Page 1 TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 ?????
[H.A.S.C. No. 10612]
UNITED STATES AND NATO MILITARY OPERATIONS AGAINST THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
APRIL 28, 1999
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 HOUSE COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
One Hundred Sixth Congress
FLOYD D. SPENCE, South Carolina, Chairman
BOB STUMP, Arizona
DUNCAN HUNTER, California
JOHN R. KASICH, Ohio
HERBERT H. BATEMAN, Virginia
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
STEVE BUYER, Indiana
TILLIE K. FOWLER, Florida
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
JAMES TALENT, Missouri
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
HOWARD ''BUCK'' McKEON, California
J.C. WATTS, Jr., Oklahoma
MAC THORNBERRY, Texas
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
SAXBY CHAMBLISS, Georgia
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 VAN HILLEARY, Tennessee
JOE SCARBOROUGH, Florida
WALTER B. JONES, Jr., North Carolina
LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina
JIM RYUN, Kansas
BOB RILEY, Alabama
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
MARY BONO, California
JOSEPH PITTS, Pennsylvania
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
STEVEN KUYKENDALL, California
DONALD SHERWOOD, Pennsylvania
IKE SKELTON, Missouri
NORMAN SISISKY, Virginia
JOHN M. SPRATT, Jr., South Carolina
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
OWEN PICKETT, Virginia
LANE EVANS, Illinois
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD, Guam
PATRICK J. KENNEDY, Rhode Island
ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH, Illinois
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 SILVESTRE REYES, Texas
TOM ALLEN, Maine
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
JIM TURNER, Texas
ADAM SMITH, Washington
LORETTA SANCHEZ, California
JAMES H. MALONEY, Connecticut
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
CIRO D. RODRIGUEZ, Texas
CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
ROBERT BRADY, Pennsylvania
ROBERT E. ANDREWS, New Jersey
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
MIKE THOMPSON, California
JOHN B. LARSON, Connecticut
Andrew K. Ellis, Staff Director
Thomas Donnelly, Professional Staff Member
Michelle Spencer, Research Assistant
C O N T E N T S
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Wednesday, April 28, 1999, United States and NATO Military Operations Against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Wednesday, April 28, 1999
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 28, 1999
UNITED STATES AND NATO MILITARY OPERATIONS AGAINST THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Skelton, Hon. Ike, a Representative from Missouri, Ranking Member, Committee on Armed Services
Spence, Hon. Floyd D., a Representative from South Carolina, Chairman, Committee on Armed Services
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 WITNESSES
Cohen, Dr. Eliot, Director of Strategic Studies, School for Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
Killebrew, Col. Robert, USA (Ret.), Former Director, Army After Next Program
Link, Maj. Gen. Charles, USAF (Ret.), President, Air Force Memorial Foundation
Nash, Maj. Gen. Bill, USA (Ret.), Director, Civil-Military Programs, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs
Summers, Col. Harry, USA (Ret.), Military Analyst and Columnist, Author, On Strategy
Van Riper, Lt. Gen. Paul, USMC (Ret.), Former Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, (Command, Control, and Communications)
Cohen, Dr. Eliot A.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Killebrew, Col. Robert
Link, Maj. Gen. Charles D.
Spence, Hon. Floyd D.
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
The Mystique of U.S. Air Power
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 UNITED STATES AND NATO MILITARY OPERATIONS AGAINST THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Washington, DC, Wednesday, April 28, 1999.
The committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:20 a.m. in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Floyd Spence (chairman of the committee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. FLOYD D. SPENCE, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM SOUTH CAROLINA, CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
The CHAIRMAN. The meeting will please be in order. I apologize for the delay in opening the meeting. We have had a vote and it delayed the meeting. Many of our Members will be coming along presently.
Today the committee continues its focus on the issue of the war in Kosovo. NATO is one month into Operation Allied Force and the air campaign has not yet achieved the Alliance's objectives. This lack of tangible progress and the continuing disconnect between the Alliance's stated objectives and the military means being employed has led some to advocate openly for the introduction of ground forces into Yugoslavia.
I remain strongly opposed to the commitment of United States ground troops in the Balkans under any circumstances. However, I also believe that this committee has an obligation to explore, debate, and, I hope, better understand the implications of a ground campaign in the event that the Alliance goes down that path.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
At the same time, the committee also has the opportunity and obligation to examine the advantages and the limits of using air power in an effort to compel Serbian behavior, both political and military, on the ground. To help us in this effort, we will hear from two panels today. First we will hear from a group of distinguished retired officers and analysts who will discuss the conduct of the air war to date and the many operational and technical issues associated with the air-only strategy. These experts are retired Air Force Major General Charles Link, who, in addition to a long and distinguished operational career, also led the Air Force's efforts on the Quadrennial Defense Review; and retired Marine Lieutenant General Paul Van Riper, one of the Marine Corps' leading thinkers and former Assistant Commandant for Command, Control, and Communications, whose wife is from my home state of South Carolina, I might add parenthetically. Dr. Eliot Cohen, director of the Air Force's Gulf War Air Power Survey and professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.
I have asked our witnesses to give us an assessment of the air campaign to date, to compare it to similar air campaigns, especially air operations during Operation Desert Storm, and to discuss the strength and limitations of air power as a tool to help the Alliance meet its objectives.
Later in the hearing, we will hear from a second panel of expert witnesses who have been asked to discuss the implications of a ground war in the Balkans. I hope our witnesses can provide us with their insights into the numerous tactical and operational issues involved with the conduct of a ground campaign in the Balkans, as well as discuss the considerable risks associated with such a campaign.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Joining us later will be retired Army Major General Bill Nash, who commanded the First Armored Division during the first deployment of United States ground forces to Bosnia in 1995 and who commanded an armor brigade several years earlier in the Gulf War; and retired Army Colonel Bob Killebrew, who spent most of his career as a commander and planner in the 18th Airborne Corps, the Army's premier rapid deployment unit; and retired Army Colonel Harry Summers, author of the book On Strategy, and a frequent columnist and commentator on military affairs. I welcome all of our witnesses to the committee today.
Over the past weeks and months, we have spent a great deal of time discussing and debating the administration's policies, diplomatic and military, in the Balkans. The policy debate should and will obviously continue. In fact, the House today will spend most of its time and perhaps tomorrow debating the growing involvement we have in the Balkans.
In setting up today's hearings, I have attempted to temporarily set aside the policy debate and focus on more detailed implications of military action to date and possible military actions in the future.
Before turning to our witnesses, I would first like to recognize the committee's distinguished Ranking Democrat, Mr. Skelton, for any opening remarks he would like to make.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Spence can be found in the appendix on page 56.]
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 STATEMENT OF HON. IKE SKELTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM MISSOURI, RANKING MEMBER, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. Let me take this opportunity also to welcome the panel of distinguished military experts. It is good to see familiar faces once again.
As the Chairman mentioned, the purpose of this hearing is to discuss operations and tactics so that the Members of this committee and the Congress as a whole might better understand the conduct of NATO military operations in Kosovo. In addition, we want to examine the various scenarios that might involve a ground campaign.
Again, if I may, Mr. Chairman, I want to commend you on this ongoing effort to keep Congress informed about the events taking place in the Balkans. Under the Constitution, we should play a vital role in any policy that involves U.S. military operations. This hearing will help Congress meet its responsibilities.
It has been said that our success in the Gulf War has led Americans to expect quick, decisive, and low-risk military operations. At our last hearing on April the 15th, Secretary Cohen and General Shelton correctly cautioned that our operations in the Balkans were risky and that we should be preparing for casualties, something we have thankfully avoided so far.
I take this opportunity to raise a further caution. We must have patience with the current air campaign.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
When I traveled to Europe with Secretary Cohen earlier this month, General Clark told us that many more important targets are left. History teaches us that we should have a thorough bombing campaign to degrade Milosevic's military, even if it lasts for several months. The air campaign alone might be enough, but even if ground troops become necessary later they should not be introduced until the air campaign has been completed. This is what General Schwarzkopf did in the Gulf War. This is what we failed to do at the Pacific island of Tarawa in 1943.
Ending this tragedy in Kosovo and protecting stability in Europe is crucial to America's national interest. Twice this century Americans in uniform have gone to Europe to fight wars against tyranny and did so, as we recall, successfully. As free and moral nations, the United States and its NATO allies have a responsibility to end the atrocities being committed in Yugoslavia and to prevent this violence from spreading to neighboring countries. We must prune into President Milosevic's policy of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.
We should do whatever it takes to win. Failure by NATO to defeat Milosevic would weaken NATO and create serious political and military consequences for the future. The credibility of NATO is at stake; and if we fail, European stability would be compromised for years to come.
Mr. Chairman, yesterday I was visited in my office by two gentlemen who were members of the administration of Missouri's President Harry S. Truman. There are not many members of the Truman administration left. Maybe only a half dozen or so. They talked to me about President Truman's many foreign policy accomplishments, particularly in NATO. NATO provided a security framework that allowed for peace and stability in Europe for the last half of the 20th Century, and American involvement was critical. It marked a reversal of historical American isolationism.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
President Truman, who had that quality that we called vision, knew in the wake of World War II that America must be engaged in the world. We could no longer retreat behind our borders.
Now as we approach the beginning of the 21st Century, the need for American engagement is no less critical. Current military operations in the Balkans are a critical test of NATO's ability to maintain peace and maintain stability in Europe. It is a test, Mr. Chairman, that we must not fail.
I am looking forward to hearing from our two panels and receiving their thoughts on NATO military operations in the Balkans, and I thank you for this opportunity.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Skelton.
Without objection, our witnesses' prepared statements will be submitted for the record along with any accompanying materials.
General Link, the floor is yours, followed by General Van Riper, and Dr. Cohen batting cleanup.
STATEMENT OF MAJ. GEN. CHARLES LINK, USAF (RET.), PRESIDENT, AIR FORCE MEMORIAL FOUNDATION
General LINK. Mr. Chairman, Members of the committee, ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for this opportunity to come before the committee to comment on NATO military operations being carried out in Kosovo.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
When President Clinton announced the NATO decision to intervene in Kosovo, he said the NATO mission would consist of air strikes which would serve to, one, demonstrate the seriousness of NATO's opposition to aggression; two, deter President Milosevic from continuing and escalating his attacks in Kosovo; and, three, to damage Serbia's capacity to wage war in the future.
Unfortunately, President Clinton also saw fit to assure the American people that he did not intend to put our troops in Kosovo to fight a war. In addition to providing the Serbian dictator with ill-advised insights into our military plan and the possibly tentative nature of our commitment there, the President's remark created the impression that what we were about to do was simply not quite war.
Of the President's three objectives, the first two have more to do with diplomacy than with military action. Demonstrating the seriousness of NATO's opposition and deterring Milosevic from continuing and escalating his attacks in Kosovo are dependent on the perceptions and discretion of the enemy. Such objectives are difficult to measure. Like other functions of traditional diplomacy, demonstrating seriousness and deterring involve some sort of communication. One side sends a message, in this case with bombs, then listens for a response from the other side.
In Kosovo, from the start, military action has been used to send diplomatic signals. In this case, air power has been employed in a slowly escalating series of attacks, a gradualism, an approach that has failed in the past.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 The fundamental flaw in such an approach is the extent to which the enemy is ceded the initiative. Only the enemy can make the decision to react or not to react. A secondary but still significant flaw is a fundamental function of human nature. In limited attacks, the enemy is permitted the time to adjust to his new circumstances gradually, both psychologically and physically.
On the other hand, the third objective, damaging Serbia's capacity to wage war in the future, suggests direct military action; but it is framed in subjective language, open to further interpretation.
A more precise approach here would have been to state the objective in terms of destroying Serbia's capacity to wage war on its people and its neighbors. For example, an objective in the Gulf War was to eliminate Iraqi capacity to threaten its neighbors.
A clear military objective would have been well suited to an effectively prosecuted air campaign because of the inherent qualities of modern aerospace capabilities. In particular, the unique marriage of American technology and operational aerospace competence have produced truly revolutionary military capabilities, the characteristics of speed, range, lethality and precision, combined with surveillance, stealth and stand-off to create extraordinary asymmetrical advantages over an enemy not so equipped.
In the case of Kosovo, such precious advantages have been squandered in the imprecise or tentative approach imposed on the military commander by NATO's 19 political leaders. By viewing Operation Allied Force as an exercise in diplomatic signaling, and not as a state of war, NATO has failed to lend the necessary purpose to focus its military efforts. By avoiding the issue of being at war, NATO leaders have also managed to avoid the serious thinking that would lead us to a deeper understanding of the risks versus gains of various courses of action or inaction.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
The most crippling effect of the nonwar attitude may be the resulting command structure, or lack thereof. When our forces are committed on the ground, we somehow know we are at war. We expect to see a ground force commander who will apply his hard-earned skills and special expertise to lead his forces to accomplish the mission. His ground-force competence is drawn upon to ensure that the best tactics, doctrine, and strategy are brought to bear.
We depend on his judgment to tell us when the mission is not worth the risk, when his forces face greater than reasonable dangers, or when unforeseen opportunities present themselves. We also expect him to consider and suggest the best ways to connect the military means under his command to the stated policy goals.
Now consider the present circumstances. Because NATO chose to employ only air strikes, there is a sense that we are not really at war. Instead of turning to a competent air commander, as we did in the Gulf War, targets are being selected by a committee of 19, none of whom possess any particular competence with regard to air campaigns. The military airmen involved in Operation Allied Force have been relegated to simply servicing targets.
Now, most recently, this situation has been even further complicated by the addition of another 3-star officer, an Army officer, to command the 24 Apache helicopters which have been deployed in support of the air campaign. So we have one 3-star officer in Vicenza commanding most of the air assets and another 3-star officer commanding 24 Apache helicopters. A valuable and universally acclaimed lesson of the Gulf War about unity of command over air operations is being discarded.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 This confusion about air strikes and war is compounded by the now characteristic confusion over the roles and responsibilities of the executive and legislative branches in the act of committing U.S. forces to combat. Since we do not have to contemplate our actions under the serious label of war, we are free to focus excessively on the means as opposed to the ends of our activity, on the process as opposed to the objective.
The means discussed here have revolved around the decision to use air power only and to avoid any use of ground forces. Traditionally, as you know, we have emphasized the powerful synergies of warfare, the simultaneous application of land, sea, and air capabilities. What has changed in recent years is the relationship between air power and land power.
In the Gulf War, modern air power created the conditions that gave coalition land forces an overwhelming advantage. An air campaign preceded a ground campaign, a significant departure from the way we had been training and planning throughout the Cold War period.
Since the Gulf War, we have had to consider air power as an option.
It is important to understand military options in terms of their relative values. While the air power option may not be the perfect solution to any particular military problem, it often may be the preferred approach of all those available. Today, the air power option permits NATO to attack and destroy Milosevic's military capability while minimizing risk to friendly forces. It is not surprising to see political leaders choose an air-power-only approach at a time when their sons and daughters might be thrust into harm's way on somebody else's behalf.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Too often, when we think of our sons and daughters at war, we see them in the role of ground forces. Today our sons and daughters are at war, in the air. They are placing their lives at risk and taking the lives of those they have been ordered to attack. Despite our impatience with the current pace of operations, we should not overlook the magnificent job they are doing and have been doing in the skies over Kosovo and Serbia. We should be proud of each and every one of them and of all those who provide and support the superb systems they are employing.
Having said that, it should be noted that the operation in Kosovo began much too tentatively. Given the political constraints that were imposed, this operation should not be construed as an air campaign in the sense of what is militarily feasible today. To take a lesson on the limitations of air power from this experience to date would miss a much more important point. We, America and our Alliance and coalition partners, are still learning how to use these new military tools; how to connect them more effectively to policy goals; how to formulate policy goals which are made possible by these tools themselves. This is where we need greater attention on the part of policymakers, military planners, and commanders.
At present, we find ourselves involved in a chess game in which our opening moves have been badly played. By initially precluding options and limiting our level of effort, we gave our plainly inferior opponent the idea that he could achieve his ends by forcing a stalemate. We certainly can still win; but victory will require more time, more military, and more patience on our part.
Thank you, sir.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, General.
[The prepared statement of Maj. Gen. Link can be found in the appendix on page 62.]
