tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN May 26, 2015 11:00am-1:01pm EDT
funding and foreign fighter flow. they are still very resilient and adapive in working around the actions that have been taken. and the actions have been taken on foreign fighter flow and going after finances have been week and not very assertive, not well resourced. and i'll talk more about that. isis is celebrating at a hybrid war. they're adapting conducting terroristic techniques, depending on the terrain. it shows they can hold key terrain, fight hard and sin kron nice operations across space and time and they respond with agility to secure tactical and operation advantages and overmatch as we saw in ramadi. they are very effective. they are well led. they are skilled, and they have professional quality leadership and command and control. and they know the geography they know the terrain and they
know the human terrain in these areas very very very well. they are ruthless, and they are committed and determined. and they're exhibiting the will to fight. and they're fighting for pewer, they're fighting for ideological reasons. but for many sunni arabs who are sfrus frustrated. they're fighting for they land families, and future and they're not. they're fighting anyway because they're fighting for their own lives and their own future and they're fearful. there are many sunni military aged males to date that have not taken sides in this fight. it's just a matter of time if this polarization continues and we let this drag on that isis will gain more and more recruits from the iraqi population base. the iraqi fight with isis is not dominating by foreign fighters. this is a home grown fight and
we have to keep that in mind. isis, as fred mentioned maintains operational freedom in most of the sunni arab provinces and they remain stronger because importantly relatively their opposition is very weak. now, the sunni arab political and tribal leaders are weak and divided and seen as illegitimate by many within these sunni arab provinces. and too many sunni arabs are on the fence. they've given no reason to come onto the side of the baghdad government or to come to us. prime minister baydy's government is weak and divided and is increasingly understood mined by shia opposition. same for the iraqi security forces that are small weak, poorly resourced and not well led and lit take far too long to train and rebuild them to make a difference this year. moreover there is a concerted effort to understood mine the ef
i if cassie of the iraqi security forces by the shia militias, provinces, and some members including dow roy property particularly some members of the ministry interior. they seek to weaken their iraqi security forces and provide alternative forces of power that they control. and, again, the coalition is weak and we could talk about that, but there's not a lot of allied cooperation and resources put into this fight. and lastly the u.s. lines of operation for the most part have been poorly resourced both in theater and at the interagency level right here at washington, d.c. i do not see the urgency or resourcing within treasury or the intelligence community or others to really energize and aggressively go after this fight in this region.
so although u.s. air strikes, i believe, have complicated the isis operations, the air campaign has not been decisive. it's been relatively small and limited and the islamic state as i mentioned has been adaptive and creative. importantly they remain well armed and well resourced and our lines of operation be it counter fitness counter foreign fighter flow, delegitimizeing the brand, and the military campaign at best appear disjointed poorly resourced and lack an ee february effective framework to bring it all together. i think we need to relook at this. i look forward to all of your questions. >> thank you. thank you for being here. >> thank you. it's a real honor to be here today. mr. chairman your efforts over the last few months have been
incredible and very important the hearings that you held earlier this year and everything that the members of the committee have been doing and not just the middle east. i have something to submit if i could do that this afternoon. >> no objection. >> it's an honor to be here with the co-panelists who i have a great respect for not only their expertise but service to country. what i want to do this morning with my remarks is to try to complement their insights with what i focus on in my own work, which is looking at dynamics within the region and the strategic dynamics and nesting the problem of iraq, syria, and isis within that. you said at the forefront you wanted to look at the steps.
i will offer some ideas that i hope we can discuss some of which i think members of the panel have proposed in legislation. the way i see the challenge and i don't disagree with much of what was said earlier the challenge of isis, i think, operates on three different levels or three concentric levels. the first is iraq quite honestly. that's where it's been devastating over the last several years. it's something that i -- frankly it's a little outside of my expertise to evaluate. i look at the political and strategic dynamics. but i do think inside of iraq, no matter what we've done or what we do in the coming years. every type of security assistance should be implemented with a close eye to internal political empowered dynamics.
and at this stunning moment and what happened in ramadi i think, should shock everybody. we should keep an eye oven these measures of what we need to do to help our iraqi partners on the security front but understand what we have learned over the last ten years plus is that the political dynamics are terribly important. in those regards, what i think we need to do and the obama administration needs to do is hold the iraqi government accountable for a lot of of the ideas that have been discussed in terms of arming sunni tribes building a national guard. if you look at what the obama administration did last summer and i was a supporter of this security measure as leverage to create a different type of iraqi government we need to continue that process. when police in ramadi were not being funded, it makes it hard
for any number of u.s. trainers to actually do their job if those mechanisms are in place. a second thing we need to start to entertain and i know people are discussing this is the notion of greater decentralization inside of iraq decentralization of authority in some of the proposals that people have discussed about mechanisms for giving arms directly to sunni tribes or to kurdish forces. again, i think we should consider that and balance it against the overall objective of trying to keep iraq together. the second component obviously is syria and this in my view is the weakest link in the overall approach of this first circle. and mr. chairman, senator keane, many others have highlighted this but we need to do something about it. the gap between mr. obama's stated goals and what we're actually doing to shape the environmental on the ground is alarming. in my view we need to accelerate that which the
administration proposed and you funded, the training and equipmenting of third-way forces. with need to link these efforts to the broader regional dynamics. what's happening in syria right now is a very complicated thing by actors in the region. if you see the gains of isis but al qaeda's front these gains don't come from nowhere. they're being offered support from various actors in the region and the main point is that the end state in syria which is often described by the administration in ways that our tactics don't link up with what we want to achieve. but the overall point we want to achieve with iraq and syria and i hope you take away and we need to discuss more, how do you link these problems and how do you address them? what worries me is we look at a challenge to iraq or corner of iraq but we don't link it to a
broader problem of iraq and syria. last summer iraq effectively eroded the borders between these two countries. what we did was we had a series of different tactics. some of which have been implemented, some have not. if we can all bring our thinking together to talk about how do we actually have an integrated strategy that focuses on isis both in iraq and syria. on the second level, the regional level, and here i hope we can think a little bit more about this but for essentially the last four or five years the middle east has slipped into this period of fragmentation. not only has iraq and syrian state structures collapsed we've seen libya and yemen fill these strains and a big part of what's going on and the challenge of isis is the struggle between the regional powers, i rap and saudi arabia but there are other actors too. much is sectarian but the conflict is multi-dimensional,
multi-faceted. our resources matter but iran saudi arabia others have been funding their own proxies. and what i think is missing in terms of the u.s. leadership on all this is accounting for all of these efforts. how do we better organize and come up with a better strategic conception. essentially since 2003 and the iraq war when we made the decision to move from a extra strategic posture i think we've been struggling for what is our overaverages strategy in the middle east. we made some gains as was noted in 2007 2008 but the broader picture of what is the united states trying to do in the region, i think still that question has not been answered. i think the obama administration rightfully has taken some positive steps in the right direction. the building of an anti-isil coalition that has 63 countries in it including two key
stakeholders is a full opportunity. its engagements in that coalition effort has been episodic. in february, for instance we had a violent extremism summit and the questions what then after the summit i think remain inanswered to a large extent. just last week was a important summit with the gcc and with the commune kay. the equipment to iraq and isis there needs to be implementation. finally one last point. i know it's a big debate up here is the question of equilibrium in the broader region. the obama administration often speaks of its engagement with iran and the diplomatic engagement on the nuclear front as an opportunity to achieve some type of ee kwilquilibrium in
the region. i share that but we need to be clear lined how hard that will be at a time whelp iran and other achters are investing in other proxy wars. we need to be clear how realistic that is and what we're trying to do. on the final point on the international level and i'll close here, quite clearly this problem of isis is connected in ways in that the problems of derek and general keane and dr. kagan dealt with it's much more come employ capabilitied by the fact that you have more than 15,000 foreign fighters flooding into and perhaps the number's higher. what i would suggest at the international level in our analysis is that the debate about isis is terribly important but it's moving very quickly. the debate people are having on syria right now is the fielt between jep rah knew sa, isis and a number of others. nearly 14 years after, if you
look add this broader landscape between iraq and syria this new trend toward solid jihadism and the growth of it is something we haven't wrestled with, that we need to widen the landscape and keep focus on it to assess what we're doing and whether we're applying resources to meet those threats. so in conclusion i hope the events of the last weekly or so and the construction is a construction tirch wakeup call to do what i think has been a largely reactive crisis management and somewhat tactical approach to the problems, not only the last year or two but over the last decade and i hope that the events can motivate all of us including you with your leadership can drive us toward things like military force, a national congregation that reinvents our sense of purpose because as derek and others have
described. >> thank you. could i mention to my colleagues a vote is on and if you'd like to go and come back, please do so. i'll try to continue the hearing. i may have to pause. but i know you have questions for the panel so maybe we can work it that way. however you'd like. and i'd like to begin by picking up a little bit on what mr. katulis just said, and this is this whole idea of the perception of iran and what the prospects are because it seems to me in a sense to be clear-eyed about it one of the reasons why we're not acting more aggressively
against bashir assad has got to do with this
