|Senate Armed Services Committee Holds a Hearing on NATO Enlargement and Post-Conflict Iraq (2)|
Senate Armed Services Committee Holds a Hearing on NATO Enlargement and Post-Conflict Iraq (2)
Political Transcripts by Federal Document Clearing House (Copyright 2003 by Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.) April 10, 2003. Washington D.C. Source: US Senate. (Part 1)
Senator Carl Levin: Mr. Chairman.
(Unknown): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator John Warner: Before we proceed, Senator, Mr. Secretary, this committee will require considerably more detailed explanations of, for example, the concepts that you currently have for the interim government, the responsibilities of General Garner and what his organization will be, and the overall management by the coalition partners, for the time being, of the post-war situation.
We just need some documents.
Paul Wolfowitz: I'll give you that for the record.
Senator John Warner: Your testimony's a very helpful start, but we will aid you in exactly the information that we need.
Paul Wolfowitz: OK.
Senator John Warner: And I thank the senator for allowing me to make that ...
(Unknown): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thought it was a very appropriate George Washington metaphor, Mr. Secretary, and Senator Allen's brother pointed out another one that I think is worthwhile quoting at this time.
It's, Isaiah 21, verse 9, "And the Lord said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, and all the carved images of her gods he has broken to the ground." First question, three question real quick for rather brief answers, and anyone can respond, and this is the one I always do ask, and that is the end-strength problem that we're facing right now with some 35,000 troops in Korea, with the, of course, Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and then more will be committed here.
What does that look like in terms of what you would look for the future for future force structure, and maybe a realignment?
Any comments on that?
And how does the guard and Reserve figure into this?
Paul Wolfowitz: I think, Secretary Rumsfeld's been pushing all of us to look in a fundamental way at whether the footprint that we have, which is in many ways a legacy from what we had 20 or 30 or 50 years ago, in some cases, is the right footprint for where we should be, even before we had Operation Iraqi Freedom.
And now, of course, in the post-Saddam world it's changed considerably. There are a lot of questions that arise in case of the European theater that general Jones is looking at a number of ideas.
The new Korean government has actually spoken openly about the desire to look at how we're structured in Korea, and there are a number of ideas that we're in discussing with them.
I think one of the things that we've just finished demonstrating in Afghanistan and now again in Iraq is that the kinds of forces you need in the 21st century are structured very differently from the relatively heavy, relatively manpower-intensive forces that we've had in the past.
So I think the first place we're going to look as to how we can accomplish our goals and meet our security commitments without as much use of personnel, because clearly the current posture is straining our people a great deal, it's making heavy use of the guard and Reserve, very heavy use.
(Unknown): And that's my point, Mr. Secretary, and General Pace, would you have any thoughts along those lines, and you guys are real close to the guard and Reserve, all the deployments that we've had.
Paul Wolfowitz: They've been magnificent, by the way, as you know.
(Unknown): I know, they've been great. But, you know, can you continue that? And can the employers continue? Any comments on that, General Pace?
General Peter Pace: Senator, thanks. The guard and Reserve have been magnificent, and we are relying very heavily on them. As you would expect the joint staff has been doing some long-range planning and assessments of the size of the force and whether or not all the missions that we currently are conducting around the world, plus Iraq, were doable. We assessed to the secretary that they were. It is of interest that yesterday, and I would repeat very quickly that, obviously, there's still a great deal of work left to do in Iraq, but yesterday, three weeks into the battle, when Baghdad for the most part has fallen, the total ground force on the ground was 100,000, give or take, U.S., and about 20,000 coalition.
All of which was well, the reason to say that is because all that was well within the planning estimates that we used. So we do believe that current missions and projected future missions are well within the scope of what we have.
However, we do need to take a very hard look at the reserve/active mix, and how much we're going to rely on Reserves in the future, because Reserves should be just that, reserves.
And they're great Americans, and they're willing to do what we need them to do, but we need to not continually go to that well if we can design ourselves better for the future.
(Unknown): That's exactly the point, and General Jones, I think you probably have been more outspoken in the restructuring of the European forces and facilities. Any comments there on how creative and active we're going to be in trying to do something there?
