tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 17, 2014 5:00am-7:01am EDT
that reconciles the three major groups is absolutely a necessary precondition to the defeat of isil inside of iraq. and so to your point there has to be an integration of diplomatic, economic in the sense of support for the government of iraq as well as counter financing efforts so that the money that a senator previously described that isil is garnering every day can be interdicted, tracked and disrupted. the flow of foreign fighters and those are kind of strategic regional issues really because isil knows no boundaries, knows no borders. it is not a matter of vooens that we form a coalition but a matter of necessity.
tactically we have to get enough of the iraqi security forces to go from defense to offense, to put it about as bluntly as we can. as we do the government of iraq has to fill in behind that. so to be candid there is some risk here that the three big risks that i would mention to you are if the government of iraq fails to become inclusive and though the signs are promising they haven't yet fully delivered. second, if a coalition forms but doesn't have endurance because this is going to take several years. and then the third risk is retribution. when we encourage and assist the iraq security forces to regain lost territory we have to be alert for the fact that unless the government of iraq is there to embrace the people and ensure that they work together there could be retribution on the part of those who may have been seen
as complicit with isil. so we have some challenges ahead. we are open eyed to them. i think we have a good campaign plan. >> i follow up on that. you have significant experience on the ground in iraq. i think you know the region as well as anyone. our military will be able to provide advice and assistance. can you explain the reasons why it is important for the iraqi security forces to take the lead in fighting back against isil on the ground? >> the author has a famous saying that no one in the history of man kind has ever washed a rental car. i find that to be a good way to -- i talked with senator last
week and we were discussing the fact that i think it is now time for the arab leaders to really step up. if this is a threat to them,m.s good to see you. do you consider isil to be an associated force of al qaeda? could you explain your reasoning? >> it has been an associated force of al qaeda. it has over time displaced al qaeda but there are still affiliations to this day. it has been associated with al qaeda. >> general dempsey, we have been talking about syria. it is one of the most complex military environments we have ever seen. as you plan the mission to train and equip moderate syrian
opposition forces how does the dod define moderate. how do we take further steps to ensure the training won't fall into the hands of the extremist groups? >> i would suggest to you that though i recommended doing this a couple of years ago we learned a lot in the intervening time because of the nonlethal assistance we have provided because we have had to make contacts with certain groups in order to flow that nonlethal assistance. and we have learned a lot, as well, from our coalition partners who have been interacting with the free syrian army. we also have learned some lessons in vetting in places like iraq and afghanistan. we are very closely partnered with our intelligence agencies. i would suggest to you that we have come a long way in our ability to vet. in terms of defining a moderate opposition i don't think that
will be difficult. the region has become so polarized that those who are radical in their ideaologies have made their move. those who have not have demonstrated great courage in not making a move. i think we will be able to find the moderate opposition. the 5,400 is capacity. it is what we can throughput at several training bases. it is not the desired end state for a moderate syrian opposition. one last thing about developing a syrian opposition. it needs to be developed with a chain of command responsive to a seariance structure. not responsive to us. they have to be tied, linked to some political structure that ultimately could assist in the governing of syria when the assad regime is either
overthrown or through the negotiation is changed. so the important difference in what we are trying to do here is build a force that can over time actually contribute to stability in syria and not just fight. >> thank you, gentlemen. senator vitter. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you both for your service very much. >> did either or both of you give the president advice regarding a possible new aumf? if so what was it? >> senator, obviously the question of authority was asked aurally on as we develop a strategy and our ad vs to the president does he have the
constitutional authority and his legal council believed he did. does he have the statutory authority? we believe he has statutary authority and constitutional authority. that was a recommendation that i made. he noted as you recall from last we week's statement that he welcomed additional authority that the president would give him because he is feeling strongly that it is important that a strong partnership between congress and the president be established and always be seen in the eyes of the world.
>> i did not specifically say to -- >> i haven't had a conversation in the interagency about what it would look like. >> the current estimate of isis fighters is about 35,000, is that correct? >> i think the last number i saw was actually 31,000. it is not an exact science because as i said there are tribes that are co-opted.
sometimes they would be counted in that number, but their heart is not in it. the latest number is 31,000. >> low to mid 30s is clearly a huge growth over the last several months, correct? >> it is. i assessed its growth because of their success. the reporting probably lags on the ground. when that report was assembled they were at their height of success. >> what is your best guesstimate about what it might be a year from now? >> i haven't formed one. i would be happy to take that one for the record. >> given that number and presumably increasing numbers, i take it everyone agrees some fighting force on the ground on the other side is necessary. what do you think that number has to be over time? >> do you mean the other side of the border? >> i mean our side of the fight against isis? >> i think that in iraq the
combined forces of that part of the iraqi security forces we assess to remain viable is adequate to the task of defeating isil interact. i have concerns about the syria side of this for obvious reasons. >> again, what do you think the syria number on our side of the fight needs to move to? >> the problem on the syrian side is less about how big the moderate opposition should become and more about how the lack of an inclusive government in damascus effects the equation. in other words, the environment inside of syria remains ripe for groups like isis because of the unwillingness of the syrian regime to reach out to the sunni population which makes it challenging to determine how big a ground force would have to be. >> do you have any number in
mind, any guesstimate about what would be a minimal optimal ground force? >> some time ago when this came up and looking at the kind of tasks that we might assign to a force of that size to include restoring the syrian side of the iraq syria border the number that our military planners were considering was about 12,000. >> okay. besides training up syrians on our side, what are the plans to add to that number to come up with a significant fighting force on our side in syria? >> besides the training and equip mission we just described? >> right. i take it the training and equip
mission we are all in favor of can't approach that number anytime soon that we know of. >> that is why i said consistently this takes a persistent and enduring commitment. if you are asking me how does the opposition in syria finally prevail against isil? i think it will require the assistance of in particular jord jordanians and probably some of the syrian kurds and probably the turks. >> going back to the overall isis number of 31,000 to 35,000 what percentage of that would you guesstimate is in syria? >> about two-thirds. >> great majority in syria. thank you. >> thank you, senator vitter. thank you, mr. chairman. secretary hagel and general dempsey thank you for your service.
