Wes Clark on the Iraq War

October 9, 2002

Levin Amendment; #4856 modified–>#4862; October 9, 2002

Filed under: Congress, Iraq War Resolution (IWR), Levin Amendment — faithinwes @ 9:21 pm

Congressional Record: October 9, 2002 (Senate) – Pages S10191-S10195
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access – DOCID:cr09oc02-79

AUTHORIZATION OF THE USE OF
UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES AGAINST IRAQ– Continued

The Presiding Officer: Under the previous order, the Senator from Michigan is recognized for a period of 30 minutes. The Senator from Michigan.

Amendment No. 4862 to Amendment No. 4856, As Modified

Mr. Levin: Mr. President, on behalf of myself, Senator Reed, Senator Bingaman, Senator Boxer, Senator Mikulski, and Senator Stabenow, I call up amendment No. 4862, which is at the desk.

The Presiding Officer: Is there objection to laying aside the pending amendment?

Mr. Byrd: I have no objection.

The Presiding Officer: Without objection, it is so ordered. The clerk will report.

The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

The Senator from Michigan [Mr. Levin], for himself, Mr. Reed, Mr. Bingaman, Mrs. Boxer, Ms. Mikulski, and Ms. Stabenow, proposes an amendment numbered 4862 to amendment No. 4856, as modified.

Mr. Levin: Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment be dispensed with.

The Presiding Officer: Without objection, it is so ordered.

The amendment is as follows:

(Purpose: To authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces, pursuant to a new resolution of the United Nations Security Council, to destroy, remove, or render harmless Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons-usable material, long-range ballistic missiles, and related facilities, and for other purposes)

In lieu of the matter proposed to be inserted by the amendment, insert the following:

SECTION. 1. SHORT TITLE.

This joint resolution may be cited as the “Multilateral Use of Force Authorization Act of 2002”.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

Congress makes the following findings:

(1) In accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 (1991), Iraq made a commitment–

(A) to destroy, remove, or render harmless all chemical and biological weapons and stocks of agents and all related subsystems and components and all research, development, support, and manufacturing facilities related thereto;

(B) to destroy, remove, or render harmless all ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometers, and related major parts and production facilities;

(C) not to acquire or develop any nuclear weapons, nuclear- weapons-usable material, nuclear-related subsystems or components, or nuclear-related research, development, support, or manufacturing facilities; and

(D) to permit immediate on-site inspection of Iraq’s biological, chemical, and missile capabilities, and assist the International Atomic Energy Agency in carrying out the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless of all nuclear- related items and in developing a plan for ongoing monitoring and verification of Iraq’s compliance.

(2) The regime of Saddam Hussein consistently refused to cooperate with United Nations Special Commission weapons inspectors in Iraq between 1991 and 1998 by denying them access to crucial people, sites, and documents.

(3) On October 31, 1998, Iraq banned the United Nations weapons inspectors despite its agreement and obligation to comply with United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 (1991).

(4) Iraq continues to develop weapons of mass destruction, in violation of its commitments under United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 (1991) and subsequent resolutions, and the regime of Saddam Hussein has used weapons of mass destruction against its own people and other nations.

(5) The development of weapons of mass destruction by Iraq is a threat to the United States, to the friends and allies of the United States in the Middle East, and to international peace and security.

SEC. 3. CONGRESSIONAL POLICY FOR UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL ACTION ON IRAQ.

Congress–

(1) supports the President’s call for the United Nations to address the threat to international peace and security posed by Saddam Hussein’s continued refusal to meet Iraq’s obligations under resolutions of the United Nations Security Council to accept the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless of its weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons- usable material, ballistic missiles with a range in excess of 150 kilometers, and related facilities, and to cease the development, production, or acquisition of such weapons, materials, and missiles;

(2) urges the United Nations Security Council to adopt promptly a resolution that–

(A) demands that Iraq provide immediate, unconditional, and unrestricted access of the United Nations weapons inspectors so that Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons- usable material, ballistic missiles with a range in excess of 150 kilometers, and related facilities are destroyed, removed, or rendered harmless; and

(B) authorizes the use of necessary and appropriate military force by member states of the United Nations to enforce such resolution in the event that the Government of Iraq refuses to comply;

(3) affirms that, under international law and the United Nations Charter, the United States has at all times the inherent right to use military force in self-defense; and

(4) will not adjourn sine die this year and will return to session at any time before the next Congress convenes to consider promptly proposals relative to Iraq if in the judgment of the President the United Nations Security Council fails to adopt or enforce the resolution described in paragraph (2).

