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
OCTOBER 29, 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
Wednesday, October 29, 2003, Iraq Reconstruction and Stability Operations: The Way Forward
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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2003
IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION AND STABILITY OPERATIONS: THE WAY FORWARD
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
O'Hanlon, Michael, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Ottaway, Marina S., Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for international Peace
Zinsmeister, Karl, J.B. Fuqua Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
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Hunter, Hon. Duncan
Miller, Hon. Jeff, a Representative from the State of Florida
Ottaway, Marina S.
Skelton, Hon. Ike
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Documents submitted can be viewed in the hard copy.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION AND STABILITY OPERATIONS: THE WAY FORWARD
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Washington, DC, Wednesday, October 29, 2003.
The committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:05 a.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Duncan Hunter (chairman of the committee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. DUNCAN HUNTER, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM CALIFORNIA, CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
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The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order.
This is the eighth full committee hearing since the war started at which we will review the conduct and implications of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It won't be the last, as there are several aspects of the war and ongoing operations that will continue to interest us. Today we are fortunate to hear several different perspectives assessing the situation on the ground and the best way of moving forward.
We are fortunate to have as our witnesses today Karl Zinsmeister at the American Enterprise Instituteand Karl, thank you for being with us; Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institutesir, we appreciate you being with us; and Marina Ottaway, Carnegie Endowment for International Peaceand thank you, Ms. Ottaway, for your attendance todayor Dr. Ottaway.
Each of our witnesses brings a unique perspective to the task of stabilizing and reconstructing Iraq; and, clearly, there is a vast range of opinions about what our next steps should be. They are not necessarily ideologically consistent. Some analysts, from both the left and right, argue that we should accelerate the transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqi people. Others, from both ends of the spectrum, want to delay that transfer until we are confident that the Iraqi people are prepared for representative government. In truth, you can pick almost any issue associated with reconstruction and stability operations in Iraq and find two or three or four or five or perhaps a dozen extremely well-informed, intelligent, and experienced people who will disagree on it.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Nevertheless, at the end of the day, the administration and this Congress have to make decisions amid conflicting interpretations of what is happening on the ground and opposing recommendations about the way forward. In that kind of environment, our best course is to set priorities and adjust to continual changes in the situation while learning from past experience.
The administration is working toward that end and constantly reassessing the right course of action in Iraq. This means that some policies which were appropriate yesterday may not be the right answer tomorrow. Anyone looking for events to unfold in Iraq exactly according to some preconceived master plan is going to be disappointed. That is not how governmentor warfare against a terrorist enemy worksas most of us in Congress will be quick to admit. We should all keep that in mind as we offer our suggestions about the future course of action in Iraq.
We are fortunate to have before us three very thoughtful witnesses who bring a range of perspectives to the problem of reconstruction in Iraq, and I want to thank you again for your appearances before the committee this morning.
Before we recognize our witnesses, let me recognize the committee's ranking Democrat, the distinguished gentleman from Missouri, for any remarks he might want to make.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hunter can be viewed in the hard copy.]
STATEMENT OF HON. IKE SKELTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM MISSOURI, RANKING MEMBER, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
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Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, thank you; and I thank you for calling this hearing. It is very important that we continue to do our homework in this very important subject.
Mr. Chairman, we again find ourselves in this hearing room discussing the critical question of Iraq's future. The linchpin of that future remains security. The series of deadly attacks of last week brought the violence to a new level in terms of numbers killed and injured and in the level of coordination. Over the weekend, I received word that another young soldier from the district I represent was killed by an improvised explosive device in Iraq.
Certainly we would expect losses in any stability operation, but when we consider the way this operation was undertaken, many of these losses in my opinion were preventable. The administration was warned, and they did not heed the warnings they received. I myself sent two letters to the President before the war began warning of the failures of insufficiently planning in advance for the aftermath.
The Institute for National Security Studies at National Defense University here in Washington held a workshop on November 20 and November 21, 2002, where they basically war-gamed post-Saddam Iraq. Their number one finding was the following:
Given the potential for internal disorder and conflict, the primary post-intervention focus of U.S. military operations must be on establishing and maintaining a secure environment in which all other post-intervention activities can operate. They understood that security was primarily the requirement and recommended a broad multinational force because they knew it would take many troops on the ground to achieve this.
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Our own military commanders recognized this, too. General Shinseki told Congress it could take 200,000 troops to stabilize Iraq, and he has been proved right. General Zinni's war plans when he was commander of the Central Command differed from General Franks not in the number of combat troops to win the war, but in the two additional divisions of troops he believed it would take to secure the peace.
We had all these warnings and all this advice about how to do it right, and things are going badly. We have to do it right now or go home. And going home is not an option. There is too much at stake. We have to win this.
We have to win this or these young soldiers who have been killed will have died for nothing. We have to win this or American security will be jeopardized at home and the Iraqi people will not regain security for their nation. We have to win this or American leadership will be damaged throughout the Middle East and throughout the world. We can win this, but we have to heed some of the lessons and quickly. I hope the witnesses will share their thoughts on this.
But I was struck by the article by Tom Donnelly and Gary Schmidt in this Sunday's Washington Post that reminds us that the United States knows how to fight wars like Iraq. We even have a how-to guide in the Marine Corps' Small Wars Manual from 1940, and I will ask the Colonel to hold it up. We have it right here.
I think we need to refocus and redouble our efforts, recognizing the counter-insurgency type battle in which we find ourselves. The worst thing we could do is what I fear that some in the administration might be considering, and that is quickly withdrawing U.S. troops. We must have a well-thought-out strategy that recognizes the type of battle in which we find ourselves. We must focus on intelligence. We must put more troops on the ground, if that is what it takes to sweep through problem areas, that we should use the right types of dismounted infantry troops that could best accomplish this.
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I might point out in the article by Tom Donnelly and Gary Schmidt, they say this: The fact remains that unless the security situation in Iraq is brought under control and the insurgency there decisively defeated, those successes can never be made permanent, and the President's larger hopes for a stable, democratic Iraq will never be fulfilled.
Mr. Chairman, we have put American lives, American money, American credibility as well as the future of Iraqi people at stake. The stakes couldn't be higher. We have to do this right, and we have to do so quickly, and I hope the witnesses will share their thoughts with us on that current situation today.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Skelton can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the distinguished gentleman.
Mr. Zinsmeister, the floor is yours, sir; and, without objection, all written statements will be taken into the record.
STATEMENT OF KARL ZINSMEISTER, J.B. FUQUA FELLOW, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE
Mr. ZINSMEISTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Skelton, and members of the committee. I have exactly ten minutes of remarks condensed from my written statement.
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I want to talk to you today about ordinary Iraqis.
Skilled politicians like the men and women in this room know very well about the so-called silent majority syndrome. It is the massive and often silent middle of the Iraqi opinion that I have concentrated on as I have followed developments in the country; and I would like to offer you my judgment today that there is much to be encouraged about in the recent evolution of Iraqi views, particularly among the Shiite majority that is the rising faction in Iraq.
I was an embedded reporter during the hot war phase, have written a book about the subject, and upon my return from Iraq in the spring became very concerned that the sort of anecdotal temperature-takings that the country was relying on to understand what was happening in Iraq were incomplete and misleading. So in search of some more methodical, harder, more reliable evidence, I eventually commissioned and wrote what turned out to be the first scientific public opinion poll that has ever been conducted in Iraq. We did it in concert with Zogby International. We were in the field in August, we were in four different cities in Iraq, and we have good information.
Before I talk to you about some of the specifics of our research, I would like to point out there have actually now been four different substantial polls conducted in Iraq. In addition to the American Enterprise Poll, there is one by Gallup in September, there is one by a well-thought-of British firm for the Spectator of London, and there was one by an Iraqi academic. These were very different polls done in different ways in different geographical regions. They are reassuringly congruent, however, in their findings.
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In all of them, the Iraqi public turns out to be surprisingly optimistic, unambiguously glad to be free of Saddam and quite willing to have U.S. troops in their country for another year or more in order to help them get launched on a new footing. Again, this is the big mass of the public. This is not extremes at the different ends. This is the big middle that we don't hear so much about.
For instance, two-thirds of Iraqis say that getting rid of Saddam has been worth any of the hardships that have resulted. Fully 61 percent have a favorable view of the Governing Council today, and by 50 percent to 14 percent they say it is doing a better job than it was 2 months ago. Just this last week, I think 3 or 4 days ago, the New York Times published a very informal street poll thatas the reporter did, and as the Times puts it, quote: This poll showed that about 85 percent of Baghdadies felt that safety had increased in the last 2 months, and 60 percent felt that the Americans were doing a good job.
The CHAIRMAN. Sir, could you go over those statistics one more time so we could take a note of them? You went through them pretty quick.
Mr. ZINSMEISTER. Sure. These are all, again, in my written testimony. ButI don't know how far back you want me to go. There is more to come.
Let me just repeat that paragraph. Two-thirds of Iraqis say that getting rid of Saddam was worth any of the troubles that have resulted in the interim period. Sixty-one percent have a favorable view of the Iraqi Governing Council; and, perhaps more important, by 50 percent to 14 percent they say the Council is doing a better job than it was 2 months ago.
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Then the New York Times street pollwhich is a very informal street poll, but I take it as interesting because of the sourcethe Times found that 85 percent of those informally polled on the street felt that safety had increased in the last 2 months. And these are Baghdadies, mind you. This is not people in Mosul or Kirkuk or the quiet parts of the country. This is the maelstrom or the worst instability today. Eighty-five percent of the Baghdadies felt that safety had increased in the last 2 months, and 60 percent felt that Americans were doing a good job.
Now, what does all this tell us? It tells us that we are doing a much better job of winning the hearts and minds of everyday Iraqis than many of us realize.
My own survey's researchmy own magazine's survey research found that Iraqis are not nearly so fanatical, not nearly so seething or disgusted with the United States as perhaps the extremists would have us believe.
Perhaps most interestingly, our evidence suggests that none of the three what I would call nightmare scenarios for Iraq seem very likely to come to pass. First of all, there is not going to be a Baath party revival in Iraq. I won't get into the details. The data is very clear; it is in my paper, that Saddam is extremely unpopular and his associates in the country.
The second nightmare scenario that many of us worry about is that, instead, an al Qaeda-style organization would proliferate in the new Iraq. But our poll found that, for instance, Osama bin Laden is viewed unfavorably by 57 percent of Iraqis. And mind you, as foreign jihadists murder increasing numbers of Iraqi civilians, Iraqi police, and very popular Iraqi figures like Ayatollah Hakim, those foreign jihadists are going to become even more unpopular in the months ahead, I expect.
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The third nightmare scenario for Iraq would be a sort of Iranian-style theocracy. This, again, I judge to be unlikely to take hold in Iraq. Perhaps not fully appreciated, Iraqis are quite secular. Our poll asked Iraqis when the last time they had attended Friday prayer wasthis is sort of a weekly highlight of the Islamic religious calendarand 43 percent of Iraqis in our four cities had not been to Friday prayer even once in the previous month.
We also asked folks directly whether they would like an Islamic government, and the Iraqis told us no by 60 percent to 33 percent.
Now, interestinglyand I want to get into a little detail hereon all of those questions, the majority Shiites consistently fell on the more moderate side. For instance, Shiites are much less likely than other Iraqis to want a theocratic government. They are more favorable toward democracy. They are more likely to pick the U.S. as a best model for a government, and they are much more unfavorable toward Osama bin Laden.
I would remind you, Shiitesyou know, there has not been a good census in this country in decades, so we don't know for sure. But Shiites are, our best estimate, 60 to 65 percent of the population. These are the folks who are going to run the country under any democratic regime.
