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Iraq Weapons Inspectors Report to the United Nations

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Location: Washington, DC

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D-DE): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I like to think I would have relinquished it voluntarily, but I doubt whether I would have. But if it's going to be relinquished, there's no single person, in my view, in the Congress more qualified to have that seat than you.

And I want to thank you for getting this right under way, not waste any time. This is—as everyone has been saying in various fora, this is a momentous moment for the United States of America, and a great deal is at stake.

And I say to my two friends, our witnesses, that I never thought we'd get to the point where I'd have trouble seeing you, Secretary Armitage. But I'll tell you, this dais keeps getting extended. I've been here a long time. (Chuckling.) First I walked in and thought maybe my eyes were going bad. And I realized we've extended by about 10 feet; the table's moved back. So either I've been here too long or I'm going to have to get binoculars, if we keep expanding this.

And I do want the record to note that I have been calling for 12 years for a new microphone system in this place, in this, and it wasn't until we had a Republican chairman they arrived! I just—my only regret, Mr. Chairman, is I wish that this had happened on my watch.

Now technically, we didn't organize—technically, we didn't organize in the middle of January. These were put in in January. So I'm going to claim credit for the mikes. This is my one contribution to American foreign policy. That is, the witnesses can hear us now, which I'm not sure is a good thing.

But at any rate, let me be serious for a few moments. As we speak, the Judiciary Committee, in which I am a member, is meeting. And we are about to pass a bill that I've introduced, out of committee, providing for the ability for 500 visas for Iraqi scientists and all their families. I would urge you, Rich, to make the point to the administration it would be helpful to get this out and moving. I can't imagine it's not helpful to you, although it's not dispositive of what they may do—the idea that—now there's a limit of 100 -- we move it to 5(00) and the entire families of these scientists, if they so choose, to come to the United States.

Secretary Armitage, Mr. Ambassador, Ambassador Negroponte, I want to add my—welcome both of you. We are eager to hear your testimony, and I can't think of a more critical assignment for the future standing of our country in the world than the one facing you in the immediate weeks ahead. You've been charged with making America's case to the world and building the coalition to confront and, if necessary, to forcibly disarm Saddam Hussein.

I want to commend you for your achievements to date and, in absentia, your—not your boss --- your boss, Secretary Armitage, but not the ambassador's boss—but I want to commend in absentia Colin Powell. I think he is the best thing since sliced bread, and I think he is doing an incredible job right now, with both of you.

By taking the issue of Iraq's disarmament to the Security Council and challenging the U.N. to enforce its own resolutions, as the president did in the brilliant speech that he made—I think the most significant speech, in my view, he's made since he's been president—have made Iraq the world's problem, not just our own. And I can't emphasize enough how much I agree with you that it must remain the world's problem, not just our own.

You've achieved an outcome that your detractors thought impossible, but as, I'm going to be frank to say, I predicted you'd be able to do; and that is, you got the Security Council to vote unanimously last fall for demanding Iraq's disarmament. And I predict you will be able to do it—if not unanimously, with the German abstention, in all probability—you will be able to do that again for a second resolution. At least I hope that is going to be the outcome. And I know you're going to attempt to pursue that, although you're not committed to that position that you must get a U.N. resolution. But clearly, clearly, clearly it would be in our overwhelming interest if that were able to be done.

I look forward to your analysis of the reports issued this week by the United Nations weapons inspectors. To me, they clearly show—they clearly show—that Saddam continues to thumb his nose at the world and is in material breach—and is in material breach—of the 1441, the most recent U.N. resolution. They bolster the case that the United States has made that Iraq is violating the terms of surrender.