The CHAIRMAN. General.
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. PAUL VAN RIPER, USMC (RET.), FORMER ASSISTANT COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS, (COMMAND, CONTROL, AND COMMUNICATIONS)
General VAN RIPER. Mr. Chairman, distinguished Members, ladies and gentlemen, when I last appeared in this room a year and a half ago, before retiring after some 40 years of active service with the United States Marine Corps, I thought it would be the last appearance. I welcome the opportunity and appreciate being able to come before the committee on this important matter this morning.
In 1996, Major General Robert Scales and myself began to talk about the future of warfare. At the time, he was heading up the Army-after-next project in the Army's training and doctrine command, and I was the commanding general of the Marine Corps' Combat Development Command. We decided it was an important subject which deserved serious consideration. So we assembled distinguished historians, retired and serving officers, and defense thinkers, and held a series of discussions over more than a year.
The product of those discussions and that analysis was a white paper that later appeared under the title ''Preparing for War in the 21st Century,'' in Strategic Review and Parameters.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
It was to be a counter to those of the high technology persuasion.
As we went through this discussion and debate, we looked at two recent periods of American history, two periods that were very different. The first was from the close at World War II, up and through the Vietnam War. The second was post-Vietnam through Desert Storm. If we go back to that period of the 1950s and the early 1960s, the Nation's military policy was based on a new look, which postulated that strategic nuclear weapons would replace conventional forces.
One observer at the time described it, I quote, the American yearning for some simple, single solution to all the bothersome and frustrating complexities of living in a world of perennial conflict.
We were introduced not only in terms of weapons acquisition, but on to the battlefield the principles that Mr. McNamara brought of systems engineering and introduced these solutions to operational and tactical problems.
The damage to needed military capabilities were long lasting and we saw the results, unfortunately, in Korea and even more so in Vietnam.
Those of the generation that I and Major General Link represent came out of Vietnam committed to never seeing this happen to our Nation again, and there was a renaissance. It was a renaissance of thinking.
We went back to the study of war from the first principle through the eyes of Clausewitz, through the methodology of history. And what we saw take place in the late seventies and throughout the 1980s, whichI see Mr. Skelton there, he certainly was a contributor to professional military education of our officers and prodding us on to do this, and we came to understand the true nature of war.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
This was the secret to the success in Desert Storm, as much as the high-tech weapons, precision-guided munitions, the well-trained and highly qualified soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines.
I am concerned today that we are returning to that period of the 1950s and the 1960s. It is not the new look, but it is called the new way of war. In one of our service documents, the New View of Conflict, the microprocessor, the chip, all it brings, has replaced nuclear weapons as the cure-all, the single silver bullet. And we hear terms like dominant battlefield awareness, sensor to shooter, long range precision strikes, that are supposed to eliminate the need to ever close with and destroy an enemy.
Despite our experience, the possibility of a fix for the challenges of war has shown astonishing persistence. I would like to quote from a paragraph, two paragraphs, from the white paper that Bob Scales and I authored, that I think get to the essence of the situation we have today.
''U.S. military policy remains imprisoned in an unresolved dialectic between history and technology, between those for whom the past is prologue and those for whom it is irrelevant.'' Today's debate about the preferred structure of American military forces thus, in the end, is a debate about the future of war itself. The debate goes far beyond which weapon to buy or whether to favor this or that capability. At its heart, rarely considered and even less articulated are fundamentally incompatible views about the nature of war, about the conditions to produce victory and defeat, indeed, how one should define these concepts, and ultimately about the purpose for which we maintain military forces in the first place.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
For those placing unbridled faith in technology, war is a predictable, if disorderly, phenomenon; defeat, a matter of simple cost-benefit analysis; and the effectiveness of any military capability, a finite calculus of targets destroyed and casualties inflicted. History paints a very different picture.
Real war is an inherently uncertain enterprise in which chance, friction, and the limitations of the human mind under stress profoundly limit our ability to predict outcomes; in which defeat, to have any meaning, must be inflicted, above all, in the minds of the defeated; and in which the ultimate purpose of military power is to assure that a trial-at-arms, should it occur, delivers an unambiguous political verdict.
Mr. Chairman, Members, though I agree with the major general's analysis of the situation, I fundamentally and strongly disagree with his conclusions as to why we have arrived at this state today, and I look forward to the opportunity to expound on those views.
I would like to close by saying nothing that I say and certainly other panel members say is meant to demean or disparage the fine soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. They are skilled and dedicated and courageous as any this Nation has ever produced. Though I would prefer to speak of the doctrine and concepts, I will let the Members draw their own conclusions because I don't believe it is the role of retired officers to critique the performance of those now serving. If asked directly, I will offer personal opinions and observations about the current situation. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Cohen.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
STATEMENT OF DR. ELIOT COHEN, DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC STUDIES, SCHOOL FOR ADVANCED INTERNATIONAL STUDIES, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY
Dr. COHEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, Members of the committee, I want to thank you for inviting me here today to discuss the role of air power in the war with the former Yugoslavia; if I could, I would like to pay particular tribute to Mr. Skelton, who served on the review board for the Gulf War Air Power Survey, which I directed. He held us to very high standards of integrity and accuracy; and as a result, I think, the work was considerably more valuable.
With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I would like to supplement my testimony with a copy of an article that I published some 5 years ago that summarized the work of the Gulf War air power survey, that adds some further reflections on air power which upon rereading I think remains relevant to our situation today.
[The information referred to can be found in the appendix on page 74.]
Dr. COHEN. Let me begin by offering some comparisons between where we are today in the war in Yugoslavia and where we were at a comparable point in Desert Storm, with the caveat that, of course, the data that we have available for analysis of what is going on in Yugoslavia is considerably more scanty than what we know about Desert Storm.
What I thought I would do would be to offer you four different comparisons, comparisons of numbers of sorties and strikes, comparisons of numbers of aircraft and the weight of effort between the United States and its allies, some technological comparisons, and a comparison of the operational concept.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Sorties and strikes. During the Gulf War, coalition aircraft flew something like 118,000 sorties over a period of something over 6 weeks. Some 42,000 of these were strike sorties, that is to say, attacks on discrete targets.
In roughly 5 weeks, NATO has flown something like 11,000 sorties, according to General Clark, of which approximately 4,400 have been strikes. If you do the arithmetic, that indicates that the level of effort that we are exerting in Yugoslavia is something like an eighth that of the Gulf War. Even allowing for the smaller size of the target, the increased use of precision guided weapons, the absence of a large fielded Army like that possessed by the Iraqis in Kuwait, the air effort that we are seeing in Yugoslavia remains a fraction and a rather small fraction of that of the Gulf War.
Number two, weight of responsibility and effort, number of aircraft. According to Pentagon statistics, the United States supplied something over 50 percent of the aircraft initially involved in Operation Allied Force, of which there were several hundred. This compares to a figure of about 1,800 American aircraft and perhaps 800 allied aircraft in Operation Desert Storm. With the additional reinforcements Operation Allied Force recently announced, my rough calculation, and it is quite rough, is that the United States will be supplying something like three-quarters of the air effort, which is roughly comparable to the effort that we provided in Desert Storm, although with less of an excuse, given the proximity of Western Europe to the Balkans and the stake that presumably the Europeans have there.
As in the Gulf, the United States provides virtually all of certain unique assets like the EA-6B aircraft for suppression of enemy air defenses and, of course, stealth aircraft such as the F-117 or the B-2.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Technology. Unlike Desert Storm, the American portion of Allied Force has been almost entirely a precision weapon campaign. The same is not true, I hasten to point out, of our allies, with the exception of the British. Most of the allied effort, as far as I can tell, has been using dumb bombs.
The technologies used do not, in my judgment, represent a quantum change in type from the Gulf War, although new aircraft such as the B-2 have been used, which together with global positioning system aided munitions has made an important contribution to our ability to attack fixed targets in poor weather conditions, which is a major improvement. But by and large as one steps back, the technological leap was first visible in the Gulf; and one doesn't see a comparable leap between the Gulf War and today.
Fourthly and perhaps most importantly, the operational concept. The Desert Storm concept for air operations was initially devised by Colonel John Warden of the air staff. It involved a massive use of air power from the very outset of the war and simultaneous attacks on the integrated air defense system and major targets such as leadership and command and control. This plan evolved and matured in the 6 months leading up to the war, but these essential qualities remained.
By way of contrast, the Allied Force opened with sustained attacks on the enemy air defense system and only then broadened out to other target sets, and that is a process that continues today.
It is a far more incremental and even hesitant use of air power than we saw in 1991. The attacks on ground forces which consumed slightly more than 50 percent of all strikes in Desert Storm were directed in that war against large armored forces deployed in the desert, in generally good if not perfect weather conditions. Here, the ground forces being attacked are small, dispersed, concealed in villages, cities, and forests, shielded by hostages and cloaked by extremely poor weather conditions.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
To sum up, the air effort in the Balkans has been a fraction of that of Desert Storm, measured by virtually any standard. The technology employed is more sophisticated but not by a dramatic margin. The strategic object is different and more difficult, the higher direction of the war infinitely more diffuse and hence timid and incoherent; the operational concept incremental and very traditional.
Allocate responsibility for it as one will, one cannot escape the conclusion that Allied Force represents a poor use of air power, one which cannot and, indeed in my judgment, could not achieve the central objective with which this war began, namely, the rescue of the Kosovar Albanians from mass murder, rape, and deportation.
With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I would like to conclude my testimony by offering one suggestion for a practical step this committee might undertake. It seems to me that Congress, in its exercise of its oversight function, has an extremely important role to play not only in shaping the public debate about next steps but also in extracting lessons from what has already occurred. In particular, I hope that Congress will commission a formal, independent, rigorous and, if at all possible, unclassified study of Allied Force, which will examine such critical issues as the planning of the operation, the weight of American versus allied efforts, the command arrangements and the military advice solicited by and offered to civilian leaders.
Left to its own devices, the executive branch is highly unlikely to do this. Without such an honest accounting, however, the country will lose the benefit of what I suspect will be some uncomfortable but extremely important lessons about how we wage war at the dawn of a new century. Thank you.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Cohen can be found in the appendix on page 65.]
The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Cohen, your suggestion, I think, is very good. As a matter of fact, we have been reading, on a daily basis different commentators' suggestions about what has happened that brought us to this place that we are right now. The negotiations that preceded all of our active military involvement, what could have been done there to bring about a peace settlement, the threats that finally culminated in air strikes and, in the views of a lot of people, in an untimely manner.
I know already we have heard from our military leaders in the Pentagon the advice that they gave the administration on this matter, and that helps to form some of my conclusions. For instance, the military advised the administration against ground troops in Yugoslavia unless there was a peace agreement and both sides invited us in as peacekeepers.
And relative to the air campaign, they advised the administration that they could bomb Yugoslavia but they couldn't bomb them to the peace table. Evidently, this advice was ignored and other things were ignored that went into the planning, whatever kind of planning there was. It would be very revealing to see if there was any planning in the details to which you refer. I think it is very important that we do this. But in the meantime, we have got to try to extract ourselves from a very difficult situation that we have gotten ourselves into, I think.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Personally, I don't think we should have been there in the first place, for a number of reasons. We have got much more serious threats in the world today. If this is a threat to our national security, it does not rise to near the level of the threats we have otherwise in the world today, with weapons of mass destruction and all of these things that we have to contend with from the other sources we have threats emanating from. And we are unprepared, in my estimation, to defend against those threats.
This further jeopardizes our ability to do that, by getting involved in this other conflict we are involved in the Balkans right now. And quite frankly, the NATO situation has been raised on many occasions, the credibility of NATO is at stake now, and we can't afford to lose, even though we are involved. Of course, I think that is true. NATO cannot afford to lose now. Its credibility is at stake. I might add parenthetically, ours is, too. So the question is how do we get out of this thing.
I think back on our experience in Vietnam and that kept escalating along. The lessons we should have learned there looked like we haven't learned them yet and we are falling down that same path again. And I remember what happened back then, after getting so involved so much, losing so many lives, we finally voted to cut off funding. I couldn't believe it. I was here then. The Congress voted to cut off funding.
That resulted in those pictures of our people reaching for a ride on helicopters at the embassy trying to get out of there. Under those conditions, our military was forced to leave that battle because of what we did here in cutting off funding. So I don't want to see that kind of situation happen again. But there is a way out, I think. And I think that we can still have NATO get itself out of this situation that it shouldn't have gotten into in the first place, going against its charter and getting out-of-area, that was just overlooked in the process, dragging us along or we drug them along, quite frankly. The study is going to reveal in the future that we, this administration, got NATO into this situation, and then we used that as an excuse for us being involved militarily.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
We can still declare victory and negotiate a peace settlement. And NATO can take care of all of these refugees and the humanitarian crisis that has been brought about, partly in response to what we have helped to bring about, with the air campaign that we didn't foresee when we got into this mess. And NATO can save a lot of face by trying to take care of this crisis, the humanitarian crisis, and get out of it peacefully and learn a lesson, a big lesson, from it. That was just my thoughts about it, but I want to get yours. And so I will go to Mr. Skelton at this time.
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, I will yield to the gentleman to my left my time.
Mr. SISISKY. Mr. Chairman, I will temporarily pass.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Reyes.
Mr. REYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I am sorry. We jumped Mr. Taylor. We don't want to overlook Mr. Taylor.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I apologize for being out of my seat, but I was here when the gavel went down.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
General Link, in your prepared text you had some words in there that I think Members of Congress need to pay some attention to, and I certainly agree with the Chairman that I wish this had never happened, but a lot of things happen in our lives that we wish did not happen. So I am going to quote you, ''Today our sons and daughters are at war in the air. They are placing their lives at risk and taking the lives of those they have been ordered to attack. Despite our impatience with the current pace of operations, we should not overlook the magnificent job they have been doing and are doing in the skies over Kosovo and Serbia.''
Now, going on to quote you, ''At present, we find ourselves involved in a chess game in which our opening moves have been badly played. By initially precluding options and limiting our level of effort, we gave our plainly inferior opponent the idea that he could achieve his evil ends by forcing a stalemate. We certainly can still win; but victory will require more time, more military effort and more patience on our part.''
I want to ask each of you gentlemen, given the four options that are going to be voted on in Congress today, none of them can be amended and I am sure every one of us would write it a little bit differently if we could: Complete withdrawal, declare a war, continue the air strikes, and the fourth one escapes me; but if you were elected by your peers to be a Member of Congress how would you vote?
General Link, we will start with you.
General LINK. Sir, at this point I would vote to continue the air strikes; and if given any room there, I would vote to intensify the air strikes.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Mr. TAYLOR. I have been advised by Congressman Skelton that the fourth is to prohibit the introduction of ground troopsground elements. Excuse me, sir.
General Link, your vote would be?
General LINK. I would vote to continue; and if possible, intensify the level of air strikes. I would not vote for complete withdrawal. I would not vote to declare war at this point because it is too complicated a factor at this point.
We are operating as a member of a coalition which has declared war on our behalf. I think this is something we need to sort out in calmer times, how this operates. I don't think it is a good idea to leave unattended the situation in which the executive can commit forces in acts of war without broader consultation with the Congress.
On prohibiting land forces, I would not vote to support the prohibiting land forces. I can't imagine a conclusion to this effort without the introduction of some kind of security force in the Kosovo province.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, sir.
General VAN RIPER. Mr. Congressman, I would vote for withdrawal. The object of war is to impose our will on the enemy, and war must serve policy. The means of war must meet the political ends. As I understand from the media, the ends of this war was to prevent ethnic cleansing. We have lost the war.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, sir.
General VAN RIPER. If we want to do something different, we need to step back and decide what are the ends we are trying to achieve? What are the ends, as the Chairman has indicated, this country needs and wants to pursue? If they are, we need to follow Clausewitz' dictum that you must have the Army, Armed Forces in general, the people, and the government all pulling in trace; and until we reach that condition we should not go to war.
Mr. TAYLOR. General, should that motion fail, the next vote is to declare war. How then would you vote?
General VAN RIPER. If that fails, I would reluctantly vote to go to war; and I would insist that we prosecute it as a war.