General James Jones: Senator, thank you for that question. I think there is great optimism in this moment in time to not only do some transformational thinking with regard to how our forces are based and utilized, but to also reshape the force so that it's of greater utility and draws on a fuller -- from a fuller plate of available assets that are not only located in our forward bases in Europe, which are critically important, as we have been reminded of in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. European Command is the supporting command, and without that those interim bases for troop and being able to deploy the forces that we have we would have been hard-pressed, I think, to do as well as we have in as short a time.
Having said that, I think that the post-conflict period will see our European basing evolve into a series of bases that are strategic, the ones that are the main operating bases, which are strategically relevant to what we need in the 21st century that are currently, currently exist.
(Unknown): General Jones, I'm going to have to interrupt you, because my time is almost up and I had two questions. I'll actually ask these questions, and the first one of Secretary Wolfowitz.
You can answer for the record, wouldn't it be advisable if this restructuring is going along to delay the realignment and all the things we're talking about doing in the United States, until we find out what this is going to look like overseas?
And the second question I'd like to ask for to be responded, and you can respond for the record if you'd like is, you know, all the dancing in the streets and the things we went through, and I'm so proud of all of our troops and of the Brits and what they have done. It's just really remarkable, and since we are the ones mostly responsible for it, I think that Senator Levin brought up a very good question. And there's a lot of things in the press about who would be most responsible for the reconstruction of the post-war Iraq, and I might suggest that we can satisfy both sides.
It can be done, supervised and performed by the United States and Great Britain, and have the cost of it deducted from our United Nations dues. You can respond for the, on the record on that.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator John Warner: Thank you, Senator. Senator Byrd.
Senator Robert Byrd: Secretary Wolfowitz, both you and Secretary Rumsfeld -- is this working? Is it? Both you and Secretary Rumsfeld have issued stern warnings to Syria in recent days to stop sending military supplies to Iraq.
You said on a Sunday talk show that Syria will be held accountable for actions that it's taking to support the regime of Saddam Hussein, and that there has to be a change in Syria, as well.
Just yesterday, I believe, Secretary Rumsfeld said that Syria is continuing to send supplies to Iraq and senior Iraqi officials are fleeing to Syria.
What are you implying by these comments? And I ask the same with respect to Secretary Rumsfeld.
Paul Wolfowitz: Senator Byrd, only that there is a problem there. The Syrians are behaving badly. They need to be reminded of that and if they continue then we need to think about what our policy is with respect to a country that harbors terrorists, or harbors war criminals, or was in recent times shipping things to Iraq.
It is very dubious behavior, and by calling attention to it we hope that, in fact, that may be enough to get them to stop.
Senator Robert Byrd: What discussions are underway in the event that that is not enough?
Paul Wolfowitz: I would say so far we're just keeping an eye on them, hoping their behavior will change.
Senator Robert Byrd: Does the Defense Department intend to take any action against Syria to stop the movement of goods and people across the border with Iraq?
Paul Wolfowitz: Senator, that's not a decision the Defense Department makes.
Paul Wolfowitz: That's, obviously, if we're talking about action against Syria, that would be a decision for the president and the Congress. We are taking action inside Iraq to stop both the exit and the entry of dangerous people and dangerous goods.
Senator Robert Byrd: Are there any plans to send any U.S. forces into Syria?
Paul Wolfowitz: None that I know of, sir.
Senator Robert Byrd: I wish to expand on some of Senator Levin's earlier questions about the role of the U.N. It's increasingly clear that rehabilitating Iraq will be an arduous and expensive endeavor. It would seem to be in our best interest to share this burden with those who are willing to assist us. United Nations seems to be clamoring for a role in postwar Iraq. So far the administration has only made vague assurances that there will be a role for the U.N.
Once the military action is complete, if we do not have broad international assistance, the United States will find itself thrust in the position of undertaking the most radical and ambitious reconstruction of a country since the occupation of Germany and Japan after World War II. It will be costly, both in terms of financing and of manpower. It will mean a significant sacrifice by the American people, a sacrifice that will be even larger if we turn away offers of assistance from the U.N.
Should we not jump at the chance, Mr. Secretary, to include the U.N., with all of its nation-building experience, in our coalition of the willing for a postwar Iraq?
