tv Today in Washington CSPAN April 1, 2011 6:00am-6:59am EDT
the leadership in this party was informed promptly after the president's decision. perhaps we should question our own contact with our own party leadership. but that has not been raised at least so far in this hearing. ilso think that you can see the president's age, democrat or republican, for almost every year in office, they age almost ten years it seems like. th the weight of the world on their shoulders. they have privy to many things that we cannot discuss here in open hearing. i'm all for congress. we are an equal branch, but sometimes we do not take our responsibilities equally seriously with the chief executive of the land. that worries me. because congress should be more than a congress of back seat drivers. more than a congress of arm chair generals.
you gentlemen have conducted your responsibilities ably and well under difficult circumstances. i worry that we in this body have not. so i'm hopeful that on a going forward basis, we can examine some of these things, not having declared a war since world war ii. vietnam was not a war. korea was not a war. we need to get our act together in this body, and this is not a criticism of you. you gentlemen in the executive branch are doing ably and well. we need to get our act together in the legislative branch. thank you for your service. above all, thanks to the troops. in the interest of full disclosure, we need to reflect on congressional shortcomings as well. thank you, gentlemen. >> thank you. mr. coughman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for your service also. thanks to the service of our men and women in uniform.
en mr. secretary and mr. chairman, can you tell me when the -- when it was clearly communicated to moammar gadhafi that if in fact you do these things that create the humanitarian crisis that you describe, that we will in fact intervene militarily to degrade your capability and to stop this humanitarian catastrophe from happening, as we assembled these forces to include predominantly our own? when did we clearly communicate those conditions and what specifically were those were th conditions so that if he ceased his activities in terms of, again, attacking civilian targets, that, in fact, our forces would not intervene?
>> first of all, he should have seen this coming beginning with the gulf cooperation council resolution, then the arab league resolution. so he -- and the moves in the u.n. with the first resolution and then the second resolution. so it isn't extly like he was surprised. what the president said in his announcement of his decisions was that -- that for the attacks -- for the ground attacks to cease, that he would have to pull his forces back away from misrata, from one of the towns in the west that was was -- that he was attacking, restore power and water to misrata and pull back well to the west of ajdabiyah.
so he was very specific in those matters with his announcement of his decision. >> so -- but there really were no clear conditions made. were there really clear conditions made where we were waiting for aresponse from moammar gadhafi on preventing this humanitarian crisis for which we have now are engaging in combat operations? >> he started these actions the minute that the people began -- that the uprisings began in tripoli and the other cities. and, you know, the response was, i think, clearly communicated to him what was going to happen. >> mr. secretary, i don't believe that this -- i served in tharmy and the marine corps and i know what humanitarian missions are and our men in uniform know what humanitarian missions are and they're generally in a permissive environment where our security concerns are simply the integrity of our logistical support.
this is -- these are combat operations, were intended to be combat operations from the beginning. i don't know why this administration has not been honest with the american people that this is about regime change. and it is stunning to me when the president of the united states and his address to the american people says that regime change in iraq took eight years. and this is going to be different. well, regime in iraq took three weeks. it was the humanitarian crisis that was caused by the vacuum of power in the aftermath of the fall of that regime whereby there was anarchy, looting, there was massive criminality and then there was an ensuing sectarian civil war for which we were engaged in that has gone on now for eight years. but it is stunning to me that this is just the most muddled definition of an operation probably in u.s. military history, to say what it is and
what it isn't. to say this is not about regime change is crazy. of course this is about regi change. why not just be honest with the american people? >> well, first of all, i think that the president has been quite clear in terms of what the military mission is. and that's one of the reasons why we can take the position there will be no boots on the ground. most instances where there has been regime change, where that is the objective of the military operation, it has taken ground forces to make that happen. but the president has also been clear -- so there is the military mission, which has limited objectives and is limited in nature and duration and scope. and then there is the political objective or the policy objective of the need for a ange in the regime in libya. i don't see how that's muddled.