SEC. 4. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES PURSUANT TO A NEW UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION.

(a) Authorization.–Pursuant to a resolution of the United Nations Security Council described in section 3(2) that is adopted after the enactment of this joint resolution, and subject to subsection (b), the President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States to destroy, remove, or render harmless Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons-usable material, ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometers, and related facilities, if Iraq fails to comply with the terms of the Security Council resolution.

(b) Requirements.–Before the authority granted in subsection (a) is exercised, the President shall make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that the United States has used appropriate diplomatic and other peaceful means to obtain compliance by Iraq with a resolution of the United Nations Security Council described in section 3(2) and that those efforts have not been and are not likely to be successful in obtaining such compliance.

(c) War Powers Resolution Requirements.–

(1) Specific statutory authorization.–Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution (22 U.S.C. 1544(b)).

(2) Applicability of other requirements.–Nothing in this joint resolution supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.

SEC. 5. REPORTS TO CONGRESS.

Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this joint resolution, and at least once during every 60-day period thereafter, the President shall submit to Congress a report containing a summary of the status of efforts–

(1) to have the United Nations Security Council adopt the resolution described in section 3(2); or

(2) in the case of the adoption of such resolution, to obtain compliance by Iraq with the resolution.

Mr. Levin: Mr. President, this amendment will provide an alternative to the Lieberman amendment. This amendment will authorize the President to use military force supporting the U.N. resolution that he seeks, but then provides that if he seeks to go it alone, if he wants authority to proceed unilaterally, he would then call us back into session.

This amendment provides that if the President then seeks authority to unilaterally go it alone without the authority of the United Nations, not in support of a U.N. resolution, he would then call us back into session and seek that authority from the Congress.

This is an alternative to the unilateral approach which is in the White House-supported resolution. This gives the same authority to the President to use military force of the United States in support of the U.N. resolution that he seeks, but does not at this time address the issue of going it alone and authorizing unilateral action or saving that for a later time should the United Nations not act.

President Bush described in Cincinnati in detail the threat that Saddam Hussein’s regime poses.

Mr. Warner: Mr. President, I wonder if my friend will yield for a moment. I just discovered in the haste of activities that the distinguished chairman of the Armed Services Committee has 30 minutes to present his amendment.

The Presiding Officer: The Senator is correct.

Mr. Warner: And then there is no time reserved for the Senator from Virginia to do any rebuttal following that amendment, but there is now time given to the Senator from Maryland, Mr. Sarbanes, immediately following the Senator from Michigan; is that correct?

The Presiding Officer: That is correct.

Mr. Warner: How much time is that?

The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Nelson of Florida). Thirty minutes.

Mr. Warner: I yield the floor.

The Presiding Officer: The Senator from Michigan.

Mr. Levin: Mr. President, President Bush described in Cincinnati in detail the threat that the Saddam Hussein regime poses. I have relatively few differences with that description, and I believe if Saddam Hussein continues to refuse to meet his obligation to destroy his weapons of mass destruction and his prohibited missile delivery systems, that the United Nations should authorize member states to use military force to destroy those weapons and systems and that the United States Armed Forces should participate in and lead a United Nations authorized force. That is what my amendment provides.

The issue that is in dispute is whether unilateral force should be authorized by Congress at this time in case the United Nations does not act–whether we should authorize the President now to go it alone without U.N. authorization if the United Nations does not act. How we answer that question could have a profound and lasting effect on the safety of our children and grandchildren for decades to come because the difference between attacking a nation with the support of the world community or attacking it without such support is fundamental.