War entails all elements: Air, naval, and land. The strength of this country and its Armed Forces has always been combined arms, and any time we have tried to fight with a single element, we have met disaster.
Mr. TAYLOR. Dr. Cohen.
General VAN RIPER. Nathan Bedford Forrest said, ''War means fighting and fighting means killing.'' What we are seeing is what people wish war was, not what it is in reality. It is a terrible, bloody, dangerous business; and until this country and its leadership recognizes that and is willing to commit, we ought not to get engaged.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Dr. COHEN. I suppose I am closer to General Link, although I think General Van Riper makes an important contribution when he is quite blunt in saying that a decision to withdraw or come to a settlement means confession that we lost the war. And we should think about what that means. I think the most important contribution I can make to your deliberations, because at the end of the day you will be making those decisions and not me, is that I think we should be very clear that any of the outcomes are bad and your unenviable task, it seems to me, is going to be to decide which is the least bad of all of these alternatives.
Now, at the end of the day, my conclusion is that the least bad alternative is for us to end up establishing some sort of protectorate over Kosovo, and the reason why I feel that way
Mr. TAYLOR. That is not an option, Mr. Cohen. I laid out the four options.
Dr. COHEN. I understand.
Mr. TAYLOR. I asked you to address the four options.
Dr. COHEN. At the end of the day, the executive branch is going to run this thing. I would certainly not vote to withdraw. I don't think I would vote to go to war.
I think it would be a terrible mistake to have on the record a vote prohibiting the introduction of ground forces. The message that that sends to the other side and to everybody else in the world for that matter is dreadful. I also feel, as you know from my testimony, that air strikes are not going to finish this thing, or if they do finish them it will be at a cost that will not be acceptable to us.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
I would not have gotten involved in this war. Nobody asked me. I think it was begun in an extraordinarily irresponsible way, has been extraordinarily badly managed, and that is one of the reasons why I would like to see on the public record a documentation, an elaborate, scholarly, incontrovertible documentation, about how it all came about.
But being where we are now, it seems to me that the problem of letting this go is really threefold.
There is a humanitarian issue. We may feel differently about that.
The credibility issue is a huge one. I would remind you that as we look back on the Gulf War, one of the reasons why Saddam Hussein thought that he would be able to get away with it and why he thought down to the last moment that he could face us down was because of the experience of Beirut. There is documentation on the record in which he has given speeches, and so forth, and he is quite clear about that. He said the Americans took a couple hundred killed and they left and they will do the same thing here.
Now, the Gulf War turned out quite well from our point of view on the whole. Of course, we did take casualties; but the point is that credibility is a real thing. If the record that we put out there for people to see, which will be the record of the United States, not the record of the Clinton administration, fairly or not, is that the United States is willing to go to war, but is not willing to take any casualties; that the United States and its allies are willing to make firm, resolute, uncompromising declarations of what their intentions are and then back down that the United States will allow itself to be defeated, and again I think General Van Riper has been quite forthright in saying it is a defeat; that we will allow ourselves to be defeated by a country whose gross national product is one-twelfth the size of our defense budget. That is something that will reverberate around the world and not just for months but for years and more than years, and I have a terrible feeling that we will pay for it in some other quarter.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
And as I said, I don't think any of the outcomes are good. I think all of the outcomes are bad, and the only question really is which is the least bad.
Mr. TAYLOR. Would you vote for any of the least bad options?
Dr. COHEN. I would vote against withdrawal, and I would vote against a declaration of war, and I would probably vote against prohibiting the introduction of ground forces. I am not sure, on the other hand, that I would care to go on record as saying that a continued air war is really going to bring this thing to a successful conclusion because I am not sure that I believe that. So I would probably abstain on that one.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Buyer.
Mr. BUYER. I thank you gentlemen for being here today. I have a couple of comments and then a question.
First comments are based on my own observation when I traveled over there to Europe with the Secretary of Defense. And I was doing some extensive reading, not only there but on the way back, of the histories of the Balkans, not only with the German occupation but starting from the Crusades.
I can summarize the thousands of pages in about one sentence. A bad situation always gets worse in the Balkans when there is an outside intervening source. That is my personal observation from thousands of pages. So I will save those who don't want to read a thousand pages some time. That concerns me because I don't want to repeat history.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
The other thing that concerns me is the total mismatch between political rhetoric, NATO's political objectives, and the military use of force. To the Marine Lieutenant General, I will concur with you in the post-Vietnam era. I was educated by you and your peers when you came out of Vietnam, and you were the company commanders. And you were pretty spirited in how you wanted to cure the world and never again would you permit that scenario to occur. So I was taught at the Citadel about Clausewitz, that the use of military force is the instrumentality of a political decision. It is the means to that end.
So, now I find myself in the political world as also a soldier, but I wear the political hat. And I go to Europe, and I see this total mismatch between the rhetoric and this use of force and whether through the use of air power alone could achieve NATO's noble, political objectives. In my observation, they cannot, but I will ask you, General Van Riper, for your personal opinion.
General VAN RIPER. Sir, this is Strategy 101, and all the external appearances indicate it is amateur hour.
There is no indication that from the top leadership there was any clear idea of what the ends were to be, and I enjoy using quotes. Let me use one from the famous strategist Julian Corbett. He said, The greater the problem to be solved, the more resolute must we be in seeking points of departure from which we can begin to lay a course.
We didn't seek a point of departure. We didn't understand the ends; and then, to make it worse, we selected a means which was totally inappropriate for the vague goal that we did state.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Mr. BUYER. I am concerned when I hearI will be kind when I refer to these individuals as doves on the ''Meet the Press'' and other type shows that are out there. And they will say things like, well, are you in it? If we are in it, we are in it to win, and if you are going to back out, inferring some cowardice, win what?
What do you want it to look like? I am stunned that we get briefed on multifaceted scenarios. Take Belgrade, take all of Serbia, take only Kosovo, what do you want? I am concerned that none of this was laid out before we ever got in, and how we could now be in a position of choosing. That, right now, is pretty dumbfounded to me.
If we are going to go by NATO objectives, I think that is what is to be the guiding light here, and I am concerned that people don't refer back to what are NATO's political objectives; and it is Kosovo and Kosovo only.
So I thinkI want to be helpful here and constructive. If it is Kosovo is the political objective, on the ground, Germanyit didn't take them very long to roll across Yugoslavia. It was holding the ground. My concern here at the moment is, there is this rhetoric out there about, oh, it is Vietnam. Well, in Vietnam you didn't know who the enemy was. We let this go any bit further, if it moves in Kosovo, it is probably a Serb.
Let me listen to your personal opinion about a ground occupation force in Kosovo and Kosovo only. What would that take?
General VAN RIPER. Sir, if you are asking in terms of numbers, I think the numbers that I have seen in the open literature are perhaps high. I would say something in the neighborhood of a hundred, maybe 150,000. If we are looking for heavy, armed forces, we are looking for the wrong forces, not that we wouldn't need some. This is light infantry trained, the forces we can most rapidly deploy and get on the ground.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
I have seen nothing in the media that indicates there are large tank formations that we would go against with larger formations. I think our light to medium forces, backed with a minimum of heavy forces, would be adequate.
Mr. BUYER. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Ortiz.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I know that for the past months there has been a lot of debate about what we should do and shouldn't do in Kosovo. The only thing I know is that we have a lot of young men and women in harm's way, and all I know is that we only have one commander in chief. All I know is that morale is very important to our troops who are stationed there, and I know that all of you have served.
Don't you think thatand this is my personal opinionwhat we are doing now is not doing much to help the morale of our troops. And the perception that we send worldwide that we are the big guy, but with no guts if we were to withdraw?
General VAN RIPER. Sir, if we would transport ourselves back in history, and this was the 1960s and we were in the first stages of Vietnam
Mr. KUYKENDALL. Could you pull that microphone closer to you so it is easier to hear you? Thanks.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
General VAN RIPER. We were in the first stages of Vietnam, and we came to the same conclusion that you have articulated. Think of the tragedy we could have avoided if we had spoken up and said what needed to be said and either decided what we needed to do and put the resources and the will to it. As I indicated before, the people, the government and the military for simply don't do it.
Mr. ORTIZ. But what is this debate? I mean, you-all served. Do you think that this debate we are conductingI know this is very, very, very important, but let us place ourselves there. Is this helping the morale of our troops who happen to be in harm's way? I am just asking. I don't know. I am asking you.
General VAN RIPER. I am sure it does not, but I am certain the gentlemen to my left and right believe it is important to resolve this and avoid a further, longer tragedy that even comes close to paralleling what we saw in Vietnam.
Mr. ORTIZ. General Link.
General LINK. Sir, we have a fairly sophisticated fighting force today. I think the majority of them understand why this kind of debate has to occur. I think most of them would say it is probably late, that it is the sort of debate, that should have been resolved prior to committing the forces, but I think we understand why it must be done.
I am a little concerned about the extent to which we become a council of despair here. There are fundamental differences between what is going on in Yugoslavia today and what went on in Vietnam. We are not losing here unless we choose to say we lost. On the 23rd of April, there was nothingexcuse me, the 23rd of March, there was nothing that we could have done, short of ignoring the problem that would not have resulted in an acceleration of ethnic cleansing.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Let us say that on that date General Van Riper's advice would have been followed and we would have said, We are going to invade Kosovo to save the Albanians. In the 3 to 6 months that it would have taken to assemble that force, Milosevic would have very likely carried out the same actions that he carried out this time, and at the end of that period, since we would not have begun an air campaign, he would have been just as militarily capable.
It is important to understand that modern aerospace capabilities give us the ability to attack the enemy's capability to make war. That is a different center of gravity than we are accustomed to thinking about. Each passing daywith each passing day Milosevic is less and less militarily capable. We are not doing this as well as we could do it, but we are doing it. And we are not losing forces on our side. It is important to remember that.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you.
Dr. COHEN. I think I largely agree with General Link. My observation would be that I think it is a terrible mistake to use the Vietnam analogy. That was a different place, a different time, a different set of strategic contexts.
We are dealing with a much smaller country. We are dealing with a different part of the world. We are dealing with a different set of allies. We are dealing with a much less resolute government and society. We are not dealing with the situation in which you have a China and a Soviet Union which are going to write a blank check in terms of supporting an opponent with their most advanced technology and resources.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
That is not to say it could not very well be a mess. It could very well be a mess. And I by no means want to encourage anybody to think this would be a trivial kind of operation or walkover or that it might not turn into something pretty ugly. But the point is whatever it is going to be, it is not going to be Vietnam. It will be a different kind of mess, and I am just urging us all to focus on the problem as it is before us rather than resort to historical analogies, which I think are not going to be terribly helpful.
Mr. ORTIZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
My time is up. Thank you very much.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Pitts.
Mr. PITTS. If you could give us some advice as to the best way to exit, an exit strategy, what would it be, General?
General LINK. You want us to work our way down the panel, sir?
Mr. PITTS. Yes.
General LINK. I happen to believe at this point that we have to disarm the Serb tyrant, and I think that we can do that if we will state that as our military goal and organize our capabilities around it. We can do that prior to the introduction of any kind of ground forces.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Mr. PITTS. General?
General VAN RIPER. Mr. Congressman, I would go back to the theme I've maintained all morning. What is the purpose of the withdrawal? Are we simply going to walk away? That is a simple thing to do. You could withdrawthe military would know how to do that. If there is some purpose to the withdrawal, if it is to lead to some political goal, then I would need to know what that is and then put together the appropriate means to accomplish that end.
Dr. COHEN. I am not sure there is an exit strategy. There are basically three outcomesthere is one exit strategy, which is that you simply drop it and walk away. The President announces tomorrow, we decided it was a big mistake and that we are suspending air operations and we are just going to stay out of Kosovo. Of course, we will still have forces in Bosnia, but the repercussions for that would be pretty substantial.
I think in just about any of the other scenarios I can imagine, including one in which basically the Russians rescue us with a brokered deal of some kind, American forces will be involved in some kind of peacekeeping, long-term peacekeeping, peace enforcement kind of operation in Kosovo for one main reason.
If you were a Kosovar-Albanian, bear in mind everything that happened in Bosnia under the eyes of UN peacekeepers wearing blue helmets and driving white infantry fighting vehicles at places like Srebrenica and Gorazde. You will not return to your home unless you see at least a few American soldiers walking around because you know that at least they mean business.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
And it seems to me in any of the other scenarios beyond just dropping this and scuttling, if we want to do anything to stabilize that situation to get any of those refugees back to where they were, we will be in on the ground. So, unfortunately, I don't see an exit strategy and probably a good reason for not having started this to begin with, but it started and so that is the situation we have to deal with.
Mr. PITTS. I agree with some of your comments about this being poorly planned and poorly coordinated and unfocused; the strategy is not clear. I have one basic question, though, that you might help with. General Clark, to whom does he answer? Who is in charge here? Is it the commander-in-chief of the United States? Is it the NATO Secretary-General? Is it the North Atlantic Council? Can any of your clarify that, who is the proper authority here to whom he answers, General?
General LINK. Go ahead.
Dr. COHEN. Mr. Pitts, I think that is a wonderful question, and I don't think anybody really knows the answer. And it is one of the reasons why I would really love to see Congress dig into this, these kinds of issues and put something out there on the record for your colleagues and for the American people to consider because I suspect that it is an enormously messyit is an enormously ambiguous mess, and that may have something to do with why we are where we are.
Mr. PITTS. General?
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 General LINK. He answers to the Secretary-General in terms of the military mission, but it is the North Atlantic Council that has to be of one voice in terms of options, targets, et cetera, or their representatives. I think the key thing to remember here is that this is an arrangement that would have worked well when NATO was under attack because one could assume a community of interests among all the then 16 nations.
When we use NATO in the way that it is being used now, that particular command construct really gets blurred because, as we have seen, each of the member nations may have, since they are not concerned about their own security in a direct way, they may have other economic, political, or social interests that color their views towards the central theme of action.
So I think a good after-action study would turn up the idea that we either need to abandon out-of-area uses of NATO, which I think would be a mistake; or we need to develop a better way of establishing unity of command over those operations.
Dr. COHEN. If I could just add one more thought, it seems wheneverand I have, in the course of my academic work, looked at various systems of high command. There is always a set of formal relationships, and then there is a whole sort of informal relationships and back channels. And some people count more than others and so on, and that seems to me one of the things to uncover here as well because the two may not, in fact probably do not, match up entirely.
Mr. PITTS. You mention the unity of command problem, also the committee of 19 or however many have to approve targets. Can you explain how long this takes? I mean, is thiswhat is the effectiveness of the process they are using?
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
General LINK. I can't claim any special competence over the exact process that is underway right now. I understand that there arethere have been established phases of operations which involve categories of targets. Whether or not each representative from each nation has to approve each target, I think that is probably not the case; but I would be willing to guess that each representative has the opportunity to veto a particular target or set of targets.
Mr. PITTS. And what is your opinion of that?
General LINK. Oh, I think it is crazy, sir. Particularly in air operations, you lose the advantage of speed, range and the ability to shift your focus rapidly when you have to go through a great exercise. It is also very difficult to keep your plan secure when you spread it around that number of people.
This is a situation in which there should have been a community of interests involving a military objective which could then be turned over to a commander who uses the means at his disposal to accomplish that objective. That is clearly not the case here.
Mr. PITTS. General, did you want to add?
General VAN RIPER. The only comment I would offer, Congressman, is all of these things that you have raised, these issues were certainly known at the outset of this venture, why weren't they taken into consideration then?
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. PITTS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Mr. Reyes.
Mr. REYES. I get another shot?
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I find it somewhat ironic, on the one hand, and I am thankful, on the other hand, to be here this morning. Although I look around at the committee, and I can't help but think that the smart ones aren't here, and I say that with a bit of trepidation because of a bit of confusion that I am trying to sort through, and I did lean over and speak to my colleague, Mr. Snyder, who is a Vietnam vet like myself, a couple of times trying to see if I was understanding this process or this procedure correctly. And I don't want to speak for him, but I think we are as confused as anybody else here.
I will tell you, let me just express some frustration myself, because having been in Vietnam for 13 months and having had to deal with the second-guessing and the political maneuvering of the time, I can remember then having been in uniform and having to go out and fight for our lives and the lives of our comrades.
