SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10815]
OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM: OPERATIONS AND RECONSTRUCTION
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
SEPTEMBER 25, 2003
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
Thursday, September 25, 2003, United States Policy and Operations in Iraq
Thursday, September 25, 2003
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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2003
UNITED STATES POLICY AND OPERATIONS 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
Abizaid, Gen. John, USA, Commander, United States Central Command
Bremer, Ambassador, L. Paul III, Administrator, Coalition Provisional Authority
Wolfowitz, Hon. Paul D., Deputy Secretary of Defense
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCAbizaid, Gen. John P.
Bremer, Ambassador L. Paul III
Hunter, Hon. Duncan
Skelton, Hon. Ike
Wolfowitz, Hon. Paul D.
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Documents submitted can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Coalition Provisional Authority Request to Rehabilitate and Reconstruct Iraq, Summary of the Request
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
UNITED STATES POLICY AND OPERATIONS IN IRAQ
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Washington, DC, Thursday, September 25, 2003.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The committee met, pursuant to call, at 1:32 p.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Duncan Hunter (chairman of the committee) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. And I would like to welcome Secretary Wolfowitz, General Abizaid, Ambassador Bremer and General Keane to the committee today.
Given your frequent appearances before the committee in closed session over the last couple of months, I don't think formal introductions are necessary.
Can folks hear?
Most of the members of the committee like it a little better when my mike is turned off here, but let me introduce our witnesses once again: Honorable Paul D. Wolfowitz, who is Deputy Secretary of Defense; Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III, Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA); General John Abizaid, the United States Army commander of CENTCOM, United States Central Command; and, of course, also General John Keane, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army.
And General Keane is going to welcome usor is going to help us with any issues that might come up, although he doesn't have an opening statement, as I understand.
It has been six months since the coalition forces crossed the Iraqi border and began combat operations to depose Saddam Hussein, and it took three weeks for our military to reach Baghdad and topple the regime and then a few more days to conclude major combat operations, but that didn't end the war.
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And that shouldn't surprise us. After all, Hussein and his people ruled through terror. They have got nothing to gain, everything to lose, from a peaceful, stable and democratic Iraq.
So regime die-hards, criminals and foreign fighters attack coalition forces in the forlorn hope that they can drive us out, that they can retrieve power through terror against our military, against the United Nations and against defenseless Iraqi civilians.
Instead of a strategy, they have terror. It is not going to beat us on the battlefield, which they can't do. Instead, our enemies are using terror to create the perception that Iraq is chaotic and ungovernable in the hope that we will lose heart and cut our commitment before the job is done.
And you know, I was just reflecting on perhaps the instruction that has been given to terrorists over the years, that is that the killing of the Marines in Lebanon did not invite a strong response from the United States during the Reagan administration. The Khobar Towers, similarly, and the strikes on our embassies in Africa, at the most produced a response that consisted of several cruise missiles aimed in general directions. But there was no strong response, as we have had since 9/11.
So we haveI think we have a strategy on the part of those who wish us ill to proceed on the basis that Americans don't have patience and that we don't have perseverance.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And if the combination of their die-hards and criminals and jihadists succeed, we are going to leave prematurely and Iraqi democracy will die before the people of Iraq are ready and able to defend it.
And that is what is at stake today, whether our staying power is stronger than that of the terrorists, that is the question. And for the sake of American security, I think it must be.
Now, our military is up to the task, and that has been strongly demonstrated. We have taken losses. They are particularly painful because these soldiers are the best America has to offer. But everyone over there, civilian or military, is now serving on the front lines in the battle between terror and civilization, and that is as noble a responsibility as the fights against fascism and communism were in the last century.
There are some who would pass that responsibility off onto the United Nations or who criticize the coalition mission in Iraq because it hasn't unfolded as neatly as a Hollywood screenplay.
But I might just say, having watched ''Patton'' the other night and watching the drive of the 3rd Army through Europe, it was a pretty strong similarity, when you watch those American Marines, 101st Airborne and our other uniformed people, driving to Baghdad with that advance. It was so rapid, that we seized many of the bridges and strong points before they could be blown and seized oil fields before they could be taken out of action.
And if people want to look for all the things that we look for and what I think are the good Hollywood reflections of war, that is bravery, enormous talent, integrity and sacrifice for country, we saw it in that drive to Baghdad.
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But Iraq isn't like the peacekeeping or stability operations of the 1990s. There, the United States sought to keep warring parties apart. We tried to be fair and impartial. In theory, if not practice, other states in the United Nations (U.N.) could also play that role.
In Iraq, the stakes are much, much higher. Regime holdouts and foreign jihadists aren't flocking to Iraq to defend its people. They are flocking to Iraq to kill Americans and restore a terrorist regime.
The forces of terror are genuine enemies to the United States and all that we value and that makes this a war in which we are active participants, not a peacekeeping exercise in which American resources are interchangeable with those of the United Nations.
Because our security depends on victory, we cannot entrust either to the dictates of others. We can, should and do welcome allies in the fight against terror. Indeed, some 32 nations committed military resources to building a secure, stable and viable democracy in Iraq. The contributions are important and more allies will be welcome. Nevertheless, our security demands that we prevail with or without them.
We are at war with terror. It is a war that terrorists started, but it is a war that we must finish on our terms. As the president noted before the United Nations just two days ago, peace comes from freedom and we secure that freedom with courage.
We have years of hard work before us in Iraq. We need to demonstrate the courage to do it.
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Gentlemen, we all look forward to your testimony and appreciate your appearance before the committee this afternoon.
And just one other thing, before I recognize my partner on this committee, the gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Skelton. I was reflecting on something that Rob Simmons, one of our great Vietnam veterans, a member of the committee, made the other day when he talked about a term that was used in Vietnam, and that is the term ''wasted.'' Some people use that to describe how if a G.I. was killed, he was wasted. And the theme that was often put out in this country was that somehow the Americans who fought in Vietnam weren't fighting for something of value.
Any time you look at what this regime did, you understand, whether you are looking at the Kurdish mothers killed by poison gas, where they ran, literally in place, holding their babies to their breasts, how they were killed, by the thousands, incidentally; you look at the mass graves; you look at the executions on television with the graphic descriptions of the Iraqi officer of Saddam Hussein's people putting a bullet through each person's head who happen to have a little movement left in them after they faced the firing squad; we realize that what we did in deposing that regime was something of value.
And I think it is important to remember, as we talk about rebuilding Iraq, that every time we turn on electricity, we turn on a water supply, we stand up a school, we stand up a hospital, we are only able to do that because of what people in uniform did. That is the product of our service people. And the two are not unrelated; they are very much related.
And so, Mr. Secretary and Ambassador Bremer, General Abizaid, as you tell us about the state of play in Iraq, I hope that you will mention the status in these important areas of standing this country up again, both in terms of government and in getting the wheels of commerce moving, because that is the product that American soldiers bought with this enormous effort to take Iraq.
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So, once again, thank you for being with us.
And at this time, let me recognize my colleague, the gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Skelton.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hunter can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SKELTON. Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman. I join you in welcoming Secretary Wolfowitz, Ambassador Bremer, General Abizaid, and thank them for testifying today.
It is also good to see General Jack Keane with us again.
Just a few days ago, seven of us from this committee returned from a most enlightening trip to Iraq. This nation's mission in Iraq is one of the most important international efforts we have ever undertaken.
If our mission is successful there, we will bring self-governmenta responsible self-government to a fractured nation, encourage stability throughout the region and prevent terrorists from taking advantage of the current instability.
Our American forces, along with a few allies, especially British, were magnificent on the battlefield, demonstrating the joint vision that those of us who worked on the Goldwater-Nichols legislation knew was possible.
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Our forces in combat reflected the superiority of the education and training they received from basic training to the war colleges.
But it is the conflict's aftermath that has given us a challenge of monumental proportion. On September the 4th, 2002, and March 18th of this year, I wrote the president and various secretaries involved in national security issues warning of the dangers in planning for the aftermath.
I ask unanimous consent, Mr. Chairman, that both the letters be placed in the record at this time.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection.
Mr. SKELTON. To quote Sun Tzu: ''To win victory is easy, to preserve its fruits difficult.'' In order to preserve our victory I pointed out the importance of managing Iraq's transition to a post-Saddam regime. My advice went unheeded. Little attention was paid to the post-war Iraq.
To say that the assumption, made by many in the administration, that the Iraqis would welcome us with open arms was incorrect is an understatement. It was a downright blunder. Worse yet, it is a blunder that could have been avoided by taking into consideration the ethnic and tribal strains that existed, particularly the Baathist Party's persistence.
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It breaks my heart to see troops wounded and killed due to the lack of foresight in the post-victory planning.
I need not recount the short tour of duty of retired GeneralLieutenant General Jay Garner; all the problems that resulted under Ambassador Paul Bremer. But I can tell you this: America needs to win this effort. Failure is not an option.
That is why I support the administration's request for funds for Iraq, as well as for Afghanistan. Congress must hold the administration accountable for every penny, but we must provide it. Just like the idea that second place doesn't count on the battlefield, there is no other choice but to finish the job and to finish it fully.
On September the 14th, 2003, our delegation flew from Baghdad back to Kuwait. We had the honor of escorting a body of an American soldier. This fine soldier who was killed in a guerrilla attack in the valley of death in Baghdad was performing his daily duty with honor and integrity, ingenuity and dedication of which we can all be proud.
That American soldier and all his brothers in arms in this conflict put me in mind of Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem, ''The Charge of the Light Brigade.'' His second stanza is as follows:
''Forward the Light Brigade.
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew,
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Not theirs to make reply.
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of death rode the 600.''
This poem says more eloquently than I that the cost of poor planning isn't just in dollars, it is the lives of our best men and women. It is because of these soldiers that we must win the peace in Iraq.
We have no other choice. There are other reasons, too: for the good of the Iraqi people; for the safety of the American people; and for the credibility and leadership of this nation. It is also as simple as saying that we owe it to these soldiers who have chosen to do and die.
So, Mr. Chairman, we have no choice. We are there. We are in Iraq. We can't unring that bell. We must be successful and, in my opinion, this effort can be won, but it can be lost. It is like a teeter-totter; it can go either way. To lose this historic mission would be to let down those amazing American troops who serve, and those who have died in this cause.
So let us go forward with commitment and with accountability, with better planning to honor our soldiers, bring this mission to its victorious conclusion.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Mr. Skelton can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the very distinguished gentleman from Missouri.
Secretary Wolfowitz, thank you for being with us, sir. The floor is yours.
STATEMENT OF HON. PAUL D. WOLFOWITZ, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before this committee, and on such an important subject.
I have with me some pretty remarkable Americans, two real heroes on my right, Ambassador L. Paul Bremer and General John Abizaid, who can give you the word direct from Baghdad, and I know that is what you want to hear, and you want to ask your questions, so I would like to keep my comments relatively brief here. I have a longer statement I would like to submit for the record.
And General Jack Keane, who
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection. In fact, all statement will be taken into the record without objection.
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. General Jack Keane is another American hero who, unfortunately, is nearing the end of an incredible career in the U.S. Army and is here to help answer what I know are going to be questions from this committee about the demands being placed on both our Active Duty and Reserve Component and National Guard forces.
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I would just like to make two specific comments and one general one as we open this. First of all, on a piece of bad news, I would like to express my own personal sorrow at the death of Aquila Hashimi, the member of the Iraqi Governing Council who waswho died of wounds suffered a few days ago in an assassination attempt.
I had the privilege of meeting her back in July. It was a remarkable experience to talk to this woman who has spent years in no less a position than deputy to Tariq Aziz, who expressed with enormous sincerity and conviction her belief in the future of a free and democratic Iraq.
It is a cause for which she has now given her life, and it is a noble cause.
On a piece of happier news, I would like to just share with you, as an example of the kind of thing that we see frequently, almost every day, a dispatch that came in from one of Ambassador Bremer's representatives in the province of Salahuddin, reporting on the elections of the new governing council for that province.
That name may not mean much even to people in this room, but if I point out that the capital of Salahuddin is Tikrit, then I think you will understand why this dispatch was titled ''A Ray of Democracy in Iraq's Heart of Darkness,'' in Saddam Hussein's own hometown.
''The process for selecting Salahuddin's interim governing council has ended, by and large successfully,'' this report says. The provincial judge, accompanied by an American officer, instructed the delegates in the voting process, which was by secret, individual ballot.
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While far short of Athenian democracy, the selection process in Salahuddin is a firm but small step on the path to participatory government, something inconceivable in Saddam's hometown just a few months ago.
''While it remains to be seen,'' this report goes on, ''how effective this diverse group can be in tackling the daunting challenges facing Salahuddin, for the moment the predominant feeling among the members is one of confident optimism and appreciation for what the coalition has made possible.''
Mr. Chairman and members of this committee, including, I know, a great many of you who have taken the trouble to travel to Iraq, along with the bad news, there is a great deal of good news, and this is one example.
If you would permit me just to make a general point, it seems clear to me that some people just don't get it. They just don't understand the lessons of September 11th.
September 11th should have changed the whole way we look at the world, and in particular the way we look at terrorism in the world. September 11th was a wake-up call. It wasn't just a wake-up call that Al Qaida was after us. The war on terrorism is more than just the war on Al Qaida, although that is obviously a very important part of that war.
But we shouldn't kid ourselves that if we could only catch Osama bin Laden and the top leadership of Al Qaida, that we could go back to sleep the way we have for the last 20 years, treating terrorism as an evil, but a manageable evil, and continuing to live with a status quo in the Middle East that has been breeding terrorists by the thousands.
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That is why the president has said over and over and over again that the war on terrorism will be a long and difficult one. It requires eliminating global terrorist networks and getting governments out of the business of sponsoring terrorism.
But it also involves what the president referred to in his State of the Union message last year as building a just and peaceful world beyond the war on terror, particularly by supporting moderate forces in the Muslim world.
September 11th should have brought a recognition that the old way of dealing with terrorism, that you deal with terrorism after the fact by catching the perpetrators, proving their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and if they are individuals, putting them in jail, and if they are countries, bombing them, as we did occasionally after the attack on the American discotheque in Berlin or the attack on our embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaamin other words, that terrorism is an evil, but a manageable evil, one that we can deal with by the weak deterrence of legal punishment and occasional retaliation. But we cannot.
September 11th demonstrated, first of all, that we are dealing with people that can't be deterred. But also, it should have been a lesson that we are not dealing with just one individual group of terrorists, that these terrorists work together, that they get support from states. That state sponsorship of terrorism is simply no longer tolerable. We have got to eradicate those international terrorist networks and end state sponsorship of terrorism.
Afghanistan was a very important place to start and Iraq was an important place to continue.
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But the other thing we need to recognize is that dealing with terrorism is more than just killing and capturing terrorists. It also means winning the battle of ideas, demonstrating to the Muslim world, and particularly to the Arab world, that progress along the lines that has been so successful in this country and in Europe and increasingly in East Asia can also bring success for them.
And the terrorists understand that. That is why they write, as they did recently on an Al Qaida Web site, that defeating democracy in Iraq is for them the most important battlefield in their campaign to impose their twisted way of thinking on the world and on other Muslims.
Why? Because, they write, if democracy succeeds in Iraq, it could teach Arabs that a good life is possible on this Earth. And they could come to love life too much and fear death and be unwilling to become martyrs.
What twisted logic. What sick minds. That tells you the kind of people we are dealing with, but it also tells you that success in the battle for democracy in Iraq will be a major victory in the war on terrorism.
The brave young Americans who liberated Iraq from the clutches of one of the bloodiest and most sadistic tyrants in modern history have brought us to the possibility of a major victory in the war on terrorism.
Completing that victory requires not just winning the war in Iraq, but winning the peace, as well. That is the best way we can honor the memory of the heroes who have sacrificed to bring us and the Iraqi people to this point.
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We are here today, Mr. Chairman, members of this committee, to ask the Congress, as you have done so often before, to give us the tools so we can finish the job.
I would like to ask Ambassador Bremer to
[The prepared statement of Secretary Wolfowitz can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.
STATEMENT OF AMBASSADOR L. PAUL BREMER, III, ADMINISTRATOR, COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY
Ambassador BREMER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you for your visit to Iraq and the visit of so many of your colleagues. I look forward to welcoming any and all of you, because I think it is a wonderful experience for people to see what is really going on on the ground.
I welcome this opportunity to appear in support of the president's budget. I want to, before I begin, pay tribute to the magnificent men and women of our armed forces who had the superb victory in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
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And if I may take a personal note here, Mr. Chairman, it is a particular pleasure for me to welcome my nephew, Captain Max Bremer, here, who served in both the Afghan and Iraqi campaigns.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
Ambassador BREMER. Mr. Chairman
The CHAIRMAN. Take the next 15 minutes off and then back to work. [Laughter.]
Ambassador BREMER. No, I don't give him permission, Mr. Chairman. He is going to have to sit through this.
I know how awful it is for all of you to wake up and hear another American serviceman has been killed overnight in Iraq. I learn about those deaths before you do, just because of the time change, and I can tell you nobody regrets them more than I do.
But these are not the senseless deaths that sometimes they are described as in the American press. They are part of the price we pay for the fight for civilization, the fight against terrorism, the fight against genocide and weapons of mass destruction.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC These people who ambush the coalition forces and who assassinated Aquila Hashimi last week are trying to thwart constitutional and democratic government, as the quote that Secretary Wolfowitz just read from Al Qaida makes clear.
Mr. Chairman, they may win some battles, but they are fighting a losing fight against history. History is not on their side.
President Bush has a vision that provides for an Iraq made secure by the efforts of Iraq, an Iraqi economy based on sound economic principles, bolstered by a substantial infrastructure and, finally, a plan that provides for a democratic and sovereign Iraq at the earliest possible time.
If we fail to recreate Iraq as a sovereign democracy sustained by a solid economy, we will have handed the terrorists a precious gift. We must deny terrorists the gift of state sponsorship, which they enjoyed under Saddam, and must deny them the chaos, such as they survived on and thrived on in Lebanon in the 1980s.
That is why the president's request has to be seen as an important element in the Global War On Terrorism.
Our national experience, Mr. Chairman, teaches us how to consolidate a military victory. We had to learn the lesson the hard way. After the First World War, many here had opposed that war and wanted to solve the problems at home. We won the war and we did not consolidate the peace.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We all know what happened: Extremism, bred in a swamp of despair, bankruptcy and unpayable debts, gave the world fascism in Italy and Nazism in Germany, and another world war.
After that conflict, America showed that it had learned that military victory must be followed by a program to secure the peace. In 1948, America's greatest generation, having won the war, responded with the boldest, most generous and most productive act of statesmanship of the past century: the Marshall Plan.
The Marshall Plan was enacted with overwhelming bipartisan support in both houses here. It set war-torn Europe on the path to freedom and prosperity, which the Europeans enjoy today.
After 1,000 years as the cockpit of war, Europe became the cradle of peace in two short generations. The president has a similar vision for the role of securing the peace in Iraq.
Let me make a few points about the supplemental.
First, we have a definite plan, and we have milestones and dates which we are executing and which you, Mr. Chairman and other members of the committee, have been briefed on in detail during your visits to Baghdad.
Second, no one part of this supplemental is more important than another part. It is an integrated request for $87 billion.
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Thirdly, this is urgent. It is obvious how the urgency affects military operations, but it is also equally obvious to me that it is urgent for the non-military part.