And I want to term them in terms of surrender. I am so frustrated by some other parts of this administration of injecting into this debate a notion relating to preemption that has not a damn thing to do with whether or not we move against Saddam Hussein. I would hope the president and everyone else would stop talking about a doctrine you can't even explain—you can't even explain—to the American public, you can't explain to us, because it's confusing the rest of the world. We are not acting, if we act, preemptively. We are enforcing a surrender document. Saddam Hussein invaded another country. The world responded. If this were 1930, he would have signed a peace agreement. It's not. We have the United Nations. He signed on to—in return for his ability to stay in power, he made a commitment to the world, several commitments. Enforcing that if necessary is not preemption—is not preemption—whatever the hell that doctrine is supposed to mean

And so I really think you—I would respectfully suggest that when you talk about this, you not further confuse the devil out of the rest of the world and make us sound like a bunch of cowboys, that we're going to be out there preemptively imposing our view. This is an enforcement of a binding international legal commitment that a man made to save his skin and stay in power.

In a legal sense, it's clear that Iraq is in material breach, but the court of international opinion is not a court of law. You have to meet a higher standard of proof, not legally have to meet it, but practically, to enhance our greater interest. We have to meet a higher standard of proof in order to convince the Security Council and the thousands and thousands of people out there—millions—who do not understand and are not ready to believe.

I'm going to say something that's mildly controversial, but since I said it in front of 500 world leaders the last three days in Davos, every world leader in Europe and the Middle East knows he's in material breach. They know it. Why aren't they responding? We have no—with the possible exception of England—significant powerful leader in Europe today. That's not a criticism, it's an observation. And they are unwilling, in my view, to stand up in the face of public opinion in their communities, that run from 95 percent to 70 percent against this war, based upon him being in material breach as defined. So we got to help them. We got to help them because they know, they know he's in material breach.

And I sincerely hope—and I join Senator Lugar in the—the best news I heard in the president's speech was on the 5th, the secretary of State is going to go lay out this case.

This is about further strengthening—the concern that I hear, and I know you have to respond to, and you hear it—you won't—I'm not suggesting you should acknowledge it, but I'm going to say it, that people who are our friends, countries who our friends and our allies, they are talking about, well, you can't move based upon a doctrine of preemption. They're asking about, is this about oil? Is it about further strengthening the United States' already predominant position as a world power? Much of this skepticism is undeserved, but none of it is unfamiliar to either of you, given your daily contact with foreign governments.

Some might ask why it matters what other countries think. I'm sure I'll get phone calls and letters saying what—"Biden, you're talking about caring about what these other countries think. We're America. What does it matter what they think?" Well, it matters a great deal. It matters because while we can do this alone, while we are fully capable of doing this alone, we are so much better off, so much better off if we do it with others. Having others with us increases our chance of success, and by success I mean not just taking down Saddam. That is not the measure of success. The measure of success is that we take him down, if need be; we gather up and destroy the weapons of mass destruction; and we are assured that there is a government in place that is not likely to reconstitute the menace and threat. That is a gigantic undertaking that exceeds merely the military operation. And it also, if we have others with us, decreases the risk and lowers the cost, and it invests others in the complicated matter of the day after, or more appropriately, in my view, the decade after. And it does not make us a target of every terrorist and malcontent in the world, if we are not doing this alone.

It matters. It matters in terms of our naked self-interest.

In my view, to gain international support, the administration is going to have to have a more consistent message that this is about enforcing the terms of surrender between Saddam and the Security Council. I believe, presumptuous of me to say—well, it's not presumptuous, I've been here longer than most of you—I believe it's important to marshal the best evidence available to our government to demonstrate irrefutably that Iraq is not only failing to account, but is in violation and continues to demonstrate—and we have evidence that it demonstrates—an ability to thwart the efforts of the inspectors. There is a policy of deception that is underway, and the world has to be told it.

This is important to do not only for a skeptical international community but, I'd respectfully suggest, for all our constituents, where we live. The best way, I think, to do this is—I believe there is a compelling case to make. I hope that it leads the U.N. Security Council to pass a second resolution to disarm Iraq and, if Iraq refuses to disarm itself, I believe, otherwise—as Secretary Powell and President Bush, as they have said—the Security Council risks undermining its credibility in a permanent sense.

