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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Rumsfeld Speaks to Armed Services Committee

Aired September 18, 2002 - 10:16   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: On Capitol Hill, the focus is Iraq, or, at least, that is one of the focuses for today where the Senate Armed Services committee is now listening to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. He is talking about what exactly Iraq has in its arsenal, and why it does pose a threat. Let's listen in.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: ... will be attempted. The only question is when, and by what technique. It could be months; it could be a year; it could be years. But it will happen, and each of us need to pause and think about that. If the worst were to happen, not one of us here today would be able to honestly say that it was a surprise, because it will not be a surprise.

We have connected the dots as much as is humanly possible before the fact. Only by waiting until after the event could we have proof positive. And by then, needless to say, it will be too late. The question facing us is this: What is the responsible course of action for our country? Do we believe it is our responsibility to wait for a weapon of mass destruction, 9/11? Or is it the responsibility of free people to do something, to take steps to deal with such a threat before such an attack occurs?

AUDIENCE MEMBER [INTERRUPTS]: Yes, Mr. Rumsfeld, I think we need weapons inspections not war.

(APPLAUSE)

AUDIENCE MEMBER [INTERRUPTS]: Why are you obstructing the inspections? Is this really about oil? How many civilians will be killed? How many...

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R), CALIFORNIA: Secretary, would you suspend for a minute that we could ask the staff to see to it that our guests are escorted.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS [INTERRUPT]: Inspections not war. Inspections not war. Inspections not war. Inspections not war. Inspections not war. Inspections not war...

HUNTER: Have a nice day.

Mr. Secretary, We'll be with you in a minute.

Thank you, ladies.

Mr. Secretary, we're going to put them down as undecided.

(LAUGHTER)

RUMSFELD: Mr. Chairman, as I listened to those comments, it struck me what a wonderful thing free speech is. And of course, the country that threw the inspectors out was not the United States. It was not the United Nations.

It was Iraq that threw the inspectors out. And they had thrown them out and they have rejected 16 resolutions of the United Nations and stipulations. But of course, people like that are not able to go into Iraq and made demonstrations like that, because they don't have free speech.

I think one other point I'd make before proceeding is that there's obviously a misunderstanding on the part of those who think that the goal is inspections.

The goal isn't inspections. The goal is disarmament. That is what was agreed to by Iraq. That is what was understood by the United Nations. The ease with which people can migrate over and suggest that the task before the world is inspections. You can only have inspections when a country is cooperating with you. They have to agree that that's -- they have the same goal as those that are in attempting to validate something. So one would hope that those thoughts could be a part of this dialogue.

There are a number of terrorist states pursuing weapons of mass destruction -- Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria to name but a few. But no terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. These facts about the Saddam Hussein regime, I think, should be part of this record and our country's considerations. He ordered the use of chemical weapons against his own people, in one case killing some 5,000 innocent civilians. His regime invaded two of its neighbors and launched ballistic missiles at four of its neighbors. He plays host to terrorist networks, assassinates his opponents, both in Iraq and abroad, and has attempted to assassinate a former president of the United States. He's executed members of his cabinet.

He's ordered doctors to surgically remove the ears of military deserters. His regime has committed genocide and ethnic cleansing in northern Iraq, ordering the extermination of over 50,000 people.

His regime, on an almost daily basis, continues to fire missiles and artillery at U.S. and coalition aircraft as they fulfill the U.N. mission with respect to Operation Northern Watch and Operation Southern Watch. His regime has amassed large clandestine stocks of biological weapons, including anthrax and botulism toxin and possibly smallpox. His regime has amassed large clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons, including VX and sarin and mustard gas.

His regime has an active program to acquire and develop nuclear weapons. And let there be no doubt about it, his regime has dozens of ballistic missiles and is working to extend their range in violation of U.N. restriction. His regime has in place an elaborate, organized system of denial and deception to frustrate both inspectors and outside intelligence efforts. His regime has diverted funds from the U.N. oil-for-food program, funds intended to help feed starving Iraqi civilians to fund his weapons of mass destruction program. And his regime has violated 16 U.N. resolutions, repeatedly defying the will of the international community without or cost or consequence.