I have been further encouraged by very recent signs of maturity and moderation amongst both the leadership and the rank and file of Iraqi Shiites. The first big test, in my mind, came at the funeral of Ayatollah Hakim. Here he was, you know, murdered along with scores of innocent bystanders while coming out of a mosque, one of the holiest mosques in Islam in fact, last month. More than 300,000 mourners showed up for the funeral. This could have very quickly become a very ugly rampage, and scapegoating of all sorts could have been done. Instead, the Shiite faithful showed a willingness to patiently await the official investigation into the crime. I was quite struck by that.
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More recently, specifically last weekagain, this is quite new. American forces and Iraqi police, as many of you know, clamped down on Moktada Sadr, who is a radical Shiite who was calling for active resistance against the government. Sadr's militiamen had killed a number of Iraqi policemen and some American soldiers. They had forcibly seized some mosques and some government buildings. But the coalition forces that I am in contact with had moved very gingerly against him because they just weren't sure what sort of popular following they had, and they were being very cautious. As I say, last week they finally took action.
As it turns out, the disarming of Sadr's acolytes last week turned out to be extremely popular with other Shiites. It was cheered loudly by both the Shiite leadership and everyday Shiites who openly repudiated Sadr's radicalism. In addition, Sadr had threatened that there was going to be mass protests and people in the street if you do this. It completely fizzled out.
Then the third very latest bit of evidence of Shiite moderation and willingness to help Iraq that I have noticed came just a couple days ago, when one of the Shiite members of the Governing Council reacted to the bombing of the Red Cross headquarters. There was no railing, no flailing, no second-guessing. To the contrary, what he did was he saidhe called in the United States to speed up the trainingthe American training of Iraqis soldiers and police officers, and he urged that U.S. troops be unleashed to really crush the insurgency that is taking place in the Sunni Triangle today.
The relatively small number of extremists who are conducting murder and sabotage in that Sunni Triangle have no chance of willing militarily. I think we need to keep that in mind.
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Much more than outsiders realize, Iraq is really beginning to bubble. The streets are full, the markets are busy, all sorts of things are happening. I spelled some of this out in some of my other writing.
Keep in mind, also, there are now 25,000 non-U.S. troops in the country from third-party countries. There are 60,000 Iraqi security personnel at work and a lot more in the pipeline. I want you to remember that, even today, just a few months after the new regime, it is already Iraqis who are taking most of the casualties in these attacks; and I want to assure you that, as that pattern continues, the Iraqi public is going to notice; and it will increasingly put the attackers on the wrong side of everyday, average public opinion in Iraq.
The only accomplishment of the insurgents, and it is a big one, is to create chaos. They are strictly a negative force who can only hope to slow down the steady progress that is being made in Iraq. Finding that they usually die when they attack American forces, they have recently decided to stop doing that in general, no frontal assaults. Instead, they are bombing humanitarian agencies and mosques and Red Cross shelters and so forth. That is a desperate and retrograde military strategy. It will not be popular with the Iraqi public.
These insurgents have no platform. They have no winning message. They have no identifiable leaders. There is no evidence that they represent a popular movement or that they enjoy any widespread support. They arewhat are they? They are simply well-armed, comparatively wealthy fringe fanatics. They can make a lot of trouble, but they are nothing more than that. Many of them are foreign. All of them are leftovers of earlier, older Arab power blocks. They are feared by Iraqis. They are, however, not broadly respected or trusted or liked. In short, they are political criminals. Everyday Iraqis, you know, understand this; and I think it is going to be increasingly hard for the guerrillas to find water to hide in and swim in as time passes.
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Think of it this way: There is a psychological contest. On the one side you have remnants of an unpopular regime reinforced by unpopular foreigners who merely wreck and kill in ugly ways, especially, keep in mind, in religious sites, at humanitarian sites, frequently on holy days, as the Red Cross attack was, as the Hakim murder was, with most of the victims being innocent Iraqi. Okay? That is on one side.
On the other side, you have American forces who have, on the whole, been quite gentle and forbearing throughout the course of this war. That is one of the themes of the book I have written about, The Hot War. Any day now we all earnestly hope there will be a large infusion of cash, thanks to this Congress, into the theater, which will make it even more possible for the soldiers and American administrators to demonstrate very clearly to Iraqis who is on the side of progress and prosperity and modernity and human decency and who is not. And you know what? That is a pretty good position to be in if you have to fight a guerrilla war, which is what we are doing today.
No guerrilla war is easy, but I want to point out there is no Ho Chi Minh Trail pumping poison into Iraq. There can be none. And with each passing season, there will be fewer weapons and fewer guerrillas and fewer moneyless money to finance those operations.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, you have new economic and political freedoms unfolding across the country every single day. You know, today it is cell phones; tomorrow it is open elections. Those innovations will cumulatively amount to a revolutioncapital Rrevolution, and a revolution that will make the blood-feuding insurgents look more and more unattractive to normal Iraqis.
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Again, let us think about normal Iraqis this morning and with each passing week. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Zinsmeister can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Doctor. I appreciate your comments.
STATEMENT OF MICHAEL O'HANLON, SENIOR FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION
Dr. O'HANLON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ranking Member, and members of the committee. It is an honor to be here talking about this important issue.
I guess I would like to say I share some of Congressman Skelton's critiques of Bush policy, but I also share most of Mr. Zinsmeister's optimism about Iraq, and I want to make that clear going in, which backs up, Mr. Chairman, your opening statement that there are indeed people on both sides of this debate, both sides of the aisle, who have the same opinions and, of course, different opinions.
There are just two things I want to do in my brief remarks to get things started before discussion. One is to go through some of the statistics we have been trying to track at Brookings, and very briefly. Mr. Zinsmeister has done a nice job with some of his public opinion stats. I just want to give more information on security trends, economic trends in Iraq. We are all trying to follow these. I don't need to acquaint you with most of the basics, but we are trying to do a systematic job of tracking this at Brookings. We are going to try to keep doing that in the future; and I want to point out a couple of indicators that are on the positive side of the ledger but also, unfortunately, on the negative side of the ledger in terms of trends in Iraq today. So a few statistics which are summarized in my testimony in the tables at the back, and which I will continue, as I say, to update at Brookings.
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The second thing is just to put a couple of these statistics in perspective using a broader construct of counterinsurgency warfare similar to what Schmidt and Donnelly did in their Washington Post op-ed, Mr. Skelton. And I agree with most of the thrust of their argument. Just make a couple of points about that, as well.
In terms of statistics and trends in Iraq, let me mention a few bad trends and a larger number of good trends. Now, unfortunately, the bad trends are in pretty important areas. But, fortunately, the good trends, I think, are more numerous and tend to outnumber and tend to bode well for the future again, as Mr. Zinsmeister has just indicated.
The bad trends. First of all, homicide rates, crime rates im Baghdad are still quite high. They are a little bit lower to the extent you trust the statistics and really believe they can be this accurate, a little lower than they were in the summer, but still quite high. Homicide rate in Baghdad is still five or six times, let us say, what it is in Washington. Now, obviously, you would expect a fair amount of turmoil in a country that had just been at war where Saddam had just let the criminals out of his prisons only a few months before the conflict. But the homicide rates are still high; and they do, unfortunately, run somewhat counter to the general positive trends that Mr. Zinsmeister was discussing. They are making Iraqis still worry about their security.
We all know the U.S. casualty rates are stubbornly persistent. I would not call them high by standards of counterinsurgency warfare. Again, make no mistake, we are still at war; and I think the Bush administration deserves criticism for not having properly conveyed this message to the country in the weeks just before and just after the fall of Saddam. But, by the context of war, by the standards of war, things are going pretty well. But, nonetheless, the casualty levels for U.S. troops are stubbornly persistent. They are not going down.
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We had a little bit of progress in August and September. Unfortunately, October has been a very bloody month, comparably bloody for American troops to the worst month we experienced back in July, almost that serious, almost that bad; and, of course, it is not even over.
In terms of a couple of more statistics that are on the bad side, obviously, unemployment levels are still very high in Iraq. I agree again with Mr. Zinsmeister's point about market energy returning. In my short trip to Iraq last month, I didn't have a chance to see a lot of that. I wasn't spending a lot of time in the markets. I was spending more time with American troops and commanders. I know many of you have been over, as well.
But I would still say that the statistics we have are troublesome. The Iraqis are not yet sufficiently engaged in their own economy; and to the extent we apply an external stimulus with the $87 billion, which I fully support myself, or at least I support the broad thrust of that, there still is the danger of any big foreign aid program, that you introduce an artificial stimulus that may or may not build up a strong economy from the grassroots level up. So, unemployment is still too high.
There is still too much unsecured ammunition; and this does, unfortunately, challenge a little bit one of the conclusions of Mr. Zinsmeister that I generally agree with about the trends and security being positive. There is no Ho Chi Minh Trail. Unfortunately, there are many complexes measuring several square miles where enormous amounts of ammunition are still found in Iraq, many of which are not being sufficiently secured by Coalition Armed Forces.
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And put me down as a skeptic that we really have the absolutely correct number of troops in Iraq. I have talked toI mean, all the commanders that I talk to in Iraq say we have enough; people on the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) say we have enough. I am still a little skeptical when I see reports of large unsecured ammunition depots; and it also strikes me as something useful that maybe some of our foreign friends could help with even if the Iraqis don't want all of them always right in the midst of their population centers. I am thinking, of course, of countries like Turkey.
Finallyand you all are very familiar with thisU.S. operational tempo rates, deployment rates are way too high to be sustainable. When you start thinking about the second and third rotation of troops into Iraq, it doesn't look very promising for keeping the health of the U.S. Army. I am a supporter of troop increases, at least at the modest level of 10 to 20,000. I am a supporter of getting more Marines involved in this mission and also think we have to consider bolder steps to bring in the United Nations (U.N.) politically, as long as we can have an American as the Special Representative of the U.N. in Iraq, because I think we need to find ways to elicit more foreign troop contribution.
That is the bad news. Let me go through a lot of the statistics on the good news; and, again, you are familiar with this. I don't need to spend a lot of time on this.
But, four biggies to start with: schools, hospitals, courts, and banks. These are basically all open, and they are all functioning in Iraq. Basically, everything that was there before the war is again functioning and probably at least as well, in some cases better; and, again, I won't go through the details. Certainly Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Wolfowitz do a better job than I of dramatizing the good trends and have all the statistics at their disposal. But, I think one has to acknowledge these are four big categories where we have quickly gotten things back up and running.
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Electricity levels are finally looking pretty goodnot yet high enough in Baghdad, not yet to prewar levels in Baghdad, but apparently above prewar levels as best we can tell, taken countrywide. And the Baghdad numbers are starting to come up. This is finally looking good. I still worry about sabotage, I still worry about that potential, and I don't think any number of troops could realistically prevent all possible sabotage acts. But, still, the trends are finally looking better after a very frustrating summer when we couldn't get power levels up as much as we needed to.
The Iraqi security forcesMr. Zinsmeister mentioned how many of these have now been trained. One can question the competence and the skill levels of some of these units. But certainly for basic patrolling and policing, they are going to be increasingly capable and let us, I think, pull back into the background. I would envision within a year we will be primarily essentially a backup force, preventing civil war between Shiite and Sunni and Kurds, helping with some of the raids against Baathist remnants, but allowing the Iraqis to do more and more of the patrolling and policing on their own.
The latest numbers I have seen are the Iraqis now have something like 55,000 police, 20,000 infrastructure protection guards, and another 10,000 in border patrol and other smaller units. So this is now about 85,000 heading up toward 200,000, a very small army so far but, nonetheless, a pretty strong policing capability. Again, you have to recognize the limitations on their quality. They are not all as competent as they need to be, but their numbers are starting to look pretty good.