And I am one of those who believes that there is great promise. The more powerful we are, the more predominant our power, the more we need the United Nations, in my view, not the less we need it; the more we need it, because our motives, as—Mr. Ambassador, I have never, in all my years of attending international meetings with heads of state and foreign ministers, ever heard our motives questioned as much as they are today. Not merely our judgment. We're used to that. But they're questioning our motives. And that is corrosive. And that's why I believe, if we're smart—and you are, clearly, and you're doing a great job—if we're smart, we will be able to strengthen the United Nations in the process here so our motives are not always the thing in question.

I would hope that the resolution would make clear that Saddam once and for all must choose between giving up his weapons of mass destruction and giving up power. And I hope it would make it clear to the world that the choice between war and peace is Saddam's choice, not our choice. I think this is the single best way to avoid war. My unsolicited advice—well, solicited advice to some of the heads of state that attended this meeting, and foreign ministers, was if you really don't want us to go to war, join us. Join us. Join us in making it clear to Saddam that we're united, we're united in the resolve that he must give up these weapons. Absent that, I think there is no chance we'll be able to avoid war.

Mr. Chairman, last summer you and I held a series of in-depth hearings on Iraq, and our goal was to begin a national dialogue so the American people would be better informed about the threat Iraq poses, the options available to us, the regional considerations and, finally, what was going to be asked of them, the American people. Those hearings and today's hearings and subsequent hearings you have planned, in my view, are critical because I believe that no foreign policy, no matter how well conceived, can be sustained without the informed consent of the American people. And unfortunately, and it's not a criticism—again, it's an observation—it may not be the time—but unfortunately, there has been not much informed consent thus far. In my view, the American people have a very distorted but understandable view of what lies ahead.

The vast majority of people in my state assume that if we go to war, Johnny's going to come marching home after a three-week encounter and it's going to be like the first one, and that we're not going to be tied down and engaged for the—to the tune of billions of dollars; which I support, by the way. I'm not arguing—this is not a reason not to go if we have to.

But it is a reason to explain to all our constituents, so we're not sitting here two years from now when we're trying to pass an authorization for an additional $20 billion to maintain forces and maintain our effort to maintain a stable government in Iraq to keep that area from imploding, and we are told on the floor, "No, you guys, that's a foreign policy thing; we really have to go out there and take care of the Delaware River dredging an we have to take care of a problem in Tennessee, we have to take care of some other economic and pressing need, whether it relates to education or health care."

The American people have to know up front what we're about to sign them on to. The American people have yet to have a clear explanation of why war may be the only remaining alternative and what authority we are using to go to war and what will be expected of them, not only winning the war but in securing the peace.

In last summer's hearings, we were told that we would have to stay in Iraq in large numbers for a long time at high cost. Now, initially the administration, the White House—not denied, but suggested it would not mean that kind of commitment. There are reports now—we were told then it would take 75,000 forces in place for at least three to five yeas, some suggested as long as 10 years, and we'd be engaged in a thing that no one in this administration, understandably—or any administration—wants to utter a phrase—"nation building."

Gentlemen and ladies of this committee, understand we're about to embark in a commitment of nation building. Our warriors will not only win and fight wars, they will be required to build a nation, or at least reconstruct a government. And the American people don't understand that. I'm confident they're wiling to bear this burden if it's explained to them. They should not be surprised when, two years after this war is over, they see tens of thousands or thousands of American forces, American troops, in Iraq, some of whom are being shot at guarding oil wells, some of whom are going to be on a border and going to end up being killed trying to secure that border so Iranians don't think they have part of northern Iraq, and the Kurds don't think they can move into Kirkuk, so that—and so on and so forth.

It's a big-deal job coming up. They should be—not be sandbagged by the sudden choice down the road that requires them to choose between supporting the continued presence in Iraq and other vital needs our country has. It will be incumbent upon the administration in the coming days to level with the American people about the commitment they will be asked. The president's made that commitment personally to me and to many of us in the Cabinet room. And I believe he will do it at the appropriate time if there is nothing left, no alternative left but war. They should know what are the risks, what's coming to them, what will be the cost how long it will take, to the best of our knowledge, and can we afford to remove Saddam Hussein and rebuild Iraq and pay for homeland security and all the other things we have to deal with.