i am pleased with the strategy developed for defeating isis does include training and equipping moderate syrian opposition. this is something i pushed for over a year in part to prevent the power vacuum among the rebels that would allow a group like isis to gain strength. air power alone does not win a conflict like this. reports of nearly 40 nations agreeing to support the fight against isis are a promising signal. while isis presents a severe threat to our national security it also threatens many countries around the world especially in the middle east. the u.s. cannot bear this fight alone and a strong coalition including the neighboring arab states is obviously critical to destroying isis. secretary hagel what is the administration's plan for going after the funding streams that are supporting isis? for example, it has been reported recently that anywhere between $1 million to $2 million
a day is revenue coming into isis from oil fields and refineries that they have taken over and now control. moving this oil doesn't happen in a vacuum. can you share if and how the u.s. is going after this funding stream? and any other funds that are available to isis? >> senator, as you recall in my testimony this morning i mentioned specifically what the treasury department is doing to coordinate this effort to go after the funding sources of isil. you mentioned oil, black marketing oil through porous borders. that is one of the obvious areas of funding. as you, i'm sure know, isil has gotten control of small oil fields. and that is obviously where it starts. they are multi sourced through
kidnapping and ransom and as they have gone into towns and cities over the last few months and decimated those areas and raided banks and taken possession of great numbers of equities. there is no one answer. it is a multinational effort that our treasury department is leading along with our state department. but be assured that it is a premium focus to cut off resources for isil and it's a premium focus for our strategy. >> i think that is very important because it certainly would degrade their capability. i also think it is critical that the people of syria have an alternative other than isis or other radical terrorist groups like it or the assad regime. that is why i have been pushing the administration to empower and arm the moderate syrian
opposition while a strong force is essential i believe success on the battlefield can only set the condition for the political solution in syria. you were just speaking about this in particular who will be the leader of this moderate syrian opposition force. my question is who is going to lead the force that the u.s. and our partner nations train and equip both politically and military. what is your current assessment of the capabilities? what are the plans to develop the leaders that would form the back bone of a longer term government? >> thanks, senator. one of the -- we believe one of the advantages of undertaking an overt title x train and equip mission it will force that issue. it will force the syrian opposition committee, the syrian
national congress to find some way to establish a responsible platical architecture into which this military force can plug in a way that the other effort has never forced. the other effort largely dealt with through intelligence channels doesn't have the forcing function than an overt program will have. i think the first step is to conduct an overt program. second is as part of the program i can assure you that we will be training rifle men and training leaders so that there is a military chain of command to whom the syrian fighters are responsive. they are not responsive to general dempsey or captain dempsey but responsive to syrians because, again, the effort here is to allow them to take ownership for this in a way that they have not had the opportunity to do so. >> thank you. news reports suggest that there could be many westerners, even
americans, that might be fighting with isis. needless to say, that is a serious concern since it has the potential to create more of a direct threat to the u.s. and our western european allies. can you -- do you see the z%a westerners fighting with isis and the threat to the u.s.? if so is there a part of our strategy that seeks to disrupt their ability to recruit new members from the west, general dempsey? >> of course, i see it as a threat. the radicalization -- the thing that sets isil apart is its radical ideology. there is another question about whether they are an affiliate of al qaeda. they were al qaeda in iraq. they became so radical that al qaeda rejected them.
i consider them to be part of the al qaeda ideology but with a much more apocalyptic, if you will, world view. it's not all 31,000, clearly. but enough of them that were they to be able to achieve it and unless some of the governments in the region can find a way to address the social issues inside of their countries, then the seductive nature of that vision becomes actually the most dangerous part of it which is why their momentum has to be reversed. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. senator fisher. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you gentlemen for the challenges that you are facing and the options you are presenting to congress on this. general dempsey, congress is being asked to fund training for
about 5,000 moderate syrian rebels. if congress would provide that funding immediately, how long do you think it would take before a program is going to be up and running? i realize there is a lot of variables involved in this. you need to find the folks that we are going to be training. you need to thoroughly vet them to make sure that they are the fighters that we need and that we desire. also, how do the moderates leave the field of battle? how are they going to defend that territory in syria while they are being trained? how are they going to defend that against assad? if you can address that, please. >> to the first part of your question, senator, we think three to five months to establish the program. some of that is consumed by contracting for equipment. it is not as much maneuvering people into the right place but
during that period of time we would have to with the help of in particular some of our regional partners recruit and vet. three to five months and then deliver capability between eight and 12 months. that is kind of the timeframe that we are working towards. to your question about will they come to be trained in many cases they have already been driven out of their homes and villages by isil or by the regime in some cases. so we think we will be recruiting mostly from displaced populations and therefore it won't be as though they won't be giving up the security of their families to come and train with us. >> sir, i believe this is the first request from the administration but it will not be the last. we are looking at 5,000 fighters now. we are looking at a growing force by isil that is, as you have estimated, is 31,000.
over the period of months where we are training and finding people, vetting, training them that will only grow in my opinion. as we look at this request i believe it should be separate from the cr. i think it is very important that congress have a full debate on it. i know you probably have nothing to say on how we do our business here but i believe we need to be honest with the american people on what lies ahead and with the request as it is we are not being honest with the american people. if we truly are going to defeat isil, to degrade them and to defeat them it's not just this one request. do you anticipate that the president will be sending more requests to congress?
and if so when may we expect to see those? secretary hagel, i know you are anxious to answer. >> i always like to respond to a fellow nebraskaen. the reason i am going to answer first is because really puts the general in a more difficult position than he should be in. he may want to add something. let me answer this way. first, because i do know a little something about your institution, if it was a perfect world and we didn't have the time constraints that we all are under and you weren't all scheduled to go out here in a couple of days and the world was more perfect i agree this deserves, should have a thorough airing with the american people. >> if i can just interrupt you,
just because we are scheduled to go out on thursday we don't have to go out on thursday, do we, sir? >> that is not a decision for me to make. that falls clearly on your side. that said if we would not get the authority now we would lose a considerable amount of time. and i know it is imperfect. it was never meant to jam anyone or to put anybody in a tough spot but it is my opinion and the president has been pretty clear on this that the time is of the essence here. when the congress comes back and obviously when you come back i assume there will have been an election and start forming a new congress, there will be a debate. there should be a debate about this. as to your questions, what further requests might be coming, right now the president
has been as straightforward and honest with you as i have been. there is no hidden agenda. i can't guarantee you at all. i think general dempsey's point in some of his answers here this morning, he certainly will recommend if he thinks we need some more capabilities somewhere. that's what you want. that is the way i would answer your question. >> i would say that when i travelled the state for three weeks in august all across the state for the first time i heard nebraskaens talk about foreign policy and ask questions about foreign policy. we didn't hear that in any campaign, any debates, any forums. people in nebraska are focused
on this. they know it is a concern. they are frightened but they want this addressed in a way that we know the enemy is going to be defeated. and they expect us to do our job if that means staying here longer than we need to do that. thank you. >> mr. senator. >> i want to thank you for your continued service to the great country. i agree with my colleague senator fisher we should stay here and it should be separated, a big enough issue for it to be a policy discussion and not tied into a funding discussion. with that being said it is what it is. i have a hard time with all of this. my problem and i think i have spoke to both of you. when i go home to west virginia people say what do you expect to be different than what you have done in that region of the world for 13 years? if money or military might hasn't changed it what makes you think you can change it now?
