The debate over whether, when, and how to prosecute a major U.S. military intervention in Iraq and depose Saddam Hussein is complex, despite a general consensus in Washington that the world would be much better off if Hussein were not in power. Although most U.S. observers, for a variety of reasons, would prefer some degree of allied or U.N. support for military intervention in Iraq, some observers believe that the United States should act unilaterally even without such multilateral support. Some commentators argue for a stronger, more committed version of the current policy approach toward Iraq and leave war as a decision to reach later, only after exhausting additional means of dealing with Hussein's regime. A number of key questions are raised in this debate, such as: 1) is war on Iraq linked to the war on terrorism and to the Arab-Israeli dispute; 2) what effect will a war against Iraq have on the war against terrorism; 3) are there unintended consequences of warfare, especially in this region of the world; 4) what is the long-term political and financial commitment likely to accompany regime change and possible democratization in this highly divided, ethnically diverse country; 5) what are the international consequences (e.g., to European allies, Russia, and the world community) of any U.S. strategy that emphasizes unilateralism or multilateralism; 6) to what degree is U.N. or congressional support required or even needed; and 7) what are the ramifications of not taking action to ensure that Iraq is not acquiring weapons of mass destruction? On October 10th, after a month of debate, the House passed a joint resolution (H.J. Res 114) that authorizes the use of force against Iraq and requires the Bush Administration to report to Congress that diplomatic options have been exhausted before or within 48 hours after military action has begun. The President is also required to submit a progress report to Congress at least every 60 days. A few hours after the House vote, on October 11th, the Senate passed the joint resolution. President Bush passed this into law on October 16, 2002 ( P.L. 107-243 ). This report identifies selected statements by Bush Administration officials, former U.S. government officials, columnists, and academic and think-tank policy analysts who have addressed the issue of intervention in Iraq and summarizes some of their main arguments. Readers should note that this is a rapidly evolving policy area, and the views of those cited may change since the time of their referenced statements. This report will not be updated. For further reading, see CRS Report RS21325, Iraq: Divergent Views on Military Action , by Alfred Prados, and CRS Report RL31339 , Iraq: U.S. Efforts to Change the Regime , by Kenneth Katzman.
The debate over whether, when, and how to prosecute a major U.S. military intervention in Iraq and depose Saddam Hussein is complex, despite a general consensus in Washington that the world would be much better off if Hussein were not in power. Although most U.S. observers, for a variety of reasons, would prefer some degree of allied or U.N. support for military intervention in Iraq, some observers believe that the United States should act unilaterally even without such multilateral support. Some commentators argue for a stronger, more committed version of the current policy approach toward Iraq and leave war as a decision to reach later, only after exhausting additional means of dealing with Hussein's regime.
A number of key questions are raised in this debate, such as: 1) is war on Iraq linked to the war on terrorism and to the Arab-Israeli dispute; 2) what effect will a war against Iraq have on the war against terrorism; 3) are there unintended consequences of warfare, especially in this region of the world; 4) what is the long-term political and financial commitment likely to accompany regime change and possible democratization in this highly divided, ethnically diverse country; 5) what are the international consequences (e.g., to European allies, Russia, and the world community) of any U.S. strategy that emphasizes unilateralism or multilateralism; 6) to what degree is U.N. or congressional support required or even needed; and 7) what are the ramifications of not taking action to ensure that Iraq is not acquiring weapons of mass destruction?
On October 10th, after a month of debate, the House passed a joint resolution (H.J. Res 114) that authorizes the use of force against Iraq and requires the Bush Administration to report to Congress that diplomatic options have been exhausted before or within 48 hours after military action has begun. The President is also required to submit a progress report to Congress at least every 60 days. A few hours after the House vote, on October 11th, the Senate passed the joint resolution. President Bush passed this into law on October 16, 2002 (P.L. 107-243).
This report identifies selected statements by Bush Administration officials, former U.S. government officials, columnists, and academic and think-tank policy analysts who have addressed the issue of intervention in Iraq and summarizes some of their main arguments. Readers should note that this is a rapidly evolving policy area, and the views of those cited may change since the time of their referenced statements. This report will not be updated.
For further reading, see CRS Report RS21325, Iraq: Divergent Views on Military Action, by Alfred Prados, and CRS Report RL31339, Iraq: U.S. Efforts to Change the Regime, by [author name scrubbed].
George W. Bush, President. President Bush has expressed his determination to remove Hussein by military force, if necessary, or at a minimum to obtain a verifiable, accelerated elimination of Iraq's programs to produce weapons of mass destruction (WMD). President Bush has stated that "Saddam Hussein has made the case against himself." In his September 12, 2002 address to the U.N. General Assembly, President Bush challenged the U.N. Security Council to take decisive action against Hussein and outlined Iraq's repeated violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions: "The conduct of the Iraqi regime is a threat to the authority of the United Nations, and a threat to peace." President Bush argues that the Iraqi regime repeatedly has violated economic sanctions, acquired weapons of mass destruction (WMD), inflicted harm on his own people, and deceived UNSCOM (U.N. Special Commission) weapons inspectors. He describes the potential consequences of action and inaction, either the democratization of Iraq or the continued brutal submission of the Iraqi people. President Bush maintains that Hussein's WMD could be transferred into the hands of terrorists, thereby posing a threat to U.S. and international security.
"President's Remarks to the Nation," Ellis Island, September 11, 2002.
"President's Remarks at the U.N. General Assembly," Remarks by the President in Address to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 12, 2002.
"President Outlines Iraqi Threat," Remarks by the President on Iraq at the Cincinnati Museum Center, October 7, 2002.
Richard N. Perle, Chairman, Defense Policy Board. Perle argues that the United States is not waging war against Iraq; it is liberating Iraq. He also has argued that removing Hussein's military capabilities will create a favorable geopolitical shift in the Middle East. Asserting that Hussein has harbored terrorists, Perle concludes that a military operation is the most effective way to remove Hussein from power. Perle predicts that "Saddam ultimately would be destroyed by his own forces, whose loyalty he has good reason to question."
