tv C-SPAN Weekend CSPAN April 3, 2011 10:30am-1:00pm EDT
very optimistic. he's an allergist can get this done, but outside forces are the problem -- he and chairman rogers can get this done, but outside forces are the problem. >> there are a wide range of things that are unacceptable to senate democrats. the congressman mentioned a wide variety of riders, which our policy additions to spending decisions, but even as many decisions on held bandsaw, there are 12 democratic women in the senate democratic caucus. they are hard news on -- hard- nosed on all of those things and they are on harry reid's net to make sure they are not in the compromise, or they are exceedingly small, and match is not exceeded by defense cuts. those are the limitations that defense spending is operating under. there are ways of the party as it wishes shutdown and elevate the debate because the president has not identified these as huge
bottles we are fighting. >> the planned parenthood issue is hugely important to a social conservative members of the house, but it will not be in the final bill. the president has made that clear and senate leadership has made that clear, and i think republicans know that, but that will cause a major blow up, if and when the decision is made. the problem is when you have that blow up and come to them becomes but, they may run out of time. >> here is a point that is intimately involved in the c- span audience. this house bill, $61 billion from the 2010 budget was on the floor for five days come subjected to 60 hours of debate and 80 roll-call votes. that is a substantial action here it has legislative half. in your civics books from eighth grade, that is a bill, and these members voted on this
bill. they are invested, and this is a legislative product, and they are not going to walk away from that which they voted for and debated in full public view for four straight days in lieu of the senate bill that does not even exist in their mind. has not gone through the legislative process, does not have doesheft -- does not have its heft. so they ask why they should back away from everything they have done because there was a negotiation behind closed doors that they were not party to it. it speaks to the institutional way of how congress operates. them immediately behind it out two big battles -- >> immediately behind it are two big battles. early suggestions are $1 trillion out of medicare -- excuse me, medicaid. that is employed. over the next 10 years and
moving more block systems. where does this go? is this what the year will look like until the election? >> they have enormously difficult things they have to do. a lot of people feel really passionately about spending, doing the debt limit in particular is going to be an enormous gordian knot to try to figure out how to get that through. >> but leadership on the house and senate were notified of the treasury department. that will not arrive until june or july now. keeps getting pushed off, partly because the economy is picking up a little bit, partly because the treasury the farmer has and can carry out, so this issue could go right to the back end of that congressional recess scheduled for august. that could be among the final things congress takes before it goes back to the voters. >> on friday, we learn that the
job number is a benefit to them last month. you were both talking about party policies going into the election. if this number keeps going down, whose advantage? >> the democrats and the president, clearly. >> for sure? even if they are successful in cutting the budget? fellow republicans will argue that as part of the climate that has improved since they won in november. it was a of course the money is coming off the sidelines and people of being hired because businesses are no longer terrified of a cap and trade environmental bill or future regulations coming from this white house, and there is a chance some things in the health care law may be revisited. republicans have argued this is sort of the glowing aftereffect of the november victory. republicans have not, according to democrats, passed a pure jobs bill. that is true, but they would say without a lot of other things that improve the climate. >> the president owns the
economy. as one of the reasons why the republican house right now is going to be the key element to his reelection for sure. >> interesting weeks ahead. thanks for being here. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> coming up, senate and house hearings on u.s. military involvement in libya. after that, coverage on the region continues with deputy secretary of state james steinberg. >> one of the differences between deputy mayor and there is i could say pretty much what i wanted as mayor and the only person that got in trouble was me. >> the current new york city deputy mayor spent eight years as mayor of indianapolis. today, he has a boss and a different job description. >> i'm here to try to make the streets a little bit cleaner and a little bit safer and tax dollars go a little bit farther and prove that large cities,
particularly great large cities, have really vibrant futures, and i steer away from things that will detract from that agenda. >> "q&a" denied it 8:00 on c- span. -- tonight at 8:00 on c-span. >> follow c-span on twitter. you can also join in the conversation thetweet -- and tweet questions directly to our "washington journal" guests. >> defense secretary robert gates answered questions about the u.s. involvement and military actions against the forces of muammar gaddafi before the house armed services committee. he also responded to questions on whether the u.s. has plans to arm libyan rebels. joining the secretary is admiral mike mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. this portion is about an hour.
>> please remove them. >> committee will come to order. we will give them one more chance, but if there is any disruption, you will be removed. please respect that. good morning. the house armed services committee meets today to receive testimony on the president's decision to commit armed forces in an international effort to shield libya's civilian population from the fury of a repressive tyrant.
i commend our fighting forces for manning the wall between freedom and tyranny, and i honor their bravery, but i have concerns about our objectives in libya. our conference version -- our contribution to meeting those goals is america's commitment to what could be a prolonged conflict. secretary is when asked if the u.s. have vital interests in libya said no, but we have interest in the region. the united states has interests in all regions of the globe, but i'm curious what the criteria are for military intervention. history has demonstrated that an entrenched enemy like the libyan regime can be resilience to air power. if gaddafi does not face an imminent military defeat or refuses to abdicate, it seems that nato could be expected to support a decade-long no-fly zone enforcement like the one over iraq in the 1990's, and with iraq and afghanistan already come -- occupying a
considerable share of american resources, i hope this is not the start of a third elongated conflict, especially in a region where we have other, more discernible strategic interests. with america's fighting men and women in harm's way, it is not my intention to second-guess or undermine the administration's authority, but i would like an explanation of the nature of this threat and how american interests will be advanced through the use of military power. fortunately, we have two witnesses, who i hope will be clarity to these ambiguities. defense secretary robert gates and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff admiral michael mullen, thank you for taking the time to attend this open session today. secretary, i understand how busy you have then. i know you have traveled a lot. i know you have tremendous burdens on you, and also you, mr. chairman.
i appreciate you taking the time to be with us today, and that is very important. on a final note, i would like to remind members of the public who are with us today that i will tolerate no disruption to this proceeding. this is a serious matter. members of this committee and the american public deserve to hear what our guests have to say. i will remove anyone who creates a disturbance. thank you. ranking member smith. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary gates, admiral mullen, thank you for being here today. the most important lessons are where we go from here, with the situation on the ground in libya is and what you see the u.s. involvement from this point forward. it is obviously an uncertain situation, and there will be no guarantees or set timetables, but as members in congress, the more information we get on your best estimate of what our commitment will be, for how long, and what will be involved and what our goals are, the better off we will be able to
explain it to our constituents. i also think it is important to flush out a little bit the criteria -- flesh out a little bit the criteria of our intervention. many people are asking why libya and other places that have civil wars going on. i think i have some of the answers, but i think it is important to explain to the american people that this is not an open-ended commitment from the united states, that we will die in and get involved in civil war at any time. i believe there were a unique set of circumstances in libya that warranted this action, but i think it is incredibly important that we explain what that set of circumstances this was, and to let people know that this was not something we will be doing in a great many cases. i think we had a situation where our unique assets and ability could at least in the short-term stock humanitarian disaster. colonel gaddafi was rolling back the rebellion and killing many civilians. there was every reason to believe he would continue to do that, and they were unable to defend themselves. we had a unique situation also
in that you need -- the international community came together. we had a broad base of support. that is important not just because it gives as cover, if you will, for our actions, but it also made it more likely that we could succeed in his absence, and that is one of the most important criteria that i do not think has been talked about enough. you can look at situations in the past in rwanda were even now in syria, bahrain, yemen, and see if humanitarian crisis developing, but that is not necessarily mean we have the military ability to go in there and succeed in stopping that from happening and making things better instead of worse. libya, i think we did have that opportunity. because of the international support, because of the assets we could bring to bear, and because of the fact that we had clear targets to stop, gaddafi from rolling back the rebellion, at least in the near term. i think everyone should be
mindful of the fact that if we had not acted, not only would thousands of civilians in libya have been killed, but the united states of america in the eyes of much of the world would have been blamed for that because they would have seen clearly that we had the chance to stop it and chose not to. as someone who has worked extensively on terrorism policy in dealing with al qaeda, that would have been a crushing blow to us, to once again look like the united states did not care about protecting those in the muslim world who face the violence of despots. we have to factor that in as well. going forward, we need to know what comes next. for the fact that we had the ability to act a week ago does not mean we will continue to be successful. we need to know what the commitment is going to be. i share the chairman's concern. given the commitments in afghanistan and iraq, how long can we sustain this? we look forward to your explanations, and i thank the chairman for your time. >> just a couple of things.
if you could hold until we have the cameras, give them an opportunity to leave. the secretary has a hard and time today at 12:30, so i will really push to keep us in the five minutes. if you have five minutes -- excuse me 11:30 -- what time did i say? 11:30. excuse me. i will hold to 5 minutes. if you want to take more than five minutes to answer questions, they will answer in the record. >> thank you for the opportunity to speak to the ongoing military operations in libya. i would start by providing
context on how we got to this point, at least from my perspective. in the space of about two months, the world has watched an extraordinary story unfold in the middle east. the turbulence being experienced by virtually every country in the region presents both peril and promise for the united states. stability and progress in this part of the world is of vital national interest. this approach has been guided by a core set of principles that president obama articulate it in february, opposing violence come standing for universal values, and speaking out on the need for political change and reform. at the same time, we have recognized that each country in the region faces a unique set of circumstances and that many of the countries affected our critical security partners in the face of common challenges like al qaeda and iran. in the case of libya, our government, our allies, and our partners in the region watched with alarm as the regime of muammar gaddafi respond to
legitimate protests with brutal oppression and a military campaign against his own people. with his forces on the verge of taking benghazi, we face the prospect of casualties and hundreds of refugees fleeing to egypt, potentially destabilizing that important country, eason -- even as it undergoes its own difficult transition. once the arab league and gulf cooperation council called on gaddafi to cease his attacks and our european allies committed real resources, it became apparent that the time and conditions were ripe for military action. the goal of operational odyssey gone much on the jet launched on march 19 was limited in scope and scale here in the coalition quickly achieve its first military objective by effectively grounding colonel gaddafi's air force and neutralizing his air defenses. during this first phase, the
u.s. military provided the proponents of military assets and firepower as well as logistical support and overall command and control. responsibility for leading and conducting this mission, now called operation unified protector, have shifted to an integrated nato command. going forward, the u.s. military will provide the capabilities that others cannot provide either in kind or in scale, such as electronic attack, aerial refueling, live, search and rescue, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support. accordingly, we will in coming days significantly ran down our commitment of other military capabilities and resources in this operation. the nato-led mission, like its predecessor, is a limited one. it will maintain pressure on gaddafi's remaining forces, enforce the no-fly zone and arms embargo, and provide humanitarian relief. there will be no american books on the ground in libya.