idea or in my view illusion that once we conclude the nuclear agreement, there will be a whole new relationship with iran in the middle east which in my conversations with our friends in the sunni arab states scares the heck out of them. and so i -- maybe i could ask the panel about -- it seems to many in my view that it is a real impediment to any real significant action in syria. for example the free syrian army, what little there is that we're training we have not told -- or the administration has said there's no policy yet about when we send these young men that
we're training back into syria, whether we would protect
them from bay shir shir assad's barrel bombing. it seems there's a degree of more reality in which you tell people you're going to train and equipment them and not protect them from being killed when they go back in and they're only to fight isis and not bashir assad, the father of isis. so i maybe begin with you, general keane, because i don't think that americans are fully aware of this contradiction here. >> senator, i agree in principle with what you're saying. so our audience and committee may understand, we may forget early on in the rebellion against assad the momentum was actually on the opposition forces side. many people in this town were predicting that the regime was going to fall. i think we all recall that. >> i was secretary before this yes. >> and that opposition force
came to town here and got many people on a dance card to -- they needed additional arms and ammunition specifically any tank weapons or aircraft weapons to deal with the conventional military. they were stuck with rifles machine guns rpgs and the like. that early encounter in 2013 -- in 2012 was denied, late 2011, early 2012, and then the cia became convinced we could actually vet the free syrian army and i will say that the institute for the study of war had impact on providing them information that assisted them with that conclusion. and general petraeus would admit that when he was director at the time. and he presented a briefing to secretary clinton, panetta, and general dempsey and they agreed with him that this force could
in fact, bearmed, equipped, and trained robustly, but the administration did not do that. and tragically as a result of that, the free syrian army now is a mere shadow of its former self. there's frankly not much of it left. >> and could i add in desperation isn't it true that they have now joined forces with el noose rah and al qaeda affiliated organizations. is that true? >> well organizations that were a part of their organization, you know, have broken from them. there were days where islamic organizations were not radicalize and they have joined with noose rah who has gained more territories, more aggressive, and has had more success against the regime than any force out there. so that is true. and what we're doing and i know
the committee has been brief on this, train 5,000. but what organization are they going to plug into? it's totally disconnected because the free syrian army is not fighting isis. they don't have the wherewithal to fight isis and the regime. they're fighting the regime. so we're training forces that will join free syrian army in theory and, indeed they will -- they will fight the regime forces which has nothing to do with isis at the moment. so that's how flawed the strategy is in syria. it makes no sense. we don't have a ground forces. and the chairman suggests it doesn't make any sense to train these forces, arm them and equip them and provide them some leadership and then put them back into the fight against assad's conventional military which will bomb them and attack them with conventional artillery, mortars, and obviously barrel bombs and the
like. so that strategy in syria is flawed. and obviously the only way that isis will eventually be defeated in syria is with some kind of a ground force. our allies in the region are suggesting to us -- and we're not agreed with them, what we should do is stay with assad. change the momentum against assad by shouting down his air power, using no-fly zones and buffer zones to acheesh that end, and that change in military -- momentum militarily on the battlefield can shift the political equation to get some kind of a settlement. now, listen that's arguable whether that's achievable or not. but sitting here and doing nothing and permitting this to go on, i think that's quite irresponsible in terms of the humanitarian capacity that's taking place there and also that isis is expanding and gaining in syria every single week and
month. so the syrian strategy needs to be thought out. it needs to lead to a situation where we have our arab -- where we have a coalition of arabs in the region and possibly the church participating also and they would likely ask us to participate in a coalition to deal with isis and syria. and i do think we should listen to them about dealing with assad and that regime first in some limited ka passpy to change the political equation. >> i'm going to have to go vote. i would like to hear from senator earnst. if someone is back after you, wheel take a brief pause until my return. >> excuse me. thank you, mr. chair. thank you for being here today. i really do appreciate it very much and i apologize that i had to step out. but i do agree -- i do agree with the panel that we need a
comprehensive strategy. right now there is no strategy. as an element and really as an element, i do want to talk more about arming the kurds. of course, this is passion of mine. over the past couple of months i have been advocating for its support to to kurdish regional government and iraq to fight isis, and i believe that this is a common sense proposal concerning the peshmerga's willingness to fight, they're willing to fight in close combat and it's truly unmatched by any other group in that region in the fight against isis. the kurdish people have been vital in supporting our coalition efforts to defeat isis and providing support to around the 1.6 million displaced persons from iraq and syria and
also for the past quarter century iraqi kurds have proven to be reliable partners by supporting u.s. interests any time we have sought their assistance and i spoke with many of the men that served up in that region and they always state what great allies the kurds have been to them in our fight, so they are proven to be a great allies of ours. earlier this week general haden expressed the need to support the kurds against isis and on tuesday general haden said i would double down on the kurds. their military has the virtue of showing up when it comes to a fight and they've been our friends in the area for decades. i would tend to agree with him. but i would love to ask each of you to please explain that if you do agree with general haden's assessment or if you
disagree and maybe why. so, please, to the panel general keane, if we might start with you. thank you. >> yes certainly i agree. the problem we have -- they even told you and they've told others that they're not getting kinds of arms that they need the quantity of those arms are not there. we're passing that through the iraqi government. we probably should have continued the covert program we had by passing it through the national intelligence agency and we probably would have been armed by now if we did it robustly. but they also need advisers because when they're fighting they need coordination with air power to make their ground operations that much more say this. as good as the kurds are, they have also limited interest in what they're willing to fight for inside iraq.
and they certainly are not going to participate in reclaiming anbar province and other parts of iraq. so, yes, we have to do what we should for the kurds, but we also need to recognize a lot more needs to be done with others as well and i'll leave it to my colleagues here who have more information than i do. >> right. thank you. dr. kagan? >> thank you, senator. i agree with generalkeane, especially about the last point. we certainly need to help defend kurdistan, there's no doubt about that but the kurds can not retake arab iraq on behalf of the arabs, and i think although the kurds are not remotely -- i don't want to put the kurds in the category of shia militias because because they're absolutely not because they don't behavior that way. nevertheless i think if you saw them there for a long period of time you would find you would
have an ethnic war on our hands and would not make room for isis to come in. so i don't think we could encourage the kurds to do it even if they wanted to. i would only add that i agree that the kurds have been very reliable allies fighting on the ground against our common enemy enemies. they have been less than helpful in baghdad repeat ily and they're still less than helpful on a number of issues including demand for oil and various other things. i do believe we should assist them in their defense but we should also use that as leverage to try to get the kurds to think a little more about the interests of iraq as a whole than from a political stand point as they sometimes do. >> thank you. concern har colonel harvey? >> i agree what's been said on the issue. the lines are a tremendous
numbers of friction points, about territory about past grievances, so we'd have to be veriful about how they would be employed. you know, that's about making sure there are red lines about how far they could go, where they're willing to fight along the frontiers where the islamic state controls land. we do not want to further polarize these communities where they are already. but arming them effectively and developing a mechanism to combat baghdad's interest about knowing what's delivered, we have to figure a way to get that done and coordinate that, but deliver those weapons that are going to be very important to the defense of those kurdish lands. >> thank you. >> very quickly, senator. three points. first, in principle, i think it's an idea worthy of consideration. the first point in my recent visits to kurdistan the divisions that exist, they have
separate lines to control, to implement that effectively, they'll need to deal with those divisions. the second is you have actors in the region including us beyond us regional actors who have offered some of the support and sometimes it's been blocked against baghdad itself and their sensitivity and it leads to questions of, oh, are you trying to break up iraq. it leads to a third point relative to iraq. to the region more broadly. the more that the united states or other actors within the region invest in architects for the bren fit of trying to defeat terrorist organizations like isis, there are advantages to that. oftentimes they're more capable. there's the potential long-term disadvantage to it in that the fragmentation of states could accelerate. if we're working in the short term to defeat a threat and to deal with a counterterrorism
level, the building blocks contribute to what i've seen especially in syria. again, i'm not arguing against it. it's just a potential downside risk in the long term, the notion that we could further accelerate the fragmentation of these state entities. >> thank you. i appreciate that very much. and the idea i believe, and where i am coming from is we simply have no strategy in that region. not one that has been communicated clearly to any of us. so i think establishing at least a safe zone i do agree that the peshmerga, their interest is only in kurdistan. it is not moving out into the rest of iraq, i understand that. but at least establishing a safe zone within iraq that is free of isis is a step in the right direction. we need to think about that. we need to pursue that. but any thoughts on where --
just your idea of where the administration needs to go at this point. i still see some reluctance coming from the administration on admitsing that isis continues to expand not just within iraq but also globally. any thoughts. one that will work. >> would stress again what i focus on the regional aspects. it's beyond my expertise. the fact that the anti-coalition has five working groups, the military one, one on extreme violent extremism, funding and foreign fighters and stabilization. i would suggest that those are a template but also have not been used effectively and going back
to the point i was trying to use in the region, i think it's wise to try to channel the resources and the efforts of others to much more cob struckive constructive ends. using these mechanisms in the anti-isil coalition, more effectively, having more follow-up, we often think it's soft but it's not. it's not sufficient to me to have a one- or two-day conference without any clear precise followups. i mean i think they're talking about it, but we need to have a great clarity to our regional partners and okay this is what we're going to do in the way that the others have talked about.