The President answers the question by seeking a resolution from Congress that gives him the authority to use force under the auspices of the United Nations or to go it alone if the United Nations fails to act. He seeks this unilateral authority even though he does not condition its use on the threat to the United States by Saddam as being imminent.

Indeed, the President stated in the national security strategy that was released by the White House last month that preemptive attacks to forestall or prevent hostile acts by our adversaries can now be undertaken although a threat is not imminent.

The new strategy the President has adopted explicitly states:

We just adapt the concept of imminent threat to the capabilities and objectives of today’s adversaries. Rogue states and terrorists do not seek to attack us using conventional means.

The President’s Iraq resolution and the national security strategy, therefore, both take the position that an imminent threat is no longer required as a basis for our military action in self-defense. The President is explicitly seeking to modify the traditional concept of preemption by deleting the need for “imminent” and substituting that of “sufficient threat” in the strategy document and “continuing threat” in the proposed resolution–dropping the requirement for “imminent”–that the threat be imminent–and substituting something far less–“sufficient” or “continuing.”

That the President is seeking authorization for a unilateral preemptive attack without U.N. authorization or requirement of imminent threat is at the heart of the Senate debate that is presently taking place.

Under the traditional international law concept of preemption in self-defense, the United States would be justified in acting alone in the case of a serious threat to our Nation that is imminent. In a case where a threat is not imminent, military action would also be justified if it were carried out pursuant to the authorization for the use of force by member states of the United Nations.

The choice facing the Senate is whether Congress should now, at this time, give the President the authority to go it alone, to act unilaterally against Iraq if the United Nations fails to act.

Congress is being presented with this issue at the very same time our Secretary of State is trying to get the United Nations to back a tough new resolution authorizing member states to use military force to enforce Iraqi compliance with inspections and disarmament.

On Monday, the President said:

I have asked Congress to authorize use of America’s military if it proves necessary to enforce U.N. Security Council demands.

That sounds like my alternative, but in fact the White House resolution asks for much more.

The resolution the White House seeks is not limited to the use of force if the United Nations authorizes it. On the contrary, it specifically authorizes now the use of force on a unilateral, go-it- alone basis, that is, without Security Council authorization. The President’s rhetoric does not match the resolution before us.

The White House approach also authorizes the use of force beyond dealing with Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, which is also a difference from my resolution.

The resolution which I offer on behalf of those cosponsors and myself is consistent with how I think most Americans want us to proceed. It emphasizes the importance of dealing with Iraq on a multilateral basis, and it withholds judgment at this time on the question of whether the United States should go it alone, that is, whether we should act unilaterally against Iraq if the United Nations fails to act.

This resolution I am offering does the following: First, it urges the United Nations Security Council to adopt a resolution promptly that demands unconditional access for U.N. inspectors so Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and prohibited ballistic missiles may be located and destroyed, and within that same U.N. resolution authorizes the use of necessary and appropriate force by U.N. member states as a means of enforcement in the event that Iraq refuses to comply.

Our resolution also specifically authorizes use of United States Armed Forces pursuant to that U.N. Security Council resolution if Iraq fails to comply with its terms and the President informs the Congress of his determination that the United States has used appropriate diplomatic and other peaceful means to obtain Iraqi compliance with such a U.N. resolution. Our resolution affirms that under international law and under the U.N. charter, especially article 51, the United States has at all times the inherent right to use military force in self-defense. This affirms the fact that there is no U.N. veto over U.S. military action.

I repeat that because some of our colleagues have suggested otherwise about our resolution. The resolution we are offering explicitly affirms the fact there is no U.N. veto over U.S. military action because we state explicitly the United States has at all times an inherent right to use military force in self-defense. Our resolution also provides Congress will not adjourn sine die so that Congress can return to session, if necessary, and promptly consider proposals relative to Iraq if, in the judgment of the President, the U.N. Security Council does not promptly act on the resolution I have described above.