Paul Wolfowitz: Senator, we would jump at the chance -- we do jump at the chance to have the U.N. participate and assist.
Let me say one thing, too. When we use words like reconstruction or rehabilitation, we sort of think of it as a sort of postwar phenomenon. I think we're going to discover, or we're already discovering that most of the rehabilitation that is needed in Iraq is rehabilitation from 30 years of a tyrant who spent the country's money on other things.
Senator Robert Byrd: I understand that.
Paul Wolfowitz: But it's a big job. And our goal, our desire is to have that job taken over as quickly as possible by the Iraqi people with as much international assistance as possible. And, clearly, the U.N. is a very important vehicle for mobilizing that assistance, and we hope the U.N. will play that role.
I don't think we want to see a situation like we do in Bosnia, for example, where eight years after the Dayton Agreement the U.N. is still running Bosnia. We want to see a situation where power and responsibility is transferred as quickly as possible to the Iraqis themselves.
Senator Robert Byrd: Why is the United States being so coy with respect to U.N. entreaties for a substantial role in rehabilitating Iraq beyond just providing food and medicine?
Paul Wolfowitz: Senator, we're not clamoring for an American role and we're not being coy about a U.N. role. We are talking with the U.N. about what its role can be. Clearly, we would, as I've said repeatedly, we think it has an important role. We'd like it to be playing that role as quickly as possible.
In fact, we welcome the fact that the U.N. has already passed one resolution to extend the oil-for-food program for 45 days to continue its functioning in Iraq. It has a very important role to play, and we are talking with them actively about how to do that.
Senator Robert Byrd: Do we have a coalition of the willing to contribute to our Iraqi reconstruction or just a coalition of the willing to let the United States handle reconstruction virtually alone?
Paul Wolfowitz: I think we actually have a larger coalition of the willing to participate in reconstruction than we did in the actual combat, and that's hardly surprising. There are a number of countries that have already stepped forward and said they want to contributed, some with stability forces, some with money, some with both. There are great many things that countries can do.
And as I noted earlier, there's an enormous amount that those three countries who are meeting in Moscow can do in the financial area.
Senator Robert Byrd: What have our friends and allied pledged to contribute to the reconstruction of Iraq?
Paul Wolfowitz: So far we're still in the early stages of that. I think some people were, frankly, a bit taken by surprise by the images they saw on television yesterday. I think it's already changing the way people think about this issue.
We're going to be pressing all of our friends and allies to contribute as much as they can. And I think when they realize what the Iraqi people need and deserve, I think they'll be very generous.
Senator Robert Byrd: I see my time is up. But let me urge you to pursue this course, Mr. Secretary.
Paul Wolfowitz: Senator Byrd, I agree emphatically. I mean, I will claim a little bit on a personal level that in 1990 it was my office that said we ought to be going to allies to get contributions to Desert Shield when what later became Desert Storm, and that was a spectacularly successful effort as you know in raising international support. It was a lot harder this time because of the political controversy.
I think as people realize what is taking shape in Iraq, realize what is at stake in Iraq and realize what the Iraqi people need, that we will be able to do much more than we were in the last six months.
Senator Robert Byrd: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator John Warner: We thank you, Senator Byrd, particularly for that inquiry regarding Syria. I think it's extremely important.
Senator Jeff Sessions: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The problem in the United Nations as I see it in a post-Iraq situation is they've had it wrong from the beginning. And we had to push them, push them, push them when their own resolutions were in violation. And during this whole 12 years or so after the first Gulf War, we've had an embargo that's hurt the people of Iraq every year, but yet the United Nations and, in it, none of us have been able to figure out a way to break that cycle that would continue indefinitely it seemed. So they're not able to make good, quick decisions.
Senator Jeff Sessions: It tends to be a lowest common denominator organization. And I certainly hope we can work with them. I hope the United Nations can learn from this process. But direction or approval or endorsement of what we do now to try to liberate and improve and help this country become a great nation again is something that I am dubious about, Mr. Secretary. So we have some disagreement around here about that. I don't know if you'd like to comment.
