Skip to comments.Senator Hillary! Women better off with Saddam - Transcript (long, know thy enemy)
Posted on 02/27/2004 7:30:51 PM PST by Indy Pendance
THIS IS AN UNCORRECTED TRANSCRIPT. P R O C E E D I N G S
MR. STEINBERG: Good morning ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Brookings. I'm Jim Steinberg, the Director of the Foreign Policy Studies Program here.
And it's my privilege to welcome and introduce Senator Hillary Clinton from New York as our speaker this morning.
It's a cliché when somebody comes up to start an introduction to say, of course our speaker needs no introduction--but in this case it's no cliché. Our speaker, clearly, needs no introduction to this or any other audience. She's had a remarkable career across a broad range of issues in both foreign and domestic policy. And it's really entirely exciting and appropriate for us to be able to have the opportunity to have her here this morning.
There are a couple things I just want to highlight before I turn the podium over to the Senator.
As a staff alumnus of the Armed Services Committee, I'm particularly thrilled that the Senator chose as one of her assignments when she joined the United States Senate to serve on the United States Senate Armed Services Committee.
One of the things I learned--a bit to my surprise--and something I probably should have known from being on the staff--is that she's actually the first New Yorker to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee. And I think it's a testament to her commitment to the broad issues of national security that she's going to be talking about today, that she's taken on that assignment. And she also serves on the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, which is particularly appropriate to the issues facing us today.
In her capacity on the Armed Services Committee, she's recently traveled to two of the most important regions where our forces are now engaged, both Afghanistan and Iraq. And brings to her work in the Senate and our discussion today that first-hand experience that she gained, including visiting with the troops from the Tenth Mountain Division, which are from New York. She's had, as I said, an extraordinarily distinguished career, not the least of which she's a graduate from Yale Law School, which is another connection that brings us together, along with several others who are here today.
And she has, in her short career in the Senate and long career in public life, really demonstrated that she's one of the most powerful and forceful analysts, advocates, and speakers on the broad range of issues that face our country.
She's going to speak today on addressing the National Security Challenges of our Time: Fighting Terror and the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction. And, clearly, there is no more important set of issues facing us in the country. And particularly today when there's such a deep debate, not only about how we need to orient ourselves to deal with these problems, but what our strategies need to be at home and abroad.
It's an honor and a privilege for all of us to welcome Senator Hillary Clinton here, this morning.
SENATOR CLINTON: Thank you very much. Thank you, Jim, for that introduction and for our years working together and friendship that goes back a ways.
And I also want to thank Strobe Talbott and, of course, he and I and my husband are friends of the longest-standing--and Brooke I thank you for being here this morning, as well. And to all of you, thank you for this opportunity to spend a little bit of time talking about these issues and then having question and answer opportunities, as well.
You know, today, as we gather, we are at a unique moment in the foreign policy of this Administration. In the context of Iraq, we are seeing signs of a shift, even a reversal in the Administration's fundamental attitude toward international allies; toward international institutions; and multilateralism.
When you step back, the changes are striking. As we all know, in the lead-up to the war in Iraq, the Administration chose to ignore many allies and the United Nations before U. S. troops crossed the border into Iraq.
Now, an Administration that has celebrated freedom of action over collective action in Iraq, is scrambling for friends and institutions to bail us out. The go-it- alone instinct of this Administration has now demonstrably failed. Our experience in Iraq demonstrates that power, not harnessed to a sense of international legitimacy is a flawed strategy.
The question is whether the Administration's about-face in Iraq signifies a deeper re-evaluation of their attitudes toward the world. That is, has the Administration come to understand that the 50-year bipartisan consensus supporting multilateralism was not an excuse for weakness, but an exercise of strength?
The answer to this question is critical to understanding whether the Administration's foreign policy is undergoing a shift, brought on by our experience in Iraq that views our allies and the international community as partners in the War on Terror. For a failure to learn the lessons from our policy failure in Iraq will be disastrous in the War on Terror.
So, this morning, I'd like to talk about the dangers of pursuing a policy of unilateralism and the need for allies in every aspect of our security. Critical to fighting this new 21st century war is a fundamental re-orientation away from a unilateral posture to a multilateral strategy that strengthens all who participate.
Such a change would bring us back in line with more than a half-century of bipartisan consensus on foreign policy. But we must do more than return to that sensible, cooperative approach. We must consider reforming some of the institutions and alliances we're now part of; revamping some of the agreements we've reached or are still working on; and examining new ways to work together if we are to be as effective as we possibly can in meeting these new challenges of terror and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
If we do that, I believe we can build a world with more friends and fewer terrorists and create a climate in which we can move from fear to hope.
As Jim said, over Thanksgiving, I visited both Iraq and Afghanistan with Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, where I did have the honor of visiting with U. S. troops, including those from the Tenth Mountain Division based at Fort Drum, New York.
In a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York in December, I laid out many of my concerns about our policies in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And great deal has occurred since then that I'd like to take just a moment to address.
If we look about what happened in Iraq, I think we can reach several conclusions: First, I believe our military victory in Iraq was assured. We knew that victory would be inevitable. We may not have been able to put the time line in place.
But we not only have an extraordinarily dedicated military, we have the most advanced technology; we have the best trained troops; we have a level of professionalism, skill, and judgment that is incredibly impressive. And I would urge more attention to that.
In fact, our troops are now being called to engage in nation building; something that had been derided by, then Governor Bush, during the 2000 campaign.