As the president warned the United Nations last week, the Saddam Hussein regime is a grave and gathering danger. It's a danger we do not have the option to ignore. In his U.N. address, the president explained why we should not allow the Iraqi regime to acquire weapons of mass destruction. And he issues a challenge to the international community to enforce the numerous resolutions that the U.N. passed and that the Iraqis have defied, and to show that the U.N. is determined not to become irrelevant.

President Bush has made clear that the United States wants to work with the U.N. Security Council, but he made clear the consequences of Iraq's continued defiance. He said, quote, "The purposes of the United States should not be doubted. The Security Council resolutions will be enforced or action will be unavoidable, and a regime that has lost its legitimacy will also lose its power."

The president has asked members of the House and the Senate to support actions that may be necessary to deliver on that pledge. He urged that the Congress act before the recess. He asked that you send a clear signal to the world community and to the Iraqi regime that our country is united in purpose and prepared to act.

It's important that Congress send that message before the U.N. Security Council votes. Delaying a vote in Congress would send the wrong message, in my view, just as we are asking the international community to take a stand and as we are cautioning the Iraqi regime to respond and consider its options. It was Congress that changed the objective of U.S. policy from containment to regime change by the passage of the Iraqi Liberation Act in 1998. The president is now asking Congress to support that policy.

A decision to use military force is never easy. And it's important that the issues surrounding this decision be discussed and debated. In recent weeks, a number of questions have been surfaced by members of the Congress and others, some of the arguments raised are truly important. And in my prepared testimony I attempted to discuss in detail a whole series of those questions and what I believe to be appropriate responses.

But let me touch on a few this morning. Some have asked whether an attack on Iraq would disrupt and distract from the U.S. global war on terror. The answer is, that Iraq is part of the global war on terror. Stopping terrorist regimes from acquiring weapons of mass destruction is a key objective of that war. And we can fight all elements of the global war on terror simultaneously.

As the members of this committee know well, our strategy includes the ability to win decisively in one theater and be able to occupy a country, to near simultaneously swiftly defeat a country in another theater, to provide for homeland defense and a number of lesser contingencies, such as Bosnia and Kosovo. That is what our foresight and construct is. That is what was briefed to this committee. So let there be no doubt but that we can do both at the same time.

Our principle goal in the war on terror is stop another 9/11 or a WMD attack that could make a 9/11 seem modest by comparison, and to do it before it happens. Whether that threat comes from a terrorist regime or a terrorist network is beside the point, our objective is to stop them regardless of the source.

Another question that's been asked is, where's the smoking gun? Well, the last thing we want to see is a smoking gun. A gun smokes after it's been fired. And the goal must be to stop such an action before it happens. As the president told the United Nations, "The first time we may be completely certain that a terrorist state has nuclear weapons is when, God forbid, they use one. And we owe it to our citizens to do everything in our power to prevent that day from coming," unquote.

If someone is waiting for a so-called smoking gun, it's certain that we will have waited too long. But the question raises another issue that's useful to discuss, and that's what kind of evidence ought we to consider is appropriate to act in the 21st century? In our country, it's been customary to seek evidence that would prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. That approach, of course, is appropriate when the objective is to protect the rights of the accused. But in the age of weapons of mass destruction, the objective is not to protect the rights of a Saddam Hussein. It's to protect the lives of the American people and our friends and allies. And when there is that risk, and we're trying to defend against closed societies and shadowy terrorist networks, expecting to find that standard of evidence before such a weapon has been used is really not realistic, and after such a weapon has been used, it's too late.

I suggest that if any of you insist on perfect evidence really are thinking back in the 20th century in a pre-9/11 context. On September 11, we were awakened to the fact that America is now vulnerable to unprecedented destruction, and that awareness ought to be sufficient to change the way we think about our security and the type of certainty and evidence we consider appropriate.

We will not have, we do not have and cannot know everything that's going on in the world at any time. Over the times, despite the very best efforts of enormously expensive and talented intelligence capabilities, we have repeatedly underestimated the weapons' capabilities in a variety of countries of major concern to us. We have had numerous gaps of two, four, six, eight, 10 -- in one case more -- years between the time a country developed the capability and the time that the United States of American became aware of it.