Most Iraqis welcomed us as liberators. A Gallup poll, which you may have read about in the paper yesterday, shows that almost two-thirds of Iraqis continue to believe that getting rid of Saddam Hussein was worth the war and the hardships that have come after that.
But just the same, the reality of having foreign troops on the streets is beginning to chafe. And the population's view of us is directly linked to their cooperation in hunting down those who attack us. Early progress on reconstructing Iraq will give us an edge against the terrorists and save American lives.
Finally, this money will be spent with prudent transparency. Every contract of the $20 billion will be subject to open competitive bidding.
The president's priority in this supplementalfirst priority is security: first, to create a police force that can police the country; second, to create a national defense system based on a new Iraqi army and a civil defense corps; and thirdly, to put behind that an effective justice system, which is fair, objective, by building courts and prisons.
This security assistance helps America in four specific ways.
First, Iraqis will be more effective than we are at gathering intelligence about the enemy. No matter how talented and courageous the coalition forces are, they can never replace an Iraqi policeman who knows his beat, knows his people, the language, the customs and the rhythms of the people. Iraqis want Iraqis to provide their security and so do we. That is why almost five billion dollars is in this supplemental for that goal.
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Second, as these Iraqi security forces assume their duties, they replace coalition troops in the roles that often generate frustration, friction and resentment: conducting searches; manning checkpoints; and guarding installations.
Thirdly, Mr. Chairman, this frees up coalition forces for the more mobile, sophisticated operations which they are so well-equipped to undertake.
And finally, of course, these new Iraqi forces will reduce the overall security demands on the coalition, and thereby speed up the day when we can bring our men and women in the armed forces home.
Of course, security is not enough, and the second thrust of this supplemental is the economy. A good security system cannot persist on the knife edge of economic collapse.
Saddam, when he scurried away in April, left behind an economy ruined not by our attacks, but by decades of neglect, theft and mismanagement. In the entire time he was in office, Mr. Chairman, 35 years, he never prepared a national budget.
The Iraqis must now refashion their economy from the Soviet-style command economy Saddam left them. That poor model was further hobbled by cronyism, theft and pharaonic self-indulgence by Saddam and his intimates.
In this reform of the economy, important changes have begun. You may have read that the Iraqi minister of finance in Dubai this weekend announced a sweeping foreign direct investment law, the independence of the central bank and a very simple one-fee tariff policy.
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The Iraqi government has thereby put in place the legal infrastructure for a vibrant private economy, but those policies will come to nothing if they don't rest on a sound infrastructure. That is why the remaining $15 billion of this supplemental is focused on putting back into place the necessary infrastructure.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, there has been good news on the front of moving towards a democracy. We have laid out a clear seven-step process. Three of the seven steps have been taken.
As Secretary Wolfowitz implied, over 85 percent of the towns in Iraq now have town councils or city councils85 percent. Democracy is on the march in Iraq, and it is on the march from the bottom up, and it is on the march from the top.
The only path to full Iraqi sovereignty at the end of the seven steps we have laid out is through a written constitution, ratified by the Iraqi people, followed by elections. At that point, the Coalition Provisional Authority will hand sovereignty back to the Iraqi people.
Mr. Chairman, you can see, if you examine this supplemental, that it fits together with those priorities.
And make no mistake: These requested funds represent an investment in America's national security. Iraq may seem far away today, but it only seems far away today. Iraq is a focal point in our Global War On Terrorism, and failure there would strengthen the terrorists morally and materially.
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As Congressman Skelton said, failure is not an option.
This supplemental and the policies to carry it out will require the combined support of the American people and of both parties here in Congress.
Mr. Chairman, I look forward to your questions.
[The prepared statement of Ambassador Bremer can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador.
STATEMENT OF GEN. JOHN ABIZAID, USA COMMANDER, UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND
General ABIZAID. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, Congressman Skelton, members of the committee, it is an honor to be here, and thank you for the opportunity to testify.
First of all, as you know, the Central Command is really at the heart of the Global War On Terrorism. We have over 200,000 troops that are deployed throughout our area of operations. They serve in the east as far as Kyrgyzstan and in the west as far as the Horn of Africa. Foremost among our jobs is prosecuting the Global War On Terror. We do that in numerous ways and numerous countries, and we are having good effect. But there is a lot left to do.
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Included in our operations is a requirement to bring stability to Afghanistan and also to Iraq. And, of course, Iraq is the reason that we are here today primarily to talk about. And the mission there is tough and the mission there is essential to the success on the Global War On Terror.
Our troops are tough, they are dedicated, they are confident and they very much appreciate your support in every way. A lot of people have talked about the greatest generation, that generation being that of my father, that fought World War II. And I do, in fact, believe that that is the greatest generation.
But as we look at our young soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines serving in these tough places in Afghanistan, in Yemen, in places like Iraq and Baghdad, in the north and south, I would say they are our next greatest generation. They deserve our confidence. They deserve our support. They know they are winning and they know that they are making a great deal of good happen in Iraq and they are giving Iraq a chance for a better future.
Mr. Chairman, this supplemental is about giving our troops, the great people in the Coalition Provisional Authority and Iraqis the opportunity for success, and we appreciate your support.
I look forward to your questions.
[The prepared statement of General Abizaid can be viewed in the hard copy.]
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The CHAIRMAN. I thank you, General.
And I understand, General Keane, that you are available to answer any questions that we might have in your area.
General KEANE. I am.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Langevin, in the last couple of hearings, you have been close to getting a question in, but we ran out of time, so let me start off by yielding my time to Mr. Langevin.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to thank you for being here, gentlemen. Like many of my colleagues, we are following this situation in Iraq very closely and we are all very concerned as to what we are seeing. I have heard your testimony.
But let me just say that I am proud of the many troops that are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan from my own district, and recognize that most members of the Reserve Component are proud to serve when called upon, despite the sacrifices that they and their families certainly make.
A significant number of my constituents have been calling, sending letters with reference to the frequency of Reserve action. Now, if the U.S. can't persuade the international community to send additional forces, what effects is that going to have on our troop rotation schedule and especially with regard to the Guard and Reserve?
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General KEANE. Congressman, I can answer that question.
The fact of the matter is, it would have some impact on the Reserve Components. We have options currently that we are looking at right now and that we will recommend to the Secretary of Defense for his consideration. If the multinational division support that we are expecting to get, want to get, does not materialize, what that would mean is that we will deploy more Reserve Component brigades to that theater and also, we will deploy Active Component forces with them, as well.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Okay, thank you.
Right now, we are also seeing an escalation in attacks against not only U.S. forces, but also now U.N. components and the latest, today, was the attack on a news network headquarters.
Do you feel that this is a coordinated effort by former Saddam loyalists, or is this a broader attack on anything or anyone that is supporting the United States or Western entities in Iraq?
General ABIZAID. Thank you, Congressman. There is no doubt that there is a level of organization at the regional level, in particular in the region of Tikrit/Baghdad/Ar Ramadi, that has been to some extent coordinated by former regime loyalists, former Saddam intelligence officers, special security officers, soldiers from the Republican Guard, officers from the Special Republican Guard, et cetera.
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There is also a clear indication that terrorist groups, such as Ansar al-Islam, have moved down into the Baghdad area and are operating in other places throughout Iraq. And we have foreign fighters that infiltrate in from primarily the Syrian border area that add to an extremist, anti-American group or series of groups that have taken up arms against the coalition. And again, this area is primarily in the Ar Ramadi/Fallujah area.
All that having been said, I would not characterize the level of attacks as escalating. As a matter of fact, as I look over how things have gone, where they have gone well, where they continue to show a lot of resistance, we are seeing a geographic clarity develop, where certain areas are more difficult for us than others.
This is good news, because it means in much of the country we are gaining the upper hand. And as you know, in the south and in the north in particular, things are stable.
So we should not underestimate the fact that we are facing resistance. We should not discount the fact that it is to a certain extent organized. And we must continue to conduct operations that defeat the resistance where we find it.
But as you also know, Congressman, there is no strictly military solution to the problem in Iraq or to the resistance in Iraq. It requires movement not only on the military arena, but also with regard to governance, economics, diplomacy and politics.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Can you tell me, with respect to these attacks, what additional steps you are taking to improve the security situation, particularly in regard to the U.S. military personnel conducting security operations?
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The CHAIRMAN. And I remind my colleague that our time is almost expired here. We have got a lot of folks that need questions. So if we can abbreviate the answer, gentlemen, we would appreciate it. And I thank the gentleman.
General ABIZAID. Most recently, we have moved out the 3rd Infantry Division from their area of operation and moved in the 82nd Airborne Division. We have conducted a new series of offensives in areas that we are having difficulty, Ar Ramadi, Fallujah, and it is beginning to show some effect even at this early stage. And we have moved more troops out to the border area.
But most importantly, we have increased the capacity of Iraqis to serve in the police, in the civil defense corps, in other arms of Iraqi security capacity.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Thank you, General.
Thank you gentlemen.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, I have, in light of the time constraints that we have, only one question.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Secretary, when we were visiting with Ambassador Bremer in Iraq a few days ago, he thought our mission could be completed in four to five years.
In talking with one of the generals there, he thought our mission could be completed in two years. And I understand there was a recent meeting within the administration that a decision is being made to withdraw our forces in late spring of next year.
Which of the three is correct, sir?
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. Congressman Skelton, I think we ought to be cautious about making any such predictions. I recall when we went into Bosniaand it is something I supported, I would point outsome people said we would be out in a year. We are hoping there might be a chance eight years later of being close to being out.
I think the important messageand it is fundamentalthe Iraqi people need to understand that we will be there until the job is done. There is an extraordinary suspicion that borders on paranoia, burned into their minds by, in many cases, the experiences of 1991, that we will somehow leave before the job is finished and Saddam and his henchmen will come back. And that very fear inhibits our operations today. People who want to come forward with information are sometimes afraid to do so. Indeed they are sometimes murdered for doing so.
So I think predictions in this area are extremely hazardous. I think the important pointthe message has to get out that we are there to finish the job. The sooner the Baathists and the terrorists understand we are there to finish the job, the sooner the Iraqi people understand that we will finish the job, the sooner the job can get done.
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Mr. SKELTON. So we are committed to staying there until the mission is complete, is that correct?
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. Yes, we are.
And I would point out that a very important part of that is putting Iraqis in a position to be on the front lines. Unfortunately, as we saw with Aquila Hashimi, being on the front lines can mean being killed. And some 58 or so Iraqis have been killed on our sidefighting on our side in the police and other security forces, just since June 1st.
I would like to just make a comment about this lack of planning, because I think it is an extremely serious issue. And I think people should be extremely careful about suggesting that somehow young Americans are dying because of a failure of planning.
There has been an enormous amount of planning. Some of it, frankly, has bordered on the brilliant, and I am not claiming any personal credit; it is done by other people. We have avoided any number of catastrophes that were predicted that would happen in this war, including massive street fighting in the city streets of Baghdad and elsewhere; including environmental disasters that would have not only poisoned the environment, but poisoned our troops; including ethnic conflict between Turks and Arabs that was predicted in the north or fighting among Shi'a in the south.
There has been a lot that has been avoided. A lot of it has been avoided by careful planning and it includes planning for the so-called postwar environment. I say ''so-called'' because we are not postwar; we are stilling fighting a low-level war and that is what is most painful here.
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But to have gone from zero Iraqis on our side when Baghdad fell, to 60,000 in the field today40,000 or so in the police and 20,000 in the civil defense corps and border forces and facilities protection servicesis not something that happened just magically. It happened as a result of planning.
And planning includes, I think, the very careful thought that went into the structure that is represented by the two extraordinary leaders next to me, so that we have, I believe, for the first time an operation of this kind, the civilian side and the military side, knitted together tightly and coordinated and able to move in response to inevitably changing conditions on the ground.
So I would rather not have to say the planning was wonderful, but I think when I hear people say so glibly that it was wrong, I think it is wrong.
I know Congressman Skelton, you made some extremely helpful suggestions before the war and we have tried to follow up on many of them. And I certainly agree on the importance of winning the peace. That is what we are about. But a lot of thought and planning has gone into it.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Weldon?
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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And thank you all for coming in today and, most importantly, for your service to the country.
I was heartened today by the results of the recent poll that came out by Gallup which basically showed that in perhaps the most intense private interviews ever conducted in Iraq, 62 percent of the residents believe the ousting of Saddam justified any hardships that might have been personally incurred by them. And 67 percent believe their country will be far improved in five years. That is good news, and news that we can all take to heart.
In terms of the cost, I think it is also important for us on this committee to reflect upon where we are. And I want to start out by giving the administration credit for being candid. They haven't hedged their bets. They have come out with what they think they need in terms of dollars.
I would just remind my colleagues on this committee who sat through the 1990s what happened time and time again, as we were asked to respond financially to 38 separate deployments of our troopsand that is how many there were, 38. None of them, I might add, were paid for in advance, except for Desert Storm when the president got a commitment from our allies to reimburse us $52 billion.
How do we pay, then, for these deployments in Bosnia, in Kosovo, in Somalia, in East Timor, in Macedonia, in Colombia? I will tell you how we paid. We paid for it by forcing the Pentagon to eat into their decreasing budget to shore up the costs that were necessary.
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I chaired the Research and Development (R&D) Committee for six years. And each year, I had to incur a 25 percent across-the-board reduction in R&D spending to tax those R&D accounts to pay for the costs of deployments.
Now, if we had been honest with the American people, we would have told them how much these deployments were going to cost. But instead of doing that, the administration simply passed on those costs to the Pentagon and said, ''Eat them. Find a way to pay for them.''
What did we do? We postponed modernization of our equipment. We postponed R&D investment. We postponed the investment that today we are trying to pick up the costs for.
So when our colleagues look at the costyes, $87 billion is a lot of moneyand I want to ask the tough questions, as well. In fact, I have a couple of tough comments I am going to make in a moment.
But let's be realistic. In the 1990s, starting with former President Bush and continuing through 2000, we largely ate the cost of the 38 deployments by forcing the Pentagon to eat into their budgets, push aside programs of the future and use that money to pay for all the deployments, including reimbursing countries for putting their troops in theaters where they would not come in and pay for the costs on their own. And that is all verifiable in the record.
Now the one area where I do have some concernand Secretary Wolfowitz, I want to address this to youis back in March, I felt we were not doing enough to lay the groundwork for the private energy sector worldwide to come in, using our own resources to build Iraq's energy industry.
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And, in fact, in March of this year, the former Secretary of Commerce and I addressed the World Oil and Gas Forum in Houston, and we challenged the chief executive officers (CEO) of 30 of the largest energy corporations in the world to put together an international advisory forum to be ready to assist us in the rebuilding of Iraq after the war was over.
That group has, in fact, made suggestions. In July of this year, in fact, on July 24th, we had an all-day conference on the Hill. The vice president assisted us in getting some speakers. Chalabi came over from Iraq. We had John Hamre speak; he had just returned as Secretary of Defense's representative to meet with Ambassador Bremer.
He spoke; the head of the Army Corps of Engineers spoke; and the 30 or so CEOs of companies like Kuwaiti Oil, Aramco, Tata Industries from India, the Singapore energy industry, the Russian oil company LukOil, the Russian pipeline company, they were all there.
And their common theme was, ''We are ready to invest our own money. We have been in Iraq before the war. We know the people there.''
And, in fact, I introduced General Franks that day to both Duncan Hunter and to the CEO of Russian pipeline company, who said, ''We are willing to spend our own money. We don't want U.S. money. And we will follow the guidelines that the U.S. lays out for us. We know the pipeline industry in Iraq. We helped build it. We will come in with our own money and help you rebuild it, as long as we can have a stake in the outcome of whatever develops there.''
The CEO of LUKoil, Alekperov, said the same thingChairman Alekperov.
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My concern is that we haven't done enough to enlist the private sector energy leaders worldwide to come in to use their own money, especially when they have been involved in Iraq in the past, under our guidance, under the leadership of Ambassador Bremer, to help us rebuild the energy infrastructure of Iraq.
And that is the area where I think we should be focusing our effort. These CEOs are ready to respond. In fact, they have formed an international energy advisory council. They are not looking for any money in providing consulting. They are willing to do it on a gratis basis.
And so, my only suggestion as we approach the support of these financial dollars which you have requestedwhich I, in fact, will supportis to quickly supplement the effort you have put forward, and to hopefully allow you, Ambassador Bremer and Secretary Wolfowitz, to create a more aggressive relationship between these energy leaders that are willing to spend their own money and have been, in fact, involved in the past in helping to rebuild as quickly as possible, specifically the energy infrastructure in Iraq.
Ambassador BREMER. Thank you, Congressman, for that.
I would only make two points. I welcome it, and I would suggest that they plan to attend the private sector conference which we are going to hold parallel to the donors' conference in Madrid at the end of October, where we are going to try to encourage private sector engagement across the board in the major areas of Iraqi economy.
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The one proviso is, of course, at least for now there is no foreign investment allowed in the Iraqi oil sector. That may change; I am encouraging the Iraqi government to change that policy, but there still will be ways in which people can participate, and the conference in Madrid would be a very good place to start.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Spratt?
Mr. SPRATT. General Abizaid, General Keane, to a person our congressional delegation (CODEL) came back last week saying, I believe in unison, ''Thank God for our troops,'' and in particular for the Army.
They had to fill a gap, they had to fill a vacuum in the aftermath of the war. They had to react ad hoc to tasks that they are not trained to handle, they had to improvise, and they rose to the challenge in a splendid way.
And it is to your credit and to their credit that that performance is there, and the situation could be a lot, lot worse were it not for their performance.
Mr. Wolfowitz, we have discussed before the cost of these endeavors. And I am not a bean counter, I am not here to do that with you. I am the ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee, and the numbers we are talking about, $83 billion, $87 billion, are consequential. They have consequences, they have trade-offs entailed by them. And they raise the question, should we try to offset this package in the broader budget somehow so that it doesn't have the impact on the bottom line? Because this request couldn't come at a worse time with regard to the budget, which is bordering on $500 billion in deficit next year already.
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I am not saying that is a consideration here. We have got to do whatever it takes to complete this mission successfully and to support our troops, but in a broader sense we have to be conscious of these budgetary implications.
I have written Mr. Bolton at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)Mr. Skelton and I did, at the end of Julyand asked for an accounting of the $80 billion that was appropriated in the April supplemental. We would like to get an accounting of that, a justification on the major cost element basis of this request. And we would like to have a fair estimate of the cost to complete.
I don't think that is asking too much. We would like very much the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Zakheim in the near future, soon, so we can get our hands around these essential elements.
Let me show you one thing that concerns us. I am going to give you this pack with this information in it.
In the absence of getting the information from you, we did our own study, three different scenarios, best case, mid-case, worst case, of what it might cost, run out over ten years because that is how far we extend the budget, adding interest because we are assuming it will be charged up to the deficit, go to the national debt, it won't be paid for now, offset, although I think it should be.
And the numbers are pretty astounding when you do that with modest assumptions.
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For example, case A, we are assuming that we will be out in 2006. Our forces will gradually decline to two division equivalents and we will get out. We will spend about $5 billion more than the $23 billion we have spent, $20 billion plus $3 billion in the last package for economic assistance.
In the next package, the next scenario, we assume that we won't get out completely until 2008 and we will spend a bit more, $20 billion, assuming if we are there that long, there are problems, we would probably have to spend more to get the economy up on its feet and running.