It was disturbing. It was very frustrating and aggravating to have to do that and to have to continuously be badgered by the enemy about the things that were being said in Congress, about the things that were being done in this country to undermine our very presence in Vietnam.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
And I think the best word I can use this morning is that I resent being in that same situation when our men and women are over there fighting for their lives, and I can't help but want to scream out that war is hell. And I know that firsthand. And it is not pretty, and it shouldn't be entered into on a lark. And I, for a minute, do not believe that anyone in this country, the President or members of his administration, entered into this situation on a lark.
I think we are there for the right reasons because I have got to remind people that hundreds of thousands of people were being killed, and the same people that today are second-guessing were saying, why aren't we doing something at just a couple of months ago.
And so I am frustrated being here, number one, to on the one handthinking how men and women in uniform that are carrying out the missions daily must feel when they hear what we are discussing here this morning on all the second-guessing and all the things that have been spoken about that we have lost this, we ought to get out, that I would abstain from voting, et cetera, et cetera. And it justit makes meit aggravates me to a point to where I had wanted to just get up and join with the rest of my colleagues that aren't here in saying it is not worth it to be here.
But it is worth it to me to express frustration that I felt 30 some-odd years ago at the scholars and the politicians and all those others that not for one minute were in the situation that I was in or my comrades were in but yet were so gleefully telling everyone that would give them an opportunity to speak and to be heard how they would prosecute a war, how they would do this or how they would do that.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 I am a Member of Congress. I will vote on these things. I do believe that we are in there. I would not for a minute entertain the thought that we have lost anything. I think to do that would be to undermine the morale of the finest men and women that I have ever met and that I continue to meet as I go around the world talking to our forces.
So, Mr. Chairman, I don't have a question, but I did hope to at least put some perspective on at least this Member of Congress' feelings about what we are engaged here, and I will admit to you, Mr. Chairman, that I am still somewhat confused as to why we have to go through this process.
Thank you very much.
The CHAIRMAN. You always bring a good perspective, Mr. Reyes. I might add, too, that a lot of our Members who aren't here this morning are on the floor probably debating these resolutions we have, and that probably accounts for their absence here this morning.
Mr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think maybe to continue a little bit the tone of Mr. Reyes, I agree with you. I think our Members are on the floor, and I think it is unfortunate we are having this Monday morning quarterbacking session looking backwards when we all could beI know Mr. Skelton would probably be on the floor and feels an obligation to be here.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 I would think we would be better off by being on the floor and dealing with looking ahead of where we are going to now. There will be plenty of time, I think, later on to evaluate this whole question of the first 35 days, but I consider myself a good committee Member. I have never missed a MILCON committee, and so I am here because we have got this meeting. But I don't think the timing is so good.
It is interesting and I think thiswhile I think there is some value in asking the kind of questions you-all are asking, the image of the Monday morning quarterback is fine. We all do that. The problem seems to me is we are about halfway through the first quarter, and you know, we are 35, 36 days into this. We have had 10 or 11 days of decent weather, and I guess I am more patient than some people in the country. I never thought this thing would be over in 35 days anyway. I thought it would be weeks to months at a minimum.
And so where we are at is we have had no allied casualties. We now have, I think, the Vice Premier of Serbia on State TV saying, you know, we have got to start being honest with our own people, we are isolated, the Russians aren't going to help us, NATO is holding together. Not too bad for the first quarter.
Acknowledging General Van Riper's comments and yours, General Link, that the Kosovar/Albanians have had a terrible time. But as you made the point and as what led to this, we knew Milosevic was going to do that all along no matter what we did. If we did nothing, if we did an air war, if we did a 3 to 6-month buildup, he was going to do it. That is the nature of the evil that we are dealing with.
So I think it is fair to have all these discussions. I question the timing of it. General Link, I want to be sure I have got straight on what you said. You made a comment that you think it would be a terrible statement to make for us to support that Goodling amendment that is on the floor today that says that there would be a prohibition put on ground troops. I want to be sure that that point was made because I fear that some of our Members would be lured into thinking that that is a good thing.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Dr. Cohen, and maybe I will pick on you for just one quick phrase, but you start talking about the irresponsible leadership, and it kind of came acrossand General Link talked about the 19 political leaders, that none of them with experience of air campaigns. We may not like the people that get elected in democracies, but we have got 19 democracies.
I had a guy come to me the other day in the grocery store and say, Why don't we have in the Constitution you have to be war veteran to be elected president. I said, well, you might find some support for that amendment, but I don't think so. I think we kind of like the way we do it. Sometimes we vote for veterans, sometimes we don't. But we have never thought in any democracy that you have to be a war veteran to be elected president. And so it seemed to me, Dr. Cohen, there is a little bit of this everybody is irresponsible but me.
We have 19 democracies. This is the leadership. It is a very, you know, these are alliances.
You talk about the Iraq war. I am very, very proud of what our troops did there, but there was also GeneralI am sorry, President Bush had limits by his allies, too. I mean, we are still dealing with Saddam Hussein. He is a survivor. He is still there. We did not overthrow him, and part of the same thing was President Bush was trying to hold the Alliance together.
So I appreciate the comments that are being made. I am perhaps not as pessimistic or perhaps not so ''Pollyannaish'' to think at the beginning of this that we could have come up with the perfect strategy that 19 countries would support, the American people support it, and I appreciate you-all being here today. I hope we all have this discussion in 6 months or a year.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
General LINK. Could I expand on that point about the 19 political leaders?
Mr. SNYDER. Yeah.
General LINK. I fully agree with you, and I understand that. My point is, not so much that I would expect them to be air campaigners, it is that we have failed to realize we need to put an air campaigner in charge; that they are capable of developing a military objective; that that has to be turned over to somebody who knows how to do it.
And if, in fact, we were to put forces on the ground, we would never permit 19 different nations to figure out what the rudimentary ought to be. My point is, we need to take that same sense of appropriate, military, civil interaction and apply it to the air campaign.
Mr. SNYDER. General Link, if I mightand maybe I am overreading your statement here, but this is aI mean, this is a politicalthis is an alliance that has come to these conclusions, and I don't thinkI don't think the President and General Clark are satisfied with the constraints they have had. I think it is better now than it was at the beginning of it, but that is the board game that they are dealing with.
And it is very easy as part of this Monday morning quarterbacking to say, gee, we sure would like General Clark to be able to go in there and choose any target whatsoever in the very day with unlimited resources, but that was not the choices that the President had. The choice the President had was within these constraints, knowing you are going to have these limits, is it better to go ahead or to do absolutely nothing and let Milosevic do what he was going to do? And I think the President made the choice, we understand these constraints, we will try to work through them and they have had all these intense relationships.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
I think your written statement comes across perhaps a little harsher than your comments that you made right there. I appreciate all of your input today.
General Van Riper, you were with Second Battalion 5th Marines, weren't you?
General VAN RIPER. Seventh Marines, yes, sir.
Mr. SNYDER. Seventh Marines.
General VAN RIPER. Congressman, if I could respond and certainly to both Congressmen, I am equally frustrated, but my frustration is that we learned a hard lesson in Vietnam. We came back, and we began to think it through and study and debate and write the doctrine, and the success in that effort was demonstrated very well in Desert Storm. My frustration is that we didn't follow that same model, not just in Kosovo but in all of the contingencies we have become involved in since then.
I don't think any of the Membersand I detect some of thoseyour strongest comments were directed at mecome here this morning wanting to second-guess. We are invited to offer our opinions. I would be disloyal toin the oath I took as an officerto what I think the committee is asking me this morning if I didn't voice those opinions, and I do feel very strongly about them.
My wife and I have a wonderful son, a young captain in the Marines. I am certainlyif I thought what we were saying this morning, were going to undermine the morale of him and those he serves with in all the services, I wouldn't say it, but I feel compelled to put forth an honest opinion that I strongly believe in.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Dr. COHEN. Since you addressed a remark to me, Congressman, let me respond. I think it isthe first thing is it is quite clear the administration did not anticipate what was going to happen. The idea that this was predetermined, that you would see these kinds of efforts in Kosovo, if that was indeed the case, one would have thought that the administration would have engaged in some prior planning for much larger humanitarian relief efforts, for a substantial increase in the level of air forces that we were going to send over. In fact, I think they would not have begun saying at the very outset of the operation, as they did, that this would just last a very short time.
The truth of the matter is they were surprised, not that surprise has happened. Let us not rewrite the history of this.
Mr. SNYDER. Dr. Cohen, if I might interrupt, I personally asked Sandy Berger at one of our meetings here at the Capitol on, I think, day one of this, what are the possible reactions of Milosevic.
He said, option one, which is the one we would likeMr. Reyes was there, alsois that he will cave in. The other two are not such good scenarios.
Number two, he will aggressively pursue his campaign of terror, which we know he is going to do sometime anyway.
Number three, he may even extend that and try to gin things up in a big time way in Bosnia and try to kill our troops there.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
So I was put on notice, on the first time I asked, that they had clearly thought through these possibilities. So I think it is thethat they didn't even consider the possibility that Milosevic might act out? Give me a break.
Dr. COHEN. If they had thought it through, then why was there absolutely no preparations made, as far as we can tell, to deal with the human consequences?
Mr. SNYDER. Because of what General Link said, if we took 2 or 3 or 5 or 6 months to prepare, it was going to happen.
Dr. COHEN. So we have been able to deploy substantial humanitarian relief effort over there in the space of the month. It was clearly much more that could have been done. The other thing is, it seems to me that when one goes to a war in which 19 countries are going to be involved, then it is irresponsible to go do that and then sort of be surprised that, lo and behold, there are all kinds of constraints in the effective use of air power.
It is quite true that to some extent President Bush was constrained by his coalition, but on the whole, he dominated it. And that is what you want a President of the United States to do. We should not be in a situation where Luxemburg gets the same vote of the United States does on the exercise of military power.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Skelton, and before we break.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. SKELTON. Yes. Let me correct or restate, the Goodling amendment that will be discussed today on the floor prohibits ground elements, which is far beyond ground troops, and with all the implications thereof. I just wanted to make that clear, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. We better break for this vote. It is on the rule that we are considering, and we will come right back.
The CHAIRMAN. Meeting will please be reconvened. Mr. Hostettler.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And with regard to the idea of Monday morning quarterbacking, I don't think, General, that our colleague was talking specifically about this panel but rather maybe this committee meeting and this committee as a whole because we thank you all collectively for your service to our country andBut with regard to Monday morning quarterbacking, I would say that this is a situation where it seems like the coach has put the team in a game that the general manager nor the owners nor anyone else scheduled because the owners of this team, that is, the people of the United States through their elected representatives, decide what the schedule is, decide what the games are, and our coach, the commander in chief, according to Article 2 of the Constitution, has decided virtually unilaterally to play a game and put our team members in harm's way.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
So, we are not Monday morning quarterbacking. We are just trying to arguably do our job that the owners of this team have elected us to do.
That being said, there was a lot of discussion about if we should withdraw from this, from this fight and we can't call it a war because Congress hasn't declared war, it is interesting that everyone in this room on that side of the table is saying war, everyone in the country is talking about war, but there are about 536 people in the United States of America who don't use the term ''war.''
But if we were to pull our troops out, there has been a lot of talk about the integrity of NATO, about saving face, about losing face, and the like, but, in reality, if the United States of America, if the Congress felt that the Federal Republic of Yugoslaviaand if I could have each of you answer this question in turnif we believe that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was, by their action, a direct threat to the existence of the geopolitical entity that is the United States of America, if we felt that, could we not convert that lush countryside, that mountainous terrain into essentially a barren, desolate plain as a result of our military capabilities?
General Link, could you
General LINK. We could do that, but I am troubled answering the question that briefly. If I could expand?
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Sure. Now, if we felt, for example, that, as we did when Japan invaded Honolulu, that the territory of the United States of America, and we felt that the existence actually of the nation itself was in peril, that is what I am asking. I am not asking about
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
General LINK. No, no, I understand. You are saying if the will and the perceived need was there to vanquish, to banish the Hittites, as it were, could we do that? We could, but we don't need to.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Right. I understand that.
General LINK. We also have the valuable intermediate capability of being able to dismantle his military capability without enduring the moral problem of destroying his population. This is something that is available to us today that wasn't available to us in World War II. We had to kill entire cities in order to have the effect that we would have liked to create.
We don't understand, I don't believe, at any useful level the value of the capabilities we have today to go after the enemy's capacity to act, to kill his horse, so that we don't care how much he likes to ride. He can't ride because his horse is gone.
I am waiting for General Van Riper to say, yea, verily, but I've got a feeling he is not going to do.
General VAN RIPER. General Link and I have had numerous discussions, public and private. And fortunately, we always wind up having a beer afterwards. But there is a fundamental disagreement, and his words now have hit on that disagreement, and it is what is the utility of air power. He used the sort of analogy of the coach. If I could use a further analogy of experts in the game of football who were advising that coach, I think that is where the real problem lies, and some may have interpreted my remarks or perhaps other remarks this morning as going against the administration.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
I think a great amount of the fault lies with those who wore the uniform, as I did until recently. Those who talk about and try to understand the defense establishment and military matters, and let me give you a couple of examples.
If the vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says on numerous occasions, and believes it, the previous vice-chairman, if you see the battlefield, you win the war. And our leadership, our civilian leadership hears terms like that of a service chiefand General Link doesn't like me to say this, but this is an accurate quote. ''In the first quarter of the 21st century, you will be able to find, fix or try to target in near real time anything of consequence that moves or is located on the face of the earth.'' Quite frankly, I can tell you we can do most of that today. That was about four years ago.
I don't see us doing it today. So my analysis of this is that our civilian leadership, who obviously doesn't want to incur casualties, has listened to these types of promises for a number of years, has begun to see them as possibilities, misanalyze what happened in Desert Storm, certainly misanalyzed what happened in Bosnia and took the same template and laid that template over Kosovo and were amazed at a different result.
So the blameand I have here on the right side a stack of documents, very slick documents, which have phrases very similar to this. ''Air forces and space forces have the potential to dominate the conduct of any operations in all mediums, operations on the land, at sea, and air and through space and operations by enemy leaders in exercising sovereignty over their country.'' It goes on and on. Some of these paid by government funds, some of them paid by private funds.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
What is distinct about the idea of a base of operations in the third dimension, space and air, is that it frees joint forces from the need to engage in a contest to seize or control ground as a means to achieving military and political objectives.
I won't bore the committee. If you are interested, I will provide more and more documents like these, all very slick documents, that are in the public literature. And it is this constant drumbeat, this promise of technology. In those two paragraphs I alluded to in Robert Scale's article. That is the problem. That is why we have gone down that track. We have oversold unrealistic promises.
Dr. COHEN. I guess, Mr. Hostettler, I maxed out as a captain in the United States Army Reserves so it would be highly imprudent for me to get caught in the cross-fire between two, two general officers.
One observation, though, that I would make to you is that although this air campaign, like the Gulf War campaign, is reallyis relying on some quite remarkable technologies which allow a lot of precision and, on the whole, minimal collateral damage, you know, given the fact that accidents do happen, I think it is important to remember that we are inflicting some serious suffering on the people of Yugoslavia. And we are going to be inflicting more because one of the things that we cannot do is to disentangle a lot of the military infrastructure from a lot of the civilian infrastructure.
Of course, the best example of this from the Gulf War was we shut down the electrical power grid, particularly in the area around Baghdad, not throughout the country but throughout most of the country, and that was done for some good military reasons having to do with the air defense system and so on. What we forgot about was that electrical power grid also serviced water purification plants and hospitals.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
To begin breaking all the bridges in Yugoslavia, you will certainly impede military movement. The chances are you are also going to impede people trying to get to hospitals. You probably will begin interfering with the water supply system and so on and so on.
So, there are going to be those second and third ordered consequences. One has to expect them. We have killed a fair number of Serb civilians. I am sure the administration is not going to try to give you a count. Those numbers will mount up. That has long-term consequences in terms of our relationship with, not just with the former Yugoslavia but with Russia and other countries. And even if we have not been taking casualties it is quite important to remember that we are inflicting a fair bit of suffering on the civilian population, and in my view, that is inescapable.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. I think if we would pull out that we know what the headlines in papers across the world would be. We know what the news stories on 24-hour news programs would be, but in fact, in the mind of any possible aggressor to the United States of America and our vital national interest would still have to deal with the ultimate reality of the maximum capability of the defense of the United States of America as opposed to a limited air campaign at this point that we are showing in Yugoslavia. Would you not agree?