We do know that the Iraqi regime currently has chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction, and we do know they're currently pursuing nuclear weapons, that they have a proven willingness to use those weapons at their disposal and that they've proven an aspiration to seize the territory of and threaten their neighbors, proven support for and cooperation with terrorist networks and proven record of declared hostility and venomous rhetoric against the United States. Those threats should be clear to all.

Committees of Congress, interestingly, they're currently asking hundreds of questions and pouring over tens of thousands of documents -- pages of documents about September 11th. And they're asking the question, "Who knew what, when and why didn't we prevent that tragedy?" Well, if one were to compare the scraps of information that the government had before September 11th to the volumes of information the government has today about Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, his use of those weapons, his record of aggression and his consistent hostility towards the United States and then factor in our country's demonstrated vulnerability after September 11th, the case the president made should be clear: If more time passes and the attacks we are concerned about were to come to pass, we would not want to have ignored those warning signs and then be required to explain why we failed to protect our fellow citizens.

Some have argued that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent, that Saddam Hussein is at least five to seven years away from having nuclear weapons. I would not be so certain. Before Operation Desert Storm in 1991, the best intelligence estimates were that Iraq was about five to seven years away from having nuclear weapons. The experts were flat wrong. When the U.S. got on the ground, they found that the Iraqis were probably six months to a year to 18 months from having a nuclear weapon, not five to seven years. We do know that he has been actively and persistently pursuing nuclear weapons for more than 20 years.

But we should be just as concerned about the immediate threat from biological weapons. Iraq has these weapons. They're simpler to deliver and even more readily transferred to terrorist networks, who could allow Iraq to deliver them without Iraq's fingerprints. If you want an idea of the devastation Iraq could wreck on our country with a biological attack, consider the recent unclassified Dark Winter exercise conducted by Johns Hopkins University.

It simulated a biological WMD attack in which terrorists released smallpox in three separate locations in the U.S. Within two months, the worst case estimate indicated up to 1 million people could be dead and another 2 million infected. Cut it in half, cut it into a quarter, it is not a nice picture.

Some have argued that Iraq is unlikely to use weapons of mass destruction against us because, unlike terrorist, networks Saddam Hussein has a return address; that is to say he's probably deterrable, is the argument.

Well, Mr. Chairman, there's no reason for confidence that if Iraq launched a WMD attack on the U.S. that it would necessarily have an obvious return of address. There are ways Iraq can easily conceal responsibility for a WMD attack. For example, they could give biological weapons to terrorist networks to attack the United States from within and then deny any knowledge. Suicide bombers are not deterrable.

We still do not know with certainty who was behind the 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. We don't know who's responsible for last year's anthrax attacks. Indeed, our consistent failure over the past two decades to trace terrorist attacks to their ultimate source gives terrorist states the lesson that using terrorist networks is a very effective way of attacking the United States, seemingly with impunity. Some argue that North Korea and Iran are more immediate threats than Iraq. "Well, why not deal with them first?" the question goes.

Well, Iran and North Korea are indeed threats and problems. That's why President Bush named them specifically when he spoke about the axis of evil, and we do as a country have policies to address both.

But Iraq is unique. No other living dictator matches Saddam Hussein's record of waging aggressive war against his neighbors, pursuing weapons of mass destruction, using them against his own people, launching missiles against his neighbors, brutalizing and torturing his own citizens, harboring terrorist networks, engaging in terrorist acts, including the attempted assassination of foreign officials, violating international commitments, lying and hiding his WMD programs from inspectors, deceiving and defying the expressed will of the United Nations over and over again.

As the president told the United Nations, in one place, in one regime, we find all of these dangers in their most lethal and aggressive forms.

Some have asked: If containment worked on the Soviet Union, why not just contain Iraq?

First, it's clear from the Iraqi regime's 11 years of defiance that containment has not led to their compliance. To the contrary, containment is breaking down.

Second, with the Soviet Union, we faced an adversary that already possessed nuclear weapons, thousands of them. Our goal with Iraq is to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons.