we also need a campaign that's multi-faceted. >> thank you. yes, sir. >> i think given the strategy and lines of operations that they've had, i don't think those were ever given an opportunity to succeed because even though they were sufficient to the task last summer and september when he declared them they have not been adequately resourced, organize organized, or executed to date. and, again, as i said in my opening statement, that's here in washington, d.c. at the interagency level as well as in theater. so if we're not going to be determined to achieve results and have leadership that drives the interagency and make this a matter of urgency and krit cattle to the united states then we're not going to get where we need to go so you first need to be determined to achieve two, we need to coordinate a
fight. in order to do, that we need to support sunni arab engagement and political inclusion. without adequate force structure on the ground and commitment you cannot get out there and engage with the sunni arabs, you can't move around the battle space. and they won't believe you're serious unless you put enough skin in the game. and to do that, we're going to need in my julkt about 15,000 or more enhancement of u.s. force structure in theater. and to go to what general keane said, we need probably two brigades, we need aviation mixed aviation brigade you need some artillery, you need enhanced direct action soft operational capabilities to -- for direction action. direction action brings you the intelligence, which you then share and allows you to go after
those networks. the islamic state has not been zresed stressed across the large prem ter border up along the kurdish green line. they have tremendous abilities. they have initiation because they have not been pressed along the large frontal line. >> sir, just to be clear, you are stating that you believe 15,000 additional troops and aviation assets to directly engage isis as a combat -- >> no. i want them to be there to provide the enablers support for the iraqi security forces, for direction action of the special operations forces for indirect fires. advisers enbedded with ss embedded with iraqi security forces and iraqi interior intelligence that can bring us the capabilities. i'm not advising that we put troops on the ground in combat outposts, in ramadi, clearing
streets, you know, and communities and neighborhoods in a direction action way, but we need to be out there enable and providing support and protection for sunni arab tribal militias, helping them grow and develop and then that gives us influence that can reach into the political domain in these provinces but also in baghdad. it's thoord have infliens if you don't have skin in the game. >> i would agree with that. i would also state, though any time you do engage more of those types of troops on the ground you may say engage and assist, but we are engageing in combat at that point. i don't think there's any way to avoid that and i don't want to mislead the american people. certainly there is danger any time we put troops on the ground. i'm not saying i would support or not support that measure but i do believe you are correct, sir, in that we do need to
engage if we expect others to engage engage. we know the air strikes are not doing it. thank you for that perspective. >> senator, i want to second what derek said and agree with him about the need to deploy forces. i agree with you and i know derek also does that it's the purpose of talking about train, advise, and saft in this is not to imply they're not going to be in combat. of course they are if we're doing our job. i think the point derek was trying to make is we're not anticipating putting them in ramadi and clearing house-to-house the way we had done previously. that's not what we're looking at. >> thank you. >> i have to say we as a nation are defeat eded as long as we do not have the will to fight the war. i think it shows we're not
showing we have the will to fight this war and until and unless beginning with the president there is a demonstration that we have the will to fight, we are going to lose this war. what we have to do is find any way we can to persuade this president to own this fight recognize it's a war to recognize that we must win and to help develop the will among the american people to fight this. >> mm-hmm, mm-hmm, thank you very much. >> the only thing i would add is you do have to look at this strategically. when you think the world trade center in '93 was the introduction of radical islam directly against the united states not using proxies as the iraqis did since 1980, that was followed by embassy bombings in africa, the u""uss cole"" and
9/11 to date. we've never developed a comprehensive strategy to deal with it. we're sitting here today without one. despite all of that killing despite all of the aggressiveness and assertiveness that this enemy has shouchblt we have always looked at it narrowly and it's tratic that we do. it's sophisticated. yes, the solution is right in front of us. when you look at this map, this is just isis. if i put al qaeda on the map, it would be worse. this is a regional and global problem that can only be solved by those countries who are being affected by this either directly or indirectly. this is not about the united states dealing with all of this. this is about the united states when we're hosting a conference like we just did as opposed to shaking hands and slapping everything on the back as we did. we should have hosted a conference that came out with a strategy on what to do with this. plans on what to do with this. what is the level of
contribution that's going to deal with this. we don't develop that strategy. together we can design a comprehensive strategy that does undermine the ideology that does take the finances away and does meet this threat militarily where it needs to be met. we cannot do this by ourselves. we have no comprehensive strategies to deal with radical islam to include isis. we have no strategy in the region to deal with the morphing of radical islam and al qaeda and we certainly as we've all been saying we have no effective strategy to deal with this issue in iraq and syria. i agree with you. that is the start point we should have to deal with this problem and then you put underneath that those things which start to make sense and then you bring in the cohesive -- listen. they have their attention.