A couple more points, and then I will start to wrap up and just conclude with my general comments on the nature of counterinsurgency.
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The number of Iraqis from the Most Wanted List is down to 15 out of 55. That is pretty good. Obviously, we are all frustrated we can't get Saddam, and the number 15 has stayed at 15 for a while. We haven't had much progress on the top 55, but still we have gotten almost three-fourths of them either killed or arrested.
And now my briefings I got in Tikrit from General Odierno suggests that we have really started to do well at the second-tier list of mid-level Baathists. We are making considerable progress at eliminating this group from open circulation in Iraq. I would like to see more numbers on that. I haven't seen as many statistics as I would like.
Again, you don't want to obviously distill all this down into statistics, but they can be informative at some level. I have not seen enough about that issue, but I do see progress, and we were assured by General Odierno they are picking people up in this category every day, virtually.
The overall number of Baathists who are probably still out there as general purpose foot soldiers for this movement is probably not very large. It is the Fedayeen, the Special Republican Guard, some other palace guards. It is probably 20,000, 30,000 people, of which we have probably arrested or killed 10,000 in the 6 months since the war ended. So we are making pretty good progress, and I don't believe these Baathists have enough of an appealing ideology that they can regenerate their own ranks.
No one knows how many foreign jihadists, foreign terrorists are inside of Iraq. We are all following the debate on this. We are all concerned, I know, about the Syrians involved in this week's attacks. But, overall, I am relatively reassured that, by a combination of pressure on Syria, pressure on Iran, and improvement in the border-securing efforts of U.S. forces and Iraqi forces, we can limit that number of foreign jihadists. So, again, that looks pretty good, as well.
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Finally, let me just say that, perhaps as importantly as anything else, the number of Iraqi civilians who have been accidentally killed by American troops is small. We read about it all the time because we have very good reporters on the scene who are doing excellent investigative reporting, and they bring home and make very personal the individual losses that occurfor example, the accidental killing of about ten Iraqi police officers last month. But by the standards of counterinsurgency warfare, we are doing a very good job at applying force in a discriminating, selective, careful way; and I don't think we are likely to be embittering a large faction of the Iraqi population with the way in which we use force. The Iraqi population may become embittered by the unemployment rate, it may become embittered the fact that we can't stop the Baathist remnants from attacking Iraqis, but I don't think it is going to become embittered because of how many innocents we are killing. I think that number is quite modest.
Okay. So I have put all these statistics on the table. You all are familiar with many of them already. All I need to do is wrap up by saying that when you look at the most important ones, in terms of security we have a small resistance that is unlikely to grow, and we are using force against it in a selective, discriminating, and relatively effective way. That is a very good trend on the security side.
Another good trend on the security side is the improvement in Iraqi forces that we are training and gradually equipping. Those trends are both very positive.
The economic front has a more mixed message. There is electricity that is doing better, oil production is doing better, but unemployment is still very high. So there you have tension, there you have ongoing reason for nervousness.
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Then, finally, on the politics of Iraq, this is perhaps the biggest question mark of all. Do we really think that we can build a democracy in this region of the world in a short period of time? Frankly, I am not so worried about democracy, but I am worried about stability. And I am not sure we can even guarantee that because of the Sunni Arabs being so embittered at their loss of relative influence in Iraq and, of course, because of Shiiteeven though trends seem relatively favorable nowstill have a lot of internal schism and tension within their ranks.
So that is the big question for the longer term, and that is why I don't think we can bring forces out of Iraq any time in the next two to three years. I think we are stuck with at least several tens of thousands of Americans intowell into 2005, 2006 to prevent civil warfare. But as long as we keep those forces in place for that period of time, I think we will be able to keep a lid on any potential for civil warfare.
So you put it all together, I am still nervous, but I am guardedly optimistic.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Dr. O'Hanlon, thank you very much for your statement.
[The prepared statement of Mr. O'Hanlon can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Ottaway.
STATEMENT OF MARINA S. OTTAWAY, SENIOR ASSOCIATE, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE
Ms. OTTAWAY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I am going to pick up from the last point that my colleague made, that it is the problem of the political situation and the political reconstruction.
I think the United States is facing a complicated problem, but I don't think it is a problem that cannot be solved if we think seriously about the process that needs to be undertaken.
The United States at this point is committed to transferring full sovereignty only when there is an elected Iraqi government in place. That puts a lot of pressure on the United States to put in place that Iraqi government quite fast, both because of what is happening in Iraq itselfit would be tremendously helpful to have a credible Iraqi governmentand also because of the U.S.'s own domestic necessity to show progress on that side. Even as late as last week, Secretary of State Powell expressed some degree of optimism that it may be possible to have a constitution in six months and to have elections not really long afterwards, despite the fact that theyan Iraqi committee, a committee of the Governing Council that was formed to discuss how that process could be put in place, came back lasta few weeks ago saying to take much longer than they took to get to a constitution.
So, in my opinion, moving, trying to force the pace of a constitution writing and election, which certainly could be done with a lot of technical assistanceI think if we putyou know, a constitution can be pulled off the shelf, can be written by outsiders. It has been done many times, and a lot of technical assistance probably could solve the problem of how to organize elections despite the lack of security.
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I think politically this probably would not lead to positive results. The work we have done at Carnegie on the problem of post-conflict transitions tend to show that there is nothing more dangerous than hurried elections in the aftermath of a conflict.
We have seen it, for example, in Bosnia, where the international community insisted on very early elections after the detente agreement. I think everybody at this point who was involved in that situation agrees that that was a mistake. Because what very often happensand we have seen it not only in Bosnia, but we have seen examples in other countriesthe first groups to get organized are the radicals. I agree with my colleague about the fact that there seems to be no indication that the majority of public opinion in Iraq supports radical groups. The problem is that the radical groups tend to be the first ones organized and to be the best organized; and I think there is a real possibility that, as it happened in many countries, a very quick election would lead to the victory of the groups that we, very frankly, would much prefer not to gain a prominent position.
At the same time, I think it is not realistic to say there we should postpone the elections for a long time, because I don't think that is sustainable in terms of both domestically in the United States and in terms of the Iraqi public opinion.
I think one solution that should be seriously taken under consideration is that of encouraging Iraqis to undertake a two-stage process rather than a single-stage process. In other words, to encourage Iraqis to simply enact an interim constitution, which would be a fairly simple document. I think there is a possibility that some of the Middle Eastern constitution or perhaps some of the earlier Iraqi constitution might serve as a template, with some modifications for the transition of election, and use the interim constitution simply to elect a constituent assembly and the government of national reconciliation.
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What that could mean is postponing, but not burying under Iraq, essentially a lot of the difficult problems that are involved in writing that constitution that are likely to delay the process for a long time.
Let me give you an example of some of the problems that need to be faced when Iraqis write a permanent constitution.
There is a lot of agreement among Iraqisnot universal, but there is a strong agreement among all Iraqi factions that probably a Federal system would be best for Iraq. To start talking to people and seeing really what they are saying, each group is saying something quite different when they talk of a Federal system. For example, the Kurds have prepared a draft constitutionit is up on the Internetfor a Federal Iraq that says that Iraq will be a federation composed of an Arab state and a Kurdish state. I don't think that concept of federation is acceptable to any of the other groups. There are other groups that want a federation based on sort of boundaries based on ethnicity and confessional lines. That is totally unacceptable to the more secular groups in the country.
So what is clear is that, like all constitutions, in the current situation negotiating an agreement among all the groups is going to take time. It is not something which can be done in six months. ProbablyI am not even sure it is something that can be done in a year's time. So that I think itbut, at the same time, we cannot wait for those problems to be solved before an elected government is put in place.
A two-stage process might provide the timebuy the time to bothallowing us to both have an elected government in place, and I think it would be extremely important for that first government elected under an interim constitution to be a government of national reconciliation with the participation of all the major groups in the country.
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It is an example that has been used in other countries. The United States very successfully encouraged Italy in the aftermath of World War IIwe hear a lot about the reconstruction of Germany, but there was an interesting process in Italy which I think needs to be taken into consideration in view of what is happening in Iraq. There, the process was, first, election for a constituent assembly and a government of national reconciliation, and only three years later, after a new constitution was enacted, an election for a real government, where the majority took over.
So I think this isyou know, the decision, of course, is not completely in the hands of the United States at this point, but I think the Iraqis need to be encouraged to move in the direction of a two-stage process.
Let me just make one final comment, that the experience of other countries that have gone through to thethat have gone through to a staged processI mentioned Italy, but much more recently we have seen the example of South Africahas in general been quite positive. On the other hand, we have seen many examples of serious problems arising in the aftermath of very quickly organized post-conflict elections.
The Cambodian elections, for example, you know, although the periodic organization took almost two years for the United Nations to organize those elections and despite the fact that the elections were well-conducted from a technical point of view, the results were reversed because the elections results did not correspond to the distribution of the power on the ground, particularly the fact that one group was still armed and they did not win the election, and of course they won afterwards through a military coup d'etat.
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So I think given the number of the bar codes that we have witnessed in the case of post-conflict elections that would organize too speedily and the relative success of two-stage processes, I think it is something that should be considered. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Ottaway, thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Ottaway can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. To all three of our panelists, thank you for very instructive statements.
The gentleman from Missouri.
Mr. SKELTON. I yield five minutes to the gentleman who is an early arriver, Dr. Snyder.
Dr. SNYDER. Well, thank you, Mr. Skelton.
Dr. Ottaway, I thought you said such an important thing, and it is a view I haven't read much about. But I think you said that there is nothing more dangerous than hurried elections, and I think in your paper you outline a way to get out of that. In fact, the United Stateswe had our Articles of Confederation. In a way, we had our interim government while we tried to figure things out and then came back with what is our real constitution.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My question is, is anyone listening to you in the administration? Is this viewis your view that this should be a two-step processis it getting any hearing within the administration, to your knowledge?
Ms. OTTAWAY. We have not had any direct discussions at this point.
Let me also add that the policy brief where we outlined these ideas has not been out for very long.
Dr. SNYDER. I understand. And I guess, as you said, the United States has a lot of control over this, but the IraqisMr. BremerAmbassador Bremer has been very clear that this constitution is going to be one written by the Iraqis. So I suppose the Iraqis could come back and say, we choose to do an interim process. They could make that decision if that idea is one that has a lot of play. So thank you for your paper. Thank you for being here.
Dr. O'Hanlon, I have used the phrase ''cautiously optimistic,'' and you just said ''guardedly optimistic.'' Now, I am trying to evaluate, does that mean you are a little more optimistic than me? But I shareI have some cautious optimism. I like what you say in your paper about the debate of the factoids, and it is really frustrating, I think, to see that on thesekind of the factoid conflict. To me, it is not two storiesthere is a good news story and a bad news storyit is one complicated story of good things occurring in a difficult by our very good people who put their lives at risk to do it, as well as the Iraqis who step forward.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You make the comment in your paperyou say: We have gotten fairly good at counterinsurgency and nation building. Ironically, this is a legacy the Clinton bequeathed the Bush administration that is helping the latter enormously right now.
I heard someone elseI don't recall right now who it wastalk about how Somalia was a disaster, nation building in Haiti was better than Somalia, Bosnia was better than Haiti, Kosovo was better than Bosnia, and now we are where we are at today. Two or three questions:
First of all, one of the concerns, though, is that the people who learned as we went along the trail were not the ones who were put in charge of the Nation building, that this is where you are getting this conflict within the administration about who should be in charge, do you have any comments about that?