Third, with the Soviet Union, we believed that time was on our side. And indeed we were correct; time was on our side. With Iraq, the opposite is true, time is not on our side. Every month that goes by with his weapons of mass destruction programs they are progressing.

Fourth, the containment worked in the long run. The Soviet Union's nuclear arsenal prevented the West from responding when -- while containment did work in the long run, the Soviet Union's nuclear arsenal prevented the West from responding when they invaded their neighbor Afghanistan, if you think back. Does anyone really want Saddam Hussein to have the same deterrence so that he can invade his neighbors with impunity? Some have argued that if we do go to war the U.S. should first lay out details of a truly comprehensive inspection regime, which if Iraq failed to comply would provide a casus belli.

Well, I would respond this way. If failure to comply with weapons of mass destruction inspections is a casus belli, the U.N. already has it. It's proceeded over a period of many, many years. The United States, as the president indicated, is not closed to the idea of inspections as an element of an effective response, but our goal can't be inspections, it has to be disarmament. That is where the threat is.

The purpose of inspections is to prove that Iraq has disarmed, which would require that Iraq would reverse its decade-long policy of pursuing those weapons, and that is certainly something that Iraq is unlikely to do.

Even the most intrusive inspection regime would have difficulty getting at all of his weapons of mass destruction. Many of his WMD capabilities are mobile. They can be hidden from inspectors no matter how intrusive. He has vast underground networks and facilities and sophisticated denial and deception techniques.

There is a place in this world for inspections. They tend to be effective if the target nation is actually willing to disarm and want to prove to the world that they're doing so; they're looking for a way to prove to the world that they have, in fact, done what the world asked them to do.

They tend not to be as effective in uncovering deceptions and violations when the target is determined not to disarm and to try to deceive. And Iraq's record of the past decade shows that they want weapons of mass destruction and are determined to continue developing them.

Some say that there's no international consensus behind ousting Saddam Hussein and that most of our key allies are opposed.

First, the truth is to the contrary. There are a number of countries that want Saddam Hussein gone, and increasing numbers are willing to say so publicly, and a quite large number are willing to say so privately; although, because a number of countries live in the neighborhood and he's not a nice neighbor, it's not surprising that some of them are reluctant to say so publicly.

The coalition we've fashioned in the global war on terror includes 90 countries, literally half of the world. It was not there on September 11. It was built one country at a time over a long period of time.

During the Persian Gulf War, the coalition that eventually included 36 nations when Iraq was attacked, but they were not there on August 5 when President George Herbert Walker Bush announced to the world that Saddam's aggression would not stand. That coalition was built over many months. With his U.N. speech, President Bush began the process of building international support for dealing with Iraq, and the reaction has been very positive. The president will continue to state our case, and I suspect that as he does so we will find that additional countries, in increasing numbers, will cooperate and participate. Certainly that has been our experience over the past days.

Some have suggested that if the U.S. were to act it might provoke Saddam Hussein's use of weapons of mass destruction. That's a useful point, and certainly there are ways to mitigate the risk of a chem or bio attack, but it cannot be entirely eliminated. And it is true that that could be a risk of military action were the president to make a decision for military action.

But if Saddam Hussein is that dangerous today, then that would think it would only make the case for dealing with such a threat stronger, because the longer we wait, the more deadly his regime becomes. Moreover, consider the consequences if the world were to allow that risk to deter us from acting. We would then have sent a message to the world, about the value of having weapons of mass destruction, that we would deeply regret having sent.

The message the world should want to send is the exact opposite, that Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction has not made it more secure but made it less secure and that by pursuing those weapons, they have attracted undesired attention to themselves.

But I would suggest that, even Saddam Hussein, that if he were to issue such an order to use a chemical or a biological attack, that that does not necessarily mean his orders would be carried out. He might not have anything to lose, but those beneath him in the chain of command most certainly would have a great deal to lose. Wise Iraqis will not obey orders to use weapons of mass destruction.