>> i yield back. >> mr. loebsack. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first thing i want to say is i really appreciate the fact that we have at least a limited number of airmen from the 185th air refueling wi of the national guard in sioux city who have just been deployed, called up and i have confidence they're going to be doing the job that they're called upon to do. and i want to give them as much credit as possib. often my colleague jim cooper and i don't vote the same way, even though we're in the same party. but i don't know what he thinks about me, but i think he is one of the most thoughtful people in the u.s. congress and i want to associate my remarks with what he had to say. i think he had a lot of great things to say about the role of congress in this. and i appreciate your comments, jim, very much. that being said, my job still on
this committee is to provide at least some degree of oversight of the administration. i was very critical of the bush administration during our involvement in iraq. i'm not at the point where i'm willing to be as critical of the obama administration in this policy. i y never be that critical. i'm still at a stage, like a lot of us, where i'm gathering as much information as i possibly can, given the limited information that in fact, was provided to most of us here in congress prior to the commencement of the operations. but i will continue to engage in oversighto long as this operation continues. i have a lot of concerns about who the rebels are. i know that was brought up already. i know that secretary of state clinton did meet with them over the weekend. can you talk to us some more about who these folks are, because if, in fact, whave a
policy goal as you just stated, mr. secretary, of regime change, then i'm hopeful, though i don't know for a fact but i'm hopeful that the administration has some idea who is going to take gadhafi's place. and will it beomeone among the rebels? will there be some kind of a government that will be made up of a number of different factions that already make up the -- who are these folks and what would be the plan post gadhafi? >> well, we only really have information on a handful of the rebel leaders that have been in the east. we really don't have any information that i'm aware of who led the uprisings in the cities in the west and there may not have been particular leaders. it may have been largely
spontaneous. i think the one thing we haven't talked enough about in this hearing in terms of a post gadhafi period is, in fact, a dominant political reaty even under gadhafi. and that is the critical importance that the large tribes play in libya. and the fact that gadhafi, in fact, has been able to stay in power only by balancing these tribes and by giving them concessions and money and taking their interests into account. so i think in any postgadhafi environment, theribe, the major tribes of libya are going to play a major role in whatever government comes afterward. >> okay, we're at a point now where nato has taken over the military operation, essentially, though we're a huge part of that by definition. i still don't know what that
means exactly. maybe you can flush that out in the coming days. in terms of who would play a very important role with respect to a post gadhafi regime, a construction of that, whatever the case may be, who among the western allies and the united states would play lead role on l of that. haanybody thought about that at this point, i guess? >> as i mentioned earlier, there has been some outreach from the opposition, the opposition was represented at the london conferen conference. but he represents the group in the east. but there is no -- i don't think we have any evidence that he speaks for those in the west. >> can i just say, because i have very little time and i appreciate that, but i have a lot of concerns about so-called nation building. i understand in afghanistan, they argue we're not engaged in
nation building as such, we're engaged in conitution building because the ethnic tribal makeup of the -- of afghanistan is complex, as it is. if, in fact, libya is much more complex than we think it is as well, all i would say closing and thank you fo letting me go a couple of extra seconds, mr. chairman, is we need to be extremely careful moving forward, that we ourselves do not engage in nation building as such, given that the -- what you've already mentioned in terms of libya, the complexity of libya, that's just a cautionaryote on my part. and i'll be looking forward to hearing from you. >> i will tell you i completely agree with you. >> thank you, mr. secretary. >> tnk you. mr. gibson? >> thanks, mr. chairman. i appreciate the leaders here today. certainly a difficult and complex situation you' dealing with. a comment first and then a question. the comment, while i certainly empathize with the libyan people, and gadhafi, despottic leader, to be sure, i pose this
action. when you look at our involvement in iraq and afghanistan, completing our objectives there, i think it is in our vital national security interests. we need to see that through. it certainly has taken a great degree of our effort to do so. al qaeda existential let to our way of life, we need to neutralize that threat, and the deficit, which is also an existential threat. these things, i think, require us to learn from our experiences over the last decade and to exercise discipline going forward. we talked in great detail about the lack of clarity and the les not knowing a lot about these rebels. for what it is worth, based on my experience, my study and reflection on this topic, when your military and political goals are not harmonized you run the risk of strategic failure or having to go back on your promises. we are where we are today. my question has to do with
authorization for going to war. and this is certainly a topic that was of great interest to the founders. we see this in madison's notes on the constitutional convention. we see it in the federalis pers you can read that many many different individual papers. i think suffice it to say the founders were really very concerned about the executive exercising fiat and taking us to war and they really wanted to make sure there were checks and balances to that and we get that through the legislature. and in the constitution that follows. my question to the secretary is, you say the administration is dp complying with law. what law would that be? >> the administration has complied with the elements of the war powers act that involve consultation and notificatio >> so if the congress votes to not authorize, will the administration cease operations? >> i don't know the answer to that bause i don't know the legal -- the legal case.