But from what I saw, the victories that we can look to in the post-conflict period in Iraq, are largely due to the actions of our military. And not just our generals but, literally, all up and down the chain of command. And it has been an extraordinary display of American know-how and willingness to dig in and do some very difficult work, while still trying to engage the Iraqis and create a condition of stability and security.
During the 2000 campaign, I recall Vice President Cheney saying that there is almost nothing you can do to improve the quality of a force created by your predecessors. And then after the Gulf War, he wrote a letter to former President Reagan thanking him for building the military that fought so capably.
Well, I don't know, but I don't think any letters have yet arrived on the desks of anyone associated with the Clinton Administration.
But that military success does not counteract the second point of the war that many of us have discussed. And that is the fact that before the war actually began, many questions were raised about what would happen--what was the post-war Iraq plan? How many troops; for how long; how much; what was the nature of the mission? Not only were I and other members of Congress raising questions about the plan for a post-Saddam Iraq, but we now know that many within the Administration raised similar questions and cautions.
Indeed, report after report have recently come out, literally, volumes of writing, showing that the CIA, the State Department and think tanks in this town and others predicted all of the problems we are now witnessing in Iraq. They actually predicted the looting; the problems of disbanding the army; and the civil strife that would ensue.
When I was in Iraq, I don't think I met with any Iraqi who did not ask me how could you have let the looting go on? It's a very important question that this Administration has yet to address.
Now, were these people in the State Department and elsewhere in this town lauded for their brilliant insight? No, they were fired, relegated or ignored.
According to "The Washington Post" and I quote, "The Bush Administration ignored their planning, fired planners who disagreed with it and in several instances barred Pentagon officials from attending meeting with planners suspected of harboring thoughts not approved by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld." That is a chilling indictment of this Administration. Only in Washington is the reward for being bright getting fired.
And now where are we? Well, we have a rush to turn over the helm to anyone. As I stated in December, I have serious concerns about the Administration's plan to transfer sovereignty to the Iraqis in a little more than three months. Indeed, the Administration's policy seems in disarray, except for their commitment to the date of July, since it has now announced that it is abandoning its plan for caucuses to choose new leaders.
I have argued for combining a turnover of the political reigns being done in a more timely and thoughtful way. I have expressed concerns about doing a turnover of such significance while we are still in the midst of turning over our own troops.
Removing from literally the front lines, people who have created relationships with Iraqis at all levels of the government and the, you know, nascent military and police forces. I believe that we should definitely consider delaying a transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqis by a few months, at least so we can be better assured of a safer transition.
And then, just recently we have heard that the governing counsel is not even committed to negotiating the terms of a continuing American involvement until that transfer of sovereignty.
There are other problems associated with the Administration's expedited schedule. One is we have no idea who might emerge as the leaders of a new Iraq. We, obviously, cannot and should not expect to hand pick that leader or leaders, but we should have some sense of what will be the frame work for governance.
Will Iraq have a religious secular government? Will it have a federal structure or allow autonomous regions. We have a date, but not a destination. We are at a critical point and it appears to me that, once again, the Administration is in disarray.
We must not let adherence to artificial deadlines create a situation that fosters greater instability from which our efforts to create a free and democratic Iraq may not recover.
We should not adhere slavishly to an artificial deadline decided for whatever reason in Washington, if it risks chaos and unraveling in Iraq.
And let me turn now to Afghanistan, because I believe we still have failed to pay adequate attention or have we given the appropriate resources that are necessary to Afghanistan.
This was summarized for me when I was greeted by a soldier, an American soldier in Afghanistan who said welcome to the forgotten front line of the War on Terror. I laid out my concerns about Afghanistan, also, in my December speech.
In recent reports that the political transition in Afghanistan may have to be delayed because of problems ensuring security and building political institutions suggests that we are once again on the brink of if not failure, certainly, considerable setbacks because we have not provided the appropriate focus on what Afghanistan needs in order to makes it way through this transition.
Having achieved quick military success, we should not repeat the same mistakes that were made in 1989. Yet, I fear that unless we and our NATO allies ramp up our involvement in this forgotten front line in the War in Terror, we stand in danger of doing so.
Despite the differences in how and why we went into Iraq and Afghanistan, there are lessons to be learned from each as we consider how best to fight the wider War on Terror.
First and foremost, I believe, we've got to, once again, take a hard look at how we treat our allies and how we expect them to work with us in providing security and reconstruction in these two countries.
You know, this is not a new problem, dealing with allies. And it's not a new problem dealing with particular countries with whom we often have prickly relationships. As Churchill once said, the only thing worse than having allies is not having them. And I think this Administration has finally begun to realize that.
The irony is that while the Administration was dismissive of broader international support before the war, it is now seeking NATO and U. N. involvement in Iraq. It is attempting to get NATO to fulfill it's pledge to provide more troops and equipment in Afghanistan, yet to be committed to. And it's sending James Baker abroad to build support for debt reduction.
We already have a profound problem with how we are perceived in the world, with many viewing the United States as arrogant and unilateralist. Recent international polls confirm what many of us sense and feel, which is that respect and admiration for the United States has plummeted in many places around the world.
Ironically, this schizophrenic policy that the Administration has put before us is at odds with a growing bipartisan consensus on Capital Hill that recognizes our interests are advanced when we win allies to our causes. Republican Senators Hagel and McCain; Representatives Wolfe and Shays, along with Joe Biden, and a chorus of Democrats, understand that to gain allies we need to share control. That's an important lesson, not just for Iraq and Afghanistan, but for winning the War on Terror.