Second, is there too much emphasisand maybe you don't know about this. Is there too much emphasis within the reconstruction now on building stuff rather than repair? We had the anecdote from the factoid, if you will, from, I think, Mosul, where it was going to be $15 million to build a cement factory; it was $80,000 to Iraqis to repair it and get it up and running.
And, third, are we putting too much emphasis on systems, new systems, dramatically new systems like a cell phone system that in fact is more compatible with what we do than what is in the region?
Do you have any comments about any of those?
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Dr. O'HANLON. Thank you, Congressman.
On the issue of the people we have in place, as you well know, the military officers are those who really learned a lot in the Balkans in the 1990'sGeneral Petraeus, General Odiernoand you can see it. You can see these people are pros at the complex operations they are now running. I know I am not the first to sing the praises of these individuals, and I don't do it just to wrap myself in the flag at a time of national crisis. What they are doing is amazing, from what I have seen at least.
I have a special pride in General Petraeus because he and I went to graduate school together. Of course, it took me six years to get my PhD. It took him about two and a half. That is probably about an accurate reflection of our relative abilities. If anything, he is even better than those kind of numbers show. He is just fantastic, and Odierno is no worse. So I am very impressed by how well they are doing on the ground.
On the civilian side, it has been a little bit more turbulent, perhaps, but, you know, we are not as well set up as a government. We don't have the same kinds of structures as nation builders in the State Department or the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) that we do in the military, and maybe that is something we need to reevaluate. So I don't want to
I am a big admirer of Ambassador Bremer. I would, you know, like all of us, question some decisions and support others, but, in general, I am very impressed by the effort he is putting in. But he doesn't have a lot of institutional support behind him. So in that sense I share some of your concerns, but especially on the civilian side and not for the fault of the civilians individually.
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On the issue of building new things versus repairing old things, I generally agree with you; and that is why I caught myself earlier and tried to avoid saying that I support every detail of the $87 billion reconstruction bid. I admire the work that Congress is doing to go over many of the specifics of that kind of a proposal, but I am also glad that Congress is doing it quickly. Because, at a minimum, we need to inject a large amount of resources into Iraq quickly. We need to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people without conveying a sense of indecisiveness or a sense of excessive patience back here. So I hope the Congress continues to scrutinize.
I think one could make an argument thatlet us provide the first $10 billion chunk quickly and then spend more time in the winter hearing season going over the second $10 billion. I think those kind of arguments are perfectly legitimate for the sorts of reasons that you raise, because I do have the impression we are putting a little too much into new systems and not quite enough into repair.
On the other hand, I think we do need to do some big dramatic things. So I would like to see a mix of big new projects and repair of old projects.
Finally, on your last point, say, for example, the cell phone system. I guess that is an example of a big project I would support, because it seems to me Iraq is trying to cultivate a sense of unity, a sense of interconnectedness among different ethnic groups and different political figures, and they need to be able to communicate easily and rapidly to do that. So that one particular example, maybe that is the kind of big new project I would support. But the other example you raised of, let us say, the cement factory, is the sort of thing where repairing and going on a smaller scale and a more economical scale may be the right way to go.
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Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Skelton.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you very much.
You know, I measure these hearings, Mr. Chairman, based upon, do I learn anything? I learned considerably this morning, and I appreciate all of our witnesses for sharing their knowledge with us.
It is my sense that the radicals in that part of the world desperately don't want this to succeed. They want us to fall flat on our face and go out with our tail between our legs and don't want us to succeed.
Are we seeing awe know there are some foreign radicals coming into the country. Are they coming in in droves, or are they coming in in ones and twos and threes? Is that not nearly as big a factor as we think it might be?
Mr. ZINSMEISTER. You know, I really don't think anyone knows that. I know the military commanders tell me they don't know. I also point out to you that there were radicals in the country during the hot war phase. I saw lots of Syrians and Iranians and others back in March fighting. They were often picked up at that point. So this is not a new phenomenon.
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The numbers are not large. The numbers are, you know, limited. But, as you know, it only takes a small number of folks to do some ugly things in this particular case.
Mr. HEFLEY. Well, Dr. Zinsmeister, or any of you, if we take April or May or whenever the major war part was over and we call that zero and we want to get to ten in order to move our troops out of there, you have some wonderful statistics you gave us and polls and so forth, and we have obviously come a long ways. Where would you say we have come on that scale of one to ten? And can you use those statistics, any of you, to project, based on how far we have come, how long it will take to have something that we would consider a stable Iraqat least stable by that part of the world's standards?
Mr. ZINSMEISTER. You are trying to pin me down on numbers here. Tricky. You know, I personallyI mean, I am a student of revolution. That is what I studied in college, as well. And I am very impressed how fast things have moved.
I have sort of an historical view. If you look at Japan, the reconstruction was years and years, really, to get to this point. Germany, as we know, was slow. Those were much more modern nations. Those were, at least in the case of Germany, nations with a tradition of democracy already in place. We didn't have that in Iraq. We are starting from zero there. And I am quite impressed with some of the progress that has been made. I think if we look back 20 years from now, people will say this is actually surprising.
As an example, I talked to a lot of the soldiers. A lot of these soldiersand I want to second Dr. O'Hanlon's remark. These soldiers are the princes of Iraq today. I mean, with all due respect, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) is not really running the country, the soldiers are. They learned lots of valuable things in the Balkans and in earlier experiences; and he is quite right, they are applying them beautifully.
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The only thing I would add is, it is not just the generals. I know lots of sergeants and captains who learned those same lessons, and they are the ones who are going out to these little democracy councils in the precinct or at the tribal meetings or at the meetings with the local clerics and who are really getting the gears of civilization grinding again and, again, quite skillfully.
The soldiers are quite excited about these little democracy councils that they are setting up. They tell me these stories about in the beginning it was four and a half hours and the people didn't even have a concept of a vote, didn't have a clue what they meant, and when the village big guy came into the room, everyone went quiet. They had to teach them; you know, you have to speak up for yourself. You have a right, you have a vote, you have an opinion as good as anyone else's.
From those very frustrating early summer experiences, they are now quite impressed at the ability of these little meetings to convene, to take place in a reasonable amount of time and to make decisions that need to be made.
So, again, I use the word revolution. I don't think it is the wrong word. This is a place that has no tradition of this. It is an entire region that has no tradition of this sort of progress. And I think, as a historian, it is very fast. Now, as a political figure, it is not fast. I understand that difference. But, you know, I am loathe to give you how many years until we are out of there kind of thing. But the progress has been much better than any other analogous war I can think of anywhere by anybody.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HEFLEY. Dr.I am sorry. Go ahead.
Dr. O'HANLON. I will just throw out; I will score it about a 4, Congressman; and I will predict that in a year we have, let us say, 60,000 American forces to 70,000 come election time 2004, here in this country, with some of the progress Ms. Ottaway has been describing in Iraqi politics, but a long ways to go, and that we will have still, let us say, 30,000 forces there in 2006. But that kind of a trajectory, I think, we can live with.
Mr. HEFLEY. Dr. Ottaway, you spoke about some of the problems of getting the electoral process going and so forth. And this is a tribal society. Are you optimistic that we can actually get some kind of a democratic system going there, considering the hatreds between the Kurds and the Shiites and the Sunnis and so forth? I know there are other tribal societies that work in a democracy. England is one if you go back, that kind of a tribal society. What do you think?
Ms. OTTAWAY. Well, we certainly can get an electoral system going, I think. What I would be more concerned in the early stages is not so much about can we set up a system which is clearly democratic, but more can we encourage a process of reconciliation among all these different groups. Because what is missing at this point is a clear sense of how all the component parts of Iraq, of Iraqi society can live together.
Let me point out that there is no historical precedence of that country staying together except under the strong arm of a dictator. It is the only times that Iraq has been at peace domestically. So, essentially, there is going to be a need for a long process of negotiation and bargaining and so on; and that is why time is so important.
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If I can add something. What we see in the country is a patchwork quilt at this point, but there are some interesting experiments at the local level. That is, when we look at these local councils that have been set up, which are not elected council for the majority, they arethere has been a selection process, there has been a consultative process. Certainly there have been no elections, but certainly at the local level there are organizations that work relatively well. They don't have much power, mostly because of the way the budget structure of the country is. They don't have money to spend. I mean, you have local councils, but all the expenditure is controlled by the line ministries. But there certainly has been a fair amount of progress at the local level.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
I just wanted to ask the committee's indulgence just to weigh in on what you responded back to Mr. Hefley. You know, a lot of members of this committee have been to Iraq. I am very proud of the fact that our members, Democrat and Republican, have been over there in good numbers. When we left, I remember walking out of the Fourth Infantry Division Commander's headquarters there, Ray Odierno, and I don't know who I was withMr. Abercrombie and Mr. McHugh and Terry Everett and a number of our other good membersand one of us said, we hope this guy doesn't run in our districts. Because there is a myth in this city that somehow the people that are the diplomats in the State Department are the diplomats and, by gosh, the military folks are on the other side of the river and they will do the fighting and we will do the diplomacy, thank you very much.
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When you watch these folksand I agree with you that it is not just guys with stars on their shoulders. But when you watch military leaders, you realize they are diplomats, they are ambassadors, they have good leadership skills.
We sat there and got briefed by General Ordierno that the last several days he had taken from a pool of 300 Iraqi leaders and Iraqis of all types in Kirkuk and he had put together an elected council with five Kurds, five Turks, five Syrians, five Arabs and five independents; and I don't know what the independents were. He had met with a bunch of clerics and gotten their requests and was trying to act on those. He had just engaged in a full firefight with Baath party loyalists, and he had his people busily cleaning up the water supply.
When we drove down through that town, people came out of their homes and cheered as the Americans came by. And they didn't cheer because they saw Members of Congress. They didn't know who we were. They cheered because they saw those uniforms. And you saw that leadership and that diplomacy manifested down through the ranks. And I thought, especially if we keep getting money, the small pieces of money, to the military leaders where they can go out and fix that water line in the east suburb or put thepatch up an electric line, they are doing a couple of things. They are not only showing the goodness of this country and our sincerity, but they are also empowering the leaders that are standing up, this new crop of Iraqi leaders and these councils. I mean, the councilman who can get your street paved is the guy that you tend to support; and the guy that can get your water turned on and your electricity line patched up is the one you support.
I think I would like to comment on your folks in terms of these small unit monies that we are putting in this supplemental that hopefully will empower these military leaders.
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The CHAIRMAN. So if you could, if you are up or down on that idea of getting them money, because there has been a lot of criticism that somehow this money doesn't go through this scrub where you have got a fairly stiff bureaucracy looking at every penny before it releases it. I have had some calls from the press saying, boy, you really don't want this initiative fund where these military guys are going to have this money that they can disburse themselves.
I think that is good for our effort, not bad, but what is your take on that?
Dr. O'HANLON. Just very quickly, I agree with you, Chairman. And, in fact, I could paraphrase General Petraeus. I asked him, what is the one thing that can go wrong in Mosul and up north? And he said, if they cut off my money. If I can't hire Iraqis to fix things, to train to become security forces.
He wanted the money in small bits and pieces that he was able to dish out by the hundreds of thousands, by the tens of thousands, by the thousands. For him, that was the single most important thing to sustain and the one thing that, if taken away from him, he thought could lead to the failure of his mission.
Ms. OTTAWAY. I think it is very important that money for small local projects be there. Whether in the long run it is better for that money to be controlled by the military or to be passed through, the way much of it is now, through non-government organizations (NGO)s that are over government agencies that are working on construction at the local level, I think is open to debate.
