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SEN. LUGAR: This hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is called to order. Today the committee continues its series of hearing on United States and international nonproliferation policy. We turn our attention to the Middle East, where the actions of Iran and Iraq continue to confound nonproliferation efforts.
In our first hearing, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet testified that, quote, "Over the next 15 years, our cities will face ballistic missile threats from North Korea, probably Iran, and possibly Iraq," end of quote. In fact, Director Tenet suggested that most analysts believe that Iran could test an ICBM capable of delivering a light payload to the United States in the next few years. Furthermore, he pointed out that the likelihood that Iraq has continued its missile development leads the Intelligence Committee to the conclusion that they could develop an intercontinental ballistic missile in the next decade.
Director Tenet's testimony provides an ominous introduction to what many consider the most perplexing proliferation challenge the international community faces. The tension and hostility present throughout much of the Middle East is fertile ground for programs to develop weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. The United States and the international community have undertaken a number of different programs and policies to roll back, reverse or otherwise circumscribe proliferation in the Middle East.
Unfortunately, to date, few of these efforts have proved successful. Both Iran and Iraq are clearly attempting to continue to expand their weapons of mass destruction capabilities. Although these programs clearly violate international norms and in some cases international agreements, the world seems to have lost interest. International resolve is faltering with regard to efforts to ensure and verify that Iraq dismantles its weapons of mass destruction and missile programs. Indeed, the degradation of UNSCOM regime sends a signal that transgressors can outlast international resolve. And similarly, although recent domestic political developments appear promising, Iran continues to attempt to acquire long-range missile capabilities and it envisions nuclear weapons capability in support of terrorism.
The fear most often expressed is not only that these countries may utilize weapons of mass destruction again, and possibly against Americans, but that other states in the region could become disillusioned with the international community's limited capability and uneven political will to enforce international norms. If disillusionment leads to yet another increase in weapons of mass destruction development, the possibility of WMD use in the Middle East will rise exponentially.
The purpose of today's hearing is to identify where U.S. and international nonproliferation programs have succeeded and where they have broken down. Where did our efforts succeed and where did they fail? And does the fault lie in policy or in the implementation? Or did the international community simply lose the will to continue doing the difficult work necessary to eliminate the threat of weapons of mass destruction? In short, does nonproliferation policy have a future in these countries?
With the possibility that Iraq has utilized the absence of international inspectors to begin rebuilding its arsenal, how must our policies and efforts be altered to reflect this possibility and to remove these potential threats? Perhaps most importantly, how do we invigorate international will to restart international inspections and maintain multilateral sanctions until Saddam Hussein complies with the agreements?
Military force has been used up until this time as a response of last resort in Iraq.
But with the collapse of UNSCOM and the apparent lack of international will to maintain multilateral sanctions, should military force now be considered as a weapon of first resort in response to further evidence of WMD production in Iraq? We are constantly confronted with the growing risk of surprise in proliferation matters. In fact, Director Tenet suggested, quote, "that more than ever, we risk substantial surprise," end of quote. The Rumsfeld Commission rightly reminded us of the importance of addressing the implications of what we don't know in our analysis and policy.
One potential vehicle for surprise was reported in the New York Times last week. The article suggested that Iraq may be conducting WMD and missile research through surrogates. Specifically, Sudan was cited as the home of a missile research center provided by North Korea and financed by Iraq.
My personal opinion is that Saddam Hussein will continue to threaten the world with weapons of mass destruction and to spread instability through military force. And I'm convinced that the only way to eliminate the threat Iraq poses to the Middle East and United States is to encourage new leadership in Baghdad.
Iran is an equally frustrating topic. U.S. and international nonproliferation policies have not proven successful in deterring or stopping WMD development. On a multilateral level, enforcement of nonproliferation policies toward Iran has proven very difficult. Foreign suppliers continue to provide Iran with WMD technology and know-how.
These developments require careful consideration of several important questions. Has American international diplomatic response to Iranian proliferation activities been adequate? What additional steps must be taken in the future? And can international efforts be enhanced to respond to the Iranian WMD programs or to have such international covenants and policies -- or have these policies lost their moral suasion because of impractical and incredible requirements or standards of evidence?
Are improved Western relations with Iran a substitute for the hard-nosed nonproliferation policy, or is modest success in one a prerequisite for the other? Clearly, in both the case of Iran and Iraq, the status quo is unacceptable.
We must analyze how current policies should be altered to reflect the current situation, and what new policies should be employed in the future.
It is my pleasure to welcome the most distinguished panel to our hearing. Our witnesses will include Ambassador Rolf Ekeus, former executive chairman, United States (sic) Special Commission on Iraq, and currently the ambassador of Sweden to the United States; the Honorable Richard Butler, former executive chairman, United Nations Special Commission on Iraq, and currently diplomat in residence at the Council on Foreign Relations; and Dr. Andrew (sic) Cordesman, senior fellow for strategic assessment and co-director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. We are grateful that our witnesses have agreed to testify on these most important subjects.
But before calling upon them, I ask my colleague Senator Biden for his opening statement.
SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D-DE): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In the interest of time, I ask unanimous consent that my statement be placed in the record.
SEN. LUGAR: It will be placed in the record in full.
SEN. BIDEN: Mr. Chairman, we have three incredibly distinguished witnesses who, I suspect, are going to be able to shed more light on the questions you raised and the choices we have than -- more than any other three people we can assemble. I am an unabashed fan of Mr. Butler, and I have great respect for the other two witnesses. And I hope they will be -- and I expect they'll be -- frank with us.
It seems to me that almost any regime that relates to nonproliferation requires the consent of the international community, whether or not it's the United Nations or just Western nations. If we concluded, as we did in Bosnia, that we should move and act -- and in Kosovo -- it seems to me that -- to state the obvious, that does not exist, that will does not exist, either in Europe, in France, or in Russia or China. And so how do we move to a place where we can affect what seem to be inevitable outcomes if we just sit by?
And I hope we'll be open and frank about what the options of a president are, what the options of a country are at this point, and I look forward to their testimony. Thank you.
SEN. LUGAR: Well, thank you very much, Senator Biden. I think I share all of the sentiments of the senator that we are indebted to all three of you for your service to the world, as well as to the countries that you've served and witness that you offer here to our country today.
I'd like to call upon you in the order that I introduced you, and that would be Ambassador Ekeus and Ambassador Butler and Dr. Cordesman. Ambassador Ekeus?
AMBASSADOR ROLF EKEUS
Former Executive Chairman,
United States Special Commission on Iraq
AMB. EKEUS: Well, I heard -- gentlemen and Senators, thank you very much -- about the -- what is -- how the system could work, how one could control this, how one should act on this, and what are the lessons. And I start with that, as I use my experience as chairman of the UNSCOM from '91 to '97, summer '97, what -- especially for UNSCOM. And I say up front that I think it was a success.
It was the uniqueness in its approach and its capacity and effectiveness what made it. I think it was a multilayered approach, and I emphasize that because there it differs from, as I understand, all known, all known arms control arrangements, whether bilateral, unilateral or multilateral. It was based upon inspection of declared facilities, but also on non-declared facilities. So there we already see a difference with the safeguard system which was adopted by IAEA, where there are some modest visit -- recent protocols -- some modest possibilities in non-declared facilities.
But it's not only that, there was also -- there is, in addition to those two types, there is no-notice inspection; that means inspections were carried out without any -- not one hour, not half an hour notice -- even less, of course, weeks we're talking about when you talk about safeguard inspection or when we talk about chemical weapons inspections, we talk about very solid, pre-notice for any inspection. But in the case of UNSCOM, it was no notice.
It was not only inspection of facilities, hardware, machines and machine tool and materials, it was also personnel, individuals. It was a matter of identifying responsible people, cross-examine them, investigate the pattern of organization, organization structure command inside the weapons production activity.
In addition, the UNSCOM was using imagery. A major thing provided by the United States was the operations from the U-2, high- altitude reconnaissance plane with high-quality imagery provided to the planners and to the leadership of UNSCOM.
This imagery was amplified by helicopter-based operations that were -- first the German government provided helicopters; secondly, the Chilean government, very courageous, high-quality personnel, which constituted a platform for close-range photographic imagery which could then amplify and clarify issues which looked fishy on the U-2 picture. And, of course, even more so, these helicopters could land, and the personnel could enter the facility and close watch every piece of equipment. So one had a complete coverage imagery from the whole coverage of the country from, I would say, area coverage to high resolution directed imagery to helicopter close range and to personnel close eyeballing of the issue.
In addition, sensors, cameras, stationary cameras at suspect facilities point into suspect equipment and materiel, sending real time picture continuously to the Baghdad monitoring center, which was established and controlled by UNSCOM. Chemical sensors around facilities, downwind, downstream investigations of water and air flow, water testing regularly all over the country at -- or, irregular, I would say, in order to surprise the Iraqi side added to the sensor systems. There was also aerial based gamma ray detection systems based on the platform of the slow-moving helicopters to identify hot spots where radiation coming out from the soil of Iraq. And that gives us a very solid area of coverage.
There are other sensors I am prohibited, I guess, for confidential reasons not to describe. In addition, there were field laboratories used -- operating to give immediate feedback on sampling. In addition there was a number of supporting international laboratories in the U.S., France, Switzerland, and Finland and Sweden and Britain, of course, which provided the UNSCOM people with in- depth, careful analysis of sampling.
And finally, develop during the years was the DNA technique, not only state of the art, but I would say ahead of the state of the art, I would say breaking new technology was used for the first time in identifying biological warfare agents. One example, we took samples in '91 at the notorious place called Al Hakam with negative results. But the UNSCOM scientists saved these samples, and a couple of years later through the development of better DNA techniques during the '90s, it could be proven that Iraq, indeed, was working on, in that case, anthrax and biological weapons development.
So there were, I would say, the multilayer approach. That was supported by a systematic analytical assessment of the materials. And there I have to salute especially the quality of the personnel of UNSCOM, a high quality, indeed, scientifically on the top-notch, great experience, and also we have the capability to develop in the process further their understanding to make them, I would say, the top of the art in their area.