Our resolution therefore supports the President’s appeal to the United Nations and it approves now the use of our Armed Forces to support the action of the United Nations to force compliance by Saddam Hussein with inspections and disarmament. However, it does not authorize now, before we know whether or not we have the world community on our side, U.S. Armed Forces going alone. Should we need to consider that possibility at a future time, the resolution provides for the immediate recall of Congress to do so.

Our resolution does not, on the matter of war and peace, life and death, exceed the grant of authority needed by the President at this time.

If Congress instead endorses the White House approach, allowing the unilateral use of force at this time, even in the absence of a U.N. authorization, we will be sending an inconsistent message. We will be telling the United Nations that if they do not act, we will, at the same time we are urging them to act. We would be taking the U.N. off the hook if we adopt the go-it-alone resolution. We would be telling the United Nations they are not particularly relevant at the same time we are urging them to be very relevant. If we want the United Nations to be relevant and credible, if we want the United Nations to succeed, if we want the United Nations not to be limited to humanitarian and disaster relief and other tasks that are mighty useful but not essential–and I think most of us do–then we have to focus our efforts there and give those efforts a chance to succeed.

If we act wisely, authorizing the use of our forces pursuant to a U.N. resolution authorizing member States to use force, we will not only unite the Congress, ultimately we will unite the world community on a course of action that will seek the elimination of Saddam Hussein’s ability to threaten the world with weapons of mass destruction. That is where our focus should be, uniting the world, not dividing it. Moreover, a going-alone approach, in which we attack Iraq without the support and participation of the world community, entails serious risks and could have serious consequences for us in the Middle East and around the world. It makes a difference, when deciding to use force, whether that use of force has the support of the world community. It makes a difference for us in the current situation involving a possible attack on Iraq. If we go it alone, will we be able to use air bases, ports, supply bases, overflight rights in the region? Those rights and capabilities are important to the success of a military operation against Saddam.

The Saudis have said publicly that without the U.N. authorization, we will not have access to important bases, and that is just one country. Others have said something very similar. If we go it alone, will there be a reduction in the broad international support for the war on terrorism, including the law enforcement, financial and intelligence cooperation that is so essential? If we go it alone, will that destabilize an already volatile region and undermine governments such as Jordan and Pakistan? Could we possibly end up with a radical regime in Pakistan, a country which has nuclear weapons? If we go it alone, will Saddam Hussein or his military commanders be more likely to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations in the region and against our military forces in response to our attack? That would be the case if he faced a U.N.-authorized coalition, particularly if that coalition included Muslim nations as the coalition did during the gulf war.

If we go it alone, will we be undercutting efforts to get other countries to help us with the expensive and lengthy task of stabilizing Iraq after Saddam is removed? Beyond the current situation relative to using force in Iraq, going it alone without U.N. authorization, based on a modified concept of preemption that no longer requires the threat to be imminent, will lead to a serious risk to international peace and security. If we act unilaterally, without U.N. authority or an imminent threat, that will create a dangerous situation for international peace and stability in the long term. We will be inviting other nations to forego an important rule of international law requiring a serious and imminent threat before one nation can attack another nation in the name of self-defense.

India and Pakistan have a continuing threat, in their view, from each other. Even Greece and Turkey at times view each other as a continuing threat. If that becomes the test, and if we set the precedent in this resolution to authorize that kind of attack, in the absence of an imminent threat, we will be setting the world on a very different course, and we must consider a long time before doing that. That is what we should be called back into session to consider if the U.N. does not authorize force.

By seeking a U.N. resolution that will authorize U.N. member States to use force if Iraq does not comply with its terms, we are not giving the United Nations a veto over the conduct of our foreign policy. What we are doing is getting from the United Nations strength and international support should military force be necessary. We should be seeking to unite the world against Saddam Hussein, not dividing it. Our immediate objective should be to get the United Nations to act, locate, and destroy Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them. The threat Saddam presents is real and we should deal with it. But authorization for preemptive, unilateral U.S. action in Iraq does not need to, and should not be granted at this time. If the U.N. does not act, Congress can be called back promptly to consider a request to authorize force unilaterally and to consider the serious and different risks involved in pursuing the unilateral course.