Some ask, what has changed to warrant action now? Well, what has changed, is our experience on September 11. What is change, is our appreciation of our vulnerability and the risks that this country faces from terrorist networks, terrorist states armed with weapons of mass destruction and the nexus between terrorist networks and weapons of mass destruction. What has not changed is Iraq's drive to acquire those weapons, and the fact that every approach that the United Nations has taken to stop Iraq's drive has failed.

Mr. Chairman, as the president has made clear, this is a critical moment for our country and for the world. Our resolve is being put to the test. It's a test that, unfortunately, the world's free nations have failed before in recently history with unfortunate consequences.

Long before the Second World War, Hitler wrote in "Mein Kampf" indicating what he intended to do. But the hope was that, maybe, he would not do what he said. And between 35 and 60 million people died because of the series of fatal miscalculations. He might have been stopped early at a minimal cost of lives had the vast majority of the world's leaders not decided at the time that the risks of acting were greater than the risks of not acting.

Today, we must decide whether the risks of acting are greater than the risks of not acting. Saddam Hussein has made his intentions clear. He's used those weapons. He's demonstrated an intention to take the territory of his neighbors. He plays host to terrorist networks. He's hostile to our country. Because we have denied him the ability he has fought to impose his will on his neighbors, he has said in no uncertain terms that he would use weapons of mass destruction against the United States. He has at this moment stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. If he demonstrates the capability to deliver those weapons to our shore, the world would be changed. Our people would be at risk. Our willingness to be engaged in the world and our willingness to project power to stop aggression and our ability to forge coalitions for multilateral actions all could be put under question, and many lives could be lost.

We need to decide as a people how we feel about that. Do the risks of taking action to stop that threat outweigh the risks of living in the world that we see? Or is the risk of doing nothing greater than the risk of acting?

The question comes down to this: How will the history of this era be recorded? When we look back on previous periods of history, we see there have been many books written about threats and attacks that were not anticipated: "At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story Of Pearl Harbor"; "December 7, 1941, The Day The Admiral Slept Late"; "Pearl Harbor, Final Judgment"; "From Munich To Pearl Harbor"; "Why England Slept?"; "The Cost Of Failure." The list of such books is endless.

And unfortunately, in the past year, historians have added to the body of literature, and there are already books out on September 11th, wondering why those attacks weren't prevented. Each is an attempt by the authors to connect the dots, to determine what happened, and why it was not possible, before the fact, to figure out what was going to happen.

And our job today, the president's, the Congress' and the United Nations' is to connect the dots before the fact. It's to anticipate vastly more lethal attacks before they happen, and to make the right decision as to whether or not it's appropriate for this country to take action before it's too late.

We are on notice, each of us. Each of us has a responsibility to do everything in our power to ensure that when the history books of this period are written, the books won't ask why we slept and to ensure that history will instead record that, on September 11th, the American people were awakened to the impending dangers and that those entrusted with the safety of the American people made the right decisions for the country. President Bush is determined to do just that. And this is why he has come before the Congress and why he has come before the United Nations and why he has set forth his case.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

WHITFIELD: All right. You have been listening to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as he addresses the Senate Armed Services Committee.

(INTERRUPTED BY LIVE EVENT)

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We are going to take you back to another hearing, the one we were at first, the House Armed Services Committee hearing where you see Secretary -- actually, that is not the secretary of defense, that is General Myers from the Joint Chiefs, but with him is the defense secretary, Rumsfeld, who is about to be answering questions from the press. Let's listen in.

RUMSFELD: ... that he had a nuclear weapon and the ability to deliver it, for example, some distances, which he is aggressively attempting to have, imagine trying to put together a coalition like we've put together for the global war on terrorism, we've put together a coalition as we've put together for the Gulf War, when countries know that by participating in such a coalition they and their cities and their populations could conceivably be targets. The purpose of a terror weapon is to terrorize. And it need not even be used to still be very effective, because it alters behavior. And in the hands of the likes of Saddam Hussein, that is a significant shift in capability and power.

CHAIRMAN: Mr. Skelton?

REP. IKE SKELTON (D), MISSOURI: Mr. Secretary, I was going to ask you about the offer by Saddam Hussein and Iraq to have so-called "unfettered inspections," but I think you fully covered that in your earlier comments and your opening statement.