Dr. COHEN. Well, I would agree, but I am not sure that it is entirely relevant because I don't think that the United States is going to face, in the near future, a direct assault on the continental United States or its cities by some other state.
Our interests around the world are going to be such that you can always make a case that vital interests are not concerned, and we forget that. In fact, plenty of people made that case before the Gulf War, that our vital interests were not concerned. And there was some very important hearings that were held in this room, in fact, at which I had the honor of participating in, and also on the Senate side where very serious, responsible people, with a lot of experience in the military and in government, made exactly that case, that this wasn't worth fighting a war over.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
So all of our wars are going to be limited wars. Our interests are always going to be limited interests. There will always be a case to be made that they are not vital. So the fact that we could turn Yugoslavia into a howling wilderness I don't think will deter lots of the things that we would like to deter.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. I mean, ultimately the idea of any type of expansionism whatever we will have to deal with, but there isn't expansionism going on here in Yugoslavia. They are actually sealing the borders. So I didn't want you to think thatI was going for the extreme when I said that we do, in fact, have the capability. But since we are not talking about expansionism such as going into Kuwait or North Korea, going into South Korea or Taiwan, since we are not talking about that type of expansion, that is something that would be in our vital national interest.
And so what I was trying to do was trying to say that, in fact, those potential aggressors to the vital national interest of the United States would, in fact, know that even if we pulled out our forces from Yugoslavia, they would still know that they would have to deal with us at some time when the will of the Congress and the will of the people was behind winning a conflict at any cost.
Dr. COHEN. I wish I thought that was the case, but I don't for two reasons. One is a lot of the situations that you describe can also be blurred. Would a Chinese attack on Taiwan really be crossing a border? Well, both the Taiwanese and the Chinese say Taiwan is part of China, so maybe not. The Iraqis were insistent that Kuwait was the 19th province, and in fact, members of the Iraqi opposition still will tell you that. That is one thing.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
I think the second thing is that one has to be concerned about the lesson that other countries and people will draw from what happens here if we simply let go. And the basic lesson that I believe they will draw is the Americans will not do anything that incurs the risk of casualties, you know, beyond half a dozen. That may be a price that you are willing to pay. I think the only contribution I can make is just to say it is a price, and you have to decide whether you think that price is worth paying.
General LINK. They may also learn that America is capable of exacting a high military price on an opponent without taking many casualties. Not a bad lesson.
General VAN RIPER. Sir, if I may, I would like to come back and assure Colonel Harry Summers will address this in great detail and much more eloquently than I can. And I don't agree the American public is unwilling to accept casualties. The American public is unwilling to accept casualties if it doesn't understand the reason for the outcome. If it agrees with the outcomeand I talked Clausewitz at a very elementary level, not certainly as he wrote, but I repeat myselfif the government is able to convince the people that the ends are worth it and identifies the means, the Armed Forcesand you get that trinity inpulling in the same direction in trace, this country will endure casualties that we can't imagine.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. Mr. Turner.
Mr. TURNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As most of on the committee know, I was among those who went with the Secretary of Defense to Brussels and down to Aviano and upon the conclusion of that trip joined some of the members of this committee and some members of the Senate in a letter to the President urging that he begin planning and urge NATO to begin planning for the use of ground troops.
I joined in that letter because I believe, I think, if I am hearing General Link correctly, because I believed from the beginning that it was unwise to take the option of the use of ground troops off the table, that it hurt our bargaining position, hurt our ability to convince Milosevic that it was time to come back and reach a diplomatic solution.
Having said that, it does appear that it is very easy, as we have all acknowledged, to be a Monday morning quarterback about various aspects of this campaign. I know just from reading and listening to your statement, General Link, you feel that our air campaign has not been as aggressive as it could have been and yet I guess at the same time you would acknowledge that when you are trying to bring Milosevic to the table that an all out assault on the Yugoslav people may not be the kind of win that we ultimately would want to be able to sit back and brag about.
It disturbs me, I guess, a little bit when I heard the discussion from Dr. Cohen about admittedly it is difficult to wage a war with a group of 19 member nations, but I am not sure I believe, as you shared, Dr. Cohen, that we allow Luxembourg to veto a target.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 I am sure that major members of the alliance have a lot to say about targeting. We had an opportunity to visit with some of the ambassadors of the NATO Council when we were in Brussels, and I got the distinct impression that they all fully respect the fact that the United States is the main contributor of military power to this alliance and that there is a lot of effort that takes place by the Secretary General to reach consensus, knowing that the constitution itself says any member can veto any action. But I am not sure in practical everyday workings of the NATO alliance that it happens that way.
I guess what I would kind of like to get back to with all three of you is do all three of you acknowledge, number one, that the NATO alliance is a worthwhile venture for the United States and, secondly, if you recognize that, are you willing toor are you not required to accept the political constraints that go along with such an alliance?
General LINK. Absolutely. Coalition maintenance, I am sure, is probably as heavy on General Clark's mind as any other task at hand.
My concern is that over the past 4 or 5 weeks we have judged air power not on the basis of its capability but on the basis of political constraints that have been placed on it. My concern is that we may arrive at an incorrect conclusion that because air power is so limited our only recourse is to put sons and daughters in harm's way on the ground well before a time that we should do so.
I am also concerned, as I have said before, that we haven't learned how to use air power appropriately. If, in fact, we had forces on the ground, we would insist on knowing the name of the ground force commander, the Army officer, whose special competence was being brought to bear on the use of those ground forces. For some reason, we think that we can conduct air strikes in an entirely different way.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
General Clark is a marvelous commander. He has great judgment. He has had a number of very important positions, and he has unchallenged competence in one medium of warfare, land warfare.
On top of him are the 19 NATO nations. What I am looking for is a construct in which we would resolve our political differences in a way that we arrive at an expressible military objective before we begin sprinkling bombs around, not knowing to what purpose. As long as we are willing to do the latter, we can continue to fail to reap the benefit of the American people's investment in their technology.
Does that make my point clear?
Mr. TURNER. I think I understand. I know General Clark acknowledged to our group that if he had ground troops in the region, I mean we are talking about 2 or 3 weeks ago now the meeting we had, if he had ground troops positioned in the region he would not use them to date, that there is still much that can be done from the air.
General LINK. And his hand would be fuller. I mean, he would have placed Milosevic at a larger disadvantage if he had ground troops ready to deploy because Milosevic would have to consider that.
Mr. TURNER. General Van Riper.
General VAN RIPER. Congressman, I believe sincerely that you don't link, and those who support his argument, the intellectual argument, is bankrupt. The approach they are providing is ahistorical. If we look back over the history, we find that Billy Mitchell said in 1927, we must relegate armies and navies to a place in the glass case of a dusty museum. We must not entrust our national defense to those honored but obsolete services. Those honored and obsolete services went on, of course, to fight the tremendous engagements of World War II.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
The air power advocate, a Russian immigrant by the name of Major Alexander DeSaversky, said in 1942, the era of troop landings in war fronts and struggles for a few miles of disputed soil has ended forever. Of course, we saw those same war fronts in both Europe and the Pacific for three more years, as well as Korea.
General Curtis LeMay brought back the idea of massive retaliation and stated, ''The era of limited wars is over.''
Colonel John Warden, who is given credit for planning the air campaign, or at least the intellectual foundation for it, and was the author of a well received book that people speak of, page 13 of chapter 1 says, ''Air superiority is a necessity. Since the German attack on Poland in 1939, no country has won a war in the face of enemy air superiority. Conversely, no state has lost a war while it maintained air superiority.''
I wonder what John was thinking about in the case of the American experience in Korea and in Vietnam. I left Vietnam with no idea that we had won that war.
I would be, I guess, more at ease here this afternoon if I thought that same drumbeat that has gone on now for 60 years had changed, but I have a copy here of an Air Force publication, a doctoral publication, signed on September 1997 by the current Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and though it gives a lot of what I would say is lip service to joint operations, where people focus who want the easy answer, who see war as they wish it to be, not war as the terrible phenomena it is, they come to these lines: ''The main objectives of counter land operations are to dominate the surface environment and prevent the opponent from doing the same.'' Although normally associated with support to friendly surface forces, ''counter land'' is a flexible term that can encompass the identical missions without friendly surface force presence.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
That is why we arrive at the situation we do today, is the belief that this is true. It is intellectually bankrupt.
Mr. TURNER. Dr. Cohen.
Dr. COHEN. Mr. Turner, I won't address your question about NATO. I refuse to get involved in this fight.
It seems to me the critical issue is this: Are coalitions means or ends? If you remember in the initial declaration of what our objectives were, one of them, somewhat absurdly I think, was to demonstrate NATO's solidarity. That is, I think, an example of confusing an end with a means. A coalition is simply a means, no more than that. That is point one.
Point two, there are different ways that one can operate within the NATO framework. When the term ''a coalition of the willing'' has been used, I think that is actually a pretty good concept. It seems to me that there is no way in which you can run any kind of war, even a small war, by a set of formal procedures in which 19 countries each get a vote of relatively equal weight.
The challenge really is for the United States, which is the leader of this operation, which is probably now supplying something like three-quarters or more of the effort, to really dominate it.
I do think that the model here is the way President Bush handled the Gulf War coalition, in which there certainly was a great deal of sensitivity and tact shown to our allies and we had some who were absolutely crucial to what we were doing in terms of providing access and so forth, but it was also indisputably clear who was in charge and who was dominating it and who was driving it. I think just observing what one can see from the press, you don't have a sense that it is the United States that is driving what is going on here.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
I will just conclude with a quote from Churchill who spent a good part of his adult life either fighting in coalition wars or studying coalition wars and writing about them. He said in the middle of World War II that some people think that the best thing to do in an alliance would be to give every member an equal seat at the council table and an equal vote at a council of war.
He said that would be the worst possible way to try to run a war, and I respect his experience and his wisdom.
Mr. TURNER. I appreciate your comments. I am not sure I agree with your opinion regarding decision-making within NATO, and I am certainly no expert. My brief experience in having an opportunity to visit with some of the council members did not lead me to the conclusion that everybody is jumping up and down in their seats saying don't forget I have a veto here.
I think there is a lot of unity among the NATO alliance; and even among those who may have second thoughts or some reservations, there is a hesitancy to utilize the veto. I think that in spite of the fact that I might not agree, as General Link, I think, concurred with me, that it wasI think it was a mistake to take ground troops off the table as an option simply because of the diplomatic pressure that it brought on Milosevic. I think I also can appreciate why that might have been a difficult thing to accomplish and perhaps I would have urged the President to be more aggressive in that position but I am not sure personally if he held the same position I hold.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 In terms of gettingI know Secretary Solana made a comment to us when we were pressing him on the issue of how do you get this group to function, and I recognize that it requires some consensus but I did not sense that minor members, such as Luxembourg, are driving what happens in our decision-making in NATO.
Dr. COHEN. Mr. Turner, if I might, it seems to me that what happens in these situations is not that countries leap up and say, I veto that. It is the very fact that they are there and that they do have a veto leads you to anticipate what it is that they will go along with and what they won't go along with.
I think that is the only way that you can explain the conduct of an air campaign, which as I tried to indicate in my testimony looks so very, very different from what we did in Desert Storm and which would be the normal preference of all American planners, I think, including army planners, for how you go about it. The two campaigns, from what one can judge, look utterly different.
The only thing that I think can explain that difference is the fact that you operated in a NATO context in which there was a lot of anticipatory yielding and sensitivity to our allies' wishes.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
Mr. BATEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I don't know really why I waited. This has got to be one of the most difficult days that I have ever served here or anywhere else. I go to the floor at various times today to choose between four alternatives, none of which are even acceptable. I don't think any of them make any sense.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
I have listened to your statements and I appreciate your being here, and I echo the thought that we invited you to come and I am glad we invited you to come because I wanted to hear your opinions. I have listened to a somewhat lively debate between General Link and General Van Riper. I don't agree with either of you fully. I agree with each of you somewhat.
General Link, I don't agree with you because I don't think there is anything like the immaculate conflict that you seem to describe. I have used that term yesterday. I will use it again probably on the floor today.
There are no immaculate conflicts, and I am afraid that our policymakers bought into the notion, with some deeply held sense of conviction, that that is all you had to do in order to achieve their stated objectives, which were, in the first place, vaguely stated.
We have stumbled through poor execution of policymaking decisions in searchin quest of good intentions, and I think it has brought us to the most dismal range of choices that we could possibly confront; a commander in chief who refuses, though asked by me and others repeatedly, to come to the Congress, lay out what you seek authority for and your objectives in exercising that authority and who still says, no, I do not choose to do that.
Now we are left in the sorry position where he won't come but the Congress cannot ask or tolerate our American troops being involved in this immaculate or other conflict that we have not authorized or endorsed the objectives or stated the objectives, and yet we have no resolution on the floor that even allows me to vote for that kind of an alternative.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 What a sad chapter it is in the way that we are muddling and muddling and muddling. Believe me, I have talked to those almost at the very pinnacle of the national command authority. I can't tell you how distressed I am, as recently as last Saturday, to be told, everything is proceeding according to plan.
If what has happened in the last 4 weeks is proceeding according to plan, I want to fire the planner. This is not the way to conduct anything. If there are members of this committee who believe we have not had very difficult problems in approval of target selection, they are living in a dream world. There have been problems. It is even admitted that they were very severe early on. They are getting better. I am told they are getting better.
I have asked for but not received detailed, in writing, classified anywhere, anyplace, any circumstances they will give it to me, what is the present policy with reference to target selection. I haven't gotten it yet.
I hope you sense the degree of frustration. It is remarkably high and not a very good day in the life of the republic.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General LINK. Sir, can I respond for just a moment?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, sir. Yes, General.
General LINK. I agree with much of what you said. Please don't paint me with the immaculate conflict construct. I didn't say that. I have never said that.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Mr. BATEMAN. I know you did not. You gave aid and comfort to those who do. That is what bothers me.
General LINK. But there are no bloodless military operations, but that fact shouldn't excuse people like me from doing everything I can to arrange the least bloody military operation, and that is what I am about, sir.
Mr. BATEMAN. Mr. Chairman, everyone else has taken the prerogative. Let me, if I may, respond very briefly.
At the core of my inability to vote for any of the four alternatives today is the fact that one of them authorizes an air campaign, as the Senate authorized it the day before the campaign began, and I think began improvidently at a poor time in view of the weather considerations and the constraints that were put upon the execution of such a campaign; and in the absence of the preparation for the flood of refugees which we say repeatedly we knew were coming but we did nothing about, even to the extent we had not even worked out with the Macedonian government an agreement that they would let those refugees cross their border.
General LINK. Yes, sir.
Mr. BATEMAN. Many of them sat there, laid there and died because they couldn't get in, and there was no relief or assistance for them. But that is one alternative I have is, oh, we can just carry on an air campaign, which has inherently in it, it is an air campaign and we haven't authorized ground troops and therefore they are not authorized, which is telling your enemy you won't resort to something that clearly he ought to be at least in doubt about.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
General LINK. Yes, sir.
Mr. BATEMAN. I don't have any notion at all about that, Mr. Goodling's and Ms. Fowler's resolution, which says we will not tolerate the use of ground forces because I don't think we ought to tell them that we will not, even though I think it is ill-advised for us to do so at this point, but it takes an option off the table. It also illogically says, air combat is very fine and is authorized by the Congress, even though it is an act of war, but we won't declare it and we won't authorize pursuit of all objectives in an undeclared one. That makes no sense.
Then I am left with Mr. Campbell. Mr. Campbell offers me nothing that is substantive. He offers only an opportunity to get to the Supreme Court. That is not my paramount objective.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Graham.
Mr. GRAHAM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Rather than trying to, as some people say, Monday morning quarterback, let's look at the future and see what we can anticipate in our future and what makes sense in terms of NATO.