This may be wide of the mark in your estimation, but we would very much appreciate your response to what we have done as to whether or not it is accurate, and, if you will, your take: three cases, best case, worst case, mid case, and what the cost is likely to be and what the impact on the budget is likely to be. Can we have that commitment?
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. We will certainly work with you and answer your first question to show you where the money has gone from the supplementals that have been passed already.
When it comes to making projections, I mean, I look at how you made yours. Frankly we find it hard to foresee the future much beyond 6 months to 12 months. We do think that we know what we need for this coming fiscal year. Even there, it is based on assumptions. And when you start to go out to 2008, the range of assumptions, as you know, is very, very broad.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But we are happy to work with you to try to get better numbers.
Mr. SPRATT. Can I offer one thing here to show that we are trying to be scrupulously fair, and it might help you, too, in the presentation of your own argument?
Although $87 billion is the number commonly used, when you back out what goes to Afghanistan, which we would be spending in all cases and wouldn't even be debating with this kind of deliberation, and when you also adjust for savings due to the fact that we won't have Operation Northern Watch and Southern Watch and we back out Pakistan aid, it is really about $71 billion for Iraq.
It is still enough for sticker shock for the average American and for all of us, but nevertheless is not quite as big as $87 billion, and some of the money would be spent anyway.
Can I ask one last question? Given what I just said about the troops, what is in this package for the troops? This $87 billion, are we going to be able to do something for rest and recuperation (R&R), for mid-tour leave, separation pay, family separation pay, imminent danger pay, something to help the Reservists?
Because they are all writing us, their families are, their employers are, and they have got an unexpected burden imposed upon them. And I am afraid the Army may be paying something forward, in terms of recruitment and retention down the road. What are we going to do for the troops in this package, in terms of quality of life?
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Mr. WOLFOWITZ. There is a lot in this package that addresses those issues specifically, imminent danger pay, family separation allowances. Also, and I think you and Congressman Skelton gave us a lot of homework to do in the letter you sent with 22 questions. We will work on them.
I appreciate the conversation we had the other day. I think we need to look systematically at what we can do to make conditions for the troops in the theater better. There is money to cover R&R. That is a clearly recognized need.
General Abizaid might want to comment further. But I agree with both of you that that is an important issue. We are asking an enormous amount of these young men and women, to go over there and serve for a year in conditions of danger. We should make the conditions as tolerable as we can.
Mr. SPRATT. General Abizaid, General Sanchez told us last week that R&R was absolutely necessary.
General ABIZAID. I agree with General Sanchez. And we have conveyed that to the department. It is necessary.
We also have a Fighter Management Program, we call it. That is a local program that allows troops to get out to places like Qatar and other regional locations where they can relax and be away from the tough conditions in Iraq. And as you know, I believe you were up seeing northern Iraq. You have seen some of the work that the general there has done on his own to make life better for his troops up there.
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So we favor the Fighter Management Program and we also favor the R&R. It is very important for all of our troops.
Mr. SPRATT. Is that in this package or is it provided for?
General KEANE. I can comment on that, Mr. Congressman.
Yes, it is. It is $300 million in the package devoted to the R&R program.
By the way, the first flight left Iraq today with 270 soldiers. About 85 are heading toward Germany and the remainder are heading toward Baltimore, Maryland. And we continue to increase that throughput, up to about 600-plus per day.
To be frank about it, we will not be able to get the soldiers currently serving in Iraqall of them to have an R&R program prior to their departure. Most of whom will leave in the February-March time frame. But we are striving to accomplish that goal for the next rotation that begins about that time frame, somewhere in their year's experience to get them to an R&R site.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
So you are sending how many again, General?
General KEANE. Right now, on the airplane, that is 270, and we are going to increase that to about 600 is what our goal is. And we will do that over the next 30 days or so.
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The CHAIRMAN. Okay.
The gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Saxton?
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And first, let me express my personal appreciation for the great leadership that you gentlemen are each showing in carrying out the daily activities that you carry out.
There has been a lot said this morning about daily reminders that we have that the war on terrorism is so serious. One set of reminders come from very qualified people who write books for us. And I just would like to frame a question for you, using some of these writings.
One book that I recently received, entitled ''A National Security Strategy in an Age of Terrorists, Tyrants and Weapons of Mass Destruction,'' written by a guy by the name of Larry Korb, points out, in some detail, why we need a strategy in the war against terrorism.
Another book by a person who is really a household word here with the committee, Ken Alibek, entitled ''Biohazard,'' describes in great detail the offensive biological weapons capability developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, where they actually were able to weaponize dozens of types of diseases, including plague, tularemia, Marburg, smallpox, anthrax and others.
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And the final thought in this book is that these weapons are no longer just in the countries where they were developed. They have been dispersed to various parts of the world.
And Kurt Weldon just showed me another book, which I haven't had an opportunity to read yet, entitled ''Black Ice,'' a description of the potential threat in the area of cyberterrorism, which I look forward to reading, Kurt.
And of course, all this is funded somehow. A book by Rachel Ehrenfeld, entitled ''Funding Evil,'' describes in some detailactually in collaboration I guess with James Woolsey, who wrote the foreword to this bookhow terrorism is funded.
And finally, a book that I am just completing, ''Terrorist Hunter,'' written by an anonymous Jewish woman who was born and spent the first four or five years growing up in Iraq. And following the 1967 war, when the Iraqis became embarrassed because they didn't do better in that war, they began to look for somebody to blame, and they found some Jews living in Iraq, arrested her father, tortured he and her mother, until her father just gave up and erroneously admitted that he was, even though he wasn't, a spy. And then, of course, they hanged him.
And I guess I point out all of this because each of these writings goes to demonstrate the seriousness of the situation in which we now find ourselves involved.
And so my question, I guess, is posed by Larry Korb early in his book. He says in his foreword, ''The tragic events of September 11th, the increase in terrorism and the possible threats from countries that are capable of developing weapons of mass destruction, make it imperative to develop a new security strategy to safeguard the citizens of the United States.''
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I guess my question is to give you an opportunity to talk about our strategy and how Iraq fits into it in the war on terrorism. That is really my question: What is our strategy, and how does the current set of activities ongoing in Iraq fit into our new national strategy?
Ambassador BREMER. I could go on at length, but I think it might be better to hear from General Abizaid who is, in addition to his many other credentials, by the way, a real Middle East expert. I met him when he was a colonel commanding an Airborne battalion in Northern Iraq in 1991. And he was speaking Arabic back then.
General ABIZAID. Yes, sir.
Sir, as far as a strategic construct for getting at the broader terrorist menace, it is absolutely essential that we further develop international and interagency opportunities to get at the problem. The points that you bring up about financing, about various support networks that are developing here and there, about the borderless nature of the problem, clearly show that we have to have not just a regional strategy but a global strategy to deal with it.
In the CENTCOM area of responsibility, we have three task forces that are designed to deal with the problem in various locations.
Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF)180 in Afghanistan operates along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. And, as you know, that is one of these ungoverned spaces to which the terrorists have migrated and through which we have to continue to fight.
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In Iraq, we know that we have had terrorists move into Iraq. They were there before we got there. They are there now. And they are absolutely dangerous to the mission, and we confront them there with General Sanchez and CJTF7.
In the Horn of Africa, we have another task force that is less well known, but it is the Combined Joint Task Force for the Horn of Africa. And they conduct operations; not so much direct operations, but operations to enhance the capacity of the local nations to deal with what they perceive as a growing menace.
It is a tough issue. The strategy has got to be actually broader than the Central Command area. And it requires our full attention and constant reassessment.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to thank the witnesses for being with us today.
And I have a question for General Abizaid. I understand that we have several ammunition dumps or depots throughout Iraq so that our troops can use the ammunition or weapons. Have we had any reports of anybody breaking in and stealing ammunition or weapons from those sites?
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General ABIZAID. Congressman, there is our ammunition, which we have secure, and then there is about 650,000 tons of ammunition, which is an astronomical amount of ammunition, that exists throughout Iraq, all of which is not secure.
Mr. ORTIZ. You say it is not secured?
General ABIZAID. I would say certainly not all of it is secure, because some of it is in the hands of our enemies.
Mr. ORTIZ. But if they are not secured, you don't think that they will break in, you know, because we see all the time that they are using rocket-propelled grenades and ammunition and different kinds of weapon to harm our troops. You are not afraid that they might break into these sites and steal these weapons or ammunition?
General ABIZAID. Congressman, there is more ammunition in Iraq that is available for people that would do us harm than we can secure. We are doing our best to find every cache that we can. In the 4th Infantry Division area alone, General Odierno has identified 3,000 caches. We blow it up. We move it. We get it under our control, to the best of our ability.
But there is also a lot of ammunition that is out there that we don't know its location, that people are using against us. And there are probably places where we have put Iraqi guards that may be vulnerable also to people that would come in, bribe the guards or whatever.
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So I would not want to mislead this committee to think that the ammunition situation in Iraq is under control. There is more ammunition per human being in Iraq than any nation on Earth. And we will work very, very hard to get it under control, but it won't come any time soon.
Mr. ORTIZ. My second question is this now: As members of this committee, we get, at least from my people back in the National Guard and Reserves, about activation. Are you hearing anything from your local leaders at the National Guard and Reserves about the many activations of the National Guard and Reserves?
General ABIZAID. Let me take the first part of it, and I am sure General Keane would want to comment on it.
Certainly as I go around the theater and I talk to our National Guardsmen and Reservists, they all understand that we can't get the job done in Iraq without them. They are extremely dedicated and they are just absolutely essential to the success of the mission.
One thing we must do, and we will work with the Army to do this, is to ensure that they all know their go-home date. Our active forces know their go-home date, but we have to work harder to make sure that our Reservists clearly understand how long they will serve, when they will come home, et cetera.
And I think you all know that where we find capacity that is unneeded, we move very quickly to redeploy it. Unfortunately the nature of the threat is such that we haven't been able to redeploy much.
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General KEANE. Mr. Congressman, we have asked much of our Reserve Components. Not only in the last 2 years, but in the last 12 years, we have had seven call-ups of our Reserve Components in various operations, from Desert Storm to Haiti to Bosnia. You are familiar with the list. And here we are facing another major call-up.
But I think the morale of our Reserve Components could not be higher, in my judgment. I have seen them at the ports where they are leaving at airports, as well as in Iraq. And they understand what this is really all about, as do all of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. And the simple fact of the matter is, it is about America.
In my lifetime, wearing this uniform for 37 years, we have never ever deployed our soldiers directly for the American people except post-9/11. That was the first time that I have been wearing a uniform we have ever done that. In the past it was always to help another beleaguered nation.
This is all about our people. This is all about protecting our way of life and what we stand for in this country. And our Reserve Component, the great citizen soldiers that they are, truly understand this. And they are committed to doing this.
And what we are trying to do is be as fair to them as we possibly can by giving them predictability in terms of the length of their rotation. And a year is a long time in Iraq, to be sure. But it is worth it. It is worth it, given what we are up against and what our opponents are after.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC They want to destroy the moral and political will of the American people and force us to leave. Our soldiers know that and they are putting their shoulder into this.
And I know you know that. And I just want you to know how strongly we feel about their level of commitment and what they are doing to support our national policies here. They are doing just a remarkable job under very tough, demanding conditions.
Mr. ORTIZ. My time is up. We thank all of you for your services and your commitment.
And, General Keane, I know that you are going to be retiring soon. We want to thank you for your services to this great country.
General KEANE. Thank you, Congressman.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. And I thank him for all of his time that he has spent with the troops. Probably nobody else on this committee spent as much time as Mr. Ortiz, from all of the Middle East operations to the Contra base camps in Central America. When the 82nd Airborne jumped in, you were down there with them.
Solomon, I appreciated that. You didn't jump, but you were there when they got there.
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Another gentleman from Texas, Mr. Thornberry?
Mr. THORNBERRY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ambassador Bremer, my district certainly has supported the military efforts so far, but they are more skeptical about reconstruction. Partly, they are skeptical about all foreign aid and how helpful it really is. But first, I guess I would like for you to tell me if you think my response, when this comes upand it has come up a lotis on track.
Part of what I argue is that the reconstruction of Iraq is a critical battle in the war on terrorism just like the military actions were important battles.
Some of the reasons you have already given, but in addition, the whole world is watching how this goes. And if we can be successful in creating a country where there is some form of representative government, people have a say on their future, as well as some form of market economy where they have some investment in the countryand it is even better if they can own property and actually pass along what they work for to their kidsif you are invested that way, then you have some hope and you are not that likely to go blow yourself or your neighbors up.
If, on the other hand, you don't have that sort of hope of a better future, then there is no amount of money that we can ever spend for homeland security that is going to keep all the terrorists out of our country.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Hope for the average 20-year-old male in this region is a lot of what this boils down to, in my view. Is that right?
Ambassador BREMER. Thank you, Congressman.
Yes, that is right. And it is a good point that brings out an important element of this supplemental, that I mentioned, which is that $5 billion of the $20 billion is quite clearly and understandably linked directly to security, because it involves the new Iraqi army and the police force.
The other $15 billion really addresses the point you are making. And it is the point that, I think, the Marshall Plan addressed in the case of Europe.
To win the war is not enough. To win the peace means putting in place the important elements you touched on.
The element of a vibrant private sector, so that the government is no longer the only employer in the country. This is one way to break down the temptation to tyranny.
Putting in place a constitution, which is the essential political framework for a vibrant political life, leading to an elected democratic government.
You can't expect these things to happen in the kind of situation that exists in Iraq today. Progress is being made, but in order to win this war, these $15 billion are an essential part of security. They are directly related not only to the war on terrorism in the broadest sense, but they are related to achieving victory in Iraq and making Iraq a safer place for Iraqis in the long run and for our servicemen in the short run.
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Mr. THORNBERRY. Let me ask you this: Do you have the authority you need to spend this money effectively?
Because many of us believe that if you have to go through all of the government rigamarole that we normally go through when we are trying to help another country, that you are not going to spend this money we are about to approve for who knows how long, and when you do spend it it is going to be so tied up with red tape it is not going to be effective.
Ambassador BREMER. Well, Congressman, I hope that doesn't happen.
We have some experience in spending the $2.45 billion that Congress appropriated to us back in April. We had some bumps along the lines that you referred to, some red tape and stuff. I think we have pretty much cleared the field of that.
And I am satisfied I have a very clear mandate from the president that I have authority over all U.S. government resources in Iraq and all civilians and those military who do not serve under a theater commander. I have very substantial authority. I think I have complete agreement in the executive branch and hopefully with Congress on how we can move quickly to obligate and spend this money.
Mr. THORNBERRY. Well, I would just invite you that if you run into a roadblock that we can deal with, that you can immediately come and tell us. Because I think it would be a tragedy to let some bureaucratic snafu prevent this money from being used as effectively and as quickly as it possibly can.
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Ambassador BREMER. Thank you, Congressman.
Mr. THORNBERRY. Let me ask one other question, briefly.
Secretary Wolfowitz and perhaps General Keane. Mr. Secretary, you mentioned in your remarks the national security personnel system, having more flexibility with the civil service so you can free up military people, and deal with some of the concerns, frankly, that we have been hearing with operating tempo (OPTEMPO), and so forth. If either of you would like to briefly address that, I would appreciate it.
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. Let me just say briefly, we are looking at every possible way that we can relieve the stress on the force, because the stress is real.
We are at war. You can expect stress when you are at war, but we need to look at what things we can do to relieve that stress. We are looking at our worldwide deployments, places that we have sort of assumed forces have to be deployed. Well, maybe they don't when you are in a wartime situation.
One of the things we have looked at is that there are a lot of uniformed men and women serving in jobs that could be quite well performed by civilians, and that that could free up some flexibility to let us have those people doing the jobs that only military can perform.
And the Houseand we are very appreciativegave us the authority we think we need to make those conversions more rapidly. We appreciate that. Of course, it is now in conference with the Senate. We wish you all the success in that endeavor.
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General Keane, do you want to comment further?
General KEANE. Yes, sir.
We know we have some challenges, Mr. Congressman. You know, for example, our Active Component/Reserve Component balance we know is not right. And what that has done is put a disproportionate stress on some of our Reserve Component forces, and we have to correct that imbalance.
You know, for example, in the Active Component, we don't have enough infantry in the Army, we don't have enough civil affairs, we don't have enough military police. We have to fix that. And we are putting those plans together to fix some of that.
So those are major issues that we are facing that will help us with long-range OPTEMPO. It is not going to help us in the short term; that is the reality of it.
And from the Army perspective, the other services are also coming to our assistance, in terms of our deployment to Iraq, where they can help us with certain functions that heretofore the Army has been doing, but they may be able to do some of those functions for us, like Seabees can do engineer work and the Air Force also has people that can help us with various operations to reduce the stress that we currently have. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The gentleman from Mississippi, Mr. Taylor?
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to thank all four of our guests here today for what you do for our country.
Three things I would like you to touch on and, General Abizaid, you touched on it once. But I was with the group that was there about a week ago, and was somewhat amazed by the comments of David Kay, who is there heading up our nation's efforts to find the weapons of mass destruction, when he talked about specifically 55 unguarded caches of weapons that he felt like the Iraqis were sneaking into at night, stealing weapons and using them against Americans.
His observation was, it was a lack of manpower on the part of the American forces that you didn't have the troops to guard those sites, and therefore it became a vulnerability.
And I would like to hear specifically your thoughts on that, because it flew in the face of what the commanders we had the opportunity to visit said. They said we have plenty of troops, and this was 180 degrees from that.
Second thing that I have noticed with great dismay, and that is the very efficient use by the enemy of improvised explosive devices (IED), things as simple as a cell phone being used to detonate a shell. I am told sometimes a garage door opener, remote control garage door opener, even things as simple as a remote control doorbell.
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I have been told that the technology exists, and it has actually been fielded in some instances, to jam many of those signalsnot all the signals, but many of those signals, and therefore save some American lives.
This is the committee that decides what we buy, and how many we buy of them. If it is a funding problem, I would hope you would tell us. If it is an industrial base problem, I still think even that can be solved with funds. If you spend enough money, someone will run the second and third shift to make enough of those devices so that we can put one on every Humvee and every vehicle young Americans are riding. And, again, I want to hear your thoughts on that.
Third thing, I think would simply fall into the snafu category, but I would hope we could solve it with this supplemental.
Our colleague, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, wrote every member a letter expressing his dismay that the young soldiers who are in the hospitals as a result of wounds incurred in Afghanistan or Iraq are actually charged for their meals. And to charge a young American who has lost an arm or leg, their vision even $8 a day for their meals while they are in the hospital, I find appalling. I would hope that it would be the DOD's request, as a part of the supplemental, that we fix that.
And the other unintended consequenceand again, this is something I believe your people did trying to help folks that had unintended consequencesI am told that in many instances people were listed as medically retired prior to their death in an effort to see to it that the surviving members of their family could get better benefits.
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Fortunately, some of these people lived, but were then thrown into some sort of a quagmire of red tape where they no longer were eligible for the benefits they had earned for serving in our military. Again, done with the best of intentions and the worst of outcomes.
Are these things being addressed in this supplemental, because they are real problems that need to be solved? And I would welcome your thoughts on this.
General ABIZAID. Well, thank you, Congressman.
I can address many of these things, and I would ask General Keane to help me out on a few others.
