support our requests to get international troop contributions to support the United Nations presence in Iraq and additional functions that the United Nations may take on, such as supervising the elections.
There is much more that we can discuss in the course of questions, Mr. Chairman, but I think I would just like to summarize by saying what an impressive group of people we are dealing with. They are intelligent. They know their country in a way that no American can ever expect to know their country. That kind of knowledge is obviously essential in making the kinds of decisions that confront them and us, going forward. And they are clearly people who are prepared to step up to making tough decision.
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In fact, I would like to just conclude finally and open by commenting on the bravery of our forces.
I would like to comment briefly on the bravery of Iraqis. We visited Fallujah, where the U.S. Marines have just awarded Navy commendation medals and Navy achievement medals to five Iraqi Civil Defense Corps members who rescued and saved the life of a Marine Private First Class under enemy fire at the risk of their own lives.
During that visit, we met with the new head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service who lost three of his sons to Saddam's executioners. Up north, our interpreter was an incredibly engaging young Kurdish woman whose sister had recently been assassinated because she was working with our forces. And when we asked her, Why do you continue working when it is so dangerous? She said, Because my father told me after the assassination, you must never retreat in the face of evil.
We met with a Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih, who many of us have known for a long time, who was the target of an assassination attempt by al Qaeda elements back in 2002 that were supported in northern Iraq by the Saddam regime.
We met with the President, Sheik Ghazi al-Yawar, who became the acting president of the interim governing council because his predecessor was assassinated in a car bomb that exploded right outside of the so called Green Zone. And, of course, the Prime Minister himself was a target of an assassination attempt by Saddam's thugs in London in 1979, nearly chopped in two, and just barely realized the attack in time to get out, get his head out of the way of the axe. He was hospitalized for a year. His wife suffered a permanent nervous breakdown. He was pursued by Saddam's killers for years after that.
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He knows that he is now number one on the enemy target list; there is no one they would like to assassinate more than Iyad al-Allawi. He is doing this because he is a patriot. He is doing this because he knows what his country has been through.
We have Iraqis by the thousands who are signing up to fight for their country, more than 400 by our own count; and General Petraeus thinks the real number is twice that. More than 400 have died in the line of duty since May 1st of last year. We have courageous Iraqis who are prepared to take on this fight for their country.
The key to success, the key to victory, I think the answer to most of Mr. Skelton's questions, lies in Iraqi self government and Iraqi self-defense. We met this new government. They are prepared to step up to their responsibilities, and I think we owe them all the support we can give them. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Secretary Wolfowitz can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
General Pace, do you have a statement?
STATEMENT OF GEN. PETER PACE, VICE CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General PACE. Mr. Chairman, thank you. I will keep mine very short. But I, although I have said it before, I think every time any of us in uniform appears before this committee, we should thank you and all of the members of this committee, indeed, the Congress as a whole, for the incredibly strong, sustained, bipartisan support that provides us the resources that allow us to do the missions that we do.
Second, to once again thank the families of the incredible folks we have serving our country overseas. Their sustained support makes all of the difference in the world to those who are wearing the uniform. And in the case of the Guard and Reserve, to thank their employers for their patience, understanding and support.
And although this particular hearing is about Iraq, on Friday of this week, on the 25th of June, the great Americans who have been serving our country in Haiti will complete their mission and turn it over to a U.N. force led by Brazil. But the folks who have been serving our country in Haiti, along with some terrific partners, the French forces that are there, Canadian forces and Chilean forces, have done this hemisphere and the people of Haiti a great service.
So I wanted to thank them publicly on the record.
With that, sir, we will take questions.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, General. And thank you, Mr. Secretary, for I think a very good summary.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let's talk about the security apparatus for this fledgling government that is standing up. Obviously, they are targets. There have been assassinations; there have been lots of attempts. And the one thing that General Petraeus talked about in his remote hearing last week was the standing up of Iraqi security forces for the protection of government, to make sure that this new government has a shield behind which they can operate.
From your discussions, just give us a little insight, from your discussions with this new leadership, Iraqi leadership, what is the threat doing to these folks? You said they are standing up to it. But are they? In your estimation, is the apparatus that we are training right now, the military forces that will be charged with defending the government, just keeping this government going? Do you think it is moving along well? Do you think it is adequate?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. It is an excellent question.
In fact, our people told us that their first priority, in fact, is protection of the new government. And they are going to depend on us to a considerable degree for a certain period of time.
We want to, for a lot of reasons, as rapidly as possible, give them their own capacity, especially for close in protection. There are a lot of reasons why that is a better way to proceed. But we are not going to take any chances; until they are fully ready to deal with their own personal security, they will have all of the support they need from us. And I think that is probably all I will say in an open session.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But you are absolutely right. It is a matter of the utmost importance.
We also ought to recognize that there are no guarantees out there. It is a dangerous place. Those of you who have tried to get us to arrange visits understand how dangerous it is, there are real problems, although we think it is very important for Members of Congress to visit. We try to arrange that.
As I say, none of these very brave men are under any illusions that there are guarantees for their safety, but we need to do everything we possibly can to ensure it. I might say in that regard, Mr. Chairman, it would help a great deal, I think, if we had more flexibility in how we define force protection when it comes to the use of our own funds.
We have been at this subject several times. We have a request up here for $500 million of authority to use DOD funds to train and equip Iraqi forces. I think that needs to be understood as every bit as important as body armor and up armored Humvees. That is part of force protection. I think this committee understands that, and I hope we will get the support we need for that request.
Similarly, I think this committee, particularly those of you who visited Iraq, have come to understand how important it is to support the Commander's Emergency Response Program (CERP) which pays for things like rehabilitating schools and hospitals, which may not seem, initially, like force protection, but our troops understand it as exactly that, because it helps to improve significantly their relationship with the population.
Why do I mention all of this? Because in this visit I learned about one other thing which is in this boundary line of who has the authority, who has this responsibility. That is the question of creating some kind of biometric identity card that could not be forged. It has apparently fallen between the cracks of whether it is a CPA authority or a Central Command (CENTCOM) authority. But when I think about how to protect the new Iraqi Government, I can think of very few things that would do more than that to develop a reliable means of identifying people throughout the country.
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So I don't have a specific proposal here, but I would like to be able to work with this committee to figure out ways in which we can get the flexibility and funding to make those kind of things possible.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Mr. Secretary, as we hand this thing over, we will have many instances where the Iraqi Government, at least I would think we would, where the Iraqi Government would request American forces to move to certain locations, to undertake certain missions, to do things that they think are important to their survival and to the maintenance of this government.
In some cases, we are going to be able to say, ''yes,'' and in other cases, we are going to be able to say, ''no.'' I think it is very important that we have got a lock on this process, that we know exactly how we move it, that we don't have American military commanders who feel that they are compelled to do certain things because there are Iraqi requests to do it, but rather that they are, in fact, clearly vetted with our diplomatic leadership, but also that they have a veto in cases where they think that American force protection is going to be degraded substantially.
And I have seen operations over the years, thinking of the Marine barracks in Beirut where the first question I asked Colonel Garrity was why he was down in the low country there, taking those incoming artillery shells. And he said, ''State mandated our location down here rather than up there in the high country.''
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You are going to have many instances where a callous going to be between Iraqi requests and American interests. You will have Ambassador Negroponte in place. You will have General Sanchez and General Casey. Are you satisfied that the process for making the decisions on these requests is well in place and is well scrubbed?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I think it is well designed, Mr. Chairman. Until it is actually in place and the Ambassador is there, and the new Multinational Force Commander, assuming Senate approves him, General Casey is there, you only know when you exercise it. But we have actually been exercising a very similar mechanism for over two years now in Afghanistan, with exactly those kind of issues that you raise.
Not infrequently, the Karzai government has asked us to do things on its behalf, and we have questioned whether they really know what they are doing, and whether we should get in the business of enforcing the edicts of the government. We have tried to make sure they understand realistically that they should relate their own desire to direct things, related realistically to their capacity to enforce their will. I think over time it has worked out very well.
There is no question in Afghanistan, there will be no question in Iraq, that American forces report through their commander to the President of the United States. We will be getting input from all directions, including from our good ambassador, including from the Iraqi political authorities. But the ultimate responsibility for the safety of our forces rests with their commander and with their Commander in Chief.
The CHAIRMAN. And last, Mr. Secretary, we have had in some cases offerings from other states in the neighborhood, of sending forces in. And it is clear, whether it is the Egyptians or the Turks, the Saudis, you have resources in the neighborhood, and military resources that could be utilized, and in some cases could be utilized to displace American forces. To date, our understanding is that this has been strongly resisted by the Iraqi leadership, the idea of having a contingent from Egypt come in, for example, military forces, Saudi, Turkey, other locations.
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Do you think it is wise to continue to basically go along with this resistance, and for the Iraqi Government itself to resist this help from neighboring states which could provide very substantial forces and obviously have logistical lines that would be much shorter than those, than the ones that are currently being exercised with this coalition of some nearly 20,000 forces from around the world?
What do you think about this? Are we going to see any change here? Is there any more diplomatic way to invite this participation?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. We talked about this specifically, and the Prime Minister is quite prepared to join us in requesting other countries to participate, with the important exception that they do not want any troops from neighboring countries, because that raises large political issues. I think even if one neighbor doesn't raise all of the issues, it opens it up to other neighbors.
But beyond that, including Egypt specifically, they are quite prepared to work with us to encourage international contributions. They understand its importance.
The CHAIRMAN. You are saying they will entertain contributions, but not personnel?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. No, no contributions of forces. Absolutely no contribution of forces. But they would also say, The highest priority is standing up our own people, getting them equipped, and establishing Iraqi pride that they can defend their own country.
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Those are not mutually exclusive objectives, and I think we will get help in bringing in; certainly this government, this new Iraqi Government will do everything it can to encourage other countries to contribute forces associated with the United Nations.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
The gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Skelton.
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
Mr. Secretary, you have mentioned a number of positive accomplishments in your opening statement. And I agree there certainly have been a number of good things that have happened in Iraq this last year.
The deficiencies seem to be centered on one, and that is the security quagmire that we find ourselves in. I think that prevents so much of continued good things. For instance, the $18 billion that we have appropriated for reconstruction, only $3.7 billion have been spent because of the security situation that is there.
I see, Mr. Secretary, two Iraqs. One is the optimistic Iraq that you describe; and we thank you for your testimony; and the other Iraq is the one that I see every morning with the violence, the deaths of soldiers and Marines; and I must tell you, it breaks my heart a little bit more every day.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And to use a phrase, the face of evil, it is there. The security situation is a Damocles sword that hangs over this entire positive work that you and our country are doing to achieve this. It seems to me that because of this and allowing it to get started, it has caused us to fall short.
Mr. Secretary, Ambassador Bremer commented in this last Sunday's Washington Post on mistakes he thought he had made as the CPA leader relative to what was happening in Iraq. May I ask you from your perspective; as one of the architects of this engagement, what are the lessons that you have learned in the last 15 months of what should have been done better, what should have been done differently?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Mr. Skelton, let me start by, you said I presented an optimistic picture. Maybe it is optimistic compared to the total gloom and doom that one otherwise hears,but I in no way to minimize the security problem. I agree with you. It is the obstacle to all of the other progress that is being made. It is incredibly serious.
I gave you a recital, every Iraqi we met with is under some degree of death threat. We know about the horrible killing and wounding of our wonderful Americans. And there is no way to adequately describe how violent the situation is there and how threatening it is. I think it is also, though, important to stop and think about the nature of the enemy.
The enemy consists primarily of two groups. One is the people who kept Saddam Hussein in power for 35 years. He did not kill hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and torture even more single handedly. He had some thousands of people in his so called Mukhabarat, the so called intelligence service, which is probably best described as a modern day equivalent of the Nazi Gestapo.
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He had other even more horrendous killers in something called the Fedeyeen Saddam, which is like the Hitler youth or like the Schutzstaffein (SS) perhaps. This was a regime that depended for its survival on absolute terror.
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Secretary, let me interrupt, if I may. I understand. But my question is: What lessons we have learned, you have learned the last 15 months?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. This is part of the lesson, if I may.
Mr. SKELTON. Please.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. It was a regime that survived with thousands of killers, and it was a regime that began making alliance with another group of killers, those people associated with bin Laden and particularly this man named Zarkawi, who has now emerged as probably the most significant author of suicide bombings in Iraq today.
That is the enemy we are fighting. It is a truly evil enemy. And if you want to say what might have been underestimated, I think there was probably too great a willingness to believe that once we got the 55 people on the black list, the rest of those killers would stop fighting. The key to defeating them, I believed before the war.
I believe now the key to defeating them all along has been getting Iraqis trained and equipped and capable of fighting them as quickly as possible.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In fact, we went through some of this argument before the war about whether it was necessary or not to train free Iraqi forces. As you may recall, we did, in fact, set up a base in Hungary to do it. There was so much resistance to the idea within our government that by the time the war began, we had only trained a total of 71 people. It could have been much more. We could have started on that whole project earlier.
But we are on that project. It is the key to success. Getting Iraqi forces up and fighting for their country is the answer. There are plenty of them who want to do it. If you have any doubt about its being an answer, then go and read the letter that Zarkawi sent to bin Laden in Afghanistan, in which he says explicitly that it will be suffocation for us, ''suffocation'' is the word he uses, when we are fighting Iraqis who are fighting for their own country and for their own brothers.
Mr. SKELTON. Were there other mistakes besides thinking that if you got the 55 people, that would put an end to the violence? Other mistakes, or things that you would have done differently over the last 15 months?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. There is a list of might have beens. And in all of those lists of might have beens and reasons why we are having trouble, I have never heard anyone mention the name of Abu Abrahim. Abu Abrahim is a leader of the so called May 15th organization. It is a Palestine professional killer group that has been harbored by Saddam for 25 years in Baghdad. He is one of the world's masters in plastics explosives. And he is still out there making bombs today to kill Americans.
That has got much more to do with why we are having trouble than with whether or not there were enough State Department people in CPA headquarters in Baghdad. By the way, there were plenty.
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The fact is, you can can second guess a lot of decisions. There were some that we might have done differently. There were some that were done brillantly. Let me talk about one in particular.
I hear constant comment that we didn't have enough troops; I will say two things about that. First of all, there was a very deliberate decision, and I believe it was the correct decision, and I think General Franks was probably the key author of it and deserves credit for what I think was a brilliant plan, a plan that moved in so quickly that Saddam did not have time to explode, to burn the oil fields. He did not have time to organize massive killing fields in Iraqi cities. I think we achieved a substantial degree of surprise and saved a lot of American lives and Iraqi lives in the process.
If we had waited for a much longer, much bigger buildup that might not have been necessary, I think we would have given him time to prepare some terrible things. We will never know for sure. But it was a conscious decision; I think it was the correct decision.
I am not sure how having any more troops would have helped us to root out these elements of the old intelligence service once they had scattered out to cities like Fallujah. They are killers. Let's recognize what they are instead of trying to figure out where we did something wrong to create them. We didn't.
We have got to get them. This new government understands we have got to get them. And we understand the way to go about doing it.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC To tell you another mistake: Another mistake was not giving our people the funding flexibility to field Iraqi security forces faster. It is disappointing to me that it has taken so long to get equipment into their hands. It is finally arriving and it is arriving in large quantities, but if we had been a little less fussy about competitive contracting and a little more eager to get guns and radios in the hands of Iraqi police, it could have been done faster.
Mr. SKELTON. From your description, Mr. Secretary, I don't see an end in sight. We are stuck?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. We are not stuck, Mr. Skelton.