And, yet, how do we operationalize that? How do we have a situation in which even this Administration can begin to move back toward that consensus which has served us so well? Well, you know, sometimes we need troops; sometimes we need economic assistance; sometimes we need intelligence; sometimes we need nations to use their own police and security forces to crack down on terror cells and money laundering within their own borders. We need all kinds of collaboration. And, unfortunately, our current policy does not focus on such collaboration with the vigor it deserves.
Now, America's detachment from the world began well before September 11. Remember how the Administration withdrew from the playing field in the Middle East. Of course it is a difficult and turbulent environment, but our laissez faire approach gave us no advantage in pushing the Palestinians to crack down on the terrorists as they stepped up their attacks on Israelis in 2001 and 2002.
We retreated from the world when we abandoned the Kyoto Global Warming Treaty process, without even attempting to create some kind of consensus that would enable that process to continue.
When we withdrew from the ABM Treaty, buried the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and abandoned the effort to give teeth to the Biological Weapons Treaty.
That sequence of diplomatic retrenchments sent a clear message: We're going it alone, whether you like it or not. In fact, we hope you don't like it, because that will make us feel even stronger as we pursue our objectives around the world.
We do not trust international efforts to deal with common problems. We are better served by freedom of action, rather than collective action.
And that gets to the heart of such a big difference between this Administration and the bipartisan consensus of the 20th century about foreign policy.
Indeed, the benefits of international support has been apparent during the 20th century, most obviously in the defeat of fascism in World War II and the defeat of communism during the Cold War.
In the post-Cold War era, the model can be seen in Kosovo and Bosnia. I believe that we prevailed in Kosovo because 19 democracies of NATO did not break rank. And as a result Milosevic is on trial in the Hague.
NATO and the U. N. remain in the Balkans to this day, nurturing democratic movements, a painstaking and time-taking task, but I think we are viewed there as a liberator, not an occupier. And we at least have a decent chance of seeing a better outcome because of our continuing efforts.
Cooperative international efforts did help prevent terrorist attacks before 9/ 11; prevented terrorists from blowing up airliners; attacking major targets during the millennium and I think there are many other examples that all of you know we could point to.
Now, I believe, as I think any American believes that we should never put alliances before our own security, but it's my point that abandonment of alliances can harm our security. And I think we're beginning to understand that.
Indeed, in the post-9/ 11 world, it is, perhaps, even more important that we work with others. We have many threats that transcend states, like health and environmental crises. Others ignore state borders, like terrorist cells and international criminal networks. And, therefore, we have to have international and institutional cooperation to counter these threats.
Alliances can endure, they obviously have to be updated; they have to be understood in the proper context, but they allow a sharing of risks and burdens and, over time, the development of common visions on the threats that we face together.
We cannot go it alone and expect to stop terror. And it is clear to me that no one nation in the global climate in which we find ourselves can keep marching to the tune of its own drummer. That's not a parade, it is more like walking a gang plank.
Within the frame work of an international approach that supports multilateralism and the rule-of-law, I believe we need to take several steps to fight the War on Terror most effectively.
First, we obviously and clearly have to address our problems with intelligence. In this new high-tech, fast-paced, interdependent and, oft-times dangerous world of ours, existing institutions will have to change. And we should not be shy or defensive about discussing what changes are needed. We have to have more confidence in the intelligence on which we base our decisions.
Much has been said about our intelligence failures and, clearly, those to me should rank at the top of a bipartisan, in fact, nonpartisan effort to get to the bottom of what occurred.
I hope that the various commissions that are in operation today; the commission chaired by former Governor Kean; the commission just appointed by the President will be able to do the job that we, as a nation, need them to do. And it's imperative that we have more understanding of the curve of intelligence; where it comes from; how it is analyzed; what the sources were.
And I hope this Administration will strongly repudiate the statements recently reported by Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmad Chalabi, his recent assessment that the faulty intelligence that he helped provide to the United States was, quote, "not important." On the contrary, the extent that our intelligence services depended on unreliable sources of intelligence, such as defectors steered to us by Chalabi is deadly serious.
When the President recently announced the creation of a commission to examine efforts to track the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and examine intelligence failures regarding what we have not found in Iraq, I was pleased that there were many distinguished citizens who agreed to serve. But I think the commission would have had more credibility if the President had not assumed responsibility for appointing all of its members. And, indeed, the appointment of one member, Laurence Silberman, raises serious concerns about the independence and integrity of this commission.
Further, the commission does not include many members who have deep experience in the intelligence community, nor does it address the disparity between what the intelligence community said and what the policy makers claimed.
As troubling as the fact that the commission will not report until after the election, which unfortunately, makes it look like an attempt to brush aside troubling questions rather than attempt to fully address the problems--is the fact that Britain is making its report on intelligence failure this summer.
You know, the Administration had a different precedent to look to. If it did not wish to look to our very special ally, Britain, it could have just looked back to the Reagan Administration. Following the disaster in Beirut, President appointed and convened a commission to conduct a broad-ranging inquiry that not only focused on the attack, but, also, on the mission of U. S. forces in Lebanon. Less than two months after that attack, the five-member commission, headed by Retired Admiral Robert Long and, including a high-level official from the Carter Administration, issued its report.
It not only criticized the Administration and the Department of Defense for lack of preparedness in dealing with terrorism, but it also called into question the mission itself; the rules of engagement for the troops; and the effectiveness of the chain of command. These recommendations, honest and unvarnished, led to substantial policy improvements.
Unfortunately, in contrast, the approach chosen by the Bush Administration could lead to the impression that they are less interested in looking for answers and more interested in providing excuses.