First of all, I believe I answered the question to the best of my ability with regard to the amount of explosives that are available out there. There are certainly not enough forces anywhere to guard all the ammunition that is in Iraq. So it is not a matter of more forces, it is a matter of prioritization of what the forces do.
There is plenty of ammunition that is in the hands of the enemy, and unfortunately what we need to do in that regard is find them, kill them, seize the ammunition that is in their hands and then destroy it.
So, again, I would not want to mislead the committee to think that we can control all the ammunition that is available in Iraq, because we cannot.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I would also say that Dr. Kay probably has seen some evidence of people tampering with areas that he has looked into. And I am sure that that has happened on occasion and that security perimeters have been breached, et cetera.
That is also a matter of making sure that the Iraqi security forces that we field do the job that we pay them to do. And we can't, obviously, do everything in Iraq with Americans only. Otherwise, we will stay there forever.
With regard to the IEDs, there are technologies available, although we need to be realistic about the IEDs and the way that they are being triggered. There are some that are on certain frequencies. I believe that it is best not to talk about the details of how it works in this hearing.
But I would also tell you that, in my experience in Afghanistan, my experience around the Middle East and certainly in Iraq, that while we have these devices deployed and we can use more of the devices, I think that they are only able to get a small percentage of the type of IEDs that we are operating against. So again, there is no silver bullet.
What we need to do is continue, to the extent possible, to increase our research and development, to understand how we can defeat these devices because they are certainly deadly to us. The number one way we defeat IEDs in Iraq is by Iraqis coming up to us and telling us where they are. And that probably happens in 40 or 50 percent of the cases.
With regard to the quagmire of red tape, I think there is always a quagmire of red tape somewhere out there in this great armed forces of ours. We will certainly look into those problems and deal with them. And I appreciate your bringing it to my attention.
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Mr. WOLFOWITZ. Congressman Taylor, if I could add that we are taking a hard look back here at new technologies that can be applied to the IED problem. The Joint Chiefs of Staff is leading an effort and some $130 million that is intended in the supplemental could help to fund that kind of activity.
I would add to your comment, I, at Walter Reed, met a sergeant who had been medically retired because they thought he was about to dieit was for his benefit. And there he was alive and healthy, beautiful wife and one-month-old baby. It was pretty remarkable. And all he could think about was, ''How do I get back on active duty?''
I will say this for the Army: I know he felt at the moment there was red tape and when I came back a couple of weeks later he said they had been out there, they had explained all his options to him, they didn't want him making a rash decision to go back in until he had thought it all through. And I think they ended up with a very good solution for him. They will bring him back on active duty at a better time for his own choosing.
But I would say, generally speaking, that my impression is the Army has paid an awful lot of attention to those wounded soldiers and their families. They certainly deserve it.
General Keane might want to add to that.
General KEANE. Yes, sir, thank you.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You accurately pointed out that we do have a number of soldiers that are significantly maimed as a result of this war. And many of them are missing limbs and some of them will not be able to carry on and perform their services as Army soldiers or as Marines in the future.
And what we have done is, we feel a tremendous sense of obligation to them, as you do. We do not want them just to walk back into what was previously their civilian life. What we want to do is help them with a transition to that life, help them to go to school and provide them a mentor who can see them through the psychological and emotional challenges that they have.
We are starting with a youngster by the name of Sammy Ross. He is blind and he has lost a leg. He was a young engineer serving with the 82nd Airborne Division when all this happened to him. And Sammy Ross, we are very proud to tell you, came from a very small town. He is the only person in his family that graduated from high school. And he did it with honors. And he joined the United States Army and became an engineer, and he is so proud of that.
But given the catastrophic nature of his injuries, he is going to have to go back to civilian life. But we are going to get Sammy Ross to college. And we are going to make sure he has a mentor when he goes through that, and he is receiving the psychological assistance that he needs.
We just have to do these things. These are wonderful people and they have made tremendous sacrifices. And we are going to take care of them.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In terms of the $8.10, you are absolutely right: A soldier who is in the hospital, in Walter Reed, who is injured, is paying a daily rate of $8.10 essentially for food. And that is by statute, by law, that he or she receives a subsistence allowance monthly. And that is deducted from their pay when they are in a medical facility as such.
Your committee is looking at revising that law and we are in complete support of that effort.
The CHAIRMAN. And I might say to my colleague, the appropriations bill fixed that for a year. We are going to try to permanentize that, the reform on that.
General, in light of Mr. Taylor's comments, and the comments of David Kay, I think one thing that would be good for the situation is if you could have one of your senior officers have a personal discussion with Mr. Kay, engage with him on these 55 sites and let us know what the status quo is on those sites.
Could you do that?
General ABIZAID. We will, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. If you could have your folks report back to the committee so we know that, we would appreciate that.
I thank the gentleman.
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The gentlelady from New Mexico, Ms. Wilson.
Mrs. WILSON OF NEW MEXICO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Keane, I appreciate your passion for our soldiers and particularly I think you are right on as regards our Reserve and Guard units. But like you, I am very concerned that we need to look at our Reserve/Active mix. I worry about how folks feel after they have come through the airport and the adrenaline rush has gone away and the banner is down off the garage.
And they know, as you all know and everyone in this room knows, that this is not a crisis for which we can surge and then go back to life as normal; that the likelihood of their being called up again next year is quite high. And they are going to be making decisions with their families about whether to stay in the Reserve and the Guard or not.
And I say thatI am married to one. I know these things. I know a lot of the guys who serve in New Mexico. And I worry about that.
You talked a little about it. You said it is long-range, but I would like to know, are you looking at changing the mix of Reserve/Guard, increasing the end-strength of the active duty force, or doing both?
General KEANE. Yes, well, we are looking at all of that.
We know the mix is wrong. And when we go to war we are far too dependent on the Reserve Component to provide our logistical support and some of the combat support and we have got to fix that. That is number one.
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And then, as I indicated before, we know we do not have enough military police in the active as well as in the reserve, and we intend to fix both of those and increase the infantry in the active.
And also, civil affairs is another problem for us. We have to increase the civil affairs in the active force.
Before we come in and make a recommendation for any end-strength increase, which I know has been a concern for the committee in the past, we have to take a look at that balance and see what that does for us.
We are also looking at what military conversions we can make. And by that I mean is, we have a number of military people serving in jobs that probably we think can be done by a civilian, a Department of the Army civilian.
And we are looking at that in three categories: 6,000, 18,000 and 24,000. And right now we know 6,000 makes compelling sense to us. We have gone through all of that. And the 18,000 and the 24,000, we are working on, and that is still under analysis.
So those savings are there for us. But it is not free to the taxpayers, certainly, because an increase in civilian end-strength is an increase in the federal budget and it is an increase in the Army budget and Department of Defense budget, as well.
But those things make sense to us. And then, after that analysis is complete, then we will see where we are in terms of Army end-strength.
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I have been in the Pentagon now four years. And we have looked at this every year. And we have had all sort of thoughts in the Army about our end-strength, just being frank with you.
And we have never walked over herewe have never walked down the hallway to the Department of Defense and told them, ''We want an increase in Army end-strength'' in those four years. That is the truth of it.
Some of us felt we probably needed to do that, but when we looked at it, in terms of other Army priorities, we simply could not afford it, because we knew it was going to come out of our top line and changing the Army for the future, for example, had a higher priority. And the senior leaders of the Army submitted to that higher priority, and we did not increase the strength of the Army at the time.
And we are right there, right now, going through that analysis again in the face of what we are dealing with. And after we make those judgments, the leadership of the Army will talk to Secretary Rumsfeld about what our conclusions are. And I am sure then, you will hear from us about it.
Mrs. WILSON OF NEW MEXICO. General, I am concerned that maybe we can't afford not to.
General KEANE. I understand.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. WILSON OF NEW MEXICO. I have, kind of, come to this position reluctantly, because I am one of those that believes that you get $1.10 of value out of every dollar you spend, and you try to look at what things you can not do, and where you can shift people around and shed missions.
But there comes a point when you look at these numbers. The United States military will be 28,000 people over authorized end-strength at the end of this year. You are already over authorized end-strength. Yesterday, General Pace was talking about calling up more Guard and Reserves. You have 170,000 Guard and Reserves on active duty today. We have had over 50,000 on active duty since September 11th.
I worry that if we don't make this decision, we are going to end up with the kind of hollowed-out Army at the senior non-commissioned officer (NCO) and junior officer level that destroyed the Army in the wake of the Vietnam War. And if we have to make that decision, and we have to bump up that top line, we need you to tell us that, too.
General KEANE. Sure. And we will, Madam Congresswoman, we will do exactly that.
Many of us sitting up at this table here lived through that experience, you know, the post-Vietnam era when we hollowed out our Army, when we fought that war on the backs of our career force and many of them were killed and wounded and many of them left the Army after that because they just could not put up with the stress any longer. We understand that. And we are looking at this very hard.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And you are right. In the Army, we have been operating since 9/11, three weeks after that, when we started to mobilize, with about 30,000 more people to help us do our job every day, having nothing to do with Iraq. And that would tell you, at a glance, that probably the Army could be larger, based on that number. And that is self-evident to us, self-evident to me.
But what we need to do is, before we come in here and say, ''That is what we want,'' we need to fix our knitting a little bit. We need to fix ourselves inside.
And that is what I am asking you, to let us do that. We are going to finish this in the next few weeks, and then we will come forward with a recommendation.
Mrs. WILSON OF NEW MEXICO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank the gentlelady for her excellent line of questions.
And the gentleman who hobbled around Iraq with a bad back in the first CODEL that we took over, the gentleman from Hawaii, Mr. Abercrombie?
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I am sure I was the most fortunate of people to be able to do that of everyone serving there for sure.
Mr. Chairman, before my time begins, however, I need to ask you a question for the record. And I am asking this in the context of everything that has gone on. The supplemental, which is what we are hearing today, witnesses are here principally for this supplemental budget.
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In fact, when the announcement was made to me, Memorandum for the Armed Services Committee members, ''The hearing will address the status of U.S. military and reconstruction activities in Iraq in the context of the administration's request for the supplemental.''
This hearing today is for purposes of dialogue and exchange and perspective. It is not an authorization hearing. Is that correct in the sense that I understand our responsibility to be?
The CHAIRMAN. That is correct. We are not marking up the supplemental today.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your response to the request of the members to have a hearing on this and I appreciate the witnesses for being here in this context. But I must protest that this is not an authorization hearing.
My understanding of what a supplemental is all about is that it has to do with emergency spending. This is not emergency spending. Virtually every word coming from the witnesses, the context of the questions as such, means that this is not an emergency.
It is an ongoing spending situation and an ongoing spending context that requires authorization. If we do it this way, we are undermining the authority and obligation and responsibility of this committee.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I don't hold you responsible for this personally. Quite the opposite; I have an idea that you may, in fact, agree with me.
But I want to be on record as this member protesting that this is not taken up in a regular order with authorization of the proper committees, because this is going to be an ongoing series of requests and decisions that have to be made. And to take it up simply by going to the Appropriations Committee as if all the policy has been decided, all of the decisions made with what to buy and how to do it, is not only unfair to this committee, but it is unfair to the people that are serving that have been mentioned over and over again today.
The CHAIRMAN. I just say to the gentleman that this is a big piece of cash. It is not a $5 billion or $6 billion supplemental, it is a big supplemental. And for practical purposes, it is a mini-authorization bill. And I agree with the gentleman that this committee should have a thorough oversight participation here.
Let me say to my friend, though, that right now we are turning and burning trying to get the authorization bill out. And the gentleman knows we have got major, major issues in this bill. We are trying to bring that thing to a closure here before we and the other body move out of here.
So I agree with the gentleman's point. I think it is a good strong point.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I think it has to be taken to the leadership of the House that we cannot do this.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I will move then to my questions for the witnesses. Thank you for making that clear. I think it has to be on the record, because I don't believe that necessarily the rest of the Congress nor certainly the witnessing public understands what is taking place today. We are not authorizing as we should.
Now, if I take the witnesses at their word, and I will, I say that for purposes of establishing a foundation.
Mr. Wolfowitz, Mr. Secretary. I appreciate your being here today. I took your answer to Mr. Skelton to be that those rumors or myths or propositions that were put forward for whatever reasons from the Pentagon or other sources that came to Mr. Skelton, that there would be some cynical manipulation of removal of troops before the election next year is just that, and that the likelihood of that taking place is nil; that there will be no substitution of 3 Iraqi divisions, some 27 battalions if I read this supplemental request correctlyand I am trying to get through every single page and every single line that has been given to us, believe methat that would provideI won't say a pretext, but that would provide a context for the removal of 1, 2 or more divisions of American troops before the election.
That is what we are being told, and that is the question we are going to have to answer.
This thing isn't going to be over, even if you find the opportunity to remove several battalions or divisions before the election next year; is that correct?
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. There seem to be two separate premises to your question. One is, are these decisions going to be made on political grounds in light of the election, and certainly none that I will make, nor none that Secretary Rumsfeld will make, nor I think none the president will make. These are national security decisions. They have to be made on that basis.
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Does that mean we are not trying to, in fact, get more Iraqis on the front lines, get them dying for their country so fewer Americans have to? No, we are trying to do exactly that.
We are trying to reduce the stress on our force and bring it down prudently as we can. We are looking for international coalition forces so that we can bring our troop levels down.
But certainly no one I know believes that we are not going to be in Iraq with significant forces right through the end of next year.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you.
With that in mind then, this goes, General Keane, to the question of Guard and Reserves. Now what I quote to you is words to the effectI cannot say that I know they were exactly from Secretary Rumsfeld yesterdaythat it is not likely that we will get more from foreign troops, or words to that effect. I tried to remember it, and I made some notes to myself.
So that the multi-national divisions from two to four, if that doesn't take place, and if I understood your commentary correctly, we are talking about the increase in the number of Guard and Reserves. We are talking about the possible stop-loss changes again, in terms of when people might or might not have their leave dates changed. Is that correct?
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General KEANE. Yes, by and large, that is correct, Congressman. If the planned substitution of a multi-national division, which our government is attempting to arrange, to replace a United States Army division which is currently in Iraq, does not materialize, then we will have to go back and draw on U.S. military forces, both Active and Reserve, to accommodate that.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay.
General KEANE. And what I am not prepared to tell you right now is who are those units and what that composition is because we
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I am not asking that.
General KEANE [continuing]. Have not made those decisions.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you. I appreciate that.
What in effect is happening is we are having a draft by default. And it was very disturbing to me, and I want to say that againwe are having a draft. The draft has returned to this country, except it is by default. And a whole lot of people that are waving the flag out there and talking about our responsibilities in the war on terror are getting to watch it on television, because we are drafting by default through Guard and Reserves.
It is very disturbing to me, Mr. Chairman, very disturbing that General Keane feels, despite communications coming on a bipartisan basis from this committeeand I want to emphasize that, bipartisan basis from this committeeif I understood him correctly, he felt and the Army felt that they would have to take an increase in end-strength out of their top line.
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That was not the position of members of this committee in public hearings and elsewhere, that if that was taken up, that you would be required to do that.
Now it may have been the policy of the administration; I don't know. It might have been the policy of previous administrations; I don't know. But not this committee.
That issue has to be taken up. And, Mr. Chairman, it is another reason why we should be authorizing this money. This should not be taken up on an emergency basis as if it was something that fell out of the sky, out of the blue, something like Hurricane Isabel. This is not a hurricane. This is something of our own creation, in terms of what our response is or is not. We are not mute and standing bereft of an understanding of what we should do.
Now, General, under those circumstances, if you knew that this committee was prepared to deal with the question of funding an increase in end-strength, is it your opinionor perhaps I should ask the Secretary; it may be unfair to ask you.
Is it your view, Mr. Secretary, that the question of increase in the end-strength for the Army and Reserves should be on the table?
General KEANE. Well, let me answer it first, because I don't want to dodge you.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I never thought for a moment you would dodge anything, General.
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General KEANE. I will pass it to the secretary.
First of all, I think the leaders of the Army have always known for years that this committeethere was a possibility in this committee you would increase the end-strength of the Army and would be willing to fund it above the top line. Certainly I understood that. And I don't want to presume that for my other colleagues, but I certainly understood that.
The issue for us was always within the Department of Defense itself, and it concerned the previous administration that actually wanted to reduce the size of the Army, much less increase it. That is what we were dealing with, and I am just being frank with you.
And the current administration that we have been dealing with, the Army has not come forward with any increase in end-strength.
We are facing that reality today. And we are taking a hard look at doing just that.
And we also understand that there has been support for this issue on this committee for a number of years. That has been clearly understood.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Secretary?
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. Everything is on the table, Congressman.
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Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Now one last thing.
Time is up?
The CHAIRMAN. Time is up.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Okay, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. For the gentleman who hobbled around Iraq with a bad back, we are going to give him another 30 seconds.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
You have mentioned, Mr. Secretary, the Horn of Africa in citation of where our troops are extended now.
Or perhaps, General, you mentioned it. I beg your pardon.
My understanding is there are now circumstances perhaps coming into flower in Eritrea and Ethiopia which might cause conflict there to be breaking out or extending itself. And so we could find ourselves operating in another front there.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My question is, Mr. Secretary, when we deal with this $87 billionand I have been going through it. I see very little in this $87 billion or anything at all that takes into account the question of unanticipated circumstances in which further deployment of troops or extension of requirements of military activity is taken into account.
I see very little evidence of that. This all seems to be very, very site-and area-and circumstance-specific with no allowance for anything else.
If such a thing took place in Eritrea and Ethiopia, does this budget cover that? Or is it strictly for operations within Iraq on the assumption that everything we hope for will work that way?
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. Congressman, it would depend entirely on what was involved and what we might want to do.
When we came up with last year's budget and suggested that there was a requirement for Afghanistan that was not precisely predictable, we said we were just asking for a slush fund. I mean, by definition, if it is unanticipated, we can't define it.
But with our incredible military, we have extraordinary capability to respond to a crisis in Korea, to respond to a crisis in Liberia, to respond to crisis in this hemisphere. And I can't imagine exactly what we might do in Eritrea and Ethiopia. So we have a lot of capability.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. So the answer then that that might be an emergency, it might be a supplemental, but what this is doing is Iraq-specific, this $87 billion.
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Mr. WOLFOWITZ. No, not all of it.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Afghanistan and Iraq specific?
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. Yes, sir.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. For all intents and purposes.
Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I appreciate the straightforwardness and honesty of that answer.
Mr. Chairman, I rest my case on the fact that we should be involved in an authorizing process.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman for his last 30-second question. [Laughter.]
But I am going to go to another gentleman who's led a CODEL to Iraq, Mr. Forbes. But first, the ranking member had an observation.
Mr. SKELTON. Yes, I think the record should show that, since 1995, I have been urging an additional 40,000 Army troops based upon testimony from this very committee. And I am pleased to know that there are a number of members of this committee on both sides of the aisle that agree we need additional troops. And hopefully that can come to pass, Mr. Chairman.
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The CHAIRMAN. Okay, I thank the gentleman.
And I want to put myself down, as we have over the years, as very much in favor of two additional Army divisions.
The gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Forbes.
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. Mr. Chairman, could I just point out that when we did the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) in the summer of 2001, a lot of people thought we should cut end-strength, especially Army end-strength, and when we concluded that we should not, we were accused of a lack of imagination.