First, I don't know if it bothers anyone else. I am sure it does. I have a bit of a concern with the direction NATO has taken, and I have even an increasing, more increasing concern, after this weekend when apparently they are reporting, the press is reporting, policy statements or strategic initiatives coming out of the NATOthe key players in NATO that there will be more of this to come; that NATO is turning its direction now to getting involved in conflicts such as this and that the strategic initiative plan for NATO in the future will be to use NATO military power and political influence apparently in any region where there is a discord, disharmony and abuse.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Does anyone have an opinion about that future for NATO and where does that put America in terms of the next century militarily?
Dr. COHEN. If I could take a swing at that, I think that your observation, and I share your concerns, does speak to this question of a coalition becoming an ends rather than a set of means. It seems to me that we would be well advised to have fairly modest objectives for NATO, which would consist of the following: First, maintaining security, the security of the countries that are part of the North Atlantic Treaty. I have somewhat mixed feelings about the expansion of NATO. I certainly would not be eager to expand it much further than we have already. In fact, I think there are some downsides.
NATO serves an extremely important function in helping the armed forces of a number of different countries: Standardized procedures, get used to working together, have experience in coalition operations, so that when the time comes and you have to go do something somewhere, one can assemble a coalition of the willing.
In fact, one of the things that is interesting about the Gulf War is the extent to which NATO procedures, the commonality of NATO procedures, made it a lot easier to integrate a number of different armed forces in a very different part of the world in which NATO, as an organization, wasn't even involved.
Beyond that, it seems to me it is not a good idea for NATO to try and extend itself because it will not be able to act decisively.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 General VAN RIPER. Mr. Congressman, it disturbs me equally as it does you. I cannot think of a more classic example of an entangling alliance if that was to come to pass. I guess I am a traditionalist. I think it is the legislative body that ought to decide when this country goes to war and doesn't go to war.
General LINK. Sir, I will claim no special competence to address your question.
Mr. GRAHAM. Well, thank you. I am not so sure there is any magic to having the right answer but it just seems from a common sense perspective that this war is the first shot in a new way of doing business for NATO and that there may be some good that comes from this debate beyond the Kosovo question itself. I think this is a time for Congress to speak clearly about what it perceives to be the goals of NATO, and I think this war is a good opportunity for us politically and militarily to put some boundaries about where we are going to go as a nation.
Now, speaking of the future, we can second-guess the air campaign and second-guess the reason the diplomatic negotiations broke down, but we are in a combat scenario with a coalition force, and one of the things I gained from my visit to the region was that every bomb in this war has a political consequence to it far greater than any bomb that was dropped in the Gulf War.
There seemed to be a united front there to expel the Iraqis from Kuwait and once that was done you ran into holding the coalition together; very serious problems about going to Baghdad, and everybody now wants to say that we should have gone and taken Saddam Hussein out. I think I know what President Bush was facing, to go beyond the coalition's objective of removing him from Kuwait. One thing I learned from my trip is that if you put ground troops in the equation, you find yourself in a similar situation as you would have found yourself if you tried to go to Baghdad.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
I want to maybe survey your opinions about that, but three things jumped out of me about the use of ground forces. One, the coalition will not sustain it politically. This is a democracy, and I think we have a right and an obligation to openly talk about these things and it should be no aid and comfort to the enemy that we are able to discuss how to use military power and where and when to put Americans in harm's way.
So it was my opinion, from having been in the region and talked to folks, that a ground campaign, the political stomach for such a massive buildup, does not exist in a cohesive manner among the coalition.
I would cite evidence in Germany to bring about an end to the air war, the war in general; that the Greeks are certainly more sympathetic to the Serb population than many other folks in the region. Having said that, I don't believe that a ground campaign, the political support for a ground campaign, exists.
Secondly, the dominance that we have in the air that you so eloquently talked about, one thing is clear to me, they are dug in. They will fight you. They are waiting on us. The fact that America has little stomach for casualties, I don't agree with that concept. I think America has little stomach for sending their men and women into situations that they don't understand.
So, one, the coalition would not sustain a ground war. Two, the dominance in the air is quickly lost and you are into a very violent situation. Three, the Russian component of this equation becomes very scary to me. If you introduce NATO forces led by the United States on the ground, that it would be a tremendous destabilizing factor to the internal politics of Russia.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Does anyone agree or disagree, or can you add to that list of concerns about a ground war?
Dr. COHEN. If I could, what I would like to do is just address the Gulf War because I think you may have been drawing some conclusions which at least are not backed by my reading of that account. The first point I would make is that there were plenty of political bombs in the Gulf War. You may remember we hit a communication bunker with civilians in it. That caused a tremendous amount of consternation, led us to suspend bombing of Baghdad. There was a lot of political concerns. Some of our allies had concerns about particular targets or going for certain missions.
The way that was dealt with in the Gulf War was very sensibly, by saying you don't have to fly those missions if you don't want to. Saudis, you don't want to conduct ground attack missions, don't. France, you don't want to conduct ground attack missions in Iraq proper but only in the Kuwait theater of operations in support of your armed troops, fine, don't do that. I think that speaks to some of the difference in how these wars were run.
Furthermore, and you know, it is obvious we are dealing in hypotheticals, I think at the end of the Gulf War, and this is something I have looked into fairly carefully, if the United States had told the rest of the coalition that it was really important to finish this thing off by going to Baghdad, whether or not that would have been a good idea, people would have gone along because they knew who the coalition leader really was.
Now I am not saying that would have been a good idea. I am just saying that the administration was not paralyzed by thoughts of the coalition. It decided not to go for Baghdad because of its own reading of what would be prudent and what would be imprudent, and they may have made the right decision. I don't know.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
The point is that they did not allow themselves to be trapped by a coalition, and I fear that that is now part of our strategic style, to spend so much time worrying about the coalition that you don't spend nearly enough time worrying about what is the best strategic move.
General VAN RIPER. Just two comments, sir. I have little time for those who criticize that the military did not go to Baghdad after Saddam Hussein. That was not the mission that was laid out by the national command authority. I am not saying that that might not have been a further mission but, if it was, we should have stepped back, thought about it, developed the right policy objectives, the right military objectives, built an operations plan and moved to Baghdad. It would have been mission creep. It would have gotten us into a great deal of difficulty.
I would like to use maybe what perhaps is a strained analogy. We are talking about the means and the ends. If with my family I decided we wanted to take a trip and I picked a certain city, San Francisco, and the family disagreed about going to San Francisco, I probably wouldn't go. I would step back and think about it.
So if the coalition or the public or the Congress doesn't want to go some place, we ought to step back and think about it.
Let's assume, though, we do have agreement that this is where we want to go, this is the ends, in this particular case the ends in Kosovo. I would think then look in my wallet to see if I had the money, or at least a credit card, that would allow me to travel from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco. If I didn't have the resources or the proper resources, I wouldn't begin the trip and get caught halfway through.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
I think that is what has happened to us. We didn't have the will to use the resources and we are halfway through and now we are trying to figure out what to do.
General LINK. Sir, I think your comments about counters for casualties are right on, but let's say that there are two populations, each of which are absolutely clear about the purpose that their forces have been committed. I would suggest that that population whose sons and daughters are fighting on someone else's behalf will always have a lower tolerance for casualties than that population whose sons and daughters are defending their homeland. It is important for us to remember that.
That is why I think it is important to continue to maintain a clear superiority in our air and space capabilities, and to understand the days when we used to fight armies with armies, navies and air forces are behind us. We can now use other than land forces to attack the capabilities that the enemy otherwise has on the surface, and we are doing that.
I don't think we are reaching a level of equivalence there. He is not flying. We are. It is true that we have and will cause innocent casualties, but that is not peculiar to air power. That is peculiar to military operations. There is no military operation that can assure its completion without the possible risk of unintended consequences.
So for the time being, I maintain that our best course of action is to do what we have been doing; just do it with more focus and purpose.
Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. Chairman, one last question and I appreciate your indulgence. About the Russian connection to a ground war, does anyone disagree that at best, if we invade Kosovo with NATO-led, U.S. leading NATO forces, the chances for instability in Russia increase dramatically?
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Does anybody disagree with that?
General LINK. I don't disagree, sir.
Dr. COHEN. I don't know that that is true. I mean, that is a pretty unstable place to begin with. Whether an American intervention in KosovoI mean the use of ground forces in Kosovo, we have intervened in Kosovo, makes things any worse, I just don't know what the evidence for that would be. It might but I don't think you can say with any certainty that it would.
Mr. GRAHAM. But you can't say with any certainty that it wouldn't?
Dr. COHEN. There are a lot of things that I can't say with certainty that it wouldn't.
Mr. GRAHAM. What about you, General?
General VAN RIPER. I concur. I have no expertise in it but I think the general observation is correct.
Mr. GRAHAM. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
The CHAIRMAN. One point I think needs to be reiterated, talking about a coalition in the Gulf, of course, and this is NATO we are working with now, as Mr. Graham indicated, my observation is, from what I have heard, that the coalition in NATO would not allow ground forces; not from the standpoint of one or two members but a sizable number of the members would be opposed to ground forces in that region. That is my understanding of what the situation is in real terms, and trying to work that out. That is one of the reasons it hasn't been put on the table, I think, it hasn't been considered, because they just know they couldn't get it. Everyone seemed to understand that.
Mr. Skelton, do you have anything?
Mr. SKELTON. No.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, gentlemen, we thank you for being here this morning. I apologize again for the lax attendance but you have to understand that most people are involved in all of these resolutions on the floor. I am surprised that we have got anyone here. I am supposed to be involved myself. So I am trying to carry on with the hearing in the meantime.
You have contributed greatly to our undertaking and we appreciate it. You are all great Americans. We value your advice and hope to call on you again in the future. Thank you very much.
General LINK. Thank you, sir.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 General VAN RIPER. Thank you, sir.
Dr. COHEN. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. We will break for a few minutes and call on the next panel.
The CHAIRMAN. The meeting will please be in order. Before we begin our second panel, let me briefly welcome our witnesses this afternoon, it is now.
As I mentioned before, they are Retired Army Major General Bill Nash, Retired Army Colonel Bill Killebrew and Retired Army Colonel Harry Summers.
We will begin with General Nash, followed by Colonel Killebrew, and have Colonel Summers bat cleanup.
STATEMENT OF MAJ. GEN. BILL NASH, USA (RET.), DIRECTOR, CIVIL-MILITARY PROGRAMS, NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
General NASH. Thank you, Chairman Spence. It is an honor for me to here today and I hope in some way I can add to your very important deliberations.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 This presentation represents my personal judgments, not past or present professional associations.
Our Nation and the NATO alliance face mighty challenges as we confront the regime of President Milosevic's Serbia. I strongly believe that any consideration of military options or campaigns must flow from judgments about political goals and objectives, both with respect to the Kosovo/Serbia crisis itself and our broader global interests.
Failure to know what we want it to look like when we are finished is a sure-fire way with ending up with an end state that may be only the beginning of obligations that carry well into the future.
Frankly, sir, I have been concerned since the beginning of Operation Allied Force that too much time has been spent on military concerns and insufficient attention has been paid to the political goals and the vision for the future that such confrontations require. Now, I understand today's agenda calls for an examination of the implications of ground operations in the war against Serbia, but war is, sir, the continuation of politics by other means and we should never forget that.
The decision to limit our efforts against Serbia to an air campaign, and to openly and repeatedly state that limit, has been both a strategichas had both strategic and operational consequences on our ability to successfully achieve our stated objectives.
First, we broadcast to our adversary that there was a limit to our willingness to engage in mortal combat. This, plus an underestimation of Milosevic's determination to ravage Kosovo, has lessened the effectiveness of our early efforts. In addition, the decision to fight the air war gradually, some would say systematically, instead of immediate, overwhelming, decisive strikes that might have proved more influential was unfortunate.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Operationally, the lack of a ground threat against Serbian forces meant that the Yugoslav Army and their special police units can disperse without penalty, thus making our air attacks less effective. Now, I don't think all is lost by any means because the destruction to date is apparently significant, but more time, increased exposure to risk and higher dollar costs are the consequences of this gradual deliberate air campaign.
To begin my comments about the ground operations, I must return to the political goals that the ground campaign would be expected to achieve. Is it Kosovo, or Serbia or all of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia that we seek to secure? It makes a difference, sir.
Is the mission to free Kosovo, much as the allied operations in Desert Storm was meant to free Kuwait? That is one possibility, of course, but the result may well also be analogous to our current state of affairs with Iraq.
A relatively limited operation focusing only on Kosovo would, in my judgment, require 75,000 to 100,000 soldiers and take 45 to 75 days to plan, deploy and prepare before the initiation of ground attacks. And a significant, continuous commitment of forces would be needed following the destruction of the Serb forces in and near Kosovo.
I don't know how long the fight would last. I think it would be more than 100 hours but less than the preparation time for 75 days.
A Serbia option would take at least 175,000 soldiers and 200,000 would not be unreasonable. The Yugoslavia option would, in my judgment, require an additional 25,000 to 50,000 more soldiers than the Serbia option. Both of these latter options would require 3 to 6 months' preparation and we would have possession of an entire country at the end of a 30 to 120 days of combat. Obviously, this result would have severe implications for a years-long occupational presence.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
I am confident that the men and women of the United States Armed Forces, in partnership with their NATO allies, are fully capable of implementing any of these options. Our Armed Forces are, without question, the most professional fighting force in the world. If the President gives the order, they will be ready to act.
The question, however, Mr. Chairman, is what is the policy of the United States? I am not an advocate for a specific course of action. I would rather, along with my colleagues here today, help establish the parameters for analysis. At the same time, I must tell you that I do not believe that the air campaign alone will achieve our currently stated goals. If that is the limit of our military commitment, then a negotiated settlement necessarily including compromise on our stated policy goals will result. Most importantly, I believe it essential to magnify the challenges Milosevic must face by complicating his decision-making abilities through multiple threats. Some military but additional political, economic, financial, information and legal weapons should be used as well.
I have not addressed in this statement everything that needs to be considered, but the posturing of forces, air, land and sea, to achieve flexibility and agility, is crucial. Logistics, as they say, is the professional approach to the problem. Operations and tactics can come later. There are solutions but they are not short term solutions.
Sir, I thank you for the opportunity to present my views.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Colonel Killebrew.
STATEMENT OF COL. ROBERT KILLEBREW, USA (RET.), FORMER DIRECTOR, ARMY AFTER NEXT PROGRAM
Colonel KILLEBREW. Mr. Chairman, thank you and these gentlemen for having me here. I have to say at the beginning that I don't like the options I am going to describe. I don't think any of us are comfortable now. Nor do any of us see a happy ending to where we are.
You have asked me to think about the alternatives to a ground force seizure of Kosovo and a ground force seizure of all of Serbia, and that is what I am going to present and confine myself to the military operations and tactics as much as I can.
As General Nash has said, though, some discussion of policy is inevitable when you are discussing military options.
In opening, I would like to frame my remarks in the context of the philosophy of the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Colin Powell. His belief was that American forces should be committed only when there is a clear military objective, when we can deploy overwhelming force and with the support of the American people.
I have framed my options in those regard. It seems to me that these conditions are absolutely necessary for military success, and I believe they exist or can be made to exist in regard to the situation in Yugoslavia today.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Since a clear political purpose and mission is necessary for military success, let me discuss, before discussing the two hypothetical cases, a mission for NATO that would allow a military commander the broad authority he needs or she needs to conduct military operations.
My posit for that objective is to reach a broad and comprehensive Balkan settlement that guarantees peace and security to its inhabitants, including the Kosovars. Essential subtasks would be to begin the restoration of Serbia to the European Community and to end the power of Slobodan Milosevic and his accomplices in a way that don't offer them historic martyrdom in Serbian mythology.
This broad but clear NATO objective for a comprehensive settlement would give a military commander the geographical scope and guidance necessary to, in order, defeat the Yugoslav regular forces and the paramilitaries, secure Kosovo for the return of its population, protect all elements of the Serbian and Kosovar civilian population from attack and reprisal, apprehend persons suspected of war crimes, and work with political and nongovernmental organizations to begin the return to a rule of law and economic prosperity for the region.
As I go through this, Mr. Chairman, you may see places where those objectives could change slightly, but I believe that the general train of those military objectives falls logically from a political objective for a broad and comprehensive settlement. Anything less, I think, would frustrate the use of ground power and lead us to an unsatisfactory situation.
