Skip to comments.3 Retired Generals Warn of Peril in Attacking Iraq Without Backing of U.N.
Posted on 09/23/2002 9:38:37 PM PDT by newsperson999
Iraq news wires here
WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 Three retired four-star American generals said today that attacking Iraq without a United Nations resolution supporting military action could limit aid from allies, energize recruiting for Al Qaeda and undermine America's long-term diplomatic and economic interests.
"We must continue to persuade the other members of the Security Council of the correctness of our position, and we must not be too quick to take no for an answer," Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The officers' testimony came on a day when both those who appear to be rushing toward a military confrontation with Saddam Hussein and those who advocate more caution were raising their voices in support of their positions.
At a campaign stop in New Jersey, President Bush prodded the United Nations to demonstrate its relevance by standing up to Mr. Hussein. Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, who plans to issue a 55-page intelligence dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction on Tuesday, joined Mr. Bush today in demanding tough action against Mr. Hussein.
Back in Washington some House Democrats prepared alternate resolutions to authorize the use of force with Iraq and others issued a detailed report on how much the war would cost. In California, former Vice President Al Gore, the man Mr. Bush defeated for president, harshly criticized the administration's push for war against Iraq, saying it had hurt the United States' standing and could dangerously undermine the rule of law around the world.
In their testimony before the Senate committee, the officers, including Gen. Wesley K. Clark, a former NATO military commander, and Gen. Joseph P. Hoar, a former chief of the United States Central Command, said the United States should retain the right to act unilaterally to defend its interests.
But the three commanders, some of whom warned that a war with Iraq could detract from the campaign against terrorism, said the Bush administration must work harder to exhaust diplomatic options before resorting to unilateral military action to oust President Saddam Hussein and eliminate any weapons of mass destruction Iraq may have.
"It's a question of what's the sense of urgency here, and how soon would we need to act unilaterally?" said General Clark, an Army officer who commanded allied forces in the 1999 Kosovo air war. "So far as any of the information has been presented, there is nothing that indicates that in the immediate, next hours, next days, that there's going to be nuclear-tipped missiles put on launch pads to go against our forces or our allies in the region."
A fourth military leader, Lt. Gen. Thomas G. McInerney, the former assistant vice chief of staff of the Air Force, offered a different opinion, saying the United States should act quickly in Iraq. "We should not wait to be attacked with weapons of mass destruction," he said.
Speaking in Trenton at a fund-raiser for Douglas R. Forrester, the Republican challenger for a Senate seat in New Jersey, Mr. Bush used some of his most direct and confrontational language yet about the United Nations and Iraq, making it clear that his patience for the debate within the Security Council was limited. He said in clearer terms than at any other time in the last week that if the United Nations failed to disarm Mr. Hussein, he would.
Mr. Bush said the Security Council "will tell the world whether or not they're going to be relevant, or whether or not they're going to be weak."
The president's confrontational style with the United Nations is clearly meant to keep up the pressure in a critical week, as the wording of a resolution about Iraq comes together. But it is also a risky strategy. By telling the other members of the Security Council that he will go ahead no matter what they do, Mr. Bush is, one administration official conceded, "giving the U.N. very little room of its own."
The message, he said, was, "We're going in, with you or without you."
Perhaps in response to the administration's tough tone, Russia's defense minister, Sergei B. Ivanov, said today that Russia did not necessarily oppose a new resolution. "We do not oppose the resolution tightening the inspectors' mission in Iraq," Mr. Ivanov said at a news conference in Madrid, where he is visiting, the Interfax news agency reported.
At the United Nations, Secretary General Kofi Annan today rejected comparisons of the United Nations to its ineffectual predecessor, the League of Nations, and said at a news conference, "It is a bit overstated when people say that the United Nations is facing an existential problem." Without referring directly to Mr. Bush, he added, "We are nowhere near that, and we should not really oversell that point."
Mr. Annan issued an advisory to Iraq, rejecting its assertion that it will not abide by any new Security Council resolution on the mandate of international weapons inspectors who are preparing to return to the country. The United Nations, he said, will follow "any new resolutions the council adopts, and so should Iraq."
As Mr. Bush and Mr. Annan verbally jousted, White House and Congressional aides continued to negotiate on a resolution on the use of force against Iraq that would be acceptable to both the president and bipartisan majorities in Congress. Some House Democrats began working on their own alternative language.
Lawmakers of both parties have said that the president's proposed resolution is too broad and ceded too much unchecked power to Mr. Bush.
Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House minority whip, said today that two centrist Democrats, Representatives Ike Skelton of Missouri and John M. Spratt Jr. of South Carolina, were drawing up their own proposed language.
Ms. Pelosi said that House Democrats would not propose a party alternative, but she held open the possibility that some Democrats could try to offer proposals of their own when the Iraq vote comes up on the House floor. Aides to Mr. Skelton, the senior Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, and Mr. Spratt, another member of the committee, confirmed that they were drawing up proposals, but held out the hope that their ideas could form a basis of common ground between the parties.
In the first effort in Congress to estimate the fiscal cost of an Iraqi war, Democrats on the House Budget Committee issued a report today putting the likely price tag at $30 billion to $60 billion, less than that for the Persian Gulf war in 1991. The gulf war cost about $60 billion at the time. But the allies picked up four-fifths of the costs of the gulf war, a level of financial support that is uncertain if not unlikely this time around, diplomats say.
The Democrats' estimates do not include the possible costs of a long-term peacekeeping mission or of providing aid. The report did not attempt to estimate those costs.
The Democratic report considered cases in which 250,000 American troops would win a war within either 30 or 60 days, and another in which half that number of troops would achieve the same outcome over the same periods.
At the Armed Services Committee hearing, the three generals said a United Nations resolution was important because it would isolate Mr. Hussein internationally, give skittish allies some political cover to join any military action and bolster America's long-term global aims.
"We are a global nation with global interests, and undermining the credibility of the United Nations does very little to help provide stability and security and safety to the rest of the world, where we have to operate for economic reasons and political reasons," said General Shalikashvili.
He and General Clark also suggested that Mr. Hussein might be less inclined to use chemical or biological weapons if other nations were behind an American-led campaign.
General Clark warned that attacking Iraq could divert military resources and political commitment to the global effort against Al Qaeda and possibly "supercharge" recruiting for the terrorist network.
Iraq news wires here
Of course, all flag oficers above the rank of 1 star are suspect.
Actually all officers above the rank of Major in staff postions are suspect.
As good as the education provided by West Point is, it's obviously no guarantee that you won't come out an idiot.
If they can't see Iraq and terrorism as one continuum, then they've probably got a bit of a problem with all sorts of causal relationships...or to put it in geometric terms, they probably have difficulty differentiating between their bodily orifices and oil wells.
He is know nothing, klintoon bu++-boy!!A "perfumed prince" as Hackworth calls him.
WHATEVER HE SAYS.....PLEASE DON'T LISTEN TO HIM, PRESIDENT BUSH!!
No more need be said. History will judge them; harshly.
These jackasses didn't peep when the CinC had PLA Gen. Xiong Guangkai to the White House for "military-to-military relationships"?
These three pipsqueaks allowed the betrayal of our missile superiority to the ChiComs via the 200-page fax in 1995 from traitorrapist42 donors Schwartz and Armstrong?
These butt-lickers dummied up when put-some-ice-on-it showed our PLA enemy every platform, base, facility, exercise and weapons system?
Give them a flame thrower, fuel first.