And I remember going to Secretary Rumsfeld on September 12th and saying, ''Thank heavens we didn't. Think of where we would be if we had.''
So we are not completely out of sympathy with your concerns. But adding end-strength takes time to take effect. And it adds a permanent burden on your top line, and at the end of the day resources transfer.
So we are trying right now to get the immediate benefits that we can out of some of the changes General Keane mentioned. But as I said to several of you, all options are on the table.
We are in a serious situation. We have got to address it seriously.
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The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
And Mr. Forbes, thank you for taking that CODEL to Iraq. And please proceed.
Mr. FORBES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And Mr. Ambassador and Mr. Secretary and Generals, you know, sometimes I wonder why you do what you do, not why you make the decisions that you make, but why you literally don't just throw your hands up and do something that is easier and more lucrative to do.
And, Mr. Ambassador, I know that until somebody has traveled to Iraq, it is easy for us to forget that every day you are personally in Iraq, your life is at risk, too.
And you know, all four of you do what you do because you love this country and because you love freedom.
Mr. Ambassador, I saw with my own eyes, the admiration and trust that the Iraqis leaders had for you personally. We saw in Iraq children waving at our troops as they flew over with helicopters. We saw oil refineries that were going back on-line, water wells opening up where people hadn't had them before, universities beginning to teach religious tolerance. And we didn't see that on TV, we saw that with our own eyes there.
Every single soldier we spoke to, even the Reservists, who may want to come home, without exception told us the same thing: ''This was the right mission and we had to win this mission.''
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And I want to thank all four of you for what you are doing and for the successes that we are having in Iraq.
The distinguished ranking member, who I have enormous respect for, said earlier that we had no choice. Well, I disagree. I only wish that we could have given you more choices.
Mr. Ambassador, I wish that we could have given you an Iraq that wasn't full of criminals that had been released by Saddam Hussein in all of the communities there. I wish we could give an Iraq to work in that you didn't have terrorists flooding in, trying to thwart everything that were doing.
I wish we could have given you an Iraq that didn't have an infrastructure that had been laid waste by Saddam Hussein for years. And I wish we could give you a political environment that would recognize the accomplishments we have had and realize that no amount of planning that we could have done could have changed a single one of the things that I just mentioned.
Prior to this conflict, we had two choices: We could have first waited for the terrorists to strike, and then we could have paid for their devastation like we did on September 11th, studied the problem, and then wait for them to hit us again and pay for that and study it again and pay for that and study it again and study it again; or we could have gone after the terrorists and broken the cycle. We made the right choice.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think now we have two choices: We can cut and run, and we can leave the terrorists to have a playground and a training ground with an almost limitless source of funding to attack us for the rest of our lives and our children's lives; or we can roll up our sleeves and do what we need to do to finish this job.
And my question today, Mr. Ambassador, Mr. Secretary, for you, is what is the cost if we don't fund the ongoing operations in Iraq? What type of future should we envision in that region if we should fail to reach our goal of freedom and democracy for the Iraqi people?
In other words, what is the cost for not funding the requests that have been laid on the table to this Congress?
Ambassador BREMER. Thank you, Congressman, and thank you for your kind words about my staff.
Congressman, I think there is a model, maybe two, if we don't do this: Beirut, Lebanon, during the 1980s and Afghanistan under the Taliban from 1995 forward.
We simply cannot afford to have an area of the world, particularly an area as rich as Iraq, turned over to a group of terrorists again. Saddam was a terrorist. We have terrorists there now. If we don't, as one of the soldiers that was quoted earlier said, ''We have to fight and defeat these terrorists somewhere.''
It is for those of us who live in Baghdad an uncomfortable reality that we are now on the front line of terrorism. It puts the lives of the thousands of men and women who work for me at risk every day.
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But I will tell you, like the soldiers you spoke of, and they are wonderful, the civilians too, to a man and a woman, will understand the importance of what they are doing in Iraq for American security here; that that is what is at stake. It is a war we simply have to finish, and we have to finish it in Iraq or we will fight it here.
Mr. FORBES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. And once again, I want to thank him for leading his CODEL to Iraq.
Gentlemen, I have to leave for a bit. And General Keane, Secretary Wolfowitz, General Abizaid and Ambassador Bremer, thank you for your service to the country. I will try to come back a little later here in the hearing.
Right now, we have Mr. Meehan.
And, Mr. Meehan, thank you for your hard work on the bill this year. And you are recognized.
Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thanks to the members of the committee.
Mr. Secretary, you had indicated in response to Mr. Abercrombie that there were those who said we shouldn't add end-strength. Anyone on this committeeI don't know who that would be.
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Mr. WOLFOWITZ. Many pundits in the press and editorialists. And I don't remember anyone on this committee, no, sir.
Mr. MEEHAN. And when you originally gave your opening testimony, I read your statement, but you indicated there were some people that just don't get it. Is that members of the Congress? I didn't really quite get that part. People that just don't get that we are engaged in a war on terrorism?
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. No, I explained it. I could repeat exactly what I said. I am not trying to identify individuals.
I think, as I said, there is a view that, while terrorism is terrible and September 11th demonstrated it is terrible, that it hasn't basically altered either the way we deal with it as a kind of law enforcement catching the criminals after the fact matter, or change the way in which we deal with the breeding ground of terrorism in the Middle East and elsewhere in the Muslim world. I think it requires a fundamentally different change of approach.
And when people say, ''We don't know whether or not Saddam had anything to with 9/11,'' that misses the point. The point is that Saddam was a sponsor of terrorism. His influence on the Middle East was enormously destabilizing. And getting rid of that regime will get rid of a threat to us and allow us to begin building a better Middle East.
Mr. MEEHAN. And I certainly supported the resolution. I have traveled to Iraq, and all you have to do is go to Iraq, to those places where 300,000 Iraqi people were put into pits and mass grave sites.
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But surely you think that a country like the United States should analyze their intelligence by which we decide to go to war and to make sure that the decisions are made at least based on what we tell the American people or what we tell the Congress.
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. Of course.
Mr. MEEHAN. In dealing with this $87 billion packageand I think we already appropriated about $75 billion. And I think all of the members of this committee who traveled to Iraq, and even those who haven't, agree that we need to provide the support for our troops while they are there and they are engaged in very important work.
And this is not an easy thing to do. I don't think anyone necessarily knows all in terms of day in and day out processes of what we are trying to accomplish there.
But many members of the Congress would like to get a better perspective about that end game. And this is our opportunity to do that. The administration has been great in terms of briefing us, but we now have an opportunity where the Congress has an $87 billion package, where we can ask questions relative to what is the end game.
Mr. Skelton specifically mentioned one idea that we will be out by late spring, another idea that it will be two years, another idea that it will be four to five years. The difference could mean whether we spend $200 billion in this operation or $400 billion in this operation.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Is there any way to get some kind of a context of an end game from the administration prior to a vote on this? And I understand in Kosovo, in Bosnia, it was very difficult to give specific dates. But I would point out that this is a much more critical, expensive proposition. In Bosnia and Kosovo, I think we represented about 17 or 18 percent of the operation and here about 90 percent of the operation.
So many of us here would just like to get a more specific general idea of a plan, an exit strategy. And, I understand, get more Iraqis up front, try to get international support from other countries.
Is there anything more that you can say other than, ''We just don't know,'' relative to an exit strategy in some kind of a time line?
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. I think there is a lot that can be said about the end game, except predicting dates when things will happen. Nobody has a crystal ball.
You are right that this is a more expensive proposition than Bosnia or Kosovo. It is also true that it is a lot more complicated. We didn't have Saddam's bitter-enders trying to defeat us in either of those places. The war ended when we came in.
And on the other hand, the stakes are far, far greater. The stakes are enormous here.
Essentially the end game is to have Iraqis taking care of their own security, running their own country, getting basic services running so they can, and having a political process that leads to basically a free and democratic system.
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Ambassador Bremer is really the person who should speak to that in more detail. But there is an end game.
Mr. MEEHAN. To that end, are we getting more Iraqi military into reconstituted police or military forces? I assume we are making progress vis-a-vis that?
General ABIZAID. Sir, we are certainly making progress in that arena. We have quite a few police that are on duty now, somewhat over 40,000, although all of them are not equipped, trained and provided for the way that we would like them to be. But every day they get better.
I would also like to assure you that the CENTCOM staff is working very hard with Ambassador Bremer's staff to synchronize both the military effort and the civil effort to ensure that we have conditions-based understanding of how we can draw down forces.
But the draw-down of the forces isn't the key thing. It is achieving success on all of our various azimuths, whether it is governance, security, infrastructure, et cetera. And I believe that this effort is probably more synchronized from a military and a political perspective than any one I have seen before.
Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WELDON [presiding]. The time of the gentleman has expired.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would remind our colleagues, perhaps they are not aware of this, but Ambassador Bremer has to leave here by 4 p.m. So if we could try to get our questions out for him, the other panelists could perhaps stay a little longer. But he has an appointment that he has to make.
Dr. Snyder is recognized for five minutes.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, gentlemen, for being here. We really appreciate your service.
I attended a funeral this weekend of a special forces master sergeant who died in combat in Iraq. And his family was very appreciative and very proud of the work that he did and that he served under you all.
Ambassador Bremer, I want to ask you, the Hamre commission had recommended, I think it was the establishment of 18 provincial Coalition Provisional Authority offices and they recommended a staff of 20 to 30 people.
Did you agree with that? What is the current count?
Ambassador BREMER. Yes, I did. And we have now what they call government support teams in 18 provincial capitals, and they are most of them between 15 and 20 personnel.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. SNYDER. And that has worked out reasonably well.
Ambassador BREMER. Yes. We still have to complement it with additional civilian personnel from the Coalition Provisional Authority. We are doing that now.
When Mr. Hamre visited, which was in late June, he felt we did not have enough people in the Coalition Provisional Authority. At that time my staffing was 660 people. I currently have six times as many people as I had in June.
Dr. SNYDER. There was also some press reports in terms of the money that is being spent on some redevelopment issues, that some Iraqi business people were complaining that they didn't get what they thought was adequate opportunities to compete for some of that money.
What is the status of that? Are there Iraqis that are able to participate in some of the reconstruction activities?
Ambassador BREMER. Yes, there are. In fact, I have given instructions that on all of the contracts which we let, whether they are through appropriated funds or Iraqi government funds, preference is to be given to Iraqi firms.
In the case of appropriated funds, where the regulations require that the prime contractor be an American firm, I have given instructions that they must give preference to Iraqi construction firms, in most cases construction for the subcontracting. And that is being done.
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Dr. SNYDER. Do you have an idea of a ratio or amount of money that the Iraqi contractors have received?
Ambassador BREMER. We haven't got it accumulated yet. There is one company, for example, Bechtel, which has the largest single contract. I have given them a target of trying to subcontract 70 percent of their funds. Let me put it a different way, I said to them, ''I would like to see 70 percent of the funds spent in Iraqi, if possible.''
Dr. SNYDER. And Mr. Ambassador, David Gergen, two or three nights ago on one of the news shows, made the comment that in the last three or four months, the number of people showing up in morgues in Iraq had doubled. And his statement was that it was showing an increasing amount of people have died from violence.
Is that an accurate figure? And if so, what does that reflect?
Ambassador BREMER. Well, I don't know if it is accurate to say it has doubled.
It is certainly an extremely violent society. And we have to remember that Saddam Hussein let free 100,000 convicted murderers, rapists, burglars and kidnappers, and it is going to take us quite a while to wrap them up. They are certainly a major part of the security threat, particularly to Iraqis.
Dr. SNYDER. General Abizaid, Mr. Abercrombie mentioned Eritrea and Ethiopia, but he didn't ask the question I wanted to ask, which is that there are increasing concerns that this dispute over this border delineation and what we hope will be the demarcation of the border doesn't seem to be going well.
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How do you assess that situation, because that would have negative consequences on not only those two countries, but also on the war against terrorism?
General ABIZAID. Well, thank you, Congressman.
I recently had the opportunity to be in Eritrea, last week, as a matter of fact, and I spoke to President Isaias and before that I spoke to Prime Minister Meles in Ethiopia. And it is clear that there is a diplomatic problem that has clearly developed over the demarcation of the border that came from the commission that was responsible for that. It centers around Bodme, which is in the center of the sector and other parts more to the east.
And I do not believe at this time, that it will necessarily move toward military confrontation, but clearly we need to move diplomatically to see what we can do to keep that contained.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WELDON. I thank the gentleman. His time is expired.
Let me try something here. We have a number of members that have not asked questions yet. I have been informed that Ambassador Bremer has to leave slightly before 4 to make the 4 o'clock appointment.
So I am going to try to ask if members have one question for Ambassador Bremer, then perhaps we can get those out of the way. Then we will go back to the regular order of five minutes each.
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Do any of the remaining members have a specific question for Ambassador Bremer?
One, two, three.
Okay, let's do those three questions. And four, you, John?
Let's do these four quickly before Ambassador Bremer leaves. And then we will go back to the regular order.
Ms. Sanchez, you were next anyway. So would you just do your one question? I will come back to you after you ask the question of Ambassador Bremer.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you.
Ms. SANCHEZ. First of all, thank you all, gentlemen, for being here today.
How do I start this? I guess the question isand I know that I have sent word to several, not just the Defense Department, but also the reconstruction. So, Ambassador, you know, I come from an investment banking background. And I used to put deals together; that is what we used to do.
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So if we would ask people to invest in a billion dollar project, and a billion dollar project was considered a lot, we would do all sorts of calculations, good scenarios, bad scenarios, worse case scenarios, and we would put together a prospectus, and it would have all of that in there, so that people who would be investing in a deal, would get what be the best and rosiest situation and what could be the worst situation, so they would know what the risk factor was and what the vulnerabilities were to a deal.
You know, I am getting a little frustrated, because I have asked for that type of information on this, both from the Defense side. What do we get for our $87 billion? And you know, I don't know if the Defense Department or the State Department or whoever is running this, just doesn't have financial people, doesn't have accountants, it doesn't have people who do trend analysis, it doesn't have people who can run financial models.
I mean, I don't know, maybe they don't have computers that can do that. But you know, this is so easy to do today. And yet it is very, very frustrating to hear, ''Well, we just don't have an idea past six months from now.''
You know, the road is paved with people who are business people who go to a banker and say, ''I want to borrow money.'' And they are required to do all of these plans, an operational one-year plan, a five-year plan, a ten-year plan, assumptions. And if you don't do that, you don't get the money. I don't understand why you can't take a stab at this, as Mr. Spratt said.
I mean, can you give an answer to that? Because it is very frustrating. You know, we are sitting here safeguarding. The American people trust us that we are going to ask the right questions to spend the money they send to Washington the right way.
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And by the way, I think being in Iraq is a moral obligation now, that we need to finish it, that we need to get it back and going and put it into the hands of Iraqis as soon as possible and get our troops out in one piece. So I am not against that. I am just wondering why you are so bad at giving us good case, bad case, middle case scenarios here.
Ambassador BREMER. Thank you, Congresswoman, particularly for your statement of support. I agree that whatever one's position may have been before the war, we are there now and we have to succeed. As the distinguished Congressman Skelton said, ''Failure is not an option.''
I spent a fair part of my career as a businessman, also, and I understand what you are talking about. But I have also spent a lot of time in public service and it is a bit different.
We have in the $20 billion here, the part for which I am answerablemade our very best assessmentand it has been done by very competent people, including the Iraqi ministries involvedabout what their needs were.
It is very difficult to do a standard sort of cost/benefit analysis on an irrigation canal. You cannot very well do a return on investment of a dam safety repair. It is not something you can quantify the way you can quantify an investment in a bank or in a startup.
This $20 billion represents our very best assessment with the Iraqi government of urgent, essential projects that should be done in the next 12 to 18 months. There is a lot more that needs to be done in Iraq, probably another $40 billion or $50 billion worth, but this is the part which if we do it now directly serves our interest by increasing the Iraqi ability to provide security for Iraq and by providing the essential services that gets their economy going again. And that essentially is the assessment that we have done.
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Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador.
I would just say that I am not asking you to tell me what the worth of a dam project is or a river project is. What I am asking you to do is to be up front with the American people. And that it is not just $20 billion for this, but that they also have another $40 billion or $50 billion on the line and what that looks like for the future. They need to know the full cost of what is going on.
Ambassador BREMER. No, that I agree with. That I agree with.
Mr. WELDON. I thank the gentlelady. I will come back to her.
Mr. Hayes had a question for Mr. Bremer.
Mr. HAYES. Thank you, gentlemen, for being here.
Let me first say, I am dismayed, disappointed and disgusted with what happened with Senator Kennedy and Senator Byrd. You deserve better than that, Ambassador Bremer.
Thanks to all of you. And that does not reflect my attitude and most of the people up here. Our soldiers deserve better than that kind of treatment. Give us a history lesson if you want to, if it is your stage.
My question is this: At the end of the actual combat phase of the war, we had reporters embedded everywhere. They each had different stories about different occasions where our men and women served admirably. That was a good thing.
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Now they all seem to be gathered up in a wad somewhere. One story comes in that is bad, and they all write that story and send it home.
What can you do to get them scattered out again? [Laughter.]
Ambassador BREMER. Of course, the offer for them to rejoin combat units is there. Some of them actually have gone out and rejoined. I don't know if technically they are embedded any more, but they do go out there.
I agree, Congressman. I say to the journalists, ''Look, I understand that the news cycle is driven by bad news. That is unfortunately a structural defect of having a free press. But there are every day, literally, dozens of good news stories. There are orphanages that have been reopened, schools that have been repainted, hospitals that have generators, irrigation canals that have been opened, every single day.'' We have completed, Congressman, over 8,000 individual reconstruction projects in Iraq in the last three months, 8,000 individual projects.
I can't say there are 8,000 good stories there, but I bet you there are a thousand good stories there. And we have been trying to encourage the journalists to go out and look into those stories and tell the story to the American people.
We are beginning to make some progress on that. We have a superb new director of strategic communications who is very much pointed in that direction.
And I just would repeat again my invitation to any of you who have not been to Iraq that you come there and see it with your own eyes. You have heard from people on both sides of the aisle here today how much they learned. I would welcome any of you to come again.
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Mr. HAYES. Thank you very much. I was in Iraq before you were, Ambassador Bremer, and I know what you guys have done. It is terrific.
Mr. WELDON. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. Larsen has a question for Ambassador Bremer.
Mr. LARSEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ambassador Bremer, good to see you again. And I just wanted to tell you before we started I had a follow-up based on our conversations yesterday, and this has to do with what I think is maybe a critical choke point for Iraqi reconstruction, and that is the port in Umm Qasr and the progress being made there in reconstruction.
If we are going to move $1.2 billion of this oil pipeline infrastructure and $5.6 billion of generators and other infrastructure for electricity grid to get all the power turned back on, it is going to be absolutely critical. We can't move that stuff in, we can't fly it in, and it is going to be very expensive and time-consuming to drive it in. The best way to do that is to move it through the port.
The challenges that we face at the port are many, but I understand progress is being made, salvage removal, wreckage removal, repair of the terminals, and so on.
But in order to move those kinds of goods, it is going to take a lot more work, including shore-side cranes. And from what I understand, after all repairs are made we could at least handle eight million tons of cargo a year through that port. But several things need to take place and my question is around those things that need to take place.