the opposing the gaddafi -- and, as welcome as that eventuality would be, is not part of the military mission. in my view, the removal of colonel gaddafi will likely be achieved over time through political and economic measures and by his own people. however, this operation can be great gaddafi pose a military capacity to the point where he and those around him will be forced into a very different set of choices and behavior's in the future. in closing, as i have said many times before, the security and prosperity of united states is linked to the security and prosperity of the broader middle east. i believe it was in america's national interest, as part of a multilateral coalition with broad international support, to prevent a humanitarian crisis in eastern libya that could have destabilize the entire region at a delicate time, and it continues to be in our national gaddafi interests to national --
our national interests to prevent gaddafi from visiting further mayhem as people. i know you and your colleagues have many questions, so i will now ask admiral mullen to comment. as always, my thanks to the committee for the support you have provided to the military over the years. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in which members of the committee, i share the gratitude for the opportunity to talk to you about coalition operations in support of libyan people. let me start with a brief assessment of where we are today and leave me -- leave you some impressions. as of early this morning, nato assumed command of the entire military commission over libya. more than 20 nations contribute to this operation in all manner of ways. some public, some not so public. contributions range across the board from active for this occasion to strike operations to financial aid and assistance for humanitarian efforts. we are joined in this endeavor
by several arab countries, who have, despite the message challenges of their own, chosen to come to the aid of the libyan people. i hope they do so, knowing that the united states and international community remain grateful for their experience and leadership, but also knowing that no one military, no one nation can or should take up a mission of this nature on their own. this coalition is not only one of the willing but one of the able with each nation bring to the effort what they can in terms of knowledge and skill to tackle a very fast-moving, complex humanitarian crisis. 25 warships off the coast of libya today, including two allied aircraft carrier embark. there are also in those waters destroyers and frigates, patrol boats, simmons, and even the
u.s. ready group centered. of the ships and european bases ashore, the nato commander from canada has at his disposal more than 220 aircraft of just about every size and struck imaginable. with these pilots and planes, he may operate freely throughout the libyan airspace, around-the- clock, studying and gaining intelligence of regime ground force movement and intention, striking targets of opportunity on little or no notice, and preventing gaddafi from using his own air force to attack his own people. i would note that among his coalition aircraft are more than a dozen from qatar and the united arab emirates. fighter pilots from the qatar have already flown in support of the no-fly zone mission. u.s., nato, and coalition aircraft flew some 204 sorties,
110 with strike-related, hitting fixed and mobile targets in the vicinity of tripoli, and nasratah. we have such freedom of women because we move quickly in the early hours of operation surrender an effective regime defenses and command and control -- we have such freedom of movement. by mid-afternoon, the no-fly zone was essentially in place. we have continued to strike gaddafi's capabilities where and when needed, and is my expectation that under nato leadership, the level of effort and focus will not diminish. what will diminish as the secretary -- the military operations as we turn our attention to providing unique capabilities. from the balkans to iraq and afghanistan, i cannot remember a time when so many nations
mobilized so many forces so fast. the enemy was not just gaddafi pose a military. it was also the clock as he marched on benghazi, intent on brutalizing the people there. but we were ready. before the ink was even dry on the united nations resolutions, there were planes and sale is moving into position ready to act. they were able to do that because we -- and i mean the collective week, not just united states -- have invested in close relationships with one another, facilitated by nearby air and naval base in, and improved over time through annual exercises, personal exchanges, actual combat experience, and mutual dialogue. nobody is underestimating the scope of the challenge before us. gaddafi still possesses the capability. he still shows every desire of retaking lost ground and in fact did so yesterday. he still wants benghazi back.
he still denies his own people food, water, electricity, and shelter. he threatens them on the streets. he has made no secret of the fact that he will kill as many of them as he must to crush the rebellion. i will lead to our political it is the task of debating the character of the mission, but i can assure you your men and women in uniform will execute that mission now in support of nato with the same professionalism with which they have led the mission until today. thank you for allowing me to be here. thank you for your longstanding support of our men, women, and their families. >> i was pleased the president explained his decision to enter this forces into libya. he made his rationale quite clear, utilizing u.s. lawyers to protect civilians from a dictator is a noble cause, but the president's strategy seems to consist of two mutually
exclusive parts. the first is to protect libya's civilians, which is now the responsibility of nato forces, but the president has also stated that colonel gaddafi must be removed from power. this is a political consideration and not part of the military mission. i am concerned that such a mismatch is a strategy for stalemate. moreover, the president went on to observe that until gaddafi steps down, libya will remain dangerous. that sounds like foreshadowing for an enduring military mission to protect the libyan civilian population. secretary gates and admiral mullen, how long do you anticipate our military mission will last? under what circumstances is it permissible for gaddafi to remain in power? if he does, will it be necessary for u.s. forces to remain engaged to protect civilians? if it is not permissible for gaddafi to remain in power, why
has the military mission been limited? >> first, mr. chairman, you have characterized it correctly in the sense that the military mission is a limited one and does not include regime change. personally, i felt strongly about that. we have tried busy -- regime change before, and sometimes it has worked, and sometimes it has taken 10 years. and it does, as has been the case in iraq, sometimes involve both enormous human and physical cost. the idea here was, basically, to establish the no-fly zone and protect the libyan people. i believe one of the characteristics of protecting libyan people has in fact been our effort to degrade the libyan military.
this is something that after the initial gulf war we actually did not do in iraq, even though we had a no-fly zone. we did not keep attacking saddam's military capabilities, as we are doing in libya. as both the chairman and i have indicated, our role already has begun to recede to the support roles i indicated. we will not be taking an active part in the strike activities, and we believe that our allies can sustain this for some time, but i think that one thing that may make a difference in terms of how long it takes for this regime to change is the fact that we continue to degrade his military capabilities, and i think that may contribute to some cracking of the unity of his own military. but the bottom line is no one
can predict for you how long it will take for that to happen, but i can tell you that the military mission in our and our support role will remain limited -- in our now support role will remain limited, as i have described. >> i would add that, echoing what the secretary said about being able to predict how long, i just do not think that that can be done right now. we have actually fairly seriously degraded his military capabilities, his air defense capabilities come in his command and control capabilities. we have attrited his overall forces at about 20% or 20 percent -- 25% level, but that does not mean he is about to break from a military standpoint because that is just not the case. but i do have great confidence in nato's ability now in command with the resources it has available to be able to budget that capability, and continue in
a support role that the net states will to support that attrition. for the long term, it is obviously, as others have said, there are lots of tools in the kit, and to bring that kind of pressure on him, which gets to the eventual overall policy objective of his leaving. >> ranking member smith? >> i think regime changed by a foreign military force comes with the high cost and unpredictability. the cost of having gaddafi leave with military boots on the ground is too high. we have to put pressure on him in other ways to drive him out. i think is a fairly consistent
position. it does work as we saw in the case of the former yugoslavia. it did drive him out rather quickly. if we can degrade the support for gaddafi and his military, i think that has a better chance of succeeding and is a clearer long-term path than a military invasion. the question i have is about the authority in doing this. there is considerable consternation about that among the fellow members of congress. what is the legal, constitutional authority for the president and military to have acted without prior congressional authorization? i think there is a lot of misunderstanding about the history of that within congress and the media. this is not unprecedented. there has been a bipartisan feeling among democrat and republican presidents that article 2 gives them the authority to act militarily.
there are examples going back decades if not over 100 years. we also have the war powers act out there. it has been the position of every executive that it is an unconstitutional infringement upon their article 2 rights and they do not feel they have to follow it. you could walk through your viewpoint on the authority, i think that would be helpful for members of congress. i do not think it was adequately explained of the briefing. i think that has members of congress feeling they have been left out and that the law has not been followed. i think that is critical for building support going forward. if you could talk about that, that would be helpful for us. >> this is not exactly my area of expertise -- constitutional law. >> you have been there a long time.
i am sure you have something to say about that. >> i was in the white house on the nsc staff when the war powers act was passed in the 1970's. it is fair to say there has been disagreement between the congress and president since then on what is required of him under the war powers act. president obama is the eighth president i have worked for. seven operated under the war powers act. i would say his compliance in terms of compliance and notification of the conference has been consistent with the actions taken bought all his predecessors, both republicans and democrats, since the war powers act was passed. there was a consultation with the congressional leadership before the military operation started, on the friday before
saturday night. about half were present in the situation room. about half were on a telephone conference call. the written, formal notification to congress took place. this has been an area of contention between the executive and legislative branches for better than 35 years now, but i think the president's actions are consistent with those of his predecessors and the executive branch's interpretation of the war powers act. >> thank you. the only thing i would add is that the friday before we launched the attack, we did have the consultation. in the future, it would have been better for the white house to have began discussions with key republican and democratic leaders as we build up to the decision. i do not think that was done sufficiently. i think that would help members
of congress be more supportive of the action when it took place. the i understand it was not your decision. i think that would have been a critical issue. >> let me add one sentence. the president did not make his final decision on what to do until thursday night. having the leadership of the congress in the very next day seemed to me pretty prompt. >> i get that. i was saying that we do not feel it should wait until the final decision is made. there were a lot of things being discussed in the weeks leading up to this. we had gone to the u.n. to ask for the resolution that came down on thursday. we knew it was coming. even before the white house knows what it will do, there is a benefit of bringing leadership in congress into the discussion in terms of building support. i think that would help to build more support in congress if we knew though -- the thinking
process leading up to the decision. >> one of the problems in consulting congress before the decision made versus just telling us what is going to happen is probably what the ranking members is referring to. that is one thing that would help the support in congress. mr. bartlett? >> i would like for you to take my first question for the record. i know others will need to be involved in formulating an answer. under what circumstances would the president request authorization from the congress for use of military force in libya? if not for libya, under what circumstances would the president request authorization from congress to use military force in general? do you see the use of cia and special forces of libya as following the boot print we used in afghanistan?