Ricks, Thomas E. "Briefing Depicted Saudis as Enemies," The Washington Post, August 6, 2002.
Diamond, John. "Split Over Iraq Grows More Public," USA Today, August 19, 2002.
Colin L. Powell, Secretary of State. Powell maintains that the Administration will seek to eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction by all necessary means, but publicly he has put more emphasis on diplomacy and coalition-building than others in the Administration. According to Powell in an October 2002 press conference: "war is a last resort, but we have seen what happens if you are not prepared to go to war: you will get this kind of violation of international law. We cannot let Saddam Hussein walk away this time without there being consequences for continued violation of international obligations." He maintains that a menace, such as Hussein, in possession of WMD, "could empower a few terrorists to threaten millions of innocent people." He stresses that for the U.N. to remain relevant, it must act decisively. Powell explains that the Administration will seek the support of the international community through a comprehensive U.N. resolution, but that the United States is prepared to act unilaterally if necessary.
"Powell Sees Strong Support in Congress for Iraq Resolution: Says Resolution Will Strengthen his Hand in Negotiations with UN," Transcript of the press conference held on October 8, 2002.
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, September 26, 2002.
Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor. Rice alludes to the imminent threat posed by Hussein and lays out a moral case for deposing him through military action. She argues that Hussein represents a global threat because he has developed biological weapons, violated U.N. resolutions, and used chemical weapons against his own people. She has stated that Hussein is "an evil man who, left to his own devices, will wreak havoc again on his own population, his neighbors and, if he gets weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them, on all of us." In Rice's view, Hussein will continue to pose a threat to international security if he remains in power: "We certainly do not have the luxury of doing nothing...if Saddam Hussein is left in power, doing the things that he's doing now, this is a threat that will emerge, and emerge in a very big way." Inaction is not an option, she argues: "History is littered with cases of inaction that led to very grave consequences for the world. We just have to look back and ask how many dictators who ended up being a tremendous global threat and killing thousands and, indeed, millions of people, should we have stopped in their tracks."
Kessler, Glenn. "Rice Lays Out Case for War in Iraq," The Washington Post, August 16, 2002.
"Moral Case for Deposing Saddam," BBC News World Edition, With Us or Against Us, August 15, 2002.
Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense. Rumsfeld maintains that the war on terrorism does not end in Afghanistan: "It will not end until terrorist networks have been rooted out, wherever they exist. It will not end until the state sponsors of terror are made to understand that aiding, abetting, and harboring terrorists has deadly consequences for those that try it. It will not end until those developing nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons end their threat to innocent men, women, and children." Rumsfeld expresses doubt that Hussein will agree to unconditional U.N. weapons inspections and that the current focus of U.S. foreign policy should be on eliminating weapons of mass destruction. He acknowledges that "there are risks to acting in any instance, there are also risks of not acting." Rumsfeld downplays concerns over whether U.S. military forces can continue to fight the war against terrorism and simultaneously a war against Iraq.
Testimony of U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Progress in Afghanistan, July 31, 2002.
Garamone, Jim. "Rumsfeld Discusses Iraq Inspections, WMD Capabilities," American Forces Information Service News Articles, September 3, 2002.
George Tenet, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In Senate testimony in March 2002, Tenet stated that Iraq continues to pursue WMD. He mentioned that Iraq's illicit trade with its neighbors creates economically dependent relationships, which undermines regional support for U.N. sanctions against Iraq. According to Tenet, "the profits he gains from these relationships provide him the means to reward key supporters, and more importantly, to fund his pursuit of WMD. His calculus is never about bettering or helping the Iraqi people." Although he acknowledges that Hussein remains a threat to international security, Tenet recently stated that Hussein is unlikely to launch a chemical or biological attack unless provoked by an imminent military strike. In October 2002, Tenet warned that "should Saddam conclude that a U.S.-led attack could no longer be deterred, he probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions." Tenet added that there is evidence of al Qaeda contacts with Iraq.
Reid, Tim. "CIA Undermines Bush over Iraqi Chemical Weapons," The Times, October 10, 2002.
"CIA's Tenet Says Iraq Pursues Weapons of Mass Destruction: Sees Possibility for Cooperation between Iraq, al-Qaida,"U.S. Department of State International Information Programs, March 20, 2002.
Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense. Wolfowitz maintains that a democratic government in Iraq that truly cares for the welfare of its people would benefit Iraqis, the Middle East region, and the world as well. Because the Iraqi regime is hostile to the United States, supports terrorism, and has WMD capabilities, Wolfowitz concludes that this is a danger that the United States and the world cannot afford to live with indefinitely.
Wolfowitz, Paul. Defense Department Transcript, July 17, 2002.
Keller, Bill."The Sunshine Warrior," The New York Times, Sunday, September 22, 2002.
Anthony Zinni, Middle East Peace Envoy. Zinni, former Commander-in-Chief of the Central Command (CINC CENTCOM), has voiced concern that a war with Iraq could exacerbate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, he says he would support a war if the United States gains the approval of Congress and of the international community. Zinni also cautions: "You could inherit the country of Iraq, if you want to do it. If our economy is so great that you're willing to put billions of dollars into reforming Iraq, if you want to put soldiers that are already stretched so thin all around the world and add them into a security force there forever, you're going to have to make a good case for that." He added that a clear and present danger should be demonstrated before the United States attacks Iraq.
Montagne, Renee. "Profile: Retired Gen. Anthony Zinni Gives Many Reasons Why the U.S. Should Avoid War with Iraq," NPR Morning Edition, August 29, 2002.
Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State. In response to Bush's U.N. address on September 12, 2002, Albright supports Bush's efforts to work with the U.N. Security Council as a way to strengthen the diplomatic case for subsequent action against Iraq should weapons inspectors be denied access. She maintains, however, that the Administration should focus the world's attention on eradicating al Qaeda's terrorist network instead of invading Iraq. Albright has argued that "the administration should take the time necessary to broaden support for its Iraq policy, respond to Congressional inquiries, strengthen Iraqi opposition groups, fine-tune military planning, develop a coherent blueprint for the post-Hussein era, identify massive resources that will be required to fund the war and its aftermath, and conduct diplomacy aimed at cooling tensions in the Middle East."
Albright, Madeleine. "Where Iraq Fits in the War on Terror," The New York Times, September 13, 2002.
James Baker, former Secretary of State. James Baker stresses the need to remove Hussein from power and eliminate Iraq's WMD in order to preserve international peace. Because Hussein violated previous U.N. Security Council resolutions, he advocates "the adoption by the U.N. Security Council of a simple and straightforward resolution requiring that Iraq submit to intrusive inspections anytime, anywhere, with no exceptions, and authorizing all necessary means to enforce it." This resolution must also contain a deadline for Iraq's compliance. Judging that diplomatic and economic efforts have been exhausted, including the pursuit of covert action and internal revolt, Baker maintains that the only realistic way to bring about regime change in Iraq is through the application of military force, "including sufficient ground troops to occupy the country (including Baghdad), depose the current leadership and install a successor government." But Baker also emphasizes that the United States should strive to build an international coalition to carry out military action to minimize the costs and risks inherent in a unilateral effort. Baker warns that "if it should become apparent that we cannot get a satisfactory, reasonable resolution out of the Security Council, either because of a threatened veto or a shortage of votes, we should carefully consider whether to go ahead anyway and call for a vote. Doing so would tell the world which countries stand for doing right and which stand for doing business."
Baker, James. "The Right Way to Change a Regime," The New York Times, August 25, 2002.
-- "The U.N. Route," The Washington Post, September 15, 2002.
Samuel R. Berger, former National Security Advisor. Berger acknowledges that the Iraqi regime poses a serious potential threat to stability in the Middle East and the overall security of the United States. He argues that Hussein's strategic objective is to assert dominance over the Persian Gulf, a region that is strategically and economically critical to the United States. Berger contends that the risks associated with a war on Iraq are as serious as the threat posed by Iraq, including destabilization of an already volatile region. He has argued that war against Iraq could precipitate an Israeli-Arab conflict and also divert the United States from the war on terrorism. He argues that Secretary of State Powell should continue to press for a strong U.N. Security Council resolution. He affirms that the current U.S.-U.K. draft resolution contains essential elements of a Security Council resolution. However, he contends that it "seeks more than we need and more than we can obtain at this point. In particular, the draft includes a prior, explicit authorization to use military force if Hussein does not comply - in U.N. speak, by 'all necessary means.'" Berger believes that this military force component is unnecessary because such authority can be derived from prior Post-Cold War resolutions. "Instead of overloading the resolution, we should focus on the essence of what we need: an unequivocal statement by the international community that the Iraqi government must cooperate and comply, within an established time frame, with truly unfettered inspections." He urges the United States to negotiate a resolution that isolates Hussein and not us.
Berger, Samuel H. Senate Armed Services Committee Testimony, September 25, 2002.
-- "We Can Outmaneuver Saddam," The Washington Post, October 3, 2002.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor. If the United States does not focus on the political and cultural motivations that drive terrorism, Brzezinski contends that international support for an eventual military conflict in Iraq will be weakened. He argues that U.S. preemption is justified only if an attack on us is imminent "because for the United States to go to war, unless provoked, is a very serious, very serious step." Brzezinski observes that "nearly a year after the start of America's war on terrorism, that war faces the real risk of being hijacked by foreign governments with repressive agendas. Instead of leading a democratic coalition, the United States faces the risk of dangerous isolation."
Brzezinski, Zbigniew. "Confronting Anti-American Grievances," The New York Times, September 1, 2002
Richard Butler, former U.N. Weapons Inspector. Butler asserts that Hussein violated international law by denying U.N. weapons inspections and that Iraq already possesses WMD. Because Iraq has avoided any inspection or monitoring of its WMD programs since 1998, he argues that the international community needs to take concrete steps to eliminate Iraq's WMD by first insisting that Hussein adhere to current U.N. Security Council resolutions. Butler says that Iraq's failure to comply with U.N. resolutions and the terms of non-proliferation agreements, including the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty and the Biological Weapons Convention, challenges the authority of the U.N. Security Council. Although Butler declares that regime change is desirable in Iraq, he does not believe it can be engineered from the outside. Butler recommends that the United States seek U.N. Security Council support to monitor WMD development in Iraq, to enforce sanctions aimed at limiting the financial activities of Iraqi leaders, and to prevent Iraq from importing other military equipment.
Butler, Richard. "Saddam's Continuing Deceit," The Washington File, September 5, 2002.
"Richard Butler: Should the U.S. Attack Iraq?" CNN.com, November 28. 2001.
Holman, Kwame. "Background: The Threat," PBS Online Newshour, July 31, 2002.
Jimmy Carter, former President. Carter has stated that there is no current danger to the United States from Baghdad and that "a unilateral war with Iraq is not the answer" to Iraq's continued development of WMD. Instead, he maintains, "there is an urgent need for U.N. action to force unrestricted inspections in Iraq." He has urged the Administration to act with multilateral support within the U.N. system because, he has maintained, "unilateral acts and assertions increasingly isolate the United States from the very nations needed to join in combating terrorism." Finally,
Carter has expressed concern that in the event of a U.S. attack, he believes Iraq's WMD would be used against Israeli or against American forces.
Carter, Jimmy. "The Troubling New Face of America," The Washington Post, September 5, 2002.
Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Commander during the Kosovo Campaign. Clark has warned that war may not be the best way of dealing with Hussein because "you can get a strategically decisive result without having to use strategically decisive and destructive military power if you bring in the elements of the international law and the full diplomatic weight of the international community." Clark suggests that Hussein might be less inclined to use WMD if the U.N. and the international community were behind a U.S. campaign against Iraq. According to Clark, the immediate urgency of the threat posed by Saddam must be determined before the Administration can justify an attack against Iraq. He argues that the current primary threat to U.S. security is al Qaeda and not Iraq, and that the United States would lose its focus in the war against terrorism if it began a war now against Iraq Clark argues that the United States has time to engage in dialogue regarding Iraq and to gain international support for possible future military action. He recommends that the United States "takes the time to plan, organize, and do the whole job the right way. This will only take a few more weeks, and it's important. It's not just about winning a war - it's also about winning the peace."
Borger, Julian. "Rumsfeld Steps up Iraq War Talk," The Guardian, August 21, 2002.
Clark, General Wesley K. "Let's Wait to Attack," Time Magazine, October 14, 2002.
Getler, Michael. "War and Peace," The Washington Post, September 29, 2002.
Siegel, Robert. "Interview: Issue of War with Iraq from Theological, Political, and Military Perspectives," NPR All Things Considered, September 27, 2002.
Robert Dole, former Senate Majority Leader. Dole states that Iraq poses a clear and present danger and that the United States must act accordingly: "Iraq is like a runaway freight train loaded with explosives barreling toward us. We can act to derail it or wait for the crash and deal with the resulting damage." He also stressed the need for President Bush to consult with Congress and seek its approval for any attack on Iraq. He believes that U.N. authorization for war is not necessary and would undoubtedly fail if tried.
Dole, Bob. "The Path to Unity," The Washington Post, September 1, 2002.
Lawrence Eagleburger, former Secretary of State. Eagleburger has expressed reservations over the prospect of regime change in Iraq and how it will affect the war on terrorism. If the United States pursues regime change in Iraq, he fears that the Administration will lose sight of the war on terrorism. According to Eagleburger, it is imperative that the Administration wins the support of the international community and the American people: "Americans must be ready to accept the costs of such a war: a destabilized region, anger from Arab nations and the need to occupy Iraq and help set up a new government there." Arguing that the Administration has sent conflicting messages regarding the immediacy of the Iraqi threat, Eagleburger has opposed an invasion unless it can be proven that Iraq does in fact possess nuclear weapons and that Hussein is prepared to use them. Eagleburger has argued that regime change does not constitute the best course of action at this stage.
Snow, Tony. "Transcript: Lawrence Eagleburger on FNS," Fox News Channel, August 19, 2002.
Rolf Ekeus, former Executive Chairman of UNSCOM. Ekeus suggests a bolstering of the U.N. inspection system based on the existing U.N. Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC): "The U.N. should take this opportunity to create a system of coercive or armed inspections in order to guarantee access to suspected weapons..." Because the degree to which Iraq possesses WMD is unknown, Ekeus argues that any obstruction of inspection efforts by Iraq should be met with immediate reaction, including the use of force if necessary.
Ekeus, Rolf. "Yes, Let's Go Into Iraq," The Washington Post, September 15, 2002.
Albert Gore, former Vice President. Gore argues that while the threat posed by Iraq is serious the United States should act within the rule of international law by first seeking a U.N. Security Council resolution to eliminate Iraq's WMD through unconditional compliance. He warns that the Administration's doctrine of preemption is too vague and that it is not necessary to justify military action. Gore further argues that the Administration has lost its focus on the war on terrorism by shifting to a potential war with Iraq.
Balz, Dan. "Gore Gives Warning on Iraq," Washington Post, September 24, 2002.
Gore, Al. Speech Before the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, September 23, 2002.
Richard C. Holbrooke, former U.N. Ambassador. Holbrooke maintains that international support is essential for a successful outcome in Iraq. He says that "the road to Baghdad runs through the United Nations Security Council." Holbrooke warns that "if the administration refuses to try the Security Council route, it will weaken its position and lose support unnecessarily. Even an unsuccessful effort to obtain an airtight resolution will strengthen international support for Washington, which could then be based on earlier U.N. resolutions that Saddam Hussein has repeatedly violated."
Holbrooke, Richard C. "Give Diplomacy More Time," The Washington Post, September 7, 2002.
Hume, Brit. "Transcript: Richard Holbrooke on FNS," Fox News Channel, September 1, 2002.
Robert E. Hunter, former US Ambassador to NATO. (1) Unlike others who borrow lessons from World War II for insight into a possible war against Iraq, Hunter examines the issue from the vantage point of the Vietnam War. In Vietnam, he maintains, the U.S. government did not sufficiently consider the "why" in dealing with Vietnam and was overly confident about the ease of winning a military victory. Today, the U.S. government should learn from the experience of Vietnam and openly discuss the situation with Iraq without hubris and with serious attention to experts, as well as recognizing the need for long-term nation-building in Iraq.
Hunter, Robert E. "Iraq Needn't Be a Vietnam," The Los Angeles Times, August 12, 2002.
George F. Kennan, former senior State Department official. Kennan warns there are always unintended consequences associated with going to war, and that this certainly applies to Iraq today. He claims that launching an attack on Iraq would result in a second war "that bears no relation to the first war against terrorism." He further argues that gaining clear congressional and international support is essential to a positive outcome in Iraq.
Eisele, Albert. "At 98, Veteran Diplomat Declares Congress Must Take Lead on War with Iraq," The Hill, September 25, 2002.
Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State. Kissinger claims that Iraq's possession of WMD violates U.N. resolutions and cannot be separated from the post-Afghanistan phase of the war against terrorism. Kissinger argues that overthrowing Hussein will benefit the war on terrorism by demonstrating that "the negative consequences of Jihad outweigh any potential benefits." He challenges the U.N. to develop a control system that eliminates WMD in Iraq and contains procedures to prevent them from being rebuilt. Stressing that deterrence is an ineffective way to combat terrorism, Kissinger considers preemption an inherent component in the war on terrorism, but he has also expressed concern that this departure from traditional international convention could be used as a precedent by other countries: "it is not in the American national interest to establish preemption as a universal principle available to every nation."
Kissinger, Henry A. Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, September 26, 2002.
Scott Ritter, former U.N. Weapons Inspector. Ritter maintains that Iraq's end game strategy is twofold: the removal of U.N. sanctions and the protection of its WMD capabilities. He argues that containment of Iraq is a failure and that it is time for the United States to adopt a policy of diplomatic engagement. "The truth is, Iraq is not a threat to its neighbors and it is not acting in a manner which threatens anyone outside its borders. Military action against Iraq cannot be justified." Instead, Ritter urges the Bush Administration to require U.N. weapons inspectors to enforce current international law. After that, according to Ritter, if Hussein were to again violate agreements, the United States would have established the moral and legal grounds for a major military action against Iraq.
Yacoub, Sameer N. "Ex-Arms Inspector Says Attack on Iraq Not Justified," The Washington Post, September 9, 2002.
Sweeney, Fionnuala. "Scott Ritter: Facts Needed Before Iraq Attack," CNN.com, July 17, 2002.
David Scheffer, former U.S. Ambassador-at-large for War Crimes. Scheffer has questioned the logic and strength of Bush's argument for "such drastic and potentially catastrophic action." Scheffer proposes drafting a U.N. Security Council resolution to establish an international criminal tribunal to investigate and prosecute the Iraqi leadership: "Such a tribunal would confirm the evil character of the Iraqi regime. Its indictees would be subject to arrest. And its creation could pave the way for UN-authorized military action to neutralize any weapons and terrorism threats to bring about regime change with international support."
Scheffer, David J. "Try Him for His Crimes," The Washington Post, September 12, 2002.
James Schlesinger, former Secretary of Defense. Schlesinger claims that because of ongoing U.S. military action against Iraq since 1990 the concept of preemptive war does not apply. He states that "in the case of Iraq, preemption is limited to the obvious...meaning that, if we are to deal with Iraq, we should do so before Saddam Hussein acquires nuclear weapons in number." Although Schlesinger is optimistic that the U.N. will take a firm stance toward Iraq if President Bush and Congress are united in purpose, he questions the effectiveness of the U.N. Security Council.
Schlesinger, James. Statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee, September 25, 2002.
Norman Schwarzkopf, former CINC CENTCOM during Gulf War. Schwarzkopf maintains that national and international support are necessary in order for any major U.S. attack on Iraq. Assessing Iraq's military capabilities and possible U.S. responses, he observes that the Iraqi military is comprised of about 400,000 active duty people, with 100,000 of that total affiliated with Hussein's Republican Guard and Palace Guard; the United States should not assume an easy outcome. Schwarzkopf has emphasized that at a minimum base rights in Turkey and Kuwait would be necessary in a military engagement.
Williams, Brian. "NBC News Meet the Press," Transcript for August 18, 2002.
Brent Scowcroft, former National Security Advisor. Scowcroft has argued that a military attack on Iraq at this time "would jeopardize, if not destroy, the global counter-terrorist campaign we have undertaken." According to Scowcroft, there is "scant evidence" that Saddam Hussein is tied to terrorism or, more specifically, to al Qaeda. Rather, he maintains, the strategies and goals of Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda are different, if not often opposed. To Scowcroft, Saddam Hussein "is a serious problem - he is not a problem because of terrorism." Scowcroft calls for keeping the war on terrorism the main security priority. In his opinion, going to war with Iraq could undermine this task by dismantling the international coalition, which has, most importantly, provided essential intelligence information. Although the United States could certainly defeat Iraqi forces, it "would not be a cakewalk," would be expensive since the United States would be essentially acting alone, would likely be costly in human lives, and would result in a large-scale, long-term U.S. military occupation of Iraq afterwards. In addition to his focus on the war on terrorism, Scowcroft has emphasized the "dire consequences" for the Middle East: regional destabilization. Destabilization could help further Saddam Hussein's strategy to dominate the Persian Gulf by reducing international cooperation on the war on terrorism and increasing the numbers of terrorists. Scowcroft thus calls for the maintenance of the war on terrorism as the main security priority and urges the United States to focus on getting the U.N. Security Council to insist on an "effective non-notice inspection regime in Iraq."
"Interview: Brent Scowcroft discusses Iraq," NBC News: Meet the Press, September 15, 2002
Scowcroft, Brent. "Don't Attack Saddam," The Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2002.
George Shultz, former Secretary of State. Shultz lays out a moral case for war against Iraq, claiming that the danger is immediate and that Hussein must be removed. He affirms that diplomatic and economic alternatives have been exhausted; any further steps will give Hussein more time to develop his weapon systems. Since the Gulf War, Shultz argues that "no longer can anyone plausibly claim that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction can be eliminated by an inspection program. The Security Council's judgement still stands: A Saddam Hussein armed with weapons of mass destruction is not acceptable. Military force against Hussein is both necessary and authorized to rid Iraq of WMD." He asserts that self-defense is a valid basis for preemptive action.
Shultz, George P. "Act Now: The Danger is Immediate. Saddam Hussein Must be Removed," The Washington Post, September 6, 2002.
-- "Terrorism: Hot Preemption," Remarks Delivered at the Dedication of the George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center in Arlington, VA on May 29, 2002.