I hope my concerns about the commission are not well-founded and that they will produce a report that draws important lessons from our intelligence failures and provides solid recommendations for a road map to ensure that we don't make these same mistakes again.
Fixing the gaps in our intelligence is crucial to our national security and this should be beyond debate and it should be done with a vigorous and intense desire to find the truth wherever it may lead.
We also have to consider creating new institutions and alliances. I really appreciate the proposals by Senator Biden to create an international antiterrorist organization to deal with security threats that we face in common.
Modeled on NATO, such an organization would focus on the unique military and non-military challenges that terrorism poses. We understand that terrorism has a global reach. We need to have a global cooperative approach in order to deal with it.
We also have to examine whether, in the new Global War on Terror, our own military forces are being stretched too thin. We have to move, in my view, from a conception of fighting two wars in two theaters to a mix of troops that is able to fight terror using various combinations of forces as the situation requires, while maintaining sufficient capability to deter nations like North Korea from provoking a crisis.
That means, more, not fewer troops.
That's why I've joined Senator Jack Reed and Senator Chuck Hagel and others to push for a larger army. It is just recognizing the reality that we are above authorized levels and there's no real end in sight for the continuing stresses and expectations that our Army, in particular, is going to be expected to meet.
We also have to look at a change in the mix of forces. We need more, so-called, psychological operations, civil affairs officers, military police. And we need to look hard at the burden that we're imposing on our National Guard and Reserves who often fulfill those functions and, as a result, have been called up sometimes for a year or more.
But I also believe that winning the War on Terror will not happen by military strength alone. This is fundamentally about America's values and leadership.
President Bush has said that the terrorists hate freedom. And he is absolutely right. And I think we have to take a number of steps in order to demonstrate that what we believe, our values is the right direction for people to be heading and rallying around.
First, the idea of winning hearts and minds has been derided by some.
But I don't think that we can overlook it's single importance. And we need to do more to combat the influence of hatred and bias and, for example, I think, with respect to education, we are doing far too little around the world.
I met, coming out of Afghanistan at midnight with President Musharraf and Senator Reed and I discussed a number of issues, one of which was his recently announced effort to deal with the proliferation of the Madrassas, which, obviously, we know is the only alternative for many young boys to attend school because of the poverty of their families and the failure to provide an educational establishment throughout the country.
We need to provide more help than we currently are doing. We spend a pittance on global education, about $200 million a year. I would like to see us focus on creating a global education fund that the United States would lead, but which would use contributions from other countries around the world. I'd like to see us expand that to $500 million and to make a very serious effort to spread real education to provide a replacement for the indoctrination that too often serves as a training ground for future terrorists.
Second, we need to fully fund our development programs and I applaud the Administration for its efforts in the Millennium Challenge Accounts. I'm hopeful that we'll see our way through some of the difficulties that those accounts present. The winners and the losers, if you will. Leaving out countries that I think it's quite risk for us to ignore. But I am supporting the effort to try to create conditions in which at least we can build support within the Congress for more foreign aid to go to many of the most distressed parts of the world.
But I strongly disagree with the Administration's approach towards the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This is the kind of international cooperation that we should be supporting not turning away from.
And the Bush Administration is cutting back on the U. S. contribution to the Global AIDS Fund by about 64 percent in the new budget, despite its pledge to cooperate and collaborate on a strategy to deal with these three killers.
Congress allocated $547 million for the Fund in 2004, the Administration's 2005 budget calls for $200 million. This, again, is a perfect example of the go-it-alone approach. And while we are recognizing problems through our new AIDS Initiative that the Administration is announcing, in 14 countries, we're, you know, setting up a parallel program, duplicating efforts, reinventing the wheel, not only with respect to what other governments are doing, but NGOs that have gotten into those countries.
And it is, I think, a lost opportunity that we don't support the Global Fund More and especially that, apparently, our AIDS strategy intends to ignore Asia, when even the CIA's analysis predicts that Asia will become an explosive problem for HIV
AIDS, in Russia, China, and India. Countries that, clearly, have long-term, strategic interest to us. And so, I think we are missing the boat not supporting the Global Fund and we're missing another boat by not supporting anti-AIDS efforts in those three nations.
We also have to do more on women's rights and roles. And I have been deeply troubled by what I hear coming out of Iraq. When I was there and met with women members of the governing councils and local--of the national governing councils and local governing councils in Baghdad and Kirkuk, they were starting to express concerns about some of the pullbacks in the rights that they were given under Saddam Hussein. He was an equal opportunity oppressor, but on paper women had rights; they went to school; they participated in the professions; they participated in government; and business and, as long as they stayed out of his way, they had considerable freedom of movement.
Now, what we see happening in Iraq is the governing council attempting to shift large parts of civil law into religious jurisdiction. This would be a horrific mistake and especially for it to happen on our watch. And I have spoken to the White House about this on several occasions. I appreciated Ambassador Bremer speaking out about the need to involve women. But we must go much further. I would like to see a statement from the President. I would like to see a much greater emphasis that we will not have become the vehicle by which women's rights in Iraq are turned back.
And, similarly, in Afghanistan, we know that we got good language in the constitutional process out of the Loya Jirga, but on the ground, the situation is very dangerous for a lot of women.
In both countries, the security issues are foremost. Women tell me they can't leave their homes; they can't go about their daily business. And in Afghanistan, there is a concerted effort to burn schools that are educating girls to intimidate aid workers who are women, both Iraqi and foreign. We've got to do a better job and we need a message from the highest level of our government, particularly since both President and Mrs. Bush played such a central and essential role in talking about women in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now, as we go forward, I think that we have to do a better job of meshing our Homeland Security needs with our national security needs. And, unfortunately, I think we are still far behind the curve when it comes to the Department of Homeland Security. And I have see a great deal of obstacles and problems in the way we created the department; how it is functioning; what kind of resources we're providing at the local level. I spoke at length about this earlier in the year at John Jay College in Manhattan.