>> i cannot speak to any cia activities. the president has been clear that there will be no boots on the ground in terms of the u.s. military. in afghanistan, we went in to assist a well organized resistance group, the northern alliance. we took sides in the civil war and joined the side that was going to win any help. in libya the only opposition group in recent history is the libyan islamic fighting group, a radical faction that has been waging jihad against the gaddafi regime. following 9/11, it was banned worldwide by u.n. resolutions. it is my understanding that the lifg is aligned with aigm.
thomas friedman noted that libya is not a nation. there is no loyalty to libya. it is a collection of 140 different tribes and much more like a rock. are we now aiding and abetting the same organizations we're fighting in afghanistan and iraq? >> to be honest, other than a handful of leaders, we do not have much visibility into those who have risen against gaddafi. speaking of the "opposition" is a misnomer. it is very disparate. it is very scattered. each element probably has its own agenda. s that have town' risen up in the west where resistance has been " basically did so on their own. you did not see people going from one town to the next to
share in the fight. that is one of the problems those who have rebelled against gaddafi are facing -- the lack of command and control and organization. there are multiple agendas. their disparate elements across the country engaged in this. -- there are disparate elements across the country engaged in this. we do not have much visibility into that. >> lig is in fact a major component of the opposition? >> i am not aware. i just do not know. >> i know the premise is debatable, but many people feel this is an unconstitutional and illegal war. i think almost everybody agrees the tax should not be borne by the taxpayers by increasing our $14 trillion debt or by raising taxes. it should not come out of the hide of dod. that hide is pretty thin now.
i introduced a bill that would make -- that would require the president to provide a list of non-security appropriations for fy 2011 by july. this exempts spending for dod and homeland security. this requires that you report to the president with estimates for total expenses in libya based on expenses incurred through may 15, 2001. is this a reasonable time frame to assist congress and our effort to assure the the capability of our armed forces are not degraded by the president's unconstitutional and illegal war? >> i can tell you that our cost as of last monday was about $550 million. we expect the run rate -- we
estimate the run rate will be about $40 million a month. i can give you that information now. >> is this a reasonable time for you to tell us what it will cost? >> i would have to consult with the white house and omb on that. >> will you do that for the record? >> yes. >> thank you. mr. reyes? >> thank you for being here. we know you were working under difficult circumstances. my question deals along the same lines as mr. bartlett's. we know it has been difficult to continue to operate with the budget process tied up in a continuing resolution. one of the concerns is that we
probably are going to be a request for supplemental. that will include libya. if so, will that also include afghanistan and iraq? the second question, there is a lot of concern that with the action now against libya that somehow we're going to have to readjust the commitment we are making, particularly in afghanistan. i represent fort bliss. the number of people have expressed concerns that we're going to somehow shift our assets into libya. can you address the supplemental and any potential for having to shift resources from afghanistan? >> we will not be shifting
resources from afghanistan. thanks to the cooperation of the congress, we are in the process of sending about $600 million worth of additional isr to afghanistan. yesterday in a meeting, i approved an effort to reprogram another $400 million worth of isr afghanistan. we will be adding to afghanistan and not taking away. there have been some electronic attack aircraft moved from iraq to the middle east in a way that we felt did not present any risks to our operations in iraq. in terms of how to pay for this , we are in discussions with the white house now and with omb. i share your view that it would be difficult for the department
to eat this cost out of the base budget. there is an overseas contingency operations bill before the congress. my personal view is that we ought to be able to find a way to deal with this in the framework of that bill without adding to the top line number of the bill. in terms of my interest as secretary of defense in keeping imited, that isltd. the strain on our military. we have 19 ships and about 18,000 men and women in uniform helping on the japanese relief. there are going to be costs associated with that also they're going to have to be taken care of.
between these two operations, i would make a final pitch for those contemplating deep cuts in the defense budget. looking around the world of the commitments we have and the potential challenges we have, i think it bears careful consideration. consideration. >> thank you, mr. secretary. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you both for your work. >> thank you. mr. jones? >> mr. chairman, thank you very much. mr. secretary, admiral mullen. i must tell you fr the last week the american people are so disenchanted, the people in the third district, that the president seemed to say to congress you really aren't a fa factor in whether we do or do not, and i guess that can be debated and i'm not trying to get into that.
i get so upset when i hear -- and, mr. secretary, i have great respect for you and secretary clinton on the interviews this weekend. when you say that we can't tell you when it's going to end, i understand that but, you know, there again, we're going to be in afghanistan four or five more years, maybe ten, i don't know. anyway, we're not a strong nation. we can't pay our own bills right now. i had three wives of marines in camp will lejeune called wonder about a shutdown. their husbands are overseas in afghanistan. they're worried about whether they're going to get a check. they have children at home. that's not really where i want to go. i want to put it where my people see it in my district. this gadhafi is absolutely evil. and yet we take the lead on everything. i don't know where the other
countries are. why in the world don't they take the lead on something? and, yes, admiral mullen, this will be a question for you and i have one for the secretary in just a second. if we now have nato in the lead, does that mean we can reduce our military involvement and reduce the spending of these tommy hawk missiles at a million dollars apiece? that would be my question to you. and, mr. secretary, under what circumstances as it relates to the president's decision to go into libya -- this is piggybacking to what mr. bartlett was asking -- but under what circumstances do you see -- would you see that a president should come to congress before he or she at some point in the future makes a decision like has been madebout libya? that the decision is, well, you know, okay, congress. we'll talk to your top leadership. we'll tell them whate're going
to do and yet to the people's house there is no consultation at all. and i just think that the american people are just tired and fed up. so my question to you is under what circumstances would you believe that the president should come to congress and make a request for military use in libya? you see any circumstances other than what's been done so far where a president -- i will take it away from mr. obama but a leader of this nation, when does the president understand that he has a responsibility to inform congress because, truthfully, we have been left ou in the cold. so, admiral, i have my question to you, i believe. i have a question to mr. secretary. i made it clear enough and you would answer, i would appreciate it. >> the short answer with respect to our commitment is, yes, it will be significantly reduced literally starting today.
we went in fairly heavy early but it was -- and actually it was in great part at the request from a leadership standpoint of our allies in europe originally. so you will see us come down fairly dramatically in the next few days and then sustained at a level of support in the areas the secretary has mentioned. the other thing that i would just mention briefly in terms of can ha confidence in nato, i have sat in this same room over many years and nato has been very badly berated because they wouldn't lead, they wouldn't contribute forces, they wouldn't do things that we would want them to do and we were carrying the load. in this case, it is actually the opposite. nato has taken the lead, done so rapidly, essentially approved its own rules, if you will, and operational plans to execute this mission in record time.
and nato has evolved like many of us but nato has evolved in ways where they are really contributing significant amount of capability in all four aspects of the mission, no-fly zone, civilian protection and humanitarian assistance. and i think they will continue to do that. >> the answer to your question is better provided by individual presidents, mr. jones, because they all make their own judgments on these matters. i think as you all are well aware there has no been a formal congressional declaration of war as far as i can recall since world war ii. there have been different kinds of resolutions, resolutions of support. presidents have sought them sometimes. congress has passed them without the request of presidents sometimes. as secretary clinton has said, we obviously would welcome an action by the congress in support of what the president
has done. that would provide an opportunity for debate. but i think that it is -- the seeking of a resolution even short of a declaration of war depends very much on the specific circumstances involved and just to give you an example, i was asked in a senate hearing several years o whether i thought congress -- if i thought the president had an obligation to come to the congress if he were to decide to use military action against eiran, and i sai i thought so. because i think the nature, scope and duration of such a potential conflict would require it it. so i think the bottom line answer to your question is that's a judgment call that each president needs to make. >> thank you. mr. andrews?
>> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary and mr. chairman. first, i hope you would convey to the men and women under your command how proud we are of them, how grateful and how supportive. second, to each of you, particularly you, mr. secretar thank you for providing a very artful example of candor and duty at the same time. we appreciate and admire the way you conduct yourself. mr. secretary, if you came to us for your posture hearing in february of next year and you reported to the committee that the strategic mission in libya had been a success, not just the military side but the entire strategic mission had been a success, what would that look like? >> well, i think -- i think a policy success would be the
removal of the gadhafi regime and at least the beginnings of the emergence of a more or less democratic government in tripoli. >> admiral mullen testified a few minutes ago that at present, i think i have this righ that the gadhafi forces still maintain a military capability superior to that of the rebels. if that condition were to persist, and -- well, if that condition were to persist, what's the next strategic move on the military side that would be necessary to achieve that success that you just outlined? >> well, i think i can speak with some confidence that the president has no additional military who was in mind beyond what he has already authorized
which is the support of the no-fly zone and the humanitarian mission. so i think what the opposition needs as much as anything right now is some training, some command and control and some organization. it's pretty much a pickup ball game at this point. and as i got a question yesterday in one of the briefings, the truth is in terms of providing that training, in assistance to them, frankly, there are many countries that can do that. that's not a unique capability for the united states. as far as i'm concerned somebody else should do that. >> i think the administration has outlined a strategy that essentially goes like this, that we'll use the military coalition to create the conditions under which economic and diplomatic and military efforts by the
rebels can create success. there are two things that trouble many of us about this mission. the first is a constitutional issue about the way we made the decision to get here in the first place. that's really not your purview. the decision was made, and i think that's a discussion between the head of the executive branch and the congress. the second thing that troubles a lot of us is that, although we are hopeful that that strategy will succeed, that by setting those conditions, we will achieve the result that you articulated and there will be a new government in tripoli that looks something like a democracy, our concern is what if it doesn't succeed? we don't wantto speculate on failure, because that's not a very smart thing to do, but i think there clearly is a concern that we need to have a plan b,
and do you have any sense of what the plan b would be if this one doesn't work? >> well, i think that keeping the pressure on gadhafis -- has merit and is a worthy objective on its own. one of the conditions that i think weighed on the president and on all of us was that with his military power and his money, that gadhafi's ability to disrupt the democratic transitions going on with both of his neighbors, tunisia and egypt, was considerable. and as his own people rose up against him and he began to suppress them, there were my, many foreign workers in libya that felt themselves at risk. so there are over a million egyptia egyptians, for example, in libya, which is one reason why
the libyan -- i mean the egyptian government frankly has been so cautious, because of the lives of those egyptians. degrading his military capability, keeping him under pressure so he he cannot disrupt what's going on in tunisia and egypt, send waves to those countries, all of those things have merit and value on their own in my view. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. forbes. >> thank yo mr. chairman. mr. secretary, if tomorrow, a foreign nation, intentionally, launched the tomahawk missile or its equivalent to new york city, would that be considered an act of war against the united states of america? >> probably so. >> then i assume the same result would be true and the same laws would apply and the same reasoning would apply if we launched a tomahawk missile at another nation. is that also true?