Paul Wolfowitz: I think the chairman captured it correctly. The U.N. can be an important partner, and I think it's in fact a chance to demonstrate that it can play a much more positive role in the future than, as I think you've correctly noted, it played in the past. And I hope it will. And I think there is reason to think that it can and will. But it can't be the managing partner. It can't be in charge.
We need to make sure that certain functions are working smoothly from day one. And I think the goal should be to pass that responsibility as quickly as possible to Iraqis.
As I noted earlier in talking about Jay Garner, and General Jones can speak personally to this, one of the most successful examples I know of of transferring responsibility directly to the people involved was in Northern Iraq in 1991. And that was entirely a coalition of the willing working with indigenous Iraqis.
Senator Jeff Sessions: And if we were to give a leadership role to the U.N., wouldn't that action be subject to a veto by France or Germany or any other Security Council -- China or Russia, perhaps? At least the fundamental plan?
Paul Wolfowitz: I think we have to come to an understanding with the U.N., including obviously the members of the Security Council on what that U.N. role will be. And I hope, again, that we can get some of the past behind us in this regard and focus on what needs to be done. And I hope France will see it that way also.
Senator Jeff Sessions: Well, I hope so too. Although in terms of the situation with France, I think their actions have been so egregious and so serious, subjecting American soldiers and Iraqi people to more risk than would otherwise have been the case, that we cannot just lightly walk away from that. There is going to have to be some serious long-term discussions about fundamental issues.
And just to meet together next week and shake hands and act like it didn't happen, I know you would -- I don't think you would agree that that's possible for great nations to act in that way.
Paul Wolfowitz: I agree the French have behaved in ways, particularly since we are here to talk about NATO, that have been very damaging to NATO. I think France is going to pay some consequences not just with us, but with other countries who view it that way. But I don't think we want to make the Iraqi people the victims of that particular quarrel.
Senator Jeff Sessions: Well said.
With regard to the NATO expansion and the unanimity rule, Senator Levin and I back in 2000 asked Secretary Fife (ph) and Grossman (ph) about this and what was going to happen. I ask, as we expand NATO, does not that add to a limitation on our ability to put together a coalition that fits the mission?
And Secretary Grossman (ph) said, "But NATO would have to decide as a group, "Yes, we are going to take on that mission." And then it would fall to General Ralston, General Jones, to carry out that mission with a group of countries that would be interested in doing so. A coalition of the willing, I assume, he meant.
And then Secretary Grossman (ph) said: "We believe that if the countries are in NATO that they signed up to these values that they will in the end do the right thing." As I say, that has been our practice. It's been our experience really for 50 years. So he said, "You and Senator Levin might be right. And we may all be here five or six years from now with a big problem on our hands."
So it looks like we do have a problem. First of all, could you tell us, maybe General Jones would answer, what is this unanimity or consensus rule that we have in NATO?
Could one nation block anything that's done?
And don't we have to confront that?
Because if we leave any one of 20 some odd nations with the ability to say no to any action, does that not really require us to go around NATO and have other operations, thereby undermining NATO?
General James Jones: If I could say a couple things, and with all respect, I don't think it's a statistical problem. If we have added seven new countries, we would have found ourselves in a situation instead of 18 to 1, it would have been 25 to 1.
There is a special problem in NATO. We've had workarounds for it in the past. It was called the Defense Planning Committee to meet at 18, or I guess it was 15 originally. We revived that mechanism.
General James Jones: There are mechanisms for dealing with the absence of consensus. I would -- I mean, this is a very legitimate question that we need to think about and talk about and confront, but there are some virtues in the consensus principle before we throw it out.
And it's not the small countries, generally, that have raised problems. I think the consensus principle is important because it gives them a feeling that they have a voice.
But most of them, I think, understand that their voice is not a dominant voice and, in the end of the day, I think, when NATO has needed to act, it's been able to achieve that consensus.
When it hasn't achieved that consensus it has nevertheless provided a very important mechanism for members to achieve things. I don't believe that we would be operating as smoothly with our British allies in Iraq today if it weren't for all the mechanisms that are worked on a daily basis through NATO.
