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Walter B. Slocombe, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Senate Armed Services Committee
January 29, 1999

DEFENSE ASPECTS OF UNITED STATES POLICY TOWARD IRAQ

Thank you. It is, as always, an honor to be here to address issues of
DOD's role in implementing our Iraq policies. In this open session,
there are substantial limits to the degree to which we can go into the
details, and I therefore appreciate the Committee's willingness to
have a closed session immediately following.

There is no need in this forum to expound on the threat that Saddam
Hussein's regime poses to the security of the Gulf, to the
international order, and to efforts to curtail the spread of chemical,
biological, and nuclear weapons, and the means for their delivery. The
United States remains determined, with our coalition partners, to
counter the threat he poses to our interests, and those of our allies
and friends in the region and around the world.

Our efforts to this end comprise diplomatic, economic, intelligence
and military elements. Our principal focus today is on the military
aspects.

General Zinni is here to outline for you what happened in Desert Fox,
what is happening now as his forces and those of the European Command
continue to enforce the No Flight Zones, and what our on-going
readiness is to conduct further strike operations as necessary.

It may be useful, however, to review briefly the events leading up to
Desert Fox and what we think we achieved, to set the baseline for
where we go from here.

The strikes in December were necessary because they were vital to
reducing the ability of Iraq to threaten the security of a region of
vital importance to the United States and the international community,
as well as to the credibility of the United States and the United
Nations Security Council.

The military objectives of the strike were to degrade Iraq's weapons
of mass destruction program and related delivery systems and its
ability to wage war against its neighbors. We focused on military
targets related to WMD -- sites where UNSCOM was barred, organizations
involved in the conduct, control, and concealment of WMD programs, and
sites that produced illegal weapons materials, as well as the air
defenses that protected these targets.

Our assessment is that the campaign was a success. Most obviously,
there is little question that the targeting was extremely precise and
effective and the collateral damage to the Iraqi civilian population
was kept to an absolute minimum. Moreover, our forces were able to
carry out their mission without losing a single coalition crew member
or aircraft. The real gauge of success, however, is in the extent to
which the campaign achieved its objectives.

As evidenced by the intensified rhetoric from Baghdad and the series
of recent encounters in the no-flight zones, Saddam Hussein has been
seriously affected by these strikes. We have set back the Iraqis'
ballistic missile program by 1-2 years and reduced their missile
production capability. We have degraded the infrastructure that Saddam
uses to conceal his weapons of mass destruction, which is the same
infrastructure he relies upon for regime stability. We have degraded
the regime's ability to exercise command and control over its defense
and security structures, and its ability to export illegal gasoil to
pay for weapons of mass destruction programs. We have let Saddam know
that we have the resolve to back up our demands for compliance with
international norms. In the weeks since the operation, Iraq has found
itself increasingly isolated diplomatically and with fewer and fewer
prospects of any relief from the dilemma into which it has placed
itself.

Where do we go from here? Even in the short period since Desert Fox,
we have seen statements from the regime -- including Saddam Hussein
himself -- that are at odds with Iraq's obligation to live at peace
with its neighbors. The Iraqi regime's record is strewn with the
scraps of agreements broken and commitments violated. Now he has added
new challenges to coalition operations in the NFZs and elsewhere, made
new and direct threats to his Arab neighbors, repeated his
determination to break free of sanctions without complying with the
relevant UN resolutions, and even fallen to criticizing those UNSC
members who have been most sympathetic to his cause.

We will need to continue to deal with the challenges posed by Iraq,
and we have a strategy for doing so. As the President outlined last
week, there are four elements in our strategy: maintaining sanctions,
insisting on verified Iraqi compliance with arms control obligations,
continuing our readiness to use military force if necessary, and, over
the long term, seeking a new government in Iraq.

We will work to ensure that the Iraqi regime remains contained and
under strict economic sanctions until Iraq complies with all the
relevant resolutions of the Security Council, including those
regarding weapons of mass destruction, and that compliance has been
adequately verified.