>> well, you're getting into constitutional law here. i'm no expert on it. >> mr. secretary, you're secretary of defense. you ought to be an expert on what's an act of war or not. if it's an act of war to launch a tomahawk missile at new york city, would it not be an act of war to launch that on another nation? >> presumably. >> a foreign leader recently made a statement, and i have a lot of respect for him. the whole world is in an earthquake and everything is shaking. the only thing that keeps you from shaking is the rule of law. many of us are concerned about that. i listened to some of the justifications for the rule of law here. i heard this word. this is okay because it's covered. there is nothing that's covered to change the rule of law. i heard we had a chance for success. there's nothing that success does to change the rule of law. i heard this is a humanitarian crisis. that didn't change the rule of law. syria is in a humanitarian
crisis, should they be scared to death we're going to bomb them tomorrow? i heard it's limited to scope and scale. a small war is okay and the big one is not. and then i heard it's okay to bomb the heck out of them as long as we say our goal is not regime change. mr. secretary, for the rule of law, we've got a very simple statute. the war powers act, which you id you were around when that was written. it doesn't require declaration of war. it requires one of three things. i know you're familiar with them, but i'm going to read them. it says our forces should not be put into hostilities or imminent hostilities by the commander in chief unless one of three things happen, a declaration of war, specific statutory authorization or a national emergency created by an attack on the united states or its forces. my question for y today is, which of those three things took place to justify this act, or if
it didn't, is it the administration's position to the best of your knledge, that they simply don't have to comply with the war powers act? >> it has been the position of every president since the war of powers act was passed that the kind of action that we have undertaken is compliant with law. >> mr. secretary, i would like to try one more time. could you just tell me which of those three provisions, a declaration of war, specific statutory authorization or a national emergency created by an attack on the youths united sta its forces was applicable? >> it has been the view of every president since the war of powers act w passed that the kind of action we're taking is complaint of the law. >> it's kind of like obscenity, we know it when we see it. we can't put these actions in one of those three categories, therefore e conclusion we have to reach is that the president just feels that he doesn't have
to comply with the war powers act and maybe that's what every single other president has felt as well, but i can just tell you in this shaking time, in the rule of law, it doesn't help us when we have these conclusions that the end justifies the means, and mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you. mrs. davis? >> thank you, mr. chairman, ank you to both of you for being here this is a difficult time, obviously. there are so many activities going on around the world. we appreciate the fact that you're there. mr. secretary, i think that we are all in a position of our words being used against us. in this case, i think the comment that you made about our national interest is one that i wanted to give you an opportunity to clarify, even beyond the statement that you made in closing thismorning. could you please do that and, i think respond to the fact that this was obviously, ithink, a
reluctant move on our behalf and wanted to give you both, perhaps, an opportunity to even respond to that. >> well, i think that what happens in libya is clearly in our interest. what happens in the middle east is of vital interest, and libya and what is going on in libya, i think, has an impact on the rest of the region, and i think gadhafi, unrestrained, could have had a very negative effect on the democratic revolutions that are taking place across the region. i have -- i think it's also important to bear in mind that our alls, particularly britain and france, but a number of others have come to our assistance in afghanistan. they have put up 50,000 troops, nearly 50,000 troops, because we
felt afghanistan was in our vital interest. britain and france and our other allies clearly believe that what's going on in libya is a matter of vital interest for them, and so i think that one aspect of this that hasn't been touched on is that we are stepping up to help the same allies who have helped us in afghanistan. they have now taken over the lead of this. i think this is consistent with libya being in our interest, because of our allies' interest in it, but also the vital importance of the region as a whole. i think one of the things that differentiates this. we've been dealing with gadhafi for over 40 years. i cannot recall a single instance in the last 40 years in which the arab league has called for action against one of their own members. so you have the arab league. you have nato. you have the united nations all expressing the view that action needed to be taken against this
guy, and i think that this is an area where the united state is now reseeding creeding to a supporting role, and i think that comports with our interests. >> i would only add, ma'am, that from the military perspective, it's not up to me or those of us in the military to define our national interests. it is up to us to defend them. that's really what we do. >> i would not necessarily get into a what if game, but i also want you to, if you could respond, to the possibility that colonel gadhafi could comply with u.n. demands. i'm wondering whether the administration would want to accept the continued existence of his regime. >> i think that the political future in libya needs ultimately
to be decided by the libyans themselves. the circumstances under which he would be allow ed to remain are hard for me to imagine, but there are conditions that the president has put down in terms of a cease fire, that would include him withdrawing from the cities that he has occupied, restoring the utilities and so on, and stopping killing his own people. everything that we've seen to this moment suggests that he's not in compliance with any of those things. >> is it possible that the rebels themselves would not respect a cease fire? that they would want to continue giving a scenario that we don't see today where there is strength behind that ffort? >> well, agin, i just don't know the answer to that. i think th there are a lot of different diplomatic players
involved, even now, with outreach from both the rebels and from various people in gadha gadhafi's camp, and what the outcome of those >> the second hearing of the day continued during the senate armed services inquiry. admiral mike mullen also joined the defense secretary during this one hour-long portion. >> the first question is for you, admiral. could we have your personal view as to whether you support the military mission in libya as authorized by the u.n. security council resolution 1973? >> i do. >> could we also have your personal view as to whether or not you would support broadening the military mission to include
machine change? >> i do not. ude regime change? >> i don't. >> can you tell us sfwwhy? >> i very much believe that the mission as it is currently stated which is to prevent a humanitarian crisis is, was the right mission at the right time. and in fact, in its execution prevented that as gadhafi's forces marched on benghazi. i think that my own experience with regime change is that can be long and very, very indeterminant in the outcome. clearly the policy of the president is one of to see gadhafi out and regime change in that regard and that can be accomplished through the limited military mission that we have,
and in execution, and then the additional, the the other tools, if you will, that we have to pressure him over time. >> admiral, from a military perspective, you agree that having a broad international coalition and support in place makes a difference? >> oh, i think it has, yes, sir, clearly. >> now, on the question of providing arms to the opposition. admiral, i believe you have aid that you are looking at all options from doing it to not doing it. >> correct. >> and beth of you i believe have pointed out that other countries have the capability to provide arms to the opposition. admiral mullen i think again said that no decision has been made on this question, so i want to ask a slightly different question to you, secretary gates. what do you see are the pros and
cons, politically and militarily, to providing arms to the opposition forces and if they were to be provided, would it be better for the arab nations to provide them? >> well, i think that one of the concerns we have to have is that we don't know much about the opposition, and that we know a handful of the leaders and we have biographic information on and some history, but other than that, we don't know much about what i think is a very disparate disaggregated opposition to gadhafi. we have little insight for example into those who led the uprisings in the cities in the west, and who they are. and below the level of the top leaders, we don't have much information in the respect of the east as well.
another factor i think that there appear to be a substantial number of small weapons available to the opposition. they have broken into magazines and arsenals and taken a good bit of small arms particularly. what they really need is training command and control and some coherent organization. i believe that requires advisers on the ground as would more sophisticated weapons in terms of training them on how to use the weapons. so i think that those are some of the areas that need to be taken into account, and the other part of providing them more sophisticated weapons may enable them to be more capable, but i don't believe that is the
need right now. >> mr. secretary, do we support a real cease-fire coming into exist, and assuming again, it is real. i know there is a lot of doubt about that particularly relative to gadhafi since he has announced five or six cease fires, but do we support a real cease-fire coming into existence? >> well, i think that the president has laid out the requirements for at least stopping the attacks on the ground force, and that is that gadhafi had to withdraw his forces from cities like misrata and one or two in the west. where the fight was still going on as well as pulling well to the west of ajdabiya. when those things were announced, gadhafi was racing
pall mall to the east and clearly had no interest in abating what he was doing. clearly, i would be skeptical of any cease-fire he would agree to. i think that he has demonstrated in the past few weeks that he would take advantage of a cease-fire simply to round up more civilians. >> thank you. senator mccain? >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, we are hearing reports that published reports that the rebels are in virtually full retreat right now. is that correct? >> they had retreated toage c j ajdabi ajdabiya, and whether they retreated beyond that, i don't know. >> and the situation in misrata as reported by cnn that i just looked at again is of severe
hardship and suffering because of the long period of siege that that's the city has been under, and you agree with that i'm sure. so, when the rebels are being beaten badly, misrata is under incredible duress, we choose that opportunity to remove our assistance as far as air support is concerned. will our ac-130s and a-10s continue to conduct operations? >> let me ask the admiral. >> as we continue to transition over the next few days, senator mccain, they are available to the nato commander. >> they are not flying now though? >> i could not tell you whether they were flying today, no, sir. >> so, is there any other assets that our allies have that have
capab similar capability as the a-10s or c-130s? >> no, sir. >> well, as a outcome, one might conclude that the removal of gadhafi will be achieved over time by political and economic measures by his own people and something they did not succeed in for 42 years. >> well, one of the things that is different from the restt of his regime history is that we will continue to attack his military stores and on his logistics, and this is a fact that is one difference between the no-fly zone in libya, and the no-fly zone in iraq during the 1990s, and that is our ability in the current circumstance to continue to attack the ground forces and
continuing to attack and degrade his capabilities with no opportunity for resupply, so his military at a certain point has to face the question of whether they are prepared over time to be destroyed by these air attacks or they decide it is time for him to go. >> so, your words a stalemate in libya is not an acceptable outcome? >> no, i think that from the longer term standpoint, no, it is not. >> and does the withdrawal of strike and u.s. capabilities at this time make a stalemate in libya more or less likely? >> i am not sure it will have an effect either way, senor to. a l -- senator. a lot of it will depend upon the
sor tis th s t sorties that the commission can continue to contribute. i will tell you that we have had the strike aircraft available in a relatively short period of time should it become apparent that the nato capabilities are in inadequate, and another humanitarian disaster such as a race to might occur, so we are sort of in a standby and i invite the admiral to comment, but i believe that our allies have the capability to degrade his capabilities. >> senator mccain, are the allies, denmark, belgium, france, the uk, canada, and along with us have actually been very, very impressive over the course of the week. and as you know, we have been impeded in the last few days by
weather, and it is a question that i have asked constantly of the commander out there as he has watched the various countries perform, andt a least it was his assessment that he had a high level of confidence to continue to execute the mission. >> without the most capable aircraft at the close support are the f-16s which are not designed for that nor are they the most capable. but the fact is that your timing is exquisite. at a time when the gadhafi forces have tragically routed the anti-gadhafi forces, that is when we announced that the united states is abdicating its leadership role, and removing some of the most valuable assets that could be used to a great extent against the rebels. i'm glad to know that small arms will be effective for them.