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The Research Triangle Institute, which is working on providing technical support to the localto the local councils, and the Office of Transition Initiative within USAID give a lot of grants. Whether, for a country has had too much military government, it is better at this point to perpetuate, in a sense, that image that it is the military that fixes things; or whether it is better to go through the civilian, through civilian institutions, I think should be debated very carefully.
The CHAIRMAN. That is one thing that we have mentioned to our Department of Defense (DOD) leadership, the aspect, as we stand up this brand-new generation of Iraqi leaders, is to stand upI think we should stand some of them up in utility districtsthat is, water districts, power districts.
In California, where water is king, our water districts in many cases are more powerful politically than the city councils and supervisors, et cetera, because they bring that critical asset, water, to the communities. And I thought that if we stood up in these towns utility districts, where you have the practical person, the practical Iraqi who is an engineering type, who says, Let's figure out how we get potable water to the east neighborhood, he is going to bethat is going to be the type of political leader who may come up from what I would call the ''farm team,'' to a national level at some point.
This could be a good training ground, if you will, for a new generation of Iraqi leadership to have a power district where the citizens come in; they say, we want to hook up the east suburb. They put together a proposal. An American engineer with his Iraqi counterpart make the call on that. It is fundedwhether the money has come originally from the military or through a civilian mechanism, they would get to the utility district; and we would startwe would start building, opening trenches and installing pipe and doing what is necessary and show the Iraqi people real progress, but at the same time stand up a new generation of Iraqi local leadersthat is, people who serve on the boards of these utility districts.
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Does that make any sense?
Mr. ZINSMEISTER. It does. I would agree with you very much, and add that, not only does it make political sense, but it makes practical sense.
I want to point out the Iraqis are a very enterprising people. There are lots of engineers, lots of doctors that want to start clinics, lots of well-educated people in Iraq who are quite capable of doing the work of reconstruction; and they don't need gigantic grants, they need these little micro grants.
So I am very attracted to this idea of decentralizing a significant chunk of our aid, rather than funneling it through a big agency.
As far as NGOs and so forth, I want to point out, there are none in Iraq right now. I am a little frustrated about this, actually. So I think we have no alternative but to funnel it through the military, because the NGOs have not shown up; the Europeans, in particular, have not shown up. There is no alternate mechanism, so I think we need to trust it to these military commanders.
I suggest that it will be in most cases very cleanly, very sparingly used, very carefully doled out. And I think we need to tolerate some mistakes and a little bit of risk-taking, too.
Many of these groups are unknown. The leadership is not clear. We can't be toowe can't have a zero defect standard here. It is not going to work. For example, General Petraeus has been criticized for this trans-Syrian border trade that he set up. It was very important for his region to get that happening, so that there would be vegetables and foodstuffs and fuel and so forth available to everyday citizens.
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The State Department didn't like that. They viewed that as sort of extracurricular diplomacy at work. I think we have to have a little more tolerance for that than we might otherwise have under these special circumstances.
The CHAIRMAN. Okay.
Ms. OTTAWAY. Be sure that there are no NGOs in Iraq. There are plenty of civilian organizations that are involved. First of all, there are major contracts that have gone out to consulting agenciesthe Research Triangle Institute; whether you want to consider it, you know, profit or nonprofit, it is kind of borderline, but certainly it is there.
There are other organizations like Development Alternatives that are very involved working sometimes with the civil affairs, the military civilian affairs teams in the reconstruction projects. And they are the ones that are administering most of these grants.
Second, there are large contracts for community action programs that are completely channeled through thethrough a group of five NGOs. It is a large USAID contract on sort of a try to develop local projects, which is channelled completely through NGOs.
So certainly there are not as many as we would like. Partly the danger is that we see fewer because ofafter the attack on the Red Cross, because of the lack of security. But there are a lot of organizations out there, whether they are NGOs or consulting groups, that are doing very important work.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. Okay. Thank you very much. And I am going to have to leave real briefly, because we have another problem in California, that is, our fires; and I need to go check on some things here, Mr. Cooper, and I will ask Mr. McHugh to take over the chair.
Mr. COOPER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Before you leave, I would like to thank you for this hearing. I look forward to the hearing with former Central Command (CENTCOM) commanders and also, ideally, to a hearing from regular, real soldiers, the boots on the ground, because we have yet to hear from them.
We all want to win this war. We have got to be careful how we define ''victory.'' the Rumsfeld memo last week was pretty shattering. He had just testified to Congress the evening before. It was disclosed in USA Today, and he was in a classified briefing, and he gave us nothing like what we read in the paper the next day in the memo.
Not only did he say it was going to be a long, hard slog in the memo, he also questioned whether we were winning the war on terror, and asked for new metrics so that we could better define ''progress.'' A number of you have given us metrics, particularly Dr. O'Hanlon. I presume Secretary Rumsfeld already had access to those metrics, and he deemed them insufficient.
Well, what are sufficient metrics? I have asked Secretary Rumsfeld, and he dodged the question, whether we had a poll of our own troops. It is one thing to poll the Iraqis. How about our own people? Presumably they are easier to poll. He dodged the question.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That is just one small piece of the puzzle. What are the proper metrics for evaluating our progress not only in Iraq, but in the larger war on terror? Anybody.
Dr. O'HANLON. I will start, Congressman.
I agree with your concern. As I read the memo, what strikes me is that Mr. Rumsfeld is least certain about the broader Global War on Terror. I think that he is ''guardedly confident''whatever term we want to useabout Iraq. He talks about ''a long, hard slog we can probably win'' or ''almost certainly win.'' I forget the exact wording.
His greaterand I think partly because these sorts of metrics, in the broader sense that politically we are doing the right thing, even if it is taking a while, that suggests we should ultimately prevail there. I think that he is right to underscore, however, that globally we are in trouble to the extent we can't shut down the madrasas in Pakistan and other parts of the Arab world, to the extent that we keep seeing more terrorists trained and recruited in places like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan than we are able to arrest or kill in our broader global campaign.
That is where I thinkso I think the real question is, how do you encourage political reform in the Islamic world and how do you improve U.S. relations with the Islamic world? To some extent, Iraq is part of that, but Iraq, in a way, is almost the easier piece.
Mr. COOPER. If I can interrupt just a second, it is not that we can't shut down the madrasas; we don't have the U.S. policy to try, do we? And when one of our generals makes inflammatory statements, you know, regarding whether this is a religious war or not, there is no real U.S. policy regarding him. So it seems like there are a number of omissions here, to put it kindly. So how do we fill these gaps? What should we be doing?
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I was worried about Dr. Ottaway's testimony. As I recall, the noted scholar Bernard Lewis said, Democracy may be impossible in Iraq. They are not used to it. They have different ways of achieving consensus, through family or tribal mechanisms. And we may be totally biased as Westerners to impose a constitution and democracy on them unless it incorporates these more localized features.
There are a lot of Americans out there who are thinking we are going to have free and fair elections sometime in the near future, and if we define victory that way, we could be waiting a long time. So it worries me with a number of loose statements that we are not, in fact, coming closer to victory. We may be putting it further away from us.
Mr. ZINSMEISTER. You know, II thinkyou talk about, how do we measure progress? I think we need to think about the war on terror very carefully. I think we need to think of it sort of like we thought about the Cold War. This is not something that is going to be done with finality anytime soon. It is going to be a long process. And as we sort of assess how we are doing, I think we have to look at things like, for instance, I will give you one very hard, cold fact.
Since American troops flooded Iraq, the number of soldiers, American soldiers killed in the country is slightly less than the number of police officers killed in this country this year policing our streets domestically. That is maybe something we are going to have to live with. Maybe that is what we are going to have to sort of look at for the near future is that kind of ait takes a very steely calculus to accept that, but that is maybe what we are going to have to live with as we kind of wrestle with this amorphous foe.
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Mr. COOPER. If that is true, someone in the White House, preferably the President, needs to level with the American people and get the expectations right, because the mere number of $87 billion did more to shock the American people than anything the White House has said. That is just a portion of the truth. So somehow we need clear and direct and honest communication with the American people so they can get their expectations right.
The question of Turkish troops. That may seem convenient for us, but what will that do to the internal affairs of the country to have former colonizers in there in large numbers just because it is convenient for us in our press releases to say, well, a Muslim nation is contributing troops.
You know, we can be adding gasoline to the fire.
Mr. MCHUGH. [Presiding.] The gentleman's time has expired.
The gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Schrock.
Mr. SCHROCK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me identify myself with the comments that my friend from Colorado, Mr. Hefley, made that we have all learned a lot here today, probably more than we have in many hearings. The ironic part of it is, none of you work at the Pentagon. So I appreciate your comments.
I am going to ask three different questions, and then I ambecause I know time runs out fast. If I ask them, I know the chairman will allow you to answer them.
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In some of the materials we got prior to this hearing, I am going to read two or three sentences here. Critics of the administration approach make two opposing arguments, that is, winning the peace.
The first is that the establishment of an Iraqi Government and transfer of sovereignty are proceeding too slowly. Proponents of this view argue that a more rapid transfer of power would provide Iraqis with a sense of ownership in the reconstruction and democratic process. I would like you to comment on that.
Dr. O'Hanlon, you said Ambassador Bremer doesn't have the institutional support behind him. I would appreciate it if you would elaborate on that, because I think that was a fascinating comment.
And for all three of you, some of these statistics you have givenand Mr. Zinsmeister, with your permission, I want to use those tomorrow in a radio feed I do every Thursday morningit is amazing that the American public doesn't hear all that. Help me understand why the news mediaI know, the poor news media gets bashed all of the time.
But why are we not getting that message from them? This isn't a classified briefing. If it was, nobody else would be allowed in here except the three of you and us. So whyif you have got those figures, why do you have them and why isn't the media giving those to the American people?
Yes, bad news is always good. I know that good news is no news; I understand that. It is important that we understand that we are losing folks over there. That makes the war very real. But by the same token, a lot of good things are happening in this, based on the statistics you all have given us. I just don't understand that.
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So if you could comment on those two things, and Dr. O'Hanlon on the other statement.
Ms. OTTAWAY. Concerning the greater speed in the transition, I think that they would give the Iraqis a greater sense of ownership having an elected government. That said, I think we have to be very careful about speed, because speed can always lead to a debacle. That is why I was suggesting to try to encourage a two-stage process there in terms of thein terms of the transition.
So I think ifin addition to the speed of setting up a government, whether it is elected; but you know speeding the transition, there is also the problem of making that transition more predictable. That is something that we should start to do right away.
Let me give youexplain what I mean here. In the case of Afghanistan, from the day of the Bonn Agreement, the people of Afghanistan knew what was coming. They knew what process was going to take place. And although elections and the formation of a permanent government were still 21/2 years away, they knew what the process was and what was coming.
In the case of Iraq, the United States has never made clear to Iraqis what they can expect. They have been told many times the U.S. will not stay there one day longer or one day shorter than necessary. That is not a road map. That is not a timetable. And I think it is important, no matter what is the speed of the transition, that the U.S. makes it very clear to the Iraqis what is the process and what is, you know, at least an approximate timetable.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SCHROCK. Your argument is so logical that I don't understand why the White House doesn't adopt that and start saying that. So I agree with you.
Dr. O'HANLON. Thank you, Congressman.
On the question about Mr. Bremer and his institutional backup, I am not necessarily distressed that the military provide the engineering units and the electricity repair units and so forth because, of course, they have those organic to their logistics support.
I guess I am more nervous about a couple of things. For example, in this new Polish-led sector, where we have a multinational force, a very diverse and disparate and somewhat unorganized collection of small units in an area that has had its difficulties and could again, I am not sure we have a Dave Petraeus or Ray Odierno equivalent or a Jack Dempsey equivalent to run the show from the military point of view. That is where I think CPA needs to be able to do more with people on the ground, figuring out which projects need to be funded, interacting with the Iraqis, getting to know them, staying for longer than these 90-day rotations that are often the longest that many people stay.