we have to help them organize to do this effort and bring the means to deal with that and not all of that is kinetic and certainly moist of it is not united states military power. >> yes thank you very much. and, general keane you brought up iranian influences and i've been concerned with the influence of shia militia and here we have the shia militia pushing back against isis. and i would to love hear a little bit more about that iranian influence with the shia militia. where do we go from here assuming with e take care of isis. the shy are controlling areas but their intent could easily turn against american influences, american soldiers that might be on the ground
there. so just rbing that they're being influenced heavily by the iranian iranians, what would your thoughts be on that. >> senator, i'd like to say i don't think the shia are the problem. there are elements and so foorkt that i think are not pro-iranian and do not desire to be governed by iran. we receive this repeatedly and, of course, this is the view of grand ayatollah ka stayny and the people who follow him. it's not a persian country and they don't want to be dominated by persians, however, the most effective shia militia forces are part of the iranian military day facto. the bad a core run by them reports to the commander of the
kurd force. hezbollah run by him is run by the commander of the kurds force. we have seen this. it's not a shia problem. it's a specific problem of iranian -- they're no longer even really proxies, that ire now really extensions of the iranian irregular military forces and those are the elements that are now leading the charge into ramadi, which is unacceptable. they also helped get us off track by launching the attack on tikrit on their own spontaneously, which then failed and we had to bail them out. which was an enormous positive turning point for us because it demonstrated the limitations of the ability of those iranian controlled iraqi militias to take this fight to the enemy. we have just not only undone that benefit that we gained from that but moved many steps back, and if, in fact, these groups are successful in retaking even
part of ramadi when the troops that we backed demonstrated failure and it will undermine any indefense prime minister ramadi might have and isf might have and be a significant extension of the iranian military power, not just military influence in the region. >> thank you. my time is way over, senator. >> i was going to say i'm glad you were able to have this encounter. i hope you're have them over to your house for dinner. >> i would love that. thank you very much gentlemen. >> before i turn to senator keane and i apologize for this disjointedness of the votes on the floor, maybe general keane and harvey you two can respond to this. i don't know if there's a real logical argument to the -- that
would counter what has been said here today as far as the assessment of the overall situation is concerned because i think the facts on the ground and there is strong argument for the things you've stated and yet we have many members of the military, experience who have fought in afghanistan and yet as military spokesmen or even as military leaders make statements that are totally divorced if not i won't say reality but certainly is directly counter to the testimony you have given here today. i do not understand it. general harvey, may i start with you? >> what i find is quite
afternoon the commanders and leaders are misreading the environmental they're reading. they don't understand the enemy well enough and part of the problem there is the intelligence they get is reporting of information. it's not being put in context in a very insightful and deep way to understand how they're organized, how they really think tactically operationally and strategically. it's supporting history rather than thinking about who they are and what the enemy's doing. >> does that account for statements like "we're winning?" >> because we're looking at the wrong metrics. like i said in opening statements, in order to get the context you need to have the deep dives and focus in on this and quit looking at this on a day-to-day basis, and you have to have an operational construct. you u have to understand who the enemy is and how they're going to win and probably we need better alternative analysis thb and be truthful to ourselves
about how we're doing in our lines of operation. >> so this is an argument for team b. >> in part, yes, sir. we had group think before in 2005 and 2006. in may of 2006 we were being told that everything's on track, we're doing fine. >> i remember it well. >> yes, sir. they get built in assumptions and focus on what their mission set is. where is the order to actually impose our will and defeat the enemy? how are we going to align our force structure and all of our national capabilities in partnership with allies and folks on the ground that we can count on to build momentum to impose our will, establish our security. we don't think in those terms anywhere. we think about management rather than breaking the will of the enemy. >> general keane. >> yes, sir. i share your frustration. i know we all share it. we talk about it among ourselves quite a bit. we just had a spokesperson last week -- i think that's probably
what you're referring to who made a report, you know, to the american people at large that we in fact were succeeding and they're only capable of small take tickactics against us. >> right. >> that hasn't been true since we started and certainly isn't true now. one, how does -- the committee members when i provided testimony in 2006 and we were pushing against the narrative at that time by senior generals and secretaries of defense, et cetera, we were asked the same question, how -- how could that be? how could capable people well intentioned, be so wrong in general sense is the issue. and i think once we make up our minds that we're going to do
something inside this military culture, we drive toward it. and we have a tendency to a fault to see those indiceses to contribute to it and to disregard not wholly but min hall imally things that are inside our culture. how do we fix that? one way and one way only. competency fixes that. you're driving tough deep dive assessments of what are trying to take police. these are the four things we said we're going to do. how are we doing that? how could you ever come to the conclusion that isis is losing if enjoys freedom of maneuver, a principal of warfare and can attack at any place of its choosing at any time. if a force has that capability of do that and gets results --
as manifestation of that, then that force in fact by definition is winning and so the leader should say to those sub order natures, what are you talking about? what you're talking pelme, none of that makes sense. this is what they are capable of. we have got this wrong and how are we going to fix it. that is about competent leadership. >> senator cane. >> i'm jealous of my colleague's 13 minutes and hope my other colleagues come back and i may try your patience and go over time. you said something i wrong down like a bolt of lightning, we should not be spectators, you are going through the atrocities that i isil, we should not be spectators, we are spectators. congress has been a spectator since august 8th we've been a
spectator. absent the one vote in september that we took to arm syrian moderates, there's no evidence that congress is concerned at all about isil none. our allies have no evidence. as an institution i'm not talking about individuals, our allies have no evidence that congress is concerned about isil. isil has no evidence that congress is concerned about isil but most tragically, the thousands of people u.s. men and women in service who are deployed in fighting this battle every day, they have no evidence that congress is concerned about isil in the least, we've been at war since august the 8th everybody calls it war. the president calls it war. within two weeks the article two mission to defend the consulate inner er bixt l.
that was the difference between an article one power where they have a authorized military action but now for nine and a half months we failed to do what is our fundamental job what only we are supposed to do. there's not been a declaration of war or authorization for use of military force there's been no house committee action. there's been no house floor debate or vote. there was one committee vote in the senate foreign relations committee in december but there's been no meaningful florida debate and senate floor action. how strange it is we're in a congress that loves to punch this president as an imperial president and threaten lawsuits against him when he does stuff without congressional approval, in the most solemn responsibility under article one -- we've got all of these people to enlist in their lives
every day, we have been spectators, congress has been the spectators. we've got opinions. we call the play differently but we're spectators when we ought to be decision makers. this is a war into the tenth month without a clear legal basis. i call it extra legal or illegal. the president himself has in his own words acknowledged that he's gone past the article ii power of imminent defense. the claim that the 2001 or 2002 authorizations cover an organization that didn't -- two years after 9/11, that doesn't make any sense. doesn't make any sense whatsoever and congress has come up with one excuse after$&jyk
duck senate because there will be a new senate. we came in and a lot of folks said we shouldn't do article one job because they haven't sent us a draft of authorization. i harshly criticized the administration for not sending a draft authorization over when they started this legal action. it doesn't excuse congress for not doing the job we're supposed to do. now there's been an authorization pending before congress since the 17th of february. more than three months and we still haven't done anything. i don't know what the excuse is now. i think you can only conclude that we don't want to take it up because we're either indifferent to this threat -- and i don't
think that's true. i think the real reason is we don't have the back bone to take it up and do the job congress is supposed to do. what that means is while we're not doing our job, there are others who are doing their job. we deploy thousands into the theater of battle to folks who are pilots off the deck of the theodore roosevelt, which is home in virginia, crashed a plane on takeoff the other day, deploying thousands risking lives. we had deaths of american servicemen and civilians held hostage. is isil didn't start executing american hostages until after we bombed them on the 8th of august. we've had over 3,000 air strikes and haven't done anything. now the cost past the $2 billion mark in april and we still
haven't done anything. i never would have contemplated before i came to this body that there would be a situation which congress would tolerate an ongoing war and just stand back and say well, i guess the president can do whatever the president wants to do. it's not supposed to be that way. one of the reasons i'm glad that the chair called this committee today, as i'm hoping that the challenging events of last weekend, not only the fall of ramadi, if you go into the details of that special forces separation in syria, very, very syria. we were lucky we didn't lose u.s. lives in that operation. it was very well done. but this is complicated and detailed and going to go on for a very long time. i just wonder how much longer congress is going to be a spectator. we can criticize the white house and administration strategy and i'm going to and we ought to keep doing it if we don't like it. but we haven't earned the right. we haven't earned the right to
be critics as long as we stand back and don't do the one thing that congress is supposed to do. thank you, mr. chair. >> i know there's a question in there somewhere. senator graham. >> thank you, here's my question. does the current strategy in iraq and syria have any chance to succeed? >> senator that's been a debate -- >> i didn't hear it. we'll gladly say it again. >> say it again. and respect you asking the question quite frankly. the answer is no. >> does everybody agree the answer is no. does everybody agree under current configuration that the problems in iraq and syria are present a direct threat to the homeland? >> yes. >> i had a conversation with a cia director yesterday and so the average america needs to
understand that failure in iraq and syria is putting the homeland at risk because so many foreign fighters are flowing in and they have the at built potentially to hit us here at home. is that all correct? >> yes. and i think you described this strategy as not enough. is that correct? >> yes absolutely it's far from it and we all -- support that. >> do you see any way to defight isil and syria without potential arab army involved? >> i don't know how you get there. if we deployed tens and thousand of troops ourselves i don't think anybody here would recommend such an event. people who have vested interest should be involved and i think they would get involved. you know they said as much but we have to do something to change the momentum of the assad
regime. >> dr. kagan is it fair to say no army is going into syria unless one of the objectives is to take assad down? >> absolutely senator, that's going to be a precondition. >> they are not just going to fight isil and leave assad in power therefore giving the place to syria, is that correct? >> on the contrary -- >> i mean to iran. >> on the contrary what we're seeing i think is increasing levels of support of varieties as an alternative to -- >> i want people to understand that our strategy is to empower radical islamic group to fight assad rather than having an army on the ground that made up of -- is that fairly accurate? we're choosing to work with terrorists -- the arabs are choosing to work with terrorists because there's a vacuum -- >> i think some people are choosing to work with terrorists because of the vacuum. i don't think that's the intent of the policy. >> no, but that's the effect of
the policy. >> i believe it is yes. >> we find ourselves to allies in the region supporting the terrorist group as a last resort proposition because america is awal. colonel harvey, at the end of the day, do you see a scenario of dislodging isil taking assad out that doesn't require sustain commitment by the world to put syria back together? >> no i do not see it. >> we're talking years and billions of dollars? i believe so sir, yes. >> sir i don't want to butcher your last name if this war keeps going on the way it is a year from now, do you worry about jordan and lebanon being affected? >> especially jordan a country i lived in and we are doing things to help strengthen that government but it is feeling the force -- >> if we lost the king of jordan, we would be losing one of the most trust worthy allies
in the region is that correct? >> correct. >> i was told yesterday there were more syrian children in elementary school in lebanon than lebanese children. does that surprise anybody? >> doesn't surprise me but should shock all of us. >> it should shock everybody. i made a statement there are more kids in elementary school in lebanon from syria than lebanese kids. so if this war continues in its current fashion it will create unending chaos in the middle east that will change the map for generations to come. do you agree with that? >> yes. >> there is no way to get iraq right until you deal with syria in a responsible manner, is that correct? >> correct. >> and iran is all in when it comes to see i can't. assad wouldn't last 15 minutes without iran's help do you agree? >> it's been critical to sustaining the assad regime. >> do you agree if we gave iranians $50 billion as a signing bonus for the nuclear program, it's highly likely some
of the money would go to assad? >> and to the rest of his proxies that are seeking domination of the middle east. >> have you seen anything to suggest the iranians are changing the behavior for the better when it comes to the region? >> on the contrary, become being beinginging more aggressive. >> most aggressive in modern times? >> yes. >> would you say the iranians are directly responsible for toppling a pro american government in yemen by supporting the hugethys. >> they contributed to it. >> al qaeda in the arabian peninsula is growing as a threat to the homeland. >> not only that but isis is gaining position in yemen. >> do you agree with syria is now a perfect form for launching attack in the united states because there are so many foreign fighters with western passports? >> yes. >> do you agree with me that the shia militia on the ground in iraq are controlled by the
iranians? >> yes. >> do you agree with me that we're doing permanent damage to the ability of iraq to reconstruct and allow the shia militia to have dominance on the battlefield? >> yes. >> do you see any good thing coming from this strategy being continued? >> no. it's destined to fail. >> and there is a better way, we just have to choose that way. >> correct, sir. >> there is a better way, do you all agree? >> yes sir. >> senator cruz. >> thank you, mr. chairman, thank you for your service and leadership. i would like to ask the panel first for your assessment of the current level of success we're saying in the military campaign against isis. >> it is failing senator.