when you look at we spent $20 billion trying to build up an army in iraq and the first time they were tested they ran, turned over the arsenal they equipped them with and is being used against us. anyone see the video of isis taking that back into syria is appalling for us to look at that. when you look at what we have done in that part of the world total of iraq 818 billion spent, 747 in afghanistan and growing. 1.6 trillion to date and growing. 4,400 lives lost in iraq. 36,000 wounded, 2,200 lives in afghanistan and 21,000 wounded. only thing i'm saying is i understand syria is a conflict against the assad regime. everybody in there whoever they
may be is fighting assad, the way i understand it. if they are all fighting assad even though they may not be united we are supposed to carve out 5,000 at $100,000 per person if my math is correct. $500 million for 5,000, correct? so that is $100,000 per person that we are supposed to do. the only thing i know we are short of is that training and weapons will probably be use against us at some time in the future if everything that has happened in the past. i have a hard time understanding why we are going to convince these 5,000 to fight isis who is fighting the same religious war they are fighting against the assad regime. i am in total support of air support and using our tactical and technology as we have. but i think it should be the
arab muslim ground game, if you would. that should be theirs. if we can booster them up a little bit you said we had to go back in then either we did a poor job at training in the beginning or malaki was able to undo everything we have done in the two years we have been gone. if it is that quickly undone what we have spent how can you all explain to me, how can i go home to west virginia and make sense out of this at all? anybody want to take a shot at this? it doesn't make sense to me. >> well, if you put it that way. first, i understand, i think, a lot of the complications. we are dealing with the same issues. so i don't minimize at all what you are saying as you try to explain this to the people you
represent. let me make a couple of points. first, it's not the united states alone that is going to change all of this. this is the whole point of what the president talked about in his statement to the american public last week. we are going to help empower the people of iraq. we are going to do everything we can to support their efforts with a new government, inclusive government. you mentioned the squandering of the last five years with the malaki government which has brought a great deal of this on. >> you said they are a sovereign nation. we don't like the outcome but they have a process. that can change continuously. >> we are hopeful that this new government will put them back on a road of responsible responsive representative government. we are not going to have ground forces on the ground to do it
for them. as you said it should be the people of that region, of the country. as the chairman noted the iraqi security forces have been able to get back on the offensive with our assistance. >> those forces are able -- i'm so sorry. those forces have been able to maybe hold the ground a little bit in their own territories but are not moving into syria. >> we need a ground game in syria. >> isis hasn't been able -- they have tried to take out assad, correct? is it fair to say isis has tried to take out assad? >> isis has tried to take everybody around them. they are a threat to us. that is the main point that is important for you but for all of us. isil is a threat to the united states. >> assad is not a threat to the united states? >> well, it's not the same kind
of threat. i mean, what he has allowed to happen in his own country is why we have -- >> it is barbaric. i am concerned about the united states of america. i am concerned about west virginia and all 49 other states and everybody that lives in those states. i am concerned about how we are keeping them from here to do harm to america. i am for all of that. but i'm just saying our past performance for 13 years in that region hasn't given us the results. we took out saddam hussein. we took out gadhafi. these dictators are unbelievable. if it is not one it will be another. we are taking out and turning efforts to isis or assad. i'm not supporting assad. i think he should be gone. but as long as he is able to
remain there he is fighting the same people we are asking to train to spend $500 million. it makes no sense to me. you can't sell this stuff. no one believes the outcome will be different. i think we probably need to bleed over a little bit. you know, if you look back at some of the -- i have been in the job for three years. i have been pretty clear that we have a generational problem which is to say a 20-year problem. so if it was three years ago maybe it is a 17-year problem in the middle east as these strong men have been overthrown. and what appeared to be for a moment in time a bit of a fledgling democratic movement has been hijacked by some extraordinarially dangerous
people globally. one of the things you can count on the united states military to recommend is that to belabor the metaphor of ground game and other sports analogies i will always tell you what i think we need to play an away game. i don't want to play a home game. i will promise you this, left unaddressed the issues in the middle east will effect probably our european allies far more than us initially. i believe they are awakening to that reality, by the way. there will be a period of unrest in the middle east that initially will probably just be an economic challenge but could ultimately actually threaten us directly here in the homeland. and so we have to -- this is -- we don't have a choice. if i could wall up continental united states and somehow assure you that the people of west
virginia would remain safe i would do it, but we can't. so we have three tools in the military arsenal. one is we can do things ourselves. we call that direct action. second, we can build partners and we can enable others like we are doing with the french. what we have tried to do over the past few years is do less ourselves, more with partners and enable others. that's the right path. we should do less ourselves, enable partners and build partners. if we fail to address all three we are back to doing it all ourselves. so what we are suggesting is a strategy where we can get others not only to do some of the lifting but maybe pay for it, as well. i think that is the message to the people of west virginia. we have to be engaged because people, we are antithetical. most of isil's ideology is antithetical to our values. you can't just let them fester.
do we do it ourselves or try to do it with others? i think it is the right path. >> thank you very much. senator graham. >> that is a good way to begin. i couldn't agree with you more. the goal is to destroy isil and all they represent, is that correct? >> it is. >> very briefly, describe what destroying isil would look like, general dempsey. >> i will probably be a little more articulate about that in iraq because we have a partner and a credible ground force to enable. defeating or destroying isil in iraq will require the combined forces of isf and pesh to go offensive to regain lost territory while concurrently and this is the important part, the government of iraq fills in behind with inclusive
inclusive policies -- you're well familiar with the complaints of the kurds and -- >> can we maybe speed up -- >> then we restore the border, then they're defeated. >> i'm with you. you take all the territory they hold. take mosul and fallujah away from them. put an iraqi military on the ground, loyal to the iraqi, not just shias. you have an exclusive government in baghdad where sunni tribes where they're better off playing politics in baghdad than siding with isil. that's destroying their ability to regenerate in iraq. syria we'll talk about in a minute. i want to continue the theme why this all matters. is there any doubt in your mind, any of you, if isil had the capability to kill millions of americans, they would do so? >> there's no doubt in my mind. they'll kill anybody that doesn't go to their ideological bend. >> i agree. >> if you're a christian in the region, they will i can you very
quickly, is that correct? >> unless you convert. >> okay. i'm trying to persuade my colleagues, are these limited to the middle east? are there radical islamists we should worry about in africa? >> absolutely. >> does the thoers to use military force allow this administration to go in to attack aquip in yemen without a new authorization? >> it does. anything affiliated with aq. >> i'm going to write you a letter and show you the organization we ko not attack without a new aq. i'm a very robust article 2 guy but i think this is a robust reading of the current au. i'm not going to stand in your way. areas of agreement. training the free syrian army, you recommend we do that with all of the complications that go with it. >> and with the coalition, i do. >> okay. >> so, now let's get to syria.
to destroy isil, if two-thirds of isil's in syria, do you agree somebody's got to go in on the ground and dig them out eventually? >> somebody, yes, sir. >> and it's better for us to be part of that somebody than just >> absolutely. >> can you think of an arab army you could form in the next year that you would have confidence that could go in and destroy isil in syria, hold the territory without substantial american support? >> there are partners inr the region who are very capable of special operating forces. and i think the campaign would envision that they would participate. that would certainly be our ask of them to participate in a ground campaign. >> my question is, request you envision a coalition of arab states that have the capabilities to go into syria, defeat isil, hold the territory
without substantial u.s. military support? >> as long as, senator, you'll elaborate on what you mean by substantial u.s. military support. >> getting them to the battlefield. how do they get there? what does it take to maintain a large army in the field? do they have the intelligence capability if we don't help them? do we have sufficient air power to win the day without our support? do they have the special forces capability to kill the leaders of isil without us being on the ground? >> well, i was with you until, without us being on the ground. as i mentioned in previous testimony -- >> it's easy. if you think they can do it without us being on the ground, just say yes. >> yes. >> okay. >> what if they lose. >> any campaign is made on supgss. i just made one. if it's proved invalid -- >> what's the consequences of an arab army going into syria
virtually on their own and getting beat by isil to us? >> i wouldn't suggest virtual on your own. i think there will be enabling support -- >> yes? >> yes. >> we're having a semantic problem here. the bottom line is, what does it mean to the world if we take on isil and they defeat the people we send in to take them on? that's a bad day for us. do you agree? >> it's a bad day for the region, yes. >> bad day for the world, isn't it? >> yes. >> do you agree with me this is probably our last best chance to get these guys in a box and keep them there? >> i think it's our last best chance to convince regional governments that if they don't solve their internal problems, we can't do it for them and they better get serious about it. >> what if the following happens -- the regional players say that i don't trust united states because you've been so unreliable. you have drawn red lines and done nothing. you withdrew from iraq and left the place in shambles.