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 You have asked me to discuss two options. Both have similarities. I would like to discuss the similarities just for a second. Both would require the mobilization of significant numbers of reserve component personnel beyond the number already authorized, and both will require the mobilization or at least access to certain parts of the civilian sector; for example, the civilian aviation fleet. In both cases, U.S. forces deployed would use fast-moving firepower-heavy tactics to minimize casualties and to encourage Yugoslav forces to surrender or simply to abandon their units, disarm and go home. The disarm and go home option is one that we need to consider carefully from a military planning point of view as well as from a policy point of view, because that furthers the reintegration of Serbia eventually into the European Community.
In case one, U.S. and NATO forces deploy as rapidly as possible to staging bases in Albania, Macedonia and elsewhere in the region.
I haven't done the detailed planning for this that a military staff would. My intuition tells me we could probably deploy the forces I am going to describe slightly faster than General Nash described.
Some forces may enter combat directly from the U.S. A number of European-based NATO armored brigades deploy along the Hungarian border to threaten Serbia from the north and pin down Yugoslav forces there. U.S. armored forces put to sea from Savannah, Georgia, headed for Greek ports.
Yugoslav forces in Kosovo, including the paramilitaries and other irregulars, are attacked by a combination of air mobile forces, mostly attacking from Albania, and armored and air mobile forces attacking from Macedonia, south to north toward the capital.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
The attack is made in overwhelming force against, first, Yugoslav regular forces and paramilitaries in fixed sites, and then against mobile units and groupings.
The ability of the Yugoslav government to mount a World War II style guerilla campaign in Kosovo against NATO in this option is doubtful. By open accounts, the paramilitaries in Kosovo are mostly city dwelling thugs and unlikely candidates for hardscrabble guerilla warfare of the type we associate with Vietnam.
More importantly, most of the population of Kosovo that would be necessary to support guerilla bands has either been displaced or is likely, when it returns, to be violently anti-Serb. That is a way for me to say that I don't believe the conditions for successful anti-NATO guerilla warfare would exist in Kosovo and Kosovo alone. I will return to that when I talk of Serbia.
The airborne and air mobile forces employed in Kosovo would come from and be commanded by the Army's 18th Airborne Corps in the United States. The corps consists of around 85,000 soldiers and four infantry divisions, not all of whom would deploy; consisting of airborne, air assault, light and mechanized formations, plus corps specialty brigades of engineers, military police, heavy artillery and so forth.
Additionally, the corps employs about 230 anti-armor attack helicopters capable of nighttime fighting. Over 230 troop carrying Blackhawks and 80 heavy lift cargo helicopters would play a vital logistics role. In my version of the Kosovo scenario, these helicopters are used to circumvent the rugged terrain of the region and to move U.S. forces effectively and with fire water so we avoid fights on the ground.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
The Southern Armored Force in case one exists today and is built around a multi-service nucleus of British, German and French armor and some Italian and air mobile units that are in Macedonia today.
It may be reinforced by forces from the Third Infantry Division which deploys from Savannah within 3 days of alert and uses Greek ports, if we can get them, to unload and move north to join the multinational forces in the south of Macedonia.
Logistics is plainly the linchpin. Helicopter operations are fuel expensive. Initially, fuel and other requirements can be moved overland to staging bases across Albania, up the Greek-Macedonian corridor or airlifted from prepositioned ships in the Adriatic Sea, but this is a very tough logistics exercise. I believe it can be executed and I believe it could be executed with success, but we are talking about a bare-bones operation.
In my view, we would not attempt to build logistics stocks in Kosovo but support the force from bare-bones sites in Albania and Macedonia.
Case two includes case one, but also features an attack by NATO armored forces south from Hungary to seize Belgrade and occupy Serbia. The attack is staged by a NATO corps of two to four armored divisions whose composition is primarily British, German, French and U.S. The axis is between the Danube and Tiza Rivers, and executes three tasks; the destruction or disarming of Yugoslav forces in Serbia; the investment of Belgrade and replacement of the Serb government; and reinforced by 18th Airborne Corps forces, the extension of NATO control throughout Serbia.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Like the attack in Kosovo, the attacking forces make maximum use of night fighting speed and shock power to destroy or disarm Yugoslav forces.
Yugoslav forces encountering a two-pronged attack of this type overrunning their country would be incapable, in my view, of mounting serious resistance. Paramilitary and other forces in Serbia, however, would likely be more successful in mounting a campaign of indigenous resistance in their own country as they would be more sure of sympathetic civilian support and patriotic feelings.
The more thickly populated urban areas of the north Yugoslav plain and the city of Novi Sad and other centers should be bypassed, but their populations would have to be dealt with eventually by follow-on NATO infantry and other troops. I say in my prepared remarks, and I believe it to be true, that in this case NATO would find itself like the dog that chased the car and caught it. He wouldn't be quite sure of what to do with the car once he had it, and that is my feeling about an attack into Serbia.
The time required to deploy the force forward from German and French bases would depend on the makeup of the force, but it could move rapidly by road and rail to its jump-off locations. Total number of troops employed would be a best guess but should be around 80,000 to 90,000. Post-war occupation demands might raise this number. General Nash and I are in broad agreement on the total number of forces required for the combat operations.
I would ask a caveat, and that is that if we attempted to occupy Serbia itself I believe we would have an extensive occupation problem, and the number of troops would likely go up.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
The advantage of case one is it permits a rapid takeover of Yugoslav forces, a rapid takedown of Yugoslav forces in Kosovo only. The chances of guerrilla warfare are minimal, although scattered violence will occur with diminishing frequency as refugees return and as civil society is rebuilt behind the NATO shield.
About 90 to 100,000 troops are ultimately employed, although the combat force was smaller, 20 to 30,000. Serbia's not occupied, which enhances its recovery and reentry into the West.
Disadvantage of case one is that Slobodan Milosevic and his henchmen are not apprehended by military force. In my scenario, political and diplomatic maneuvering remain to pry him out of Belgrade by persuasion and threat, possibly using Russian influence. I believe that to be a doable thing.
Case two permits the occupation of all of Yugoslavia, including the liberation of Kosovo, return of the refugees and the rebuilding of a civil society. The chances of guerrilla warfare, however, are considerably higher; and scattered violence against NATO is likely to continue longer. NATO simultaneously rebuilds a civil society in Kosovo and attempts to form an existing one in Serbia. A very tough job. Slobodan Milosevic and his accomplices are apprehended and shipped under guard to The Hague or killed in the seizure of Belgrade or slip away.
It seems plain to me that, whatever the eventual military resolution is of the Kosovo crisis, the provision of a safe and secure environment there will be a critical but difficult military mission for months and even years to come. The chaos in Kosovo is only one part of a larger problem of Balkan instability that has been growing since the death of Tito and the dissolution of the Soviet empire.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Since most of this century's bloodshed can be traced to Balkan instability in the early 1900s, it seems to me the United States and NATO have a vital interest in preventing a reoccurrence in the 21st century, and I think we all realize that. A long-term, NATO peacekeeping force in the Balkans and permanent garrisons, in my view, is inevitable.
The U.S. share a likely range around the 20,000 mark for the region and perhaps more in the early stages of a Kosovar transition from war to peace. The negative effect on U.S. force structure in maintaining our share of a Balkans' garrison must be clearly understood.
Sir, your charge to me in your letter was to discuss the capability of the American military forces to then execute their other war-planning tasks if we got involved in this incursion as well. This is an emerging commitment that, though it must be borne equally by our NATO allies, supports the vital interest of the United States and must be met.
I would like to close, sir, my remarks heremy prepared remarks have other detailspass to the gentlemen on my left and then answer questions, if you want to get into it, about force structure implications.
[The prepared statement of Colonel Killebrew can be found in the appendix on page 68.]
The CHAIRMAN. Colonel Summers.
STATEMENT OF COL. HARRY SUMMERS, USA (RET.), MILITARY ANALYST AND COLUMNIST, AUTHOR, ON STRATEGY
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Colonel SUMMERS. Unfortunately, I do not have any prepared remarks, but I do have some remarks I would like to get on the record.
The first is, it is good to see General Nash again. We first met when he was General Vessey's horse holder when General Vessey was a Vice Chief of Staff in the Army. And I bring that up because one of General Vessey's wise remarks was that it is not good enough to consider the first step when you get involved. You have also got to consider the eighth, ninth and tenth step. And I think this is precisely what we have not done or the administration has not done in this present crisis.
He was also, by the way, my daughter-in-law's Brigade Commander in the Third Armored Division in the move into Iraq, so she wasn't supposed to be that far forward but she was.
Many things in war don't quite work out the way we might think. This whole thing has just brought back to my mind the wisdom of the Founding Fathers. We forget at this remove that they had gone through a very divisive 8-year war. Now, it wasn't the sort of valiant patriots banning together for 8 years. We had some major conflicts.
One of the examples that I use is the major problem the British had in Philadelphia during the war was not the Continental Army but it was the venereal disease rate, as a Vietnam vet reminded me that consorting with the enemy didn't begin with Jane Fonda. It had a much longer genesis. But, again, they understood if you are going to go to war, you have got to get the people behind you.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
And Alexander Hamilton said it as well as could be said. He said, unlike the British king who can commit troops to battle and raise armies and navies, both of these duties will be reserved to the legislature, which he described as the representatives of the people periodically elected.
And the major lesson, to my mind at least, that came out of the Vietnam War is that we are truly a people's army. As the last commander in Vietnam said, that we're a people's army because the American people take a very jealous and propriety interest in everything we do. And certainly President Clinton knows that, having been burnt right after he took office with the debacle in Somalia where he was forced to withdraw the force after there was 19 people killed in Somalia, and I think maybe one of the lessons in the back of his mind that has made him a little bit hesitant about committing ground forces.
But I think their wisdom of saying, are you going to a war? Let's have a declaration of war and do it right. I mean, in my latest book, New World Strategy, I went back and looked at the declarations of war beginning with the War of 1812 through World War II, and it was interesting to see in every case that the president went hat in hand to the Congress and asked their permission to wage war. Even Franklin Roosevelt after Pearl Harbor went to the Congress and asked their permission to wage war.
And this is being discussed now as we speak on the floor of the House, but Iagain, it is probably out of fashion, and I think it is a mistake that it has fallen out of fashion, because I think the American people must have their say. They will have their say, in any event, whether we like it or not, as we found out in Vietnam. Ultimately, they will have their say, as they had their say after the debacle in Beirut, after the debacle in Mogadishu. And, again, I think this is something that haunts the President's mind today as he considers whether or not to commit ground troops.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
But I mean there is a simple remedy. Get the Congress on board. Make it a shared responsibility. I mean, George Washington knew that. It is too bad that the presidents in more recent time have forgotten it. And I thought we were back on the right track again with President Bush where at the 11th hour he did go to the Congress and ask their permission to commit troops to the Gulf. I thought at the time maybe we were going back in the concert with the constitutional demands. I think very strongly that this is one of the answers to the problem today.
During the Vietnam war, William F. Buckley addressed the issue of whether or not for a declaration of war, and he took up some of the arguments against it. He said, but one of the things that it does do wonderfully is concentrates attention, because you have to have an objective before you can go to Congress and ask for a declaration of war. And I thought it is one of the things we do not have in this present crisis is an objective. What in the world are we trying to do?
So we are back to the problem, as the Greek philosopher said, that if you don't know what port you are sailing to, all winds are foul, and that has certainly been proven true here.
We need to start off with an objective, a very concretenot a platitude but a very concrete and specific objective, and that is yet to be done. Whoever is advising the President, he is not being well-served. I don't think President Clinton has been well-served at all by his advisors; and I think, because he is not an expert in military matters, that more than most presidents he probably needs some good military advice.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
What particularly disturbs me, he has got a sound, in my mind at least, sound Joint Chiefs of Staff. General Shelton is certainly competentevery one of them are combat veterans. Every one of them are the top people in their service. General Ryan, General Krulak, General Reimer, they are all top-notch people but, evidently, he is not listening to them.
It is back to what Kissinger said, that during the similar problem in Vietnam he said that anyone who insists on meeting with the president on the basis of his position within the organizational chart has already lost the argument, because presidents listen to advisors whose advice they think they need. And, for whatever reasons, I think President Clinton is not seeing fit to consult properly with his Joint Chiefs or even with his commander in the field. Because I have known Wes Clark for many years. We are fellow First Division vets, and he is a very confident man and a brilliant man, and he wouldn't have okayed this air campaign on his own without considerable pressure from the White House.
So thatagain, it has been amateur hour from the beginning, and our military leaders aren't amateurs. So that is a cause of some great concern.
We talk about the ground option. If it is not going to be any better planned or executed than the air option, we are going to get a lot of people killed needlessly. We ought not to do that. We did that once. As General Harold K. Johnson, the Army Chief of Staff, said right before he died, that he would go to his death with that lapse in moral courage, where he permitted that to go on without resigning in protest is a very sad, very sad thing.
And we are also embarked again on the same strategy, it seems to me, if we dignify with that name the Vietnam War, that is, John McNaughton's slow squeeze strategy. As you know, he was a Harvard lawyer who became one of the most fluent at planning the strategy of the Armed Forces without knowing anything about it and sold this idea of the slow squeeze, that the idea is to put pressure on the enemy and that the purpose of the military force was for signaling the enemy rather than war fighting.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
I think we have broken out of that. I thought we had learned the lessons of Vietnam quite well, all the services, starting with the Navy War College, and I think that has spread to the other services going back to the fundamentals of military force.
And I thought as well that President Clinton was well-served during his first administration. I thought that with the Secretary of Defense William Perry and with Colin PowellI thought we were back on track with war fighting being the primary objective of the Armed Forces. As Colin Powell used to say, the reason why we maintain an armed force is for war fighting.
And in a brilliant statement, it seemed to me, of military strategy, Secretary Perry in November, 1994, laid out the overall military strategy of the United States. He said, there are areas in this world that are so vital to the United States that we will go to war over them automatically. And these, of course, are the three major regional contingencies. He said other items that are important but not vital in any western regionand he singled out Bosnia as a case in point. He said that Bosnia would require the expenditure of so much blood and treasure as to be disproportionate to the national interest of the United States and said we are not going to commit ground troops to Bosnia. Of course, a year later we did, but at least that was his assessment at the time.
But, more interestingly, he says that humanitarian concerns are not the business of the forces of the United States. And a great line that I quote every time I get a chance is, he said, we field an Army, not a Salvation Army.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 And I thought those principlesand President Clintonto his credit, NATO was in free-fall when he took over and put a hundred thousand man floor under NATO. He put a hundred thousand man floor under western Pacific with the Korean National Assembly. And unlike President Carter, who was going to cut and run, he assured the Koreans that Korea was the national interestthe interest of the United States; and it is in pretty good shapeand the President was being well-served.
But in the second administration, we got completely off the track. The power base has shifted from the Pentagon to Foggy Bottom. And it couldn't be even foggier, that instead of listening to his military professionals, it must beand I don't have any evidence of thisthat whoever he is listening to are incompetent militarily. We have slid from war fighting as a national policy to peacekeeping, and now we have troops deployed to several nations around the world.
Mr. Skelton, I warned about this at the time, saying that when we commit troops to peacekeeping we only commit the unit involved but triple that, and now I just saw in the papers that it is quadruple that. We are talking about the availability of military forces for the land operations in Bosnia, and somebody pointed out that almost every one of our divisions is committed, and particularly the First Cavalry Division is in Bosnia now. The First Armored Division and First Infantry Division are recovering from Bosnia, and the Tenth Mountain Division is being prepared to go to Bosnia. So we have four of our ten divisions tied up in the Bosnia operation.
In the meantime, we have uncovered the true vital interest of the United States, who would be hard pressed to fight not two major regional contingencies near simultaneously, we would be hard pressed to fight one. That is dangerous.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
We areagain, I had a chance to testify before the Congress with the former Secretary of Defense Schlesinger, and this was before we got involved in Bosnia. And he said that they were saying that the future of NATO depends on Bosnia. He said, that is insane. Once you hazard the jewel in the crown, that is the NATO alliance that has stood us in good stead for 50 years, for the bauble of the Balkans, which has no value whatsoever to the United Statesbut that is precisely what we have done, and we now find ourselves truly with the credibility not only of the United States on the line but the credibility of the NATO alliance, which absolutely makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
But, having said that, we are there. And now the great question is, how do we get out of there?