that's i think our assessment generally across the board it is failing in iraq and failing in syria and failing across the board in the region. >> and why is it failing? >> in my view it was ill conceived to begin with because it focused exclusively on iraq. it was badly underresourced and excessive restraints and constraints have been put on limited resources you're willing to deploy. >> could you please elaborate on the excessive constraints that have been placed on our military? >> yes, sir. we have forces in theater that could have made a significant difference i believe in the fight for ramadi had they been allow ed allowed i am bed at lower levels and bring in precision air support and had the some of the aviation we have in theater been used in direct support of that
fight, had the forces that we have in theater been able to go out to the tribes and reach out to them directly rather than relying on the tribes to come to them. there were a number of things that even this limited force could have done, i think that would have made a difference, but the force was probably too limited to be decisive in any event. >> yeah, just to add on to that i mean the military strategy -- all of the components that the strategy -- and huge problems with them as well, the military component is clearly under resourced and not enough trainers and role of advisers is fundamentally flawed itself. the advisers have to be down with the units are doing fighting at least at the battalion level. what reason is that? because they help them plan and
execute and contribute to their success? they have the capability to call in air strikes and they have the capability to use drones in support of those ground forces to help acquire intelligence for them and they can attack tell komters as well. the air strikes we currently have which are excellent in taking out command and control and other infrastructure and depots facilities, they get -- it starts to fall off rapidly when you're dealing with mobile targets and then the overwhelming amount of combat that takes place to use military terms is close combat in urban centers. zbls you have to guide the bombs from the airplane and take control of them, that's called
kroes air support. that's what we need the air controllers for. so the effectiveness of our air power is this, 75 prosecution of missions flown come back with bombs because they cannot properly identify the target so they have assurances they won't hurt somebody with bombs and we don't want to be hurt. that changes dramatically if we put the forward air controllers on the ground. if you're fighting and the scenario, they prepared for weeks to get to ramadi this was not due to a sand storm. this is taken out other attacks that led to finally an assault using suicide bombers vehicles to do that. if that force had anti-tank weapons, they could have killed those vehicles.
if they had apache helicopters they could have had killed the vehicles. they blew up and destroyed entire blocks and units because the explosives were so heavy on it. we could deal with fighting forces before they actually closed with the iraqi military. apache helicopters, post air support would have significantly impacted them and i would tell you this, many of those iraqi forces it's not reported did fight heroically in ramadi and a lot fled. that resolve gets stiffened quickly when they watch suicide bombers get blown up before they get to them. when they watch units and kara vans coming after them get blown up before they get to them because we have proper
surveillance that we have resources that can deal with that and the like. we start to change the dimension very significantly as a result of providing them with the proper resources. these are the constraints that are out there that are manifested itself in the behavior of the iraqi security forces they have their own problems, i'm not suggesting they don't. but there's a lot we can do to make a difference. >> let me ask one final question, the administration is currently declining to arm the kurds. they have been allies and my judgment, the policy of not arming the kurds makes very little sense. i would be interested in the panel's assessment of should we be arming the kurds and is the current policy reasonable and effective in defeating isis?
>> i think it's a consensus on the panel we should be helping the kurds defend themselves but they will not be able to be effective partners in retaking the portions of arab iraq that isis now controls but that certainly we should be helping the kurds defend themselves i think. can i point out we're not refusing to arm the kurds. the problem is it goes through baghdad and the kurds continue to complain that there's not the kind of facilitation of delivery of those weapons but the senators point is for all practical purposes i think correct. senator king? >> one of the phrase you just used struck a chord with me. there was weeks of preparation for going to ramadi, raises the
question of intelligence. and general keane, have we become too reliant on signals intelligence and don't have human beings giving us information? >> that's a great question. it's more appropriately put to the military leaders when they come in here's because they have the details of it. this much i do the intelligence function is not robust enough. and we are relying on national intelligence sources some of that is surveillance and some of that is signals intelligence as well but there's more we can do
to assist them. we use surveillance because it's not controlled by forward air controllers. we need different kinds of surveillance in there to assist ground forces. >> when we were fighting in iraq, we used different kinds of drones, much smaller, don't stay up necessarily as long as ones that assist the air power function. they assist the ground commanders. that kind of capability there controlled by u.s. would dramatically make a difference for the ground forces that are in the fight because that would give the ability to see the preparations enemies are making to see the execution before it impacts on them and most importantly to do something about it. i think the entire intelligence function has got to be put under review. we have a tendency to focus on
other things that are kin etic, but the intelligence function in this kind of warfare is significant, enhancing ground forces to use their capability to the fullest. >> it's unfortunate we seem to continue to be surprised. >> sir if i could. on the ramadi issue just i'm at the university of south florida. we drafted a paper outlining that ramadi was going to fall early last week. and we were looking at data that's only available to us for open source information. but understanding the enemy, their intent and trying to get inside-out there, orchestrating the fight. it's not just about having intelligence but what to do with the information and how to think about it. the warnings were there the indicators were there. if we could see at the university of south florida and others here in like the institute for the study of war also saw that, then we shouldn't
have been making public statements mid week officially saying that ramadi was not going to fall, that it wasn't under threat. because that creates another problem of its own. then you held the collapse and it looks like there's a real problem in our communication and understanding at the most highest levels of our government. >> also it makes the isis look invincible and more powerful and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. you made a strong case for things like close air support, forward controllers, all of those kind of things. but isn't one of the fundamental problems we could have all of those assets but if the iraqi security forces don't have the will to fight, and if the local population doesn't have the -- any confidence in the government in baghdad, it's still a very difficult if not impossible proposition. can you give me thoughts on
that? >> senator, i agree with the statement that you made. if those two conditions are true then it's difficult to impossible. i don't think it's true that the iraqi forces don't have the will to fight. i think they do have the will to fight. i think as general keane pointed out, will to fight is one thing belief in your ability to succeed is another critical component of will to fight. that's one of the things that we have provided historically to our allies in iraq and afghanistan and also to nato allies and various other partners who rely on our overmatching military capabilities as much as the iraqis would. we can make it so that the iraqis don't have to worry about being overrun. that's what we used to do. we are allowing them to be overrun in the circumstances and that erodes their will to fight significantly. your point about the political accommodation is also incredibly important. we have absolutely need to have an iraqi government that is prepared to reach out to sunni
effectively and we haven't seen that. unfortunately, the more that we try to subcontract these conflicts to local forces in preference to our own -- >> exactly sir. >> which is only exacerbates the sectarian conflict which makes isis look good to the sunni chiefs in anbar. >> or more tolerable perhaps than the alternative. >> i don't think they look good to anybody. >> yes sir. >> if they don't have confidence isn't that one of the fund amtdal problems, isis has been swimming in if not a friendly sea but neutral sea in terms of sunni provinces. >> it's a fearful sea. i think that's -- we shouldn't forget that terrorism works both ways and these guys are incredibly brutal in dealing with the populations they control. so people are going to require a certain amount of assurance that if they rise up against these guys that they will win because the alternative is they will be
completely destroyed as communities. >> the other thing is the force that we had in iraq, the iraqi security force that took us a while to get them to effective to be frank about it, one of the things that made us very effective, general petraeus is we're not just going to provide them advisers but ask them to fight side by side with us, battalion side by side, that dimension xpoen ently increased the capability of the force because they could see what it looked like. it was right there. a sergeant could see a u.s. sergeant's performance, how we act under stress and other leaders could see their counterparts. that force grew rather dramatically. we were there multiple weeks
throughout 2007 and 2008. and that was an effective force. i can tell you for a fact because i saw it with my own eyes. i saw battalion commanders and division commanders distinguish themselves in combat and under significant stress. we felt good about that forgs. we would say wow they finally got it together. what happened to that force? >> so much attention has been placed on maliki's malice in what he did to undermine his political opponents he destroyed that force because he saw those distinguished leaders who were accomplished as a result of their performance on the battlefield and people were deveeted to them. he saw them as threats to him politically as well as his political opponents. and he undermined that force. he purged that force.