Mr. SKELTON. Tell us what your measurement is for success, for Americans to say, We have succeeded, and to bring the troops home. At what point? People ask me this. I have no answer.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. When it becomes an Iraqi fight, and the Iraqis are prepared to take on the fight, they are prepared to join their security forces. We are prepared to arm and equip them to do it.
I can't tell you how long that is going to take. It is dangerous. I remember when people were up here eight years ago saying we would be in Bosnia only for a year. We are finally about to end the Bosnian missions. What is it, eight years later? This is a vastly more important mission for our national security. It is important to stay and finish it.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But there is an end. The end is when Iraqis are governing their own country.
The great advantage that we have is that while those killers are incredibly evil and incredibly ruthless and generate enormous terror, by their very nature, they are not people that appeal to a broad population. The overwhelming number of Iraqis want success in this venture.
You are absolutely right in your earlier comment. What scares them the most is the lack of security. But I think that they can provide their own security. That is the key to success.
Mr. SKELTON. Is it your testimony you think that we might be there a good number of years?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I think it is entirely possible. But what I think is also nearly certain is, the more they step up, and they will be doing so more and more each month, the less and less we will have to do. We will begin to; as they take over more responsibility, we will be able to let them be in the front lines and us be in a supporting position.
That example I gave from the April 9th attack in Mosul where the Iraqis Civil Defense Corps was able, by itself, to defend the Governor and the Government House, because they knew that American forces were there, that is a success story. If American forces, simply by being there and without having to enter the combat, can enable Iraqi forces to succeed, that will be huge progress.
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Mr. SKELTON. Switching to the prison investigation. The Army has decided to appoint General Paul Kern, four star general, to oversee all of the investigation. Was this an Army decision?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I have been away. To the best of my knowledge it is an Army decision.
Do you know, General Pace?
General PACE. Sir, General Sanchez asked General Abizaid to ask the Army to appoint another officer to oversee Major General Fay's investigation, because General Sanchez felt that he needed to be part of the answers to the questions that needed to be asked. So it was an Army request, up the Army chain, and an Army decision; specifically, Acting Secretary Brownlee appointed General Kern.
Mr. SKELTON. Will he have the ability to question civilians within the chain of command regarding this investigation?
General PACE. Sir, I do not know the answer to that question. I will find out.
[The information refered to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SKELTON. Will you?
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I am concerned, Mr. Secretary, and I mentioned it a few moments ago, about the Prime Minister's announcement that he was considering imposition of martial law after June the 30th. We have our troops over there, and who is going to enforce it but our troops? And of course that flies in the face of common sense, American common sense.
I ask whether we would ever be in a position of enforcing Iraqi martial law.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I think we have to know what he means by that. As I recall the statement he made, actually it was in selected areas, and I think it would depend on what areas. It might actually be something that we might mutually agree was necessary to bring order in a particularly difficult place.
But as in Afghanistan, we certainly have no obligation to enforce edicts or decrees of the Iraqi Government that we don't agree with. I think that is why it is so important to have these consultative mechanisms that have been agreed on. Most of the emphasis in talking about them has been to give the Iraqis an input to things we might do that might cause problems for their government. But equally it is a mechanism for us warning them about things that they may do that we would not be in a position to support.
At the end of the day, we have complete control over our forces, and our forces will not do anything that their commanders and their commander in chief do not believe is appropriate.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SKELTON. My last question, Mr. Secretary. Ahmed Chalabi has been all over the news recently. And we paid him and his national congress millions of dollars; is that correct?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Yes.
Mr. SKELTON. I think it would be a good idea to seek an accounting of where that money was spent in light of the fact that we have cut him off, that we assisted in raiding his quarters, and obviously he has been discredited.
Could you provide us with an accounting, either classified or unclassified, as to how that money was spent?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I am sure we can provide a classified one.
[The information referred to is classified and retained in the Committee files.]
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I would point out that there is a mixed picture there, and we know from our commanders that some of the intelligence that his organization has provided us has saved American lives and enabled us to capture some key enemy targets.
So it is not black and white. Nothing in Iraq is black and white.
I don't think I know of any figure we are dealing with who hasn't had in one way or another to compromise with incredibly difficult circumstances the last 35 years of that country's history. Let's bear in mind there was a long period of time, right up until the Gulf War, when it was U.S. Government policy that we weren't allowed to talk to members of the Iraqi opposition. I guess that was because of the Iran-Iraq war. It is not surprising that many of them, and Chalabi is not the only one, made contacts with countries like Iran or Syria or others.
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We deal with a lot of people. Contrary to what I see over and over again in the newspapers, Chalabi was not a favorite of the Pentagon; we do not believe in having favorites. We believe the Iraqi people have got to choose their own leaders, and that means that Americans shouldn't have favorites. I am surprised that he seems to be the target for many years of particular animus from some parts of this government. But, on the other hand, there are aspects of his recent behavior that are puzzling to me.
You certainly deserve, as best we can, an accounting of what has happened with our money. I would point out, too, he is by no means the only person that we have been paying for intelligence. I assume you would be disappointed if we weren't going to all possible sources.
Mr. SKELTON. We would appreciate the classified information that you said you would furnish. Thank you.
General PACE. Mr. Skelton, if I may, sir, just clarify a bit more on my answer to your question about General Kern. General Sanchez was the officer who was the convening authority for Major General Fay's investigation.
General Sanchez asked to be replaced as a conveying authority up his chain of command. Secretary Brownlee appointed General Kern to be a new convening authority. That doesn't mean that he will be the person conducting the investigation. He will work with General Fay to determine whether or not General Fay has the authority or if he needs to appoint someone else new.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I will get the information for you about civilians, sir.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentlemen.
One thing, Mr. Secretary. We have discussed these four that we are going to have to make sure that when requests come from the Iraqi Government, as they came from the Government of Afghanistan, whether we will respond to undertake missions on their behalf or not undertake them.
And we have these forms put together where we work together with the Iraqi military. How quickly will those things move to a head and a decision at a higher level when they appear to be very close questions?
Do you understand what I am talking about? We may have some tough ones that need to go up and be resolved at the top very quickly. How will those proceed?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I hope they will proceed quickly.
One of the things sometimes is that you encounter this in government at all levels; people sort of feel it is their obligation to try to work out an agreement instead of elevating the disagreement and getting a decision. I know Secretary Rumfseld and the President both encourage people to bring them decisions. They are not afraid to make them.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think the implication of your question is a very good one, that we are not looking necessarily for compromise, we are looking for clarity.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. And sometimes that clarity needs to happen very quickly. Do you want to add anything, General Pace.
General PACE. Sir, from a commander's standpoint on the ground, the connectivity both by secure telephone and secure video teleconference (VTC) with General Abizaid to General Sanchez, if confirmed, to General Casey and General Metz and all the division commanders is very quick, very rapid. And we use it daily for very sensitive targeting, for example.
So I am very confident that if the commanders in the field need to bring questions up the chain of command, they will be able to do so very quickly.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Chairman, would you yield for a moment?
The CHAIRMAN. Certainly.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you.
General Pace, you answered that the question that the Chairman is asking, however, refers to page 16 plus in Mr. Wolfowitz's testimony. This is not a question about what you are doing now. You have the joint operating centers. What the Chairman is asking is how are the joint operating centers going to operate. Who is in charge?
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General PACE. Sir, U.S. commanders are and will remain in charge of U.S. troops. The joint operations centers are being discussed with our Iraqi counterparts right now, and we will find a way to move forward on that that works for the Iraqis and for ourselves. But we will cede no authority nor responsibility to anyone other than U.S. commanders.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. So the answer to the Chairman's question is that you haven't arrived at a modus operandi between the Iraqi sovereign government and yourselves as to how you are going to conduct military operations. Nothing exists and we are turning it over on the 30th.
General PACE. I would not say it that way, sir. I would
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. You don't have to say it that way. I just said it. Is that correct or not?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. No, it is not correct. When they operate in joint operations, they are under the command of the multinational force commander, which means the American commander. Joint Operations Center is to coordinate so that the forces operate together in a coherent way.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Who is in charge of the center?
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary WOLFOWITZ. The center is not in charge of anything. It is a coordination center. It is the American commander that is in charge of the troops.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. So the Iraqis aren't in charge of their own operations.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. If they go into a joint operation with us, they are committing their forces to unified command, just as the Poles are or the British if it is a joint operation. They have the authority
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Who is in charge of the unified command? All you have got do is answer the question.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. The Multinational Force Commander, who is an American general.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. So the Americans are still in charge. That's the answer.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. The Multinational Force sanctioned by the United Nations with a U.S. Commander is in charge. It is actually a United Nations sanctioned force.
The CHAIRMAN. The key question here was simply as this walks up. Some of these questions are going to be very tough and they need to get up to the top quickly, to Ambassador Negroponte and General Sanchez, soon to be General Casey. And that's the question, Mr. Secretary. But I think that has been answered, well answered, those questions will move quickly to the top when they have to.
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Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that your understanding? Thank the gentleman. That is my understanding, that those questions will move very quickly when the circumstances compel it.
General PACE. Yes, sir.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. That is right.
General PACE. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Okay. Thank you. The gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Weldon.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, General, thank you for being here. I am not going to try to second guess our actions in Iraq because I have been supportive of them and I am very proud of the job that our troops and their leaders have done. Having visited the theater, I am continually impressed with the quality of leadership that has been provided.
However, this hearing regards the future of Iraq and the topic that I think will have the most bearing on the long-term success of Iraq has not been discussed. And I raised this issue last week with the State Department and I will continue to raise this issue, because I think it is at the heart of the problem we are experiencing right now. And that is Iran. The problem, in my opinion, with our instability in Iraq is being caused by the Khomeini regime in Iran. Over 15 months ago, we started providing information to the Intelligence Community that the Iranians were in fact under Khomeini setting up a separate entity, separate from legitimate government. In fact, the first $70 million of funding to al Sadr occurred 8 months ago, before anyone knew Sadr's name. We knew that was the case, or at least the Intelligence Communities did.
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If we look at what is happening in Iran right now, only nine percent of their population came out to vote in elections this year. It is not a problem with the Iranian people. It is a problem with Khomeini's regime: Khomeini seeing on one side Afghanistan stabilizing; on the other side, Iraq about to be stabilized. And then we see right down the road, Colonel Qadhafi giving up his weapons of mass destruction without us firing a single shot.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that Khomeini understands his days are numbered. If Iraq, in fact, is successful in controlling their own country and securing their own borders and securing their own civilization, then eventually the Khomeini regime will fall.
Just recently, in fact last month, the Revolutionary Guard took over an airport outside of Tehran, a brand new airport that the Government of Iran had actually contracted Turkish authorities to run. The Revolutionary Guard took over that airport and, in a statement they issued, said it would be a bad signal for Iran to allow a Turkish entity to come in and operate that airport.
We saw Khomeini last month put several dozen legislators, all members of the Revolutionary Guard, into their Parliament as an effort to destabilize and have significant influence in the Parliament. We have seen significant efforts at developing a crash program on a nuclear weapon. In fact, I will tell you where the work is being done. It is being done at Isfayhan. There are 17 enrichment operations underway right now in Isfayhan. Their goal is to have a nuclear bomb within 6 months.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, I am not giving classified information, Secretary Wolfowitz, because I gave this information to the Intelligence Committee in a document that thick, including our new Intelligence Committees, over the past 15 months. In my opinion we are not putting enough focus on Iran. In fact, there was just a meeting of Khomeini's separate entity that he has established, separate from the government, just last week where the head of the terrorist action in Iraq informed Khomeini that during 10 days, 12 suicidal attacks were carried out inside of Iraq and he was congratulated by Khomeini.
So in my opinion, the bulk of what we are seeing in terms of unrest in Iraq is being carried out both by Iranians, by those groups being supported by Iran's money, and by those organizations that are determined not to have Iraq be a stable nation. In fact most recently, Khomeini has announced $3 billion for an internal program inside of Iran to control its population by using mosques.
And so my question is the same one I posed to the State Department: What is our plan to deal with Iran, because we don't want another Vietnam where neighboring countries, when we are finished and have done our job, and I think done it quite well, then have the constant barrage of impact by a neighbor that sees the long-term success of Iraq directly jeopardizing the capability of Khomeini's regime to stay in power? That is where I think the problem is.
And so my question to you; and I realize this is really a State Department issue; but obviously it has to have your input: What are we doing about Iran? And what are we doing about Khomeini's activities fomenting so much unrest? In fact right now, the major goal of Khomeini's regime is to increase the price of oil to $50 a barrel, he has said it privately to his own people, $50 a barrel; because he thinks that is the greatest way to invoke unrest in America and the West.
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Now, these factors are in fact true and taking place, and at least five of the major suggestions provided to me by these people have all come true, including their crash program on a nuclear weapon. What is our plan to deal with Iran? Because I think in the long term, that is going to be the ultimate determination of the success that we will have in Iraq.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I think I will take your invitation, Mr. Weldon, and say that it is a State Department issue, but it is a big issue. Everywhere we went in Iraq, we heard strong expressions of concern about destabilizing activities by several of their neighbors, particularly Syria and Iran. And there is no question in their minds; and I think you are right, that neither of those countries want to see success in Iraq. They are in many ways terrified of it.
And I think part of an effective strategy has to be figured out dealing with those two neighbors in particular. I think it is important to recognize that this whole problem is a multifaceted problem. I agree with you, Iran is important. I wouldn't say it is the key to everything. I think Iraq is important. I wouldn't say it is the key to everything. Saudi Arabia is incredibly important. It is under assault right now, probably by some of those same people who want to get $50 a barrel for oil. Syria is part of the problem. The Arab-Israeli issue is part of the problem. Afghanistan, we know, is part of the problem. Pakistan and potential incivility there is part of the problem.
We are facing an unholy alliance of killers and terrorists who want to take the Arab and Muslim world backwards as far as they can take it and want to bring us down in the process. And I think we sometimes make a mistake of thinking we can split hairs and say this group is against us, but that group isn't really, or Zarqawi is against us in Iraq, he isn't really a member of al Qaeda. These groups work with one another, and I think the President has been right since he first said that we need to deal with terrorism systematically, with all the global terrorist networks and all the state sponsors of terrorism. Clearly, Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism and we are seeing some of that effect today.
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The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Spratt.
Mr. SPRATT. Mr. Secretary, General Petraeus told us last week that the Iraqi Army that he is training will number around 35,000. And this is obviously insufficient to hold this violent, fractious country together. And you have to be struck by the contrast. We maintain 140,000 troops. They have 35,000 troops, a fourth of our troop level. I know they have other forces. But General Petraeus also told us, for example, with respect to the border police, I can do the math, I know the number of kilometers of border here and I know the number of border police forces. And I just don't see them able to do that mission.
Let me ask you several questions in that regard. Does the small size of the Iraqi Army, relatively small, require the United States to have a sizable deployment in Iraq for some years to come?
Second, given the necessity of the Army in making this country more stable and more secure, why is its training lagging behind the training of the other security forces?
And then, finally, if we have to maintain substantial troops there for some years to come, are you concerned about our forces, and in particular about our Reserve and Guard components? We have 168,000 on active duty now. We are implementing stop loss orders. We are extending tours. Are you worried about the effects on our all volunteer forces if we are there for some period of time to come?
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Let me just ask one thing. Did you say, why is the Army being trained relatively slowly compared to the other forces?