well, it is very disappointing what you have told us here today, and it is very disappointing that we have a policy that we are not prepared to use means necessary in order to gain that policy in, and i hope that as i said earlier that gadhafi will be deposed from within. i worry what will happen in misrata while we wait to see if our allies need to call in additional help. it's, i guess, one of the lessons of warfare a long time ago i learned is if you go into the conflict, and secretary gates who quoted general macarthur said that there is no substitute for victory. it seems to me that we are not achieving the policy goals and
continuing to relieve the anti-gadhafi forces and in places like misrata. i hope we don't learn a bitter lesson from it. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator mccain and senator lieberman. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you, mr. mullen. i suspect that you believe that the right thing has been done with respect to going in to the no-fly zone and for humanitarian reasons and to say that this is our way of supportive of the democratic rup democratic upriding in the arab world so in that way i agree with president obama. i also agree with president obama, it is unacceptable for our involvement to end with gadhafi still in power. with that sense, i agree with you, mr. secretary, a stalemate
is not an acceptable resolution of all of this. our application of arab power has been having a significant effect. you have saved the people of benghazi from a humanitarian disaster and we opened the way for the opposition to gadhafi to move forward militarily, but the last few days have been me ask matter of fact, following up on what senator mccain said, do you feel confident, mr. secretary, that nato's assumption of the responsibility for enforcement of the no-fly zone and protection of the civilian population does not represent a d dimunition of the air capabilities that the united states brought to bear when we were solely with our coalition partners in charge? >> let me take a crack at that and then invite the chairman because he's more knowledgeable about that than i am. i think it remains to be seen.
the question is whether they can continue to generate the number of sortis that we've been flying and so on. but let me make one thing clear. what we have -- this transition was part of the package and part of the plan with our allies from day one. everybody understood that the united states would come in heavy and hard at the beginning. >> right. >> we would destroy, with our unique capabilities, the air defense capability and his ability to fly his airplanes. and make possible the sustainment of the humanitarian mission and the no-fly zone with potentially fewer aircraft and fewer sortis. but the idea all along was, and it was the agreement that was made with our allies, was that we would commit these very significant resources at the beginning, but there would be a
transition, and we would recede to a support role as soon as we had reached a point where those air defenses had been suppressed. so, you know, this is not a surprise. the timing with their -- with gadhafi's success, which as the admiral said, has coincided with bad weather that's prevented us from flying is unfortunate. but this has been the strategy and the plan all along, and the allies knew it. >> is it fair -- i want to pick up on something you said. obviously it remains to be seen whether nato brings as much to the enforce am of the no-fly zone, civilian protection as we did whether they are capable of flying as many sortis, is it fair to conclude that if for some reason they don't, we will reconsider the extent of our involvement with nato in those actions? >> i think we would have to say that the answer to that is yes. >> okay.
let me go to the other part of this. i understand the decision that it's not one of our military goals to get gadhafi out of power. it's however our political goal. in my opinion, and we're going to advance that hopefully through diplomatic, economic and political means, but if the opposition to gadhafi on the ground is not showing military capability, it seems to me that it removes one of the incentives for gadhafi to leave power. as i understand what happened in the last few days when nato couldn't fly the no-fly zone and the anti-gadhafi forces were basically left on their own, they were overwhelmed. it wasn't a fair fight by the gadhafi forces. so my question is, isn't it critically important, even as part of realizing our political
goal of getting gadhafi out, that we help -- we or our allies provide either more weapons and/or training discipline command and control soon so that they can put up a fair fight and hopefully such a fair fight that they will advance westward and give gadhafi one more reason to leave power? >> well, i think that providing them the training and help like that is important. one of the concerns and one of the issues is frankly they haven't asked for it. you know, it's not clear what anybody would have to work with in terms of getting a number of people together even for the training and who's going to be in charge. so part of the challenge that everybody faces in libya, going back to what i said at the very beginning, is the disaggregated,
disparate nature of the opposition and the way it's scattered across the country. and there's really no critical mass to work with perhaps outside of benghazi. >> that leaves us -- my time's up, but i'd just say i know you know this -- that leaves us with a real dilemma because we've committed american power. nato's committed, arab allies are committed, and our goal politically is for gadhafi to get out of there. and yet the boots on the ground which are the libyan boots are themselves unable to win this fight. so we have -- it seems to me that we're facing a stalemate or even a gadhafi victory unless we and our allies figure out how to make the opposition forces to gadhafi at least an equal to gadhafi's forces. >> well, i think that there is an alternative outcome, senator. and i go back to the point i made earlier. and that is we continue, and the
alliance will continue, to degrade gadhafi's military capabilities. and it wasn't that long ago that there were uprisings all across libya, and gadhafi's forces were on the defensive. they either turned and joined the oppositionists or they retreated out of some of these cities. and it was only because his military capabilities were -- remained intact that he was able to put down those uprisings. so there's clearly a lot of people across libya that are ready to rise up against this guy. and if we can sufficiently degrade his military capability, it seems to me, that then gives them the opportunity to do that. >> i appreciate that answer. thank you very much. >> senator wicker. >> thank you. i want to agree with senator lieberman when he suggested in his questions that it is unacceptable in the end for
gadhafi to remain in power. it is in nuance to say that our military goal is not the removal of gadhafi but that it is our political goal. words are important, and precision is important, and sometimes nuance is important. but that doesn't take away from the fact that our overriding concern, in my view, should be the removal of this international terrorist, this dictator and savage butcher who is reviled in his neighborhood like no leader on the face of the globe. and to think that we would be passing up an opportunity to remove him as a threat to united states interest and is a threat to the region is an unacceptable
thought. both witnesses have said that their view is that over time, i think both of them used the term "over time," colonel gadhafi will likely be removed. that leaves quite a bit of leeway. gentlemen, i wish you well in somehow participating in an effort that continues to be heavy and hard till we have won this thing on the side of the people who we have weighed in with. and there's no question that we have weighed in. senator lieberman said what many of us know the last few days have been unsettling. the last two days there have been reversals for the rebels.
admiral, to what extent have those reversals at all resulted from the removal of united states close air support in the form of ac-130s and a-10s? >> virtually none. what's happened in the last three days has been weather for everything that's flying. and they can't get on the targets. they can't see the targets specifically. and in this -- in the success that the rebels enjoyed the three or four days before that to push gadhafi's forces to the west, they also -- they essentially got -- they stretched themselves too far. gadhafi's forces, as they've come back in the last few days, i've watched them stretch themselves to a point where they are concerned about medical, food, fuel, support, you know,
logistic support. and we've hit their logistic support pretty significantly since this started. literally right now, just before this hearing, the situation was there still. they are consolidating. gadhafi's forces are consolidating south. and what we think, obviously, will -- they will move towards benghazi when they get consolidated. each time the forces have interacted, if you will, the only success the rebels have enjoyed is when they've had that air power, when they've had that support, and that's really allowed them to move. without that, they've had brief contact, but basically they've been in retreat over the last couple of days. they, too, have outstretched their supplies in some cases. as it has evolved over the last
week. >> admiral, to what extent will you be involved in decision-making that might involve a return to action of our ac-130s and a-10s should the type of close air support that our nato allies are presently prepared to use? >> first, the ac-130s and a-10s are still available and they will be for the next few days. they're available to the commander -- >> it's a mistake to say they've been taken out of the action except for the weather. >> correct. >> that's comforting to know. >> i honestly don't know if they're flying today or not. but they're not -- they're not -- they are still available, if you will, to the commander for the next few days. until this -- until the transition on the complete transition on the civilian protection mission, we have completely transitioned out of that. >> and after that transition, are you suggesting that our nato allies are unlikely to use this best kind of aircraft for close
air support? >> as the secretary indicated, we have made provisions to put in standby united states capability that could be called upon, and that would actually come back up through the u.s. chain to make it available to nato, if the situation were dire enough to do that. >> secretary gates, did the state department spokesman, p.j. crowley, misspeak when he said it's very simple, the u.s. security council resolution passed on libya in that resolution there is an arms embargo that affects libya which means it's a violation for any country to provide arms to anyone in libya? >> that was true of resolution 1970. but it is not true of resolution 1973. the embargo and resolution 1973 apply only to gadhafi and the government. >> so it would be perfectly legitimate and acceptable under the resolution, in effect, today
for the united states to -- and our allies to supply arms assistance to the libyan opposition? >> yes, sir, that is permitted by the resolution. >> thank you, sir. and gentlemen, thank you for your service. i know you're tired, and i know you're focused on this, and i appreciate it. >> thank you, senator wicker. senator webb. >> thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, i have great respect for both of you and for the way you have handled this military situation in this dilemma for the past several weeks. i appreciate all that you've had to do today in your earlier testimony. i'd like to follow up on one thing that senator wicker just said as an introductory comment, and that is, you know, it seems to me and i think everybody else that we are clearly involved in regime change in this issue and
the evolution at the same time of a very unpredictable political scenario. this isn't a military question. you are implementeding a policy decision, but it is definitely a diplomatic reality. we, at the same time, do not know who the opposition is or what they will do if and when, and it's probably when gadhafi leaves. so the situation that we are facing and its implications are much more complex than the way that they are often being characterized over here. and when you have a sustained operation, i think we all have to agree this is something more than a rebellion. i don't know what we would characterize it. maybe you could help me in a minute. i'm not sure we could call it a civil war. but we are arming one side as a result of these decisions.
and for myself, i think we need to start looking very hard into the immediate future. i don't know whether there's going to be a stalemate, you know, secretary gates, i think you answered this question in a way that i would agree. that at some point, this will -- there will probably be an implosion from what we can tell inside libya that will cause a government change. but we're going to have a period where either we're going to have a stalemate or at some point gadhafi is going to fall. and the question for us is how we prepare for that period and what we believe the american policy ought to be because i think we can probably assume that either way there are going to be reprisals, and there are going to be calls for an international involvement in libya in order to sort these things out. my bottom line here, mr.