Another very important supporting element was the capability of UNSCOM to block effectively imports, to block the procurement efforts by Iraq. Obviously, Iraq has to rely considerably on imports of certain sensitive high-quality technical materials for developing their weapons of mass destruction. That was done also in a way with the key there was international cooperation. It was the intelligence of various countries; I emphasize many countries, not one, but many countries, and with customs; and oddly enough, the national -- it's not always a terribly good cooperation between intelligence and customs. But UNSCOM fused these capabilities and created a tremendous synergy and, I think in that sense, also worked closely with several national law-enforcement agencies and, in that sense, I think registered considerable success. These are, I think, behind the efforts to identify Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and weeding out a very substantial part of it.
The positive lesson of that is, to my opinion, to achieve disarmament, the international approach -- it's been superior because it is more effective, and it delivers. Why is it more effective? Well, it coordinates the -- it takes care of the various suppliers -- suppliers' routes -- the way that the matter of import especially is sensitive; and has the money trail, the banking system, the payment system. There one can find -- which is possible to identify and use and intervening with the help -- or international cooperation. No single country can, in any way, without an international approach, block effectively the weapons developed. There is no possibility to block the procurement, there is no possibility to block proliferation, without acquiring this broad international cooperation.
What that does -- that does demand of course a very rare commodity; namely, almost a lost art form -- skilled diplomacy. And I think that is in great demand: More effective diplomacy, more dynamic approaches, to try to coordinate the international efforts are key.
Of course, Mr. Chairman -- Senator Lugar, you know better than anyone the bilateral approach with Russia, Ukraine worked well. There is no doubt about that; this is the preferred approach. But these are special situations. But if you are in a less cooperative mood, I think the only -- the international approach is necessary.
Finally, on the UNMOVIC possibility, my judgment is that UNMOVIC may succeed if it can be constituted in an effective way with, first of all, and key, high-quality personnel. And you don't get quality personnel out of thin air. You can only get it by searching very carefully the rosters around. And UNSCOM's personnel, I think, in that sense is of extreme high quality. They know the -- they not only theoretically well-schooled, but they know the players inside Iraq. They know the individuals who are involved. They know the structure, the organization. And they know also the methods of concealment. So this is number one.
Second is imagery. Imagery must be restored. And the new organization, UNMOVIC, must have an independent access to imagery of the same type UNSCOM had. I know that there are disputes there about whether UNMOVIC be allowed to use American-based or if they should use Russian, I don't know, Russian-based high-altitude reconnaissance, which is a matter which, of course, can be dealt with if the handling of the product is professional and serious. UNSCOM has an extremely solid way for handling imagery.
Thirdly is the collection of data from many sources. That is a matter which requires that UNMOVIC create the credibility. No government is prepared to share data with an international organization if it doesn't know it is treated, the data given are treated with care, and also analyzed with professional skill. That provides some sensitive problems, creates some sensitive problems, not least I have experienced from the Congress in that respect with UNSCOM, because the governments are not prepared or private companies are not prepared always to cooperate with an institution like UNSCOM if they feel that the name of companies involved may be -- not necessarily -- (inaudible) -- to say, innocent, but still trade with Iraq, if that name is published. So there the policy of UNSCOM was in a sense to protect the names of the companies which had not violated law but maybe one way or the other been involved in dual-use deliveries to Iraq, in this case, because the fear was that these companies would be exposed and tarnished one way or the other, and if they had that fear, they refused to talk to UNSCOM.
And the governments refused to give UNSCOM personnel access to these companies, and that made it very difficult for UNSCOM personnel to penetrate the secrecies there. But anyhow, this may be a marginal problem, but it means, it demonstrates, how sensitive these matters can be. Fourth, I think the sensors. I won't describe the sensor system, but an advanced sensor system is necessary for success.
So what one can do is to focus in the Iraqi case on preventing Iraq to do more. There are reasons to believe that Iraq still is keeping some material, as we know, and -- but with a multilayered approach, one can prevent Iraq from acquiring more, and that should be at least enough to prevent also the country to get the full weapons capability.
There is, obviously, and to my judgment, there is no concluding evidence or conclusive evidence that Iraq has decided to terminate any of its weapons programs. That goes for nuclear weapons, biologic and chemical and missiles. It is clear that Iraq has still not disclosed important information in all these areas.
However, there is -- that is, I think, also major -- this, I would say, negative conclusion is supported by a sense that I have had, at least from my many conversations, that the debate for the whole situation in the Gulf is the matter of who dominates, who has the power in the Gulf. Who can control, and being the leading actor in the Gulf. That doesn't mean that you occupy Gulf states, but as I see Iraq's ambitions finally, it's that Iraq would present itself as the protector of the other Arabic states against the Shi'a, so to say, fundamentalists, as they see them, in Tehran and Iran. And in order to be a credible protector, Iraq feels it needs advanced weapons, so they see these weapons very much linked to the matter of who controls the Gulf. We may feel that that may inspire Iran to say, "We have also to match these ambitions."
And I stop there, because I know my colleagues have a lot to say on this issue.
SEN. LUGAR: Well thank you very much, Ambassador Ekeus.
Diplomat in residence at the Council on Foreign Relations,
and Former Executive Chairman,
United Nations Special Commission on Iraq
MR. BUTLER: Thank you very much, Mr. Acting Chairman, Senator Lugar. Thank you, Senator Biden, for being here and for asking me to be here again.
I fear that we might be meeting again quite soon when Dr. Blix, the head of the new inspection organization, submits his proposal for resumed inspections in Iraq, and Iraq rejects it. And that proposal is due on the 15th of April. Or the Russians, in the Security Council, seek to so dramatically alter Dr. Blix's proposal to ensure that it has no serious impact, and that we would then have, once again, an Iraq crisis on our hands. I think this is a timely meeting because I think we stand on the verge of such developments.
Now, at the beginning -- by the way, I've made no -- I have no formal text because I don't want to speak that way to this committee today. I want to speak economically, especially as we have started a bit late, and as directly as I can. And I will take my lead from the remarks that both of you have made at the beginning of our meeting today.
Senator Lugar, you asked the question: What went wrong? Where has it broken down? How do we fix it?
And, Senator Biden, you ask: What will happen if we don't fix it; if we do nothing?
I've just concluded a book on what I did in the last couple of years in following Rolf and dealing with Iraq. That book, unfortunately, won't be available before the 15th of April; it will be a little bit after that in May. But, Senator Biden, the epigraph I chose for that book, the motto for the book is Edmund Burke's statement that all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
And, Senator Lugar, evil is triumphing in Iraq again today because good men have turned their back on the problem. That started two years ago when Russia decided to break away from consensus in the Security Council on the need to make Saddam Hussein obey the law, and it's been downhill ever since that time.
And I won't go into the weapons issues; Rolf has just discussed them. I'll just say -- again, as economically as I can -- there is clear evidence that Iraq is again seeking to develop a long-range missile capability. But missiles are vehicles, they have to carry something in their warhead to be of significance. Obviously, conventional explosives can be so carried. But there is also every reason to assume, it would be folly not to assume that once again Iraq is seeking to make, if not indeed making, chemical, biological, and seeking to acquire nuclear loadings for the warheads for those missiles. That's all I want to say about that. We lack specific evidence of the order of magnitude because we're not there anymore. And this is how it works -- we're not there anymore because we were thrown out, we were ejected, because we were asking for the specific orders of magnitude in order to stop these developments from taking place. And so we were ejected.
The logic is irrefutable. The delivery vehicles are being built again, and absent monitoring and control, the substances which would be carried in those, in the warheads of those delivery vehicles, are obviously being made again.
Now, Senator Lugar, to your question: Why did it break down? How can we fix it? How can we get good men to resume focus on this very serious problem?
It broke down, in my view, because we never came to terms with or seized the opportunity presented us by the end of the Cold War, and that was to recognize that weapons of mass destruction should be the subject of an exception from politics as usual.
Now, the weapons I'm talking about are nuclear, chemical and biological. Each of them has been the subject of a very clear moral consensus in the last 40 years, that they should be controlled, that their proliferation should be prevented, and that where possible they should be eliminated. And that's been a global phenomenon, probably one of the great achievements of the second half of the 20th century. And that consensus was then expressed in treaties on the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, which virtually all countries in the world have signed -- by the way, including Saddam Hussein. And to make those treaties credible, means of verification have been created. Not always good; in the biological area under the biological treaty, not even yet adequately completed. But that third leg of this tripod -- remember? -- moral agreement that certain weapons must be controlled, political commitment in a treaty to do so, and the third leg is means of verification, to see that states are keeping the obligations that they entered into when they signed the treaty. Those things have been developed and have been, I think, one of the crowning achievements of the post-World War II period. That was the product of the post-World War II period.
But the last link that would have turned this tripod into a four- legged, solid table, not at all rocky, is the leg, is the piece that the end of the Cold War offered us an opportunity to do, to create, and that's called enforcement. And that's where the powers with the power, those who are permanent members of the Security Council, would not play politics as usual with weapons of mass destruction, but would stand together and enforce the treaties, enforce the moral obligations whenever a credible report of infraction is received.
Now, we were doing that for most of the time after the Gulf War, that Iraq was under the very specific strictures of the Security Council and UNSCOM that said simply You must be divested of your weapons of mass destruction. And this great man, Rolf Ekeus, brought about a great deal of that. But he was able to do it because the powers stood behind him. But two years ago, a few months after I followed Rolf into the job, those powers split. They split for a variety of reasons that you know very well and I haven't got time to go into now. And the beneficiary of that split was Saddam Hussein.
And so what do we have today? We have a situation where there's no monitoring or arms control, he is clearly doing it again, and we have not yet taken up the single most important opportunity that the end of the Cold War offered us, which was to build that fourth leg to make a solid table of international arms control; that is, the great powers standing together and enforcing these treaties whenever there is a credible report of an infraction of them. And by that means -- and this is what I say in my book -- by that means, agreeing to make weapons of mass destruction the subject of the principle of exception, that they will be excepted from politics as usual.