Mr. SPRATT. Yeah. As I understand, there are about 9,000 trained military. If you look at the other security force components, they are much more fully trained, and sooner than any of the other. Now, I know it takes a while to get the army up and trained, but nevertheless we have been there more than a year. Are we concerned that if we build up a strong army that it might take advantage of the unstable situation, and a strong man, an authoritarian figure, might seize control again?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Those are all very good questions. Let me try to start with an answer and ask some more. First of all, on that specific question, the Army, as designed by us at least, takes longer to train because it is a force oriented toward external defense, whereas a civil defense corps is basically sort of an initial three week training, and then the rest is on the job training.
I think we had the wrong design for the Army, myself. And I think the Prime Minister is changing that orientation. With the kind of international presence that is in Iraq today, he doesn't need to worry about external defense. And it is in our interest to have him concentrate on dealing with the real enemy, which is this internal one. I think that the Iraqi Army doesn't need to be as elaborately equipped or as elaborately trained, and I think we can probably stand up capable army units for the internal administration of that unit.
Mr. SPRATT. Surely you don't think 35,000 troops is sufficient to hold this country together, ourselves being 140,000, to be pushing the envelope itself?
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Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I don't, Mr. Spratt, and I don't think that 75,000, which would be the 35,000 plus the 40,000 in the National Guard are enough. In fact, I have been asking questions for a long time about what is the right number, and keep being defeated by people who say, well, we aren't at the 35,000 yet. We aren't at the 40,000 yet. Wait until we get there.
I think we will find; and I hope sooner rather than later, that we get there and we need more. And let me say there is no shortage of Iraqis to serve in those armed forces. The shortage is going to be equipping them, and I don't think that should be beyond capacity to handle. The Iraqis have funds. We are spending $4 billion a month, as you know very well, on our own forces. It would be a huge saving to be able to substitute Iraqi forces, which are much cheaper. And our European allies and our rich Gulf countries I think have some obligations to step up and help supply that.
So I think I am kind of with the premise of your question, 70,000 or 35,000 plus 40,000, may well not be enough. I would say it probably isn't enough.
Mr. SPRATT. Well, that has been the question. Do we take up the slack, or, if not, what do we do?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I think we should, they are capable of fielding much more than is in our plan. And if more is needed, then we should make plans to do more. That is my view.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I accept the point that first things first, and you need to start along the path we are on, but I think we should be prepared to expand beyond it. I do not believe it makes any sense to have Americans defending Iraq when Iraqis are prepared to step up and do the job.
The border enforcement issue which you raise is, I mean, it is in the long term, it is their problem and there is a question whether any country can provide the sort of security to stop anyone from coming across the border. You can make it more difficult, but you also have to keep in mind, I think, the greater border problem still today is the ability of people to come legally through border crossings. And that is one of the reasons why the initiative I mentioned earlier, to have some kind of biometric identity card so that people can't hide so easily once they are in the country, would be a very important step forward, probably as important as border enforcement.
But again to come back to the basic point of your question and to come to your point about what we can sustain in the long term, the key to reducing our presence in Iraq is getting Iraqis to step up. They are ready to step up in enormous numbers. I don't think there is a shortage of manpower. I don't think there is a shortage of willingness to risk your life and die. We see that in large numbers. There is, unfortunately, a shortage of funding to equip them. And I hope if we find that we don't have enough of them, we aren't going to find another shortage in funding. That is one of the reasons why we asked for this $500 million in authority, not funding but just authority, to go into DOD funds to train and equip Iraqi armed forces. And I think we still encounter a sort of old Cold War mentality that somehow security assistance should be a State Department function.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SPRATT. Could I ask a question? The light is red, but you said one of your concerns is foreign infiltration. That is a concern we all have. It changes the nature of the conflict there. But isn't one solution to go ahead and strengthen the border patrol so that you can make borders less porous, less penetrable by these foreign elements?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Absolutely. But recognize what kind of borders we are talking about. Especially on the Iranian border, you are talking about miles and miles of mountainous terrain. There is no way you can seal off that kind of a border. You can make it more difficult; and theirthe border enforcement, the border police force, should be strengthened.
But I come back to my other point. The best way to control borders is on either side. Congressman Weldon's point: The Iranians and the Syrians could do a lot to control the borders if they felt it was in their interest or we compelled them to think it was in their interest. And the Iraqis could do a lot more to control infiltration on their side if they had a way of tracking who is legitimately where they are and who is not.
Everywhere I have talked to Iraqis and to American security people, they all agree that some kind of nonforgeable identity card would be a huge step forward in that regard. So you need to look at border security, I think, in a broad way. I am not arguing about better security on the borders themselves, but it is not the main part of the answer.
Mr. SPRATT. We have some questions about the budget which we will submit for the record. We would appreciate your answers. Thank you, sir.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Thank you Mr. Spratt.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Saxton.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, General, thank you for being here today and being so frank with us. Over the past year and a half or so, we have had many discussions about progress and the kind of progress that we would like to see in Iraq. We have seen progress to a degree in rebuilding infrastructure and we know how important it is to rebuild the oil infrastructure in particular. We have seen progress in Iraqi society, particularly in schools opening and schools being rebuilt and health care institutions being reopened and equipped and put into operation.
Just last week, General Petraeus was here via satellite, and he talked about plants opening; and he was particularly proud of one asphalt plant that had been opened up in the northern part the country. And we have seen progress in standing up governments as well. The first time I visited Iraq last November, again, General Petraeus hosted us in Mosul, and we saw local people for the first time in decades taking part in their local government and in security for the northern part of the country.
In spite of the fact that we have seen progress in all of these areas, the nature of the questioning this morning strongly suggests that we would like to see more. And that depends on, we think, on more success, more progress in terms of our security; of the security that we are able to provide there.
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So my question is this: Knowing that this has been a particularly difficult time in terms of violence in Iraq, because people were trying to stop the Iraqi people from standing up their own government, and recognizing as well that it is unrealistic for us to expect the violence to subside after June the 30th, for some period of time, what do you see in terms of the progress over, let's say, the next six months in terms of security forces, in terms of what we might expect to see in terms of the Iraqi people being able to provide the kinds of security that will really make a difference, not only on the security side but on the infrastructure rebuilding side, on the Iraqi society side, as well as the economy and the success of the government?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I know General Pace has something to say, and I will turn to him in just a minute. But I think Mr. Skelton's point earlier, that all the progress that we have made on the whole range of things on the civilian side is fundamentally threatened by the lack of security. In fact, I think most Iraqis would say the lack of security is their greatest personal concern. Electricity is starting to be fixed. Health care is 30 times higher expenditures than it was under Saddam. Schools are being fixed.
By the way, significantly, a lot of that work is being done with Iraqi monies. Some $800 million of Iraqi money has gone to our commanders and to local governments to fix schools and fix hospitals as just one example.
But as long as the situation, the security situation, remains as bad as it is, there is enormous anxiety. And, moreover, the enemy is targeting a lot of that progress. It is not an accident that it is harder to hit Americans, so they go after electricity, they go after the oil infrastructure.
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I think I will let General Pace speak now, but I think it would be wrong to suggest that the violence is going to suddenly subside after June 30. I think the enemy is going to be targeting this process all the way through elections. And elections, of course, create another opportunity for intimidation and terror which this enemy will work at. But I think as we go forward, we may not see a reduction in enemy activity, but I think we will see a steady increase in Iraqi capacity.
General PACE. Yes, sir. I would echo that, Mr. Saxton. First of all, as you know, sir, about 250,000 Iraqis are required, by our estimates, for their own security. And about 226,000 of those are on duty now in one capacity or another. Many of them need further training. Example: The police force; we are training about a thousand police a month in Jordan, the Jordanians are. That is going to increase to about 1,500 a month. There are police academies inside of Iraq that are producing about 500 a month now and will increase to about 1000. They are looking to countries, NATO countries. For example, there is a NATO summit at the end of this month. We are hoping that more countries outside of Iraq will offer to help, to help train, so as we focus on the number one priority, which is to make the Iraqi security forces of all flavors more capable, I think you will see a sustained increase in that capacity.
What I really wanted to say most was that we should expect more violence, not less, in the immediate weeks ahead as our enemies understand that the Iraqi people are about to do what our enemies most fear, which is to take control of their own government and start making representative decisions about the future of their own country. And this is a great threat to our enemies, and we can expect that they will try disrupt that in any way they can.
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Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Chairman, if I could just have one quick follow up question. You know, it is very difficult for us from our vantage point here in the U.S. to gauge progress in these areas because, quite frankly, you know, it seems to me the tendency to report on bad news rather than good news for whatever reasons. And I am wondering if, Mr. Secretary, any thought has been given to how we can convey the true nature of progress in Iraq that the American people have been unable to gauge for themselves because of access to that information.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. It is a constant challenge to us, and I wish I knew a silver bullet answer. It certainly makes a big difference when Members of Congress visit. I think they bring back a firsthand perspective that is invaluable, and often you can bring some press along with you that I think help also, because, frankly, part of our problem is a lot of the press are afraid to travel very much so they sit in Baghdad and they publish rumors, and rumors are plentiful. I think as our soldiers come back and they get an opportunity to get around the country and tell their own stories, that may help.
But we are up against some heavy competition. The Arab media, like al Jazeera, have no interest in telling the story straight, and I think our own media have some responsibility to try to present a balanced picture instead of always gravitating for the sensational. And the violent is admittedly sensational.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Arkansas, Dr. Snyder.
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Dr. SNYDER. Mr. Chairman, I think Mr. Abercrombie was in the room, I think he did get in the room; am I right, Neil?
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. We will take the gentleman's word for it. The gentleman from Hawaii, Mr. Abercrombie.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Secretary Wolfowitz, you indicate the one of the things you said was we shouldn't have favorites. I have read your testimony. One of the things you have on page four is you call the supporters of the cleric al Sadr, ''nags.'' you have the Coalitional Provisional Authority
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. That is a typo, Mr. Abercrombie. It should be gangs.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay. Gangs.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Thank you for catching it. It may have been a Freudian typo, but
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I would really read your testimony. I can do proofreading apparently.
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Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Thank you.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. You say ''gangs.'' I am not sure that that improves the problem I think you have there. The Coalition Provisional Authority has done polling recently. I mentioned in the last hearing Sadr, right, I know is second only to Sistani in terms of favorability throughout Iraq67 percent favorability. At the same time, you say on page 3 and extend on up to 15, 16, full partnership.
Now, I am going to go back over the questions that I have raised in previous sessions with you, because I still don't have an answer and I believe the Chairman's question has not been answered yet. Who, exactly, is going to be in charge after June 30? If we have this full partnership and we are not picking favorites, who is going to be in charge, whether it is the prisons, trials, prosecutions, Iraqi Army actions, border patrol activity, the special operations that are supposed to; Iraqi intervention forces that are supposed to be operating in the urban areas? Who is going to be in charge of issuing the orders with respect to attacks or responses to the violence that General Pace says is bound to increase?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Mr. Abercrombie, I think it might help to think about the fact that in a country like Korea, even today, we have a clearly sovereign government with enormously capable armed forces.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Excuse me. Secretary Wolfowitz, the time is short. I am not interested in Korea because it is not a parallel situation. South Korea does not have the same elements that we are talking about here.
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Secretary WOLFOWITZ. In the event of war, it would have very much the same elements and Korean armed forces would be under U.S. command, as U.S. forces are, both in peacetime and in wartime. And it is the tension between a sovereign country that is sovereign in its own country, and it depends on the United States or the international community for critical security support that they can't provide for themselves. There is not a formula for working it out. It has to be worked out in partnership. But I would say two principles of the partnership are our forces
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Is it being worked out?
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Abercrombie, Secretary Wolfowitz
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Our forces are under
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Wolfowitz, would you suspend for just a second? Mr. Abercrombie, you are asking good questions. They are somewhat complex questions. You have got to let the witness be able to answer the question. If you don't give him more than two or three seconds to start his answers, we are not going to be able to have a good constructive dialogue.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I don't want the answers to get started. I just want the answers.
The CHAIRMAN. And I think it is
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Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Chairman, either we are having this process completed before June 30 or we don't. If we don't, the answer is that we don't have it done.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, Mr. Abercrombie, you can dictate your questions. You can't dictate his answers, and you have to give him an opportunity to give his answers and we are going to give him plenty of time, so let's
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. All right.
The CHAIRMAN. Let's let him answer fully.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. After June 30, all operations of U.S. forces and the Multinational Forces (MNF), part of the MNF, will be under U.S. command, clear U.S. command, reporting ultimately to the President of the United States. Iraqi forces that are committed to joint operations will be under the same command; that is a joint command headed by the Multinational Force commander. Iraqi forces, if they choose to undertake independent operations, are free to do so. It is a sovereign government, although they are obliged under the terms of these letters to coordinate with the Multinational Force commander, and where there are sensitive issues of policy, we are committed to reaching agreement on what to do. Similarly, where we plan to undertake sensitive offensive operations that cause issues for the Iraqi Government, we are committed to consulting with them on matters of policy to reach some common understanding. I think that is a very clear arrangement. It is as clear as it is possible to be. It is going to depend on circumstances and on concrete cases.
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But I would say, based on just a few weeks experience of working with this new government, even before they are sovereign, I am quite confident the mechanisms will work.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. So if the troops that you outline in your testimony here, for example, the border police, 20,000 by July, fully equipped by September, the other forces, Facility Protection Service (FPS), 74,000 are on duty, final number to be determined, but fully equipped by September; the Iraqi Army, 35,000 soldiers and 27 battalions, trained and on duty by October, et cetera. Then you should have some idea about when we can expect this to end for us. I am not asking you for a specific date.
But I am saying, I am asking you, when can we expect these fully trained and equipped elements, from special operation forces to border police, to be able to assume authority in Iraq and begin the process of withdrawing troops, particularly those in the Guard and Reserve, back to the United States? Or is the end in sight? Because, I am not asking for a specific date, but if all of this is taking place and you make testimony, as you do every time here, that everything is moving along, and, if not right on schedule, almost on schedule, surely we can have some understanding then of when our obligations are going to be taking another level.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. We can do our best, Mr. Abercrombie, but let's think about Bosnia, which is a vastly simpler case. Nobody was shooting at us, and yet eight years ago people said we will be out in a year. And I don't think anyone would have been able to tell you in eight years we will be out, which is where we are about to be. And this is a war, we are fighting an enemy which is a very determined enemy, which is determined to try to upset this process and I think is going to make a particularly determined effort over the next six months or so, because once there is a elected government I think they are going to face a very, very serious defeat, which they are trying to prevent. So I would
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Mr. ABERCROMBIE. You continually use Bosnia as an example, but you don't represent it accurately. On the contrary, where Bosnia is concerned we had specific times of drawdowns, which we have met. We have gone from thousands of troops, with specific numbers of troops being drawn down at specific times, and all that has worked because we had the infrastructure there in place.
I suggest to you that what you are proposing here is virtually schizophrenic. On the one hand you are saying everything is working according to the plans that we have, if not exactly on time, almost on time. And yet when it comes to the United States being able to extract itself in an honorable fashion and in an orderly fashion, it suddenly disappears. If you are going to use Bosnia as an analogy rather than a parallel, then it seems to me that you should stick with it as an analogy and give us the drawdown time.
Mr. WELDON. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Certainly.
Mr. WELDON. My good friend and colleague, I just have to state for the record I can fully remember, because I have given this speech probably 30 times, the President of the United States telling us we would be out of Bosnia by Christmas of 1998, emphatically, end of record. That was what he told us. Christmas of 1998. This is June of 2004. And we are still in Bosnia.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Well, reclaiming my time.