chairman, is to support what you said. i believe it was yesterday or the day before. that whether or not we are going to invoke the war powers act, i do believe we need to have a process where we have a discussion about the implications of what's going on right now, looking down the road so that we can have some sort of debate and understanding here in the government at large rather than simply having to follow the prerogatives of the administration on this issue. but secretary gates, how would you characterize this rebellion? how should we look at it? is it a civil war? >> i think it represents a fairly broad-based uprising against an oppressive government. i mean, the number of cities and towns in which there were uprisings and people taking it
on themselves to confront the security services and the military i think makes it more of a broad uprising against the government than it does a civil war. civil war would imply that there are -- to me at least -- would suggest that there are two established governments or two established entities that have some kind of structure and that are in conflict for power. the best i can tell from most of these uprisings is that the principle agenda was getting rid of the government they've got. i think one of the challenges that we're all going to face when gadhafi falls is, as you suggest, what comes later.
and i think we shouldn't exaggerate our ability to influence that outcome. the tribes will have a big influence, whether the military splits or the military turns on gadhafi, there are a number of different alternative outcomes here. only one of which is some sort of proto democracy that moves towards rights so i think we have to be realistic about that. >> i couldn't agree with you more. that's what makes the decision-making in this so difficult. the only thing we know that everybody seems to agree with including our side is we think this one individual needs to go. but at the same time, it's going to be an enormous challenge for not, again, to use your terminology and your statement not only for this country but for our vital interest in the region, it's going to be an enormous challenge to see what follows on that, knowing the history of the region and the traditions of reprisals, whether gadhafi's gone or not and the way that we may be drawn in in
the aftermath. so again, mr. chairman, i hope we can have the proper kind of discussion here in the congress on the implications of what we are doing. and at the same time, again, i want to give my utmost respect to both of you for the way that our military and our leadership in the department of defense has carried out their responsibilities as this decision was made. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator webb. senator ayotte. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, secretary gates and admiral mullen. i wanted to ask -- i'm sure both of you are familiar with the secretary powell's doctrine as well as coming off of secretary weinberger's doctrine in terms of when we should engage in military conflict. and i wanted to know whether those questions that are raised in those doctrines were engaged in before we engaged in this conflict. >> i would tell you, senator,
that i think that not only those questions but all of the questions that have been raised in the congress and in the media were discussed and debated at great length and with great intensity as we tried to figure out what to do in this situation. >> secretary gates, just following up on that, one of the questions that would be asked is do we have a clearly attainable objective here? how would you define our clearly obtainable objective? >> well, i think that there are two objectives. there is the military mission which is the no-fly zone and preventing gadhafi from slaughtering his own people. and there is the political objective of the overthrow of the regime. and i guess i just have to say that my view, looking back over the years, is i would be very
hesitant -- in fact, i would oppose the idea of making regime change a military objective. i think if it's to be imposed from outside, i don't see how it can be done without people on the ground. >> what i'm really struggling with is how we meet the objective you just defined of protecting -- preventing a slaughter from gadhafi if we're in a position where the forces, the rebel forces, can't maintain a military position against gadhafi's forces and we're not putting our full might in to make sure that civilians are protected? i just can't understand how we're going to be able to meet the objective that you've identified without going forward in a more forceful fashion than we are right now. >> well, i would just say that when you say putting the full
might of the united states involved, as far as i'm concerned, that's another full-scale war in the middle east. >> let me qualify that, secretary gates. what i'm saying is that we're in a position right now where you said that our goal is to protect civilians, libyan civilians. however, the forces with gadhafi there, i don't see how we can continue to protect civilians, given that he is the threat against his own people that we are seeking to protect them from. so that's why i'm struggling with the political goal versus the military goal and not putting the resources that are necessary. obviously, i don't support putting ground troops in. and with limitations like that, that's what i'm trying to understand. >> well, it is the question of how much you can accomplish strictly with air power. and i think that -- i think what we have seen is that when the weather cooperates with us, we clearly significantly enabled
the rebels with the same kind of military capabilities they have right now to move to the outskirts of sert. so as this moves back and forth, and as the admiral said, their lines get stretched. the limitations on both sides are pretty clear. and i think that we just have to face the reality that we, over time, are taking a significant toll on his military capabilities and his ability to use those forces against his people. >> i just wanted to also, you know, add my support for the comments that senator lieberman made about what i see right now as an inherent contradiction and our policy of being able to obtain the objectives that we've identified in libya. and thank you very much for answering my questions today. >> thank you, senator ayotte.
senator udall. >> thank you, chairman. good afternoon, gentlemen. we've heard that the regime's events have been neutralized. i'd like to use you all to look at the broader picture in that context. can you give a battlefield damage assessment associated with the u.s. and nato's operations? and to what extent have gadhafi's ground forces, armored and unarmored, been degraded? >> his air defenses have been essentially completely taken out. he does have some portable air defense systems that are still out there, although few in number but still with potential. his command and controls have been significantly degraded. we have -- the ratio right now roughly on the ground is about ten to one with respect to his ground forces, his ground
capability. he's got a lot more tanks, a lot more personnel carriers, a lot more artillery, those kinds of systems than the much more lightly armed resistance or opposition forces. so that's the most significant part of what he has left. and that is of great concern. >> admiral was just in front of us as well. and i asked him how the nato forces would interpret the rules of engagement. and now i understand nato has warned rebel forces against attacking civilian targets. i'd like to ask you directly, given that the nato mission is to protect civilians from harm, if rebel forces were to fire on civilian targets or military targets that place civilians in harm's way, what steps would we take to protect innocent people? would we fire on the rebels? >> i have seen nothing so far
over the course of these engagements to negate that the rebels are going to do that. we're very focused on the civilian protection piece of this going in both directions. the main focus is obviously on his regime forces. it's much clearer outside the towns, if you will. senator mccain talks about misrata when you're downtown and they're hiding, gadhafi's forces are hiding in buildings and the like, those shots are not being taken because potential for civilian casualties. so it is, at least from my perspective, the countries who are engaged in this aspect of the mission, both before nato took over and afterwards, i haven't seen, while there's been a discussion about it, i haven't seen nato or we'd be restrictive in that regard assuming we'd
execute the mission in the same way. >> these are delicate questions, i think you would acknowledge. >> they are. >> yes. i share your concerns about worst-case scenarios. i'm remaining optimistic, but i'd like to ask you about options, should the mission last longer than we might expect. are we working to add coalition partners to the mission who could share the load? >> i mean, we've been doing that literally since this first came on the scope, and it continues to work in that direction. so when secretary clinton was in london on tuesday, the swedes came forward with eight aircraft to contribute to the mission. so that work continues to go on. and it's not just about military capability because there's a whole lot of work going on in terms of financial support, humanitarian assistance and other aspects of this mission as well. >> admiral and secretary gates,
i think in secretary gates' well crafted and right-to-the-point statement, you said going forward the u.s. military will provide kamts others cannot provide either in kind or in scale such as electronic warfare, aerial refueling lift, search and rescue and surveillance intelligence and reconnaissance support. then we're going to significantly ramp down our other military kants and resources. does that mean the sortis and ordinance being directed at gadhafi's forces will be provided by our partners in nato? >> yes. >> and we believe that they have the capabilities and the capacity to do that, obviously? >> yes. and as we indicated previously in the hearing, we will have capabilities on standby should they be needed. >> is it fair to say that in effect the military operation is
designed to create space for political options to unfold including, as we all want, gadhafi to leave the scene? >> well, i think this is one of the aspects of this that is always complicated when you're dealing with a coalition and operating under a u.n. security council resolution. the security council resolution provides only for the no-fly zone and the humanitarian mission along with the arms embargo and so on. and so it doesn't talk about degrading his military or regime change or anything like that. so you have individual members of the coalition that are leaning very far forward in terms of the political objective of getting rid of gadhafi, but you also have others in the coalition that say they don't want any part of that. and so, you know, the military mission is being flown and being
operated as the admiral has suggested to fulfill those missions and degrading his military capabilities as seen as the way to try and help protect the civilian population. >> let me just end on this note. secretary gates, i really think you made an important point in your statement again where you said you believe it's in our national interest as part of a coalition with broad international support to prevent a humanitarian crisis in eastern libya that could have destabilized the entire region at a delicate time. i think that's at the heart of what we're doing. thank you for making that clear. >> thank you, senator udall. senator cornyn. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary gates and admiral mullen, let me join my colleagues in expressing our great admiration and respect for both of you. we realize that you didn't make the policy decision, you're just given the responsibility of carrying it out. i only wish the president had taken the time to come to
congress before he went to the u.n. security council to explain to us what he planned to do, what he wanted to do and to secure that authorization for use of military force. not necessarily -- i'm not going to get into a legal argument with anybody about at this point about whether that was required, but it strikes me that it's incredibly important that the american people understand the reasons the president decided to go forward, the limitations on our ability to affect an outcome so they can, then -- we as their representatives could express a view on this matter. but the president has taken that on himself. and now we are being sort of left with the explanation after the fact. there's a poll that just came out today that said that 21% of americans believe that the u.s. has a clearly defined mission in libya. 21%. and i bet if you took a poll of
congress, the numbers would be similar. b but, of course, nato, who is now being handed off the responsibilities in libya, the role of the united states and nato is essential to nato's success, wouldn't you agree with that, secretary gates, and admiral? i mean, it's not as if by handing things off to nato, it's something other than the united states and coalition partners. for example, in afghanistan where we have a 2-1 american contribution in terms of troops on the ground. i'm interested if, in fact, nato makes a determination, secretary gates, that a stabilization force is needed on the ground, i understand it's within the power of the united states government to withhold its participation in
a stabilization force. but would the united states participate in that, or would we withhold? >> well, first of all, i think that the security council resolution specifically prohi t prohibits a foreign occupying force. so unless the circumstances under which any kind of stabilizing force would go in would, i think, be open to debate. i frankly would tell you based on the debate leading up to the nato agreement to take on this responsibility, that the chances of getting an authorization under nato auspices to put boots on the ground would be virtually impossible. >> well, i -- i'm worried, in light of your answer, and i sort of expected an answer along
those lines, that we may have started something that nato's not going to be in a position to finish. and i wish -- well, let me ask you this. secretary and admiral, do you think what the united states plan is if gadhafi were to go into exile tomorrow? >> well, you mean after the celebration? >> well, i -- i hope it would be a celebration. >> i go back to my answer to senator webb. i think we should not exaggerate our ability to influence the political outcome in libya even after gadhafi goes. i think that there is the opportunity for other arab states for the international community to try and influence that out. but i think we're kidding ourselves if we don't think there's going to be some kind of a struggle for power.