Lord knows, we have all got lots of things to compete with each other about; from world trade and globalization, and spreading our ideas and our culture, our interests and so on. That's politics as usual.
But I utterly refuse to accept -- and I don't think this Senate or this government should accept -- that weapons of mass destruction should be the subject of old-fashioned Cold War client statism, as we have seen Russia for the last two years do with respect to Iran, or shaping the subject of politics as usual.
Weapons of mass destruction are universally condemned. They threaten all human life. We must now in the 21st century be able to come to an agreement to deal with them as an exceptional case; no vetoes, but stand together and enforce the treaties.
So, Senator Biden says, "Well, what will happen if we do nothing?" And you have asked, Senator Lugar, "What should we do?" My proposal for what we should do is this:
First of all, this government, the government of this single superpower, the world's most important democracy, the only superpower in the history of the world that has never been imperialist; this government must go now to the new president of Russia, as he forms his government, and put this proposal to him: "Can we now resume our stand together to defeat weapons of mass destruction? Can you agree with that, to except weapons of mass destruction from politics as usual? Can we get our own nuclear arms-control negotiations back on track?" But secondly: "Can I have an assurance from you that you will stop this unrespectable nonsense of patronizing Saddam Hussein, when you are a great power, when you, Russia, are a permanent member of the Security Council? And can we stand together and deal with this menace of chemical and biological weapons, in Iraq and elsewhere?"
And then, beyond that, beyond the unique influence of these two singular powers, this one and the one that lives in Moscow; beyond that, I propose that we should complete the work that wasn't able to be done after 1945, when the Charter of the U.N. was written, which only refers in two minor cases to "arms control." But we know much more about weapons of mass destruction now. Can we complete the work that the end of the Cold War offers us as an opportunity?
And can we now create an instrument for the control of weapons of mass destruction? I am talking about a United National Council on Weapons of Mass Destruction, a place to which credible reports, progress reports, on the prospering, or lack of it, of the work under the nonproliferation treaties would be forwarded, a place at which the nations of the world would sit and consider those reports and determine what action should be taken, including by way of enforcement, that vital fourth leg that we need. Can we do that?
Can we give that answer to your question, Senator, "What went wrong?" and yours, "How can we fix it?" Senator Biden? Can we do that? No one's security would be threatened. No sane person in this world believes that you need chemical weapons, poisonous substances with which to defend yourself or, for goodness' sake, to bring back smallpox as a way of killing your neighbor.
We have long since said that this is uncivilized and no one should do it, but we've not created the mechanism where we sit together and make sure that we do it.
Now I do not believe that the security of this great nation or any would be threatened by behaving in this way. On the contrary, I believe the security of all would be enhanced. I do not believe that we would have to go to war very often against rogues like Saddam Hussein once it was clear that we are all together resolved that these weapons are inadmissible and when there is a credible report of infraction of a treaty, that we will act together and put it down.
That's what I think about where we're at. And as I said, I suspect we'll be back here again soon, dealing with what will or won't happen with UNMOVIC. But I think we've got to leap over that in the way that I've suggested. Thank you for your attention.
SEN. LUGAR: Well, we thank you very much for that very important testimony, and we look forward to your book. And I'm hopeful that will arrive, if not before April 15th, at least shortly thereafter, as a way of guiding us.
DR. ANDREW CORDESMAN
Senior Fellow for Strategic Assessment
and Co-Director of the Middle East program,
Center for Strategic and International Studies
MR. CORDESMAN: Thank you very much, Senator. I'd like to thank both you and Senator Biden, too, for the opportunity to testify particularly about proliferation in an area that has something like two-thirds of the world's oil reserves and about 40 percent of its known gas.
I find myself, however, in a different position from the previous two witnesses. I have been dealing with the issue of proliferation in Iran and Iraq since the late 1960s, and I don't think it is a matter of putting things back or fixing something that was fixed.
I have provided a formal statement, and to that I have provided two background papers, which describe at least my interpretation of what Iran and Iraq are doing by way of proliferation.
SEN. LUGAR: It'll be made a part of our record in full.
MR. CORDESMAN: Thank you, Senator.
And as I look at the history and depth of those efforts, I think that the idea that we can create any kind of weapons-free or weapons- of-mass-destruction-free zone in a region is a noble goal. I don't think we should give up our efforts. But quite frankly, I think there is very little chance that, given time, politics, and technology, we have any choice other than to learn to live with proliferation in this region, and the issue is to what extent can we control it and limit it and contain it.
I think there are seven key forces involved here.
One is obvious. The arms race between Iran and Iraq goes back more than 40 years. Chemical weapons have been used. I think, from my own analysis of the Iran-Iraq war, that, given another year, biological weapons would have been used as well. I do not believe that, given the tensions that I have encountered in this region, these nations can be made to trust each other, or that any inspection regime can keep them from proliferating at some level.
It is not simply a matter of their distrust for each other; they distrust us, and they distrust the southern Gulf, and they distrust their neighbors.
It was not simply the Gulf War that's at issue here; it is the tanker war we fought against Iran. And the bitterness, the memories go on, and the fact is that proliferation is rational. It is sane. By the game of nations, it is the only form of asymmetric warfare that Iran and Iraq can use to change the strategic map and counter the advantages that we do have in conventional war-fighting.
There are tensions which cut far across regional bounds. When I was in Iraq a year ago -- or Iran -- excuse me -- the discussion of what had happened in India and Pakistan was quietly being used as an example of why they had to have missiles and, by proxy, proliferate.
It is a matter of status, it is a matter of distrust, it is a matter of fear. We are a nuclear power. We used the threat of the use of nuclear weapons in the Gulf War. No one is going to forget that fact. These nations see proliferation in Israel and they see it in Syria. They see it in Algeria, they see it in a covert program in Egypt, a program in Libya and a lesser program in the Sudan. They interact constantly with China and North Korea, or at least entities in those countries, as suppliers. They see a Russia where if the government agrees to one thing, it is never quite clear that the entities in Russia agree to follow.
We may want a world of arms control. Iran and Iraq live in a world of proliferation. I do not believe there are relevant international norms or laws that are based on equity or which Iran and Iraq see as working to their advantage. For them, arms control and U.N. resolutions favor other states and power blocs. And let me note, horrible as things like chemical and biological weapons are, I think the current estimate in the U.S. intelligence community is that there are at 30 nations in the world which have some kind of development or activity in this area. A number of them are significant allies of the United States.
The only way out for Iran and Iraq, by their power calculus, is to indulge in a liar's contest where they claim to accept arms control because that gives them access to exports and technology. They lie, they cheat and steal. I'm not completely sure that if we were in their place, surrounded by an equivalent number of enemies, we would not do the same. One of our closest allies, Israel, was forced to go through a similar procedure in acquiring its missiles and nuclear weapons.
There is the pace and scale of what is happening in technology. The saving grace for all of us has been that none of the so-called breakthroughs in producing fissile material have actually been effective. But if we look at what is happening at the technology base here, the technology base is there. We can't control the transfer. It already exists in both Iran and Iraq.
There is also the reality that was discovered under Ambassador Ekeus that Iraq could take a pharmaceutical plant and convert it to the mass production of anthrax in less than six months. You can halt all visible signs of proliferation, but you do not halt the capability. You can have invisible levels of technological efforts that inspection can reduce, control, but not totally halt.
And we have to understand, in this region, proliferation is relative. We're not talking about World War III. The capability to proliferate, the threat of proliferation, intimidates, it gives power. Even limited uses of weapons with fragile, basically one-city states can have a major impact.
There are new critical technologies here which at last today are beyond control. We tend to forget that biological weapons are equivalent in lethality already to fission weapons. Advances in biotechnology almost inexorably means that any state can conduct with great security a highly clandestine effort and bring to near readiness of deployment biological weapons, and as the years go by -- and I am not talking decades, but five to 10 -- advances in pharmaceuticals, food processing, biotechnology, will make that something which almost any nation in the world can use, almost regardless of whether we can control nuclear weapons.
They cannot control the basic technology of ballistic missiles, but if you look at what is happening in commercial engines, in guidance systems for cruise missiles, those five to 10 years from now are going to be commercial items. Controlling them is a good intention, but I do not believe it is technologically possible.
And finally, we talk about Iran and Iraq today.
But proliferation breeds proliferation. Already the Saudis have long- range missiles. Already Egypt is conducting a clandestine missile development program with North Korea. Israel has a strong missile and nuclear program. If we watch what happens in this region, who is going to turn away from proliferation unless they believe, in the southern gulf, at least, that they can trust us to retaliate and to deter? And today, that is a very uncertain issue. In short, if we look at the patterns in the problem, in the future, not simply in the past, I believe we can do important things, but we cannot create the kind of regime that I would like to see created.
Having said that, I do believe that there are important things you can do. Much of what has happened, as Ambassador Ekeus and Ambassador Butler have said, has come because we did not make the existing system work. I do not believe we need new laws, new organizations, new efforts in the U.S. government. But what I see again and again in practice is that it is very tempting for the United States to back off proliferation and counter-proliferation and give other goals priority, whether it is China in the trade issue, or trying to deal with Iran, or dealing with Russia. If you wish to make the system work, you have to make it work. And frankly, that means an interagency process which is committed to fighting proliferation. I don't believe that anyone here would say today that the United States government has that interagency process. There is a great deal of bluster, but there are many shortcomings in terms of substance.
I believe indefinitely into the future arms control, supplier agreements and sanctions are going to have to be treated as an extension of war by other means. The issue is how you use them, how ruthless you are in using them against opponents which will cheat, which will lie, and which will avoid these agreements whenever they can. It is not simply a matter of making the new inspection regime deal with Iraq. There is a question of whether the Chemical Weapons Convention can be made to work. There is a question about whether the new inspection regime under the IAEA can be made to work. And beyond that, there is the issue of having no regime and biological weapons means that if you get control of two out of three, proliferators will move into the third.