The support of the GCC countries remains crucial to continued
containment. While Saddam continues to have a degree of popularity
among the Arab populace, the GCC governments have been supportive of
our policies, because they understand the danger Saddam poses to their
interests and indeed to the Arab cause. The recent Arab League
statement reiterating the requirement that Iraq comply with UNSCRs
demonstrates anew this awareness. In connection with maintaining the
coalition as well as for humanitarian reasons, we will continue to
support the oil for food and UN humanitarian assistance programs to
reduce the suffering Saddam Hussein's ambitions have inflicted on the
Iraqi people, and to underscore that our quarrel is with him, not his
people.

UNSCOM and the IAEA are the designated organizations for verifying and
monitoring compliance with the WMD provisions of the resolutions. We
want to see them back at work as soon as possible, but only if Iraq
proves that it will cooperate fully in the fulfillment of their
mandate. In a fundamental sense, sham inspections would be worse than
no inspections at all. We will continue to reject proposals that
would, in effect if not in substance, move from "disarmament" to
"monitoring," without compliance with disarmament requirements. At the
same time, we will continue to insist that any "monitoring" program
would itself have to be designed to ensure inspection and oversight of
Iraqi activities, by technically qualified professionals.

Meanwhile, we will work to prevent Baghdad from reviving its WMD
programs. We will continue to focus our intelligence efforts on
monitoring Iraq, and particularly its WMD programs. As we demonstrated
last month, we are willing and able to use military force in response
to Iraqi failures to meet these obligations. We remain fully prepared
to use additional military force if necessary, if we see Iraq
rebuilding its WMD capabilities.

As a key element of our strategy, the US Armed Forces maintain and
will continue to maintain a powerful capability in the region to:

-- Defend against Iraqi threats against UN personnel, coalition
forces, or Iraq's neighbors in the region;

-- Respond vigorously if Baghdad moves against the Kurds or seeks to
rebuild its WMD programs; and

-- Enforce the limitations -- such as the sanctions, the no-flight
zones in the north and south, and the no-reinforcement zone in the
south -- which were placed upon Iraq pursuant to resolutions of the
Security Council.

General Zinni will describe in more detail the specific measures taken
to ensure that we have the ready military capability for these tasks.

By these and related measures, we can and will continue to manage the
problem that Iraq poses to our interests and to the security of the
region. We have no illusions, however, about the likelihood that
Saddam Hussein's regime will ever comply fully with its obligations,
or fundamentally change its international behavior. Accordingly, we
have come to the conclusion that there cannot be a fundamental,
long-term improvement in the security situation in the Gulf region
until there is a change of regime in Iraq.

We are therefore working along several tracks toward the objective,
set forth in the Iraq Liberation Act and in statements by the
President and senior Administration officials, of promoting conditions
that will facilitate the transition to a new regime in Baghdad. Our
efforts include increased cooperation with Iraqis opposed to the
regime, inside and outside of Iraq. To that end, the Secretary of
State has recently named a Special Representative for Transition in
Iraq. We have also begun implementing the Iraq Liberation Act. The
President has notified Congress of his intent to designate seven Iraqi
opposition groups as eligible for US assistance under the Act. These
are important steps forward, and we will continue to strengthen the
opposition so it can seek effective change in Iraq.

We will implement the Iraq Liberation Act, but we will do so taking
account of the realities of the situation. No one should underestimate
the difficulties of the task of bringing about a change in this regime
or the time it may take. It cannot be done by imposing a new regime by
military force from without, even assuming that such would be
possible, which is very doubtful. Nor, in our judgment, can it be done
by encouraging an internal insurrection before the conditions exist
that would make it possible for such an uprising to succeed. We cannot
play recklessly with the lives of either the Americans or the Iraqis
who must work together to achieve our objective. Nor can we support a
course of action that would -- or would seem to lead to the division
of Iraq; the US continues to support the territorial integrity of
Iraq, as necessary for stability in the region, as well as to
maintaining support for our efforts from key regional allies.

What we are working to do is to help create the political and military
conditions that will permit a successful change of the regime, and the
accession of an Iraqi government that is prepared to meet its
obligations to the international community and to live at peace with
its neighbors as well as its own people. We stand ready to help such a
new government reintegrate Iraq into that international community, and
to help the people of Iraq heal the country's internal wounds by
reintegrating into a single, united Iraq all the diverse elements of
their society.

This is an overall strategy that, we believe, will serve both the
short term necessity to continue to contain Iraq and the long term
goal of the emergence of a regime in Baghdad that can adopt genuinely
different approaches to its international relations and to its own
people.