Last Monday’s Washington Post carried a story in which a senior European official’s response to the U.S. going it alone was:

A lot of Europeans would feel they had been put in an intolerable position.

For those who would agree to participate militarily:

. . . it would be less a coalition of the willing than of the dragooned.

Javier Solana, former NATO Secretary-General, currently the EU’s top foreign policy official, in an address at NATO headquarters last week stated:

Ad hoc coalitions of docile followers to be chosen or discarded at will is neither attractive nor sustainable.

Just last week, after hearing from Prime Minister Blair and Foreign Minister Straw, the ruling Labor Party’s conference in Britain issued a formal position on Iraq that included the following:

The conference believes that the authority of the U.N. will be undermined unless it is enforced, and recognizes that in the last resort this could involve military action but considers that this should be taken within the context of international law and with the authority of the U.N.

Just last Friday, Turkey’s Presidential spokesman said his nation would participate in a campaign against Iraq only if the world body blessed them, stating “an operation not based on international law cannot be accepted.”

The best chance of having Saddam Hussein comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions is to make sure when he looks down the barrel of a gun that he sees the world at the other end, not just the United States. I believe he will not open up to inspections without looking down the barrel of a gun. I think only the credible threat of force will, indeed, disarm Saddam Hussein. But the question remains whether or not we want that force to be the world’s authorized, supported force, or whether or not we at this time want to say, well, if they don’t, we will. We will go it alone. When we do not need to address that issue at this time when the President is going to the United Nations, when it undermines our argument at the United Nations that we want them and need them to adopt a strong resolution, to enforce it, to authorize member states to use military force to enforce it. That is the direction we should be going, that is the focus we should have, and it should be strong and undiluted, the question of whether we authorize at this time a go-it-alone approach, when that is not what is needed at this time.

Congress should give the President what he said in Cincinnati he was asking for: The authority to use U.S. military force to enforce U.S. Security Council demands; not what the resolution that is supported by the White House provides, which is going-it-alone authority. Our focus then would be where it belongs, securing a United Nations resolution that can unite the world; that has the best chance of forcing compliance and avoiding war; that reduces the risk to our forces and to our interests throughout the world; that avoids to the maximum extent possible the negative consequences if force is required, including the loss of cooperation on the war on terrorism. That is the best chance of isolating Saddam Hussein, rather than isolating the United States.

I wonder how much time I have remaining?

Ms. Stabenow: Will the Senator yield?

The Presiding Officer: The Senator has 10 minutes.

Mr. Levin: I am happy to yield 4 minutes to my colleague from Michigan.

Ms. Stabenow: Mr. President, I thank my colleague and friend from Michigan for his thoughtful approach. I believe what Senator Levin has put forward is the right approach. It minimizes the risk to our country, to our troops, and maximizes the ability for the world community, including the United States, to come together, to make sure that Saddam Hussein does not have the opportunity to use weapons of mass destruction against us or against anyone else in the world.

I would, just to support Senator Levin, quote again as I did last week on the floor of the Senate in my own statement, Brent Scowcroft, former National Security Adviser to President Bush, who wrote in the Wall Street Journal: An attack on Iraq at this time would seriously jeopardize, if not destroy, the global counterterrorism campaign we have undertaken. Ignoring that clear world sentiment against an attack would result in a serious degradation in international cooperation with us against terrorism. And make no mistake, we simply cannot win that war without enthusiastic international cooperation, especially on intelligence.

I believe Senator Levin’s approach guarantees we keep our focus on the coalition that has come together to fight terrorism in the world and at the same time gives us the opportunity to build that same coalition to turn attention to the threats of Saddam Hussein. We can do both. We can do it correctly. And we can minimize the risk that I believe will be there if we, in fact, rush to act alone.

I thank Senator Levin, again, certainly as Chair of the Armed Services Committee, for his continual service to our country and his understanding of what it takes to make sure we are able to keep our focus on terrorism and take the time and the opportunity to build that same coalition to address the threats of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.

I urge my colleagues to support the Levin approach. I believe this is the approach that will allow us to make sure we do this right. I urge its adoption.

I yield the floor.

Liberated Text

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