>> well, clearly this is a question that the american people need an answer to. let me conclude by saying this, that art from how the situation in libya turns out and we'll hope for the best, and i say hope because i'm not convinced that we really have a plan to accomplish the political objectives. we have a plan to accomplish the military objectives, but let's hope for the best, but beyond that, i want to associate myself with the remarks from the gentleman from tennessee, and i think that the major action this congress needs to take up is going forward, bringing more clarity on the use of force and how the legislative and executive branches need to do their duties in concert with their constituti. i thank the gentleman again for commenting and i yield back, mr. chairman. >> thank you. mrs. sutton? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for your testimony. from the beginning days of this
effort, the united states led the coalition. and today and we have heard that nato has taken sole command of air operations in libya and the u.s. is not in the lead. so how does that impact the flow of information to congress and the media about our military involvement, given obviously that we are part of nato. just trying to sort all of that out. could you tell us what to expect. >> let us both take a crack at that, but my view would be that it should not impede it at all, that everything we are doing should be transparent to the congress. >> certainly that's the intent from the standpoint of being inside nato, and those who are -- those who are stationed in -- those in the coalition and those who have positions within the nato structure would be also in their united states hat reporting back up the chain to
the secretary. >> okay, so the comments that we have heard through the course of this hearing about, you know, boots on the ground and we talk about the steadfastness that we are not in the united states going to be sending boots on the ground. we have heard comments about they haven't -- they have requested no boots on the ground. we all can envision a scenario where they might change their mind about that, maybe they will, maybe they won't. so we also heard conversation about other countries having the capacity to make their own decisions about boots on the ground. so when that decision is made, are we going to know immediately and have an opportunity to change our course or how does that work in real time? >> well, since it is a hypothetical, i'm not sure i know either.
i'm pretty confident that nato, as an organization, would not authorize boots on t ground as part of this operation. several of the countries have made that clear. and in truth, several of the countries have reservations about y goal associated with regime change. there is unanimity in terms of the no-fly zone d the other missions. so i think that what an individual country may do, i just don't envision that at this point in terms of boots on the ground, except i can see potentially some there in a training mission with the rebels. we have talked about the need for training and improved command and control and so on. so i can see some individual countries, not the united
states, at the invitation of the rebels in there to do training and so on. >> the only thing i would add to that, that doesn't necsarily have to be a nato country. it can be another country, an arab country, that is part of the coalition as well. >> if it is the nato country, does that -- what does that mean for the united states in communication ck to this body? ything? >> we would keep you informed about it. >> okay. the other issue i would like some clarification -- >> my guess is we would all read about it in the newspaper about the same time. >> see, that's my concern is that we read about things in the newspaper and then we get to come and ask the questions and that's, i think, concerning to the congress and i think it is concerning to the american people when they witness that. and i think rightly so. the other question that i have is just a point of clarification about the weapons being used by the rebels. so are we to understand that
those weapons are all at this point coming from gadhafi's forces that they're obtaining them from gadhafi's forces? >> this is a country like many who has a lot of weapons. >> right. >> in fact, they are uncovering magazines and caches of weapons that are principally existent in the east and they're certainly from a small arms standpoint, ak-47, the kind of things that they're using there is ample supply. >> i yield back. >> thank you. mr. west? >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary, and admiral, appreciate you being here. i want to go bk to mr. wittman's comment about the close air support. i spent 20 years active duty in the artillery. and i had the opportunity in combat to direct close air support missions as an air support officer. it is the engagement from an aeroplatform on opposition's ground maneuver forces.