Raising these questions and others should not, in my view, be an excuse for inaction, but we owe to the American people to be straight up with them.

I'll conclude by saying to you, although it's a very different circumstance—that is, the preparation to go in and respond as we had to in World War II and what we know we're about to do now—we're still talking about a couple hundred thousand forces.

And I'm looking forward to the president and the administration doing what I think all presidents must do in such circumstances, is stand up, as Franklin Roosevelt did, and forthrightly say there will be pain, there will be costs, there will be loss of life, and there will be—we'll be asking of you for your treasure—the treasure, our money—in order to be able to finish a very important job.

I strongly recommend, and sincerely hope, and look forward to, if the diplomatic route is in fact exhausted—if it is exhausted—that we will have that frank assessment, because the American people will do whatever is asked of them, but they will resent keenly the implication that we are doing this for a reason that is not real—and I would argue al Qaeda is one of those reasons; and further, implying to them that this will be essentially a costless, bloodless undertaking. They will do what's asked of them.

I know the two men before us cannot speak in that sense for the administration, but I know them to be men of integrity intellectual and personal, and I know that they will give us straight answers to the questions we have today. I look forward to it. I believe you can count on the support of the vast majority of this committee in your effort to try to diplomatically solve this. And I would suggest you'll get the support of the Congress overwhelmingly, if all alternatives are exhausted, if in fact there is a leveling with the American people and the world community what's at stake here and what we're committing to.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SEN. BIDEN: Will you yield on one—very—very, very briefly.bassador, thought when you left the role of being out in other hinterlands that you would never hear the words again "here comes a codel". (Laughter.) But --

SEN. LUGAR: With that welcome intervention, why -- (laughter).

Now, let me say that we've consulted briefly here on—in fact, we have many members here today. The ranking member agrees that our procedure should be that we will move the chairman's question, ranking member's question, then Senator Hagel, and then Senator Dodd—in other words, in seniority by both parties with a seven-minute limit, and with the veteran Bertie Bowman (sp) on the clock. (Laughter.) For those who have not experienced Mr. Bowman (sp), he has outlasted all of us on this committee -- (laughter) -- a rigorous timekeeper. And the green light will go on at the beginning of the seven limits. With one minute to go, the yellow light, caution signal, and the red, the final termination, hopefully, of both the answer as well as the question. But we will try to be liberal in interpretation.

Let me just say, I've already had an opportunity to give my views on the subject, and I will pass at this point and turn to the distinguished ranking member for his questions.

SEN. BIDEN: And I'll—I have several questions, but just ask one, if I may. The administration officials, including the president, on Tuesday night have repeatedly asserted that the Iraqi government maintains ties with members of the al Qaeda network. Are you able to tell us what evidence you have to support that claim? And as a follow-on to that, what is this—why is it that we spend, it seems, so much time on making the assertions that are the least—or, the most difficult to prove, including the aluminum tubes, when we have such overwhelming evidence of the failure of Iraq to comply with the existence—with 1441? It seems to undercut our case. We lead with the two things that may be true but are the most difficult to prove. And we seem not to do what you guys did here today; very compellingly talk about VX, anthrax, things we know.

So it's a two-part question. One, what evidence, if you're able to share with us, is there about direct connection between Saddam and al Qaeda? And two, what is the rationale for how we've been leading thus far, and will it change with the evidence we're presenting?

SEN. BIDEN: Mr. Chairman, just a very brief intervention. I appreciate your going to Senator Frist and suggesting that the secretary be up here, and I appreciate what Senator Dodd said about wanting to know the information, if it doesn't matter what source.

