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Hearing of the House International Relations Committee - 9/11 Commission Recommendations for U.S. Diplomacy

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Location: Washington, DC


Federal News Service August 24, 2004 Tuesday

HEADLINE: HEARING OF THE HOUSE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE

SUBJECT: 9/11 COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS FOR U.S. DIPLOMACY

CHAIRED BY: REPRESENTATIVE HENRY HYDE (R-IL)

WITNESSES: THOMAS KEAN, CHAIRMAN OF THE 9/11 COMMISSION; LEE HAMILTON, VICE CHAIRMAN OF THE 9/11 COMMISSION

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REP. JOSEPH HOEFFEL (D-PA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I want to thank both of you for your extraordinary bipartisan leadership. You had lots of resistance. A lot of people didn't want your commission to succeed. You succeeded because you stuck together. It's remarkable. I hope that the Congress will match the example you have set by working in a bipartisan fashion to implement your recommendations.

None of us know how long the war on terror will last, but when the history is written, I believe you two will be among its first heroes. And I really thank you for what you've done.

And I want to extend your commission authority. I think it would be a great service for you to have the public funding that you need. And I support your recommendations for a national director of intelligence, for a counterterrorism center, and certainly the need to unify and strengthen congressional oversight. And I thank you for all those recommendations.

I have two questions, broad questions, I guess. First, should the United States take a more active role in the Middle East peace process? Would it benefit our position in the Middle East, in Eurasia, to be seen as more actively involved in that peace process? How significant is that?

And secondly, we've heard a lot of discussion today about economic aid. This committee has actually talked on several occasions about a modern-day Marshall Plan. Our chair and our ranking member have embraced the concept. Secretary Powell has embraced the concept in testimony. We've not implemented any details. The original Marshall Plan was about an $18 billion commitment over four years, which would translate to about $100 billion over four years in today's dollars. How valuable would it be to pull together all these good ideas about economic aid and aid to education and all the rest into a big program that would be presented as a big program, a modern-day Marshall Plan?

MR. KEAN: I think it would be very, very useful as long as it was well planned out and well thought out. It's a big idea. It's a very big idea. And the devil would be in the details as you try to figure out what went in it and how it would be implemented and how you'd work with the various governments to help, rather than deter, what we were trying to do. But it's a very-no, it's a very good idea.

And of course the peace process, the continuing conflict with the Palestinians and Israel and all of that is constantly used against the United States. So anything we can do to move that peace process along, if we were to achieve peace in that part of the world and the preservation of the state of Israel in peace, it would take one of the great arguments that people use against the United States in that part of the world. So my personal recommendation would be to get involved as we can be in a useful manner to try and achieve peace in that part of the world because it would help in the war against terror.

REP. HOEFFEL: Mr. Hamilton?

REP. HAMILTON: I agree with that. There isn't any doubt that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a staple of, as we say in the report, of popular commentary today across the Arab and the Muslim world. And we did not address that conflict. We thought that was really kind of outside our mandate.

A more active role is your question, and I think the answer to that is yes, a more active role would be helpful in trying to resolve the conflict.

Secondly, on the question of economic aid, it's not-I am for that, basically, but it's not just a question of the amount or number of resources, it's how you put it all together and how you use it.

And we've put a lot of money into a lot of different places without much of a pay-off on it, as we've heard several times here this morning.

My own personal view is I'm a pretty strong believer in tough conditionality on aid, and if you don't have the conditions that you set, and if you're not tough about enforcing them, then the money's largely wasted.

REP. HOEFFEL: Thank you, gentlemen.

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