James Webb, former Secretary of the Navy. Although he recognizes the threat posed by Hussein, Webb has stated the concern that "a long-term occupation of Iraq would beyond doubt require an adjustment of force levels elsewhere, and could eventually diminish American influence in other parts of the world." He explains that wars often have unintended consequences and questions if the United States is prepared to physically occupy territory in the Middle East for the next 30 to 50 years. Webb has also criticized those who are pushing for a unilateral war because he judges that they have failed to articulate an exit strategy if the United States invades and stays in Iraq. He adds "it is also true that if we invade and occupy Iraq without broad-based international support, others in the Muslim world might be encouraged to intensify the same sort of efforts. And it is crucial that our national leaders consider the impact of this proposed action on our long-term ability to deter aggression elsewhere."
Webb, James. "Heading for Trouble: Do We Really Want to Occupy Iraq for the Next 30 years?" The Washington Post, September 4, 2002.
James Woolsey, former CIA Chief. Woolsey supports military action in the near-term in Iraq to replace Hussein and establish a democratic government. Woolsey believes: "There will be serious fighting, and we're going to have to use some U.S. forces. We can't do this all with indigenous forces the way we largely did in Afghanistan. If we get a change of regime in Baghdad and bring democracy to the Arab world, we change the whole face of the Middle East. There may be some temporary disruptions, yes, but the world is much better off by our beginning a movement toward democracy in this part of the world that really has none outside Israel and Turkey. The rest of the Middle East consists of pathological predators and vulnerable autocrats." Woolsey argues the necessity of both the ousting of Hussein and the establishment of a democratic regime in his place.
Gumbel, Andrew. "Colin Powell Joins Call for Regime Change," The Independent, August 4, 2002.
Usher, Anne. "Former CIA Chief: Iraq Was Involved in Terror Attacks," The Independent, October 23, 2001.
William Arkin, Los Angeles Times. Arkin has been critical of Administration claims that the war on terrorism is successful because of its inability to anticipate the September 11th attacks and mitigate their effects, its failure to completely destroy al Qaeda and find bin Laden, its lack of success in dealing with the sources of terrorism, and its failure to assuage the concerns of the Arab world. As a result, he has questiond the ability of the Administration to prosecute a successful war against Iraq. Arkin voices concerns about the legitimacy of preemption, the inevitable unpredictability of warfare and its attendant consequences, and the absence of compelling evidence to take immediate major military action. He also has warned against creating "a world of permanent confrontation" in pursuing unilateral solutions in spite of what our friends and allies have to say.
Arkin, William M. "September 11 and the Wars of the World," Presentation at the Naval War College, September 25, 2002.
Arnaud de Borchgrave, Washington Times. De Borchgrave argues that recent congressional hearings on Iraq (July 31 - August 1, 2002) "punctured" some of the popular assumptions about war against Iraq. For him, the hearings showed that a U.S. invasion of Iraq would be no "cakewalk" and that plans for a post-Hussein democratic Iraq were not realistic. He argues the Kurds and Shiites probably would seek to become autonomous and thus make post-Hussein political reconstruction difficult. In the event of war, de Borchgrave maintains that the United States must be prepared to shoulder the costs of not only the military operation itself, but also long-term nation building in Iraq. Given the views of European countries, including Britain (with the exception of British Primer Minister Tony Blair), he concludes the United States would be acting alone in this endeavor.
de Borchgrave, Arnaud. "Puncturing the Assumptions," The Washington Times, August 7, 2002.
James Fallows, Atlantic Monthly. Fallows states that although most observers assume that the United States will go to war with Iraq and win, it actually means that the United States will become responsible for any post-Hussein Iraq. This would make Iraq a kind of 51st state, he says. The United States would bear this responsibility because it lacks an international coalition and would likely face international opposition. This responsibility would entail a substantial financial investment in Iraq over a long period. Fallows details a number of challenges he believes the United States would face: provision of humanitarian aid, the capture of Hussein himself, the identification of a new Iraqi leader, formation of new federal and local governments, local policing and border patrol, infrastructure reconstruction, maintenance of Iraq's territorial integrity, bringing to justice those responsible for the old regime's brutality, long-term democratization comparable to the occupation of Japan but without the same legitimacy, defending oil production from terrorist attacks, and forgiveness of Iraqi debt and war reparations. According to Fallows, those such as Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, who argue that regime change could lead to democratization throughout the Middle East, must also assume and have to deal with the long-term presence of the United States in Iraq.
Fallows, James. "The Fifty-first State?" The Atlantic Monthly, November 2002.
Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times. According to Friedman, if the United States decides to remove Hussein from power it will be responsible for nation-building in Iraq. By nation-building, Friedman generally means a process of democratization, through which Iraq gradually would introduce authentic political parties, competitive and fair elections, increased freedom of the press, and greater judicial independence. Judging from the current political and social situation in Iraq, he has argued, nation-building in Iraq will be long, costly, and difficult, but it is essential in order to avoid another dictatorship. To help defray these long-term costs and to avoid the appearance of neocolonialism in Iraq, he argues the United States must have international support, preferably U.N. support. Friedman further argues that, if the United States is not willing to take on the necessary costs and long-term commitment of this nation-building, then the United States should continue a strategy of containment and deterrence.
Friedman, Thomas L. "Anyone Seen Any Democrats Lately?," The New York Times, Oct. 6, 2002.
-- "You Gotta Have Friends," The New York Times, September 29, 2002.
-- "Iraq Without Saddam," The New York Times, September 1, 2002.
-- "Bush's Mideast Sand Trap," The New York Times, August 21, 2002.
-- "Bush's Shame," The New York Times, August 4, 2002.
Robert G. Kaiser, Washington Post. Kaiser has criticized the Bush Administration's current focus on unilateralism and calls instead for a return to the multilateralism that has characterized the war on terrorism. In his view, unilateralism - for example, in abandoning the ABM Treaty and in not seriously engaging with U.S. allies in its drive toward preemptive war on Iraq - has weakened a nearly unanimous international coalition against terrorism. According to Kaiser, the issues of unilateralism and multilateralism could be better understood if there were a serious discussion about the global role, means, and goals of the United States.