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The CHAIRMAN. Let the Chair reclaim the time for just a second. I would say to my good friend from Hawaii, we have got about 30 folks here that need to ask questions. The gentleman has had a pretty good run at the Secretary, and I would like to recognize
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Let me just say that Bosnia is a not analogy. I said Bosnia was vastly simpler because there wasn't an enemy trying to defeat us; and it is the enemy in Iraq that makes things unpredictable. And I also didn't say that everything is going swimmingly on schedule. I said our equipping of Iraqi security forces is sadly behind schedule, partly because of our cumbersome contracting procedures. I think it is finally on schedule. I am hopeful, but I think we are reasonably confident, reasonably confident, about the numbers we have given you about what we expect they will be capable of fielding by the end of this year, and that should make a significant difference.
I can't tell you how big a difference, and I agree with Mr. Spratt in saying I am not convinced that it is enough, but it will get us substantially improved over where we are today. And I think there is no question in my mind that at some point a relative handful of killers, no matter how ruthless they are, can be defeated by an Iraqi people that in the vast majority does not want to see a return to the old horrors.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Well, I will conclude, Mr. Chairman, by saying that does not answer the question with respect to the responsibility of the United States, then, to keep on providing military forces when we don't have them, when we continue to have stop losses for Guard and Reserve and when we do not have a clear understanding of what our deployment schedules are going to be or requirements were going to be, and this committee is going to have to deal with that.
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The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman for a very fulsome question. And the gentleman from New York, Mr. McHugh.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Gentlemen, welcome. I am tempted to ask, to demand, what our exit strategy is from Germany, seeing as how we are still there a half a century later. I can't help but express my frustration when I hear members of this committee demand an exit strategy when we will be done, but don't need a date to tell us that. I think the strategy has been outlined. I suggest perhaps our debate should be focused upon the fact of whether or not the strategy will work. I don't think any of us know the answer to that at the moment.
But having said all of that, Mr. Secretary, I want to go back to our opening comments. People like to say what mistakes were made. I happen to believe a mistake is something that you know should not be done, that all evidence suggests that if you do it you are stupid, but you do it anyway. I think there have, rather than mistakes been made, lessons to be learned as we look back. I can't imagine a military engagement of this or any other size that suggests after the fact that, had you known then what you hold in your intelligence now, you would be doing some things differently.
I think the disbanding of the Iraqi Army in its totality was probably something as a lessons learned we might have done differently. You commented that you believe that or suggest the possibility that Prime Minister Allawi may in fact issue a rescission of that order. Given where we are today, I am not sure now that that is the right thing to do. I am not sure that it is not. But could you tell me, from your perspective, what the political reaction of that would be amongst al Sadr and his supporters, particularly the Shia population, Ali Sistani, Grand Ayatollah and others, to the reconfiguration of that Army that by and large was a Suni instrument of suppression?
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Secretary WOLFOWITZ. You have just described the very dilemma that led Ambassador Bremer to decide to dissolve the Army, which, by the way, had largely gone home anyway. It was a conscript Army and heavily overweighted with officers, which is where the issue arises. But most of that army were getting $2 a month, and they had no interest in coming back on duty. But the issue has to do; and it is a legitimate issue, as to whether or not that order may have alienated some significant number of Army officers who otherwise would have been cooperative. But, again, let us be under no illusions. It had nothing to do with the fact that the members of the old gestapo; and I don't know a better word for it, because if you say Mahabharata it doesn't mean that much. Maybe gestapo doesn't mean that much anymore to people who don't know their history, but those people didn't decide to fight us because we disbanded the Army. Saddam Hussein was out there funding fights against us until December. He didn't make that decision because of our decision on the Army. So let us be clear. The core of the Army are the hard core killers and they have been there since the beginning. This issue about the Army has to do with whether some officers, who otherwise are decent people, might have provided some at least passive support to the enemy because they were disillusioned. And I think the Prime Minister is trying to pull those people back and at the same time do it without, as your question properly suggests, providing ammunition for somebody else, Sadr, or maybe a more reasonable person, to say this government is bringing back the old regime.
I am absolutely certain this government has no intention of bringing back the old regime. I gave you a recital earlier of how Allawi himself suffered from the old regime. I was very struck, in fact, when General Latif, who was the initial man in charge of the Fallujah Brigade, who is an Army veteran himself, spoke with eloquence, not too far along the lines of Mr. Weldon, that our neighbors do not want us to succeed, he said, in this hard bid in general, because they know that a genuine democratic Iraq is going to be a threat to them. And he clearly meant particularly, I think, Syria and Iran. He believes in it. He doesn't want to go back.
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But after what Iraq has been through, there are a lot of people who will be fearful that bringing back old army officers might represent a return to the past. The Prime Minister has a challenge. It is much better that this challenge be faced by an Iraqi than by an American administrator. I imagine he will make mistakes, or at least he will make errors of judgment that he will go in one direction and the political process will scream and say you have gone too far. I think he is a smart enough man to tack and change a little. I think what democratic process is about is the ability to correct mistakes through a process of public debate and transparency. And I see Iraq heading into that era. And it needs it, because this issue of how do you handle people who served their country honorably but under a totally dishonorable regime, how do you treatment them appropriately, it is a big challenge and I am glad there will be an Iraqi government to make those judgments.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
General PACE. Sir, if I might add with regard to timing, I can't give you a precise timeline, but I do know the things that must happen. First of all, we must have a well trained, competent Iraqi security force. That will take time. We are behind for the reasons that have been stated. But that needs to happen. When they are well trained and competent, then they need to take, for example, Baghdad, where they should be; Iraqis should be standing the police beat in downtown Iraq, downtown Baghdad, excuse me. They should be doing the patrolling downtown Baghdad, and we should initially move back from the center of the city to the outside of the city, so that if they get in trouble that they can't handle, we are in close proximity to respond and support. And as they become more capable, then they take over the outer cordon as well and we will back even further. And then as they become totally capable and competent, then we can leave the country. But this should be event driven, not calendar driven.
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Mr. MCHUGH. Mr. Chairman if I might, and I couldn't agree with you more, General, and that was my point about cannot establish dates. But I would just say to my colleagues, if there is any doubt in any of our minds that the key to the success here lies in the Iraqi people and the standing up of these various security forces, just look at where more and more of the bombings are occurring. They are occurring at army recruitment centers. They are occurring at police stations where Iraqis are on duty.
I think the enemy and those who wish this fledgling democracy ill understand that as well. So I would suggest, as I started to say earlier, the strategy is what should be debated here, and at least our enemies, in part, feel the strategy very achievable.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. And now the gentleman from Arkansas, Dr. Snyder.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you Mr. Chairman. And thank you, Mr. Secretary and General Pace, for being here.
Mr. Secretary, do we have a parts problem in Iraq? Just in the last 30 minutes I got an e-mail from someone I know over there, and their platoon has three of their six dozers down because of equipment and maintenance problems. Two of their front end loaders are down because of parts and maintenance problems. And these are machines that are used for filling in containers and providing protection from blasts. Do we have continue to have a parts and maintenance problem on our vehicles?
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General PACE. Sir, there may be spot problems for specific units getting resources down to them. I am not aware of those. But I do know that this Congress has provided sufficient resources for us to have all the spare parts we need to continue this mission. If you could give me, off line, the name of the unit, sir, I can get you specificity on why that particular problem exists.
Dr. SNYDER. But you think it is a rare and spotty problem, not a systemic problem we are having with equipment and vehicles maintenance and parts?
General PACE. I do believe that; yes, sir.
Dr. SNYDER. Mr. Secretary, I wanted to ask you about this issue of the equipping of the Iraqi Army. We have had ongoing discussions about these troops and for the last six to eight months or so, Secretary Rumsfeld has said multiple times, when he would list the coalition forces, the numbers of troops, and he would add in there impressive looking numbers. But then today both in your oral statement but also in your written statement, you spent quite a bit of time talking about the equipment, and on PAGE 21 of your statement you say the Iraqi security forces need more and better equipment.
We had not planned for them to be fully equipped at this point. But you know, candidly, Mr. Secretary, when you had listed these charts in the last six to eight months that would list those troops, I think most of us assumed that if there were on the list, they were considered part of the coalition, that they had been properly equipped.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You go into detail now about getting these troops equipped. Are we on track now to have this equipment? Who is responsible for what went wrong that they were not equipped at this point in time?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. We would have to look at particular numbers. I have tried always to be careful about saying, for example, we have large numbers of police but the great majority of them are not well trained, and the big challenge has been, and it remains, to get police training up, and also equipping. I think, and this is something we are monitoring closely, and having General Petraeus there I think is a key factor. I was told just this past week that large quantities of equipment are now arriving under
Dr. SNYDER. Well, he told us last week, he says the contracting process, in his words, is up and in high gear; that there was originally a problem, he thought, at his end of things in Iraq with the contracting process.
And, you know, you talk about what might have been or trying to learn from this. We had problems with the Small Arms Protective Inserts (SAPI). We had trouble with up armored Humvees. I am hearing from folks in Iraq we have parts and maintenance problems with vehicles.
And then your statement says we are behind in our equipping of Iraqi troops. And you made reference to the Congress, in error, but I read General Petraeus' statement to say that the contracting is up and running and perhaps this is an area where advanced planning could have foreseen that we were going to need so many troops, or we want to have Iraqi troops well equipped.
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Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Dr. Snyder, I think it is important; advance planning is great. But when you are in a war, flexibility is also essential. And the Congress has given us a lot of flexibility on things like up armored Humvees and SAPI plates. I think we were able to move about $2.5 billion thanks to the flexibility you have given us against those force protection needs.
As I think you know, I think, and it is not only on this end of Pennsylvania Avenue, there are jurisdictional arguments on the other end. But this issue of whether equipping the security forces is a military mission or a foreign affairs mission I think has gotten us hung up unnecessarily and deprived us of some flexibility that would have allowed us to fill in where the plan ran into a problem.
In the case of the supplemental, the plan ran into a problem because the fairly cumbersome requirements for competitive bidding I don't think were appropriate for this particular piece of the supplemental.
Dr. SNYDER. Well, that is where I have gotten confused, because General Petraeus says the contracting process, in his words, is up and in high gear. And I don't understand how
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. It is now, but it took six months.
Dr. SNYDER [continuing]. Why have we gotten so behind, because clearly anyone's plan a year and a half ago or two years ago would have been that we are going to have an Iraqi Army that needs to be able to defend the country. The issue of the prisoner detainees, the allegations that have been made and the pictures we have seen, to me this an issue about protecting troops, protecting our troops; that anything that the world perceives as our mistreatment of our prisoner detainees, the signal will go out it is okay to treat Americans that way.
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And so I had hoped when we first heard about these allegations, that, in the words of General Myers sitting right there at that table, saying we need to get everything out on the table, to resolve it, to lance it like a boil, those are my words, I guess, from my medical background, we get it all out on the table. The sooner we can resolve this, find out who is responsible, take appropriate action, we will regain the moral authority.
The problem is it does not seem to me that you all are interested in getting things out on the table. Mr. Skelton has made multiple requests for information and documents that have not been forthcoming. I don't think any member of this committee has been able to review the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) report that Ms. Tauscher has been trying to get access to. Either we are interested in getting it out on the table or we are not.
I had asked General Myers a question about General Mowhoush. It was just a very simple question. There had been a press release put out by someone that he had died. There was no reference to any allegation of mistreatment. Then some reports got leaked from the Pentagon. The Denver Post did a story on it. My question was, did anyone ever do an updated press release? Last night and this morning I got a response back to my question, but did not answer the question. It just gave me a status of the case, but did not indicate whether it had ever been a correction of the first press release that came out. That to me is not putting everything out on the table, so that the Congress, working with you both as representatives of the American people, can regain the moral authority on this issue, with the ultimate goal being of protecting U.S. troops.
Am I missing something here on why, it doesn't seem
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Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I think we are determined to get everything out on the table. The ICRC presents a special dilemma because that organization depends on confidentiality to function, and it functions effectively in a great many countries around the world where its activity could be seriously jeopardized by this issue. We are trying to work with the Congress to find a way to get the Congress fully informed, while respecting the concerns of the ICRC.
On many of the issues that we are dealing with, we are trying to get the facts up. It is not a matter of hiding facts, but a matter of multiple investigations that are underway to try to find out what really happened and what were the causes of things.
I must say I would like to, since this subject has come up, I would like to at least clarify one thing that has been seriously misreported for almost the last 24 hours by CNN, claiming that Secretary Rumsfeld authorized some kind of extreme interrogation method in Guantanamo that I think they describe as water torture. That is wrong. CNN was told yesterday that it was wrong. They have continued running the story until, I am told, finally this morning at 8:30 they published a correction.
I was in discussions with Secretary Rumsfeld where he specifically ruled out the use of that kind of technique. I agree with you that how we treat people is important. I think it is particularly important with respect to the fact that we stand for something very different from the governments in that part of the world. I do have to tell you, though, what concerns Iraqis is winning this battle against this enemy. I was struck at how little this issue ever came up in my discussions with Iraqis when I was out there. It doesn't mean it is not a serious issue.
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Dr. SNYDER. What concerns Americans is not only winning the battle, but protecting our own troops, and regaining the moral authority on this issue is crucial to that.
Just a clarification. You are not saying, are you, that ICRC has told you they do not want Mr. Hunter or Mr. Skelton to see the ICRC report? You are not saying that to us today, are you?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I have been away. I am not certain of the exact state of the discussions. I know the ICRC has concerns about sharing information with this Congress that could cause precedents that create problems with them with other countries where the situation is more tenuous, and we are trying to work through it. We have no desire to hide the reports.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Connecticut, Mr. Simmons.
Mr. SIMMONS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you gentlemen for your testimony. As I have listened this morning, it kind of takes me back a little bit to my own service in Vietnam. The difficulty we had in this country, but in particular as a soldier, the difficulty I had in observing the dissension and criticism of the war that came from my own Representatives back stateside, and how difficult and demoralizing it was. I also think of my kids playing video games, many of which have to do with somewhat violent activities. But, you know, when the day is over, you turn the game off.
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And what comes to mind to me is the larger question as to whether the United States of Americas as a Nation and as a culture has the willpower to muster the energy to win against religious fanatics using suicide tactics. Do we have the staying power? Certainly in Korea we had the staying power. We still have troops in Korea. In Germany we had the staying power. We still have troops in Germany. Bosnia, which doesn't hold a candle to the war on Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, we still have people there.
It seems like the pressure is on to get out quick and dirty, and it doesn't really matter what the consequences of getting out quick and dirty are. Do we have the willpower? Does this Nation have the cultural resources to proceed against this kind of opponent?
General PACE. Sir, your troops certainly have the willpower and we do not mind criticism. In fact, lessons learned is what we are about as we do things, and in fact we have our lessons learned teams with us so we can learn and do better the next time.
But I agree with you. It would be nice if, in addition to the criticism, that the vast majority of wonderful things that your troops do every day got public recognition. They are doing this government and this country a wonderful service and they will stay at it and they will not blink. And they just need to know that we appreciate what they are doing, sir.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I also think you have got to look at lessons learned and where you can improve, and criticism is not only an essential feature of the democratic system, I think it is an essential feature of success. I do think it is important for the troops to hear that we are committed as a country to winning. And I think we have to be committed as a country to winning.
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We have an opportunity in Iraq, in fact, and that is what all this discussion about equipping Iraqi security forces is about, to enlisting tens of millions of Arab Muslims in this fight against a coalition of terrorist killers that have their eye on much more than just defeating us in Iraq, although defeating us in Iraq is clearly the main agenda of those people who are there.