I think it does matter that it be the secretary, and I think it matters, for purposes of the show of unity here, that there is the sense of—I think it's very much in the interest of the administration to maintain—and I know the secretary believes this as well—to maintain the vast majority of us on both sides of the aisle being in lockstep with the secretary. And I quite frankly think it's just—as a matter of appearance, if nothing else, it is somewhat inappropriate not to come and speak with us first. It will engender a great deal of goodwill. And we can get from the intelligence community maybe even more than we can get from the secretary, theoretically, but it is important that the secretary himself, showing the world that this—we are together.

It is—it was—it is—it—anyway, I just think it would be a very useful thing across the board, beyond the information we'll learn specifically, and specifically so we are aware of the nature of the pitch, if you will, not just the specifics of the assertions made relative to the material. I just hope that y'all will consider that.

SEN. BIDEN: Let me say that I am sure—and I think there has been a good exchange, and each of the—many of our colleagues said that after the opening statement by the chairman and myself that there's as lot we agree on—I mean overwhelming agreement—which probably confuses the public at large, when you have guys like me, and even occasionally the chairman and others taking some issue with the administration on how they approach this subject.

And I want to make it clear I think the disagreements to the extent they exist are based on the risk assessment as it relates to timing. And to the extent there's disagreement it relates to tactic not strategy.

I want to reiterate again before I ask these next three questions—short questions—is what I think the goal is. I think the goal that we have is to separate Saddam Hussein from his weapons of mass destruction with the greatest possible support of the world that we can get, to reduce in direct proportion the risk we face in separating, and after separating securing Iraq. That to me is the goal. And so where we have disagreements—and I do have some disagreements, and I will not embarrass anyone, either of our witnesses—I know there are—have been significant disagreements within the administration on this question, these questions.

I would like to return to three points that have been raised by some of our colleagues. Senator Voinovich, who by the way has a keen interest in foreign policy—and I want to compliment him on his deep involvement and hands-on involvement, particularly as it relates to the Balkans in working with this committee when he wasn't on the committee—he said the question is not will Saddam—he said, "The question is, Will Saddam respond if he's given more time?"

This is a tactical difference we have. I think the question is: If we give more time, will that markedly increase the support we get from the rest of the world and weigh that against the risks? So the question for me is: Will the additional time given increase the risk beyond the support we will get by allowing more time? And so that's—I just want to—I know we have a disagreement on that, but that's where I come from on this. So I sit down and I say the value—not the legitimacy, not the justness, not the equities—this guy doesn't deserve another tenth of a second. But by giving him another three weeks, three months or six months, and not move until the next "cold" quote, unquote season in the late fall—what is the risk of doing that relative to the amount of support we would pick up, making our overall job—which is going to be immense, in my view—easier? And that's a tough question. But I don't think the question is if we give him more time is he more likely to cooperate. The more time we give him, the less likely he is to cooperate, in my view.

But the question is: Does his failure to cooperate increase the risk in a way that outweighs the risk of going with fewer people, less support when we go? That to me is the issue.

Now, I realize that maintaining the deployment of a hundred-plus thousand forces in the region is costly. I would just raise as a question to be considered—it is a helluva lot more—heck of a lot more costly to deploy those forces with fewer people helping us and less commitment to mop up after it's over. Now, again, that's tough call. Are we going to—am I going to second-guess the president? No, but I am going to front-end guess it. I am going to front-end guess it. I come down on the side of suggesting that another several months is not something that in any way appreciably will increase any risk.s

The second point that I want to make is that you point out, Mr. Secretary, Mr. Ambassador, what a bad guy Saddam is, and it's undisputable. But there's also another piece of history we have from the experts we brought before this committee. Saddam Hussein has a long history—with good reason—of oppressing Islamists as well as his neighbors. The people he hates most are the clerics. They're the ones that hate him the most, because he is a secular leader. If you were just going to write the profile of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden would like to kill Saddam Hussein. Osama bin Laden hates Saddam Hussein. So the idea that there is a natural affinity here is contrary to history, recent history and even not-so- recent history. That doesn't mean in a crunch he wouldn't in order to retaliate adopt the slogan we rejected that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. But that's the only circumstance under which there's any historical data to suggest he might be cooperative. That I believe is the consensus among most experts.