That isI don't have a complete answer to your question, but that is a snapshot of the answer I think that has to be there. I am not convinced we have the institutional backup in that region where I think we really need it.
On the point about the media, of course this is a big question. I will give you my take, and I do it in my written testimony a little.
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With apologies to the administration, I still blame the administration most for this, because the administrationwe don't have to go through the whole litany, but clearly the whole aircraft carrier landing and the ''Mission Accomplished'' bannerwhoever you think actually wrote it or hoisted itthat conveyed a very clear message to the country that the war was over. I mean, I am sorry; it did. And, you know, it is pretty hard to walk yourself back from that.
I still think the overall accomplishments have been fairly impressive. But the expectations gap has been very stark. And the media is good at at least two things, reporting on individual news, individual bad news, because that is the more dramatic and revealing where an administration's words are inconsistent with its actions or with the reality on the ground. The media is good at those two things. It is better at those two things than doing detailed military analysis or detailed assessments of nation building; that is where you get the Dr. Ottaways and the Mr. Zinsmeisters to provide the expertise.
So the media, in a sense, is doing predictably what the media does well, not doing things it doesn't tend to do well, and we shouldn't be surprised. And the administration is primarily to blame for the perceptions gap that it created.
Mr. MCHUGH. If I may interrupt. We have a number of members who need to go. I would ask if the gentleman could respond very, very briefly.
Mr. ZINSMEISTER. Let me just address what he asked me about the media question. I am a working reporter, so I can be a little tougher maybe than Dr. O'Hanlon.
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I lived in Ireland in the late 1970's and early 1980's, right in the middle of the so-called ''troubles'' with the IRA, and my Irish friends used to ask me all the time, how come all Americans think that the whole country is in flames and ready to blow up, when it is really much more localized and much less of a problem than Americans think.
You know, it is a media reporting problem. I am afraid to say a lot of reporters are lazy. They lack the imagination to go out and write the deeper, longer-term stories that are necessary. Something on fire is an obvious story; these more glacial, deeper stories about successful pilgrimages or schools in session or economy beginning to bubble are trickier to write. And I think that explains some of it.
But it is a real problem. I am a little bit concerned about the Tet Offensive syndrome, where we could win the battle and lose the public opinion war today. And it is something we need to look at very closely.
Mr. SCHROCK. Thank you all.
Mr. MCHUGH. The gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Marshall.
Mr. MARSHALL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I apologize to you all to begin with. I had a mark-up in the Agriculture Committee, and I had to go to that and vote on the different bills; and I got back after you had finished your remarks. So what I bring up may be something that you have already answered; if it is, I apologize.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I gave a talk at SAIS, the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, on Mondaywent on for quite some time; I won't do that now.
I spent time in Vietnam, ground combat, recon platoon sergeant. I did go to Iraq about five or six weeks ago, and I have gotten an awful lot of observations that are consistent with what I have read in your testimonyand I just scanned your testimony. I think things on the ground in Iraq are actually a whole lot better than perceived here in the United States, so I have written a few things about that.
At Johns Hopkins, the last question that was asked of me was, why is Iraq not Vietnam? You hear a lot of voices in the U.S. now suggesting that in Iraq we are struggling with the same kinds of problems that we struggled with in Vietnam, and ultimately Vietnam proved to be a disaster for us.
You can argue that it is a ''necessary war.'' Somebody wrote a book recently, in fact, that was entitled, Vietnam: The Necessary War. I apologize; I can't remember the name of the guy that wrote the book.
My response is, Vietnam was a proxy war, a rubbing point. In the Cold War, you had not only North Vietnam, which probably wasn't significant in supporting South Vietnam, something we could have dealt with, but also China and Russia; and that greatly limited what we could do militarily and at the same time provided the insurgency in the south with the kind of supplies that it really needed in order to prevail in a situation where we did have competent, indigenous assistance, the South Vietnamese armysomething that is critically important, in my mind, in Iraq. If we don't have that, we are not going to be able to prevail. We have got to have the Iraqis doing this with us.
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Could you comment about why, if in fact it is your opinion that this is not Vietnam and ought not to be analogized as likely to end in the kind of quagmire that Vietnam ended in, why it is not?
Dr. O'HANLON. I will start, Congressman. Thank you. I have been admiring your writings.
I just wanted to say, first, that I don't think the Iraqis have the ability to generate a large insurgency movement based on any ideology they now have at their disposal. There is always the possibility anti-Americanism could become that rallying ideology if we do a lot of things wrong or are seen by the population as failing to protect them and improve their lives. But overall, even though there is some reason for nervousness there, I think we have a good enough exit strategy and we have a good enough reconstruction strategy that we are unlikely to see that same dynamic. So I think the guerilla force is going to stay relatively small.
Second, I think, with great admiration for those of you who fought in Vietnamand we can have a long discussion about thisI think today's military in many ways is even better trained and even more capable of proper counterinsurgency techniques than the force we had in the Vietnam period.
So I think we are using firepower more selectively. We have learned some lessons. Maybe it is more at the level of command. Maybe the troops were just as good in Vietnam, but I think we have learned not to use as much indiscriminate firepower. That is very important to prevailing in a guerilla war.
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And maybe there are other things to say, but I will leave it at those two points which, to me, are the most central.
Mr. MARSHALL. Does anybody else have a comment? No?
Ms. OTTAWAY. No.
Mr. MARSHALL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Minnesota, Mr. Kline.
Mr. KLINE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank all of you for being here today. I know these hearings get to be long and our questions sometimes a little repetitive. I will try to be very succinctunusual for us, I understand.
I have got a quote here from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, a letter to the editor that says, in part, ''but reporters actually living among the Iraqis overwhelmingly paint a picture of suspicion, impatience and outrage at the growing lack of security in the country.''
I think we ought to start with Mr. Zinsmeister. And is that true to your knowledge, that reporters there are consistently painting this picture of outrage?
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ZINSMEISTER. I think it is self-evidently untrue. I mean, I quoted in my testimony this New York Times story from last week. They said really the opposite. And my own experience is, which I can speak about a little more authoritatively, was quite the opposite.
I spent most of my time in southern Iraq, among the Shiites, and found that most of the people I ran into who I was capable of talking with, were thrilled to have Saddam gone, where very cognizant of who it was that got him out of there, and were very grateful to the American soldiers and the United States in general for that.
So I do not agree with that statement at all. I think there are localized areas, the people whose ox is being gored, the people who lost their whip hand are kicking and screaming right now, but it is a relatively small universe.
Mr. KLINE. You are saying, it is your judgment that the majority of Iraqis are not outraged. Is it true that the majority of reporters are outraged at the lack of progress in security?
Mr. ZINSMEISTER. Reporters are a kind of congenitally outraged lot. That is what they do. They are looking for trouble; they are looking for criticism. That is what makes reporting zing. So, you know, it is
Mr. KLINE. Fair enough.
Mr. ZINSMEISTER. Don't get me started.
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Mr. KLINE. It just struck a nerve with me, also.
Another thing that struck a chord with me, Dr. O'Hanlon, was your suggestion that we ought to have more Marines involved. Because of my background, that just automatically sets the tuning forks tuning.
What did you have in mind?
Dr. O'HANLON. That is the big question. But I think, Mr. Congressman, that, for example, we need to consider whether we can't reduce the number of Marines on Okinawa temporarily, possibly backfill with a couple of squadrons of fighter jets so North Korea doesn't get the wrong idea, and use some of that deployment in Iraq.
I just think the situation is that serious for the U.S. Army, that we need to rethink patterns of deployment that have been habitual for a long time, because I really think the Army is going to be at risk of being broken by this mission. I think within a few months we are going to startI don't want to predict which units will be sent back to Iraq for the second time first, but units like the 3rd Infantry Division (ID), you know, maybe in the course of 2004 will be notified they are going back. And I just don't see how that kind of thing is consistent with an all-volunteer force staying as healthy and as excellent as it has been.
Mr. KLINE. So you are looking at it purely in terms of relief for the opstempo of the Army, not so much a configuration of the right mix of forces, you know, 4th ID versus, you know, the 1st Marine Division.
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Dr. O'HANLON. That is right, although I think the Marines probably are better configured than the average Army unit. But that is not my major motivation.
Mr. KLINE. Okay. Thank you.
And Dr. Ottaway, for you, please. We have just come back, a number of us, including Mr. McHugh, from a trip to not only to Iraq, but to countries in the region. There was a discussion amongwhile we were visiting one of the neighboring countries, about a timetable. And your paper indicates some interest in how fast we move for a constitution, and you, perhaps, are suggesting two steps. But the plea from the neighboring countries and certainly the press in that part of the world is, there ought to be a timetable; and a timetable establishes when there will be full sovereignty for the Iraqi people, for example.
But in our discussions, there was an interesting side discussion, if you will. It was pointed out that in that part of the world, a timetable has not the same meaning that we have here, andthat is, it was suggested that if you set a date for a constitution or an election and you slip by a month or two or six, or maybe a year or two years, that wasn't so important. The important thing was that you had a timetable.
And my comment to that was, that may be true in that part of the world, but in the United States, in the United Kingdom and some of the Western European countries, a timetable is timetable. If you fail to hold an election in accordance with that timetable or have a constitution in accordance with that timetable, it will be seen as a failure.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And so, with that sort of definitional problem, how do we get around that?
Ms. OTTAWAY. Well, first of all, you need to make a distinction between a timetable and a road map. In other words, you can have, you knowwe will do such and such by such a date. But you can also have a looser road map saying, this is the first step, this is the second step, and give, you know, a range of times when this could happen.
The timetable on Afghanistanand that was not addressed; we had not addressed a road map, but also a timetableis slipping a little, not so far by muchis slipping a little, and I don't think that is causing excessive problems. If the elections were postponed by two years, I think that would become very problematic. If elections, instead of being held in June, are held in July, I don't think that is going to cause a lot of problems.
So I think what is important is to try to make the situation more predictable, and not perhaps predictable to the day, but to tell the Iraqis and the people in regions what is coming, what is the next step. Because the problem now is that it is easy for people who are not terribly happy about the American occupation to think that it is all left to the whim of whoever is in charge, whether it is Paul Bremer or somebody else; and that is the issue that needs to be corrected.
Mr. KLINE. Thank you.
Mr. MCHUGH. The time of the gentleman has expired.
The gentlelady from Guam, Ms. Bordallo.
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Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I want to say that I am very impressed with our witnesses today. And having been in Iraq just a couple of weeks ago, I must agree with most of your assessments.
I, in particular, wanted to say to Dr. O'Hanlon that I did meet and see and witness the work that General Petraeus has done in Mosul, and he truly has done an extraordinary job putting together a civilian election, empowering the troops to go out and train the Iraqis to do the jobs that they have to do to rebuild their country.
One of the things that really concerned me was unemployment. I hear different40 percent, 50 percent, 60 percent; and I feel we must fix this.
Now, while I was there, I know the big corporations are coming into Iraq. I think we visited a PX. We found one of the corporations was running the PX, and they are employing people from outside the country. What is your feeling on that? Certainly if unemployment is that high, they should be looking at the Iraqi people to place them in jobs.
And the second question I want to ask is, are the American people, in your opinion, ready to support an extended stay in Iraq to finish the job?
Any one of you can answer that.
Dr. O'HANLON. Thank you, Congresswoman. On the question about the PX, that is an interesting idea. I guess I will just chew that one for a while. It seems you do have to worry about security when you are talking about support within the ranks of American forces. On the other hand, your point seems pretty compelling. We do need to find more ways to employ Iraqis.