one of the critical tenants is to have people on the ground to direct the men. my question is, who is the person on the ground that is directing close air support missions against gadhafi's forces? >> there is no one on the ground doing that. we don't have any jtacs on the ground. we have actually got -- and i'm sure you'll be familiar with this, in some airaft, facts who are flying in the aircraft specifically, but we also recognize going in that we would not be as effective obviously if we had controllers on the ground. that's certainly understood and yet we have had, whether it is the abac-10s or some of the air force jets, cf-15s, we have had prettyignificant success because the iads are down. we can get down on them pretty close. but that doesn't preclude us from focusing hard on positive identification, which is a real
challenge. and particular, as the regime forces in the last couple of days have started to look like, dress like, drive in vehicles like the opposition -- >> that's my concern. >> that's not a surprise. >> yeah. >> and so that has made it, in some cases, tougher. >> so then there is a question of effectiveness and then also the question of how do we mitigate the risk of, you know, eventually dropping bombs on the rebel forces. >> well, it has been -- i mean, ain, i think it has been incredibly well executed mission so far to not do that, specifically. and outside these difficulties, which we -- which we know, the biggest problem the last three or four days has been weather. we have not been able to see through the weather or get through the weather to be able to do this kind of identification. and that has more than anything else reduced the impact. hasn't eliminated it. reduced the effectiveness and allowed the regime forces to move back to the east. >> very well. cretary gates, you know, as
the chairman mentioned in his opening statement, you previously made the comment about no vital interests in libya, but, of course, we're there. but, you know, as i look at recent developments all across the middle east, i see some other very key strategic interests. in syria, where we have a sponsorship of hezbollah, and the sheltering of palestinian terrorist organizations that directly threaten israel, and lebanon. and we know that syria has been a launching point for al qaeda to go into iraq and had the opportunity to serve in there i know exactly about that. and they have had the opportunities to kill our soldiers, wound our soldiers and thousands of iraqis. in yemen, we know we have al qaeda in the araan peninsula there. and we have the radical cleric who, of course, lived just right across the potomac in northern virginia, al allawi. and then also in bahrain, our fifth fleet. i think of this committee and the american people really need to understand is what bumped libya up above everything else? what put them at the top of the
food chain as far as, you know, us saying this is such a vital or national interest? >> well, i think, first of all it was the fact that most of the countries in the region themselves decided that libya had become a threat for the first time since gadhafi had ever come to power. and then -- >> but a threat to them or a threat to us? >> a threat to the development -- a threat to their own people to start with, and a threat to the region as a whole in terms of the changes that were going on in the region. and they clearly felt that gadhafi had to go. and then we had the british and the french and the -- who had a very strong view that some action need to be taken to prevent a humanitarian disaster. so what these countries were primarily concerned about was, i
think, what was about to happen or what was happening to the libyan people. i thinthe added aspect, the concern was eanced when dealing with the number of foreign workers in thcountry and the danger of mass immigration to both tunisia and egypt. there are over a million egyptian workers in libya. and i think the danger of them destabilizing the fragile conditions in both egypt and tunisia became a great risk as well. so it was both the potentialor a humanitarian disaster in terms of many thousands of libyans being killed, but also the risk of destabilization of all of north africa. >> thank you. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> if i could - >> thank you, mr. courtney. >> mr. chairman, can i just very briefly -- >> very briefly. >> hard to pve a negative, but it is my belief that this action happening as quickly as it did
did prevent a very significant humanitarian crisis. and that was a -- obviously, a big part of that. >> very well. >> thank you. mr. courtney. >> thank you, mr. chairman. to go back to a point that mr. cooper made, one thing that moved it up on the food chain was a unanimous resolution in the united states senate on march 1st, bipartisan sponsorship, calling for us to execute a no-fly zone. so in addition to all the other voices from the u.n. and the arab league, congress actually was joining in in terms of calling on the executive branch to act. you know, andyou can get whiplash. >> i would just add, mr. courtney, including both republicans and democrats in the house calling for a no-fly zone as well. >> thank you. i mean, when -- this hearing should be happening and there should be questions asked that, you know, something this big deserves all the scrutiny that we can give it.