>> that means a civil war? >> no, not necessarily. but, you know, even gadhafi rules by balancing the tribes -- the major tribes and playing them off against one another and so on. he does that through money and some intimidation and so on. so it's a complicated business in terms of his governance. even his governance. and i think it's likely to be more complicated in the future. but, you know, i think we've lost our place a little bit in this in a couple of respects. the urgency of this mission was based on the fact that his forces two weeks ago were racing for benghazi, a city of 700,000 plus, and the belief that once he got there, he would slaughter a large number of people. and so the reason for the urgency and the speed with which this came together was to have the capability to stop him from
getting to benghazi. and that part of the mission was successful. the other concern -- another concern was the millions of foreign workers in libya and there's over 1 million egyptians. and the fact that we had hundreds of thousands of them pleai i fleeing to the borders of tunisia and egypt had the potential to create a destabilizing influence in both of those countries. so getting that stopped was very important. and then we have taken on this effort to try and protect the civilians inside libya. but one of the things that i think we have accomplished is to reduce his ability to destabilize north africa and egypt and tunisia. and now we will have to work with our allies and with the opposition inside. >> i have no doubt that the
situation is dire. and again, i wish the president had had this conversation before the u.n. security council was asked to pass the resolution and come to congress and explain it to us and the american people. the one thing i really i wish that we had and i wish the president would explain to us is what the ultimate goal is other than the intermediate goal that you've just described, stopping the rush to benghazi, what the goalter gadhafi leaves and what the responsibility of the united states as part of a coalition or individually to engage in nation building or other efforts there. it also seems extremely open-ended to me, but now it's started, and it's going to be decided, as you suggest, in part by things beyond our control. >> well, i would say, you know, it still remains to be dealt with, but i think that the last thing this country needs is another enterprise in nation
building. and again, this is an area where one of the reasons we acted was because of the urgency that our allies felt. the british, the french, the italians as they contemplated the prospect of significant migration out of libya to their shores. and they really did consider libya itself to be in their vital interests along with the unprecedented action of the arab league. and so i think that we -- i mean, my view is that the future of libya -- the united states ought not take responsibility for that, frankly. i think that there are other countries both in the region and our allies in europe who can participate in the effort, particularly with nonlethal aid and to try and help the development of libya. i just don't think we need to take on another one. >> thank you, senator cornyn. senator shaheen.
>> thank you, secretary gates, admiral mullen. thank you for being here this afternoon. secretary gates, you indicated that our capabilities will continue to be on standby as we have turned over the strike sortis and the embargo to other of our allies. one concern that i have and i think it's been reflected here by others is that a prolonged presence in libya will fall ultimately on the united states to continue to shoulder the burden of the military effort there. so do you have confidence that our european and arab allies in this effort will be able to sustain their involvement over a long period of time? >> they certainly have made that
commitment. and we will see. >> and -- >> but i would say this. and particularly looking at what they have done in afghanistan from the british to others, they thought they were signing up probably for a peacekeeping mission back in the mid-2000s. and at riga, and they have found themselves in years of combat now. and they have certainly stepped up to the plate there and been able to sustain an effort. >> are we at all concerned that a prolonged conflict with our european allies, sharing significant share of that burden will affect their willingness to continue to support the efforts in afghanistan? >> there has been no indication of that at this point.
>> you indicated and we know that both the uae and qatar are part of this effort. are we talking to other arab countries about their providing assistance, either about for military involvement in terms of planes and flights or for helping to provide costs -- coverage for the costs of the effort? >> we haven't talked to them about covering the costs, but we continue to talk to a lot of arab countries. and frankly, there are -- while there are only a couple that actually have planes in the fight, there are a number who are providing support in terms of overflight, in terms of landing rights and a variety of other things that are actually necessary for the success of the mission.
>> are there any other of our allies who are not involved with military equipment or part of the military effort who have suggested they might be willing to help with the contributions to the cost? >> no. >> admiral devretis when he was hire said our intelligence is showing flickers of potential ties to al qaeda and hezbollah within some of the rebel forces. do we have concerns about that, and are we confident that the rebels don't have connections to al qaeda or hezbollah or other terrorist groups that we might be concerned about? >> it's been an area of great focus. and we just haven't seen anything other than what i would call aspirational from al qaeda leadership. in that regard, they are -- i
think this has caught them somewhat flat-footed as well. that doesn't mean that we're not on guard for that or that they might not -- in fact, i do think they'll try to take advantage of it. we just haven't seen anything today. >> one of the things that gadhafi is doing, though, is in his information operations, he is trying to gen up the narrative that the opposition is, in fact, led by al qaeda. and so one of the things that's making it a little difficult is he broadcasts all the time that al qaeda is involved and al qaeda's doing this and that. so we just have to be aware that he's using this in his own propaganda. >> have we been successful with efforts to jam the communications from gadhafi? >> i think we struggled a little bit early on because we're
further out. once the ides went out, we have been able to move over libya. we've been more successful, but i wouldn't characterize it as completely successful or 100% in >> we will hear from republicans and democrats on their concerns for the mission in libya. this is about two hours and 20 minutes. >> the committee will come to order. after recognizing myself and the ranking member, my good friend, mr. berman of california, i will recognize each member for one minute each for opening statements. then we will hear from our witness. thank you.
alas that cheaper pair of your statement for five minutes before we move to the question and answer segment under the five-minute rule. members may have five days to insert statements and questions for the record, subject to the length limitations in the rules. the chair now recognizes herself for seven minutes. mr. mpa secretary steinberg, -- mr. deputy secretary steinberg, public to recognize the members of my constituency your in the audience and the family is overact who are very concerned about the actions of the iraqi government. i urge the department to ensure that iraqi government will comply with its obligations under the status of forces agreement and international human-rights standards. thank you, sir.
government will abide by the obligations imposed on it by the international human rights standard. the president's address monday on the situation in libya was a welcomed development, but left many questions unanswered. he said in a intervention, that there are times when our safety is not threatened, but our interest and values are, end quote. the president has also said that he authorized the military action to quote enforce u.n. security resolution 1973, and the writ of the international community, end quote. whether we agreer odigree with the decision to intervene in libya, concerns are raised across both sides of the aisle about implied future obligations under the ability to protect, which was first generated in a u.n. resolion more than a year ago ich the u.n. has endorsed but failed to refine. the reports of a senior director of multilateral affairs on the
u.s. council staff samantha power led the charge to intervene in libya based on this principle over the objection of military planners only compounds these concerns. some americans therefore question whether we have assumed obligations to forcibly respond to crises everywhere, including the ivory coast, sudan or syria. another area of concern is the scope, duration and objective of the nato-led operation and the political mission that have not en sufficiently defined. nor have the anticipated short, medium and long-term commitments of the united states. the president has called for gadhafi to step down and in favor of a government that is more reprentative of the libyan people. however, administration officials have also said that gadhafi, himself, is not a target, and that the unit states is not pursuing regime change, but then reuters reported yesterday afternoon that the president had signed a
quote secret order recognizing covert u.s. support for rebel forces seeking to ousthe libyan leader and the president said that the objective was to steady pressure, but not military and also through the other means to force gadhafi out, end quote. so mr. deputy secretary, which is it? at is our objective? further, what are the contingency plans if gadhafi is able to cling to power? would a political agreement that left gadhafi in power be an acceptable outcome? what are the implications for libya, for the region and for the united states if the civil war reaches a stalemate? when referring to libyan opposition, is the president referring to armed rebels, to members of the transitional council or to both? and what do we know about the armed forces? what do we know about the memberof the transitional council? what assurances do we have that
they will not pose a threat to the united states if they succeed in toppling gadhafi. and how will opposition forces both political and military be vetted? just yesterday secretary clinton stated that resolution 1973 amended or overroad previous security resolutions imposing an arms embargo in libya. the secretary said quote, amended or overroad the prohibition on arms for anyone in libya so that there could be a legitimate transfer of arms if a country should choose to do that, end quote. mr. secretary, i ask how is the u.s. defining legitimate? does the administration contend that u.n. security council resolution 1973 overrides u.s. prohibitions? anddoes that u.n., does that mean that the u.n. resolutions
create u.s. laws? there are reports that some opposition figures have links to al qaeda and extreme itself groups who have fought against our forces in iraq. so my constituents are asking, just who are we helping, and are we sure they are true allies who won't turn and work against us? these are valid concerns particularly given the administration's less than stellar record on promoting democracy and governance in libya which would have included funding organizations run by the gadhafi family had this committee not intervened by not signing off on this funding. the record of transfers of military-related items involving libya is disconcerting. for example, over a year, i requested a detailed national interest justification for proposed weapons transfers to libya. the department failed to give us that written justification.