And I still believe that the imperatives of bureaucracy are being put in front of the imperatives for security.
And there are many changes there that need to occur, such as direct funding of local communities, first responders and the like. The money is not getting where it needs to go. And here at the national level, we have to have a much more coherent policy that takes into account what our true and most pressing threats. are.
We still have not done enough on our port security; our border security; our infrastructure security. We have basically turned over security to the private sector for chemical plants, nuclear plants and the like. And now we have had this cloak of secrecy thrown over all the information about these plants because they are being told that they can give information that is, in their view proprietary and confidential and I'm sure some of it is and it'll go into the Administration and it will sit there unless something terrible happens and there will be no access to it through the Freedom of Information or any other means.
Now, one example of what needs to be done--the Department of Homeland Security has no single directorate, exclusively focused on weapons of mass destruction. We can't just target the bad guys. We've got to target the most dangerous weapons that will do us the most damage. The chemical, biological and radiological devices. And, yet, the agency charged with protecting our homeland does not have the safeguarding of that homeland from the threat of WMDs as one of it's prime missions.
Now, we cannot stop every threat, but we have to do a better job to reduce our vulnerabilities.
In addition to bolstering our weapons of mass destruction defenses within our borders, we have to do much, much more to prevent their creation and proliferation around the world.
Last week, the Bush Administration took a positive step toward strengthening worldwide defenses against nuclear proliferation. The President's proposal to restrict exports of uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing technology, to non-nuclear nations and has called for greater GA involvement in non-proliferation programs are welcomed.
However, by and of itself, his proposal will not do enough to stem the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The rhetoric is still not matched by the resources or the commitment.
By far, the smartest most effective, easiest thing we could do right now is to expand the Nunn-Lugar Act. This bipartisan law signed by the first President Bush and strongly supported by my husband, during his terms, channels money to the former Soviet Union to destroy weapons and to employ the scientists who created the weapons of the WMDs there. And to ensure that plutonium and uranium are rendered useless.
We know that, thanks to Nunn-Lugar, enough fissile material to make five thousand nuclear bombs is now out of harm's way. As much good as that law has accomplished already, it could do even more if we expanded it. But efforts to do so have been rebuffed at every turn.
Remarkably, despite the President's recent speech in which he praised Nunn-Lugar, the Administration's budget for the coming fiscal year actually cuts funding for the Nunn-Lugar program by 10 percent. The recent news reports that dozens of missiles equipped with dirty-bomb warheads may be missing in the former Soviet Republic of Moldova only underscores the need to get a handle on the weapons and the scientists we know are out there.
And with the recent disclosures coming out of Pakistan, we're getting more information about the network of transfers that have occurred. Now is the time to move an expand the Nunn-Lugar mandate, even beyond the former Soviet Union.
I hope that this will occur, but the signs out of the Administration, thus far, have not been encouraging.
Another step we could take is to bolster funding for counter proliferation in the Department of Defense Budget. We do a good job on developing new weapon systems, and equipping our forces for survival and success. But we don't focus enough people and resources on the actual prevention of WMD proliferation, either through official means or covert action.
I also would hope that we would begin to pursue international agreements to limit the spread of chemical biological and nuclear weapons. I know this Administration disagrees with me on this.
Their attitude toward international arms control agreements is essentially that the good guys don't need agreements and the bad guys won't abide by them anyway.
That's a sophistry.
A facile and ultimately feudal point of view because it fails to account for those occasions when international agreements have succeeded, such as the nonproliferation treaty which did help Ukraine and many others move away from nuclear weapons. And it fails to recognize the influence that many nations working together can exert on the few that might choose to go the other way.
The costs of the Administration's policy can be seen in North Korea where we have dithered for two years while we risk that North Korea becomes the first nuclear weapons Wal-Mart for terrorist groups.
Now, not all treaties are created equal and we should sign none that might cause us more harm than good. But we should work to make flawed international agreements better. Not going in with the attitude that we don't need them at all.
The NPT, for example, has a loophole that allows countries to keep spent fuel rods and to build a weapons capability under the umbrella of a peaceful program.
So, let's work to close those loopholes, not abandon the concept all together. We could work for a protocol to the NPT that imposes sanctions on countries that hide behind the NPT, as they covertly work to develop nuclear weapons.
And it looks as though Iran will give us an opportunity to figure out how to deal with this going forward.
Now, in order to work more cooperatively with other nations to prevent the proliferation, we have to be cautious about our own development and deployment of WMDs so we don't send mixed signals about our intentions and undermine our ability to reach agreements with other nations or unintentionally escalate an arms race with nations that might perceive out actions as provocative.
Specifically, I'm talking about the Administration's new strategic triad.
It's potential development of a new nuclear battlefield device and its plan to contract the current testing schedule for nuclear weapons from three years down to 18 months.
You know the Triad, which includes a strategic nuclear offense capability, a missile defense system, and long-range precision conventional capability, blurs the line between nuclear and conventional weapons systems, making others less certain about our intentions and, perhaps, frankly, making it easier for others to cross the line from conventional to nuclear.
A case in point is the so-called robust nuclear earth penetrator, which will use a small nuclear device to blow up bunkers hidden deep underground.