that i really don't want to follow your leadership because i don't think you're capable of winning the war because you don't have the resolve. what if they tell us, we're not going to do anything other than maybe drop a few bombs? would you consider the recommendation to the president that maintaining safe haven in syria and growing capability over time is a major threat to the united states? could you envision yourself recommending to the president, if nobody else will help us, that we go in on the ground and clean these guys out in syria? >> yeah, i haven't confronted that question yet, senator, but i'll react to it. i don't think that even if we were to go in on the ground, armors vision -- >> the full weight of the military? >> i don't think we would do anything more than push this problem further to the right. this has got to be -- to your
point. if we don't get the kind of coalition i'm describe, then we're into a very narrow ct framework in my view. >> if i may just follow this point. so our national defense in terms of stopping isil from killing thousands or millions of americans if they get the capability, really comes down to whether or not we can convince the arab world to go in there and defeat these guys? >> it really comes down to little a coalition so that what the arab muslim world sees is them rejects isis -- >> they already reject isil. >> do they embrace -- they fund them because the free syrian army couldn't fight assad. they were trying to beat assad. i think they realized the folly of their ways. let's don't taint the mid east
unfairly. is it fair to say syrians have two things in common, they don't like isil and they don't like assad? >> i agree. >> is it fair to say most muslims reject what isil does in the name of their religion? >> yes. >> is it fair to say that if you don't contain this threat and eventually destroy it, that it gets worse over time, and a year from now, if they're still flourishing in syria and this coalition hadn't come about, america's endanger -- more in daj of an attack than we are today? >> yes. >> thank you. >> senator shaheen. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, secretary hagel and general dempsey, both for being here this morning and for your service. i would like to direct my question first in a different direction. i think the barberism and threat
that isil poses really became real for people in this country, certainly for people in new hampshire, with the brutal murders of james foley and steven sotloff. as senator ayotte has said, sotloff is from new hampshire and james foley went to school there. we saw that very personally in terms of what happened. i know it has been reported there was an effort to rescue the hostages who were being held by isil that was not successful. i certainly commend the courageous service members who were part of that effort. there have been reports in recent news stories from the foley family that really raise, i think, very troubling and serious questions about the support that our government provided to the families and to the efforts to free jim foley
and steven sotloff and the other hostages who are currently held who are american citizens. is there more our government can and should be doing to support the families and to looking at how we can help free hostages when they're being held in this situation? >> first, like all americans, our thoughts and prayers go out to the families. as to your question, senator, department of defense does not have the direct contact/responsibility on this. however, that said, thank you for your comments about the rescue mission. it's an open hearing. we don't want to say too much about it, but it's been in the press. to your point about, can we do better and can we do more and is there an effort to address some
of the more human dimensions of this, i'm not going to prejudge our departments and agencies and how they handle it, but i think we all must be mindful of the humanity here involved, if it was our children or any of us personally in this situation. and i know our law enforcement people, people that have the responsibility of dealing with this, it's a tough responsibility. they follow the law. but i think we could and should maybe revisit some of these practices now. our national security policy directive, as you know, is very clear on ransom. that's been in place for many, many years through different administrations.
i'm not suggesting we change that. >> i appreciate that. >> but i think there are some areas that we could do a little better with as far as dealing with families and the human part of this. again, that's not meant assist criticism for any of our i don't know all the facts on how it was handled. >> i certainly -- >> could i, just because you mentioned the mission itself. i've been at this a long time. that was the most complexed, highest risk mission we've ever undertaken. and that should give the family some solace and you some confident that you as military, we are focused on this. we when we had the opportunity to do so, we tried to get them. >> and i appreciate that. i do hope though, given what
we've heard from the foleys and from the other families, that there will be a reassessment of how our government supports families facing this kind of a crisis. i want to go next to the estimate of isil's troop strength, because it's been, as you reported, 31,000 is the most recent estimate. how could it have grown to that size without our intelligence recognizing the threat. and what is part of our plan to address the recruitment? there have been a lot of reports about how effective the messaging is, that isil has been using to recruit young people, particularly westerners. how is that part of our plan and why is our intelligence not picking up the extent to which this effort has been growing?
>> i can't speak for the intelligence committee or intelligence agencies. i'll tell you they're focused on it. the way they grow, though, i mentioned that isil strategy is actually to consume tribes. and so they may be in a conflict with a tribe one day and then overcome it the next, which might increase their numbers by 3,000, 4,000. once the tribal leader pledges allegiance, the entire thing shifts over. so, that's part of it, i think. they've also sprung a few thousand prisoners from different prisons inside of iraq that were very hardened terrorists. so, they are -- they are growing. again, the numbers that are reported are -- were estimated based on the free reign that at the time isil was having in iraq. i think we're going to see a shift on that. that's part of our strategy.
the public diplomacy part of this, which is not a military line of effort, but it has to be -- it has to be part of our strategy. we have to point out to arab and muslim youth, and western youth, for that matter, the risk posed by that ideology. >> >> i want to close by saying, i intend to support the request for funding to train and equip vetted opposition groups in syria. but i do believe that it would be a mistake for us not in congress to have a debate about a long-term, broader strategy to go after isil. i think it's very important for us to have a bipartisan, bicameraal support that the american people can be part of. i know the chairman of the
foreign relations committee is working on a specific authorization for use of military force, which i intend to work with him on. and i certainly hope there will be an effort to the part of the administration to work with congress on that. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator lee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thanks to both of you for being here today and for all you do for our country and for all you do to keep us safe. this is an exceptionally important issue as it relates to our national security. i think the president last week quite accurately portrayed the threats that we're facing from isis, that it's a threat to the middle east with aspirations to attack global targets in the united states. the president should, in my opinion, do everything he possibly can to protect americans and to protect u.s.
facilities in iraq and syria from isis and from other terrorist activity. óx3 however, like many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, that the president authorization for his expanded campaign to degrade and destroy isis. i also do not believe that we should authorize parts of this conflict through a continuing resolution. this is a serious and important discussion about our national security. and it should be debated and discussed, ultimately voted on within congress based on its own merits and it shouldn't be lumped in with a much broader discussion with a lot of other things. i think we owe it to those who
valiantly put their own lives on the line to make sure this is debated and discussed and parameters are properly set in its own context. senator hagel, i have a question as it relates to some of this discussion, as it relates to some things president obama has said in recent weeks about isis. in an interview he gave to -- i believe it was thomas friedman at "the new york times," just barely a month ago, he stated that the notion of arming syrian rebels has, and the next few sentences are all in a quote, has, quote, always been a fantasy. this idea that we could provide some light arms or even sophisticated arms to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists, and so forth, and
that they were going to be able to battle not only a well-armed state but also a well-armed state backed by russia, backed by iran, a harden-battled hezbollah. that was never in the cards, close quote. now, the president, hardly a month later, is seeking authorization to do basically th that, so, mr. secretary, what has changed and why does the president who apparently didn't think that would work and described that as some sort of fantasy, what has changed to make him think it will work now? >> well, first, thank you, senator. at the risk of interpreting what the president meant when he said that, i recognize that is always risky, as i said.