The third point that I would like to make—and it was a comment made to me by a high-ranking official of a NATO country recently in Davos. I was making the smoking gun argument as it not being relevant. I said, How do we get to that point? And this very high- ranking person who both of you know said—and I am paraphrasing—I think this is a quote, but I'll be precise and say I'm paraphrasing. He said, The smoking gun was invoked by us in response to the hyperbole of a gunslinger—your president. The smoking gun was invoked by us in response to the hyperbole of your president—not my comment—a gunslinger. And I don't know how many times I heard from world leaders this past week who is the president to stand before us and petulantly look down and say, "I am growing impatient." You're a diplomat, Mr. Ambassador—I don't want either one of you to comment, except to defend the president—because I like you too much. But if you use that language in the Security Council, even if everyone agreed with you, you would not get agreement. You would not get agreement.

So I'm just suggesting that it may be time for us to understand that we have sort of concurrent objectives here. The concurrent objective is take him down with the most help we possibly can get to maybe—maybe—have a shot of putting together a more stable—with the help of the rest of the world—a more stable government that will be less destabilizing for a very important region of the world, which is when your work really begins. So I just wanted to make those few points. I would invite response—if you want to—it's not necessary. But as we go forward, no one should confuse my support for the overall objective that has been signed on by the president of the United States of America. But no one should assume that I will not have strong disagreement with the tactical approach the president uses to accomplish the end, just as I would argue—and I know for a fact that there has been equally—equally energetic disagreement within the administration on tactics as well. I'm not odd man out on that regard.

So, at any rate, I just wanted to make that statement, and I hope that we can get—I have a couple of questions I would like to submit for the record, if I may—I won't take any more time—that relate specifically to the Kurds. We just got back from Kurdistan—as you know, you accommodated that trip. I would argue as much as I love the Kurds—and I think Senator Hagel and I are the only two to ever address their "parliament," quote/unquote—they have an overwhelming reason to make a connection between al Qaeda and Saddam, and I found very little evidence of it. But they—their motivation for it is overwhelming. So we have to consider the source of some of this as well. I yield the floor. I thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

SEN. BIDEN: (Off mike) -- and I would, with your permission, Mr. Chairman, ask to submit into the record an article from the Wall Street Journal today by the following leaders of the following countries: Spain, Portugal, U.K., Hungary, Poland, Denmark and the Czech Republic—all of whom have signed on. So I am not in any way—it is—all I am pointing out is it's a call that ultimately the chief executive has to make. But I will not, as you wouldn't expect, refrain from my suggestions as to what considerations should go into him making that call. That's the only point I wish to make.

SEN. NELSON: Mr. Chairman, thank you. I want to pick up on something that Senator Biden said a couple of hours ago in which he talked about nation-building. I went to Bosnia to have dinner—Thanksgiving dinner—with our troops, specifically for the reason not only to give them the "attaboys" they certainly deserve, but to understand what folks thought that we were going to be in Bosnia for a year, and we're there now in the seventh year. And the nation- building that is going to be required in Afghanistan and in the aftermath of Iraq, and wherever else we happen to have to confront terrorism where there's not a stable political and stable economic environment. And so I would just inject this thought—and that's why I wanted to come back to the committee: What I found in Bosnia I was both pleased and at the same time a little concerned, because it is the National Guard that is performing the military duties—in this particular case, Thanksgiving, it was a National Guard unit from Pennsylvania. And they are there for six months tour of duty.