But look what is going on next door in Saudi Arabia. I mean, they are out to bring down the government of the world's biggest oil producer.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. And it is not to do anything nice for us. Look at what they are trying to do in Pakistan, where they made two or three assassination attempts at President Musharraf.
It is, as I said earlier, it is an unholy alliance of different groups who are committed to taking the Arab and Muslim world backwards and hurting us disastrously in the process, and they understand that this battle in Iraq is crucial to their success, and I think we have to show that we equally understand that it is crucial and we are going to win it.
And we have the great majority of the Iraqi people on our side to win it. I think that is the one of our biggest strategic assets, that and the fact that we have the best young men and women in uniform any country could ever have.
Mr. SIMMONS. I thank the gentlemen for their response. I guess I will simply conclude by saying that I will do my best under Article I, Section 8 to provide you with the resources you need. I appreciate this oversight hearing.
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But I am mindful of the fact that there cannot be 535 Secretaries of Defense. There cannot be 535 commanders in the field, that we have to take some of what you have to say on faith, because that is part of the division of powers that our forefathers and foremothers established for us, and I will do my best to provide you with the support you need. I thank the Chair.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentlemen. The gentlelady from California, Mrs. Tauscher.
Mrs. TAUSCHER. Secretary, General Pace, thank you for being here. Mr. Secretary, for a long time you and the rest of the administration have talked about turning Iraq into a democratic, or at least functioning state, that will serve as a model for the region, and I don't disagree with that.
But I am deeply concerned about a precipitous withdrawal of the troops for whatever reason in the short term if we don't achieve a political end state that is satisfactory to the American people. If we cut and run in the next few months, none of this will work for the long term stability of the region, and certainly not for the people of the United States.
So I want to talk to you about those metrics of success that General Pace so articulately talked about, and I actually think that there are more that we can expand upon. But what specifically are you going to ensure that we achieve before we leave in terms of security, governance, elections, reconstruction and economic growth?
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Assuming that there is no additional assistance coming from NATO, and I have gone to many NATO meetings recently, and I can tell you there are no fresh troops on the horizon from NATO, how long do you think our troops are going to need to stay? You have used the Bosnia analogy in a tortured way, in my opinion. Frankly, we have withdrawn troops on a steady basis. We are about to withdraw most of our troops, I would say.
But you also said that it is a much easier situation in Bosnia. We have been there for eight years. Are you suggesting that we are going to be in Iraq for longer than eight years? And what does it mean that you think things are going easier somehow, and why?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I don't think I said they are going easier. I think, I tried to say over and over again, I think the next six months are going to be particularly difficult, particularly dangerous, because I think what terrifies the enemy the most is the prospect of an elected Iraqi government, which is, I mean, let me go through the five steps of the President's plan.
It starts with having this interim government established on July 1st. It includes, second, training and equipping Iraqi security forces, which we have talked about at some length now. It includes moving toward an elected government at the end of this year, the beginning of next year. It includes bringing additional international forces.
And I agree with you, they are not going to come in huge numbers. It is not because of an absence of United Nations (UN) resolutions. We have now had the fourth United Nations resolution. The problem is most of these countries don't have forces. We are having difficulty getting the NATO countries to provide the things they have committed to in Afghanistan. They have hollowed out their military over the last ten years. I suppose it is not dangerous if you think the threats have gone away, but the threats haven't gone away.
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And finally, and this is the end of next year, the plan is for there to be a constitution adopted by the Iraqi people and an elected government under that constitution. It seems to me that implies at least through the end of that time period some substantial requirements for the Iraqi security forces to need support from us.
I can't tell you how much. I think General Pace has outlined the kinds of events we would look for to gradually reduce our numbers, and also reduce our involvement, direct involvement in combat, which I think is at least as important as reducing our numbers.
You say my bringing up Bosnia is tortured. I brought it up to say that even a simple case like Bosnia has taken seven years longer than was initially predicted. I guess I would also say even a case like Bosnia, where it is in the U.S. national interest was fairly minimal, and it was a largely humanitarian action, although I happen to believe it was the correct action, it was worth sticking it out for eight years.
Other members of this committee have mentioned that we are still sticking it out in Korea, still sticking it out in Germany, this is part of fighting an enemy that has made it clear its determination to attack the United States, its determination to take down the world's oil supplies, its determination to take down every moderate government in the Arab world, its determination to oppose the advance in the Muslim world, which I think is the key to defeating this terrorist threat.
So I guess I am saying a little patience wouldn't be bad. And patience, Mrs. Tauscher, if I might say, the more the enemy senses the American people are patient, the more discouraged they will become and the less eager they will be to join this fight. The more they sense that we are impatient and maybe a few more car bombs and we will go the way of Beirut, the more car bombs there will be.
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Mrs. TAUSCHER. But the truth is that we are not in Germany in a postwar effort, we are there because of the Cold War and because of our ability, because of our cooperation through NATO and other reasons to station our troops there.
We are not in South Korea because of the post Cold Effort or because of the post Korean conflict. We are there because we happen to have a strategic reason for being there.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. No, we are there because of the North Korean threat to South Korea, just as we are in Iraq because of a threat to a new Iraqi government. And the fact is if you recall the Marshall Plan was played out in 1948, because it was viewed that the occupation of Germany and the occupation of Western Europe was going so disastrously bad that we had to come in with a major bail out. That was three years after the end of World War II. These things take time.
Mrs. TAUSCHER. What will happen, Mr. Secretary, if the elections are not able to be achieved in Iraq in December as you have laid out?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. It is possible. The enemy is going to try to make it as difficult as possible to hold elections. When you have a plan, I mean, I think it is the same in the Pentagon, no plan survives first contact with the enemy. Any plan that depends on absolute rigid following of the plan isn't a very good plan.
So it is a very important target, and we are going to work very, very hard to meet it, and if it turns out that the enemy has made it too difficult, we will have to figure out what is the way to adapt to that. But there is no question that elections are the goal. Look, we encountered that in Afghanistan. There was a plan for elections. I am sorry I have been in Iraq too long and I have forgotten my Afghanistan timetables.
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But you know we just had to slip the Afghan elections by some three months, because the UN was way behind schedule in registering people. Was that a deviation from plan? Yes. Was it a setback? Well, it was a minor one. Was it defeat? I mean, no, we are still on track to have elections in Afghanistan. They will be a little later than originally planned. But it makes a big difference to the Afghan people that they see a way ahead.
I think it makes a big difference to the Iraqi people now that they see a way ahead. One local official, I think he was a mayor of a town near Fallujah, said to General Mattis, In my heart I want you to leave tomorrow. In my head I know we need you quite a bit longer.
Iraqis are wrestling with this dilemma of resenting being occupied, wanting to govern themselves, and knowing that they don't yet have the capacity to do it. There is no magic moment when you can suddenly flip a switch and go from one to the other. That is why you need a process and a way ahead. I think the plan the President laid out, which takes us hopefully through the end of next year and a constitution, is a very good way ahead, that tells Iraqis you have a country that is worth fighting for, and I think they will do so in large numbers.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentlelady. The gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Schrock.
Mr. SCHROCK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Secretary, and General Pace, thank you for being here. I hope all of you heard what Mr. McHugh said, and Mr. Weldon said, and then my colleague from Connecticut, Mr. Simmons, and I identify myself with every bit of that.
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As far as an exit strategy is concerned, I lived in Vietnam for two years. So I know how difficult it is. And frankly we are in Germany and Korea because of a variety of complex circumstances, you know, make it in the best interests of the United States to do so, both in terms of sending signals to our enemies and our friends, and a continued presence certainly has its advantages. I think the same thing will remain true for Iraq as well.
If we have the blueprints from what the enemy is doing now and was going to do, then we might be able to have an exit strategy. We don't have that. So we play it a day at a time. Nothing in war is certain, and exit is certainly one of those that is uncertain.
I am sorry I heard one of the responses earlier this morning in the opening statements that said that they believe the Pentagon has the resolve, that questioned the competence. I don't believe that for a minute.
Some of the people who are at the top levels of the Pentagon now were my colleagues when I was still active duty. I know what great people they are. So to question the competence of anybody in the uniform I think is untrue. I am sorry that was said.
It seems like blame America first seems to be the pattern right now. I am really tired of that. There are so many optimistic and wonderful things going on in Iraq right now, as the troops are saying why don't we understand that? Why doesn't the media present that? Because good news is no news, and negativism seems to play better than the optimistic type things.
And we are seeing that in the campaigns this year. One candidate is very optimistic about our country and where it is going and one is not. And frankly, you know, the optimist sees the donut, the pessimist sees the hole. I would rather see the donut, because I think a lot of wonderful things are being done by you and by the men and women we have put in Iraq, and I think we are blessed by that and I think everything is going to turn out just great in the end. But time, it takes time. It just takes a lot of time.
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Let me ask a couple of questions. The Iraqi Prime Minister has raised the prospect of implementing martial law in various parts of the country.
Who is going to enforce such an edict, and will that edict fall to the Coalition forces or the Iraqi forces?
General PACE. Sir, any edict like that by the Iraqi government would be backed up by their own security forces.
Mr. SCHROCK. Their own?
General PACE. We would obviously have consultations with them if they were to decide that that was a path to take. We would want to discuss with them ahead of time their capacity to enforce that kind of edict. But at the end of the day, the U.S. Forces will be executing missions that are given to us by our Secretary and our President.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. We would also discuss with them the wisdom or lack of wisdom of doing it. I think they would be listening to us, just as President Karzai listens to us about edicts that he proposes.
Mr. SCHROCK. Let me do a follow up on that then. Will Coalition forces be obligated to carry out the edicts of the interim government, and how will we avoid; if that is the case, how will we avoid the perception that the interim government is truly not sovereign? Is not truly sovereign?
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Secretary WOLFOWITZ. We are not obligated to carry out their edicts. That doesn't make them unsovereign. They can carry out whatever edicts or decisions they make if they have the capacity to do so. But we are not under an obligation to enforce decisions they make if we think it is either not our role or we think it is the wrong thing to do.
If we think it is the wrong thing to do, I hope we could actually come to some agreement with them that neither of us should do it. But at the end of the day there are judgment calls here. If they make a judgment call one way, and we choose to separate ourselves from them, it wouldn't be the end of the world.
Mr. SCHROCK. Now, Mr. Secretary, the prisoners issue. Will the prisoners that are currently detained be handed over to the interim government, and what obligations will the Iraqi interim government have to treat them in a humane fashion as we have done, and hope to continue to do?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. We would certainly expect anyone we hand over to be treated humanely. And obviously that is more than just a matter of verbal assurances. I think it is a very complicated question. In part it involves their current very limited capacity to manage detainees themselves.
It involves the fact that we have certain legal authorities which are actually quite broad under the UN resolution. They don't have those legal authorities. They have their own law to work with.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What is clear to both of us is that this is an issue that is critical for us to handle effectively together, and for that reason we have agreed with the Prime Minister to set up a joint detainee committee that would include representatives from those countries holding detainees, which at the moment is ourselves and the United Kingdom, and representatives of the Iraqi government, because there are a lot of case by case decisions that are going to have to be made.
Mr. SCHROCK. Mr. Chairman, I see my time is up. Again, thank you. A week from today is going to be a fascinating day. Patience is a virtue. And I am one who doesn't have patience, I can assure you. But we are going to have to be in this case, and just take it a day at a time. It is going to work. But we just have to cut down on some of the rhetoric that we have heard and get behind the folks that are trying to make this work to make sure that the enemy isn't emboldened by some of the things that we might say up here to make them think if they hold out for one more hour or one more day that we will cave in, because we won't cave in. Our men and women won't tolerate that nor you, nor will we. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Indiana, Mr. Hill.
Mr. HILL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Secretary, thank you for being here this morning. Mr. Secretary, you have advocated for a long time, many years, a preemptive strike against Iraq. Correct?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. No, that is not correct.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HILL. Set the record straight then.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I believed for a long time that basically from the end of the Gulf War on that we should have more actively supported the Iraqi opposition in efforts to overthrow the Saddam Hussein regime, and I still think we missed quite a few opportunities, including at the end of the war and throughout the 1990's, to enable Iraqis to take their fate in their own hands and what might have spared us this situation today.
For me everything changed after September 11th. And the problem of state sponsors of terrorism, and particularly a state that had harbored, continued to harbor, a fugitive from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, a state that had contacts of a murky but ominous sort with al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda was not the sort of organization that you approached to do joint humanitarian projects. It is exclusively a terrorist organization. The mere fact of contact is disturbing. All of that said, to me that we are in a different era and we had to think about the Iraqi problem in a different way. And by the way, I don't believe the action the President took can be called preemption. It was after what, 17 UN resolutions, 12 years of a failing containment policy, a constant virtually daily bombing of Iraq, a large American military presence in Saudi Arabia to support that containment that was destabilizing the Saudi government. It certainly wasn't preemptive.
Mr. HILL. Did you make this decision to remove Saddam Hussein based upon intelligence from Chalabi?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. First of all, I didn't make the decision. Second, the intelligence I relied on
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Mr. HILL. Let me restate the question. Did you arrive at a conclusion that Saddam Hussein had to be removed because of information that you have received from Mr. Chalabi?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. No. I relied on the intelligence that I got from our Intelligence Community. I relied on certain things that are open facts, like the fact that Saddam was harboring a bomber from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
I didn't need Mr. Chalabi to tell me that. If Chalabi's intelligence was part of what we were getting from the Intelligence Community, you would have to ask the Intelligence Community about that.
In fact I recall one memo from the Intelligence Community that I read in the year 2002, that analyzed a grand total of five sources they claimed that they had gotten from the Iraqi National Congress and basically dismissed all but one of them. So I don't believe it was an important part of our intelligence.
Mr. HILL. Why were we paying him $300,000 a month then?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. We have gotten some very valuable intelligence since the war from his organization about the location of key enemies. It has helped us to capture, for example, I believe the number is six of the people who were identified in the documents that were captured with Saddam Hussein.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One of our division commanders has said it has saved American lives. We pay a lot of people for intelligence. We are paying a lot of people quite a bit more than that. You have to go into a classified hearing to assess whether it is worth it or not. This was not, by the way, it was funded, it was a use of money that Congress appropriated under the Iraq Liberation Act. I don't know if you remember at the time in 1998, I think it was some $97 million.
Some of it was devoted to this operation by the Iraqi National Congress called the information collection program. It was funded out of the State Department until whatever time in the year 2002, I believe when State said this is essentially an intelligence operation, we shouldn't be funding it. It was a general judgment that it was bringing in potentially information of value. And so since we have with the Defense Intelligence Agency a mechanism for collecting intelligence, the funding was channeled through us.
Mr. HILL. Mr. Secretary, I think the evidence is overwhelming that you and Mr. Perle and others decided a long time ago that Saddam Hussein had to be removed prior to September the 11th. I think that you are somehow trying to connect in ways that I don't understand September the 11th and Iraq. I don't think there is a connection. I think the evidence is overwhelming. But we are where we are today based upon decisions that have been made that have been influenced by your assessment of what we should be doing with Iraq many years ago.
And so we are dealing with the problem as we are dealing with it now. Could you tell me what your vision is five years from now, best case scenario, worst case scenario, of what the Middle East should look like?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Congressman, my record is very clear, and it is right out in the open, and I just repeated to you. I favored enabling Iraqis to overthrow Saddam Hussein up until 2001. And I repeat, I think there is some missed opportunities that would have spared the whole world a great deal of trouble.