let me address your question this way. what's changed now is the urgency of what has occurred in the middle east, specifically in iraq and syria. two americans, now a third, brutal murder of a british citizen, the different dimensions we've seen the last five weeks, especially unfold, what isil has been able to achieve in a relatively short amount of time. the changing of a government, the leaving of one iraqi government with a new government coming in. over about a six-we're periek p governor, there were a number of occurrences that came together, that i do think presented a whole new picture much have of
realities, of urgency, of danger of threat. let me stop there and see if that helps you a little bit. i saw the interview and i read the interview. but, again, at the risk of trying to interpret what he meant, i offer that. >> and i appreciate that. and i do understand that things -- some developments have occurred since then that have brought this appropriately to our attention, to the attention of the world. i would be curious to know, though, strategically, how that changes. how that changes. something they previously described as a fantasy into something that could be realistic, but i understand that's difficult for you to answer in this context. i'd love to be able to talk about that on another occasion if we can. can you describe what the end objective in syria is for the
united states? in other words, do we still contend assad must go? that he cannot stay in power? also that the -- what the objective is as it relates to moderate groups, that the president would like to see this. what does the post-assad syria look like that we're after, or is that our objective at all? the issue on our position with assad remains very clear. the president stated, i said it in my testimony here this morning, the president has said, still strongly believes, assad has lost legitimacy to govern his own people. we've got a country in complete
chaos because of assad. that's the individual responsible for creating what is occurring and has been occurring. your question about the end state in syria, i think what we, the administration, i think the american people would want to see, and i hope the -- and believe the syrian people is a free syria where men and women and their families have rights to choose and have rights to determine their own leaders and their own futures. and i think that is really the essence of the ultimate objective we would like to see in syria. >> okay. i see my time has expired. thank you, mr. secretary. >> senator, thank you. >> thank you, senator lee. senator blumenthal. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you to both secretary hague. and senator dempsey for, again,
being with us and for your explanation and very forthright testimony here today and in the past both privately and publicly to members of this senate. i want to say to you first, secretary hagel, how much i appreciate the decision you made recently to change the department of defense policy on reviewing other than honorable discharges for veterans suffering at the time of their discharge from post-traumatic stress and most especially my thanks to you on behalf of the 80,000 vietnam era veterans who will benefit by that policy change to give them liberal consideration as they apply to the discharge review boards. these veterans who suffered at the time of their discharge from post-traumatic stress often
received less than honorable discharges because of the injuries that they suffered in combat, at war. and they've lived with the stigma and the black mark on their records for decades. many of them became homeless and jobless as a result. and i want to thank you for committing to me when we first met that we would do the right thing and then, in fact, doing the right thing. so, i really appreciate your policy change in that regard. i want to, perhaps, unfairly quote to you something you said on the floor of the senate in 2002, in october, at the time that the senate voted in favor
witness the beheading, shockingly, repulses ively of these two brave individuals. and yet the war weariness that many americans feel at this point, general dempsey mentioned earlier the quote from thomas friedman, that nobody ever washed a used car, but a lot of people have rented unwashed cars. and it seems to me we are, in effect, renting an unwashed car insofar as we want to make sure that it's serviceable and it works. but do not want to go into a situation where there's no
clearly defined exit strategy. can you tell us what the threat is to the united states that we will eliminate by degrading and defeating isil? >> well, that's always the problem of giving a speech on the floor of the senate. it is on the record. let me just comment on that because it's going to reflect on my answer to your question. i put a lot of time and effort into that speech, senator, and writing it. part of it that you read back, i do not disassociate myself from at all. for those words you read back, i'm even more mindful as secretary of defense of my responsibilities. doesn't mean i'm right, but i'm
even more mindful than i might otherwise be of what i saw occur starting in 2001-2002, and i was part of. that's first. second, to the real question, what is the threat and how will it change? i think we're in a different situation today and what the president has laid out to the american people as to what his objectives are versus where we were in 2002. main reason is that isil is a very clear threat to the united states of america, to our people. you mentioned the two brutal murders of two americans. that's not just a threat. that's an action that was taken. there are a number of other examples to our allies. i thought general dempsey's
commentary to answer a question -- a difficult question of senator manchin posed was full of a lot of thoughtful and wise thinking on where this is all going to go f we don't do what we should do and need to do now. i think that's different from where we were in 2002. because i do think isil is a threat and a very clear threat to the united states, to our interest, to our people, to our allies, and we could spend a lot more time this morning going through that case and making that case, i think what the president's laid out, what i strongly support is the right thing to do because it is in the interest, clearly, of our country. one last point on this. what general dempsey said about
if we don't do something now, and i think the way the president has framed that something, how we're going to do it -- we can't do it alone. i think it's been clear and a lot of the testimony this morning, and the questions that this country, the united states of america, as much as we have engaged, as much as we have bled, the lives we have left behind, we still haven't fixed the problem. we can't fix the problem.
access to potentially billions of dollars in oil revenue. over time what is the specific danger to america if they are able to use that nation's state to project jihad here? >> senator, as you have expressed it and asked the question, over time, if isil is not stopped, and you mentioned the economic power that it has now, then what i would foresee happening, not only immediate
threat to united states citizens and our people, our interests, but i think you could very well find jordan go down as the country as we know it today. i think saudi arabia could well be beyond just threatened, their oil fields. i think the expansion of where this could go in the middle east dominate i dominating oil production. lebanon is also in a very tentative state. libya is in chaos. everywhere you look in the middle east, there is trouble. and if a force like isil, in my opinion, is allowed to continue with its ideology, with its resources, with its capability, then as general dempsey said,
there's no doubt, it will impact this country and the world economy. now, this is down the road, if this is not stopped. but i think that's what we're looking at here, senator. it's an immediate threat to our interest as well. >> general dempsey, worse case scenario if isis were allowed to consolidate power, in your judgment, what would be the worst case specific risk to homeland and to the lives of american citizens? >> the combination of radical ideology, plus the youth bulge. inequitab inequitable division of resources. it would almost surely trigger a confrontation with iran into
which the rest of the world would be drawn for obvious reasons. but also provides them with this combination of resources plus radical ideology we actually haven't seen. most of the radical ideologies are resource starved, resource limited. resource rich radical ideology must become a threat. it's inconceivable it wouldn't be. >> do you believe if they were able to consolidate that power there would be a risk of their attempting and even succeeding with a terrorist attack of the magnitude of that that occurred on september 11, 2001 or potentially even a greater terrorist attack? >> i would phrase it this way. given what they've demonstrated in brutality and utter disregard for human life, other than than that which adheres to their ideology, whatever weapon system they would have in their
possession, there's no doubt they would use it to include weapons of mass destruction. >> well, let me ask about -- it's been reported that up to 100 ner1 100 americans are fighting along side with isis. how would you assess americans with u.s. passports coming back to the united states to carry out acts of terror here? we've been in close contact with intelligence communities and law enforcement. and the risk will increase, unless their momentum is reversed and unless their dominance of the media space -- they are actually quite capable in social media and other forms of messaging. so, unless their momentum is blunted, which will begin to strip away this myth they
surrounded themselves well, and unless we counter them in the media space, then the risk of radicalization flew the internet will continue to rise. >> you would characterize the risks of americans coming back from isis with u.s. passports as significant, is that fair? >> i do. that view is shared by our european allies as well. >> if the objective were to destroy isis, not to degrade é]n 90 days, what would be required militarily to carry that out? >> it's not possible, senator. militarily we could -- we could confronted them, we could destroy a lot of equipment, we could drive them underground, if you will. but as i said, they will onlyçe defeated or destroyed once they're rejected by the populations in which they hide.