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So on the issueyour question about more the politics ofcan you repeat the second question, please?
Ms. BORDALLO. Yes. Do you feel the American people would be willing to support an extended stay in Iraq? Because we have done it in other countries, such as the Philippines, where we kept our troops there for quite some time.
Dr. O'HANLON. My impression of American politics is, the answer is yes, that the American people will support this. They may not reward Mr. Bush for it. I can easily imagine a situation where he loses the election next year and we stay anyway; that he loses the election in part because of the Iraq issue, and we stay anyhow. I think that is more likely than to see an American hasty retreat.
So I still think Americans will say, we have no real choice but to stay; and as long as there is a plausible strategy for victory, even if it is hard to get to that end point, I believe the American people will stay behind it.
But I think it is important for them to get honest talk from their public officials. I think Mr. Bush has had a bad week in describing the state of affairs in Iraq. He shouldn't say that a big new wave of attacks represents the desperation of the resistance. This doesn't ring true with most people, and when you start hearing that kind of rhetoric, I think it actually erodes the public's willingness to sustain the operation.
Ms. OTTAWAY. On the issue of unemployment, I think what you are saying is true, and it is very important that you take steps there. In that respect, I think the small grants that are made available through the local councils are extremely important, because they mostly go for, you know, pick-and-shovel jobs, clean up things, to use a lot of manpower.
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We need to think about the issue of employment very clearly also when we decide how to explain the construction money, because, the thing is, we talked a little earlier about the larger projects versus fixing up what is there. And I think one of the issues that needs to be considered in making those decisions in terms of what kind of infrastructure, how much is the big, new project and so on is, what is going to be the impact of that on unemployment? Because unless we can cut down the unemployment, we are not going to win over too many hearts and minds for too long because people will lose support.
Ms. BORDALLO. Any other? I have to agree with you, Doctor. Unless we employ these people, there will always be unrest. Thank you very much.
Mr. MCHUGH. The gentlelady yields back.
The gentleman from Mississippi, Mr. Taylor.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you. I want to thank all three of you for being here today. Probably, like each of my colleagues, the subject of the $87 billion has been a favorite at my town meetings. In my town meetings I quoted General Petraeuslike just about everybody on the committee, I have had a chance to visit with himwhere he says that money is ammunition, and every Iraqi that is out working during the week is probably not shooting at his GIs. And the folks in the room, even though they really didn't want to hear it, kind of backed off when they heard that.
But something that really struck me as interesting is, after the meeting, one of my constituents very politely came up to me, and he says, I was in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive, and I didn't want to argue with you publicly, but in our camp we killed seven Vietnamese. Four of them were our employees, including the guy who cut my hair, during the Tet Offensive, who wereit turns out they were Viet Cong.
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I really didn't know what to say to the guy. But I would like your thoughts on that as to whether or not it really, in the long run, will make a difference?
Mr. ZINSMEISTER. I mean, I don't have any ambiguity in my mind about this. These are not popular forces; they are residual forces. They are leftovers of a previous regime, and they are trying to draw in malcontents of various sorts. As I think both of the other witnesses have said nicely today, if we were stupid enough and dropped the ball, various forms of discontent with our management could be folded into some of this resistance.
But at thein general, at the moment, we have pretty good evidence that there is not broad support for this kind of resistance. As I say, my own guess is that the flow of public opinion will be in our direction, because as I mentioned, it is mostly Iraqis who are being killed by those bombs, not Americans. Most of the damage is being done to their homes and their neighborhoods.
I really don't think that they have a winning psychological strategy. So I don't worry much about that part of it.
I think there are lots of practical things that are going to be difficult to fix. The politics is going to be difficult, and money has to be spent to fix a lot of broken infrastructure. But I think the general flow of public support is on our side already, and going to be in our direction in the future.
Mr. TAYLOR. Could yousince I guess everyone in this room is fairly familiar with polls; and we all know that there are some neighborhoods I would love to have polled ''favorable'' toward me, and there are those that I would just as soon not have polled as to ''favorable'' or ''unfavorable.''
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How did you conduct your poll?
Mr. ZINSMEISTER. Well, you know, you can't do a perfect poll in Iraq today. The way it is done in this country, you do random telephone dialing. There is no telephone system. You cannot go to people's houses and get good answers, because there are security issues; there is ambiguity, there is fear of being identified positively as a certain answerer. So you have to approximate.
I don't pretend that our poll or any of those others are perfect. But we did it again in collaboration with very well-respected pollsters who have done this in our places like Pakistan, like Iran. Zogby has polled in Saudi Arabia. So they know a lot of the tricks.
We worked very hard on our translations to make sure that we didn't have misunderstandings. In the beginning of the poll we said, your results will be kept confidential. That is a standard disclaimer. But this, translated into Arabic to a word that meant ''your results will be kept secret,'' and that would be the kiss of death. If there is any feeling that this is a cabal or a conspiracy, people wouldn't give you honest answerslittle things we tried to pay good attention to.
Again, I won't pretend that our poll was perfect. We were in four different cities. We had a broad spectrum of ethnic and religious groups represented. What is most encouraging to me, sir, is that there have been a handful of polls, not just oursalso by Gallup, also by a very well respected firm.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TAYLOR. Again, was it a telephone poll, man on the street?
Mr. ZINSMEISTER. Face-to-face. We would go to public places, gathering spots, markets, places where people would be found, and would approach them on the street. And the duration of the questioning period was intentionally short to prevent people from getting qualms.
I will tell you the first thing that I did when I set up this poll: I called a bunch of Eastern European pollsters, and I said, when you went in there in 1991 and talked to people who were not used to being honest in public, for whom that could cause real problemsin fact, they were not used to expressing opinionshow did you do it? I got a lot of tips about anonymity, brevity, third-person questioning, that sort of thing.
Again, there are precedents that we tried to follow here. And I am most reassured that these various polls done in very different ways in very different places are all finding about the same things, which indicates that there is a bedrock underneath that we are stumbling our way into.
Mr. TAYLOR. Do you agree with the condition that there will be 60,000 Americans in Iraq a year from today whichI would like to hear from the other two analysts. Give me an idea of what you think it will look like.
Mr. ZINSMEISTER. He is much braver than I was. I thought it was a good estimate. I don't know what the exact numbers will be, but I think there will be less and less need. I tell you what the commanders and the soldiers are talking about right now. They are pushing Iraqification. They never had any interest in the foreign troop question that was debated so heavily in the last month.
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You know, the simple military record of foreign troops in these kind of conditions, in the Balkans, in Somalia, is that they are useless. They often have to be rescued by other troops. They do not have a particular sterling record as peacekeepers in dangerous situations, and the soldiers know that and they never had much interest in that. What they have a great interest in is accelerating the speed of training of Iraqi soldiers and policemen.
We are beginning to see some very valiant behavior by some of those Iraqi men who are beginning to provide security for their own homes. We need to speed that. And I think as we do so, it will be possible to draw down our troops relatively predictably.
Mr. SKELTON. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. TAYLOR. It really comes up to the chairman's goodwill, because I see the red light.
Mr. MCHUGH. I would be delighted to yield to the ranking member, I am sure.
Mr. SKELTON. By telegraphing the drawdown, which you are doing today, or which might be done by the administration in the days and months ahead, what is to keep the insurgents from biding their time when there are fewer American forces to seek them out, just bide their time and wait, and then cause a lot of destruction after our forces are down to half?
Dr. O'HANLON. I have two answers to that important question, Congressman. One, if they bide their time, that is good. Because it gives us a year or two to help restore normal life to the economy and to the Iraqi people. We could make good use of that year.
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And, second, if and when we reduce to the numbers I have suggested, the Iraqis will be capable of doing more on their own. By late next year, I believe we will have most of the Iraqi police force up to the size we envision. So most of the drawdown will be substituted for by Iraqis. And, of course, we have the flexibility not to go down to60,000 is a somewhat optimistic estimate. I should probably give a range.
Probably 60- to 90,0000 by next fall, butI would still say there is a good chance it will be 60, but only if the Iraqis can do the policing and the patrolling by that point largely on their own.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you.
The gentlelady from California, Ms. Davis.
Ms. TAYLOR of California. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you to all of you for being here. I am sorry that I have missed some of the questions and just a portion of your testimony.
If I could, Dr. Ottaway, one of the issues that I raised when I was in Iraq was the involvement of women in draft ing the constitution. In fact, that request really came to me in a very compelling plea from one of the ministers.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am wondering where you see this, whether you think that theselecting an informal group, or a predrafting constitutional group is going to be successful in engaging women, what is needed to do that, and whether there is some backlash also involved, because I have heard that that could also be an issue.
Ms. OTTAWAY. Well, of course, the involvement of women depends on ifyou know, how the committee that prepares the constitution is tapped. It would be easier to make sure that women are included if this is an appointed committee; it is more difficult if it is an elected assembly. Then the issue becomes more complicated.
I don't think, in terms of the second part of your question, that the presence of women on the constitutional committee or on a constituent assembly would create a backlash in and of itself. And I don't even think that the inclusion ofyou know, of at least basic provisionscertainly not the right to vote for women; that has long existed. The elections were not very good, but women voted as badly as the men did in situations of Iraq. I don't think those issues would create a backlash.
Where I think it is extremely important for the United States not toyou know, not to step into are the issues of family law and, you know, the sort of morethe social issues that involve the position of women in the society, because that is a good way to create a backlash.
And I think it has been the experience of all of the colonizing powers of allyou know, in many, many situations that you do not touch those issues.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. When you say ''family law,'' are you talking about women's rights, per se, as they relate to the family?
Ms. OTTAWAY. Women's political rights are one thing. Start talking about theyou know, the divorce laws, talking about laws about child custody, for example, and things of that sort; those are very, very dangerous areas for foreigners to become involved in, certainly in the short run.
There is nothing wrong with supporting women's organizations that will lobby for change in those areas. And we see a lot of change in some Arab countries taking place on that. But it is not something that the United States, in my opinion, should be seen as taking a direct involvement in.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Do you think that we are doing enough to create the capacity of women to engage in that way? I mean, I know that many, many women are very well-educated, but haven't had experience with democracy and perhaps are not positioned really to have the kind of experience that would really give them comfort or some confidence in doing that.
Ms. OTTAWAY. There is a lot of work which is being done as part of the Middle East Partnership Initiative on setting up programs to educate women to political participation in the Arab world in general. I don't think any of those projects are undergoingyou know, have started in Iraq at the present time, but there is a lot of work being done on this issue as part of the initiative. So I am confident that that will happen when the conditions allow it, those programs.
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Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. I am wondering, tooto the rest of you, Dr. O'Hanlon and otherswould women's involvement be any kind of a benchmark to you to say that democracy is in a position that it can grow and to flourish? I mean, how important do you think that is in trying to evaluate the extent to which the Iraqis would be able to embrace a democratic model?
Dr. O'HANLON. A couple of things, Congresswoman. I am delighted you are emphasizing it; I hope very much it happens. But to my mind, if Iraq is even halfway to where Turkey is today within a decade, I will consider it a major success. I don't know the figures on Turkey, but my guess is, they are not super high; they are probably in the ten percent range for female legislators.
I would personally say that we have to be realistic in our short-term expectations, but I am glad that your aspirations are ambitious.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Mr. Zinsmeister, did you want to comment on that?
Just one quick question also as it relateswhile I am on the subject of women, to what extent were they involved in polls? And what is your take on that in terms of the engagement of women to help build a democracy, since I think we all believe that that is going to be essential.
Mr. ZINSMEISTER. Women were half of the respondents that we polled, by choice.