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The issue isn't whether Saddam Hussein was involved in September 11th. The issue is whether Saddam Hussein, among other things, was a state supporter of terrorism, which he was. The issue is whether Saddam Hussein was involved with bombers in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He was harboring the one fugitive still at large. The issue is Saddam Hussein's contacts with al-Qaeda and support for al-Qaeda.
If you go and look at the sealed indictment that was issued against Osama bin Laden in February of 1998, this is not me, this is the U.S. Justice Department during the Clinton Administration, said that in 1992 and 1993 Saddam and al-Qaeda came to an understanding not to attack one another and to provide mutual support.
I don't need proof of involvement in September 11th to be concerned that Saddam Hussein is providing mutual support to al-Qaeda. It seems to me it is like saying if someone breeds rotweilers and leaves the gate open but doesn't tell the dog who to attack that he is not operationally involved in the thing.
This is a man who funded terrorists, supported terrorists. We know that he had weapons of mass destruction programs. What exactly the status of those programs was we don't know. But let's look at something else. At the end of the day, we staked everything on a UN Security Council Resolution 1441. We said if Saddam will finally at last comply with his obligations to accept UN inspectors, we will essentially; these weren't quite the words, but effectively we were saying we will wipe the slate clean or we will start fresh on all of those other issues.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We had issues about how he abused his people. We had issues about his support for terrorism. We said, let's focus on this one key issue, weapons of mass destruction. Let's set the standard that he has to fully disclose what he has and he has to comply with UN inspectors. People seem to have forgotten that standard.
David Kay has testified that Saddam Hussein was in blatant violation of Resolution 1441. He was not disclosing everything and he was obstructing inspectors at every turn. And then suddenly the bar is raised and we are saying, but where are the stockpiles.
UN Resolution 1441 didn't talk about stockpiles, it talked about compliance with the resolution. We talk about Saddam Hussein's association with al-Qaeda, and suddenly people raise the bar and say, yes, but where is the proof that he was involved in 9/11? I don't think he has to have been involved in 9/11 to be involved with al-Qaeda; strikes me insufficiently disturbing to want to think after September 11th that maybe we need to do something serious.
Mr. HILL. I could engage in an argument about what you just said, Mr. Secretary, but I don't have time. My red light is on. But would you please answer my question about what your vision is for the Middle East five years from now?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. The best I can say is that I think I would go back to
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Secretary, before you answer that question, let me just remind the committee we have got the Secretary until about 15 after the hour. We still have about 25 Members who want to ask questions. So if you can move that question, that answer along fairly rapidly, that would be good for us.
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Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I would hope, five years from now we see an Iraq that has more or less effectively defeated this enemy, doesn't mean that terrorism will be gone. Terrorists in small numbers can do damage. But it will be a functioning country, that it will be not our model of a perfect democracy, let's be clear about that, but that it will be a developing, emerging democracy like the countries that have emerged in Central and Eastern Europe from decades of actually milder dictatorship, that it will be a force for stability in the Middle East instead of instability.
I also hope that five years from now the Saudis, with all of their admitted faults, will have succeeded in defeating an enemy that is far worse than anything we criticize the Saudi government for being. Let's remember there is a serious battle on there.
I would hope that five years from now the Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories will have gone way beyond just Gaza and in fact we will be able to realize what the President has said is I think the only solution to that problem; that is, two states living side by side. I guess if I want to get really hopeful, I guess I would say I would hope that people who say that Bashir Assad is really, would like to see a Syria that behaves differently, that if that is the case, that he will have been able to assert himself and that we will see a Syria that stops destabilizing Iraq and moves to peace with its neighbors.
I think it is possible. I think it is essential to move in that direction because the alternative is a continuation of the last 20 years that have produced murderers and killers by the thousands aimed at us. The notion that this was, quote, a war of choice, that we could just sit there and live with the Middle Eastern status quo after 9/11 I think is wrong.
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The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentlemen. I would just remind my colleagues that Mr. Wolfowitz did not pass the resolution to take military action against Iraq. This Congress, Democrat and Republican, including the vast majority of members on this committee, voted to take military action against Iraq.
Mr. HILL. Mr. Chairman, I voted for that resolution, and I voted on it based upon a briefing that I had at the Pentagon, where drone airplanes were displayed as a security threat to the interests of the United States. We have proved that that was a fabricated story, not true.
The CHAIRMAN. I would just say to my colleague that we all took votes on that resolution. And this committee in fact had several briefings not conducted by members of the administration, but conducted by intelligence agencies, offering both sides of a number of questions with respect to arms stockpiles in Iraq and arms programs in Iraq.
In fact, we invited every single Member of the House on multiple occasions to come to these meetings and ask any question that they wanted to of our intelligence agencies, which a majority of the Members of the House undertook, not in the Pentagon but over here, in which both sides of a number of contentious questions were addressed by the agencies. And every Member of Congress had every right to stay as long as he wanted and to ask all of the questions that he wanted.
The gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Wilson.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. And General Pace and Secretary Wolfowitz, in lieu of a question I would just like to give a report. I had the extraordinary opportunity of spending the last three days with Congressman Hoekstra of Michigan, touring and visiting with our troops in Iraq.
It was an extraordinary opportunity, and I can tell you firsthand that the testimony you are providing today, that the statements you provide today, I have seen firsthand within the last 24 hours, that indeed you are correct and we are indeed in a global war on terrorism.
While we were there we of course saw television and read local newspapers from the Middle East about the success of the killing of the al-Qaeda leader in Saudi Arabia, the killing of the al-Qaeda leader in Algeria. There were arrests of cells in Turkey, in Pakistan, in Jordan, just in the past 72 hours, 96 hours. There is progress being made.
Additionally, I had the opportunity to visit with the Iraqi police being trained. And in an impromptu manner, we met with them through an interpreter, and they expressed their dedication to work for a democratic Iraq, a civil society in the Middle East.
Additionally, we met with people at the training facility of the new Iraqi National Army. And again, I am very encouraged by the people that we met training and also the new officers who are leading the forces. But I share with you the concern that we need to emphasize more equipment for them, more training, speed it up in whatever method can be done.
Additionally, I am really reassured. We met with General Sanchez, General Petraeus, General Conway. I want to reiterate what Congressman Schrock has already stated. I have faith in the competence of the American military. I have that faith as a Member of Congress, a veteran of 31 years service in the National Guard, additionally, as the father of; a parent who is serving, a son in Iraq, just as our Chairman, Duncan Hunter, has a son in Iraq. We have faith in the American military in the success that is being made.
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Additionally, I would like to point out that the highlight was indeed meeting the troops. The Marines we met, the Army troops that we met, the Navy personnel that we met. Their morale is high. It was exciting to meet some of the Coalition forces. I met a troop from Latvia. And of course there are 31 countries that have 23,000 troops that are very much appreciated in Iraq.
Additionally I had the opportunity within the last 24 hours to meet President al-Yawar, Prime Minister Allawi, the Deputy Prime Minister representing the Kurdish population. Their optimism is very high. Their courage is very high, and I can see that they will be prepared to work for a civil and democratic society. Also, we met with the Health Minister, who had previously been the Education Minister, and he told us of how there have been the refurbishing of thousands of schools, that 65 million textbooks have been distributed to the students of Iraq, that there are 5 to 6 million students in Iraq. This is unprecedented the number of textbooks, that there are 293,000 teachers teaching in Iraq, developing a civil society, that nearly 90 percent of the students that qualify are going to school. Even in the turmoil of April the children were going to school. Their parents were taking them to school.
So a civil society, which is not reflected very much in the media, is actually taking place. And, again, I want to thank you, again give you a firsthand report of what I saw. I am very optimistic. This is long term. We talk about troops in Korea. We talk about troops in Germany. We have troops in Japan. And so this is to be understood, that as we protect the American people, that is what this is all about.
There were people who said we couldn't defeat communism too, but we did. I am confident that we can defeat terrorism with the competence of the people, as you hear today. God bless our troops. I am not going to forget September the 11th. Thank you.
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General PACE. Thank you.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. The ranking member had something he wanted to get into the record here.
Mr. SKELTON. Yes. Thank you very much. Mr. Spratt and I are submitting questions for the record about the cost of the deployment in Iraq as well as past and prospective, and respectfully ask if these answers could be back by the end of next week. And I will submit them for the record right now. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Why don't you put them in? And hopefully, if they are not too complex, they can get a response out fairly quickly.
The gentlelady from California, Ms. Davis.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Secretary, General Pace. Thank you for being here. I know that we all share your tremendous respect for the professionalism of the troops, as well as the Iraqi people who are working so hard. But I think that we also want to try and understand better some of the lessons we have to learn and what it is about the planning that has caused some of the problems that our troops face today, because I think in many ways we have made it tougher for them than perhaps it had to be.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Could you talk a little bit about one of the issues that you mentioned regarding lessons learned, that we underestimated the insurgency? I am wondering if you could give me more. Why did we do that? On what was that based?
General PACE. Let me start, if I may, and then the Secretary can speak where he wants to say.
I think that the hope, which is not a plan, but the hope is that the Iraqi people, upon having Saddam Hussein deposed, would step forward enthusiastically and embrace this new opportunity, turned out to be more optimistic than it should have been.
I did not realize the power of the fear that still resides in their minds over there, and I guess after them living decades under that kind of tyranny, it shouldn't come as a surprise. It was disappointing that, from their perspective, that they did not see what we thought we were bridging to them early on, which was an opportunity to step forward and take control of their own lives.
They were still very much fearful of the thugs and the gangs. So that I think has led to an opportunity for the terrorists then to be able to operate without fear of being exposed by the population. Once the Iraqi people get it in their minds that this is their country, that they in fact do have the freedom of choice and that they can in fact make a huge difference in their own security by turning over those in their midst, then I think the kinds of terrorism that we see we will see dissipate relatively quickly.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. General, was that based on some kind of theory that the Iraqis would step up, or I mean something specific that we could base that on?
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Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Congresswoman Davis, if I might say, I mean, I don't think there is any question that the Iraqi people welcomed the end of the Saddam regime and welcomed what we had to offer. In fact, I am just looking here at some headlines from April 10th of last year. Hussein's Baghdad falls. U.S. Forces move triumphantly through capital cheered by crowds jubilant at end of repressive regime. I don't think that we were wrong in thinking the Iraqis wanted something different. I think what may have been a little too hopeful was the idea that once Saddam Hussein was defeated that he would stop fighting.
It turns out he didn't. That if we identified 55 members of the black list, that 56 and above would see that they had a stake in not fighting. You know, this is, as I have said before, we are dealing with several thousand people who are as bad or worse than the Nazi Gestapo, and maybe we were a little too hopeful that they would accept defeat and at least not fight, and they have gone on to do that. I think, and that then brings in play the intimidation and the fear that General Pace referred to.
There are different judgments on that score. I feel compelled at a personal level to say I felt before the war that there would be a continuing need for reliable Iraqi security forces afterwards and that that was the reason why I thought we ought to do more to train them before. I think some people were here hopeful that the old Army would be there and be effective.
But someone referred earlier to the always looking to blame us for our mistakes. I mean, let's also blame us for our great successes. There was no fortress Baghdad. There was no torching of oil fields. There was no ethnic conflict. There was no massive flow of refugees. The problem could have been a lot worse than it is.
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Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I can appreciate that. In your response, I know we are all limited here in terms of time; the one thing that you haven't mentioned today, I haven't heard much of it, are the reconstruction efforts.
And I am wondering to what extent you see that that was a problem. I know there was the sense that somehow, gee, if Americans could invade and occupy why can't they fix the electricity. As a Member who traveled, as most of us did, have traveled to Iraq, we knew how important the reconstruction dollars were to getting things together so that people were employed, and yet I know that very few dollars that we committed to reconstruction have actually been spent. In fact, I think it is a very small amount of the $18.4 billion that we supported. You mentioned earlier that we need to haveIraqis know their country well. And yet, 15,000 Iraqis, it is my understanding, have been employed. Where has that piece, you know, I guess been uprooted? Certainly the security issues, we know people can't work on projects if they are not secure.
But how do you see this moving? I mean, could you give me a sense, now that sovereignty in the next two weeks, what will happen to the projects? Will there be any difference in the way those are governed, and what can we expect, say, in the next 6 months in terms of those appropriation dollars getting on line?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Well, actually the $18 billion, and I would rather get you the numbers rather than doing it off my head. But there is a significant increase in the expenditure rate. And the project management people say this is a sort of, they say, typically S curve where it takes a little while to get started, then you have a very high rate of expenditure and then it flattens out.
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There was a startup delay. There was a large amount of money, in the several billions and multiple billions, of both U.S. Funds and Iraqi funds put into reconstruction prior to the supplemental. Currently the report from Baghdad is that $10.9 billion of the supplemental has been apportioned, $7.6 billion of that has been committed, $4 billion to construction contracts and $3 billion to nonconstruction contracts. And of that $7.6 billion, $3.6 billion has been obligated. I think the difference is committed means it is dedicated to a particular project, obligated means there is a signed contract. Once it is committed, you are well on the way to a signed contract.
So this money is flowing rapidly, and in fact what we want to make sure that, it is a partial answer to your question, that there is enough still unallocated that Ambassador Negroponte, when he gets there, he will be in charge of this program, it remains under U.S. Control. And Ambassador Negroponte will have the principal say in how that is allocated. That is very important, I think.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Do you have any idea the percentage of the money that was allocated that is now going to security, so that in fact there may be a number of projects that we can't do because we are spending that on security?
I also, I guess, wanted to follow up real quickly in terms of the what we anticipate in terms of the growing percentage of Iraqis that hopefully will be employed in these projects?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. We are still working within the original budget allocation, which I believe, what was the number on security? $3.2 billion for security. As I think you know, the Congress gave us some flexibility to move between accounts. And if we need it, we will come and ask for it.
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But the estimate we have currently is that 10 to 15 percent of project costs are now a kind of security tax to provide security for contractors. It is a serious issue. But it is not stopping things from going forward. And we are, I think one of the very important things that is happening, and we were briefed on this in some detail by General Chiarelli, who is the Commander of the Baghdad Sector, with the 1st Calvary Division, something they call the Seven Cities Program, to take more of that heavy construction money that goes into long term infrastructure with less employment effect and let division commanders use it on smaller scale projects that can put Iraqis to work more quickly. I think that makes a lot of sense.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentlelady.
Dr. GINGREY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Secretary and General Pace, for being with us this morning. I want to make a brief statement, and then I am going to ask a couple of seemingly tongue in cheek questions, but I think they cut right to the chase.
I think we are dangerously overfocusing on the prisoner abuse issue. I think Members of Congress, indeed some members of this committee, and certainly the media, is myopic on this issue. Keep in mind, I want my colleagues to especially keep in mind that we did have the, quote, moral authority, unquote, when the four security contractors were ambushed, burned, their bodies dragged through the streets of Fallujah, and the carcasses then hung from telephone poles for public display, all of this prior to any public reports of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib.
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I don't know if any of you had an opportunity to see the CNN program yesterday broadcast live over the noon hour, where the CNN anchor had the Arab media, including Al Jazeera and the anchor essentially said the same thing that I have heard mentioned here this morning, we broke it, we the United States, and now have the responsibility to fix it, and then stood back and let the Arab media attack us without any fair and balanced coverage. And I am for one getting sick and tired of this.