there is no -- truly there is no military solution to isil. >> what would be required to kill those who are taking up arms right now? >> well, actually, i think that's the path we're on. which is to say using our unique capabilities, our counterterror capability, our isr capabilities, our air capabilities, while working on the rest of the equation, which is this coalition of willing allied partners -- or willing arab partners, there is no -- i moon, that may be a tough pill to swallow, but there is no military solution. it has to be part of a broader whole of government/regional campaign. >> one final question, secretary hagel. >> the with the, as i understand it, has laid out what could be an extended military operation that could extend many months or even years. in my view, carrying out such an operation, not responding to
immediate exagaincy, requires congressional authorization and i think congress would be prepared to grant that authorization if a case were made with specific objectives. what is your position as to the legal authority of the administration to carry out an extended military campaign for years, potentially, absent congressional authorization? >> well, i believe the president has the statutory and constitutional authority to take the action that he is doing to protect this kn countcountry as it out to the american people last week. >> what is the legal authority you're basing that on? >> the statutory authority is the amf of 2001. if you wanted to add something to that, would probably be the amuf of 2003. >> my time has expired. >> i assume you meant there's no purely military solution to isil? when you said there's no military -- because you're
seeking -- yeah there's no purely military solution. >> thank you. we need to stick very carefully to the six-minute rule because we have one, two, three, four, five at least, and so we have to be out of here at exactly 1:00. so, please, watch that clock, everybody. >> i'm not your problem. >> senator donnelley. i didn't mean -- >> i know that, mr. chairman. i want to thank both of you for everything you've done and for our service to our country. i want to get back to what you were talking about as to having had partners and having buy-in. i heard the role john allen is going to play. is a big part of that role n your mind, working with sunni tribal leadership, the people they worked with before, to try to get them to get back to a place almost they were before, which is working together with
us? in effect, almost a second awakening. >> yes. that's one of the reasons john was such a -- such an attractive figure for that role. you know, lloyd austin, the relationship. he has incredible regional relationships. though, this coalition will be beyond the region. we'll be looking for european partners and maybe nontraditional partners. but john allen is certainly going to focus on the tribes. >> general austin has done a tremendous job, but it doesn't hurt to have someone else in the lineup to help him, i would think. when we look at this, what are the kind of things that general allen can do in effect to start to get the tribes to look at this differently, to say, look, our interests are more aligned with this coalition that's being
put together than with this group isis. >> well, at the national level i think he will, along with our diplomats, encourage the new iraqi government to answer some grievances that both the sunnis and kurds have had for years, actually, since 2004. i think there's some indication that there's reason to believe that could occur. the sunni tribes in anabr. the maliki government was actually, as you might expect them to be, very much against the idea of a national guard in a al anbar. i think this government may be more open to it. i think that will be one of the lines of effort. >> is this something -- this is
for either of you -- that we can get done in iraq if we don't get buy-in from the sunnis? >> as i said in an earlier question, senator, every campaign makes assumptions. if those supgss are valid, you stay on path. if the assumption is rendered invalid, you deviate. one of the important assumptions of this campaign is that we can, in fact, separate the moderate sunni tribes from the isil ideology. if that proves untrue, we've got to go back to the drawing board. >> okay. and you know, we talked about taking back mosul and the effort to do that. and it would involve isf and that we're working with the best parts of isf, or trying to. and i guess this touches back again on that same subject, which is getting the sunnis to accept those parts of isf. is that part of what general
allen is going to do ask what general austin is working on? >> absolutely, yes, sir. >> this is again, for either of you, reports you mentioned financially about isis, you know, getting income of $3 to $5 million pir day, sa what we've heard. they're the best financed terrorist group. some of them have tried to put shoe laces and chewing gum together. that's not the case here. what is the plan or what are we working on to try to cut off their financing? because the oil they're selling has to be going somewhere and someone has to be paying them. so, how are we going to do that? >> senator, i mentioned this in two previous answers. >> i apologize. i wasn't here. >> but an important question. i also noted it in my testimony. that the administration has put together a focus working with our treasury department as key
interagency department. with all other allies and partners around the world, you mentioned oil. the black marketing of oil. has been recently a very significant resource for them. they have taken small oil fields in syria and iraq. that's something that we can address through what we're looking at on some of our strategic focus outside of the treasury department. the ransom, the terrorism, all of the ways they finance themselves we have a task force working through treasury department to focus on this. that has to be and is a major part of our overall strategy, to cut off that funding and flow of resources. >> the last thing i'll ask is about coordination with our european allies in regards to
you were in charge of training the iraqi troops. how many years ago was that? >> 2005-2007. >> will they fight? >> yes, they will fight. if they believe their government is looking out for not only their best interest, but their families. >> if they had united states air support? >> absolutely. y felt they had united states air support? >> absolutely. >> i believe you said earlier our first priority should be isil. is that correct? >> i did, senator. >> i agree with that. no doubt about that in my mind. don't we have a commitment to
encourage the shia, sunnis that we work with for ten years in war and help them establish at least for a time a government that functioned in iraq? don't we have as a nation some sort of relationship by bond between our two nations, even though we've had difficulties in recent years? >> i can tell you those that serve certainly field that bond. >> i've heard that from people that work there. we owe those who have served and suffered to be successful if we can be successful. and i think we can be successful. now we've had a lot of questions about syria and there are many complications in syria. but if we're going to make isil the first priority, shouldn't we make that -- shouldn't we emphasize our relationship with our friends, the kurds and
baghdad and the iraqis and begin to work with them to turn the tide? in terms of strategy where you begin, wouldn't the first place to be to push -- to put isil on the defensive in our ally, iraq? >> yes. >> well, i'm a little -- embedding troops -- i want your military opinion. but if we embedded a number of special forces with the iraqi military and they knew that they are access to intelligence from the united states and air support from the united states, wouldn't that encourage them to be more effective militarily? >> as i mentioned in my opening statement, there may be times when i believe that would be necessary in order to make the mission successful. i don't think so on a day-to-day
basis. >> well, let me just ask you directly. if there's a military unit in iraq today, they had united states military embedded with them and they were asked to undertaken an offensive operation, wouldn't they be more emboldened and encouraged to know they had americans there with them? >> well, in those cases where i would assess the mission to be complex enough where it would absolutely require our expertise forward, i'll make a recommendation to do it. we also don't want them to become a dependent on us. and there's a fine line to be drawn there. >> well, they've become a bit dependent on u.s. air, i acknowledge. i do believe you're correct that they will fight, but they do need -- i don't think they'll have the kind of morale boost we would like them to have if they don't have confidence that they have air support and that is
enhanced with embedded soldiers. surely that's true, is it not? >> i'm actually eager -- i would love to find an occasion where we might have jordanian special forces embedded and -- >> we all have horses. we take a ride. we don't have that. and that's all -- we're talking about down the road. so, you said several times, we need to blunt the momentum. we need to change the momentum on the battle field. don't we need to start taking back a territory in iraq, those of us who share that view? >> yeah, absolutely, senator. but your premise is that we have to have u.s. embedded advisers forward. i don't share that premise at this point. >> did we use em pedestrianbedd when they took the haditha dam back? >> we did not. >> how did we assist them?