ultimately the proposed transfers were drawn and only after gadhafi began the slaughter of civilians. remarkably however the committee received the letter from secretary clinton earlier this the week regarding the consultation process for defense sales and seeking to limit the time for congressional review. it is ironic that ill-advised weapons transfers to the gadhafi regime were stopped only as a result of this committee's d diligence and now the stat department complains about our efforts to carry out due diligence on weapons transfers. i hope that the administration will commit to work with congress effectively and transparenctly to address vital foreign policy concerns regarding arm sales. the committee will press for answers on the u.s. strategy in libya going forward and our short, medium and long-term commitments. now i'm pleased to yield to my
good friend mr. burrman for his opening remarks. >> well, thank you very much, madam chairman, for calling this timely hearing and before i begin the opening remarks, let me just for on a personal note and then i think on behalf of the committee thank you very much deputy secretary steinberg for your exemplary service to the country. we will miss yo i enjoyed on so many different issues working with you, and my own personal feeling is that former deputy secretary lu is not as prickly as felix and perhaps you were as combative and argumentative as oscar, you were not as sloppy. and you have to read the secretary's release before you know what i'm talking about he, but anyway, i d wish you
the best of luck, and it is a betterment for syracuse university, and we will miss you. presidenobama's response to the crisis in libya may provoke questions that are not fully answerable at this time, but i believe it was the right policy, because the alternative acquiescence in the face of mass murder was intenable, and i believe it was done in the right way, namely with the cooperation of the international community. president obama's policy has unquestionably saved many lives and probably tens of thousands of them, and it has weakened a brutal dictator and egregious t. it will also cause other dictatorial regimes to think twice before they use unbridled violence against peaceful protesters. we have been focusing on protection and doing so in a way that spreads the burden among
our allies in some arab countries. the president has stated clearly that the united states military goals are limited in line with the relevant u.n. security council resolution together with our allies and america's military mission has been one, to implement a no-fly zone and to stop theregime's attacks from the air, and secondly to take other measures which are necessary to protect the libyan people. america's involvement in libya directly supports the united states' national interests. first, the united states plays a unique role as global anchor for security and advocate for human freedom. in libya, we embraced this important role heed-on by preventing a mad man from slaughtering his own people, and secondly, libya's neighbors tunisia and lebanon have just went into their own quest for
freedom. if the violence spills over, it would be a violent outcome. this is not in the interest of the united states or the allies. we have to recognize that this operation is not going to be a success unless it ends with the demise of the gadhafi regime. the reason is clear. the mandate for this operation is that it protect libyan civilians, and yet we all know there is no enduring protection for the libyan people as long as gadhafi remains in power. we also must acknowledge something else that we don't know exactly how gadhafi will be brought down. the president has placed limits on the operation of which i agree, we do not want american boots on the ground. we do not want the operation to be too costly. we do not want it to divert resources from afghanistan and iraq. at the end of the day, however, we have put our leadership prestige on the line, whether
voluntarily by the hand of his own people or as a result of the coalition action, it is essential that gadhafi go. mr. secretary, i hope you will enlighten us how the current strategy of sanctions and international isolation combined with military pressure will hasten the removal of gadhafi from power as much as can be discussed in this unclassified setting. i think that we all understand however that there is no easy recipe. we are all aware of the reports yesterday, and this morning about cia operatives allegedly in libya with the rebels. again, this is an unclassified setting, and i would not expect you to clasfy on the reports, but can you tell usf the administration has made a decision to provide direct military support to the rebels? we would also like to know what the implications are of the handover of the operation go? will the transition be seamless? will the operation look essentially the same as it has in the past two weeks?
will other nato member states pick up the erations that we are ceasing to perform? will nato maintain the tempo of the operation once the u.s. assumes a supporting role? further, i want to hear your thinking of the post-gadhafi era, and maybe it is premature, but we must be prepared if if the region rapidly crumbles under the opposing strategy. in hearing about the post-gadhafi era we want to hear about your thoughts of the transition council and the viability and theoals and the members and the support of the libyan people. in i other contenders for powe in the post gadhafi libya? if we believe it is a likely air to pow e, whwepowe what is the recognizing it like the french? wouldn't it help the sense of isolation? and does the council include elementshat should cause us
concern and how do we make certain that a successor regime does not rort to the same uggish tactics that are gadhafi's hallmark? we have had a long and difficult history with gadhafi as the blood of many americans are on his hands. for a brief period we were willing to tentatively open up a new chapter with him after he agreed to give up weapons of mass destruction and related materials years ago, but when he saw him firing on his people we had to act, because we know from the bitter cynical disregard for human life and the casual willingness to commit murder an inflict torture just to stay in power. mr. secretary, before closing, i want to raise two specific humanitarian issues at differing levels of urgency. first and most urgently, there is humanitarian disaster in misrat and why have we not
established sea corridor relief in misraw to relieve the terrible suffering. i understand ther are 1,700 libyan students in this case in the united states who can't get access to the monthly stipends because of our approacpriate decision to freeze libyan funds. is that accurate? if we are, then how do we rectify this situation? and i would like to say how imperative it is that we keep our eye on the ball at all times. i was eager to see that belarus neft and i would also be remiss if i said that we have once ain imposed sanctions on a company who does no business in the united states. that is symbolic sanction, and that is the case when we did it on the swiss-based but iranian
based niko. when we do that, we are sending an iranian signal more of weakness than strength and having no impact on the economy. such impact is very point of sanctions, and with that, madam chairman, i yield back my nine seconds. well, actually, it is going the other way. >> thank you, mr. burrman, but i thank you for talking about the iran sanctions, and i totally agree with that. i am happy to yield to my colleague from new jersey about the humanitarian efforts and the human rights. >> thank you. i am grateful to the u.s. military personnel and the forces for courage and tenacity, they have used to enact u.n. security resolutns 1970 and 1973. while the forces have heroically taking on another can combat mission in the middle east and performed well, i am concerned
abt the the use of force in libya and more particularly about the path that the administration took to bring us to this point. i know that e undersecretary will answer our questions and ably as he has done an extraordinary job as undersecretary, but i would like to know when we first initiated military action, did the administration know who the leaders of the rebel fosts were? what were the aspirations? surging or giving commitments that they will seek a democracy, the rule of law and respector human rights? i think that is allmportant e especially when we risk the lives of our men and women in uniform to give them air support. i have a number of questions, but i'm out of time. >> thank you, mr. ackerman. the ranking member of theel e te east and southeast asia. >> mr. secretary, thank you so much for your service. you have done an excellent job
and you are always so cooperative for the members of this committee. i would like to use my one minute to be intraspective about what is happening across the capitol from both political parties, becse i am in a bit trouble on the reaction to the president's announcements that have occurred from members of congress in both houses. regardless of party, i don't think that the predisposition to liking the president or disliking the president is a substitute for questioning and evaluating foreign policy. we should be doing that on a nonpartisan basis. i was particularly troubled by so many people who just rubber stamped what the president was doing without thinking about it and equally troubled by those who were critical of the president for doing what they suggesd to do in the first
place and then were critical of him for doing it after he did it. we have to be me careful because we are in a juncture of american history and we have to analyze and appreciate what we are doing about that. >> thank you. >> i want to thank the chair for having this hearing so early. i remember during the war in iraq, it was a year before we had a hearing on iraq. >> thank you, mr. ackerman. thank you. mr. burton, the chairman on the subcommittee in europe and eurasia is recognized. >> thank you, madam chairwoman. i have questions that i hope we will cover today. first of all, congress was not involved in at all in this decision-making process, but the united nations was, and the arab league was, and it seems to me that we should have been involved very, very much at the
beginning of this. the defense secretary said this was not a national security interest but of interest and why is that? there are people who are supposedly terrorists and brad sherman yesterday at the closed hearing gave names of people who have fought us in afghanistan and iraq, and why are we supporting people who may be terroristsr are terrorists and giving us a hard time down the road? you know, i just don't know how we pick these things. the ivory ast, there is a carnage there, and do we have no-fly zone and bomb people there? why did we pick libya and not the ivory coast, because there is more carnage there. >> thank you. mr. payne, the chairman of the committee on global human rights. >> thank you for allowing us to have one minute and mr.
steinberg for your commitment. let me say that i guess that anything that the president does is wrong. i heard someone say if he walked on water, they would say he couldn't swim. so, the fact that six months ago or a year ago wen the lockerbie bomber was released, everybody how terrible it is, and now libya is the worst place in the world, and now people are wondering why we are in libya, and all of the sudden in a year, there is a total change in our position against libya. it is sort of strange. i don't know whether it is who called for action, rather than the action taken. i also would like to know certainly our responsibility to protect is something that is certainly very important. i think that we like to findout about nato's roles, and id'd also like to know about the treaent of the so-called minorities in libya right now who haveeen accused of being
supportive of the mercenaries. >> thank you. mr. ro rbach. >> i give high marks to this committee and administration about how this has been handled. yes, we are up against radical islam and we will hear more about that as this hearing goes on, but if thenited states was not engaged to help them fight for freedom and those people who nt to overthrow tie ranyrants a clupgs in t corruption in the islamic world, we need to be engaged a we do not need to send troops on the ground. if the president sends troops on the ground, you ve lost me, but this is consistent to help those people fight for their own freedom is what we did in the reagan years. it is called the reagan years.
we didn't put people all over the world to help them get action, but we put people all over the world to help those people fighting for freedom. i have been in indirect contact with the leaders of libya of the revolutionary movement that they will repay the united states for evercent we spend helping them free themselves from the gadhafi dictatorship, som looking forward to the hearing, and i think they have handled the situation very well. >> mr. meeks, from the subcommittee on europe and euras eurasia. mr. sherman, i apologize, you were there first. mr. carter. mr. sherman is next. >> i hope to learn today whether the administration will comply with section 5 of the war powers act or whether in the guise of promoting democracy in libya, they are going to undermine
democracy and the rule law in the united states. the administration says that this is cost us only $600 million so far, and they arrived at the number using marginal costs. any a would tell you that you should focus on the full costs which would reveal that this is costing what the american people thk it is costing, that is to say millions of dollars a week. the $30 billion we seized from libya and gadhafi assets should be used immediately to defer these costs. gadhafi has american blood on his hands, but so do some of of the rebel commanders. they fought us in afghanistan and iraq. and we should demand that the rebels extradite these criminals or at least use their best effo efforts, and it starts with stopping cooperation with and seeking incarceration of the man who brags about the efforts he made against our troops in
afghanistan and iraq. i yield back. >> thank you. mr. royce, subcommittee on proliferation and trade. >> two weeks ago the secretary of trade was here and i suggested that we know how to jam gadhafi's communication system and do it. there is no cost to doing it. in fact we had a lot of defections at that timef of officers. for many of us, we realize that we have a $14 trillion debt. we spent a half a billion in a few days in the operation. the estimates are that it is going to be for six months no-fly zone and expensive proposition. we have $33 billion right now in frozen libyan assets, and we need to put those to use. the president boasts about a coalition, and it is time for the coalition to open its checkbook. if we are going to proceed, it
needs to be offset dollar per dollar. because at the end of the day, there are costs to our security, too. we focus, you know,way from our strategic threats. it has taken us far too long for example to exit iraq. so now we have this added commitment. >> thank you. >> the only way for it to go down is to payer for it out of the libyan assets. >> thank you, mr. royce. now, we reready ready tread rr to hear from mr. meeks, and this better be a good minute, because you had a lot of time to prepare. >> thank you. any time the president of the united states commits our military to a mission, it is a sobering moment. i have my full share of questions about the actions in regard to libya, but i want to take the opportunity at the outset of the hearing to get on