My mother, who is in her 80s and doesn't know a "PDB" from "R&B" keeps saying, that "whatever her name is sure is smart."
My wife, conservative, but not politically minded, was totally offended (as I watched the testimony) overhearing how Ben Veniste was treating her. I think a lot of Americans were.
posted on 04/10/2004 12:18:03 PM PDT
For those that haven't read this yet:
U.S. Policy Towards Iraq
Hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
March 01, 2001
PREPARED STATEMENT OF
HON. ROBERT J. KERREY
Former U.S. Senator from Nebraska, and president New School University, New York, NY
Mr. Chairman and members of this distinguished committee, thank you for this invitation to testify on the question of what United States policy should be regarding Iraq.
This week marks the tenth anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait on February 6, 2001. On February 28, 1991, a cease fire was declared. The world had witnessed breathtaking exhibition of U.S. led coalition power that ended the 208 day Iraqi invasion.
A lot has happened in the decade since. The detail of that history is terribly important for those who want to understand what we should do today. I will not take time to review all this detail but will summarize five points I believe are most important:
First, following a cease fire Iraq agreed to allow United Nations weapons inspectors to verify that Iraq had destroyed its capacity to manufacture chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Until verification was complete the United Nations would enforce external sanctions that permitted Iraq to sell oil for food and medicine. The time needed to complete this inspection would have been a few months, if Saddam Hussein cooperated. As has come to be common practice Iraq confounded expectations by interfering, harassing and finally banning the weapons inspectors from its territory. Reliable intelligence has confirmed the reason for their behavior to be simple: They want to maintain robust programs to develop weapons of mass destruction.
Second, Iraq has maintained a policy so hostile to human rightsespecially for the Kurdish minority in the north and the Shia in the south that no dissent is possible. Thousands have been imprisoned, tortured, and executed for opposing the current regime. With or without sanctions the 20 million people of Iraq deserve to have the United States on the side of their freedom.
Third, we have sustained a military effort to contain Iraq and that military effort has cost us lives. U.S. and British pilots fly almost daily to enforce a no-fly zone in northern Iraq that has saved the lives of Kurds and a no-fly zone in southern Iraq that has saved the lives of Shia. We have also maintained a presence at the Dhahran military installation in Saudi Arabia. This installation was a target of a truck bomb on June 25, 1996, that killed 19 U.S. airmen. It was cited by Osama bin Laden as a reason for attacking U.S. embassies in west Africa on August 7, 1998, that killed 11Americans and over 200 others. Our military presence was cited again when the U.S.S. Cole was attacked on October 12, 2000, in the port of Aden, Yemen, killing 17 American sailors. So when the issue of military force is debated do not forget that we have an expensive military operation in place now. The question is not should our military be used; the question is how.
Fourth, when he signed the Iraqi Liberation Act into law on October 31, 1998, President Clinton began the process of shifting away from the failed policy of using military force to contain Iraq to supporting military force to replace the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein with a democratically elected government. Although our support for opposition forces has been uneven at best this new policy is still current law.
Fifth, opponents of establishing our policy objective as liberation of the people of Iraq have used a number of effective arguments to keep the status quo in place. They say we would never get support for a military operation. They also say that democracy won't work in Iraq, that Arabs aren't capable of governing themselves. Finally, they attack the legitimacy and capability of the most visible organization, the Iraqi National Congress. But these arguments are little more than excuses designed to keep us from doing what we know we should do and can do if our will is strong. The argument against military forces encourages us to ignore the hundreds of millions spent each year to contain Iraq and the 47 American lives lost since containment began. The argument that Arabs cannot govern themselves is racist and encourages us to ignore a million Arab Americans who exercise their rights when they are protected by constitution and law. The argument against the I.N.C. is little more than a parroting of Saddam Hussein's propaganda.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee I am very much aware that domestic and international support has been steadily eroding for continuing sanctions against Iraq let alone a new military strategy to end the nightmare of this dictatorship. I have watched with growing sadness as Iraq has exploited the public's lack of memory, the Clinton administration's silence, and the world's appetite for its production of 4 million barrels of oil a day.
I have read the reports of Secretary of State Colin Powell's return to Kuwait this week and the difficulty he is having convincing our allies that we must stay the course in opposing the Iraqi regime. I have read proposals by informed commentators to try to get the best deal we can at this point including one by Mr. Tom Friedman that would offer an end to sanctions and U.S. recognition in exchange for allowing U.S. inspectors to verify that weapons of mass destruction are not being built in Iraq.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee I urge you not to go along with the flow of public opinion. The United States push back hard in the opposite direction. The reason is simple: Saddam Hussein's Iraq represents a triple threat to us, to our allies in the region and to the 20 million people who have the misfortune to live in a country where torture and killing of political opposition has become so routine it is rarely reported.
Iraq is a threat to us because they have the wealth and the will to build weapons of mass destruction: chemical, biological and nuclear. Since the end of the Gulf War in 1991 Saddam Hussein has lied and cheated his way out of the inspection regime and has succeeded in convincing too many world leaders to overlook the danger he poses to them. Iraq is a threat to allies in the region because they have displayed no remorse or regret for their invasion of Kuwait. Instead they continue to justify their illegal act and condemn the U.S. led effort which forced them to surrender the territory of their neighbor after inflicting inestimable damage to Kuwait.
The Iraqi government is a threat to their own peoples especially the Kurds in the northern provinces and the Shia in the south. Without our willingness to maintain no-fly zones in the north and south thousands more innocents would have died from Iraqi military assaults. It is by no means clear-cut that Iraqi civilians are suffering as a consequence of sanctions. What is clear cut is that the Iraqi people are suffering as a consequence of Saddam Hussein's policy of diverting United Nations monies away from much needed food and medicine to rebuilding his palaces and his military.
So, I have come here today to urge you to stay the course. Join with President Bush and tell him to imagine returning to Baghdad ten years from now to celebrate the liberation of Iraq. In my view it is possible. In the view of the Iraqi people, the people living in the region and the people of the United States of America it is also desirable.
What specifically can we do? In the spirit of bipartisan foreign policy and in the words a group of now senior Bush administration officials used in a 1998 letter to then President Clinton here are three things that would be the beginning of the end of Saddam Hussein's reign of terror:
1. Recognize a provisional government of Iraq based on the principles and leaders of the Iraq National Congress (INC) that is representative of all the peoples of Iraq;
2. Restore and enhance the safe haven in northern Iraq to allow a provisional government to extend its authority there and establish a zone in southern Iraq from which Saddam's ground forces would also be excluded;
3. Lift sanctions in the liberated areas.
Mr. Chairman and members of the foreign relations committee these three moves would signal that the United States will not yield ground to the world's worst and most dangerous dictator. And we would signal to the people of Iraq that we will not be satisfied until they are free to determine their own fate.
posted on 04/10/2004 12:24:40 PM PDT
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