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And let me say that, just from our own point of view, I think it would be very healthy to get more women involved. Women showed up in the poll as much more skeptical of al-Qaeda-style organizations than men. I think they would be, in general, a force for liberality in the Iraqi Government, and one that we should encourage and welcome. I believe, however, as my colleagues have stated, that it is very important that we not force this.
The next issue in my magazine is a very interesting interview with a gentleman who has argued that the very best antidote for terrorism today is bringing in connectionsglobal connections, globalization, modernity in general; that is how you really snuff it out in the long run. But he points out, it is very important in that process of bringing global modernity to a country not to have kind of a pollutive effect. You don't want pornography to show up in Islamic countries, you don't want to push the family law things and push the traditional structures in ways which will create a backlash, or you can do damage to the whole concept of modernity. This isn't something that we want after all.
I think if we kind of don't get too aggressive about this, good things will happen. Iraq, as you have stated, is a very well-educated nation. There are lots of very competent women physicians and all sorts of other things in the country.
When I was in Kuwait, I was very struck by the difference in Kuwait these days. A majority of the college students in Kuwait now are female. I think 60 percent of Kuwaiti women are working. You see them all over the place. It is a new world that is opening up in the Persian Gulf, and I think Iraq can very easily be part of that.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCHUGH. The gentlelady's time has expired.
The gentleman from Connecticut, Mr. Larson.
Mr. LARSON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I thank Mr. Hunter and Mr. Skelton, as well, for arranging to have these hearings; and I thank the panel for their testimony today. I have three questions. They areI will direct one to each of you. But you can please feel free to chime in on any one of them.
My first question is to Mr. Zinsmeister. That is, with regard toI think the polling data and the information that you have is pretty astounding. And having been to Iraq myself, and I know that there is always a danger when Members of Congress fly in and fly out, and become immediate authorities, but nonetheless, it did provide a lot of opportunity for our observation and candid conversation with the troops.
One of things I am concerned of overall and why all of us, I think, want to embrace the notion intuitively that the blessings of bestowing a democracy on these people are going to just break out all throughout the Middle East and create stabilityovernight painful, difficult, but with the persistence of the United States, this all can be achieved.
And yet the backdrop for what is taking placeand when you look at what Al-Jezeera is saying and when you look at what is happening not only in the Middle East, but around the rest of the globeis that this is a clash between civilizations, between Christianity and Muslims. And while that is in many respects an overstatement, it certainly is playing out as, if not clearly, a clash between Muslims and Christianity in the eyes of the terrorists, clearly a clash between the new world orders festering in Iraq.
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I was particularly interested in your comments about, we can't take this to an extreme, that we needand bestowing on Iraq the benefits of democracy and globalization, that it can't be too overwhelming, that the Iraqis aren't going to embrace Mirimax and Madonna in the same breath that they look at perhaps the constitution.
How do we reconcile all of that with respect to the timetable of standing up a democracy within a year that is more or less the timetable that will correspond to the reelection of a President here in the United States, with the need for us to do the painstaking care and diplomatic work that is going to be necessary if we hope to succeed. That was my question for you.
Now, my question for Dr. O'Hanlon is, I couldn't agree with you more about the problem that the Army is in, specifically as it relates to the Reservists and the Guards, when we can't even level with our own troops back home here and their families about when they can be expected to return, what their rotation might be, and upon returning, when will they be asked to go back again. And I think your suggestion about bringing in the Marines probably is an appropriate one.
But how do we get the administration, again, who insists that we have enough troops there already and that we don't need to do thishow do we get them to reconcile or come up with a means by whichbecause we all understand, whether you are for or against the war, we are there, and our troops are at risk. How do we best work our way out of this, and how do we level with these people withoutI think as you have said very eloquentlywithout ultimately bringing about the ruination of the Army itself?
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And to Mrs. Ottaway, with regard to those elections that you write about, how do you see that playing out, and can we accomplish those goals in this very short period of time? I know to write our own Constitution, it took more than a six-month period and a lot longer debate.
And I realize we have far more mass communication than we had back in 1887 through 1889, but nonetheless, I would be interested in your comments there.
Mr. ZINSMEISTER. I think you are quite right. It is very important that we have realistic expectations on this blossoming-of-democracy question. I am not planning to take my children to vacation in Iraq anytime soon, for sure.
I think what we should aim for is basic stability. I would be very pleased if we had, sort of, like a Balkans situation, which are not stellar democracies by any means todaybut they are basically stable places where people are not killing each other and where local blood feuds are not boiling over to the point where they become global problems capable of burning us.
And if we have that sort of limited, reasonable expectation, I think it is very likely that we will be satisfied in the near future. And this is where I am kind of a conservative with a lower-case ''c''.
I am a historian by training. Most human beings over the course of history have muddled through in not particularly impressive societies. I don't think you should ever promise that we are going to have American-style liberties in Iraq anytime soon. I think that is just a silly mistake. But I also think if we have some patience and give it a little bit of time, we might be surprised how positive the picture looks.
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As I mentioned just a minute ago, I am very impressed with what is happening in some of the Gulf States. Kuwait is not a pure democracy, it is not a fully free market, but it has got good newspapers you can read. It is possible to have dissent. It is a multicultural country with lots and lots of people on the streets. Women are beginning to get involved in the process.
Qatar and other Gulf States are again moving much more rapidly than I expected five years ago, ten years ago, toward being the kinds of places that we can live very easily with.
That is what we have to expect. Can we just live with these folks and have basic stability?
Dr. O'HANLON. Just a quick word on that question. We have to stay in Iraq until at least the second election. This is a concept that I have learned about from people like Dr. Ottaway. But that is crucial. They have to get to that transition and see that it really works and that it takes hold. So I am thinking three, four, five years at a minimum, and quite possibly as long as we have been in Bosnia.
Dr. O'HANLON. But that is just a quick comment.
On the issue of troop adequacy, I think even if we do have enough troops in Iraq todayand, again, I am somewhat skeptical, but I don't think we need to increase by tens of thousands. But even if we are at about the right number, the question is, how do you sustain 130,000 in the short term, 100,000 next summer, 80,000 next fall, 60,000 next winter, and so on, and maybe 2 divisions for 5 more years? I have to think you have to do everything, because the problem is just too serious.
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I think the administration needs to have its feet held to the fire on this. And just as this committee so admirably kept the readiness issue in the limelight politically in the late 1990's and kept pressure on the Clinton administration to think through readiness issues, I think this committee and others have to put pressure on the Bush administration, because right now, in my opinion, they do not have a policy that will sustain the quality of the active duty Army. They are at risk of breaking it.
They are far too patient about dealing with the problem. They think that some privatizations can provide more troops; they think that troop requirements in Iraq will drop off very quickly. They just are Pollyanna-ish about this subject, and I think they need to be held accountable.
I think this committee, for example, can underscore what the troop rotation policies are going to have to be if we keep to the kind of troop schedule that I outlined and how you are going to have to send the 3rd ID back by early 2005 or maybe send the 4th ID back by mid2005, and they are not even home yet. And I think this committee can put that kind of pressure on the administration and say, what is your plan to prevent that? You know, how do you get more Marines involved, how do you get more foreign troops involved, and how do you consider increasing the size of the Active and Reserve military? I just don't see the administration taking this problem seriously enough yet.
Mr. MCHUGH. I am going to have toyou are a minute and a half over, with a vote coming up here and several members who have not yet had the opportunity to ask, including your Ranking Member. So I apologize.
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And, Doctor, that is not meant as any disrespect toward you, but rather one of necessity. And certainly I would encourage you to convey your thoughts in another manner. And I appreciate your understanding.
With that, I would yield to the Ranking Member, the gentleman from Missouri.
Mr. SKELTON. I will just ask one question. And you hit upon the subject that has concerned me for a number of weeks. You said that the administration is at risk of breaking the Army. That really disturbs me. If you had a magic wand, how would you fix this problem?
Dr. O'HANLON. I would try to do three things, Congressman Skelton. And I admit, none of them are going to be complete solutions; I am not even sure all three together would be.
I would definitely try to get the Marines heavily involved in Iraq proportionate to the size of their end strength, even at the price of curtailing their Okinawa deployment, in particular. I would try right now to increase Active Duty and Reserve component end strength. I think Mr. Rumsfeld wants to push the Defense Transformation Act. He wants to delay this debate until next year. But you know as well as I, it takes a couple of years to recruit, train, and form up
Mr. SKELTON. Let me interrupt you right there. There are several of us here, including the gentleman in the chair, who have been advocating this very same thing, and we have met with a great deal of resistance there.
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What about number three?
Dr. O'HANLON. What about? I am sorry, the last question?
Mr. SKELTON. You gave three, and only said two.
Dr. O'HANLON. And the third issue, I really believe we should put the U.N. in formal political control of Iraq, as long as we can have an American or a Brit as the U.N. Special Representative in Iraqsort of the Bosnia model or the East Timor model. And I think we can retain enough primary influence even under those auspices that it is worth the trade-off.
Mr. SKELTON. Well, the trouble is, we are only getting a pittancegetting a lot of countries, but only a pittance from each of these countries, except maybe Great Britain, willing to help. We see that the Turks would not be welcome. And we sawa couple other countries haveBangladesh and one other, I forget, which have said no. So what do you do?
Dr. O'HANLON. Well, I think that if there were formal U.N. control over the mission, we would have greater control over that effort. And I was just in East Asia last week, and the Koreans, as you know, are interested, but they are wavering.
Mr. SKELTON. I think that was the second country, yes.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. O'HANLON. But in general, I think even the French and the Germans, if we do what they are asking or some of what they are asking, the reasonable part of what they are asking, and then they still refuse troops, I think we can really say, listen, this is a test of the alliance, and we have gone out of our way to try to accommodate your concerns; now it is time to help us, because our Army is at risk and Iraq stability is important to you.
I think that argument will work with at least some of our European allies, maybe with the Indians, maybe with the South Koreans. I think we will get a few more thousand troops and maybe even a couple tens of thousands more if we go that route.
Mr. SKELTON. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentleman.
I am now yielding to myself, because I am the only person who has not yet spoken. So I want to yield to Dr. Ottaway to respond to Mr. Larson's question, if you still recall it.
Ms. OTTAWAY. Thank you very much.
The issue was of the elections and what we can achieve essentially. I think it is important not to confuse elections and democracy. I think we can have elections, I think we can havegiven sufficient time. I am not sure we can do that nine months from now. But given sufficient time, I think we can have technical and credible elections, because assistance goes a long way in setting up thecreating the conditions for those elections to be credible.
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Once we have an elected government, we are still very far from having a democracy. And that is a matter ofyou know, of many years if you are optimistic. I mean, people who work on these issues of democratic transitions will tell you that the consolidation of a democracy takes many, many years, and there is no guarantee that it will succeed. But elections are definite.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentlelady.
We are scheduled to have a vote here momentarily. I suspect, given that we have had the opportunity for those members who are smart enough to show up and fortunate enough to hear your responses, it probably creates a good artificial deadline.
We want to thank you, all three of you, both for spending a considerable amount of time with us here this morning, but also for the work that you did and the responses that you gave.
Some of the members have been gracious enough to mention my name. I have been to Iraq twice now in the past, I believe, seven weeks. And my friend from Colorado said in his comments he comes to learn. I came, pleased to find out I had learned so much, because much of what you said I found to be absolutely on point with respect to my visit. So I want to thank you for your insights.
I don't have enough time for a question, but maybe if you would be so gracious, I could forward on a question or two that came up during your comments.
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[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. But with great appreciation for your being here today and for your positive engagement, we will adjourn the committee. Thank you.
[Whereupon, at 12:15 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]