And one has to stop and think whether if you give up the consensus principle are you ultimately going to have a lot of countries saying, "Well, wait a minute, NATO's just made six decisions, I was in the minority in every one. Why am I still a member of this organization that purports to act in my name?"
So it's not simple. The French have created a big problem and we need to think about how we deal with it, but as I said in my opening statement, you know, we've had problems in this organization over decades, and yet it is correctly described as the most successful alliance in history.
Senator Jeff Sessions: General Jones?
General James Jones: The secretary said it all and said it correctly, sir. My view, thank you.
Senator Jeff Sessions: Well, it's a wonderful alliance that's done great things. We certainly need to strengthen it and not undermine it. But if nations go off on their own, as we've seen here, it does jeopardize, I think, the trust that's essential for its success.
Senator John Warner: Thank you, Senator.
Paul Wolfowitz: You're right about that, Senator.
Senator John Warner: Thank you very much. Senator Bayh.
Senator Evan Bayh: Let me begin by thanking the generals for your service to our country, and I hope you'll convey our appreciation to the men and women in the Corps for their, the valor that they've demonstrated these last several weeks.
We've unfortunately lost a couple of members of the Corps who are from Indiana, and we honor their service, and I hope you'll convey our sentiments to everyone.
Having said that to the generals, I hope you won't feel slighted if I direct my questions to the secretary. And Mr. Secretary, I hope you won't feel slighted, either.
I've got four or five, and I've only got five minutes, so I'm going to try and be succinct, and I appreciate your efforts in that regard, as well.
We've had a lot of discussion, Secretary, about the role of the United Nations. We've had some experience with the U.N. in other jurisdictions, on activities somewhat similar to this, in Haiti, for example, in Bosnia and some other places.
Could you reflect, could you give us your opinion about the experience that the United Nations has had in some of these other jurisdictions, and to the extent that that experience reflects upon their competence, and therefore the credibility that they will have or not have in undertaking similar functions in Iraq?
The reason I raise this question is I'm told that their past experience has not been terribly confidence-instilling.
Paul Wolfowitz: Some of those are extremely hard cases, on the other hand. And I think one of the -- I mean, every case is different. You know, Kosovo remains indefinitely under a U.N. administration that people aren't enormously happy about, but we don't know what the solution is because no one's willing to, yet -- and I'm not saying I am either -- face up to what's the political future of Kosovo.
The U.N. took on an impossible task in Cambodia. I wouldn't blame the U.N. for failing. The U.N. has a very difficult chore in East Timor, I think it's doing that reasonably well.
Iraq, I keep coming back...
Senator Evan Bayh: I think there's the headline from this hearing, Mr. Chairman. There's the headline, "Wolfowitz Defends U.N."
Paul Wolfowitz: No, I'm trying to defend the Iraqis. I keep coming back to this example of northern Iraq, because it was spectacularly successful. The Iraqis have demonstrated, in very, very difficult circumstances, some ability to manage their own affairs.
It is a sophisticated country, with organized ministries for delivering things that didn't even exist and may never exist in Bosnia. So we don't want to reproduce a Bosnia model or a Kosovo model or an East Timor model. We want to go on a model that moves as quickly as possible from efficient delivery of services by the coalition to a government that is Iraqi.
Senator Evan Bayh: So just as circumstances in Iraq are unique, so, too, the role of the U.N. in Iraq should be specific to the condition there?
Paul Wolfowitz: I think so, and it can be huge. But it's not to manage the place.
Senator Evan Bayh: Just, my second is not really a question, just an observation or a suggestion. If I were in your shoes, I'd be giving a lot of thought, as we transition in this process and include others in it, I'd be giving a lot of though to how to incorporate as quickly as possible some security forces from another Islamic nation that shares our approach with regard to Iraq.
I think that would send a very powerful signal, whether they're from Morocco or Jordan or another country, that would send a very powerful signal to the world and to the Iraqis that this is not a clash of cultures, that we're there truly for the reasons that we've espoused, and that's just an observation I would make.
Paul Wolfowitz: Actually, we have two Muslim-majority countries already in the coalition, Albania and Azerbaijan. I wouldn't jump to conclusions right away about how the Iraqis feel about other Arab countries.