Now, these are people who pick up from a civilian life, that they leave their employer or their own place of business and go to defend the interests of the United States—in this particular case Bosnia—very important keeping those people from slaughtering each other as we try to implant some sense of rule of law and hopefully it will be successful. Here's what concerned me, was the fact that as long as they were there for six months, they're doing the mission well. But if that six months suddenly got extended to a year, and then they are ready to come home and suddenly they are diverted to Iraq instead of coming home, what we have got to do as a matter of policy is decide can we rely—is it fair to rely on the Guard and the Reserves who have the expectations of a limited time of active duty service, or do we need instead to increase the active duty military to take over this nation-building that Senator Biden was talking about? And we are going to be confronted with this.

Now, let me tell you a year ago the military chiefs asked for an increase of 60,000 active duty. That has since been erased from the agenda because the administration is saying, No, well, we don't need that. And what I want to raise to you all, and invite any of your comments as we get around to this serious question of nation-building in many nations, do we not have to face the fact that we are going to have to do this with active duty and not with calling on the Guard and the Reserves—and particularly for the specialties that are needed, many of which are only found in the Guard and the Reserves today. I invite your comments.

SEN. BIDEN: When we passed the resolution which you and I and others helped craft here giving the president the authority, there was a requirement that the president submit a report, and the report was focused—granted, it's a month late, but we got the report—and it was supposed to lay out what other military assistance, what other economic assistance, et cetera, that we expect from other countries. This is—I'm going to submit a couple of questions on that, if I may, Mr. Secretary, because I think it is a—it is not a complete report, and you may not be able to give a complete report yet. But I'd like to have described here is a little bit about the—what was required in the report is the steps we're taking to encourage others to contribute to this initial fund, and that is afterwards, and a few other questions, which is following on from that Senator Boxer raised about the previous report, under the law, under the resolution, we are—we need in that report.

Secondly, we'd also like to know, which will be the subject of another hearing, is what the game plan is, to the extent there is one, after and if—if there is a war—and after the war.

The third point I'd like to make is that I—this may be a simple answer—I'm revealing my ignorance here, maybe you know off the top of your head, Mr. Ambassador—but Hans Blix's report indicated that there are a number of illegal actions that were uncovered, including possession of those 122 chemical rockets, possession of laboratories—a laboratory and some mustard gas, development of liquid fuel missiles, et cetera. Is he authorized under 1441 to destroy—confiscate and destroy that material? And if he is, has—is this—these—are these illegal things within the—within the control now of UNSCOM? Can you tell us that?B. NEGROPONTE: He is authorized to destroy those materials under 1441 and preceding resolutions, all the way back to 687, provided he makes a determination that they are—this is Blix's position, that they are related to WMD programs and they are not simply illegal arms imports that even though they're illegal, they're not WMD. And he --

SEN. BIDEN: Oh, I see --

AMB. NEGROPONTE: And that is the determination he said he was going to be making within the next couple of weeks --

SEN. BIDEN: I see—B. NEGROPONTE: -- with respect to -- (inaudible) --

SEN. BIDEN: Well, I would hope that no matter what we do we could get maybe some clarification or amendment to that, because the idea that we're unable to destroy what he is not legally able to do under previous resolutions I think is a—B. NEGROPONTE: We have been arguing that that is what --

SEN. BIDEN: Great.B. NEGROPONTE: -- should be done.

SEN. BIDEN: And the last point I'll make is that I agree with you, Mr. Secretary, about—you just talked about Chile. Bob Dole and I, seven years ago, when we put in authorizing language in follow- on to Bosnia, proposed to, and suggested the Defense Department had to develop that, it is clear to me—it is clear to me it's the only alternative to boots on the ground with warriors there.

And the last point, I say to my friend from Rhode Island, I appreciate his observation about our power relative to the rest of the world. I may be mistaken, but I don't think I am—our military budget is larger than the next 15 nations combined, from the second most powerful military to the 15th most powerful. You add up their—and I'm not saying it shouldn't be, but just to put it in perspective, add up every other nation, including all our NATO allies, all of them combined—China—you add them all up, 15, whatever the top 15 are, our budget is larger than all 15 combined, which I think argues for the fact that they have to take on more responsibility, not that we should cut our budget.

But at any rate, I thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I thank the the witnesses very much for their indulgence.

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