Now, here are my two questions. Saddam attempted to assassinate President George Herbert Walker Bush, Bush 41, in Kuwait in the early 1990's. Did he, Saddam, miraculously change his animosity and hatred for us after that aborted attempt, and just give up on inflicting any harm to the United States? That is question number one.
Question number two: Al-Qaeda, including Osama bin Laden himself, met with Iraqi officials in the Sudan in 1994. In fact there were several meetings. What were they discussing? Were they planning a Nineveh class reunion with a boat trip down the Euphrates River or what?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I don't know if you wanted an answer. But I, no. I made this point earlier. You know, even when people meet with Hezbollah they can at least pretend that they are there to discuss charitable works because Hezbollah keeps up a front. Al-Qaeda makes no pretense of being anything other than a terrorist organization, and we know of numerous contacts the Iraqis had with that organization. And I suspect they made a great effort to hide what contact they had. So I would assume that we don't know everything.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If I can take advantage of your tongue and cheek questions to say one thing in response to Mr. Hill, because he used the word ''fabrication.'' that is a pretty strong word. I don't think any intelligence we ever presented to you was known by us to be fabricated. And if you were briefed on Iraqi remotely piloted vehicle (RPV)s, about which people had differing judgments, they had differing judgments, it remains a fact that that is one of the areas in which Saddam was found to be in violation of the various range limits that were imposed, and that were part of the reason for David Kay saying that he was in violation of 1441.
So it is, look, intelligence is a murky business. We rely on a very big Intelligence Community to make assessments of those questions, and we did the best we could. I don't think, Mr. Hill, that anybody was fabricating.
General PACE. Sir, from a purely military standpoint, a threat is analyzed from, one, capabilities, and, two, intent, and clearly Saddam's regime with chemicals and death squads and all of the means that he used to suppress his people had capabilities, and I believe that tied to his intent of harm to the United States that he posed a threat.
Dr. GINGREY. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentlemen. The gentleman from New York, Mr. Israel.
Mr. ISRAEL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, before I ask the Secretary my question, I just can't help but state that when we sit at hearings like this and hear from some of our colleagues that our constitutional oversight authority should be minimized to a debate between optimists and pessimists, that we are doing a disservice to the Constitution and to this committee and to this Congress and to our troops. We are here because we do have a constitutional oversight authority, and it should not be reduced to rhetoric between optimists and pessimists. Wars are not won by optimism.
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And now I would like to segue into my question. Perhaps the Secretary will agree or disagree with me. I am a new Member of this committee. But I can't think of a single war in world history that was the won by optimism alone. My understanding is that they are won with planning, and with human intelligence, and with supplies and training, personnel and resources.
There are plenty of troops in Iraq right now, in Afghanistan, who will appreciate our optimism, but they would probably prefer to have up armored Humvees, they know that we all have faith in them, but they probably would prefer to have some more Kevlar for their vests.
Now, Mr. Secretary, I supported the use of force
The CHAIRMAN. Just on that point, Mr. Israel, because it is a very important point. There is 138,000 troops in country. We have 260,000, that is almost twice as many Kevlar vests as the troops in country. I don't want people watching this telecast going out and buying body armor, because you literally have cases of mothers and fathers for their kids because they hear that they don't have them. There is a body armor set for every single troop in Iraq and every single civil servant almost times two.
And there are 7,113 armored Humvees, either up armored in manufacture or with add on kits. We are working to get the rest of them. But that is the case right now. Thank the gentleman for letting me interject there.
Mr. ISRAEL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In last Sunday's New York Times there was a paragraph that read as follows: On April 4th, around 6 p.m. A call came in that a sister unit, Company C, had been ambushed in Sa'dr City. Soldiers jumped into whatever vehicle was available, including Humvees with no doors and open sided trucks and rushed to the rescue.
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My question, Mr. Secretary, is as one who supported the use of force in Iraq. At the time I expressed the concern that I didn't believe that many of the civilians in the Pentagon were engaging in straight talk. There was a lot of optimism and a lot of wishful thinking.
On March 27th, you testified to the House Budget Committee as follows: I am reasonably certain that they will greet us as liberators and that will help us to keep requirements down. Keep requirements down.
In the same testimony you said, some of the higher end predictions that we have been hearing recently, such as the notion that it will take several hundred thousand troops to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq are wildly off the mark.
And third, you stated in the same testimony, it is hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and to secure the surrender of Saddam's security forces and his Army. Hard to imagine.
My question, Mr. Secretary, is very simple. You said in response to Congresswoman Davis' questioning that maybe we were too hopeful in the past. Was your testimony on March 27th too hopeful? Was it too optimistic? Would you take it back if you could?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. My testimony then reflected not just my personal judgment, it was the judgment of our commanders, it was the judgment of the CENTCOM staff. I think it remains a fact today that we don't have 300,000 troops in Iraq, and none of our commanders think we would be well off if we had them before or need them now.
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So I think those particulars statements happen to still be true. The fact that this war went on longer than simply the capture of Baghdad is one of those uncertainties of war, just as the fact that there was no major torching of oil fields, there was no major combat in cities is also the one of those unpredictable facts of war.
Nobody I believe tried to say that we knew for certain what a war would be like. But those estimates of troop requirements I think were off the mark, remain off the mark, and in any case I think it is important to say they were not the estimates of combatant commanders, they were not the estimates of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Am I correct, General Pace.
General PACE. That is correct, sir.
Mr. ISRAEL. Mr. Secretary, just responding to the chairman's point, this story in the New York Times, why are our personnel continuing to jump into Humvees with no doors and open sided trucks in order to rush to a rescue, or is this article not accurate?
General PACE. Sir, I don't know about the article, but I do know for a fact that there is not an up armored Humvee for every single soldier in Iraq. There is body armor. Nor should there be an up armored Humvee for every soldier in Iraq, nor should there be a tank for every soldier, nor should there be an armored personnel carrier (APC) or Bradley. What we need to do as commanders is design the force in a way that you have the proper mobility, the proper protection, but also you need foot soldiers to do the job.
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The specifics of that I don't know, sir. But it is not because of a lack of types of equipment that you could end up in a situation like that.
Mr. ISRAEL. General, I would like to submit this article for the record, if I may, Mr. Chairman, and ask if you would respond to the specifics that it raises. And I don't want to take up any more time. I know there are others. But I am particularly interested in understanding how the decision is made to up armor certain Humvees and where those Humvees are.
In this case obviously the decision did not work, and I think that rather than talking about being optimistic and exhibiting our faith in our troops we would do a lot better to make sure that those policies work for our troops. That would protect them far more than our optimism would.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
General PACE. I would like to thank the Congress, because you have provided all of the resources we have asked for for up armored Humvees. You have taken us from 2,000 to over 4,000, headed to 7,000. You have given us the additional protective applique armor that we asked for. You have provided hundreds of millions of dollars for things like the insert body armor. So everything we have asked the Congress for with regard to force protection you have provided, and we thank you for that.
Mr. ISRAEL. This unit doesn't have what they need, evidently. General, thank you.
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The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentlemen. The gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Hayes.
Mr. HAYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank the witnesses. Today, I think it would be helpful for me, all of this discussion has deteriorated somewhat, to refocus on the fact that our goal is to help the Iraqi people establish their own democratically elected government and to win a war on terrorism.
I would like to identify myself with Mr. Schrock's remark and express my disappointment in the politics that has been injected in this discussion today. We have got an election going on. That is important, but winning a war and protecting our troops I think should take precedence over this.
It says on my schedule that we are going to talk about the progress in Iraq. I think that is important, or the lack thereof. And we have been off that nark. And I am sorry for that.
My question for you has to do with the progress in contracting in Iraq. I think it is very important, as we look at June the 30th and beyond. How well, Mr. Secretary and General Pace, do you think we are doing transitioning to the Iraqi ministers? I know there have been a lot of problems in the contracting process. You alluded it to earlier, where we are doing a pretty fair job of training various Iraqi forces, but my understanding is we are not getting the equipment to them because of contracting and some conflicts between State and DOD. Would you just update us on that? I think that is crucial as we go forward.
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Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I think your question refers to I think two different issues. And with respect to the main contracting, which is the $3.2 billion in the supplemental that is allocated to security forces, it hasn't been any interagency issues, it is just simply a matter that we have federal acquisition regulations to go through. We had a major problem because one of the contracts was bid and competed, and then the award was challenged, and we had to go through challenge procedures. And basically the lawyers said there was no way around going through yet another couple of months or six weeks of rebidding. I think all of those problems are now behind us. We have, I think most of that $3 billion is in fact committed, and quite a bit of it is obligated and large quantities of equipment are flowing in. The extent to which there is any jurisdictional argument, I don't think there is one between us and the State Department, but I think there may be a little bit between committees up here, is to what extent there should be authority within the DOD budget to pay for equipping Iraqi security forces. And we have been arguing that having that kind of flexibility would have been very helpful in the early part of this year when the other funding mechanisms weren't moving, could again be valuable if, let's say, those funding mechanisms turn out to be inadequate.
Having the flexibility to go into DOD funds to equip Iraqi security forces I think is, in my view, in the same category as the flexibility to buy extra up-armored Humvees or the ability to buy extra body armor. The more Iraqis that are out there fighting, the safer Americans will be.
So I hope the Congress can give us that flexibility that we have asked for.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HAYES. Do you think that process is getting more smooth as we go forward? Are we making progress there?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. We are. Definitely with respect to the big supplemental, a lot of the bugs are out of the system. The contracting officer is in place in Iraq. There is a good mechanism back here to support them. Some people even worry that the money is going to start flowing too fast, and it will be gone too soon. It is feast or famine, I suppose. But there are always unpredictables, and having some flexibility to deal with the unpredictables would be valuable.
General PACE. You asked about ministries, sir. My understanding is that by the end of this week all Iraqi ministries will be led by Iraqis.
Mr. HAYES. Thank you. I think it is important again to note that we are making tremendous progress in Iraqi sovereignty, and that is what June the 30th is all about. And our continued resolve and public show of resolve to see this thing through is vitally important to protect our soldiers and also to get the job done.
As we become an embassy functioning, General Pace, as opposed to what we are now, describe how that is going to affect the military. And then let me quickly say that the earlier question about who is in charge, it was very clear to me that the Iraqis will have sovereignty, they will be in charge, but Americans will be in charge of our own troops when they are asked to do, something that is pretty daggone straightforward and common sense.
So again talk about how this embassy concept will work with the military as we move forward in the process.
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General PACE. Yes, sir. The chain of command will not change. It will be the Commander in Chief to the Secretary of Defense to General Abizaid to General Casey, if he is confirmed, and that change of command will stay as it is today.
With Ambassador Negroponte becoming the Ambassador to the country, there will be the very normal linkages that take place and a very special bond between General Casey and Ambassador Negroponte. They will be discussing things on a daily basis. There will be military officers on the Ambassador's staff in his embassy, and there will be discussions and collaboration. If there are disagreements between General Casey and Ambassador Negroponte, they would be sent back here to Washington for the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense to work through. But I would imagine those would be few and far between.
These two gentlemen are already working, talking with each other, not in anticipation of or presumption of confirmation on the part of General Casey, but should the Senate approve his confirmation later this week. So they are working to have a proper relationship down the road. So I see a very, very healthy relationship between those two gentlemen.
Mr. HAYES. Thanks again to both of you, and a special thanks to our troops for their courage, commitment, and successes.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Cooper.
Mr. COOPER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, Mr. Secretary and General. We appreciate your service to our Nation.
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Mr. Secretary, on page 2 of your testimony you write the following sentence: The 25 billion budget amendment that this committee authorized will ensure that our forces continue to have the full resources necessary to complete their missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr. COOPER. We all know the $25 billion is a lot of money, but do you think that is an accurate statement?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Yes, if we, I mean, the $25 billion, as we have explained, is a kind of a bridge to take us into the first quarter of next year when we will have a much better fix on what the full requirements for next year. It should in no way be taken as implying that $25 billion is what we need for fiscal year 2005. In fact, the number could very easily be twice that, and it is hard to predict. It could be more than twice that. It is certainly not going to be less than that.
And what that allows us to do, and I don't know if we have explained this before this committee or not, it allows us to get into the second quarter of the fiscal year, the first quarter of the calendar year, when we should have a very good fix on what the expenditure rates are for the full year, and come up to the Congress with a full supplemental request for fiscal year 2005. This is a kind of bridging request.
Mr. COOPER. Well, as I understand it, the $25 billion would fund about four, maybe five months of activity.
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary WOLFOWITZ. That is right.
Mr. COOPER. So I think you are giving this Committee and this Congress far too much credit when you say that somehow this expenditure enables us to have the full resources necessary to complete our missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Well, I am sorry if the sentence read that way. It is bad language. It gives us the funds we need to get us safely into the first quarter of next calendar year when we will be back here with a much bigger request for funding. And we have been very clear on that in all our testimony, and I am sorry if that sentence was in any way misleading.
Mr. COOPER. I wanted to give you the chance to correct your statement because we have been worried about, you know, we want to have a clear fix on what the expectations are. Do you have any idea what the funding expectations are likely to be next year?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Again, I will repeat what we have said in other testimony. We don't know, and we, at this stage it is impossible, any prediction we make is likely to be wrong, either too high or too low. If you do a sort of monthly calculation, you can easily come to the $50 or $60 billion figure. It could be more than that, and it could be less.
Mr. COOPER. Mr. Secretary, I want to focus on the money and the money it takes us to win in Iraq. Why shouldn't this Congress have gone ahead and, say, looked at $50 billion for our troops to give them staying power not for 4 or 5 months, but maybe 8 or 10 months? Wouldn't that have shown a greater commitment? Almost everybody in this Congress, Democrat and Republican, already voted in our respective budgets to set aside $50 billion to take care of this need, and yet the only money we are coming up with is 25 billion. Why wouldn't it have been better and more accurate and a more sustainable show of strength to come up with 50 billion instead of $25 billion?
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Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I think you can argue it different ways. I think the judgment was made that it is better to work ourselves into the first quarter of next year and then proceed on a much more precise estimate of what we are going to need. There is a little bit of danger when you get too much contingency funding without specified requirements that you suddenly find yourself using it in an undisciplined manner. I think there is a little bit of discipline in the way this request has been put forward.
Mr. COOPER. But surely we don't anticipate funding this war three or four months at a time.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. No, and we have made that very clear we will be up here in the first quarter of next year with a full year's supplemental request that will be substantially larger than that $25 billion.
Mr. COOPER. Secretary, last year you testified that Iraq was basically so oil rich that they would have money to, quote, really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon. You also said that the oil revenues of Iraq could bring in between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years. We are not seeing those sorts of revenues being produced, are we?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I think we actually are. And the numbers that I have most recently are some $20 billion of Iraqi funds, about half of that is from Oil For Food, and about half of that is from oil revenues that have gone into the development fund of Iraq that finances the government operations. It finances reconstruction. And an additional $8 billion are projected to be produced from oil revenues by the end of next year assuming, and it is a big assumption, that the enemy isn't successful at disrupting oil production. That is a big uncertainty.
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But that money has paid the salaries of 350,000 teachers and professors. It has paid the salaries of 100,000 doctors and health workers. It has paid for $1.2 billion; this is Iraqi funds, $1.2 billion of Iraqi funds for improvement to the electricity infrastructure, $300 million for water sewage and irrigation, $660 million to sustain and expand oil production. I think I mentioned earlier there are some $800 million in Iraqi funds that has gone into the CERP program, which is our Commanders Emergency Reserve Program, or a similar program by the local Iraqi Government.