>> we have advisers in headquarters can use overhead imagery, full-motion imagery, and direct strikes. >> well, would it be in our advantage to sooner rather than later encourage the iraqis to get on the move? >> absolutely. but we to want make sure they're ready as well. >> how long is it -- well, you started training them in 2007. and it's been a number of months now. i just think we're in a position to start taking some advances. i think it's necessary and to blunt the momentum. secretary hagel, briefly, i notice that the house put in their cr $91 billion for the oko funding and the president had asked for 58. is that money going to be used to -- in addition to the $550
million for training and equipping the syrian -- free syrian army? is that going to be used for carrying out military operations in the region? >> well, i haven't seen what the house did. and i think our comptroller may be here. if i might take a second to ask mike mccourt, who you all know, mr. chairman -- >> have to make it real quick because we got four more -- >> okay. because i haven't seen -- i haven't seen what the house did. and i don't want to say -- respond to that until i know -- >> can you respond in writing? >> we can do it for the record. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i'll provide it for the record. >> if we could get that this afternoon, because obviously it's important what the administration's position is. >> we will. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank both of you for your service. you and the president have made a voe strong case that isil, if
left unchecked, will be a threat to europe and the united states. and they are attracting recruits from all oefrt world, including the united states. general dempsey, you noted that as we were looking at that map, what looks like territorial gains by isil is really a tribal by tribal overcoming. so, my question to you, general dempsey, is how important is it, even as we are asked to provide the authorization to arm and equip the free syrian army, how important is it that we work with the sunni tribal leaders to enable them to fight off isil in both syria and iraq. >> it's an integral part of the campaign plan. >> what exactly are we doing working with the sunni tribal leaders to enable them to fend off isil? >> the -- this is -- this
probably requires the inte grait gra integration of many things. i mentioned already that the government has to show they care about the sunni tribes and not just fence them off in al anbar province. that's one effort. the other line of effort is john allen as he goes forward, using some of his previous relationships to meet with the tribal leaders and begin the formation of a national guard for al anbar province. and then i think it will be a matter of regional partners who have sunni governments providing some of the maybe -- maybe most, actually, of the funding and material support to that organization. >> do you see evidence that this kind of effort is working? that these tribal leaders that have been marginalized or excluded are now going to trust what we're doing? >> i can't make that report yet, senator. what i can tell you is that
while isil was making these broad sweeping movements across iraq, many of the sunni tribes completely got discouraged and wanted to be -- for what was going to happen. they didn't feel they had any reason or capability to stand up to isil. now that isil's been -- the momentum has been slowed. it hasn't been stopped and it hasn't been reversed, but it's been slowed. we did see today, actually, an is unit moving near baghdad, for the fishgs movement south of baghdad. now all of a sudden we're getting tribal leaders reaching out saying, okay, if you're going to be serious about that, we'll talk to you. so, i think it was a necessary first step that we showed we were really serious. >> there were some earlier questions, concerns being made about the free syrian army that has been fighting assad and what makes us believe that when we train and equip them that they
will turn their attention to fighting isil? do we have some kind of agreement with the 5,000 of -- forces, syrian army forces that we are going to vet and train? do we have some kind of an agreement that says, you will fight isil and you're not going to be fighting assad? >> no, we do not have any agreements at all because we haven't begun the recruiting effort. we don't have the authority to begin. we haven't done anything but come up with a concept. >> let's say do you get the authority. then what kind of -- what kind of terms would you -- would you put forth to enable us as much as possible? we realize there are risks here to have us conclude that the people we are recruiting are actually going to fight isil and not assad? >> well, the important part of an overt program is we'll actually -- we'll link it to a
political structure over which we will have a certain amount of influence because of their dependence upon us for supplies, ammunition and so forth. as well as the fact that the regional partners, in particular, i think, as long as they're -- if the regional partners believe we're just going to ignore assad and just leave him there in perpetuity, then we're going to have a problem with building a coalition. but we can, it seems to me, coalesce around the idea that isil is the immediate threat and, therefore, should be addressed first. >> there is the question of what is assad going to be doing while the free syrian army is busy attacking isil? there are a lot of complexities and things -- >> there are. >> secretary hagel, we know isil is attracting recruits from all over the world, including from the united states. i note in your testimony that you said that the department of
justice, department of homeland security, have launched an initiative to partner with local communities to counter extremist recruiting. can you talk a little more about what this constitutes, about what this initiative is all about? >> first, thank you for pointing that out because, as i noted in one of my earlier answers, it's a very important component of the overall strategy here to deal with isil. since i'm not involved in that part of the strategy and the operations, i can't go too deep into how they're doing it exactly. but the point being is to enlist local communities, law enforcement awareness, who's in their communities, who's coming in and out of their communities. just be more alert of things
that are out there that will help our homeland security people, our law enforcement individuals, be more aware of things that are -- may be occurring, shouldn't occur, and then also working with our international partners as we trade information on individuals who are flowing in and out of these countries. we know, as you have mentioned, and marty mentioned and i have mentioned, that there are thousands of europeans that we know are in syria and the middle east. and these people all have passpor passports, which allow them access to our country, to different countries in the world. so, it's a combination of using those sources and coordinating that effort. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you. >> senator cain. >> thank you, senator. thank you to the testimony today. i believe the president's plan
is generally reasonable. but i have one significant point of disagreement that i want to spend some time on. that's the question of whether the president has the authority, without additional congressional authorization, to carry out the mission as described. secretary hagel, you have used the phrase war against isil and others have used that phrase and general dempsey you have talked about a multi-year effort and others in the administration have expressed the same concern. i believe very strongly -- i don't think it's just a theoretical or law professor argument that the president does need the authority of congress that he described. the president's power is composed of twopaíkçó kinds of . the constitutional power is
do that, i can't go on off there president does not have power under the constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack. unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual ongoing or imminent threat against the nation within the last two weeks the head of the director of national --
director of national counterterrorism center said, at this point there's no credible information that isil is planning to attack the united states. i understood the president's comments last week and other comments to suggest that isil was a significant threat, a serious threat, a growing threat. in terms of an imminent threat to attack the united states that would trigger the article 2 defense powers, it does not seem to exist at this point. then there are statutory powers. the white house decided both the 2001 and 2002. in 2001, it's important to remember not only what congress authorized but what congress refused to authorize. the bush administration approached congress and said, we would like the power to undertake military action against terrorist groups to prevent attacks on the united states. if congress had granted that, it clearly would have covered this threat. but congress overwhelmingly rejected that, did not believe
in a pre-empty war doctrine, did not want to have him determine who to go after. congress narrowed it to have it be with respect to the perpetrators of the attacks of 9/11. isil was formed after 9/11. there has been an administrative gloss to go beyond the perpetrators of 9/11 to talk about associated forces with al qaeda. has there been a time when isil has been associated with al qae qaeda? there was but they are are not. they have disclaimed each other. they are battling in some theaters. could a lawyer make a broad argument, really creative argument that it covered isil? i suppose. i'm a lawyer. i've made creative arguments. but this president spoke at the national defense university in may of 2013 and he argued against broadening the open-ended aomf and said what we should do as a nation and what he was committed to was not
broadening it but trying to refine it, narrow it and repeal it. i don't know why we would take it and try to broaden it further. finally, there was the aomf with respect to the iraq. it was designed to topple a government long gone. there have been many governments since the hussein government was toppled. and the administration testified in a foreign relation committee hearing here in may that the 2002 aomf was obsolete and should be repealed. to try to take these two statutory elements and stretch them so broadly i think is a significant problem and it will create a precedent that if we go along with it in congress we will live to regret and possibly regret very soon. that said, i think the mission is reason. but i think congress is necessary. and the president last week and you today have said obviously you would welcome congress. because we're stronger if we do
it together. not just as an institution. we're stronger in the support we provide to the men and women that we ask to bare the risk of bottle. if we ask them to bare the risk in a war that may take a number of years, that will have aspects that we can't currently predict, some will be hurt, some will lose their lives, some will see bat things happen to their comrades in arms. if we're going to ask them to risk that, then we should do our job to bless the mission and say it's worth it. if we're not willing to do our job as congress, bless the mission and say it's worth it, we shouldn't be asking people to risk everything. it's my hope that that body will grapple with this plan, will ask tough questions, will refine it but will give our approval and not ask men and women to serve without us doing the job we're supposed to do in order to demonstrate the national support for the mission that we're asking them to carry out. thank you, mr. chairman.