When I look at the core of this, it is often the control over technology transfer. And it is particularly over technologies which contribute to systems integration in the building of effective weapons systems. Nobody can stop the technology per se. I've got a supercomputer at home. And I know that there are at least two companies which are going to double the power of commercially available computers by July. To talk about restricting these things in the traditional sense is to waste time.
Right now we have an incredibly long, pointless control list used by the State Department and Department of Commerce and a bureaucratic war over whether we should have industry triumph or control triumph. The first thing is to get the list down to a rational length, both for our own purposes, and so we can have allies. The second, quite frankly, is then to enforce it.
I agree with what Ambassador Ekeus said. You do not embarrass people who comply. You do not embarrass people who helped you.
But one thing I would note is, we have done a terrible job of embarrassing people who do not comply and publicly naming companies and countries which violate. If you're unwilling to do that, with this technology, I do not believe that anything can work.
I think you have to stay focused. One of the problems I see in U.S. policy is we want to do everything at once. We want to solve human rights, we want to solve democracy, we want to remove all ethnic problems, we wish to have a new legal system, and in the process, we want to deal with proliferation. That isn't a policy; it is a set of pious hopes.
In some areas, we go beyond that. I believe, frankly, that legislation like the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, if anything, pushes nations like Iran to put its resources into the cheapest route to military power, which is proliferation. It alienates our allies. It makes it difficult to concentrate on proliferation. It makes our administration tacitly ignore the laws of the United States. It strengthens our enemies in Iran by providing evidence of their charges against us, and it blocks us from working with people who might support our views.
I've seen the same thing in dealing with oil-for-food. We have not concentrated on proliferation or on military capabilities. We have ended up with a legalistic disaster, blocking the transfer of items the Iraqi people really need. That has been, I think, a failure that may be getting better, but it has been a major failure both in policy and in dealing with this issue.
I think we have failed, frankly, to understand that counterproliferation is a battle of perceptions. I have perhaps spent more time reading public United States government documents than anyone should. I would have to say, frankly, that most of them are terrible. They don't make a detailed case. They don't say things that would convince people. They make broad general charges, but they do not back it up with substance, examples, and the kind of information, for example, 10 years ago we would put into Soviet military power. We have a massive credibility problem. Even in this city, there are many, if not most, experts on Iran who do not believe what we say about proliferation because they so desperately want to improve U.S. and Iranian relations, and they do not find the details and the evidence.
In the case of Iraq, we have lost a propaganda war of massive proportions. When UNSCOM halted, we did not make the case. There were a few National Intelligence Council papers, but almost nothing of substance and detail to follow up. We had one terrible paper on Saddam blocking the aid process through oil-for-food. I invite any member of the committee, any member of the staff to download that paper. One paper after three years of urging, and look at the content. If any of you have ever taught, that was an F-minus effort in public relations. Ask yourself as you read it, who would this convince in a war where daily you see charges and counter-charges made by Iran and Iraq? And quite frankly, we have failed to convince the world that we care about the Iraqi people as well as proliferation and about proliferation rather than compliance over everything on the control list.
I believe that we do have a chance in diplomacy with Iran, and I believe that we need to go on to carrots as well as sticks. We need to be very, very cautious. I have seen no evidence as yet that President Khatami has ended or reduced proliferation, but at least there's an opportunity.
In the case of Saddam, quite frankly, I don't believe that exists.
But let me say here that if you're going to see Iraq as a permanent threat -- and I believe it will be -- you cannot afford to play games with rollback. It is pretty silly to have a Radio Free Iran. All that does is label anyone who uses it as basically an American puppet, at a time when there are factions and groups you can talk to in Iran.
But in the case of Iraq, quite honestly, if you're going to have a covert program to overthrow him, have a covert program. Don't have a meeting of a opposition that is despised throughout most of the Arab world, and much of Iraq, and give it money from the United States. Don't have a Radio Free Iraq, have a covert radio station. Don't label people as traitors because they happen to use what we support. And at the same time, you have to concentrate on incentives for the overthrow. And to my knowledge, we have never talked about debt forgiveness, forgiving reparations, or any other serious incentive that might create a government that would indeed at least ease the pace of proliferation.
I think the key to all of this, too, is the credibility of American military power in the Gulf, offensive power, and the willingness to retaliate, the willingness to deter; the conviction that people have, both our enemies and our friends, that we will act militarily, and if there is a use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons against a city, the threat of American nuclear power is there. This form of counterproliferation is the least desirable I can think of, but I do not believe we can avoid it.
I think as we look down the future there is a need for missile defense. There is a need, given what is happening with the Shahab-3, not simply for something like the Patriot, but wide-area Aegis or wide-area THAAD. But I would caution that the American obsession with missiles is like the American obsession with nuclear weapons. If you can deliver them by covert means, if you can send the (Dow ?) across the Gulf, you do not need to have ballistic missiles, you do not need to have the visible symbols of control. If you can have dry, storable biological weapons, you do not need to deliver them on a missile warhead -- in fact, there is virtually no worse way to deliver such weapons.
Finally, two closing points. If what I describe is the future, that means we have to consider it from the viewpoint of homeland defense, and that there may be proxy for covert threats from these countries or regimes against our territory at some point in the future.
And finally, everything comes down to the quality of intelligence. But I find time and again this means hiring more people for national technical means, or means hiring, in theory, people who will be covert operatives. From my personal experience, I believe we are horribly under-staffed in analysts in the American intelligence community. We have created a bureaucratic nightmare of sub-managers in counterproliferation, but we are far short of the people who can actually analyze and do the work, and use unclassified sources and other materials. They are short of the technologists, we are short of the country specialists. And if we can't fix that, I think in the long run, we are going to have some very, very unpleasant surprises.
SEN. LUGAR: Well, thank you very much, Dr. Cordesman. Let me state that the objectives that you've suggested, just for our government, quite apart from the multinational -- and I've just jotted down, first of all, the tough decisions on priorities, namely, is nonproliferation number one, as opposed to human rights or religious persecution or trade issues or various other things?
You know, clearly this could lead, as you suggest, to having many policies and many objectives, none of them paramount, and -- but this is something we've not wrestled with as a government, leaving aside our allies in terms of our convincing them, because it's a very tough thing to do. And I think you've stated that. Glossed over -- you know, beyond that, the priorities, even with regard to sanctions -- our policy, in a multilateral sense, with Iraq has been to sanction almost everything, as you've suggested, rather than discriminating against those things that might be effective on nonproliferation, as opposed to the problems of the Iraqi people, or of others that we're involved in there. But that requires likewise a refinement of decision-making that is substantial, not impossible, but it's clearly not been in the matrix of debate, as I have learned it.
Then the finding of personnel -- Ambassador Ekeus stressed this that the regime that he was operating worked because they had remarkable people. Now he's suggesting, in the rosters of the nations, such persons are obtainable. Maybe such persons are obtainable in the United States for the intelligence activities that you've suggested are important and that are being overlooked. But that, once again, would require a very concerted focus that these things were important overall, and that we held out for the best, we tried to bring about something that we really are not trying very hard, in my judgment, and obviously in yours, to bring about now.
Or in the State Department, they're -- look at all of these files that now seem to go to the ceiling and with absolutely no resolve of anything, largely because of an intramural battle with the Commerce Department or with others who were perceived as being soft on defense or issues of security, but with the result that we have resolution of nothing.
Now this committee has raised these issues with the departments in the past, and without, I think, it making much difference. It proceeds onwards, so that even as we have this hearing today -- and this is sort of a useful examination of a check-off list of our own procedures -- one of the values of these hearings may very well be to try to focus our own attention on reforms that are very important for us. In an oversight capacity, perhaps this committee can be helpful.
What I am intrigued with is your analysis of why Iran and Iraq are going to continue, in any event, in your judgment -- and you've suggested that they have problems of fear of each other, problems with control of the Gulf, problems of status in the world, opportunities provided by the proliferation of technology or access to that, so that these are easier fix-it, asymmetrical responses, as you've suggested, to a superpower, quite apart to each other.
I'm curious, Ambassador Butler. Do you share that pessimistic outlook that come hell or high water, Iraq and Iran have had these ambitions for four years, have been after each other, quite apart from others in the gulf area or others outside of that, are going to persist, and that therefore, if you buy that idea, the best you can do, although it's important, is to hold things down to a dull roar, to sort of control somewhat these ambitions so they don't get out of hand? You have a view on that?
MR. BUTLER: Yes, I do. But before stating it, let me just say quickly that there was a lot in what Dr. Cordesman said, that -- with which I do agree -- there are some things that I would want to discuss further. But I'll make this point: Missiles as such are not illegal.
Now, there's been a lot of focus on missiles, especially in the last week with Iraq trying to break out of the strictures that were put upon it. But I think it's -- I very much welcome the very blunt and very frank way in which Dr. Cordesman has put some of his concerns, and I think I want to answer that by making this point.
Bear in mind, missiles are not illegal as such. There are delivery vehicles which in most cases they view as an economical and an effective way of providing for their national defense. And by the way, the right to self-defense is, among other things, found in, for example, the Charter of the United Nations. What is of concern is who's getting them, what distances can they fly, and above all, what warheads will they carry?
Now, my point in my earlier remarks and proposals was to highlight the chemical and biological warfare agents as substantially held by the nations of the world to be inadmissible, to be wrong. I would also add that they're not particularly effective. And I would argue about the point of asymmetrical motivations. However, having made that point, let me tell you a little story. And this to some extent backs up what Dr. Cordesman has said.
In a private conversation with me two years ago, or a year and a half ago, the deputy prime minister of Iraq, Tariq Aziz -- and this is in my book, so I'll say it out loud here -- told me that as far as they were concerned missiles and chemical weapons saved Iraq from Iran during the 1980s when they were at war with each other. So here was the man -- does that mean I have --
SEN. LUGAR: No, it means I have to stop in due course after you've responded.
MR. BUTLER: Here was the man saying that -- well, it was probably one of the rare moments on which he told me anything that was true. (Laughter.) Here he was saying that when Iran was sending human waves of young men across the southern border in about 1985, and Iraq was finding it hard to defeat that, they used chemical weapons.