And to this, I listened to the arguments of my two colleagues here, and I have no disagreement with what they say. I think it is going to require a major effort butand even probably beyond that. Because I think one of the things that President Clinton did and his advisors did going in, they made the cardinal mistake of underestimating the enemy, and that is an absolute and fundamental error in militaryin any kind of operations but particularly military operations. So it might be a much more difficult fight.
I can remember going into Korea as a young corporal in 1950, and I went in with the 24th Division in the first wave, and all us young kids were standing at the bow of the LST, afraid the war would be over before we got there because we knew that the North Koreans, this ragtag army, would run as soon as we got there. I mean, this was the mighty American military that had just beat Japan and Germany in World War II.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Well, we got there and they ran, okay, right over the top of us, and we lost our entire unit, most of the 24th Division, as we were forced to retreat back. So that underestimating the enemy has a very real meaning to it.
And I am just reminded in my Vietnam experience I wasas you may know, I was in Hanoi a week before the fall of Saigon. I was a negotiator with the north Vietnamese on the POW/MIA issue. I said to my north Vietnamese counterpart, you know, you never beat us on the battlefield. He said, well, that may be true, but it's also irrelevant, which is sort of a short course in strategy.
But I think, again, as we talk about your ability, we talk about the war as Americans because we are sort of technologically-oriented. We talk about war as if it only had one dimension, the physical dimension.
Vietnam had a wake-up call there. In terms of the physical dimension of war, we were absolutely overwhelming. I mean, somebody said when Nixon took over he asked the Pentagon to give him an estimate of when we were going to win. In the Pentagon computer they put in the number of ships, tanks, planes, aircraft, gross domestic product, everything to do with the United States and North Vietnam in the Pentagon computer in 1969 and said, when will we win? And immediately the computer said, you won in 1964. Because in that dimension there was no contest.
But in the other dimension of war, more the moral dimension, where war was dominant, we were outclassed from the beginning. The Secretary of Defense said he believed the war was unwinnable in 1965, and the enemy Secretary of Defense said he would fight 25, 50 or 100 years, whatever it took.
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
As you look at the will today of the United States and the United States' people in the Balkans and look at Milosevic's will and his soldiers' will who are fighting for their country and for their nation, again, there is no contest. So we need to be careful of not getting so enamored of our military power that we forget that moral power, as Napoleon said, is a sweeter one.
As I look at this and as, in my writings, I come back to one of Madeline Albright's predecessors, John Quincy Adams, who was faced with a very similar problem in the Balkans, in 1821, in a very famous speech he said, wherever liberty unfolds its flag, there will be our hearts and our ambitions. But he said, we go not abroad in search of monsters to destroy lest we find ourselves involved in all the intrigues and machinations that these rogues around the world use to cloak their own ambitions. And if we do, he said, we will become the dictatoress of the world.
I don't know why he used the feminine form dictatoress, but I think Madeline Albright is vying for that prize.
I just think we have got ourselves in a mess here in an area of no consequence, which is particularly bothersome, and are jeopardizing our true national interest. And the great question today is, how do we get out of it with some grace? Because, as has been said, we can't afford to fail, because we put both our prestige and the prestige of NATO on the line in this thing, which was a ridiculous thing to do. But having said that, we have done it; and now the great question is, how the hell do we get off the hook?
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Thank you very much.
The CHAIRMAN. That is a very profound conclusion, and that is what we all seeking.
The CHAIRMAN. My own thinking goes along the same lines, first, my main bottom line objection to us being involved is that, as you have said, I think all of you have on different occasions, if it is in our national interest, and we can debate that, it certainly doesn't rise to the level of the other threats that we face in the world of which we are unprepared to properly defend against, and that is the bottom line with me.
We are so stretched in so many places throughout the world now. We have cut back on our forces so much until I think it is not even debatable. We couldn't do another Persian Gulf-type situation like we did before with the same degree of efficiency as we did then, and we take on something else to get us further involved, stretched even further, shooting off our ammunition like it was 4th of July, of which we don't have an endless supply. And I have to question, if something else would happen big time somewhere else in the world, where are we?
Even this so-called conflict, we aren't dealing with weapons of mass destruction yet, like we have to deal with for these other threats. There is all kinds of reasons why we shouldn't be there, but we are. And so the question is, and we are trying to talk today about, where do we go from here?
We are talking about the air power and the campaignthe air campaign, troops on the ground, in the hostile and the otherwise environment and all of these kind of things. Of course, I am opposed, for reasons I just said, for us being on the ground either in any kind of environment, because we just don't have the people to do it.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
Colonel SUMMERS. Whenever we don't have the backing of the American people, somebody saidand I can't vouch for the accuracy of the poll, but somebody said they were asked, are you in favor of sending ground troops to Kosovo? And the answer was 50, 60 percent, whatever it was. And then the question was rephrased, are you willing to send your son or daughter to Kosovo? The answer was 17 percent.
So, again, this is more than just an academic question for me. I have two sons in military, one on active duty and one in the reserves; and I don't think that I would want to see either of one of them go to Kosovo because I don't think it is worth it. I understood and they understand the risks they took when they joined but, again, you would wish it was for some good reason, and I just don't see any good reason whatsoever in Kosovo.
Again, the question of casualtiesas the gentleman pointed out, Clausewitz set out the equation 160 years ago. He said, it is the object of what you are trying to do that determines its value. He said, value determines the sacrifices made in pursuit of it.
In World War IIsurvival issuewe paid a million casualties without complaining to pursue that objective. And in Somalia we didn't know what the hell we were doing there; 19 were too many.
And now, as General Nash can probably testify, I was in Europe last year, and the Jewish rabbi who was command chaplain, a Navy captain, had come back from Bosnia, and he was talking to General Seseki and the troops down there. Think you are a coward? Which, of course, got General Seseki's attention right off the bat, since he may be many things but he is not a coward. And he said that you have got them locked up down there. You have got them prisoner. You won't let them go off the base. You won't let them drink. You won't let them do this, that and the other, and the other Allied people are doing what they please.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
And General Seseki said, you have got that right. We are not going to take any casualties in Bosnia because we can't afford to take any casualties in Bosnia with the memory of Somalia lurking in the background.
And I think it is going to be the same thing going into Kosovo; it is an abstract idea. People may be in favor of going into Kosovo but not when a body bag starts coming back, because I don't think the President has made the case. He has not convinced the American people that it is worth it. I don't know if a case can be made. Maybe it can't be made. But it sure hasn't been made yet.
The CHAIRMAN. Colonel Killebrew, you were talking about the different scenarios; and, obviously, we have ground troops and
Colonel KILLEBREW. Sir, I don't want you to think because I outlined these scenarios that I like either one of them.
The CHAIRMAN. We asked you about doing those, but you mentioned one of them being the NATO troops coming in from different places and being composed of troops in various countries. My understanding is, from what I have heard from many sources, is that NATO or the NATO countries themselves won't agree to send in ground troops, and that is one of the big problems that there is in having that as an option even. I understand the commander in chief doesn't have that as an option because he knows he can't, he can't get them from the other countries, and much less the fact that I don't think he will get support from the American people for it.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
And so it just more or less rules out ground troops as an option, even though the argument's being made on some corner that you must have it as an option anyway, you know, in dealing with the enemy.
Well, I can understand that, but still that is not being realistic, is it? You can say it is an option, but it is not, really. We can't get them in the real world, I don't think.
But, anyway, we are trying to explore all the different alternatives of what we can do here, andbut I still come back to the view I started out with, that we shouldn't be there in the first place; and the main reason is we can't handle the other things we have in the world, the commitments we have now.
General Nash, what do you think about that? Can we afford to take on a thirdwe are supposed to be able to handle two and we didn't plan for a third contingency of this size and looks like it is rapidly building into that kind of a contingency.
General NASH. Sir, I would certainly acknowledge to you that for the responsibilities the United States faces, both in terms of challenges thrust upon us and challenges we accepted around the world, that our Armed Forces is exceedingly small.
At the same time, I must ask the question with respect to the continuing engagement in the Balkans, can we afford not to? The fact of the matter is is that there is a force in the Balkans that has affected European and, in turn, our concerns for some time. So I acknowledge the smallness of our Armed Forces and the largeness of their commitments around the globe. At the same time, we must recognize thatI believe we should recognize that there is a threat to mankind, if you will, from the evil that is in the Balkans and that, as we pursue that in a measured way, it is to our long-term benefit.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
That is not necessarily to criticize or to negate or to criticize or to endorse the way we have gone about it but to point out that there are some valid, if not vital, interests in the region.
The CHAIRMAN. Sure, and I understand that. In my own thinking, I have come down this whole line, you know.
We like to do all these things. Talking about humanitarian crises, we have many of them throughout the world. We want to help in all these areas. But when it comes down to the bottom line, say we will be involved there and then the other crisis, other war breaks out somewhere, that means we will suffer additional hundreds of thousands of casualties probably just because of that.
And now I have to question, is it worth the price to pay? That is when I come down to the bottom line and say no. If it means that we have to suffer that many more casualties somewhere else because we are tied down too much other places, I say forget the other places. That is my bottom line, and that is what I keep coming back to every time I try to rationalize it out. Wanting to do all these things, wanting to help everybody in the world and all the rest, I come back to our own casualties, not trying to be an isolationist but the realistic view that it will be just mean more casualties.
I ask our military leaders all the time, are we prepared to carry out the national strategy of fighting the two wars? And the answers I get back, well, we can do it. It will just take longer.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
And I say, well, what does that mean? Oh, it is manageable. That is latest I have heard.
I said, what does that mean? It means, what is the risk involved in us doing this, with our reduced force and all the commitments we have? Well, the risk is moderate to high.
And then I ask the further question, what does that mean in number of casualties, moderate to high risk? That means a whole lot of people, and I always worry about that.
That is the bottom line again with me. We have more casualties, more high and moderate risk. It goes on and on. Sure, we can do it, maybe if it comes down to it, or we can do it with the nuclear weapons maybe that they say. But, being realistic, we aren't going to use that unless it is a real dire circumstance. We didn't use them in Vietnam or in Korea, and we had them there, too. And so that there again is not an option, I don't think.
Anyway, that is the reasoning I use; and I come back to it every time, no matter who I listen to or what I hear. I consider that, and they come back to that basic question of us being able to do the coordination of our military in carrying out the national strategy.
Colonel SUMMERS. Your remark on nuclear weapons brought to mind a conversation again in Hanoi at the very end, right before the fall of Saigon. My North Vietnamese counterpart said to me, this just goes to show, you can't stamp out revolutionary ideas with force.
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
I said, come on, that is baloney, and you know it. I said, Genghis Khan in the 13th century, in Asia, he killed 13 million people by hand and turned the area into a desert for the next 700 years. I said, we could have done that any time of our choosing to North Vietnam. We could have wiped you off the map at any time of our choosing with nuclear weapons.
And he laughed and said, yeah, we knew that. We also knew you'd never do it.
Of course, he was exactly right, but why wouldn't we never do it? Very simple answer. The American people would not permit that to be done in their name, which translates today into President Clinton starting a war and saying, I am going to fight a war with no collateral damage. Well, good luck. How do you do that?
Again, we have tied our hand behind our back ourselves because of our humanitarian concerns about collateral damage. I am sure the last thing on Milosevic's mind is collateral damage. That probably doesn't even translate into Serbo-Croatian, but, again, that is a very real constraint on any American military officer. There are certain things you cannot do because the American people won't let you, which is a compliment to our democracy, but it sure complicates waging war.
Colonel KILLEBREW. Mr. Chairman, I associate completely with your feelings, and I, too, have a child in the service, but we have two facts looking at us now with which we have to deal, and you mentioned one. We are in it now. So we must deal with where we are, not where we wish we could be.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
And the second fact, I believe, and this may be contentious, is that next to the ground security of the physical security of the United States itself, the peace and security of Europe is our most vital interest. We have gone to war twice, fought wars twice in this century for that. We fought a Cold War for 50 years over the peace and security of Europe.
It is a debatable point as to whether or not a madman like Milosevic running around in central Europe can destabilize all of Europe. I believe this, though. I believe that he is the greatest threat to the stability of Europe today that I have seen in my lifetime. Even when we were fighting the Cold War we in the Warsaw Pact had a kind of an understanding of stability.
I would not in a second suggest that the United States execute this kind of an operation, as serious as it is, because of the agony, even of a million people, in Kosovo. I would suggest, though, that if we are in it and if the decision is that the stability of Europe is still important to us, then we must find a resolution, we must, or else the next century will start off as bloodily as this one did over the same area.
The CHAIRMAN. And you say, one, because it is debatable. Debatable to what extent he is a threat to destabilizing all of Europe?
One of the main things that we hear is that NATO has to win now and we have to win since we are in it and because of what that is going to do our credibility and credibility of NATO if we don't. And that is a good point, of course; and I am sure that, quite frankly, NATO is looking for a mission, a new mission. I don't know why they thought they had to have a new mission, but I think
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
I am a parliamentarian. I go to these meetings twice a year, and we debate all these things. And I am a big NATO supporter, but, as I have said on other occasions, it worries me when I see doves and socialists want to fight people. And if you look at NATO, the leadership of NATO, from the President right on down, you find socialists and greens and all these people who hadn't wanted to fight anybody before all of a sudden want to fight somebody. And this concerns me when I see this. I don't know what the motivation is for these people, but it is just uncharacteristic to want to go out and fight somebody with military power, and so I get suspicious right away.
But, anyway, we are there. Now, I think there is a way that NATO can get out of this thing and we can get out of it, too, and if you want to call it saving face or what have you, we have got to do it. I think we are going to make a bad situation worse the way we are doing right now. We have got to get backI think some people have said it todaywe have stopped the negotiating process prematurely, I think. I think we need to get back to that.
And if they want to go ahead and declare victory and negotiate and that will save face for everybody involved and take care of the humanitarian crisis, we can do it, but I don't know if it is going to destabilize the whole of Europe or not. I would admit that Europe is very, very much in our vital interest, no question about it, just like the Persian Gulf was in that war. But we have to decide if that is in our national interest, first of all, and I don't think we have done that.
Colonel KILLEBREW. Yes, sir. We all remember the Vietnam years. And I remember Henry Kissinger said, when you start talking about fighting a war to save your prestige, you are on very, very thin ice.
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2
I would just offer that whatever we decide to do it should be made in the coldest assessment of American vital interests, and if the assessment is that we can live with him and Europe can remain stable, that is one case. If you can't, that is another. But I suggest that we won't do very well trying to dance between the two options.
The CHAIRMAN. And if we don't do it, we have got to commit ourselves totally to it and let the military people do the planning and the execution.
And we keep coming back to Vietnam again, and the corollary there is it is the same old story. I was telling the other panel this morning, I remember I was here when we voted to cut off funding, for instance, in Vietnam, and I justI couldn't believe it. There was a hush on the floor that day.
I voted against it because I can't see draggingpulling the rug out from under our own people, no matter what. They are involved, and here we cut off funding. And that picture is stamped on my mind forever of people reaching up for the ladders on that roof of that building, trying to get to that helicopter and us leaving the field under those conditions. I never will forget that.
And here again, I feel the same thing can happen again. We are getting down that road, and it is going to get us deeper and deeper, and only some time down the way it will happen again that way, and that will be the resolution. I think there is a better way out before we get to that, and we have got to go back and try to do it.
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Anyway, I appreciate you-all being here today, and you contributed greatly to our undertaking.
I apologize again for my colleagues not being here and, matter of fact, I am supposed to be on the floor myself. I am handling the next bill up, might be up now as a matter of fact. We have about three resolutions we will be voting on today, three or four maybe, and so that is what it is all about.
And my colleagues are over there, but we do appreciate your being here. And I know who all of you are, and I admire all of you, and I appreciate your contribution to us, and we hope to call on you again in the future. So thank you very much for coming out.
Colonel SUMMERS. Very honored to be here, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. We will adjourn the meeting.
[Whereupon, at 2:10 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]