that force is not there the one we used to have. he put in plul phonies and other people who didn't have the military confidence. that changing leadership and get being that leadership back and others willing to have that kind of commitment and confidence, that takes a little time to fix. the fact we did have it senator at one time and it was pretty good tells you that there is -- there is something there that we can work with. and we can get it back there. whether that can be done in time is another issue. >> i may be the chair now so i'm going to give myself another ten seconds. one simple question though, in 2007, 2008, how many americans were in iraq? >> certainly, we is somewhere in the neighborhood, about 130,000 in iraq. that's how that force grew -- what i'm saying to you is, when
we finished and had completed our involvement in iraq, the force that we left there was a capable force. iraqi security force. >> i understand that. the question is what do we have to do to rebuild it? i'm out of time. >> thank you, mr. chair. gentlemen, thank you for your testimony. i wanted to talk initially about the issue of credibility and there's been a lot of discussion about how we've lost credibility with our allies in places like syria and i also wanted to talk about the importance of the issue of credibility with the american people. and there has been i think a narrative in the administration that's not been helpful and there's been an emphasis on the fact that we're now our combat role in the middle east is now finished. well, of course, it isn't finished. just tell that to the pilots
flying daily missions. we think of combat in terms of infantry, soldiers and brave men and women flying these missions daily. and that's combat. and obviously also with the recent delta force mission by some very brave americans that's boots on the ground. we're in combat, we even have boots on the ground but there's still a narrative that somehow we're done. so general keane do you think this narrative, which is a false one in my view, has inhibited our ability to actually develop a robust strategy we're talking about. do we need other forces on the ground? and yet we're competing with a narrative from the white house that says no no we're done. and it seems to me that would be a limiting factor in developing a strategy that ultimately would do what we want it to do protect america's national security interest?
>> yes, i certainly -- when i look at it, and try to speculate about what is driving some of our decisions, what is driving our narrative, one of the things i've observed since i've been closer to it in recent years and when i was when i was a younger officer, is that most administrations, democrat or republican, have a tendency to overreact in what took place in the previous adds mrgs. and i think this one is no exception to that. making it a principle of the administration to have a guarantor that we will not be involved in any military activity in the middle east or south asia that can lead to another protracted war. i think that's probably good -- a good principle but the issue is that should not trump what's
necessary to do given the fact that isis represents a new organization with new leadership, new vision in terms of its global and regional strategy and that it is a barbaric organization committing genocide assassination and raping of women as we all know, it is fully intent on conducting a religious war based on their idealogy. and we cannot let the rearview mirror of iraq and afghanistan so disincentivize us to deal with the reality of what this is. and i'm convinced that the american people when we inform them and educate them and take them through this i mean i dealt with the bush administration. they never truly explained what
radical islam is and why it was so dangerous. never took apart the ideology and never truly fashioned a strategy to deal with it in a comprehensive way. >> i'd like -- >> here we sit with the same problem today. >> that's a great point. my own view is that you're direct point if we level with the american people and talk with the threats and strategy that is really been important -- many of you have been raising that, i think everybody recognizes that we -- once we lay that out, what we would or wouldn't have to do to address it. let me ask kind of a related question for mr. kagan. you've written about the idea that sometimes we look at what's going on with isis and other issues in the middle east and think, we're going to have this done in a couple of months 18
months, 20 months, maybe a couple of years. do you think there's an importance to having the leadership, both in terms of congress but particularly the executive branch talk more broadly and again level with the american people about -- this might be a generational conflict. this might be akin to the cold war, where we got to layout a broad strategy and i think your point early on in your testimony about the need for a strategic concept is so important layout a strategy that executive branch legislative branch and american people can get behind. and then execute it. and level with the american people that this might not be done in 18 months. so would any of you care -- mr. kagan, i know you've written about the long war. would you feel free to talk about that? i would be very interested when you talked about the strategic concept, what is it?
obviously 20 seconds left that's a big topic. if you can point us in the direction of your writings or some principles that all of you thought about, that would be very helpful. >> senator i mean this is a generational struggle -- >> we don't talk about it that way. >> on the contrary the point you opened with is a very important one. when the administration's narrative is we're ending the wars it is impossible to develop a coherent strategy for heighting the wars. and we do need to understand this is a war. these are battle fronts on a common war that is going to last for a long time. and we don't get to end it unless we win but you don't get to decide -- we may not be interested in war but war is interested in us. this is going to continue to be a problem. we need to level with the american people as you say as a basis for undeveloping any kind of strategy. i totally agree with you. >> i think we need to find what
we want to achieve. quite often over the last 14 years in afghanistan and iraq and now with isil, we define our objectives in terms of what we're going to counter and defeat. that's important. but what has been missing, i think presencively, whether in a particular theater like iraq or syria or afghanistan is the definition of what we actually need to leave behind in those societies, how we help others help themselves. as you believe at certain points president bush about this, certain points president obama does it, talks about the long terminate. if you look at the planning documents for long term strategy, it doesn't say end this, we're going to end it in a particular period of time. it extends into who will be the next president. your point is terribly point and i've written several articles and book about this too. it's important because for our own society there's a new generation called millennials that are actually this year in
number larger than the baby boomers or i'm a generation x-er. they aren't messaging in a cohesive way. part of it is the partisanship in politics and other things. i'm a strong centrist internationalist. i believe we need to bring the american people along with us something senator cane has said earlier and before the debate that we need to be having on the authorization of the use of military force and action on it, this is a moment which has not been seized. you can criticize the administration or criticize whomever in congress. there's been in muddle. and i think part of the reason it goes back to, we haven't defined for the american public in the way that fred and others have argued here, that u.s. has a special leadership role in the world. our leadership -- countries in the region are still looking to us to actually do more. but we need to actually take
those steps beyond military and security steps which are terribly important. we need to then talk about hout do we defeat these ideologies, we've done it before with naziism or communism. they are on the margins. our model is much better and values are better. but what happened to the battle of ideas. we had that debate for a couple of years after 9/11 and kind of rediscovered it for a little bit but our add, attention deficit disorder in our own society, that's what i say to leaders in congress, we all have a responsibility to continue to talk about this in a sustained way. >> thank you. >> we've all had one round but if anybody has a second round i'll seize the moment to continue for a few minutes if we can. i'm interested -- we had visits in the senate foreign relations committee from leaders, allies king jordan in january, qatar in february and discussions with saudi leaderships and every time
we have these discussions. i ask them tell us what you think the role of the u.s. should be with the battle against isil. in particular, because this is a point of difference, i've asked about their thought about american ground troops. and i want to tell you what they said but i'm curious about your opinions about what they said. the king of jordan said that would be a mistake, this is our battle the not yours, if it gets positioned u.s. against is il that will not be a helpful thing. if it's we stand up against the terrorist threat in our own region and u.s. helps us in a vigorous way but clearly a supporter, not the main driver that's the way this should position and significant ground troops like u.s. is doing 90% of the air strikes qatar said if there's significant ground troop presence from the united states
this will be a recruiting bonanza for ilsil. they are willing at least somewhere to take some significant military action to deal with threats in their own region but they also said u.s. ground troops against is il will be problematic. i didn't read that to say not even one or under no circumstances. but they were very weary about the notion of u.s. ground troops. we're trying to work that out on the foreign relations committee as we think about an authorization, are they right or wrong. if they are right, how would you square that with what a u.s. presence or support should be. >> if i could start, it's the thrust of my remarks were on the coalition. i think for all of the criticisms of the obama administration strategy, some of which i share. this is the one component that simply it not exist before. it's one that has been under