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First is security, second is management and third is capital expenditure. So if you could address, quickly, what is being done both inside the fence, if you will, on security at the port, as well as outside the fence.
Second, with regards to management of the port, what are we looking at in terms of trying to either isolate or not isolate military cargo coming in and out versus civilian infrastructure cargo coming in and out?
And the third has to do with capital expenditure. There is $45 million in the supplemental request for capital expenditure. If we are going to get things up and running 12 to 18 months from now, that port has to be up and running 2 to 3 months from nowthat is a wild guess on my partbut sooner than 12 to 18 months. But what of that $45 million is going to help us move things from the water onto the terminals, inland?
Ambassador BREMER. Thank you.
The port was opened on June 16th. We still do have some work going on there under a previous contract of appropriated funds to move, as you pointed out, some of the sunken hulks that are there.
The $45 million is roughly speaking going to be given for getting electricity and water back into the port. It doesn't have power. It is not connected to the grid. Putting in perimeter fencing and security lightingwe have had problems of security around the port as you pointed out, Congressmanthat would take care of that.
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I think the most important thing is getting container and bulk handling equipment. The note I have here says we are supposed to be able to unload 18,000 tons a day, that is the target, and to build a new customs facility, because as we get more stuff coming through a port, we have to have a customs facility.
I don't have any greater granularity on it than that, but that is what that $45 million is intended to do.
Mr. LARSEN. Mr. Chairman, just a quick followup. You are not going to be in Baghdad this weekend. Could you make available staff members while we are there, and we can ask some questions to them?
Ambassador BREMER. Yes, surely.
Mr. WELDON. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. Cole is recognized for a question of Ambassador Bremer and then we will quickly follow with Mr. Reyes, Mr. Spratt.
For those who just came in, we are just doing questions of Ambassador Bremer. He has to leave in the next two minutes.
So Mr. Cole, you are next. This is not counting against your five-minute time.
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Mr. COLE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I will try and be quick and I know that the ambassador's time is quite valuable.
But first, just to thank you for what you are doing. I think we have given you, frankly, one of the toughest jobs any American has been asked to perform, and I just think you have done a magnificent job under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.
Ambassador BREMER. Thank you.
Mr. COLE. This may be a little bit beyond your purview, but, you know, obviously one of the great challenges you face is getting an economy up and running and a semblance of civil society restored in an effort to expedite our withdrawal.
Along those lines, could you tell me, number one, where we are at in any discussions we might be having with foreign governments that hold sizable debts to Iraq, particularly debts that were obviously run up by Saddam Hussein?
And two, regardless of where we are at on that or how candid you could be, how helpful would it be to be able to eliminate that debt and how much would that speed on your pressure?
And then one third point. You know, sometimes it is a little bit easier for Congress to address these issues in resolution form. I actually have a resolution on this issue, asking the French, the Germans and the Russians and others to forgive the debt as a contribution toward reconstruction. So I would particularly appreciate your observations on the foreign debt issue and Iraq recovery.
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Ambassador BREMER. Thank you, Congressman.
Yes, there have been discussions. Effectively, there was a decision taken in June by the Group of Seven leading countries to suspend all debt-servicing and payments on Iraqi debt for another 18 months, in other words to the end of 2004, to give us time to renegotiate the debt.
It would be very important for us to get that relieved. It is a huge overhang over the Iraqi people. And I think any help Congress could give would be welcome.
I would point out that Iraq owes us about $4 billion, so there is something there for us.
Mr. COLE. Thank you very much.
Mr. WELDON. Mr. Reyes had a question for Ambassador Bremer.
Mr. REYES. Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you, Mr. Ambassador.
I have really a two-part question. And I have been to Iraq, and one of the concerns I have is that we have got our troops in the middle of a very difficult situation, as it pertains to groups, tribes, ethnic and religious.
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Can you tell us, what is our plan to get them to work cooperatively or work together, in terms of everything from standing up an army to taking care of their own infrastructure business, all of those things? What is our plan to get these groups to work together? Because that is something that I think should be a real concern to us.
The second part of the question is, the $21 billion that you are asking us to provide for reconstruction, does that have any money built in for increased sabotage? Say, for instance, we build the electrical grid or we build the water distribution system, they blow it up. We build it again, they blow it up again. How much is built in there, if we are not going to be able to control a lot of this sabotage?
Ambassador BREMER. On the first question, about how we work together, of course, the whole hypothesis of the president's strategy is to turn responsibility for Iraq over to the Iraqis as quickly as it responsibly can be done, in security, in economics, in politics.
And this supplemental request was put together with the Iraqi ministries, as I explained earlier to Ms. Sanchez. That is to say, this was done together with the Iraqis. So they are engaged. They want to make this happen.
There were two very able members of the Iraqi cabinet here this weeksome of you may have met them, the Minister of Public Works and the Minister of Electricity. They met with the President and they said, ''We will help you make this happen.''
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Actually, it is only $20 billion I have. The other billion goes to the Afghans. The $20 billion assumes that by bringing up security, we will get a relatively secure environment. But, obviously, we have to make some allowance in our planning for the possibility that they will continue to knock down towers.
I think, frankly, what happens here, Congressman, is we get to a tipping point. We get to a point where it no longer is profitable for either a terrorist or a looter to knock down towers, either because they are going to get shot or because they see if there are political saboteurs, that it no longer has the big effect it used to have because we have, for example, auxiliary generating capabilities and they can't take out a whole system.
So at a certain point, you get to a tipping point and it no longer is as enticing to attack these targets. That is our assumption.
Mr. REYES. So there is money built in?
Ambassador BREMER. There is no particular line item.
Mr. REYES. Oh, no, no. And that is not what I am asking. I am just making sure that if what you have asked for here, that if it is provided, that you don't have to come back.
Ambassador BREMER. We think this is what we need to do the job.
Mr. REYES. And the answer to your first question, I still didn't understand what the plan is to get the Shiites to work with the Sunnis.
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Ambassador BREMER. Oh, I am sorry. I misunderstood your question.
Well, the governing council is the most representative government that has ever been in Iraq. It actually has a majority of Shiites. And the Shiites and the Sunnis are working together there. Obviously it is something we are going to continue to encourage every way we can, particularly in what I call the elements of civic society, the professional associations which cut across those sectarian divides, where you can encourage people to work together.
Mr. Chairman, I am due at another hearing.
Mr. WELDON. Mr. Ambassador, we appreciate your time.
We understand and you are excused from this hearing. We appreciate your working with us and staying as long as you have. We thank you, especially for your efforts.
Ambassador BREMER. Thank you for the opportunity. I always enjoy the opportunity to meet with representatives to talk about this. It is an important and urgent subject about which I hope you will agree with the President.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you very much and we will see you in Baghdad.
Ambassador BREMER. Thank you.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With that, we will go back to our regular routine, which is the five-minute questioning sequence. And Ms. Sanchez is now recognized for her time.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And once again, thank you, gentlemen, for being here.
I just wanted to put two things on the record. The first is that the ambassador had said that somehow the public does finance different than the private sector. And I just wanted to put on the record, I actually did public financing and pretty much we did it the same way. So we do plan in the public sector for more than 6 months or 18 months.
And I also wanted to note that he mentioned that the American people were probably on the line for another $40 billion to $50 billion of reconstruction, after this $20 billion that we have in the next 12 to 18 months.
And gentlemen, I would also like you to answer the question about, you know, why we can't do more than a one-year operational plan, with respect to this war.
But I also have another question with respect to our end-strength and I guess more importantly about our troops on the ground.
Yesterday, Secretary Rumsfeld said that he didn't think that there were going to be any troops, really, coming from the international forces. So one of the things that the commanders have told us over and over is that, ''There are three things that we really need to win the fight: Iraqi troops to join the fight, more international troops and more actionable intelligence on the enemy.'' And clearly, what they are saying is they need more troops to win the fight.
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Since we are not going to see more international troops in the combat zone, I would like to get your idea of what you think with respect to this Iraqi army, whether you really are going to get it up by next September, the three divisions that we are talking about, whether they are going to be just doing guard duty on things or whether they are really going to be doing combat operations, whether they are going to be a truly independent Iraqi army.
I was talking to General Zinni today and he seemed to think that maybe we could do a division every year or 18 months, but not 3 by next September.
Until we get to that point, since we are probably not really going to see international troops, what are we going to do about the American troops that are actually facing guerrilla warfare in that zone right now? Would you consider using Marine units, more special forces, our National Guard units? And how are you going to make this rotation happen, so that we have the troops there that we currently have and even more, if that is really what some of our commanders are saying?
General ABIZAID. Well, thanks, Congresswoman, for that. I am the person that you quoted, I believe. And I agree that there are three components to this. Number one, get more security in the hands of the Iraqis; number two, to the extent possible, build up international capability; and number three, really focus our intelligence.
But I have asked my commanders, down to brigade commander level, whether or not they need more troops, more American troops, in particular. And they have uniformly answered, no, and I agree with their assessment.
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Ms. SANCHEZ. I understand that, General. That is why I am asking what about the Iraqi army?
And I am not talking about the policemen, you know, because I know that we have been told there are between 40,00 and 60,000, whether it is civil or whether it is regular policemen, and that they are trained and ready to go. I don't know how you do that, considering we don't train that many policemen, even here in the United States, with all the training programs we have in a year, yet, four months.
But I am actually talking about people who are really going to be able to do something about helping our troops who are facing some of this guerrilla warfare, either an independent Iraqi army and what it is going to take to get that up and what is the timetable, or international troops, which we now know are really not arriving.
So how are we going to fill that gap? That is the question I have for you: How are we going to fill that gap?
General ABIZAID. First of all, we are already training the Iraqi army. The first battalion graduates in one week. We will have 40,000 Iraqi soldiers on duty, that is 3 divisions' worth, in September-October of next year.
We have about 3,000 Iraqis in what we call the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps that are in company and battalion-size strength that are working directly for our divisions. That number will go up higher, to about 25,000 or 26,000, here within the next 6 or 7 months.
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And that has been a very, very effective program. It has put a lot of Iraqi capacity on the streets; that is military capacity that relieves us of some of the burden.
We also have a facilities defense group that is over 20,000 right now, that is essentially static guard force that we use to guard key parts of the infrastructure and relieve our forces of that burden.
And then, finally, what I would like to say is that we haven't given up completely on the international forces. Some of the talk that you have heard is that we can't count on it in the very short term, but I think it is possible that we will get a Turkish, Pakistani or other Muslim country that will come forward to provide a third coalition division framework if we continue to work it hard.
It is a political issue, of course. We certainly would welcome additional coalition forces, but we are not counting on it. And one of the things that you are seeing play itself out in the press now, is that as we make our contingency for not having a third coalition division, it causes the Army to look very closely at who might come. And clearly, that goes to National Guard units for the Army, but it doesn't necessarily need to be National Guard units from the Army; it could be Marine Corps units or some other solution or combination thereof.
Perhaps General Keane would like to add something to that.
Ms. SANCHEZ. I would also ask, in the supplemental, these additional Reservists that may be called up to replace the 101st, which is the one that I think that we are trying to pull out and that were going to be replaced by international troops, but, of course, we can't get our diplomatic efforts together to get these troops in, so it looks like we are going to have to call up National Guard or something else.
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Where are we going to pay for that? Is that in this? Is that in a separate bill, et cetera, et cetera?
General KEANE. Yes, Congresswoman, it is in the supplemental, because we knew that reality could present itself to us many months ago when we were putting the plans for the supplemental together. So from the Army's perspective, in the supplemental request are a request for two enhanced brigades in the event that the multinational division does not materialize.
Mr. WELDON. The lady's time has expired.
Ms. SANCHEZ. I am told that the dollars are separate from the $87 billion; that you have requested them, but they are separate. You are telling me that they are in the supplemental?
Mr. WELDON. There are other members waiting to ask questions. I think we should move on.
General KEANE. I will answer the question. My information is that it is in the supplemental. And if it is not, I will correct it for the record.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Okay. Well, check on that.
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Thank you, General.
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. And if I could just correct a point, Ambassador Bremer didn't say that we would be coming for another $40 billion or $50 billion. I think what he referred to is the fact that there is an anticipation of $40 billion or $50 billion of other resources from the international communities and from Iraq's own revenues.
Our $20 billion is aimed at getting the most urgent needs met that will help our troops, help us bring our troops down and bridge to the money that will come in more slowly.
Ms. SANCHEZ. I would appreciate it if the Secretary would put in for the record in writing where you think those $40 billion to $50 billion from the international community will come. Thank you.
Mr. WELDON. I thank the lady.
The chair recognizes Mr. Wilson for five minutes.
Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And gentlemen, thank you very much for being here today.
And I am very grateful that I had the opportunity of being selected by Congressman Skelton to go on the delegation with him to Kuwait and Iraq. And I was very, very impressed by our military forces, by the Coalition Provisional Authority, by the democratically elected Iraqi personnel that we ran into as we went all over the country. It was just an extremely impressive opportunity that I had to see the progress being made.
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I had a real personal interest in it, in that, until six weeks ago I was in your command, in the Army National Guard with the 218th Mechanized Infantry Brigade, and I just retired. But I ran into a lieutenant who I had prepared his will as Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer, so it really made it personal to me.
And I also have two sons in the Army National Guard and I have another son who is an ensign in the Navy. So I have a very personal interest and appreciation of what you are doing.
The concern I have is the media coverage, the constant harping. And for General Abizaid and General Keane, I would like your response to the constant citing of quagmire. Are we in a quagmire or are we not?
General ABIZAID. Certainly, I don't think we are in a quagmire. I think we are in a tough mission, and we have got to be patient. We have got to be courageous.
But when I talk to the troops out in the field, all the way down from the lowest level to the highest level, they know that we are winning. But it is a slow win, and it is going to take some time.
Our troops are doing great work out there. And like you, I am also very committed to this, because I have a son who is a soldier, I have a son-in-law who is a soldier and I have a daughter who is involved in the Department of Defense.
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So all of us are deeply committed to the success of this mission. And it is not a quagmire.
General KEANE. Mr. Congressman, I will piggy-back on John's answer there.
First of all, thank you for your service and for your many years of service that you provided as a member of the Army National Guard and also for your family's service.
This is an interesting question you are posing, because the reality is that our media, rightfully so, reports every single day when a soldier is hurt or killed. And that is appropriate. And we want the American people to know what happened and who it happened to and the circumstances surrounding it.
But the other reality is that every single day in Iraq our soldiers are doing just magnificent work with Mr. Bremer's people in establishing a new government, political reconstruction and a physical reconstruction of a country that was in destitute. And for some reason, that story isn't being told any way, shape or form near the reality that is taken place there.
And it would provide balance to what is taking place. And it would give people, I think also, a sense of worth in terms of what their efforts are and the accomplishments that are taking place.
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This is a serious issue, because if you accept the premise that our opponents are attacking the political and moral will of the American people, that is their strategic objective, this issue we are discussing here is very important. Because the American people therefore need to have the other information to help balance the loss of life that is taking place every day and to see, practically, what the gain is for that loss of life and the value that is added to Iraq and also to our own national security.
So it is a troublesome issue, and one that we are all very concerned about, sitting at this table, and our leaders are all very concerned about it, as well.
Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA. And another way that they shoot at you is to raise the specter of Vietnam. How, again, General Abizaid and General Keane, would you differentiate what we are doing today from Vietnam?
General KEANE. Well, I think it is dramatically different, but there are also some parallels.
In Vietnam, militarily there were sanctuaries in Cambodia and Laos. And we were not permitted to conduct a ground campaign into North Vietnam. So there was a completely different military setting.
We have made a regime change in Iraq. That has taken place. And what we are attempting to do is provide the political and physical reconstruction of a new regime so it can serve its people. I think that is dramatically different.
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What may be similar is the fact that we are dealing with the possibilities of a protracted campaign here. Given the challenges we have had in Bosnia and Kosovo, this does take time. And it does require patience on the part of the American people.
And it is also a responsibility for those of us in government, military leaders, speaking for myself, and also our political officials, to educate the American people as much as we possibly can about what this is really all about. And we also need the assistance of the media to help in the education, Congressman.
General ABIZAID. The only thing I would add to that, Congressmanand let me add my thanks to that of General Keane for your service.
The only thing I would add is that it is just absolutely essential that we tell you what we think and that we not let this thing get perverted the way things started to get perverted in the Vietnam War, where we didn't really tell the truth. We have to tell you the truth every day. We have to call it hard when it is hard. We have got to make sure people understand that this is a tough mission.
And if we do that, we go into this with our eyes open, it will be okay.
Mr. WILSON OF SOUTH CAROLINA. Thank you.
And again, it is reassuring to see you here. And I have to conclude that I also have a nephew in Kyrgyzstan in the Air Force, so I am covering almost all the branches except Marines.
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Thank you very much.
Mr. WELDON. The gentleman's time has expired.
The chair recognizes Mr. Cooper for five minutes.
Mr. COOPER. Thank the chair.
I would like to thank the panel for their great service to our nation.
Due to the brevity of the time, let me make a couple of quick points.
First, General Abizaid said it is important to make sure our troops know their go-home date. Well, the 118th Air Wing, National Guard, in Nashville, just returned home after eight great months of service to our nation. They fly C130s.
They have already been told they are about to go back. That is a crushing blow to their morale, especially since they have counted six or seven other C130 units that have never been deployed. So they do not know why they are having to do double sacrifice, when others in the Guard have not even been called up once.
So I asked that question of an aide to Secretary Rumsfeld this morning. I would like to have an answer to that question, please.
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary Wolfowitz?
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. I think that some of those people flew me around in Iraq, when I was there in July and I had the same question or a similar question. And I have asked for an answer. The one I have gotten so far, I don't find satisfying, but we will try to get you one that satisfies you, as well as me and, most importantly, them.
Mr. COOPER. With your rank in the Pentagon, and you asked that question in July and you still don't have an answer, we have got disorganization in the ranks here. So let's please find an answer to that promptly.
General ABIZAID. Congressman, I would just like to add to this. And first of all, we asked for capability at CENTCOM and we are pretty demanding. And services are looking very hard to fill the requirements that we asked them for. And so, in this case, it goes to the Department of the Air Force. The Department of the Air Force meets the requirement, sends it forward.
But I will discuss with the Air Force this particular unit and try to understand their rationale for what they are doing, and I will personally get back to you on it.
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. I think part of the answer, Congressman, is there are different types of C-130s and that may be, in fact, where the answer lays, but we haven't pinned it down yet.
General ABIZAID. That is what I suspect.
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Mr. COOPER. Well, we in the Volunteer State know that we have the best. But it is unfortunate that our aircraft have missed two scheduled maintenances already. So I would question even the viability of those planes, if they are missing a lot of maintenance.
I thought General Abizaid made an extremely important point a while ago when he said, ''What is most important is for us to be honest.'' And I worry that when the American public looks at the $87 billion figure, and let's whittle it down to the $71 billion that Congressman Spratt mentioned that was directly applicable to Iraq, you know, Americans are busy, hardworking folks. They have a short attention span.
And some people forget we have already appropriated $62 billion for this, so that means it is $133 billion effort already. And the Democratic leader got a call on the night of September 7th from the White House basically saying another $75 billion they hoped would be forthcoming from allies, others or revenues, et cetera.
But as we see zero yield from the President's U.N. speech yesterday and we see a long delay in the oil revenues, it makes us think that probably it is a $200 billion effort already and perhaps a $400 billion effort, as Congressman Spratt mentioned earlier.