In fact, one Iraqi general at the time said, in a shocking, shocking statement, said, "Well, when you've got an insect problem, what do you do? You use insecticide." And then in the war of the cities, Iraq fired -- what was it, Rolf? -- some 600 missiles, wasn't it? The war of the cities? (Off-mike response.) That's right, that's too many. About 200 missiles at -- hmm?
SEN./MR. : Two hundred seventy-six, by some counts.
MR. BUTLER: -- at Iran. And he, Tariq Aziz, argued that these weapons saved Iraq.
Now, the point I would like to add to what I've just said about missiles not in themselves being illegal, but to draw a distinction between them and the warheads that they carry, the next point I would want to add to that is the far-wider one, and it's this: That if we are serious about preventing the manufacture, deployment and use of what are widely considered to be inadmissible weapons, then our insistence on that will not be credible unless we start with ourselves. There is a very deep problem in arms control being for others, not for you.
And I think the only chance we've got of dealing with adversarial pairs, like Iraq and Iran are, and weaning them away from chemical and biological weapons, is if we accept the axiom of proliferation, which is that as long as any state has a given weapon, others will want to acquire it, and ourselves -- as this country has, for example, with respect to chemical weapons -- divest ourselves of them, and on that moral basis insist that others must also be divested of those weapons, and make a clear distinction between legitimate means of national defense, which could include missiles, and the inadmissible substances that are represented by chemical or biological weapons.
SEN. LUGAR: Thank you. Senator Biden?
SEN. BIDEN: Gentlemen, a couple things seem to be remarkably clear. And when we, at least who hold public office, talk about the issues being discussed today, we don't say them straight up. One is that if there is a decision made by the international community to, quote, "stop proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," notwithstanding the fact that some of us have them and some don't, and those who have them aren't prepared to give them up, if that is one means by which to impact significantly on proliferation -- that is, all the nations get together and say we're going to stop -- that requires everybody in the tank. It requires the French and the Russians, in this case, and the Chinese in the tank in terms of Iraq, or Iran, for that matter.
But if any one of them chooses not to participate and takes a contrary view, then that means you will try to get a -- not a committee of the whole but a committee of a part of the whole, theoretically; the kind of thing, rightly or wrongly, done in the Balkans, where we did not wait for or rely upon a U.N. mandate. And if short of that, the only option is to act unilaterally. So that's one set of options that are available.
It seems to me, with regard to Iraq, it's pretty clear where the consensus in the international community is now relative to the enforcement piece, the fourth leg -- the fourth leg. So, as a practical matter -- I hate to sort of, as they say, cut to the chase here -- but as it relates to Iraq -- let's stick with Iraq for a minute -- the only option on an enforcement side of the equation, as a practical matter, is the United States acting alone and possibly bringing along a few other nations with it, with all the consequences that would flow from that.
The second option is for us to try to limit the speed with which the -- limit, as we say in American baseball, the pace on the ball here -- by having something that we all acknowledge is not a real enforcement mechanism, that is only partially effective, that is not likely to attract the, quote, "remarkable" people that we need, because they know that it is not likely to have real teeth in it; and if they are stopped, no one is going to go in with force, either air power or ground power, to do something about it. At least I would assume that's the case; it's hard to get remarkable people to participate in something they believe is an unremarkable exercise.
And then there is a third option, and that is -- and I want to be corrected, if I am wrong about the options available -- and that is to accept the inevitability and try to impact on the negative impulses of these nations through diplomatic initiatives and/or covert action to change the government. That possibly will alter the behavior.
And so I listened to each of you give a -- and there is nothing I, in broad strokes, disagree with what any one of you said. But if you are sitting there and you are advising a policy-maker where -- or you are advising the president of the United States, the prime minister of England, the president of France -- whoever you're advising, there may be concern. I don't -- he or she will ask you, "Well, do we keep the" -- very practical questions: "Do we sign on to this new regime" (Laughs.) "Do we give it some standing by saying, 'We think it means something, this new U.N. resolution'?"
And I think, pressed, you would all say: "The bottom line is it doesn't mean much. It's not going to be able to determine, without the kind of broad consensus you had" -- Mr. Ambassador -- "behind your initiatives and the broad consensus initially you had behind yours -- initially." Absent that, I bet we're not going to do much to curtail the very thing we're most worried about; this is the amassing of weapons of mass destruction, probably biological and chemical at a minimum.
Are we going to keep the embargo on? Does it make sense? Does it make sense to continue the embargo or should we be thinking in a whole new way? Because one of the things, Dr. Cordesman, you said, that it seems to me is pretty self-evident, is that if we step back from it, if these guys weren't all bad guys, if there wasn't a bad guy in Baghdad, there was a good guy in Baghdad and a good guy in Teheran, they'd both have problems with one another. It's a pretty rough neighborhood they live in, even if they were good guys. And if they were good guys, it seems to me you might very well find their instincts would be as strong to acquire these various weapons as they are bad guys.
And so we should we be thinking about something totally new? Should we be thinking about a new circumstance where the nations of the -- the powerful nations of the world offer guarantees to these countries? I know that is, you know, essentially a NATO Article -- I know you know this inside and out, Dr. Cordesman, from all your work with NATO. Should there be an Article 5 commitment, in effect, to Iran and Iraq? I mean, this is bizarre, I realize. But the other option, should we be thinking totally outside the box here and say, "Okay, you know, if either of you attack the other, the rest of the world who signs on to this is going to go to your defense, and therefore you don't need the weapons?"
The reason I raise this is not because I think that is likely or practical to happen, but I don't know how the hell we have an inspection regime -- I'll end with this Mr. Chairman -- an inspection regime that is able to have any enforcement piece without all the major powers signing on and be willing to use force, if in fact they fail. And it seems self-evident that's not going to happen.
So I have two specific questions.
Mr. Ambassador, I'd like to ask you -- you mentioned this notion about sanctions. Some people, including United Nations officials, have argued that economic sanctions harm the people of Iraq. What is your view about that argument? Do they harm Iraq? Should we keep them in place?
And the second question I have is, it seems to me -- and you can't say this, but I can -- or you can, but you may not want to -- a lot of money is owed Russia and France by Iraq. Is there a way to get around this deal? Is it their self-interests relating to their economic interests that is pushing them in a position -- in a direction that seems to be totally counterintuitive to what their security interests are? And should we be thinking about something that's different; allowing them to sell oil if they pay back Russia and France?
I mean, I know these sound like bizarre notions, but can you talk about those two items for me? One, do sanctions make any sense; and two, what's the motivation, if you're willing to say, in your view, for Russia and France taking the positions they've taken relative to Iraq? Let's stick with Iraq for a minute.
AMB. EKEUS: On the sanctions, yes, the sanctions are -- have been used both as carrots and both as sticks. In the original arrangement in the Security Council, it was stated when Iraq fulfills its obligations under the weapons part, the prohibition against oil imports from Iraq should no longer be enforced.
So it was an automatic link there which, I think, played a very substantial role in the early years of UNSCOM operation. Iraq was mesmerized by that promise and worked with the UNSCOM to some degree in the sense that they didn't shut them out, they didn't block them completely, but they tried to hide discreetly. With time -- that's because the sanctions also had the punishing, the "stick" aspect, on them.
My sense is that what broke up the unity in the Council was the issue of sanctions and, indeed, the money business. Both the debts, the outstanding debts towards Russia, first of all, but also toward France, in addition to the prospect of great business deals ahead; I mean, there is a major demand in Iraq for advanced business ventures there -- the water supply, the electric grid, the telecommunications fat, fat contracts are awaiting, because this is a country with a lot of cash flow.
So indeed, that created the impatience in some of these states, and I think the obvious response to that would have been to invite Russia and France, together with U.S., to strengthen and sharpen the arms control aspect. I think we showed that in spite of Tony Cordesman's I think rather pessimistic view of what arms control can do, we showed that they had a major biologic program. We managed to shrink that, to diminish it to practically -- very little.
And here the concerns in Paris, in Moscow, I'm sure -- and maybe also in Beijing -- are the same. There is a concern about Iraq acquiring weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems. However, the concerns about business is also there, so the obvious response, I see, would have been to create a system that you release -- I think Tony was -- discuss -- (inaudible) -- to give release of essential goods, of high quality goods, dual-use items.
But how can you provide Iraq with dual-use items? Only if you have a system that you control that these items are not misused inside the country. That's the key. Because I cannot stop transfer, I agree, but when the item arrives into the country, you can define again, as Senator Lugar was saying, the personnel. The organizational structure. You can halt the production inside the country. You can't eliminate it maybe, but you can stop it. So the safest deal would have been to sharpen the controls in that sense, open possibility for getting the country start to recover its economy. Get the people there get on their feet.
However, eliminating sanctions is a tremendous problem. What are the sanctions today? They are simply -- Iraq is, in principle, according to 1284, allowed to sell as much oil as it can, according to what the marketplace tolerates of other agreements in OPEC and so on.
The funds generated by that is put into an escrow account, where the money taken out from that is controlled by the United Nations. That arrangement is -- the money there is used for food and medicine.
The question is, if you take away that and give the money to Saddam -- and that is a tremendous problem for all of us -- do you believe, Senator, that if you gave the money to Saddam, that it will be used for food, medicine, for the needy people, for the hospitals in the country?
SEN. BIDEN: No --
AMB. EKEUS: And that is a tremendous dilemma. We are attacked or the U.N. is attacked by, I think, very well-meaning, fine people saying sanctions are punishing the people. But their recipe is to give the funds to Saddam, and that would punish them even more. That is the dilemma.
So I think the only solution is something in the direction I indicate. Sharpen the controls and demand that the new organization they are doing a serious job in the -- I outline how we should do it, and I think I'm afraid it will be challenged by Iraq. And if they do -- but if they do it seriously, one can begin -- know the country to get its water supply, purification of water, health standards, and transport, communication, everything running reasonably well, so you don't let them suffer. But to hand over the resource to Saddam is a highly, highly questionable proposition.