That statement that I keep seeing quoted back over and over again, it was made after the war began. It was prefaced by saying very carefully, because we had no idea at the time that there would be so little war damage to infrastructure, we had no idea what the reconstruction bill would be, but that unlike Afghanistan, or for that matter Bosnia or Kosovo, which have no resources of their own and which are permanent wards of the international community probably, Iraq has substantial resources of its own, and it is contributing substantial resources. We are having to as well, and I never meant to imply we wouldn't. But this is a country that has a lot to contribute to its own reconstruction, and it is doing so already.
Mr. COOPER. How much has the war so far cost the American taxpayer?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I would have to do the numbers in my head. I would rather not do that. You know, it is a lot of money.
Mr. COOPER. Can you give us a ballpark estimate? How about in terms of American lives?
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Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Over 800 Americans killed, and every one of those hurts. As I think I said earlier, a lot of Iraqis are dying for this cause, and we estimate some 400 of them have died, and General Petraeus thinks it may very well be twice that number. We are up against a very vicious enemy. There is no question about it. The totals shown here for military; I can give you the sheet on this number, it shows enacted for Iraq so far in the military and reconstruction side together is $119 billion, of which $20 billion is reconstruction, and obligated so far is $27 billion, of which $6 billion is reconstruction.
Mr. COOPER. The total as we see it is about $150 billion all in all, and that is not counting the next $25 billion, and then the supplemental request that we will get at the beginning of next year.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I will be happy to compare our numbers with yours and figure out where the difference is, but
Mr. COOPER. It is getting to be in the neighborhood of $200 billion; is that right?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I am telling you what I am given here by our comptroller says $119 billion enacted so far by the Congress for military and reconstruction expenditures in Iraq, of which $65 billion, $65.8 billion, has been obligated for the military and $6.1 billion for reconstruction.
Mr. COOPER. And our allies have contributed $1 billion.
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Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Well, they support their own forces, which is not insignificant. Contributions to reconstruction, again, there has been a great deal more pledges, quite substantial amounts pledged by the international community at the Madrid conference.
Mr. COOPER. $13 billion pledged, $1 billion delivered.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. So far. Correct.
Mr. COOPER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Florida Mr. Miller.
Mr. MILLER OF FLORIDA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I hope my colleague, who just asked the question of the Secretary before about the resources that have been committed by the Iraqi people, if he would provide me with a copy of the notes that he took while Secretary Wolfowitz was telling about all of the dollars that the people of Iraq have spent and the lives that have been lost as well.
I want to thank both of you for staying so long today, providing very clear testimony, very frank testimony. But I also would like to, for the record, one more time, Mr. Secretary, if you would, we have heard a lot of people ask about deadlines and when certain things are going to happen. And in your written comments you talked about it being inadvisable to set a hard line for the multinational forces mandate in Iraq. In fact, I think you said that it would put at risk the significant gains that have already been made by the people that are rebuilding their nation, Iraq, and it would endanger the lives of American soldiers. And I would like, as we come close to drawing this hearing to a close, for you to expound on that again, why we don't need to set artificial deadlines out there at this point.
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Secretary WOLFOWITZ. I guess I would say two things. First of all, they are artificial, and there is no way to know, even in a peacekeeping circumstance like Bosnia, but especially in a war, which is what we are still in in Iraq, there is no way to know how things will proceed. You can make plans. You can even be reasonably successful in carrying out your plans, and the enemy may have a different plan and disrupt it. I just mentioned earlier the problem with oil revenues. We can make projection of oil revenues, but it is a major enemy target.
I think the more important point, and I think it is the premise of your question, there is a perverse inverse relationship between our setting deadlines and our ability to achieve them. The more the enemy believes that we lack patience, the more they will sustain their efforts. The more they think that we are there for the long haul, the more they will start, especially the less committed of them, to start thinking, well, maybe it is time to make peace with this new situation and become part of the new Iraq.
The same thing, by the way, goes for those people that have to step forward and defend this new country. And they do so, as we have said over and over again today, at the risk of their own lives. It makes a big difference for them to believe that we and the rest of the world are committed to their success, because they are taking enormous risks in stepping up to do this.
So I think there are times when it may make sense to put pressure on countries. We have done this, in my experience, many times to say, you need to step up to your responsibilities, and one way to get that to happen is we are going to start reducing ours. I think in this particular circumstance, particularly because we have an enemy that thinks we lack resolve, it is very important not to suggest to that enemy that they can just outwait us.
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The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
We are pretty close, Mr. Secretary, to your hard stop, and I know you have an important secure activity shortly. Mr. Meek will be our final question. And I will work with the Ranking Member, and Members that didn't get their questions in, at our next activity, the next hearing they will be given priority.
So the gentleman from Florida Mr. Meek.
Mr. MEEK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And, Secretary Wolfowitz
The CHAIRMAN. Oh, excuse me. Mr. Meek, could you hold on for one minute? I think the Ranking Member had a comment on that.
Mr. SKELTON. Yes. I think it is important that everyone here have the opportunity to ask questions of the Secretary. Could he come back at some opportune time for at least an hour? I think an hour would probably get it done.
The CHAIRMAN. We will work on that. Mr. Secretary, we thank you first for coming to us very quickly after you got back from Iraq, but can we get together here in the near future?
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Be happy to try to work it out.
The CHAIRMAN. I appreciate that.
The gentleman from Florida is recognized.
Mr. MEEK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you Mr. Secretary, General Pace.
Mr. Secretary, I will tell you that if I was feeling as good as some folks are feeling in this room as it relates to the war, and as it relates to the management of the war, I feel that our troops will fight for 20 years if this country asks them to fight for 20 years. They will do it. They are dedicated. They are patriots, and we honor and respect their commitment and their families' commitment.
Some things that are very troubling, every time we mention Abu Ghraib, folks start taking about we need to talk about something else, not that. And I will tell you, the 250 troops that have lost their lives since this story has broken, and the increase in individuals being taken hostage, either be Americans or coalition forces, civilian workers, every day there are new individuals getting their heads chopped off, things of that nature. We have the U.N. that is now Security Council fighting against the United States from receiving the waiver not to go before International Criminal Court that may seem to fall under the category, Abu Ghraib issue. We have countries like China that is bringing into question the United States' resolve to human rights.
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I mean, this is really something that I didn't think that would ever happen. But I am very, very concerned, sir, of the direction not only of how the Iraqi people feel about the United States and our occupation or our efforts in Iraq, but I also feel about how Americans feel. Being a Member of the American Congress, I will tell you that when we have 76 percent of Americans feel that our image has been damaged in this process, and 7 out of 10 Americans now feel that the casualty count is unacceptable, you know, that brings into question not only what people say here in the Congress or how the Secretary is editorialized for chastising anyone that may say anything about Abu Ghraib.
Now, another big question that comes in, Mr. Secretary, is from your level and from Secretary Rumsfeld's level, how do we really want to get to the top of the matter? Because the top may be dealing with both of you or a few other people that are surrounding this issue of prisoner abuse. This goes toward force protection as far as I am concerned. You mention the training of Iraqi Army or civil defense or whatever we are calling them now going toward force protection. I would also say getting to the top of what happened with the prisoner abuse issue is important, too.
I traveled to Guantanamo. What I saw there at Guantanamo when Mr. Gingrey and I went there, I came back and defended the administration and anyone else that made decisions of what is presently going on in Guantanamo Bay. I was very pleased with, glad to see the training, glad to see the military police (MP)s that have experience in corrections there. But I would also have just as much resolve in saying that I have a problem when the Defense Department, either Secretary Brown of the Army, appoints a two-star to investigate what happened in that prison after the Taguba report came out.
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And if we want to talk about Major General Taguba, I mean, goodness gracious, the Chairman challenged Members of the Committee to read the report. I read what you may say is the beginning of it, but I went back and read it again. Some of the things that General Taguba is talking about in his report, hiding of prisoners, he said, was very dishonorable. And that is something that we have admitted, along with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), that we have done from the Red Cross.
So, who is looking into what is going on at the top of the Defense Department, including yourself, including Mr. Rumsfeld's involvement, and this whole scenario that we have right now and investigating this issue in Abu Ghraib? Who is doing it? Is it supposed to be the Congress, or it is another group out there looking at this? And does this four-star have the autonomy to be able to question decisions that you have made or the Secretary has made?
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. As you know, well, first of all, let me say, Secretary Rumsfeld has correctly described Abu Ghraib as a body blow. The damage is enormous. At the same time, I don't think we should say that this justifies the kind of hypocrisy that you cited the Chinese or other people invoking, and I don't think we should say it has anything to do with terrorists beheading their victims and claiming that this is something the Americans do. A sense of proportion, I think, is important, and I must tell you the Iraqis with whom I met are focused far, far more on how to defeat this enemy than on the issue of Abu Ghraib. I don't mean to minimize Abu Ghraib, but when they are out there on the front line being assassinated every day, they know where their priorities are.
There are multiple investigations going on, as I think you know. Overall the Schlesinger Commission, which includes, among others, a distinguished former Member of this body, Congresswoman Fowler, have complete authority to investigate anything or to look at the reports of all investigations or to ask for any new ones. I believe that General Kern has authority to investigate everything involved.
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Let us be clear to the American people and the whole world. The reason we know about this is because the Army investigated itself. General Taguba was appointed to dig into this to get the facts up. The facts have led us to ask more questions and make more investigations. As shameful as this whole episode is, we deal with this kind of abuse in a way that is unknown in most of the world, and I hope when the chapter is finally closed, and it is going to take some time, the Iraqi people will see that this country doesn't tolerate abuse; that it punishes abuse; that it holds people accountable for abuse that takes place under their authority.
Mr. MEEK. You know, Mr. Secretary, I would hope at the end of what I am saying here that the Chairman will ask for information that I asked for 35 plus days ago. I received a call from the Pentagon yesterday, after two open hearings asking for information as it relates to the investigations that are ongoing within the DOD as it relates to prisoner abuse, either in Iraq or Afghanistan. I think it goes toward troop protection. If we are looking for elections in December, which I believe will not happen, sitting right here, because they haven't happened in Afghanistan, if it is the U.N. registration or it is something that we have done, it is just not going to happen. And realistically thinking, if we want to win the hearts of the Iraqi people, if we want to have the American people backing the management of this war, oh, they back the troops; oh, there is no question about that, and anyone that sits here or stands here, and one thing about being a second generation Member of Congress, I have learned and been taught to tolerate other statements that other Members make. They are in their right prerogative to make it.
But what I am saying, in the reality of the situation, that we have to think realistically, and we are not thinking realistically now. We have the Secretary of Defense chastising anyone that has anything to say about Abu Ghraib. That is not democracy, in my opinion.
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Now, right now we are going to have a four-star, what I am hearing in the press, going to this hearing of this court martial; and the fact that from the beginning, I think, the deck was set never to rise to the top. The cream was never supposed to rise to the top. But I believe it will eventually, because as my Chairman said once before, Mr. Meek, be patient and watch military justice play its role, because once things start coming out, the truth will rise to the top. And I will tell you, when it rises to the top, it may be too late as it relates to many of our troops that are in harm's way.
So that is my motivation. It is not political in any way, because I believe the American people are going to do what they feel they need to do come this November. And if we are in the middle a war or not, there will be a change at the Pentagon. And I have asked the Secretary that he may want to consider just thinking maybe he has taken us as far as he can take us at this particular time, because every time he says something or do something, it is not like they are shaking in their boots saying, Donald Rumsfeld is going to get us. It is recruiting other individuals to be insurgents against our troops. And I will tell you that is honestly how I feel, and I hope that there is a rethinking of how we deal with this prisoner abuse issue at the Pentagon.
Once again, General Pace, I am sorry for your loss of your four Marines that are out there. There are many individuals that have lost their lives.
Secretary Wolfowitz, I want to thank you for coming before the committee, but we have to hear the good and bad and ugly, and I think you accept that when you come before the Congress. But I will tell you right now that we have to rethink how we do things, and I think we do need a change in leadership, and I think it should be voluntary.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Let me just say I feel as terribly, as you do, about the four Marines that were killed and the 800 plus Americans that have been killed. I don't think those four Marines being killed have anything to do with Abu Ghraib. Abu Ghraib is a terrible thing, and we need to get to the bottom of it, but let us not lay every problem we have off on Abu Ghraib. I think it is a disservice, and I think it is harmful.
Mr. MEEK. I am not saying that, Mr. Secretary, respectfully. I am just saying that it has something to do with the insurgents and the recruitment of new insurgents in Iraq, respectfully.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman for his question.
And, Mr. Secretary, thank you for remaining with us. And since Mr. Meek offered his opinion of Abu Ghraib, my opinion is that when the Secretary of Defense called Mr. Rather when those pictures were to be made available to the world and told him that we had Americans who were hostages at that time, and we had sensitive military operations that would accrue to the detriment of our troops to have those pictures go out, and Dan Rather hesitated but in the end said he might get scooped and put those pictures out to the world, I think that that injured American interests. And I know that statements of both groups who beheaded Americans talked about those pictures and stated, their statement was that that was retaliation for those pictures. I think it was a mistake for Mr. Rather to have released them, and that that ultimately hurt American troops.
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And the vast amount of disinformation that has been put out about this situation, the false impressions that have been given, the impression that it is an official policy of the United States to torture people, which is absolutely wrong, that has been embedded in many, many news stories throughout the world has been very detrimental to the forces, and it has also been an absolute lie.
So it is, I think it is sad that this issue, which has political ramifications as well as substantive ramifications, continues to play out when we have so very many very important issues to work on with respect to this transition, this handover, both militarily and political.
Mr. Secretary, thank you for being with us, and I think the key here is to stay steady. You are going to have lots of criticism in the coming weeks. We are going to have lots of folks who have ideas on how we should make this transition, both militarily and political. But the transition is taking place. It is tough. It is hard. I don't think you have said anything other than that. It is going to be a difficult thing; nonetheless, it is taking place. We have good talent in countries, and I think that has been manifested in the hearings that we have had with General Petreaus and many other people in this room.
So thank you for your appearance here today. Let us keep working these issues, and I will recognize the gentleman in just a second. Let us keep working these issues of force protection. We are going to need to have, I think, a classified hearing with respect to the intelligence, the interaction of our intelligence capability with our line units in country, and also a classified hearing with respect to this relationship against the backdrop of a sovereign Iraq. We are going to need to continue to work that. And on Thursday we are going to try to get up a hearing, with the cooperation of the Ranking Member, on Iran. I think that is going to be necessarily classified, but I think it is a very major part of this picture. Thank you for being with us today.
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And the gentleman from Missouri is recognized.
Mr. SKELTON. Let me also say thank you, Mr. Secretary and General, for being with us. I hope that those who have not had the opportunity to ask questions could have an hour of your time, and I think the Chairman will probably work toward that.
But let me also add, if I might, I have been on this committee a good number of years, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Through the years, regardless of the Administration, we have asked tough questions of those who testify. That is our job in oversight because it is up to us, under the Constitution, to provide, maintain and do the oversight work. And we will continue to do that regardless of who sits in the chair and regardless of who is on the dais as time goes on. That is the constitutional duty of this Congress.
We thank you for participating. These have been tough questions, but they need to be asked, and we will continue to do our very best job under the Constitution and as strong Americans, and thank you very much for being with us.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentlemen, and perhaps now, Mr. Secretary, after these questions you are anxious to get back to Iraq where it is much, much more secure.
Secretary WOLFOWITZ. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. The hearing is adjourned.
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[Whereupon, at 12:30 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]