We need to know the cost, as well as the benefits. And I would agree with General Keane: It is very important that we encourage our media and others to stress the good things that we are doing over there, that it is important to be honest on both. Is this a $200 billion conflict? Is this a $400 billion conflict? Is this a $600 billion conflict.
Page 121 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And granted, no one has a crystal ball. But the American public is entitled to know this is not just an $87 billion conflict. And that number alone was startling to them, because they were not fully informed of that in advance.
But the number is so much larger than they are imagining today. I think we need to get that number out there and help them understand the need for this. And if we can't justify it, so be it; if we can, so be it. But being truthful and honest is sometimes painful up front.
And I see a lack of communication here, not only with this committee and this Congress, but also with the American people.
And your response?
Mr. WELDON. The ranking member is recognized.
Mr. SKELTON. Yes. May I make a suggestion, Mr. Secretary? The figure of $40 billion to $50 billion was mentioned earlier as coming from foreign sources, is that correct? It is coming from foreign sources?
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. Including Iraqi revenues.
Mr. SKELTON. Yes, yes.
And understanding Mr. Cooper, the minority leader received a phone call regarding $75 billion from foreign sources, is that correct, Mr. Cooper?
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Mr. COOPER. Yes, and that was apparently received the night of September 7th, the very evening the President made his speech to the American people asking for $87 billion.
Mr. SKELTON. May I make a suggestion, Mr. Secretary? As money does come in from foreign sources, I would suggest that you communicate that to this committee, so that we can know that our allies are coming through, so we would not be saying they are not.
And I would strongly suggest that, you know, $1 billion from here, $5 billion from there, et cetera, as it does come in and you learn about it, it probably won't be front page, is my guess. But if you could notify us, the chairmanI am sure he would notify everyone elseI think it would be very helpful to us in the future, if I may make that suggestion.
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. It is a very good suggestion, Congressman Skelton. And I am sure, in fact, we will be keeping you very closely informed.
The major target for raising international funds is the donors' conference that will take place in Madrid where Secretary Powell will be representing us. And there is, I think, a meeting next week in Madrid to go over the international assessment of needs.
And remember, there are several moving parts here. One is an estimate of what the investment requirements will be for Iraq over the next three to five years; that is where we get this $50 billion to $75 billion number. There is what we have in the supplemental.
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We have so far, before we came up for the supplemental, had international pledges on the order of $1.5 billion; it is very small compared to what we hope to get. But with leverage of what we are asking of our own people, we think we can get much bigger contributions from the international community.
And then there is Iraqi oil revenues, which have grown slower than we had hoped but faster than some people have noticed. We are now reaching close to the two million barrel a day mark. I believe the pre-war average was somewhat over two million barrels a day, the pre-war peak was close to three million barrels a day. So that can begin to bring in significant revenues.
Mr. SKELTON. Well, if I may make that suggestion, if you just communicate it to Chairman Hunter, I think he would tell the rest of us.
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. Okay. Thanks so much.
Mr. WELDON. Thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Texas is recognized for five minutes, Mr. Reyes?
Mr. REYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Gentlemen, thank you for being here. I know you have been here a long time, but I think it is important that we all get an opportunity to voice our comments and our concerns.
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I want to start by telling you that three and a half decades ago, I was one of those young soldiers that if anybody asked me, we were doing the right thing in Vietnam. We were fighting for democracy, we were fighting for freedom, we were fighting for all the good things that this country stood for. So I am not surprised that today we have that same can-do attitude by our military.
In fact, I am very proud of our military. I will do anything and everything that I can, both personally and as a Member of Congress, to support our military.
And thank you, gentlemen, for your service, because I know to you the term, ''Vietnamization,'' is not something you have never heard before.
And I am struck by the way that we are, in my opinion, trying to avoid comparisons to Vietnam when we are talking, to use the term ''sanctuaries.'' I would submit, you know, when you have Iraq and it is surrounded by Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran, those probably are sanctuaries. I mean, given the information that we are getting, in terms of how porous those borders are, the borders can be used to bring people in and bring people out, bring goods in and bring goods out.
Also, I am also struck byand I was talking to Vic Snyder, who is another Vietnam veteranthe fact that we are in a blame game with the media, which is essentially another issue that became a big issue in Vietnam during the Vietnam War because of the reporting.
Page 125 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As I look at how we are spending the reconstruction money, and I looked here at $3.7 billion to expand access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation, representing a border district where colonias are prevalent, they don't have clean drinking water and they don't have sanitation.
$875 million to rehabilitate irrigation systems and restore marshlands; we on the border, the New Mexico-Texas border, because of a severe drought, are having a really tough time in terms of water. And we have repeatedly asked for money to line canals with concrete to be able to help in that regard with the seepage. So that is an issue from a border district perspective.
$850 million for a new pediatric hospital and to upgrade hospitals and clinics; big issue on the border, where 11 million people currently live. El Paso does not have a pediatric hospital. We pay some of the highest rates, and we have the most disproportionate ratio between physicians and population.
$470 million to build houses, repair and rebuild government buildings, and repair and rebuild roads and bridges; all stuff that we desperately need in my district and all along the border.
So it is a tough sell. And people take note of this, that we are spending $20 billion to reconstruct a foreign country when we can't get the money to take care of our own people here in our country. It is a tough sell.
And that is why I preface it by saying I will support our military, but things like this are tough on those members that have some same kinds of needs in our respective districts.
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I have been to Iraq. And the trip that I was on, we talked to our troops, who told us they didn't have enough armored Humvees. They were having to spend the nights in their armored personnel carriers or Humvees. There was a shortage. And today, it still exists, a shortage of body armor.
One group of soldiers told us that 55-gallon drums of oil, whose flash point is 153 degrees, were exploding in the hot sun there in Iraq. Those things I think we should have planned for.
In your statement, Mr. Secretary, you make mention of a Zogby group poll that shows 70 percent expect their country to be better, et cetera, et cetera. Who commissioned this poll? Do we know who paid for this poll?
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. I don't, sir. It wasn't government commissioned. It may have been a cooperative venture with the American Enterprise Institute.
Mr. REYES. With who?
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. American Enterprise Institute, as I read.
There is another poll, a recent one, a Gallup poll just from Baghdad, with some fairly significant results in very much the same direction. In fact, one of the more remarkable things in the Gallup polland this is Baghdad, which is not the friendliest part of the country for usa majority of people say it was worth the sacrifice of the invasion even though a majority say they are worse off today than they were immediately before the war started. That is a pretty powerful statement of how grateful they are for being rid of Saddam.
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Mr. REYES. Sure. And Mr. Secretary, I agree with you that they are grateful. And they should be grateful.
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. They should be.
Mr. REYES. A couple of days ago, I was at Walter Reed on another visit to our troops. They damn sure better be grateful, because our troops are making the ultimate sacrifice in some cases
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. I agree with you.
Mr. REYES [continuing]. And continue to make sacrifices.
If I can, General
Mr. WELDON. Quickly.
Mr. REYES. Yes.
I just wanted your opinion, General, because you are an expert in the Middle East. How do you see the issue of making sure that the Shiites and the Sunnis and the Kurds and all of them come together and work together in order for us to be able to put Iraqis in terms of their own control for their safety, for their military, for their infrastructure?
Page 128 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC From my perspective, everything that I have seen, everything that I have read, other hearings that people have testified before us, it is a tough situation. Since you are an expert on the Middle East, I want to get your opinion on that.
Thank you very much.
General ABIZAID. Thanks, Congressman.
I actually don't consider myself an expert on the Middle East. But I would tell you that you have put your finger on a major problem, and that has to do primarily with the integration of the Sunni community into the future of Iraq.
The Shia community is moving politically with us. The Kurdish community is moving politically with us. Many of the other smaller minority communities in Iraq are moving with us. But in the Sunni community, you still have an awful lot of pro-Baathist feeling on the one side and an increasing amount of extremist tension on the other.
What we need to have happen, from a political point of view, to bring them along, is a moderate political entity developed from the Sunni community that will join us in the reconstruction and the future of Iraq.
And you will see, when you look at the resistance that we face in the country, it is almost all concentrated in the Sunni community. Which doesn't mean there are not dangers elsewhere, because there are. But right now, the key problem is bringing the Sunnis along politically.
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And we have had some good success in recruiting Sunni soldiers into the new army and into the civil defense corps. So we are slowly but surely breaking into the Sunni community, but we have a lot of work to do.
Mr. WELDON. The gentlelady from California is recognized for five minutes.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you.
Thank you all for being here. Thank you for your leadership.
I know that many of the members have gone. I actually will be arriving and going over to talk to troops and certainly to see on the ground. I think we all want to see it for our own eyes. And it is important that we have an opportunity to get a feel for the balance because there is good and bad.
And unfortunately, we may not have nearly as many embedded reporters as we had during the early part of the conflict. And that is probably another need, as well.
I have also been to Walter Reed Hospital and had an opportunity to talk to a number of soldiers there. And one thing that continues to strike me is their concernit is always a concern as I read in a number of articlesthat we don't know always who the enemy is. That is difficult in wars. But in this particular one, that seems to be something that people are struggling with.
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My colleagues have mentioned the armored vehicles. That is something that people have mentioned. One question is, are we ready and geared up? Can we supply what we need?
But my second question really goes to the training, because we can put people in armored vehicles. We can put them behind walls. We can do all that we can. The key is to get the Iraqis there instead of our men and women.
But what are we doing regarding any additional adaptation and training to enable people to help support the Iraqi people so that we are not offending?
General KEANE. Let me take the issue with the armored Humvees and also the armored vests that Congressman Ortiz was talking about.
It is true. We do not have as many up-armored Humvees, as we refer to them, as we would like to have, in Iraq. Our requirement is 1,700. We have 800 there. And we are producing them and moving them from other places as fast as we can. To complete that requirement is going to take us a few more months. We are working very hard on it. It is probably an appropriate criticism, why didn't we have them all there to begin with.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Right.
General KEANE. To be honest with you, we just did not expect this level of violence in Phase Four that we are currently dealing with. That is the straight answer.
Page 131 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The second thing, dealing with the vests themselves, we will haveall of our soldiers have an outer vest that protects them from fragmentation. But what we want to do is add to that, by putting in a small armor protective insert to that in the front of their chest and to protect their back and obviously we are protecting vital organs. And that gives them an added degree of protection up to a 7.62 weapon and caliber bullet. We will have that complete by November.
And we are pretty proud of that and we have a deal with American industry to do that for every single soldier. We have had that protection in Afghanistan. And we had that protection initially in Iraq during, what we called, Phase Three combat operations for those who were fighting the war themselves. And given the scale of this operation and how it is affecting everybody, obviously not just people who were doing the fighting, but people who were transporting goods and services on roads and others who were just doing a simple protection mission.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. May I ask in the small time that is left, are there any other needs then, in terms of protection, that aren't being met? Is there anything else that I might be hearing about or seeing that would concern me, that is not being met there, in your eyesin your view?
General KEANE. No, in terms of actual protection, I think we are on pretty solid ground in what I just discussed with you.
And the other thing is training. The United States Army had foreseen this kind of conflict back in the 1980s, and we formed a training centerinitially at Fort Arkansas and now it is at Fort Polk, that deals with this kind of warfare.
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And we sent to that training center our Special Operations Forces, our conventional forces and our air forces to deal with an enemy that not just fights you from the front, but fought all around and blended in with the population. And we created population centers there with enemy inside them, so our people would develop the skill sets in how to deal with an enemy that is embedded with a population and you cannot distinguish the two.
And that has been a developmental process for our officers and our non-commissioned officers for many years.
And the other thing is the Army is an experienced force in dealing with these type of operations because we have conducted operations in Bosnia and Kosovo for a number of years, as well. The scale of violence is, admittedly, different. But working in a different culture, working with ethnic strife and working through difficult problems on those streets in Bosnia and Kosovo has added to our professional development.
So I think what you find in this force is what you see in the results, is enormous flexibility and adaptability to deal with a changing environment. You know, the American soldier and Marines and others reflect the kind of values that the American people have and we are a very adaptable, flexible force.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. I would agree that there is tremendous innovation and some adaptability, but I guess I would ask, are these isolated incidents then that are being reported to us and, again, are being shared with us from some of our men that are here in the hospitals, that they didn't feel prepared? How can I think about that? Does that concern you that that is one of the issues that they are sharing?
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General KEANE. Well, if you are in a vehicle and you are ambushed, and you are harmed by that ambush, I think most soldiers dealing with that situation are going to be surprised by it, surprised by the violence of it. And while we prepare soldiers on how to react to an ambush, the actual incident itself is brutal, it is terrifying, and certainly would lead one to think by the shock of it, ''That maybe I wasn't as prepared to deal with that.''
I mean, war has a very human dimension to it. You know, death is always a silent companion to our soldiers every single day that is taking place. And it would be impossible for us to prepare them for everything that could happen to them. But we work very hard at it.
And it is just not the physical preparation. There is also a tremendous investment in the psychological preparation to deal with it.
Mr. WELDON. The gentlelady's time has expired.
And just for the record, Chairman Hunter has asked Chairman Hefley and I to co-chair a small task force, bipartisan task force, to look specifically at shortfalls, and examples have been brought forth, and to do interviews to assess whether or not there are other areas we could be focusing more effort. And I am sure I will be talking to the distinguished ranking member about that, whom I will be happy to yield to.
Mr. SKELTON. Yes. Thank you very much.
And at this time, I ask unanimous consent to place a statement in the record from Congressman Tim Ryan and also a statement from Congressman Jim Cooper.
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Mr. WELDON. Without objection.
And now, we will move to five minutes. Mr. Simmons.
Mr. SIMMONS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, I would like to associate myself with the remarks of Mrs. Wilson. I believe that we do have an end-strength problem and I think we have a responsibility to address it.
But more importantly, as somebody who has served over 30 years in the Reserves, I think the issue of logistics, civil affairs, military police (MP) has been with us for a while. And I would encourage that we strengthen our capacities in the Active Component in those areas.
Just yesterday a constituent who has a son overseas in civil affairs said his son has been extended now beyond the original deployment. And it looks like they will be extended again, because we are just lacking in civil affairs in the Active components. So I would definitely encourage that we address that issue.
I don't believe that the deployment of Guard and Reserves is a draft by default, however. As somebody who served in the Reserves over 33 yearsI have worn these around my neck since 1965we know what we are getting into when we sign off on it every year. So it is not a draft by default.
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I was drafted in 1965, but when my soldiers were deployed in the mid-1990s, when my unit was activated for a year deployment this past year, we weren't drafted, we were called to active duty to do what we were trained to do. And I think that that is important to distinguish.
That being said, I would like to address my questions to the panel at two levels.
General Abizaid, you say on page six that you are focusing your efforts in five areas to improve intelligence, and then you have four others. I would like to ask youto the extent you can in open sessionwhat you are doing to improve intelligence. I assume that is at a tactical level.
And then, I would like to ask a second question of Secretary Wolfowitz dealing with a more strategic issue on intelligence. And if you could hold your responses until I complete that question.
Last fall there was a national intelligence estimate (NIE) with key judgments on weapons of mass destruction. The bones of this analysis have been released as a public document. It goes to the issue that we judge that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and their efforts are subject to denial, deception, but they have a chemical weapons effort, they have a biological weapons effort. They are working with unmanned aerial vehicles, aerial sprayers, covert operatives, et cetera, et cetera.
Page 136 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Air Force intelligence and the State Department bureau of Intelligence and Research (I&R) disagreed with parts of this analysis, but their disagreements were published in the NIE, so this was available to members of Congress who sought it out. Those judgments were reflected in the national media all spring. This example from Newsweek shows that the issue of weapons of mass destruction was discussed and how Iraq would fight and a whole series of judgments and comments were made in the national media about this.
A question has been raised as to whether these strategic assessments were correct, whether they were over-stated or in some respects under-stated, and I understand that we are waiting for Mr. Kay to publish his report. I think that report's very important, because I think the confidence of our people in our government goes not only to our ability to perform our dutyand I think we are performing our duty in a very excellent way in Iraqbut also our ability to assess our threats.
And my question to you, Mr. Wolfowitz, is, have we in all of this examined the possibility that the Saddam Hussein regime, in an effort to protect itself, has created a Potemkin village of weapons of mass destruction and has disinformed our own intelligence community through various means? Has that possibility been evaluated? And, if so, is there any way you can comment on that for the record?
General ABIZAID. Thank you, Congressman, let me take the first question that your raised.
As you know, there is nothing more important in this type of conflict than good intelligence. In order to get at the cells, in order to unravel them, in order to get at the enemy, you have really got to have great intelligence. And it requires not only good people on the ground that are doing it tactically, but a system all the way through the interrogation that provides feedback from the ultimate interrogation point back to the commanders on the ground.
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And we have found that that feedback loop wasn't really working the way that we wanted it too. And so, more interrogators, more strategic analysts, more experts in this field are on the way to work it. We have learned a lot of lessons from our experience at Guantanamo.
We have to work this program very, very hard in order to close the intel gaps, because really actionable intelligence is more important to us than another division, to be quite frank with you.
The other thing I would tell you is that we have to also understand that we Americans probably will never, ever break in completely into the Iraqi culture to understand exactly what is going on in a way that allows us to get the type of actionable intelligence against terrorists and other fighters that are operating in this cellular structure.
So it is important that we work with themand we have found over time that we have had more and more of them work with us, but it is important that we continue that effort so we can get at the problem.
Mr. SIMMONS. I thank you for that answer.
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. Let me just try to answer by saying, the national intelligence estimates that you were quoting from I think is substantially the national intelligence estimate that were done five years ago in 1998.
Page 138 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It has been a rather consistent conclusion with very small differences on the margin throughout the intelligence community. In fact, there isn't always that level of agreement.
Second, we are talking about what they euphemistically call a hard target, it may be a more graphic way to say a hard target. Iraq is a place where people who said things they weren't supposed to say could have their tongues cut out or their children murdered for it. So it was very, very hard to find out what was actually going on in that country.
And it is a difficult job. And no one should underestimate the difficulty of getting to the truth about a place like Iraq or North Korea.
And if that is a hard target, I would say the terrorist networks are even harder targets, because they are more obscure, they are at least as ruthless. They are like gangsters, but much, much worse and with more resources and more international networks at their disposal.
So it seems to me that while it is obviously very important to find out what was going on in Iraq, and that is what David Kay is charged with doing and doing it for Director Tenet, and I am sure it is going to be done very systematically and well. It also seems to me that one of the lessons that we should draw in general is a level of maturity about what intelligence can tell you about the world and what it can't.
It is a tool, an indispensable tool. We learn marvelous things through the efforts of ingenious people and frequently courageous people. But particularly when it comes to terrorism, we are not going to have a precise picture of our enemy and we are not going to know when a threat is about to strike us.
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And that is, in fact, why we believe that a major lesson of September 11th is you have to deal with this threat in a much more systematic way and create a climate in which these people can't operate, because you can't be good enough to prevent every single thing they plan. We have done impressively well so far, but there is just so much we don't know about that threat, it makes the old Soviet Union look like a transparent display case.
Mr. WELDON. The gentleman's time has expired. I thank him for his questions.
And special kudos for our two newer members of the committee who have sat out this entire time, who will close out the questioning. We will start with Mr. Marshall and complete with Mr. Cole.