Finally, I think it's wonderful to hear Tony Cordesman talk about the forgiveness of debt. I -- (inaudible) -- told the Russians and the French if they really are seriously concerned about the hardship of Iraq, why not forgive them the tremendous debts they have? That would be a clear, generous and humanitarian goal. No, they are not that humanitarian, I am afraid.
MR. CORDESMAN: But they, Senator --
SEN. BIDEN: I might add, by the way, we just did in this country, with bipartisan support and with the leadership of some on this committee, agree to a significant amount of debt forgiveness for Third World countries. It was a major, major initiative we -- but somehow I don't find others being as likely to do that. But at any rate -- MR. CORDESMAN: One of the ironies, I would say, here is that Russia has been perfectly willing to gradually forgive Syria its arms debts, so it can sell more arms. I think a lot of this -- let's remember what these debts were for, and it is not exactly as if they were accrued in a sort of honorable, humanitarian cause.
But that, I think, reinforces the point that Ambassador Ekeus made. I think in 1988 something like 48 percent of the gross domestic product of Iraq was being spent on arms. Now that was indeed the height of the Iran-Iraq war. But the lowest point in Saddam's history is such that if you take things out of control, you can almost immediately predict what's going to happen. At the worst point in terms of oil-for-food revenues, he was willing to buy, at whatever cost they were, the guidance platforms for nuclear-armed sea-launch missiles from the former Soviet Union.
Now I think our problem here is that we have not done two things. We have not pushed forward the kind of things Iraq really needs. We've been terribly legalistic about controlling these things. We've delayed them pointlessly. We have failed to explain to the world that a lot of the problem is Saddam and his unwillingness to use the money and even use the medicine or the other equipment stockpiled there.
SEN. BIDEN: Tony, do you think anybody believes that, though?
MR. CORDESMAN: Well --
SEN. BIDEN: I mean, do you think anybody believes that he would use the -- I admit we haven't been pounding the argument, but do you think that there's -- I mean, even as I go through the Middle East, I don't find many Arab nations believing that he would do anything --
MR. CORDESMAN: Well, I agree, Senator. But if I may, I'd go back to that paper. We have -- the State Department was asked by a very wide range of people to put together the details of this case two years before that paper was issued.
There was one paper aside from the usual photo of that palaces. I think the entire Middle East does not care about photos of palaces. That's part of the Middle East. The paper we did put out we didn't publicize very well in the region. We sold it here in Washington to convince ourselves we were doing good, and we never followed it up. Now, we may have lost that propaganda battle at this point because it may not be recoverable.
I can't answer your question because I think the United States government and the State Department didn't try. And when it did try, it looked like it was done by a PR person. And with all due respect, the intellectual depth of this occupation is not all that high. I think that one of the things that you really have to put together here is if you want to do this, you got to do it with USIA, you have to do it daily, you have to rebut their charges, you have to aggressively make the points out in the region, you've got to get out of the new fortresses we're building as embassies and actually take the time to make that a key point of communication.
Now, I know a couple of ambassadors who tried. I also know how much support they've gotten. If you don't engage in this battle of perceptions, you are absolutely right, you will lose it. But I would also just, if I may, make two other points.
It isn't just France and Russia. It is a combination of debt and reparations. Right now legally Iraq faces a far worse economic situation than the Weimar Republic did after World War I. We know what happened there; exactly what the incentive is for moderation today in Iraq totally escapes me.
And just one other point about the U.S. taking unilateral military action. A couple of weeks ago I was talking to the Israeli officer who planned the Asyrac (ph) raid, and he was asked, "Could you do that with Iran today?" And he said "No, it would be absurd. We couldn't find the targets, we couldn't hit them. Look at what you encountered in Desert Fox. Look how little you hit that was relevant in that set of military actions." I think we have to do better. But today we don't have the option. We might bomb the wrong thing, but I don't think we have the capability to bomb the right one.
MR. BUTLER: Most of what I would have wanted to say about sanctions has already been said. I'll just make this observation.
Dr. Cordesman in his earlier presentation spoke about the lost -- the propaganda war, and there is no doubt that that is true, the chief sign of which is that most people in the West who think about sanctions upon Iraq and their impact on the ordinary Iraqi people are far more concerned about that impact than is Saddam Hussein. It was made clear by his behavior that he does not care about that in comparison with his concern to maintain weapons of mass destruction. So that's a tragic inversion, in fact.
Now, the other question you asked, Senator Biden, was about Russian and French motivation. I'm not sure about the balance of their economic and financial motivation as distinct from their political motivation. I would tend to think that the latter is actually more important. The sums of money involved from the past are largish. Yevgeny Primakov, whom I visited once when he was foreign minister of Russia in Moscow a year and a half ago, spoke of $8 billion.
And he said, quite bluntly, he said to me across the table, "And we want it." But as the Syrian example indicates and the absolute remarks that were made about Russian debt forgiveness, you know, they would have set that $8 billion aside, I think, if they thought there would be future contracts.
So certainly it's the case with French oil companies, and I think it's the case in Russia, too, that the (sight ?) is more on an economic future with Iraq rather than being paid back what they're owed from the past. But partly because I don't accept the Marxian view that says that economics is the elemental substructure of which politics is the superstructure, I actually see things the other way around, certainly in international politics. I think power and influence is the substructure, the palpable thing that states want and seek to protect.
And in this context, I have no doubt that Russia, contemporary, post-Cold War Russia, has seen the Iraq situation as it's gone on almost a decade now, the post-Gulf War situation, as one which provides it an almost unique opportunity to exercise power again on the world stage as almost a co-equal superpower with the United States, where there's been no other since the fall of the Berlin Wall, no other comparable situation. With the fall of that wall, Russia was knocked off the stage, to some extent, pretty much so, I think, as a superpower. And there's really only been one situation where a combination of things like the absence of United States role and influence and historic factors -- read the book, "The Great Game"; this has been going on for a millennium -- of Russian influence and knowledge of this part of the world --
SEN. BIDEN: Well, I would argue that --
MR. BUTLER: -- provided them an opportunity to exercise power. And I think --
SEN. BIDEN: They tried that in the Balkans. And because of the resolve and the insistence that we were going to go forward anyway, quite frankly, the French had no choice but to go along, and we basically ignored -- whether it was the right policy or not. I won't argue the policy. But we basically said to the Russians, "You don't like it? No problem. You're on you're own, Jack."
MR. BUTLER: Well, you can draw conclusions, Senator, for your own administration here with respect to what that means about resolve, and I'm sure you will, and you may well be right. My point, however, was in answer to your question about motivation. And my throwaway line about Marxian thought was in order to demonstrate that I think, at least equal with future economic gain, and maybe even more important in the Russian mind, has been to seize the opportunity that its historic standing in Baghdad -- together with the absence of the United States, and the difficulties that the United States has had with it, with this country -- has provided it to get a foothold back on the superpower stage.
And I think the loss of that status has been something of deep concern in Russia. And it would be very interesting to see what President Putin does with that. And secondly, with respect to France, although they don't have comparable aspirations to super-power status as comparable with those of Russia, perhaps on the other hand, does have deep antipathy to a unipolar and anglophonic world.
SEN. BIDEN: That's a mild understatement.
MR. BUTLER: Well, I thought I put that rather splendidly. (Laughter.)
SEN. BIDEN: I think you did. (Laughter.)
MR. BUTLER: Yeah.
SEN. BIDEN: I think you did.
MR. BUTLER: And they have seen this, as they have seen, too, the Iraq situation as an opportunity for that.
What happened in the two days before the adoption of Resolution 1284 that created UNMOVIC -- you know, some wits to be calling it "UNMOVICH." I'll leave you to think about that. (Laughter.)
But the machinations that took place about -- (inaudible) -- about for the last few days before that vote took place on 17 December last -- France asked for a postponement of the vote and their in (exclusive ?) way told this story: France's trepidation was that it might be not on the same side as the Russians. But France is a member of the Western alliance. But that was its main concern. And so it called for a postponement to try to persuade Russia to come to the "yes" vote. And when it didn't give -- (inaudible) -- to the "abstain" vote with Russia, knowing that we will forgive France; we always do. We say, "Ah, well, that's the French."
But what was really interesting about that is that it was more important for them for there to be no daylight between them and Russia. And I think that reflected on what I am saying to you: For them, this allergy they have to a unipolar world is not a small matter.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you.
SEN. LUGAR: Let me just follow through briefly on the analysis that you have all given, in the case that bringing back the -- (inaudible) -- in the Security Council is very difficult, you know -- for nonproliferation, for enforcement, for -- and we have been sort of outlining the different motivations.
And I think, Ambassador Butler, you are probably right that there is -- maybe even there is a debate in our government from time to time as to whether the economic superstructure is important, when you have apostles who say, "Really, the competition in the world is economic now." And, therefore, the national defense or security issues are downplayed as "interesting" but certainly less important than what's going on out there. And others may feel the same thing.
Now, the Russians may have a differing view. Things have not gone well for them, economically, and -- (inaudible) -- certainly a disaster area. And so perhaps, if you have nothing going for you at all at that point, you try to move in a different way. I mean, it's a real -- (inaudible) -- as they have.
But we have a real problem then. As you suggested that we go to the new president-elect and propose that somehow or other that nonproliferation or the development of weapons of mass destruction, particularly in Iran and Iraq -- or in Iraq particularly because we've had a regime there -- (inaudible) -- is very important for us to work together. And he may take a different view from previous regimes.
And in my own limited experience, it's sort of two interviews with -- (inaudible) -- had and with -- (Minatom ?) -- was that they took a view that this was serious and that the government had taken some limited steps. But we have to understand the Duma difficult, and the lack of communication with President Yeltsin in those days. And, furthermore, it was now a free country; lots of other actors, often universities and in research places that were sometimes beyond the pale of control of a weakened central government.
Now, then beyond that, they would argue that, after all, that the peaceful development in Iran -- at least that was often the argument there -- and we should not be that concerned in resurrecting technology of the European firm in the past, and that we shouldn't be so difficult about it, because after all, as we argued, Iran and Iraq are closer to Russia than they are to us.