We're going to have see how that sorts out. But I think from our purposes and our own image internationally and our image in the Arab world, your point is very important and we'd like to see as much participation from Muslim-majority countries as possible.
Senator Evan Bayh: Secretary, you've fielded some questions about Syria. I'd like to follow up on that with regard to both Syria and Iran. It is possible tat neither one of those two nations will want us the neighborhood for very long.
Syria has been discussed, has had material coming from it into Iraq, perhaps some Iraqi individuals are going into Syria, people have transited through Syria into Iraq for purposes of fighting our forces.
Iran, as you know, there've been suggestions that they supported the Ansar al-Islam group in northeastern Iraq, that they've been long-time supporters of Hezbollah, and so forth.
I'd like to ask about your concern that either the regime in Syria or Iran might be supportive of either indigenous or outside groups with links to terrorist organizations that might perpetrate acts, such as in Lebanon, for the purpose of driving us out of the country.
Is that a significant concern of yours?
Paul Wolfowitz: The concern -- in fact, on the concern you're raising about Syria is that in recent days the Syrians have been shipping killers into Iraq to try to kill Americans.
We don't welcome that. We've stopped that when we found those people. So it is a problem. I think it is important that Iraq's neighbors not meddle with Iraq.
And we've had very clear discussions with Turkey, which has very legitimate concerns about northern Iraq, and the Turks have behaved themselves very well.
But we've had -- Secretary Powell was just on the phone this morning with Foreign Minister Gul to assure the foreign minister that there was no need for a Turkish intervention, because we were looking after the proper conduct of people in the city of Kirkuk, for example.
I think it is important for Iraq not to become a threat to its neighbors, as Turkey is concerned. It's even more important, or equally important, that it's neighbors not try to undermine Iraq and destabilize it.
Senator Evan Bayh: It is troubling when there are public statements from the Islamic Jihad organization, headquartered in Damascus, that they have suicidal, or individuals in Baghdad willing to commit acts of terror.
Some reports that some at least loosely affiliated with Hezbollah have come into Iraq with the long-standing ties of both Iran and Syria to that organization.
So I'm glad you're keeping your eye on this. The one final thing I would mention, Secretary, is that as Islamic charities have become involved in trying to provide assistance to the people of Iraq, as you're probably aware there are some of those entities that have at least funding ties, or have been used wittingly or unwittingly to fund terrorist organizations.
That probably is something we should keep our eye on, as well, which charities come in, how they're involved, that sort of thing.
Paul Wolfowitz: You're absolutely right about that. I think we all have a tendency to think that NGO means good, and the truth is there are some NGOs, like this World Assembly of Muslim Youth, or Al-Haramain, which have very disturbing ties to Al Qaida and terrorist organizations.
And we can't just say anybody who's willing to come and spend money inside Iraq is welcome. I think they have to be people who are committed to supporting a peaceful and free and democratic country.
Senator Evan Bayh: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator John Warner: Thank you very much, Senator, for your very good questions. Senator Allard.
Senator Wayne Allard: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Before I start my questions, I had a delegation from Bulgaria yesterday visit with me. There was the ambassador and representatives from the four major parties in Bulgaria.
And I just wanted to thank, in a public way, them for their support, as well as support from other Eastern European nations, during our stand-off at the United Nations in regard to the Iraq issue.
I'm trying to understand more fully some of the motivations between France and the position that they've taken. They're only a member of the alliance with NATO, and they're not a part of the military structure.
What advantage does this give France? And I wondered if maybe you, Secretary Wolfowitz, and perhaps General Jones, could give us some insight on that?
Paul Wolfowitz: Let me ask the general to address the details of it, if you might?
General James Jones: The -- I think a little history might be in order. Back in 1996, '97 time frame, there was some active discussion going on where, if I recall correctly, France was actively considering military integration into NATO. And this had not materialized because of the fact that there could be -- there was no agreement reached on the regional command that France wished to have -- to obtain. And so the consummation of that reintegration was not achieved.
But the French military was -- has been occupying a number of positions at SHAPE headquarters since those days and is actively involved in virtually all aspects of military planning that SHAPE headquarters responds to the senior headquarters at NATO in Brussels.