Kaiser, Robert G. "The Long and Short of It; The War on Terrorism Began So Well. Then the Focus Changed. What Is the Bush Administration Aiming To Do Now?" The Washington Post, September 8, 2002.
Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post. Krauthammer favors a preemptive strike against Iraq and argues that the inspections regime is useless. He has argued that a preemptive strike must not be delayed because the risk posed by Iraq only increases with time. Krauthammer argues that there is no real difference between the unilateralists and multilateralists in the debate over Iraq. Both sides agree that regime change and destruction of weapons of mass destruction are necessary in Iraq. Both sides want U.N. support for any attack on Iraq, he argues. At the same time, he also maintains, both sides agree that if the U.N. does not support the United States, then the United States should act unilaterally. He argues that U.N. support is neither necessary nor desirable because the Security Council's permanent members, France, Russia, and China, would essentially be making the decision for the United States, and they have supported Hussein in the UN.
Krauthammer, Charles. "What Good Is Delay?" The Washington Post, October 7, 2002.
-- "The Myth of 'U.N. Support,"The Washington Post, October 4, 2002.
-- "Fictional Rift," The Washington Post, September 13, 2002.
William Kristol, Weekly Standard. To Kristol, the United States must pursue aggressively regime change because the risks of inaction are greater than the risks of preemption. Kristol has called critics of the Bush Administration's policy of regime change in Iraq "appeasers" and thus supporters of Hussein. Kristol promotes President Bush's vision of a "morally grounded foreign policy that seeks aggressively and un-apologetically to advance American principles around the world."
Kristol, William. "The Axis of Appeasement," The Weekly Standard, August 26- September 2, 2002.
Frank Rich, New York Times. Rich has argued that the Bush Administration is using the issue of war against Iraq to divert attention from serious U.S. economic problems. He believes that the Bush Administration is not presenting truthfully the human and financial costs of a possible war.
Rich, Frank. "The Jack Welsh War Plan," The New York Times, September 28, 2002.
William Safire, New York Times. Safire has argued for the necessity of military action against Iraq for many reasons. First, to Safire, destroying Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and regime change are inseparable goals. Safire once asserted that Hussein was connected to al Qaeda, but subsequently acknowledged that although he believes this, clear evidence is lacking. In general, Safire argues that Hussein should be removed so that he can no longer threaten the United States; second, he believes a military attack on Iraq would discourage other nations from supporting terror groups; and, third, removal of Hussein would make "the Middle East safe for democracy," which would help the United States and all of the Middle East.
Safire, William. "Saddam's Last Ploy," The New York Times, October 7, 2002.
-- "Of Turks and Kurds," The New York Times, August 26, 2002.
-- "Saddam and Terror," The New York Times, August 22, 2002.
George F. Will, Washington Post. Will is a proponent of a broad war on terrorism that includes the war to date against al Qaeda and a future attack on Iraq, but also states that Congress should be involved in the process. According to Will, Hussein poses an immediate threat to the United States and the Middle East and must be removed. Will also justifies Hussein's removal because he believes al Qaeda is active in Iraq. But he recognizes that because this would be a unique, preventive war, the Bush Administration does not have a self-evident casus belli (an event that provokes, leads to, or is used to justify war). Will therefore argues that "the uniquely virulent constellation of four factors - Hussein's character, the terrorists' war against the United States, the various intersections of Iraqi policy with the culture and apparatus of terrorism, and the technologies of mass destruction developed in the last 57 years - constitute a new kind of casus belli." Using this moral justification, or casus belli, the Bush Administration then must seek support from the Congress before proceeding against Iraq.
Will, George F. "Lessons of 9/11 - and 12/7," The Washington Post, September 8, 2002.
-- "Unprecedented Yet Defensible," South Florida Sun-Sentinel, September 1, 2002.
-- "A Mideast Specter: Modernity," The Washington Post, August 15, 2002.
-- "A Vote for War," The Washington Post, August 9, 2002.
Fouad Ajami, Professor and Director, Middle East Studies, SAIS (2). Ajami has argued that the United States must no longer support the status quo and the policy of containment in the Middle East. Instead, he asserts there must be regime change particularly in Iraq, as well as in Palestine. The war against Iraq would be a just and necessary war, he maintains. Even if there is no direct link between Iraq and the September 11th attacks, Hussein's survival in power has nurtured the culture of Arab radicalism. Ajami expresses optimism about a post-Hussein Iraq, stating that Iraqis will be grateful for the arrival of the United States: "We shall be greeted, I think, in Baghdad and Basra with kites and boom boxes."
Ajami, Fouad. "America's Burden," U.S. News & World Report, November 11, 2002.
-- "Where Nuance had its Chance," U.S. News & World Report, August 5, 2002.
Von Drehle, David. "Debate over Iraq Focuses on Outcome," The Washington Post, October 7, 2002.
Eliot Cohen, Professor and Director, Strategic Studies, SAIS. Because Hussein presents a threat to international peace, Cohen advocates regime change in Iraq through an international coalition. He points out that Clausewitz wrote that war is a continuation of politics by other means, but the opposite is true in Iraq: "Policy is a continuation of war by other means." He maintains that the United States has been at war with Iraq since 1991, and "only the level of violence has changed, not the substance of the relationship or the intentions of the Iraqi regime." Cohen concludes that deterrence, through U.N. inspections and sanctions, is no longer a viable option. He acknowledges that the transition from totalitarian rule to democracy will take time, but that it should be possible to establish a moderate regime that would secure basic civil liberties for the Iraqi people.
Cohen, Eliot A. Testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, October 2, 2002.
-- "Generals, Politicians, and Iraq," The Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2002.