Mr. Secretary, you made a reference to the Second World War, what led up to it; A, regarding Pearl Harbor, B, regarding the rise of Adolf Hitler. We must look ahead in this whole effort, and I use the Second World War as an example.

What happens after we remove Saddam Hussein from power, he and his regime -- hopefully with a coalition -- but after the decision is made and after that action is taken? We had a plan in place regarding Japan, the occupation thereof, and it worked. We had a plan in place in the occupation of Germany and it worked, even despite the fact that the Soviet Union thwarted it for a while. And today we have, as you know, democracies in both Japan and in Germany. And a great deal of that is because of our foresight in putting together what we do after victory. And there's no question in my mind that the United States, either alone, hopefully with other coalition partners, should this come to pass, could decisively defeat the Iraqi forces.

But I pride myself being somewhat of a student of history. I know that planning for the aftermath of a successful military action is very important. Klauswitz (ph) said that in a strategy it's imperative not to take the first step without considering the last.

So let me ask you -- this is really one question, Mr. Secretary, but I will split it into two parts. What preparations are being made now for the administration of Iraq after Saddam falls and for the longer-term transition to a more permanent government? The second part of the question is, what's the level of diplomatic and military commitment to be made to Iraq after Saddam falls? And particularly, what's the estimate of American troops needed to ensure stability for the first year or in the long term or both? In other words, what does the future hold for us once victory is achieved?

RUMSFELD: Congressman Skelton, that's of course an exceedingly important question, and it is one that the president and the National Security Council have given a good deal of thought to. If the president were to decide that some action were necessary with respect to Iraq, there's no doubt in my mind but that the effort would be undertaken with partners, in a coalition, as you raised in your question.

I feel the same way about a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, that it would be clearly a coalition, conceivably a U.N. role. But it would require over a period of time, some military forces while that country transitioned from a repressive and vicious dictatorship to something notably different from that.

On the one hand, there's broad agreement with those that have been discussing this question that Iraq should be a single country and not be broken up into pieces. Second, that it should be a country that does not have weapons of mass destruction, a country that does not impose -- attempt to impose its will on its neighbors, a country that is respectful of the fact that it is ethnically diverse and is not a central government that would repress minorities in that country.

The numbers of troops that it would take in the early period, I don't think it's probably useful to discuss in this forum. It's interesting to go back to the Gulf War, the Iraqi army demonstrated its attitude about Saddam Hussein when 70,000 or 80,000 members of the Iraqi army surrendered and changed sides almost instantaneously, within a matter of days, some surrendering -- hundreds surrendering to single soldiers, because they have no great respect for their leadership in that country. Going the next step and beginning to talk about democracy or things like that is a step I can't go because it seems to me that what's important is in that transition period, it would be important for the Iraqi people in Iraq and Iraqis from outside of Iraq who've been persecuted to participate in fashioning what would follow, And clearly, it has to be something that would be not a dictatorship and would be respectful of minority rights in the country and the rule of law and respect for its neighbors.

What that template might be is beyond my task, and clearly it's something that the president and the secretary of state and the Department of State and other countries in the coalition would be thinking through.

But the answer to your last portion of your question is, as to whether not the United States would have to make a military in the short run and a diplomatic and humanitarian and reconstruction effort in the longer term, the answer is yes. One would. One doesn't change what is without recommending something better.

The difference between this and Afghanistan, however, is that this is a country that has large oil revenues. So from a financial standpoint, it is an easier problem for the international community than a country that has been devastated by decades of conflict and does not have oil revenues to help buoy it up and bolster its recovery.

SKELTON: Thank you very much.

HUNTER: Thank the gentleman.

The distinguished gentleman from Utah, Mr. Hansen.

REP. JAMES V. HANSEN (R), UTAH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I appreciate the comments by the secretary and the general. I think Mr. Skelton hit on a very tantalizing question there, what's going to happen if that does occur, who fills the void? It makes you wonder if there's someone in the wings there to do it like we saw in Iran back in that area, we've seen in other nations that somebody's waiting to do it.