Now, when we were briefed on this in the Armed Services Committee, it became clear that the collateral damage of a nuclear bunker buster would be vast. When we asked if such a device had been used to target Saddam Hussein, had he been hiding in some underground bunker, what the collateral damage would be, we were told that it would have, probably taken out most of Baghdad.
And smaller yield nuclear weapons that avoid collateral damage, offer little advantage over strictly conventional weapons. Building and deploying such a nuclear device sends the wrong signal to a world where we are trying to build partnerships to prohibit the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
At the very same time that we are trying to stop nuclear proliferation, we are moving forward with our own weapons systems.
As for shorter testing schedules, it makes little sense from the standpoint of military preparedness. But combine that with the new Triad and the development of a new battlefield nuclear device and we create the message that nuclear weaponry is something we are ready, even anxious to use.
Of course, we have to maintain a nuclear deterrent and that includes, tragically, a willingness to use it if circumstances require it. But we cannot be ignorant of the ripple effect of our decisions. We are not free to make them in a vacuum.
So, where does that leave us? Well, I believe that we do need a tough-minded muscular foreign and defense policy. But one that respects our allies and seeks new friends even as we move against known enemies. The consequences of unilateralism, isolationism, overtly express pre-emptive defense are severe. We will have fewer nations helping to protect us against attack and fewer nations willing to counter attack when we are struck. And we will have less leverage in advancing democracy, freedom, open markets, and other values that not only elevate the people of the world, but protect the people of the United States.
Now, I say this not simply to propound some golden rule of international affairs. But because I really do think this is in our national security. You know, throw-weight used to be a term to describe the explosive power of a nuclear missile. In this Administration, throw-weight seems to be how much we can bully other nations to do our way.
The more we throw our weight around, the more we encourage other nations to join with each other as a counterweight. You know the development of the European Union on balance is a very good thing. But it could become too much of a good thing if it grows stronger together and becomes more distant from us.
Encouraging changes have occurred in China in recent times. Yet, if we are seen in Asia as unpredictable and arrogant, then we will spur the development of alliances that could be inimicable to our interests.
That's also an economic consequence to diplomatic follies. We operate in a global marketplace and many businesses are finding that America's loss of prestige and respect around the world is starting that harm their own image and ability to do business.
One more thing, a go-it-alone strategy, necessarily builds domestic support on a bedrock of fear. From a people that normally and historically believed we had nothing to fear but fear itself, we do not want to become a people obsessed with the color of our alerts and talk of chatter and possible imminent attacks on U. S. interests at home and abroad.
Throughout our history, our country has been challenged by forces seemingly out of our control. And, yet, we have met each of these challenges. Not by giving into fear, but by overcoming fear. At the dawn of the 21st century, we do, indeed, face new forces that threaten to undermine our very way of life. But I believe that we can confidently meet these threats and make our country and the world stronger in doing so.
More than 40 years ago, warning against arrogance, President Eisenhower said that the people of the world, and I quote, "must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect." unquote.
We should listen to such wise counsel from our history, if we are to behave in this new century in a way that is in keeping with our values and our interests.
We have many reasons to work more closely together with the peoples and nations of this earth. And I believe that if we do so, we help create a more hopeful future for our people and those who look to us for example and support. Thank you very much.
MR. STEINBERG: Well, thank you very much. It was an extraordinarily comprehensive and thoughtful assessment of the United States and the international situation, and any time you want to step back from politics and become a scholar at Brookings, just let us know.
We have a few minutes for questions. I know there are probably a lot out there, so please try to make your questions as brief as possible.
We have mikes, I'm sure, somewhere here, so once I call on you, if you could wait for the mike, stand, and then identify yourself and ask your question.
QUESTION: William Jones. This morning's paper carried the article on the proposed trials at Guantanamo Bay. Deep in the article, it pointed out that Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and another human rights organization will be banned from coming because there's simply not room, although there's room for 84 journalists.
Doesn't this send the kind a signal to the rest of the world, that you have just finished abhorring?
SENATOR CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: Robert Dagio [ph], journalist.
Senator, you gave a strong and forceful defense of multilateralism, but would Democrats also not be well-advised to point out that in some cases unilateral action is necessary when forceful diplomacy has failed to produce results, and could-- that would be good policy and good politics, and you could in fact even argue that such unilateral action might have helped saved lots of lives in Bosnia/ Herzegovina ten or twelve years ago?
SENATOR CLINTON: Oh, absolutely, and I said that. I mean, I don't believe that we should ever cede our right to act in furtherance of what we see as not only our interests but, you know, other objectives that can be supported globally and defended.
You know, if you look at Kosovo and Bosnia, certainly the failure by the international community, especially European nations and the United States, the NATO apparatus to act more quickly, is an indication of how difficult it is to put together a multilateral response.
You know, it took a great deal of time and convincing to get NATO involved and then to move forward, and obviously loss of life in the previous time period is regrettable.
But it is also true that once there was a NATO commitment, that was a far better way to proceed than if there had been a unilateral action.
So it, it's all--there is no clear-cut line that you're either on one side or the other of. You have to, to use one of the President's least favorite words, perhaps use a little nuance as you try to figure out how to move forward with your strategic objectives.
So I don't--I mean, I would not cede that ground to anybody. But I think there's a smart way of doing it and there's a less smart way of doing it, and I think that diplomatic efforts should not be either foresworn or too quickly abandoned, and they should be continuing. I mean, it's been striking to me how little outreach there's been from major players in this administration on a continuing basis around the world, and I think that's a mistake.