We understand that. We are not fools, and we understand our security. But -- sort of be at ease. So we've gone round and round.
Now, Mr. Putin sees it differently, maybe he doesn't. I -- hard to tell. But whether his priority is the same as ours -- and by "ours" I mean the Permanent Five, or the Security Council, that it might have a resolution. This is sort of a difficult stretch. And we can finally, then, come down to a problem we have in this country, and that is to what extent are we prepared to be the enforcers with the resentment you've just suggested from the French. But they're not alone in this. Others --
MR. BUTLER: You can just ask the Chinese.
SEN. LUGAR: Yes. The Chinese --
MR. BUTLER: That was quite unkind of us, because they've got a whole --
SEN. LUGAR: Right. Take a very dim view of this. So if we took a look around the world as to how many people we have holding our coats or cheering us on, this might be a pretty limited crowd. And I'll have you --
Having said that, you really say, well, that's the way the world works. You have to accept that. No, none of us want to do that. The whole purpose of the hearing today has been where do we go and how do we put it together? And we've -- I think there have been good suggestions about reorganizing some of our own priorities and decision making in our government. But even after we do all of that, we get ready for prime time in this, and look around, this requires perhaps, as I think Ambassador Ekeus has said, a very different kind of skill of diplomacy, perhaps. You know, as we take a look at what we have been doing vis-a-vis these countries. Maybe our message needs to be a different one. I don't know what it would be, but I'm just of a mind, listening to all of this, that we haven't been particularly effective with any of these parties. And the U.N., certainly we've not -- our role there has been sort of spasmodic, shades of indifference back and forth. Maybe we need to take another look at that. If we were to look at the Security Council seriously, or if we don't, then to figure out what is the forum in which we deal, and worldwide, I mean, something beyond NATO and Europe. So these -- you know, I don't call upon you for answers to these questions. On the other hand, they are ones that are suggested by this quest of these hearings: try to once again have some oversight of what is happening in our own policy, but as it reverberates around the world or as it attracts (a lie ?).
Dr. Cordesman, you know, having given this analysis of -- and a very good one -- of our problems, how would you proceed if you were president of secretary of State now? Given this disarray, how would you begin, at least, an orderly process given the dictum you have said, you can't solve it all at one time although there are many fora that we've talked about?
MR. CORDESMAN: I think the first thing is the battle for perceptions. By that I mean, the first thing you have to do is to make it clear to the world that you are committed to the struggle against proliferation. That means giving the U.N. the support it needs when it moves forward. It means, frankly, criticizing them when it doesn't. It means making it really convincing to the world that proliferation is a real threat and who is doing what and how dangerous it is, and that means using the tools we have, going beyond the few pages in the National Intelligence Council Report.
It means using tools like USIA and other instruments to simply communicate. Now, that doesn't solve any problems, but it makes a very clear demonstration.
SEN. LUGAR: Because you're saying, in essence, the world -- and I agree -- does not really see this as the problem that we see it here today?
MR. CORDESMAN: No, and I think, Senator, one of the things that I would suggest you do is to hold a hearing on the full list of countries on that list of countries with chemical and biological weapons. And I have not seen the list, so I am going to speculate about a few countries we haven't named today that are on that list.
My speculation would be that countries which have a breakout capability in chemical and biological warfare include: South Korea, Taiwan, Egypt, Thailand, Israel, Turkey, India and Pakistan and that the list goes a great deal longer. So when we talk about control regimes, it is necessary to understand how broad the problem really is.
And I do have to say that it is easy to downgrade biological weapons, but having been, several centuries ago, DARPA's last program manager for this, and this was after arms control treaties were in place, let me note the technology we had in the late '60s could use dry anthrax with nuclear lethalities. Some of that is in the detachments to the handout I've given. It is in the OTA report, which is now by itself 10 years old. That should tell you about the technology, and if you wan to talk about the lethality, we have this little handbook we now give out to response groups in the U.S. military on lethality of biological.
What I am -- the reason I say that is I would not give up on any international control efforts, but I think supply efforts are likely to control efforts, supplier regimes are likely to be more effective. Dialogue, whether -- it is quite clear to Russia that we really see this as a top priority and here I don't think it matters what form we take, but I have to agree completely with Ambassador Butler; if you don't communicate that diplomatically, then you're going to see more and more violations.
I think, too, frankly, in addition to the measures that I have set, I go back to the fact the willingness to use these things, the willingness to deploy them openly, the willingness to go from sort of a covert capability to a large deployed capability is in many ways dependent on the perception of the risk in dealing with the U.S. military. We can't preempt them, but unless we have strong offensive capabilities, backed frankly, ultimately, by the threat of using nuclear weapons, if weapons are used against our allies, then I don't think we have the essence of a control regime.
SEN. LUGAR: Would you refine that quickly, because -- you know, we've had testimony, as we discussed, the Asian problem the other day on Pakistan and India and that, not that they would casually use weapons of mass destruction on each other, but still, that people felt there was some probability that things might escalate to that stage. Now, you know, here we are, still watching that drama play out. What should we say to those regimes? Don't do it? And if you do it, what do we issue consequences unilaterally? We indicate that the United States of America is going to take a dire action with regard to those countries if they ever consider letting the genie out of the bottle?
MR. CORDESMAN: Well, Senator, in the region where I work, the United States is constantly accused of having a dual standard. Well, I have a dual standard; you worry about your allies, and you worry about your friends, but you do not make strategic commitments to countries which are not your allies and which do not serve your strategic interest.
Now the plain truth of the matter is that India and Pakistan, tragic and horrible as an exchange would be, are not something we can preempt or threaten to deter by force. But in a de facto sense, Iran and Iraq are nations which believe that threat exists, partly because of what Secretary Baker said years ago to Tariq Aziz during the time of the Gulf War and partly simply because it is inconceivable to them, at least at the moment, that we would not use that power. Certainly I think that particular deterrent is something North Korea never fails to consider with its chemical and biological weapons.
So when I say we have to have the military strength, I am talking about the military strength to protect our allies, whether it's Israel or Saudi Arabia in the Southern Gulf, or Turkey. But it is to serve our vital interests and those of our allies, not to try to police the world.
SEN. LUGAR: So you rule India and Pakistan -- I mean, in essence, if they want to go at this, horrible as it may be, this is beyond our unilateral regime to try to stop?
MR. CORDESMAN: Well, in all honesty, I do not see how we can deter them by threatening to bomb the loser.
SEN. LUGAR: Senator Biden?
SEN. BIDEN: I get a little confused. Proliferation or nonproliferation policy, as you say, Doctor, has to be backed up by a real threat, real tools, real capacity to respond if it is ignored. And yet I'm -- I don't know how -- how do we make the nonproliferation argument when we conclude that the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty shouldn't be ratified; when we conclude that we, the only nation with the potential in real time to have a limited nuclear defense, a defense against nuclear attack or weapons of mass destruction delivered by missiles, anyway -- that we're going to go ahead and construct that, even if it means we end the regime of the Anti- Ballistic Missile Treaty? How can we argue that we are -- that nonproliferation is a big deal for us when we conclude what we apparently -- at least a significant number of us seem to be concluding -- that the restraints that exist upon us, either in terms of national defense or in terms of testing of nuclear weapons, should not apply?
MR. CORDESMAN: Senator, I think, in all honesty, we have never argued -- it is a matter of fact in the U.S. national strategy document and in the Pentagon's definition of counterproliferation -- that the search for nonproliferation means giving up U.S. military capabilities or retaliatory capabilities.
SEN. BIDEN: No one's saying that. And the two things I just said do not encompass either of those.
MR. CORDESMAN: The only way I can see, however, that we could make a case that would say we will give up everything would be if we seriously believed it would result in our opponents or threats giving up everything.
SEN. BIDEN: Well, you're setting up a straw man. That's not the question I asked you.
MR. CORDESMAN: Then I don't understand --
SEN. BIDEN: Okay. Let me ask it again.
We signed on to an Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. We, the united States. No one made us do it. We signed on to it. Without arguing the merits of whether or not it has any utility any longer, whether it's in our interest or not, I'm just making the larger point: How do we say that we are prepared to violate -- not violate -- to give notice that we're abandoning our commitment, which we're able to do under the treaty, we're abandoning our commitment to the Anti- Ballistic Missile Treaty in order for us to be able to build a limited or a thin national missile defense; and then, while we're doing that, go to other countries and say, "By the way, you are going to have imposed upon you the status quo by us and others -- the status quo meaning you will not possess a missile capacity that can strike us, we are going to stop you from doing that, and you are not going to be able to build any weapons of mass destruction, and we expect you to abide by that. And furthermore, we don't want you to go out and test nuclear weapons, we don't want you to test the efficacy of the systems you have, but we are not going to sign on not to test what we already have or what we might want."
Now, that's the message that confuses me. If we're going to exercise the raw power, which I have not been reluctant to do, then that's fine, as long as we don't make any bones about it. We're saying we're going to have one standard for us and another standard for the rest of the world. That's one thing. But if we expect to attract any support for our position that we are going to impose, if need be, a restriction on the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by other countries, or a missile technology that could, long term, threaten us, short term threaten our allies, how do we do that in the face of concluding that we're not going to be bound any longer?
No one ever said -- it's been our doctrine thus far that we would abide by a combination of offense and defense as defined -- in the nuclear side of the equation -- as defined by the ABM Treaty. That's what we've said so far. That's been the doctrine for the last 30 years or thereabouts. It hasn't been unilateral dropping any -- that has been our position. It may make sense not to have that position any longer. But how do you sell abandoning that position at the same time we are selling the idea that we want you -- India, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, anyone else -- A, don't test missiles; B, don't acquire technology; C, don't test the new weapons of mass destruction? How do you sell that? Or do you do it just by raw force, which is not a bad idea either? MR. CORDESMAN: I think it is certainly true, again, we have a dual standard. I think in part it is successful with most countries in the world because they are willing to accept the nuclear club as it is, without rushing out to join it.