utilized i believe. i do think things like the jc summit last week although there were a lot of optics and news articles about it there is a conversation to build on what can we do in partnership with them them. one thing we should have learned in iraq, yes u.s. forces can have an important impact on the security situation there. but there's also down sides to having such a visible presence. i don't think anyone on the panel was talking about ever going back to 2006-2007 posture. but i do think striking the right balance is the key question. the administration has been ret sent about what it does in iraq and syria and other places given -- but the regional dynamic shifted quite a lot. what i was trying to emphasize. the region itself recognizes that the u.s. in a very visible presence on the ground does have
significant downsides for their own legitimacy with their own populations. the region is also taking action in what it sees as it's own self-interest. what i was trying to say in terms of multidimensional. it's investment in media campaigns and different political forces across the region. where i think the u.s. strategy right now and again, it's more honed in on what my expertise and focus is where we need to enhance it more is working with those reliable partners from jordan to the united arab emirates to saudi arabia and including the kurds and iraqis of the, to take what has been a significantly larger amount of resources in energy and activity and channel it towards more constructive purposes. i don't see that happening in yemen right now or see it happening yet in syria and don't see it happening many other theater. the leaders are reflecting a
popular view in their countries as well. they understand that for whatever happened in iraq war, surge and other things the u.s. is better sort of seen as a backbone of support behind them as opposed to visibly out in front. >> senator, i think we need to distinguish between the ideal and reality. ideally, of course, it would be better for regional states to take care of regional problems and regional militaries to be involved with a caveat that we do have a regional war going on. and the regional actors we're talking about are being seen as on one side of that. we need to think about what the iranian reaction would be to saudi divisions deploying into iraq on behalf of the iraqis. i don't think we would enjoy that very much. it might be worse than the iranian reaction to the point of u.s. forces in there. it's a my indicated dynamic. in the world of reality, the jordanians don't have the forces to do this.
the saudis don't have a regional militaries are not capable of providing the dined of assistance that we can provide. they don't have it in their forestructure -- >> how about the turks? >> the turk ss might be able to provide some element but no one provides the capability the u.s. provides including the turks and they would be dependent on us. i'm not sure the return of the empire in force to iraq would be better than the optics of having unlimited number of americans troops on the ground there. the regional leaders you're talking to are expressing an ideal version of a strategy which we would all like to see but it's not in a court of reality. as you think about an aumf, in which congress micromanages what forces can or cannot be sent and thereby in my opinion infringes somewhat on the prerogative of the president to choose how to
fight a war that congress authorizes but also in this circumstance that would con strain the deployment of american ground forces when they are so clearly necessary, would be extremely damaging. >> senator, if i could this reminds me of the myth i heard in iraq about u.s. forces the generator of the anti-bodies that caused the insurgency. it was a real misreading of what was going on in iraq and drivers of the fight. we have to be focused on what our u.s. interests and how do we defeat this enemy. and the seeds of strategic failure are found in failing to define that enemy define our interests and the cost and the risks. and if we do those things and we think about our interests it will drive us to engage more seriously than we have in my
mind. i think it's a very similar situation today. we study radicalization recruitment for the foreign fighter flow. the u.s. presence in iraq is not going to dramatically increase that foreign fighter flow. it is being driven by a range of issue issues. and different types of recruits being pulled in from tunisia and elsewhere. the driver within iraq is not the u.s. presence, it's shia domestic nation it's the fear for their future and own lives of lack of political inclusion, et cetera. that's the issue we need to get our head around. >> i agree with what everybody said here. i think we talk past each other a little bit on this issue. no one here certainly is advocating that we should have ground units that are occupying towns and villages and securing
them and therefore protecting them from isis attack that would put us right in the mainstream of the defending against isis. now, i think that's unnecessary and it would be a mistake. but also when we have a policy that says no boots on the ground, that doesn't make any sense either because it denies us from having advisers that have a role to play. it denies us from forward air controllers that have a role to play as we pointed out and other military capabilities that are unique to us. we elaborated on what they are. they are significant enablers that would make a difference in what the 60 nations have agreed to do, which is support the iraqi ground forces. as imperfect as they are. let's give them a better hand to play than what we are doing.
i don't believe there's a single nation that would object to anything of what we are describing are enablers that would make a difference. second when it comes to syria, if you spoke to them about that, you know what their view is about assad they've already dealt with that in their regime. they know full well that the deal with isis and syria, this is going to take a ground force and they would have to contribute to that ground force. i would think that they would logically ask us to participate in that with them. we would -- i don't think we would necessarily have to be the largest contributor but i think we would have to participate. and i think they would reasonably want us to because of our experience and capabilities if we would actually lead it. maybe not. but i think those two things would probably be on the table for discussion. i think it's reasonable that
that kind of allocation of u.s. capability and leadership to deal with isis and syria is in fact an eventualty. >> senator blumenthal do you have questions? >> i do. thank you for your thoughtful and eloquent remark. i was here for the beginning remark and unfortunately as so often happens, i was diverted to another committee meeting after our vote. i want to come back to what mr. king was describing as the evil of isis isil. and the absolutely who rid acts of brutality they commit, mass rape, mass murder. i agree with you that they are
one of the most evil -- maybe the most evil institution in history. we can argue about it. but when i go home this weekend, most folks are going to ask me what's the threat to the united states. and 50 years from now, others will be sitting where you are and where i am talking about probably other evil institutions that are committing mass brutality because that seems to be unfortunately the nature of the human condition. it's happened throughout our history. and i think the ordinary person in connecticut over the memorial day weekend will wonder what our role should be in stopping that from occurring unless there is a threat to this country. so perhaps you and others on the
panel could tell me what i should tell the people of connecticut about why united states should be involved, whether it is special operations forces or better air support or whatever the involvement is and why that matters to our security. >> senator, i think it's a fair question and as a connecticut native, i'm concerned about what you have too tell the connecticut people to get them on board with this. may i start by saying, as i was driving down to virginia the other day, i drove past the holocaust museum and saw the sign up there that is always there, which is never again. and i would submit that we need -- one of the things we need to tell the american people america is not historically a country that watches these kinds of atrocities on this scale occur and does not act. it is a core american value to take a stand against -- we do it very late and try to talk
ourselves out of it and long arguments about it but ultimately we generally do it. that's one of the things that makes us america. i think we really shouldn't lose sight of that moral imperative as we talk about this. your comments are very well taken, sir, the reality is isis poses a clear and present danger and has been condoning and applauding lone wolf attacks here. it has made it clear that it has the objective of attacking america and the west it is actively recruiting cells in america and west and it will do that with the resources of a mini state behind it, which is something that we have never seen before with al qaeda. this is not a group of bandits hanging out in the mountains of afghanistan and that attack was devastating enough. if we reflect on sources controlling fallujah ramadi oil infrastukt tour, resources that were in various
universities in mosul and so forth, that thousands of fighters, tens and thousands much recruits this is an army. and this is an army that is very sophisticated and has an ability to conduct operational military planning and execute it that is in advance of anything that i've seen from any of these groups. and it has declared its intention to come after the united states and shown a willingness to do that. that is something that i think the people of connecticut need to be concerned about. >> i would certainly agree with what fred is saying is that it -- it should be a concern to us in a couple of ways. certainly what they are doing to motivate and inspire others who are not necessarily in the region but are in other countries and can identify with this movement and many of them are self-radicalized or possibly already radicalized but they are motivated to take action and take violent acts. we've seen plenty of evidence of that.