So the answer to your question in general is that France plays roughly the same role in formulating military positions in response to taskings from the North Atlantic Council as does any other member nation.
Senator Wayne Allard: Secretary Wolfowitz?
Paul Wolfowitz: I think we need to look very carefully at where France is benefiting from a one-way street, where they benefit and don't contribute. I noted -- it was called to my attention the other day that the French were making great claims for what the EU was doing in Macedonia and didn't bother pointing out that the EU wouldn't be able to act in Macedonia without NATO support.
We have supported the idea of strengthening this European defense identity, which is one of the favorite projects of France on the idea that doing so would strengthen NATO and not undermine NATO. And I think we need to have a look at that and make sure that that's still the case if that's the way the French want to treat the alliance.
Senator Wayne Allard: General, would you want to elaborate on what ways France's unique role complicates NATO's military planning?
General James Jones: I don't think it complicates our planning. I should probably emphasize that in the case of both France and Germany, throughout Operation Iraqi Freedom, we have enjoyed access to the air space of France on a continual basis and all the basing and basing requirements that are required for throughput in Germany.
And in Germany's case, German armed forces have contributed significantly and very, very capably to the force protection measures of our bases. It's perhaps an example of how military-to-military cooperation continues in most circumstances. But I'm not aware of any -- other than the fact that all nations at SHAPE headquarters are represented appropriately in accordance with the wishes of the North Atlantic Council, there is great value in having a divergent -- all different views come to the military table in planning an operation. And so the construct of what countries are represented and how they are represented is one that is handed down to us, not one that we shape.
Senator Wayne Allard: Secretary Wolfowitz, the media was reporting about a month ago that Lord Robertson would support the NATO alliance being given a role in Afghanistan and that the administrative was supportive of that suggestion. And sharing the responsibility seems to make sense given the mission our military is currently undertaking.
Has the administration decided whether to hand NATO this new responsibility in Afghanistan?
Paul Wolfowitz: It's not a matter of handing NATO the responsibility, but looking to NATO to play a supportive role. And NATO is -- and I ask General Jones to elaborate on it -- NATO is contributing in the planning mechanism to helping the Germans and the Dutch manage their leadership of the ISAF peacekeeping force in Kabul, which is a crucial role.
I think it is possible, although I guess I am leaping ahead here, as we look at expanding the notion of provincial reconstruction teams, which is a way of trying to extend a sort of reconstruction civil affairs presence out into key cities, we are looking for coalition participation and that might be another opportunity for NATO, or at least NATO members individually to play a role.
Senator Wayne Allard: France and German have been supportive of NATO mission in Afghanistan?
Paul Wolfowitz: France has actually made some significant contributions in Afghanistan. And I think that's probably -- we should note that. I mean, the French, on a bilateral basis frequently do things with us that they then don't support in NATO. It's almost -- I think General Jones has referred to this earlier. If we just looked at our military relationship, you'd get a reasonably healthy view of things. It's the politicians, I guess, that we have an issue.
Senator Wayne Allard: Mr. Chairman, I see my time has expired. Thank you.
Senator John Warner: Thank you for your contribution, Senator, very much.
Senator Ben Nelson?
Senator Ben Nelson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
At this point in time, no matter how many times the question has been answered, I haven't asked it, so it hasn't been asked yet, by me at least.
Mr. Secretary, I am very intrigued by the idea of a new relationship that would develop sort of a coalition to where the United Nations can have a role in Iraq, but also NATO and other supportive nations could have role, too, in the reconstruction of Iraq.
I am intrigued by that, because I think that probably is the new model that for this particular situation will work to establish, if you will, credibility in the area, but world credibility as well, which I think is important -- nearly as important, but not as important, as the success, because success will also help that credibility.
And France may see a new world geopolitical order. And they could very well be right. It may or may not involve them, but I hope that you're -- that we don't try to exaggerate the quarrel that we've got with France at the moment. But they may be seeking a new world order and they may be less a part of it than they might imagine.
That being the case, as we move forward, I really hope that the role of NATO can be a significant part of the effort to reconstruct Iraq. If for no other reason -- I think there are many other reasons. You know, the former Soviet satellite nations that will part, I believe, of NATO as it's expanded, have some experience in rebuilding civil society from a change in their government direction not that long ago. I think they could provide a great deal of support in that effort.