SEN. BIDEN: Right.
MR. CORDESMAN: And no one is publicly rushing out to join the chemical and biological club, which are the other two.
I would not by any means recommend that we go into national missile defense without making every conceivable effort to talk to the Russians, restructure the START agreements, and use this in the context of a broader effort to secure the balance as a whole. I don't know if Ambassador Butler would agree or not, but certainly in talking to Ambassador -- I mean, to President Putin, you are going to have to talk about the whole issue of missile defense is you are going to talk about proliferation.
SEN. BIDEN: I agree.
MR. CORDESMAN: I think in terms of other arms control regimes, the argument has to be not that you will be equal to us or we will become equal to you, but if you accept these agreements you will in your area become more secure, because the people around you are the threat, not us, and because these regimes will help other nations in the world act both in terms of your security and to put pressure on the relatively few nations which actively and openly proliferate. I think these are the convincing arguments.
SEN. BIDEN: Well, I'd just say, Mr. Chairman, I don't doubt there's a dual standard, and I don't expect that countries should have difficulties for the ultimate self-interest reason you've stated, to accept the dual standard. I think there's a difference between the dual standard and the dual moving standard. And that's the only point I'm making. There is a bit of a moving standard here that we are at least enunciating we're prepared to move.
I can't think of anything that would be in the greater interest of the rest of the world -- in Iran's interest or Iraq's interest or Russia's interest or Pakistan's interest or India's interest -- if, in fact, nobody could test any longer. It seems to me that's the best guarantee, and it's the easiest to detect among them: that is, the testing capacity. And yet we've made a decision, at least temporarily, that no, we don't want a formal moratorium on testing nuclear weapons underground. I find that to be counter even to your larger point, which I agree with: that the ultimate reason why these countries would accept the duality of the positions in the world would be that at the end of the day they're more secure. At the end of the day they're more secure relative to their neighbors. I just think it gets kind of hard to make some of these arguments. But at any rate, I appreciate your answer.
MR. BUTLER: I don't know what your timing is, Mr. Chairman. I guess we're getting towards the end of this.
SEN. LUGAR: Yes.
MR. BUTLER: If I may just very quickly say that I do share in very large measure the views that Dr. Cordesman has just put, including with respect to the approach that should be made to the President of Russia.
I think the questions that Senator Biden has just raised about incentives, disincentives to acquire weapons of mass destruction, the double standard, et cetera, et cetera are absolutely central questions. It is the case, as I said earlier on, there is such a thing that I call the axiom of proliferation, and it's neither good nor bad, it's just true, which is -- which says that as long as any state has these weapons, others will seek to acquire them.
Secondly, the main reason why states seek to acquire any given weapon system are apprehensions of their security or insecurity. And I think that's a fundamental motive.
But thirdly, we must not ignore the folly of the dual standard; that is, to assert that, "Arms control is good for you" -- it's always for the other fellow -- "but our security requires that we have these weapons, but yours doesn't." Now, that's not credible.
Now lest that add up to a picture where the United States or the United Kingdom, or anyone else, would be expected to unilaterally disarm or strip themselves naked of their means of national defense, let me make very clear that I don't support that. That would be folly; especially in a democracy, it wouldn't work; and let's not waste out time talking about. And it would be insecure because, just as I said, the main reason why states seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction is apprehensions of their own security. Truly, that same principle applies to this great nation, for example.
But what I have proposed for your consideration today is something that I would like you to think of as a pond. You throw a stone into it, and you get concentric circles. On the perimeter of this pond -- the pond is called "weapons of mass destruction" -- on the perimeter of it are chemical -- or really first, biological weapons. And then one step in, one ring in, is chemical weapons. And what I am saying is that there on the perimeter, they are really rather useless; they are terribly horrible. And we are broadly agreed in the world that no one should have them. Let's start taking some action there, collectively. And, Senator, you are absolutely right when you said earlier that we'll go nowhere unless we get agreement amongst the Permanent Five.
So my proposal is let's take these horrible little weapons out of politics as usual, and let's start to really get rid of them. Now, I don't think anyone's security is going to be greatly harmed if that is accomplished on a global basis. And I do think it's doable.
Then, as you move closer to the center of the pool, of course, you start to approach certain kinds of nuclear weapons. And we have already gotten rid of a lot of those, and there are good proposals to get rid of a lot more and to stop testing, which I strongly support. Unsurprising given that I brought that treaty to the floor of the General Assembly in 1996, but never mind. (Laughter.) But then not all, in quantity or quality, but certain kinds of nuclear weapons are obvious candidates to go first, to be reduced in number in the name of improved global security.
And you see where I am going. Ultimately, theoretically, to a day where, if we are not entirely free of all weapons of mass destruction, but we have got a world that is characterized, not by proliferation of them but by a controlled very small number of them, and we're all agreed -- we're all agreed that that's how we'd prefer to live. And we get on with our politics as usual in other areas of trade and art and culture and ethnic stuff and refugees, and whatever the hell the human family wants to do otherwise, and God bless it for wanting to do those things. That's my proposal. And I think -- I think that's doable, but step by step and always with national security at the core.
SEN. BIDEN: Mr. Chairman, would you permit me, two minutes?
One of the perverse impacts that I believe occurred, or is bursting to the fore, as a consequence of our action in Kosovo, has been, as I travel the world, and visit "Third World countries," quote, unquote, who are not our allies, or even deal with our allies, is that it seemed to establish the idea that -- the phrase I hear in other countries -- "If Yugoslavia, if Milosevic, had chemical weapons or biological weapons or nuclear weapons, you would have never done that.
So the only way we have deal with you is to have possession of those weapons."
Secondly, we were told by previous witnesses, well-respected witnesses, in the first or second of these hearings, that they believed -- two said they believed that the reason why Saddam believes we did not go to Baghdad was because they possessed chemical weapons, and we were fearful of them, and that's why we stopped. That was an assertion -- am I correct? -- that was an assertion made by one very well-respected witness before us. I didn't realize that was part of it. I didn't think that was it. But let's assume that it is.
If either of those propositions are true -- that is, that our overwhelming conventional force has made it clear to other nations that -- and they believe we would not use such force, for whatever reason, if they possessed a weapon of mass destruction -- maybe what we should do is take out a country with weapons of mass destruction. I'm not being facetious. If you think I'm being facetious, I'm not.
I think it might raise the question if in fact -- and there's a distinction, Doctor. The ability to hide weapons of mass destruction is fairly clear. The ability to hide intermediate-range missiles is not so clear at all. So maybe what we should do is just wait around till they possess those missiles, and then go in and unilaterally take them out at that time, to demonstrate that that's not a way in which to have to deal with us. A bizarre proposition. Can you respond to that?
MR. CORDESMAN: Let me respond, first, we didn't hit a single intermediate-range missile during the Gulf War, although we claimed to. And that was actually a fairly exposed, open environment, because they really had not created a detailed doctrine for concealing the weapons. We found ourselves basically making military claims -- if you go back to what was said before Ambassador Ekeus and Ambassador Butler started their work, that we had essentially destroyed the weapons of mass destruction capability in Iraq, which was a message communicated to President Bush, and one of the reasons for the timing of the cease-fire.
It turned out that, basically speaking, none of those claims were correct, and the most valuable single target that we hit -- and correct me on this -- was when we hit, as a diversionary effort, basically where the pilot didn't have the faintest idea what he was aiming at.
Now in the case of Kosovo, let me note that the Department of Defense has sent an unclassified report to Congress. In that, there is not one word about the effectiveness of our bombing effort in terms of the targets in Serbia proper. And you will notice that it very carefully provides almost no detail, except to replicate an unintelligible NATO table in dealing with the Serbian forces in the field.
We have never had anyone explain basically what we accomplished in Desert Fox. I believe we have one convincing missile strike, and we had something like 17 facilities which were God knows what.
SEN. BIDEN: Why do you keep talking about a credible military response time?
MR. CORDESMAN: I think that a credible military --
SEN. BIDEN: What are you talking about?
MR. CORDESMAN: Because it doesn't come in being perfect and it doesn't come in doing the impossible. You are not going to be able to reply to a country which uses a covert attack by attacking the covert force. You are going to have to attack its leadership or its economic targets or its general military capabilities, but we should not have ideas of false precision and false targeting capabilities.
SEN. BIDEN: I don't disagree with that, but let me ask you, do you believe that Desert Storm was a credible military response? Do you believe that the bombing campaign in Kosovo was credible? Or were they not credible? I mean, I'm trying to figure out what you mean by credible response. Is a credible response, We're going to blow you away with a nuclear weapon? That's credible? Or is a credible response the kinds of things occurred? What constitutes credible?
MR. CORDESMAN: All right. They were perfectly credible and they achieved their strategic goals. But, the point you raised is --
SEN. BIDEN: I got it. I understand what your point, and I -- it's a valid point, because you can't do what I'm suggesting would be possible to do.
MR. CORDESMAN: Precision.
SEN. BIDEN: Yes. Precision. And thank you. That's very helpful.
SEN. LUGAR: Well, gentlemen, we thank you very much for your testimony and for staying with us after this hour. And I appreciate your plan, Ambassador Butler, with regard to this ripples-in-the-pond and so forth. You know, we do have the Chemical Weapons Convention and in this country we are destroying our chemical weapons in 10 years.
MR. BUTLER: That's right.
SEN. LUGAR: It does raise a question with regard to Russia, because their intent still is to do that, but they have testified to some of us they have no money, or very little resource to do that, which makes a very interesting public policy question for us, and that is, to what extent should and United States supply money to work --
SEN. BIDEN: They will need a Lugar-Biden amendment.
SEN. LUGAR: Well, perhaps it'll get to that. But nevertheless, that's the problem. Finally, you know, you have this mass of 40,000 metric tons that is well known in seven places but is not disappearing, despite the treaty and the pledges of the Russians. Now, there are others beyond that, but the United States and Russia in this respect are on the same track. So you have some possibilities of some confluence of interest, and that is useful.
We thank you very much for contributing so much to our understanding. And the hearing is adjourned.