Anthony Cordesman, CSIS. (3) Cordesman has argued that the United States must go to war now with Iraq: "The situation won't get any better. If you don't deal with the Iraqi threat now, whether they've pre-positioned [WMD]or not, presumably they can make the threat more sophisticated over time." He states that in order to mount an offensive against Iraq, the United States must have at least some minimum level of allied support and access to bases, a national commitment to use adequate force, and a willingness to conduct nation-building in Iraq over the long term. He states that at this point, U.N. support is less critical than allied support in the Middle East. Cordesman encourages the Administration to develop a clear exit strategy and a nation building plan for Iraq: "We will not be judged by how we go to war, we will not be judged by how we fight this war; we will be judged by what happens after this war and by the way we deal with Iraq in the region once the war is over." He believes that the United States will win decisively, but that it will face significant peacekeeping difficulties in the aftermath.
"War with Iraq: A Cost-Benefit Analysis," Middle East Policy Council, Thirtieth in the Capitol Hill Conference Series on U.S. Middle East Policy, October 9, 2002.
Frank Gaffney, Jr., Center for Security Policy. Gaffney argues for unilateral regime change in Iraq. In his view, the Bush Administration should consult with the UN, but then take unilateral action. He cites the apparent lack of international concern over the Administration's decision to abandon the ABM Treaty as a rationale supporting his view that unilateralism is not inherently dangerous or destabilizing. But he warns that in seeking international support, the Bush Administration risks being tempted to abandon its commitment to regime change. According to Gaffney, regime change, not just the removal of Hussein, is essential in order to truly disarm and genuinely liberate Iraq.
Gaffney, Frank. "Confronted by Temptations," The Washington Times, October 8, 2002.
-- "A Model for Iraq?" The Washington Times, September 10, 2002.
Morton Halperin, Council on Foreign Relations. Halperin has argued for a "containment-plus" strategy. To Halperin, Hussein can still be contained, but the United States should go beyond existing sanctions. "Containment-plus" would include tightening the economic embargo of materials for weapons construction, reducing Iraq's receipt of hard currency outside U.N. sanctions, providing opposition groups new assistance, and helping develop a consensus among Iraqi groups about the nature of the future Iraqi state. Halperin criticizes prospective military action because it assumes, "irresponsibly," that the war will be short and regime change will be orderly. Halperin argues that the United States has to recognize the human, long-term financial, and security costs of military action. "Containment-plus," he maintains would allow the United States to devote its resources to the war on terrorism, the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, the situation in Kashmir, reconstruction in Afghanistan, and reducing poverty in the developing world, which would help to reduce terrorism in the long term.
Halperin, Morton. "Options for Iraq-U.S. Policy," The San Diego Union-Tribune, August 11, 2002.
Geoffrey Kemp, Nixon Center. Kemp focuses on the possible unintended consequences of war. He discusses the potential responses of Iran and Europe, in particular. Although Iran has serious concerns with Iraq, Iran would prefer a "contained" Iraq. Iran also finds the United States to be a greater threat than Iraq, especially with U.S. assertions about an "axis of evil" and U.S. calls for regime change through preemptive military action in Iraq. During and after the war, it is possible that Iran would be neutral, he points out, but it is plausible that Iran could mount a military response against the United States, depending on the situation. To Kemp, European support for military action in Iraq is highly desirable, but not essential. But he warns that European support would be essential if war against Iraq became protracted.
Kemp, Geoffrey. Testimony: "U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations holds a hearing on threats, responses and regional considerations surrounding Iraq, Part 2," July 31, 2002.
Michael Ledeen, American Enterprise Institute. Ledeen's argument is similar to that of Perle, Wolfowitz, and Woolsey. Ledeen also argues that we should view the war against Iraq as a war of liberation that will spread to the rest of the Middle East and liberate the region from tyranny and the world from terrorism. In this war of liberation, he advocates that the United States should recognize the democratic Iraqi opposition and call upon the Iraqi people to move to the Iraqi no-fly zones.
Ledeen, Michael. "The War Won't End in Baghdad," The Wall Street Journal, September 4, 2002.
Jessica Mathews, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mathews has coined an approach that she considers is "a middle ground between an unacceptable status quo that allows Iraqi WMD programs to continue and the enormous cost of invasion." She advocates coercive international inspections. This would require a credible military commitment as the backbone of a tough inspections regime. She argues against sending U.N. inspectors back into Iraq on Baghdad's promise of cooperation and under the old rules. Instead, Mathews advocates creating a "powerful, American-led multinational military force...that would enable the inspection teams to carry out 'comply or else' inspections. If they refused to accept, or obstructed the inspections, regime change (preferably under a U.N. mandate) would be back on the table." Long-term success would require sustained unity of purpose among the major powers. Mathews argues that this approach would strengthen, rather than undermine, cooperation needed by the United States to successfully prosecute the war on terrorism: if successful, it would reduce Iraq's WMD threat to negligible levels; if a failure, it would lay an operational and political basis for a transition to a war to oust Hussein. Thus, "the burden of choosing war is placed squarely on Saddam."
Mathews, Jessica. "Arming the Arms Inspectors," The New York Times, September 19, 2002.
-- "Iraq: A New Approach," Carnegie Endowment Report, September 2002.
Gary Milhollin, Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, and Kelly Motz, IraqWatch.org. Milhollin and Motz argue that U.N. inspections will not work; the only solution is to remove Hussein. According to Milhollin and Motz, continued inspections will fail because of the new inspections group, the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC). Unlike its predecessor, UNSCOM, UNMOVIC has little experience in Iraq, will likely be restricted in its actions by the U.N. bureaucracy, and will have less access to intelligence information. In general, inspectors can only verify that a country's declarations about a weapons program are honest and complete. Because accurate information will not be provided by the Iraqi government, Milhollin and Motz argue that Hussein's government must be removed to ensure an effective inspections regime in Iraq.
Milhollin, Gary. "Why Iraq Will Defeat Arms Inspectors," The New York Times, September 16, 2002.
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