the longer you permit the organization to succeed can you imagine what has gone out on the internet from isis around the world as a result of their success in ramadi and how that has motivated others that isis in fact is winning and standing up against the united states and standing up against these strong allies of the united states and region and europe and they are actually winning. so there's huge danger there as long as you let this organization stay. we don't decapitate it, then the motivation and inspiration of self-radicalization continues to grow. that's one thing. the second thing is in the region itself and we show it on the map, they are moving into other countries and at the same time defending what they have in syria and iraq and expanding in those countries, this is what makes this organization so very
different than what we dealt with in the past. and they are looking at libya as a -- because of the social and political upheaval in libya and hardly a government there and anybody to push back on it. they are going to put huge resources in there. why are we concerned about that? our interest in the region and north africa, it would be on the southern tip of nato there not too many miles from italy. in afghanistan, they have expanded rapidly beyond most of our expectations i would assume into eight provinces in afghanistan. we have interest in afghanistan for obvious reasons. so this is a movement that we can tie directly to the security of the american people and to our national security objectives of the united states in this region and in south asia. >> so it -- if i -- if i can put it a different way to conclude
it's more than -- and by the way, american values are directly and inevitably linked to stopping human atrocities, i agree totally with you, mr. kagan. but our interest goe beyond those values and all of the reasons that you articulate are the reasons i voted for the training and equipping measures that have been implemented. but my frustration is that as you also have observed, there's a huge gap between the goals and missions that we've outlined for the united states and the actual action that we're undertaking to train and equip activities are way behind what we might have hoped by this point and there's no clear timetable for really achieving the level of
capability that we expected or hoped. so i think this had been a very sobering morning and i thank you all for being here. thank you. >> well, i also want to thank the witnesses and it's been i think very helpful to all members and this is not an issue that's going away so i'm sure that we'll be seeing you again. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
>> and coming up live today on the c-span networks we'll join the heritage foundation forearound update on the global response to ebola and defense department's role in fighting the disease on c-span2. and here on c-span3, at 3:00, live coverage from the u.s. institute of peace and their discussion about women's leadership in africa, co-hosted with the african union and african ambassador group. later a look at the population in prison in the united states with the national academy of
sciences. taking a look at the growth of incarceration and their report examining the origins and impact of having so many people in prison in the u.s., live at 3:00 eastern time we're back on the road to the white house today. vermont independent bernie sanders on a campaign stop as he runs for the democratic presidential nomination. his remarks at 6:00 p.m. eastern time also on c-span. with live coverage of u.s. house we complement that coverage by showing you the most relevant hearings.
the presidency look agent the policies and legacies of our nation's commanders in chief. lectures in history with top college professors delveing into america's past. our new series real america featuring areing films. watch us in hd, like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. next, a look at financing of terrorism and ways to cut off money to terrorist groups. earlier this month the house committee heard from witnesses from groups how isis, hezbollah and iran get their money. michael fitzpatrick chaired the hearing and stephen lynch served as the ranking member. this is about two hours.
>> the task force to investigate terrorism financing will come to order. the title of today's task force hearing is a dangerous nexus, terrorism, crime and corruption. without objection the chair's authorized to declare recess at any time. and without any objection all members will have five legislative days to submit materials for inclusion in the record. without objection members of the full committee who are not members of the task force may participate for purpose of making an opening statement and questioning the witness. the chair now recognizes himself for three minutes for an opening statement.
i'd like to thank chairman hensarling and ranking member waters for working to establish this and reaffirming this committee's commitment to using its role to address the threat of terrorism as well as my colleagues here today who will work to ensure its success. at our last hearing, demonstrated the breadth and scope of terrorism throughout the world as well as how these groups have evolved in the face of a strong american response. while the united states has seen some success in shutting these groups out of the international financial system, like squeezing a balloon this has lent itself to the creation of more sophisticated and diverse funding avenues for the terror funding organizations. terrorist groups have become entwined with transnational syndicates or evolves into the role themselves engaging in criminal activities which yield greater profits than simply relying on state sponsorship or big pocket donors. these range from corruption, drug trafficking, human smuggling and extortion. place these funding methods on
top of other nontraditional means discussed in the last hearing, and it ease easy to see that today's terror organizations are better financed than their predecessors even a decade ago. today's terrorist groups and transnational criminal syndicates thrive in highly insecure regions of the world. they contribute to the continued regional instability and internal conflict while organized crime exploits the environments for financial gain and corruptive influence. to witness the impact of this dangerous union, the united states has to simply look to the triborder area. this is relatively lawless region along the frontiers of argentina, brazil and paraguay has became the base for hezbollah activities. hezbollah has engaged in several of the criminal activities mentioned. and through them has succeeded in raising a substantial amount of money to bank roll their actions.
in fact, according to 2009 rand corporation report, hezbollah has netted around $20 million a year in this area alone. it is this type of connection, the intersection between terrorism, crime and corruption that today's hearing will focus on. including current techniques being used by these groups, effectiveness of the current u.s. policy in combating them and where these tactics can be approved. groups like hezbollah, the islamic state and boko haram can no longer simply be considered terrorist groups. they have evolved into sophisticated global criminal conglomerates. in order to combat threats, u.s. policy must evolve as well. that's the purpose for the bipartisan task force and it's my hope that today's dialogue
between our diverse group of members and the expert panel of witnesses joining us leads us to a better understanding of the challenges facing us and shapes our discussion of long term solutions moving forward. at this time i'd like to recognize this task force's ranking member and my colleague, mr. lynch, from massachusetts. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank chairman hensarling and ms. waters for their work on this as well as your own and vice chairman pittenger and of course our panelists this morning. today's task force on terrorism financing hearing will look at the dangerous nexus between terrorism, crime and corruption. this is particularly timely. the director of national intelligence james clapper identified terrorism and transnational organized crime as among the top threats when he testified this past february before the u.s. senate's committee on armed services. according to director clapper, both terrorist and transnational criminal groups thrive in highly insecure regions of the world where they contribute to the
regional instability and internal conflict. they exploit them for financial gain and corruptive influence. one example can be found in venezuela. the "wall street journal" reported that the u.s. drug enforcement agency and u.s. prosecutors in new york and miami are investigating the venezuelan government officials including venezuela's national assembly president on suspicion they have turned the country into the global hub of cocaine, trafficking and money laundering. it is response to the drug trafficking in that company. i bring up the example of venezuela because dennis farah's prepared remarks discuss how a bloc of countries led by venezuela now operate jointly both as a political project with the underlying goal of harming the united states and as a joint criminal enterprise.
these countries are creating alliances across the globe with terrorist organizations including hezbollah and the drug trade is a huge source of the revenue. the u.s. department of foreign asset control previously sanctioned corrupt venezuelan government officials pursuant to the kingpin designation act. for acting for or on behalf of the revolutionary armed forces of columbia. which is the terrorist organization. it's a supporter of narcotics and arms trafficking activities. the crime terrorism nexus may not only play out in venezuela but other parts of the world. as reported by the state department in the april 2014 country reports on terrorism, the triborder region of south
america that the chairman has identified is reflective of the interrelationship between terrorism and financing. according to the report, the triborder area of argentina, brazil and paraguy continue to be an important regional nexus of arms and human trafficking, counterfeiting pirated goods and money laundering. all potential funding sources. i hope this will shed light on the pervasiveness of such threats and i look forward to hearing testimony so we can examine the issues and potential solutions further. thank you for your courtesy. i yield the balance of my time. >> next i'd like to recognize the vice chairman of the committee, mr. pittenger, for one minute. >> thank you, chairman hensarling, in establishing this task force and to ranking member waters and chairman fitzpatrick for your leadership and mr. lynch. i would like to thank the
witnesses for joining us today. this will be a very important and very meaningful hearing. understanding the link between terrorism and crime is a vital step towards understanding what efforts we can to deter the financing. the drug lords and for what benefits, how are they working with transnational criminals, to move money through the financial system. how are they utilizing the same smuggling routes today that have been used for years in past? and what means have they been previously not been utilized like cyber warfare should we be preparing for today? and the bigger question -- what are we going to do to stop it? knowing that we have ended the threat finance cell there are strong concerns that we don't have the capabilities and