QUESTION: Senator, Gary Mitchell from The Mitchell Report. I want to come back to your point about the July strategy and ask whether you think it is realistic that the administration can move off that point and is there a role that Congress can play in helping that to happen?
SENATOR CLINTON: That's a very good question. I don't know. I think that the role that the United Nations is now playing and the impact of their process which led to the abandonment of the caucuses as a means for trying to create some interim transitional government, demonstrates that there is a way to nurture a different decision, and I would hope that the administration would look to that, because I don't think time is our friend here and it is certainly possible for the United Nations to play a major role, for other allies and friends in the region to, you know, come to the administration and say, you know, we have to do this in a more staged way.
I mean, they were supposed to have the governing law done by this weekend, and what I worry about and what I think many of us observe is the jockeying going on in the governing council.
I mean, part of the reason you're not getting a lot of progress from the governing council is because they're all jockeying for position, and, you know, there are several people in that governing council, expect to end up as, you know, the leader of Iraq, and so they don't--you know, they're happy to see the end of, you know, the time period, keep on schedule, because that is the starting gun, so to speak, for their jockeying, you know, and who ends up where, and who has the militias to help support where they end up, and on and on.
So I think that--I don't know whether Congress could or would play a role in that but I know there are some very thoughtful members of Congress who have carried that same message to the administration and I anticipate that they will continue to do so and maybe they will become more public in their outreach.
Now, you know, many of us have argued for quite some time that there should be an interim transition to a United Nations Security Council-sanctioned entity that could then serve as the means of moving into the actual sovereignty. It doesn't have to be a long period. But if the administration, as they seem to be, is anxious to get out, and that seems to be the constant message we get from them, then I think there has to be some interim planning as to get out, leaving who in charge to do what, and I would hope that they would begin to rethink that, and moving off the caucuses is at least a sign that they are more open than they were.
MR. STEINBERG: Just as a little sidebar on that. The Foreign Policy team here gets together once a month to debate foreign policy topics, and we always try to end with a little prediction about future events, and we usually disagree widely. But at our last meeting, the question before the group was, Will the administration stick to the June 30th deadline? and it was unanimous among all of us, predicting that they would.
QUESTION: Dr. Diane Perlman, co-chair of the Committee on Global Violence and Security for a division of the American Psychological Association, and we thank you for your talk and your interest in reducing terrorism, and in addition to general failures of intelligence, I'd say there's a failure or an absence of psychological intelligence, and much of what is going on was very predictable and preventable, as you mentioned.
Many of our policies are based on false psychological assumptions, that are based on emotion and short-term thinking, and actually have the opposite effect in the long run, and, for example, like deterrence theory has to be accompanied by drastic tension reduction, and there's a bias towards sort of coercive kinds of approaches, which may provoke the opposite effect, and that, you know, there's also the "sunshine policy," face-saving ways out, and, you know, again you also said that we're perceived as bullies, and it's like we're, you know, bullies in a global Columbine, and you see what happened with Harris and Klebold, and, you know, we're increasing recruitment, et cetera.
Is there any, I guess, attempt to incorporate sort of these bodies of knowledge, conflict, transformation, tension reduction, psychological intelligence, and designing policy?
SENATOR CLINTON: You know, I don't know the answer to that, certainly within this administration. I know that the CIA and other intelligence agencies use psychological tools for a variety of purposes, and I think there's also a growing awareness that perhaps we need not only what we think of as psychological insights, but more culturally-based psychological analysis, because I think it's been a big surprise to a lot of Americans that, you know, the way we present ourselves is not always viewed as the way we would hope it was, and I think there's a lot of work to be done there.
QUESTION: Peter Orszag at Brookings.
You mentioned that one of the shortcomings involved in the administration strategy or lack thereof is homeland defense, homeland security.
I think it is stunning that two and a half years after 9/ 11, there's nothing, for example, in chemical security that has occurred beyond voluntary and ineffective industry guidelines.
What would you do differently and what is your explanation for why nothing has happened? Is it just powerful industry opposition or there some deeper explanation?
SENATOR CLINTON: Well, with respect to that specific question, Peter, on chemical security, it's industrial opposition. You know, John Corzine introduced a bill that was a very effective means, I was co-sponsor of it, and it was quite vigorously opposed by the industry, and in the back and forth with the environment committee on which I serve, we came up with an alternative, largely crafted by our colleagues on the Republican side that was primarily voluntary and in the course of the debate in the committee over this new version, we were told that the, you know, the industry would be asked to give all kinds of information to the Department of Homeland Security but that it would not be reviewed. It would be stored.
And so I said, well, let me get this straight. We're going to ask for this information which they voluntarily give us and nobody's going to read it.
So then they came up with their approach which was to, you know, have the information given the Department of Homeland Security but with a blanket of protection over it, so that it's very hard to judge, you know, what is the impact of what we're doing or what they're doing.
You know, there's just been a reluctance in this administration to ask anyone in the private sector to do anything as far as I can tell and even with the incredibly pressures of homeland security, it's been something that has not been overcome.
So we, you know, we are facing a lot of unanswered questions, and also wrong-headed decisions about not getting money to the areas that are most at risk, like some of the cities I represent, and other urban areas around the country, and it's a very disorganized policy with very little strategy focus but, you know, we're trying to sort out way through it.
MR. STEINBERG: The senator's got to get up to the Hill so I'm going to try to take two questions quickly here.
QUESTION: Thank you. Peggy Sands. I'm a freelance journalist from Southern California.
I'd like to know what your stand is on immigration policy. I know for the State Department, the expansion of immigration opportunities is certainly good foreign relations but the immigration services are now in the Homeland Security.