>> thank you. senator king. >> i'm in complete agreement with senator cane. i'm glad he went before me because he articulated it more clearly and forcefully than i would have. i would only touch a bit on the history. the constitution is very clear and it wasn't an after thought or a minor comma here or there. congress shall declare war. the first draft said congress shall make war. they had -- they argued about an amendment to change make to declare because they realized it was impractical for congress to execute the war. so they changed it to declare to leave the power of execution to the president. but they were very explicit about why they did that. if you look at the 69th federalist, it talks about the differences between the president and the king or other executives. this is one of the things they pointed to and the risk of having the power of war exclusively vested in the
executive. in madison's notes to the c constitution, madison talks about this discussion of the declaration of war and george mason used a wonderful phrase. he said, it is our intention -- it is our goal -- our goal here is clogging rather than facilitating war. that's an interesting term. they wanted it to be of deliberate decision. and i believe, along with senator cane, that stretching the aumf from 2001 or 2002 to cover this situation renders the constitutional clause annul. i just believe -- the danger here is, as this happens year by year, war by war, conflict by conflict, eventually there's nothing left of that provision and we have, in fact, transferred to the executive the unilateral power to commit american forces. that's not good for this
country. and we may like this president. there may be a president down the road we don't like and we don't want to have this power. the more precedent we establish -- it started with truman in korea where there was no declaration. i think the stronger that precedent becomes, the more dangerous it is for the country. i think it's significant that the administration is using the word war. i won't go further. but i think it's an important point. i totally agree that congress has to act. it's our responsibility to act. it's our responsibility to act, and it will strengthen the president's hand, to draw coalition partners if we are unified and we're not -- congress isn't doing what it usually does, which is criticize and second guess and is participating in the decision. second point, we need to be
thinking about three levels of strategy here it seems to me. one is, the plan the president articulated which i believe was a coherent, thoughtful and strong position. the president articulated a plan. the question is, as general dempsey has alluded to today, what if we -- what do -- what's plan b if the coalition doesn't stand up? what happens if turkey and saudi arabia or all the other countries decide that they're not going to participate? and then we're in the position of west waging war or islam, which is what isil wants. we cannot be in that position. we have already quoted tom freedman today, i would -- i will do it again. he had a wonderful phrase. they very to get engaged in t d
struggle. that's how the people get into syria and getting to isil, turkey. the question -- the strategic question is, what if they don't stand up? are we going to do it by ourselves? the answer has to be, we can't. not only because the american people aren't interested in it but also because it isn't going to work. it has to -- this war has to have a coalition face. the third strategic question, forgetting about this current battle -- this is a battle in a long-term war. the real question to me is, what is our strategy for dealing with radical jihadism generally? not just isil. we have al qaeda, isil, aqap, this is geopolitical whack a mole. we have to have a strategy to get to the bottom of why are
young people joining these organization s organizations? how do we counter their message that is attracting people into this radical death oriented philosophy? so i think i would urge the administration, you have to deal with the current crisis. i understand that. i think isil is a threat. but we also have to deal with, okay, what happens if the iraqi army doesn't stand up adequately and what happens if our troops that we trained in syria are unable to really take the fight to isil? the third question which i think is important is, we've got to have a longer-term more broad strategy to deal with this threat. otherwise, this is going to be a 100-year war. i just don't think it's in anyone's interest to contemplate such a terrible outcome. again, i want to thank you gentlemen and your testimony has
been very helpful today, both of you. >> thank you, senator king. senator? >> thank you both for your service and being here today. secretary hagel, much has been talked about the role of turkey and concerns about foreign fighters using their territory to cross in to aid the fighting. when you were in turkey last week, what can you tell us about our engagement with turkey to stream the tide. turkey hasn't committed publically to what it will do as part of the coalition. what can you tell us about their intentions with regard to this effort? >> thank you, senator. i know, as you have expressed and other senators the importance of turkey here. we agree. first, you know that isil is currently holding 46 turkish
diplomats. in my talks with all the senior leaders, this, obviously, was at the top of their priority list, which it would be. secretary kerry was there a few days after i was there. now, that said, turkey recognizes as much as any country the threat that isil poses as other extremist groups. they are working with us now, will continue to work with us. obviously, in an open hearing, i have to be careful that i can't go too far down into this. we would be glad to, in a closed session, give you more. >> also, the oil on the black market. huge financing stream for them. >> it's another issue that we talked to them about. they are not unaware of that. they know that it's a threat. they know it's a major funding source of isil. they are moving to deal with
some of these same issues. our interests are common and clear. i think it's important to recognize, again, that turkey has been an invaluable member of nato, still is. we have a nato base there. we have a lot going on with turkey, as do other nato countries. so their interests are clear and they understand that in this fight. >> many of the members of this committee have talked about the effectiveness of arming the moderate rebels. there was a line of questioning about what agreements do they have with them. certain questions about what information the moderates may have given to isil about their son said the sotloffs. i'm concerned about how we -- when i met some of the opposition fighters the last time i was overseas, they wouldn't even agree to locking down and securing chemical weapons when they were found and
turning them over to an international body. so how can you engage them? how can you truly vet them and how can we have any hope that if they do agree to fight isil on some level, not just assad, that they will continue to do so and not align themselves with isil when they feel like assad is in their sights? >> i think a couple of points need to be re-emphasized to answer your question. general dempsey has talked about it today. i have. in both our testimonies. first it goes back to a couple of recent questions that were asked here in the last few minutes. the united states cannot do any of this alone. this is why the local people, the local efforts, local organizations has to be involved in this. second, confidence and trust in their governments. when you really look at -- with some intensity here what's going on in syria, how did this
happen, why was it allowed to happen in iraq, how did the sunni tribes just walk away from the government, three divisions dropping their weapons and running, why did all that welñ, general dempsey -- i know it's complicated, but he made a very important point. when people are disenfranchised, they don't trust their government. they don't have confidence in their government. their will to fight and to do the things that you are talking about won't be there. to re-establish trust and confidence coming from the locals, helping the locals, helping sustain them, build them, development is as much the answer to your question as anyone thinks. >> the moderate fighters, their goals are to unseat assad. that is their reason for fighting. if we add that additional mission to them, we are going to help you, but you must help defeat isil, i don't know what makes them trade off one mission for the other. i don't know what hook you have
that says, you have to help us defeat isil and we will assist in this in a way that they don't at some point say, no, our goal is to defeat assad, the way to defeat assad is give the weapons you gave us to these better fighters that are represented by isil. >> i don't think they see it as an either or. isil is a clear threat to them. what isil has done to them, to their people, their families, decimated villages, atrocities that isil has perpetrated on these people in syria. so it isn't a matter of we'll fight either isil or assad. what i believe and i think we have clear intelligence on this -- the responsibility that we all have of understanding the people first is it's pretty clear they want a future for their families. they want to live in peace and stability with possibilities for their families, jobs.
one of the points made here earlier this morning, i think general dempsey made it, until there's clarification on the millions of disenfranchised young men in north africa, in the middle east with no jobs, no possibilities, nothing, no hope, despair, then one country isn't going to fix this problem. this is a deep, wide problem. i think it does reflect back on your question. we can't do it alone. it is a long-term effort. but the threats to us are so clear now and to these people that we have to deal with it. >> thank you. >> thank you. i want to clarify one number. you both used the 5,000 goal for the dod train and equip program. this is an if. it is reported -- as published reports indicate there's a covert program -- i'm saying if -- any numbers involved in
on a spending bill today. the house is in net 10:00 a.m. eastern. on c-span2, voting. most of the nominations will be voice vote. on c-span3, state department officials will testify before special house committee on benghazi, investigating the 2012 attacks on u.s. consulate that killed four americans. live coverage begins at 10:00 eastern. up on "washington journal," dr. scott gottlieb about the ebola outbreak in the president's decision to send troops to south africa to help combat the virus. those could tears discusses immigration. he is a member of the hispanic immigration caucus. later, we will continue our conversation on hire education