Do you think that it's -- that this model that's being talked about, although it may turn out to be different once we're on the ground -- do you think that may be the precursor for a new world order of relationships down the road? Or is that too futuristic a question at the moment?
Paul Wolfowitz: I guess I don't like that phrase and I don't -- I tend to think each case has such unique qualities to it. I do think that what you're talking about is a possible model that can work and that can have some application, I think I would agree with very strongly.
I think you sort of alluded to the idea that -- which I think is a -- if I'm not putting words in your mouth -- that France has been isolating itself and hopefully it will decide to stop doing that.
Senator Ben Nelson: That's exactly my point.
Paul Wolfowitz: And certainly we would welcome them not doing that.
You mentioned the Central and East Europeans. And you're absolutely right. We are already actively engaged in discussions with them about how to draw on their experience. There is a wonderful Iraqi joke, which I won't bother you with now, but it refers specifically to Romania as an example that Saddam Hussein is terrified of.
And it's not an accident, I think, that in our active forces with us in the Gulf, Poland is one of the four countries that has forces in Iraq, and the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Albania and the Slovak Republic have small units there. Those countries still understand what it means to be under a tyrant and to be liberated from tyranny. And they, as you mentioned, have real technical expertise.
We are looking for all the help we can get. We will listen to all the advice that we can get. But we want to make sure that this process works and not have so many hands on the steering wheel that the vehicle goes into the ditch.
Senator Ben Nelson: Well, that's why I think that if you can establish a partnership that involves both organizations in a meaningful way, each doing what it can do best, because the nations, particularly the members, that that may very well satisfy the credibility of the world, but also make it work, which improves the credibility significantly.
Paul Wolfowitz: Appreciate those comments, I agree with them.
Senator Ben Nelson: Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator John Warner: I associate myself with your observations about NATO.
Senator Ben Nelson: Thank you.
Senator John Warner: I really do.
General Pace, you've established a real leadership role in your tenure, certainly on the Joint Staff and prior there to on jointness. And I would think that it would be helpful in the record if today you could say a few words and them amplify it about the high watermark that jointness has been achieved. Because we hear about operations and then down in the second or third paragraph, the force that did it, say SOF, was Army, Navy, Marines. Won't you talk a little bit about it.
General Peter Pace: Thank you for your comments.
Senator John Warner: You and General Myers have really worked on this, and I think you've achieved it when the history is written.
General Peter Pace: Sir, thank you for your comment. And I think it goes directly back to Goldwater-Nichols and all that act was designed to. And I will give you just one small example, a very important example, but one example of the incredible jointness that happens everyday on the battlefield, and that is the very brave and successful rescue of Private 1st Class Jessica Lynch.
Every single arm of the armed forces was working hand-in-glove in that operation to make it successful, to include the CIA. So you had not only Special Operations Forces, soldiers from the Army, Marines, Air Force and Navy, but also CIA involved in getting the proper force on the ground in response to very, very exquisite intelligence.
And that is happening as we sit here right this instance. You have all the armed forces working hand-in-glove to do what they're doing. It is an incredible accomplishment directly attributable to the impetus of Goldwater-Nichols.
Senator John Warner: Well, thank you very much.
Also, I'm sure the Joint Staff are looking at lessons learned from this conflict. And perhaps there could emerge from the preliminary assessments some requests or concepts that could be integrated into the '04 authorization bill because of the need of the urgency to address a problem. And Mr. Secretary, I hope you also.
This is an important piece of legislation that is now being formulated by this committee. We hope to present it to the full Senate in the month of May. Anything that's needed -- I have to say, with my good friend of 25 years sitting next to me. I kind of thought the tanks were destined to go into museums, but I believe they've gotten a new extension of life program, wouldn't you say?
Senator Carl Levin: I wish we still produced them.
Senator John Warner: Yes, well, I know. When you came on many years ago you were called Tank Commander.
Senator Carl Levin: Right.
Paul Wolfowitz: We flew a handful of them up north, and they were very much appreciated.
Senator John Warner: I saw that.