The question that I've kind of been curious about is -- also, there's also the question, is there another nation that feels that we've brought her to her knees and now we can take over. You know, that's a very volatile area and there's been some tremendous battles between Iraq and Iran before. And I would wonder how the administration would look at a situation wondering if this other nation, Iran, would say, "Well, now, here's our chance," and how you'd handle that. I guess you possibly answered part of that when you said, yes, it would require a military presence at that particular point just to make sure that didn't occur.

You know, a lot of us on this committee gets awfully tired of our military being in Korea for 50 years, in Kosovo and Bosnia. It just seems, how do you ever get out of these places? How do you do that?

And the second thing I'd be curious to know, having been to the Prince Sultan Base a couple of times, what would be the reaction if the Saudis -- I've read a few things that they have kind of said they would be willing to let us use that base. I'd kind of like to hear it from your mouth.

RUMSFELD: First, with respect to Bosnia and Kosovo, we have been pulling our forces down over the past couple of years fairly significantly. We've been doing it with our NATO partners and Partnership for Peace countries that are participating. And the way you end something is to decide you do not want to be there permanently, and we don't. We covet no other country's land. We are not looking to occupy any country. Our goal is to be helpful and then go about our business.

The way you do that, in the case of Kosovo and Bosnia, has been to help build up the civil side, and what we're going to have to do in Afghanistan is see a lot more international support on the humanitarian side and the civil work side so that the security situation will continue to improve.

In the case of Iran, the small clique of clerics that are running that country I think have their hands full right now. They have a lot of foment in that country, their people are unhappy, and women and young people are putting pressure on the leadership. And while one has to be attentive to all the things that could conceivably happen, I think that the likelihood of what you suggested is somewhat less than modest.

Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia speaks for itself. They have said what they've said. Every utterance, publicly and privately, that I've heard in the last several weeks have been increasingly -- what's the word -- friendly, supportive, measured. They live in the neighborhood. Saddam Hussein has a vastly more powerful army than Saudi Arabia does. He has weapons that Saudi Arabia does not have. He threatened Saudi Arabia when he was invading Kuwait. And so, they've been measured.

But I would characterize, in answer to your question, their public and private comments as recognizing a good number of the things that I've characterized here today.

HUNTER: I thank the gentleman.

The gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Spratt.

REP. JOHN M. SPRATT JR. (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: Mr. Chairman.

General Myers, thank you very much for your testimony.

Mr. Secretary, you described yourself as a skeptic on the efficacy of inspections. Let me make the case, though, for what inspections did achieve, at least in the first half of the '90s when UNSCOM was there.

They uncovered and dismantled 40 nuclear research facilities, including three uranium enrichment facilities and a lab-scale plutonium separation plant. That was in the mid-'90s. As last as May of 2000, the International Atomic Energy Commission found and destroyed an Iraqi nuclear centrifuge, which was stored in Jordan, and they also removed a lot of reactor fuel, fresh and irradiated.

On the chemical weapon side, they uncovered and destroyed 38,500 munitions, 480,000 liters of chemical agents, 1.8 million liters of precursor chemicals and 426 pieces of production equipment. There's still a lot of stuff unaccounted for, but that's a pretty substantial record there, at least worth the effort.

As to biological weapons, the issues are more unresolved. But it's my understanding that they found about 19,000 liters of botulism, 8,400 liters of anthrax, 2,000 liters of aflatoxin. They monitored 86 sites. They dismantled one south of Baghdad. They destroyed some biological bombs and some biological missile warheads.

And as to missiles, they were able to identify and account for 817 of 819 Soviet-delivered scuds, and they destroyed the scuds that they were still able to find in the inventory. They speculate that there may be anywhere between 40 and 80...

HARRIS: You have been listening this morning to the joint House and Senate -- I am sorry, this is the House Armed Services Committee meeting right now. We have also been listening to the House Joint -- the House and Senate Joint Intelligence Committee meetings as well.

But this is the House Armed Services Committee. We have been listening to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld as well as the chiefs of staff, General Myers as well, answering questions there from the Congressmen, we just got finished listening to the secretary responding to a question that many people have been asking about the post-Saddam Iraq, lots of questions there still to be answered, and that is pretty much what the secretary had to say.

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