Do you feel immigration numbers should be increase? Do you feel border security and internal enforcement should be increased or at the same--what do you feel about illegal workers in the United States?
SENATOR CLINTON: Well, I think it's a very difficult issue. I mean obviously the President came forward with his proposals which are not going anywhere in the Congress, and there has been a much better alternative proposed by Senators Hagel and Daschle, that I would urge you to look at which I think gets the balance much better than the President's proposal.
Obviously much of the move that was made early in the administration to create more opportunities for those who came in illegally to earn the right to stay, to even earn citizenship, were put very much in the background because of 9/ 11 and we're still sorting that out and we're about to see some conflicts between the Department of Homeland Security and its immigration departments and the Justice Department which retained some control over immigration, and we're a long way from getting a coherent policy here.
So I think we just have to take this step by step but I would strongly advise you to look at the Hagel-Daschle alternative which I think has a lot of promise.
MR. O'HANLON: Senator Clinton, thanks so much for being here.
In regard to the increase in the size of the Army, I wonder if part of your rationale for that is because you'd like to see a stronger presence in Afghanistan. Is that part of the logic?
SENATOR CLINTON: It is part of the logic but it's also the case that I don't think we ever went in with enough troops in Iraq.
We had enough troops to win the military conflict and then we didn't have enough troops to do the post-military stabilization and security mission, and like you, I've talked to a lot of people who are, you know, in the Army, who've literally borne the great brunt of the post-conflict period, and, you know, off the record they'll tell you they don't have enough and they've never had enough. I mean they're all good soldiers and they go right along with, you know, what the Secretary says.
We've also dramatically stressed our guard and reserve and I think, you know, I'm not positive, but I think the number is that when we finish this troop rotation that's going on now, 44 percent of our force will be guard and reserve and, you know, it's just not sustainable.
Now if we're going to have, as broad-based a theater as the administration believes the war on terror suggests, we don't have the ongoing manpower, and you know that a lot of our troops are still in because of stop-loss orders.
They can't get out right now, and the, several thousands of numbers over the authorized level that the Secretary of Defense has authorized at this point, is largely people who, we don't know what they're going to do when the stop-loss comes off.
So, you know, I think that Chuck Hagel and Jack Reed, who know a lot about this, have been right for some time. That's let be honest about it and say what is it and what's it going to cost.
Now this is a topic for another day but you follow this so closely, you know, that this runs right smack into Rumsfeld's transformation, you know, theories, and so there's resistance to it because, you know, he came in to DOD with a bias against the Army, frankly, with a big push toward, you know, more technology, more ability to wage so-called modern warfare without having to put troops on the ground and all the rest of that.
And I think they really did believe, wrongly, it turned out, that, you know, they could get in and out of Iraq, and I don't know whether this was, you know, because of defectors or wrong intelligence or their own romantic fantasy about what would happen once they got in and they won. But nevertheless, they were not prepared for it and I don't think they are still prepared.
With respect to Afghanistan we've made the same mistake.
We had fewer troops in Afghanistan than we had law enforcement at the Olympics in Salt Lake City, and, you know, we are no, by no means able to really support the Karzai government, and NATO, for reasons that I think have to do with a little bit of peek and a little bit of, well, you really need us now? well, we're going to make you really sweat for us, has not been exactly forthcoming in fulfilling the pledge they made when they agreed to go into Afghanistan with us.
You know, when we landed in Kabul on Thanksgiving Day, I mean we tried desperately to find somebody in NATO we could talk to, and, you know, other than the German troops and the Belgian troops that were actually at the airfield, we couldn't find anybody and they now have these provincial reconstruction teams and most of the NATO troops are going to the north where they're not really needed. You know, they're needed in the south.
And so I think there's a little bit of resistance and despite entreaties by Powell and Rumsfeld and others to come forth with what has been pledged, they're still slow walking it, and, you know, I think that that's all tied in with what direction are we really going militarily.
You know, what is the plan for the future? You know, what does so-called transformation mean today? What size a volunteer army And I want to just say one other thing, that it is beginning to trouble me, and, you know, when you have an all-volunteer force, it may be easy for decision makers to just try to keep it outta sight, outta mind. You know, the idea is these people signed up, they didn't have to do this, they're professionals, and we don't have to show you caskets coming home, we don't have to show you, you know, a video of the President meeting with families. We don't have to do any of that cause this is an all-volunteer professional military.
That, to me, raises serious questions in a democracy, you know, both by how we define ourselves, what the real risks associated, both politically and military with taking action might be, and what we owe these young men and women who have gone into the military, you know, for just extraordinarily patriotic reasons and personal goals and the rest.
So we should be having a vigorous debate about the future of the military in this country and I fear that, you know, being an election year we may not have it or it may be, you know, put to one side.
But we're in the process, as you know, of looking at the defense budget for the time, you know, for the next year, and there are a lot of serious issues that are embedded in there, that will determine our direction. Whether we have an appropriate debate and dialogue is, I think an open question.
Thank you very much.
Hillary quotes the Washington Post. So who was the Washington Post quoting? Nobody.
Hillary is not very clever when she lauders her sources.
Typical Clinton (Bill or Hill). Shallow and pithy which for the Libs passes intellectual.
"And she also serves on the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, which is particularly appropriate to the issues facing us today."
She is very dangerous on these committees. She chose them to have her hands on sensitive national security information in order to undermine the Bush administration.
She and her husband have already shown that they are willing to 'sell out' our country for power and undermining our military to make America weak.
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