Mr. Marshall is recognized for five minutes.
Mr. MARSHALL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I was fortunate enough to participate in the Skelton-Forbes CODEL that went to Iraq, not this past weekend, but the weekend before. And I went, in part, because I had noticed a real disconnect between what we were hearing here in the United States media-wise about our progress and then reports we would get here in this room from DOD representatives.
I wanted to go see for myself. I had been in Vietnam. I wanted to see what I could do to help. I came backand some here know that I wrote an op-ed that was published and caused quite a bit of furor here. I have been on a lot of talk shows and it got a few folks upset.
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I tell you, the straw that broke the camel's backand this is what I wanted to share with General Keane and General Abizaidwas stopping in Ramstein, Germanywe had to on the way back; some rule concerning the crew. We would have been happy to fly all the way back and not stop at Ramsteinand getting up in the base officers quarters (BOQ) the next morning and seeing this newspaper, Stars and Stripes.
They say in the media, if it bleeds, it leads. Look at the headline: ''Iraqi Police Chief Killed Near Fallujah. First Armer Division (AD) Soldier Dies Of Wounds After Separate Attack. Turn to page six,'' which I did, by the way, about six o'clock in the morning.
Once again, big headline, same headline, essentially, and about 12 column inches. It isn't until you get to the very end of the article, the last two column inches, that this is reported.
First, ''In Saddam's hometown of Tikrit, the U.S. military continued its raids, arresting five men suspected of helping to finance attacks against the American-led occupation force.'' There's a quote. And then the final three quarters of an inch, ''Later Monday, delegates from the province of Salahuddin, where Tikrit is located, elected their first interim council; the first such election in more than 30 years. The council's main tasks will include reconstruction and resettlement of displaced Arabs and Kurds.''
It is good news, and it is buried at the end of an article that I think is in Stars and Stripes, because of what I said to start out with, and that is and the media believes that if it bleeds, it leads. And that is what Stars and Stripes is doing. And so, Stars and Stripes itself is, sort of, contributing to what I perceive to be a problem.
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Now, General Keane, I though you were quite eloquent in response to a similar message from Mr. Wilson, who's no longer with us. And Randy Forbes had a similar message, as well. And you said that we are in a battle here, that there is a strategic problem presented by this, because we are in a battle for the political and moral will of the American people.
I take it a little bit further than that. From my experience, and it is a microcosm, it is an absolute necessity to have the enthusiastic cooperation of Iraqis in this endeavor. We cannot do it ourselves. We are not going to be able to ferret out a bunch of insurgents with a population that is willing to hide them. We just can't do that. It didn't work in Vietnam; it won't work here. It will be a miserable experience for us to attempt to do that.
So we have to have the willing cooperation of the Iraqis. And I think our world has changed dramatically since Vietnam, as far as communication is concerned. You have Al Jazeera; CNN is shown over in the Middle East.
I would like your comments about how, if I am right, and there is a bleak picture being presented, which I think may lead some of us to say things that perhaps we ought not to be saying, that can get to the wrong ears. Polls here in the United States show, you know, concern that then gets spread in the Middle East.
What impact does that have on our ability to enlist the kind of support we really need to have? We need to have Iraqis willing to step up and take bullets, go ferret out the guerrillas and jail them, kill them.
Page 142 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Any comment from the two of you? You are experts.
General KEANE. Well, first of all, I agree with your premise that the Iraqi people are part of their solution, certainly, and we have to get their willing cooperation.
As General Abizaid has pointed out many times, the solution lies there, in and among the people themselves, to turn in those who would harm them and harm us.
But I also think that what you all have done here in going to Iraq and finding out the facts for yourselvesevery weekend you are back in your districts, you are talking to the American people, and you are educating them about what is really taking place. And it is critical that the rest of the members also go and capture this firsthand.
Certainly, communicating effectively within Iraq to the Iraqi people in a quality way that they would want to tune in. And I think that has been challenging for us. And enlisting the support of the private sector to help us do some of that. And that is being done. And I think it is very important.
So that I am convinced in my own mind that some of the progress that is taking place throughout the country, if you were living in the south, you don't understand the enormous progress that has taken place in the north even though you are seeing some progress every day. And that is particularly true within the core of Baghdad itself.
But this issue of public communication and its relationship to an open, democratic society is very important to us. And we have to work it every day.
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I think there is probably some things we can do to help the media a little bit, in my own mind. And we don't talk about it, but certainly the media has to be terrified going back and forth on the roads inside Iraq, driving from Kuwait to Baghdad or driving from Baghdad up to Mosul in pursuit of the story. And providing some assistance to them to do some of that certainly is something we can do. And we are in discussions about that.
General Abizaid, this is his territory and he can add to the comments that I have made. But I really appreciate the conclusions that you have made, Congressman, based on your visit there, because I think they are right on the mark.
Mr. MARSHALL. Thank you, sir.
General ABIZAID. Well, Congressman, thanks very much.
I am often scratching my head how this great country of ours can sell everything but itself. And it is amazing to meand I don't know that I have any better answers than anyone else, other than to say this whole notion of strategic communication, especially with the Iraqis, is absolutely essential. Because the most interesting thing that I saw there right after the liberation was the thing that proliferated first, that changed the way that Iraqis lived the most, happened to be television antennas, satellite dishes, so they could get Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya and all the various media. And, of course, they get CNN International, et cetera.
But what they don't have is a CPA television station that has the same quality of Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya that is telling our story. And I know Ambassador Bremer and all of us are working hard to figure our way through that.
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But it is a challenge for us. And not only do we need to fix it in Iraq, but we need to fix it for the future, because we have to get our message out, especially to the part of the world where CENTCOM is located, to make sure that people understand that, ''This isn't an occupation, this isn't a war against Islam. It is really a battle of moderation against extremism. And if you come to the side of moderation, peace and prosperity will come your way.''
Mr. WELDON. The gentleman's time has expired.
Thank the gentleman.
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. Could I just say one thing?
Mr. WELDON. Yes. Absolutely.
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. Congressman, I appreciated your op-ed very much. I read it with great interest.
There is no question we need to try to do a better job in communicating. I think there is also no question we will always have some disadvantages. Ambassador Bremer, I think, called it a structural defect of a free media, that bad news leads.
We have another disadvantage in the Middle East, which is our enemies have no reservation about putting out lies. And they get them transmitted very quickly on all kinds of networks. And we do have to deal with facts.
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So in the end of the day, we need very powerful facts to overcome the lies of our enemy. And the $20 billion request here for Iraqi reconstruction is a very powerful fact. It says to the Iraqi people that, ''We didn't come here to take your oil. We came here to build a new country.'' And when the Congress passes that, it is going to be a powerful message that has to get through.
And when those facts start being created on the ground and people have electricity and they have police and they have courts, honest courtsthe first independent court in Iraq has just been stood upI do think the facts do start to speak in spite of all of the noise that they have to penetrate.
Mr. MARSHALL. You are going to get your $20 billion, and you are going to get it pretty quickly.
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. Thank you, sir. It is very important.
Mr. WELDON. Mr. Cole is recognized for five minutes.
Mr. COLE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you, gentlemen. It has been a very long day, I know, for you. But you provide a service in being here and communicating with us and, frankly, through us, with the rest of the country.
Page 146 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC A couple of comments before the questions. I think, like a lot of people, I am always bothered by the concept of end games and exit strategies, because I am not exactly sure what that means. And it implies to me that we have only been there just a little while and in a little while we are going to leave.
When I read, I think, through the history, we have been there for a very long time in a variety of ways now and dealing certainly with this regime, in a military capacity, since at least 1990 and 1991 because of the threat it posed. And we were always there in between.
We announced as our policy of this country in a previous administration that we wanted to remove this regime. And, frankly, as you have all suggested, in the wake of September 11th that became perhaps more imperative than we had realized. So we have been there a very, very long time.
And I think we should think in terms of outcomes rather than exit strategies, because that is really what we are about here. We are not going to walk away from this part of the world. We are a great global power with great responsibilities and great obligations and profound interests. We are looking to create an area in the world that makes sense for the people that live there and, obviously, for us, as well.
So that leads me to ask and direct a couple of questions toward you.
Number one, we get a lot of information about how unsafe Iraq is. And it certainly is, when American soldiers are being killed, when innocent civilians are being killed.
Page 147 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But I would like to ask you to put that both in a military and a civilian context in comparison to what had been going on in Iraq to the Iraqi people for a decade before, when 300,000 people, if that is the current estimate, had died over a 10-year period, when we found dozens and dozens of mass graves. Is the average Iraqi citizen safer today, frankly, after the arrival of coalition forces than the average citizen was beforehand?
General ABIZAID. Sir, we do hear a lot that Iraq is unsafe and it is in chaos.
It certainly is not in chaos. And many of the places, I would describe them as being safe. As a matter of fact, in most of the places that you would travel to in the south and in the north, it is what I consider to be very stable. And that is how my commanders would also characterize it.
There is no doubt that there are areas in the country that are unsafe, as a result of action, improvised explosive devices, activity from resistance groups, et cetera. And there is always the lack of safety that comes about by having a terrorist problem, which certainly exists in many of the urban areas.
All that having been said, there is a clear problem in Iraq that we must continue to wrestle with, which has to do with all the criminals being let out. And so, from that regard, we have a lot of work to do and we will need Iraqi police to help us solve that one. But over time, we will start to get on top of that with the Iraqis.
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But for the other, when you compare what life was like in Iraq before to what it is like now, there is no comparison. How can you compare the knock on the door in the middle of the night where your family is dragged out and shot on the spot or where a group of people are rounded up and put in a mass grave and buried alive? It is just inconceivable to me that anyone would want to go back to the good old days because Saddam made the trains run on time.
Mr. COLE. Well, he didn't do a very good job of that. And I would suggest that it depends on which side of the gun you happen to be on. I mean, there is a big difference between a systematic, systemic and institutional violence directed at individuals and random and sporadic violence that comes from armed and dangerous and hostile minorities. I mean, when you have the apparatus of the state to use against the individual, which is what we had there.
And frankly, you and your colleagues have freed the Iraqi people from that, which is a blessing internally to them and a security measure for people beyond the borders of the country. And we are very grateful for that.
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. The poll numbers show it. I mean, the Iraqis who say that their life is harder today than it was five months ago, and yet in overwhelming numbers say that the invasion was worth it, that getting rid of that criminal was worth it.
I think the Zogby poll identified half of Iraqis they polled had a friend or relative who had been killed by the regime. We had this terrible bomb go off in Najaf that killed 150 people in front of a holy mosque. They don't hate us for it, they say the Baathists are the people who did itthe people who murdered thousands of people in that area before. So just the sheer level of brutality.
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Bernie Kerik who was the former New York City police commissioner, who was out there to stand up the police, had an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal the other day. He mentioned something I hadn't heard before that they have a videotape of Saddam Hussein watching one of his generals eaten to death by dobermans because he was suspected of disloyalty.
And this wasn't just brutal, it was sadistic, beyond belief, and the Iraqi people are overwhelmingly relieved to be rid of it.
Mr. COLE. Yes. I would suggest in the long view of history, we might, you know, 20 years from now, be asking ourselves why we didn't act earlier, rather than why we acted when we did.
General KEANE. You know, I think one of the things maybe thatI know I misunderstood is that despite the horror of the regime and the fact that was a rogue state, what I failed to grasp is the stranglehold of fear that Saddam had on his people and what the 35 years of cumulative repression would mean on the psychosis of the people. And that leads to their general skepticism about the permanence of our role there and could this regime possibly come back again to infect them with that disease that they have had for 35 years.
And that reality was brought home, to me, from a woman in Basra who took down a picture of Saddam Hussein because he had bludgeoned her cousin to death. And she told a neighbor, who told another neighbor in the apartment building who was a Baath Party member. And they took the time and energy to imprison her for three years for that minor act of defiance.
Page 150 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The level of control that they had over the people is just so difficult for us to comprehend. The last time, maybe, we saw something that was that comprehensive was during World War II in the Nazi Party.
Mr. COLE. Let me ask one other question, if I may, Mr. Chairman.
And I agree with my good friend, Mr. Marshall. I think you are going to get everything you asked for, and you certainly ought to.
But I am concerned, because we will have one level of debate that goes on in the Congress that runs something like this. ''I am willing to fund the military effort, but I am not going to, you know, pay for anything in terms of civilian reconstruction,'' or, ''I want to obligate, you know, Iraqi oil revenue to at some time, pay that back,'' as if that money, in and of itself, is not needed to operate the country and to, you know, frankly, help with the rebuilding itself; it is simply that much less that we have to spend.
So I would ask you, one, from a military standpoint, if that severing took place between the civil expenditure and what is necessary for the strictly military effort, how would that impact what you are trying to achieve militarily?
And then I would ask a second question really directed to you, Mr. Secretary, what would be the perception outside Iraq, in your opinion, the broader Arab world, if we got ourselves into a situation where we want $20 billion back or we want some sort of concessions out of the energy industry, in exchange for the commitment that we are being asked to make today?
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General ABIZAID. Thank you, Congressman.
I believe that severing the military part from what Ambassador Bremer has requested for security and reconstruction would be a very unwise thing to do.
The military part of the supplemental essentially keeps us where we are. The part of the supplemental that Ambassador Bremer has submitted allows us to build Iraqi security capacity very quickly. And that is important for the ultimate outcome, which is to turn Iraq over to Iraqis. That, after all, is what we are all after.
And so, I think that not only the $5 billion portion of his request that deals with security is important, but I also believe that he has targeted those areas in reconstruction that have a direct impact on security that would allow us to move further, faster toward making Iraq a getter place and turning it over to the Iraqis.
So I would urge Congress not to split it.
Mr. COLE. Mr. Secretary?
Mr. WOLFOWITZ. And I think Ambassador Bremer spoke quite eloquently earlier and elsewhere also about the comparison between what was done to Germany after World War I, when they were saddled with crushing debts that helped to destroy an economy and bring in fascism.
Page 152 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC First, is the generosity of the Marshall Plan from which we, in the end of the day, benefited enormously. And I think that is the spirit in which we need to approach a new Iraq. It is a spirit in which we need to get the international community to approach it. If we start acting like rug merchants then, believe me, you can only guess what the rest of the international community will do.
I think it is very important to emphasize speed and generosity here. Speed, above all, because, as General Abizaid just said, you can't separate the reconstruction piece from the military piece. Getting electricity going, getting police trained, getting prisons built, is key to reducing the danger of our troops and ultimately reducing their number.
Mr. WELDON. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. COLE. Well, again, you have been enormously generous with your time. And thank you very much. I very much appreciate your service to our country. Thank you.
Mr. WELDON. For a closing statement, I turn to the ranking member, the distinguished gentlemen Ike Skelton.
Mr. SKELTON. If I may have the last wordthank you, Mr. Chairmanif anything came through clear on our trip, it was the utter brutality of the Saddam Hussein regime and him especially.
And, Mr. Secretary, my recollection is you did an op-ed piece in The Washington Post, spelling out his brutalitywhat?two, three weeks ago. Am I correct?
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Mr. WOLFOWITZ. That is right. Even I was amazed at what I saw when I was there.
Mr. SKELTON. Well, we were horrified by what we saw and by what we learned in talking with some Iraqis that we met.
You have a story to tell regarding this whole effort. You also have a story to tell regarding the young folks in uniform, particularly the Army, wonderful, wonderful work that they are doing, not just the artillery men and infantry men doing patrol and police work for which they were not trained. They are doing humanitarian work, up north, 3,001 projects that the young folks are working on.
Soccer fields, schools, a lot of good things that these young Americans are doing. And it is a wonderful story I would urge you to follow through on.
And a word of thanks to each of you for your service and a special thanks to you for your testimony. I realize our comments may be tough; they are sincere. Our comments, our questions may be searching; they are sincere. But we are doing our constitutional duty and you are doing yours in testifying as you have, and so a special thanks for that.
Mr. Chairman, thanks so much.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Distinguished Ranking Member, Ike, for the great service you provide to our country.
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Mr. WOLFOWITZ. Sir, can I just say a word of thanks to Congressman Skelton and Congressman Spratt, who gave me, I think, about an hour and a half of time the other night to report on their trip and the things they learned? They are not only sincere, they are smart and well informed and we appreciate it enormously.
Mr. WELDON. We thank the distinguished Secretary for his comments and we all know that extremely well in this committee.
Let me just add two additional comments, before closing out the hearing. The first is that hindsight, I think we should have put more focus on the human rights abuses in Iraq. I told Secretary Powell that in a classified briefing that we had among the members, right before we went into the conflict, because the American people understand that.
And it wasn't too long agoin fact, it was in 1999that the French and the Germans pushed America to go into a conflict to remove a sitting head of state in Yugoslavia, specifically because he had committed human rights abuses, and that was Milosevic.
Well, if you look at the U.N. record, the record by people like the former U.N. rapporteur for human rights, he made the statement years ago that the Saddam Hussein regime had no equivalent since World War II and Adolf Hitler. So while Milosevic was bad and he is a war criminal, Saddam Hussein made Milosevic look like a common street thug.
And it was okay for France and Germany to push us into a warand not go through the U.N., by the way, because France and Germany knew in 1999 that Russia would veto a U.N. resolution. So France and Jacques Chirac convinced us to avoid the U.N., and instead go to NATO for the one and only time NATO was used as an offensive military force, to invade a non-NATO country.
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And that seemed to somehow get lost in this country, that it was Jacques Chirac and the Germans who pushed us into a war to remove a sitting head of state for human rights abuses, yet Saddam Hussein's human rights abuses are worse than any human being since Adolf Hitler, documented by Amnesty International and all the other human rights organizations.
And so, for some people to somehow say that this is a different scenario, I don't understand that. But I think what we didn't do is perhaps make the human rights case strong enough and I am glad that you wrote the op-ed that you did, Secretary Wolfowitz.
Second point about money: I think back to 1994 and 1995, I told you we had 38 deployments during the 1990s, and all but one of them were not paid forthe one was Desert Storm, where we reimbursed $50-some billion. And I think back to what we were told about Bosnia. We weren't told what it could cost. We were told to go in. And you know what we were told: ''We will be out in one year. You will be out in one year.''
Well, this is 2003 and we are still in Bosnia. And do you know how much we have spent there? Over $30 billion. But the difference is, back then we weren't told where the money would come from. So the Pentagon had to find a way to shift dollars around, apply taxes on items like across-the-board cuts to pay for our deployment and our nation-building in Bosnia.
This administrationand I applaud you for ithas come to us up front and they have said, ''This is what it is going to cost,'' and it is high. But I think the candor that you are giving us in telling what the dollar amount is, is better than having us commit ourselves and then find a way to force the Pentagon leaders to cut programs to pay for the cost that we should have had upfront, before we made this commitment to go in and do the job that needs to be done.
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So I thank you for the great job you are doing. I think you will find, as our colleagues on both side of the aisle have said, the support that you need to get this supplemental through. We will continue to ask tough questions and we will continue to be candid. That is our job and that is our function as a co-equal branch of the government.
But most importantly, we thank you for the service that you provided the country.
And to our men and women in uniform, we say that you are the best. This committee has always been watching out for your interests. We have consistently worked in a bipartisan manner to put more money in the defense budget than each year is asked for by the Pentagon, because we want to give the support for the quality of life that our families in the military need to continue to serve America.
Thank you and this hearing now stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 5:16 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]