but you can get sort of whiplash around here trying to keep up with the positions of some people on it. one thing i think we could do that is very useful is to pass a defense budget for the rest of 2011. and, again, i think you were a little gentle, mr. secretary, in terms of saying the impact on the defense department in terms of this operation is not going to be that large because this morning, secretary mafs was at a ship building caucus talking about the fact that we right now have a global fleet that is deployed in the arabian sea, the mediterranean, part o this operation, in the pacific, providing support in japan, yet because of not doing a 2011 budget, we have availabilities that are now being canceled. and this is a fleet that is at maximum tempo right now and the navy can't reset, like other parts of the military. they have do it a you go here. and i think that certainly these
operations, and i know for a fact because one of the submarines that was deployed in the mediterranean is the "uss providence" out of gratton, scranton and florida were part of that operation. they are -- they're pretty out there in terms of their deployment and they need to get refitted. and, again, i just maybe give you another opportunity to talk about the fact that we have got to get this done to, again, just keep the -- all the pieces out there moving, particularly with our fleet. >> it's all of the services in the navy. it is not just that we're not being able to start some ships that were part of the program. some of the maintenance contracts have had to be canceled. just to your point about ailability of ships, as i said earlier, no military construction for fy '11 at this
point and every one of the services, we're reaching the point where we may have to ramp down significantly the activities that the depots at red river and elsewhere. so you look at every service and the consequences of t continuing resolution are being felt. >> one thing i would like to add, i have not had this discussion with my boss, but for first time since i've been in this job, whic is three and a half years, i know the navy is considering essentially recommending not deploying some ships scheduled for deployment. so it is just another impact of -- a it is purely financial right now to look at can we get through this year. and what isn't visible in all of this, and i have been around money a lot in my career, is just the contraction going on inside all the services as they play the what if this doesn't
happen. and in that regard, very conservative assumptions with respect to executing the rest of this budget. >> we talk about equipment and everything, but just one further thing, just to bring it home to the average service man or woman, the navy has had a policy for a long time of getting six months notice for pcs moves because of the money constrictions they have now shrunk that to two months. so a real impact on families. >> one quick follow-up welcome the handoff to nato today an the fact that the unique capabilities which the president described in his speech the other night were part of the operation at the outset, the rampdown in terms of cost, part of what is driving that is the fact that we are sort of easing back, again, tomahawk missile attacks, which, again, were the high cost front end parts of this operation. and i mean tat explains at least something we can take back
to the american people that there really will be a reduced cost because we're not doing the same stuff that we uniquely were capable of doing at the outset. >> that's absolutely right. and it is really not an easing back. it is a pretty significant rampdown over the next couple of weeks. >> thank you. and just for the record, we're all struggling with trying to get this appropriation bill passed for the defense. but we wouldn't be struggling if it had been done last year in regular order when it should have been. mr. thornberry? >> as i have listened to you all yesterday and today, it seems to me really that we have three distinct military missions here. one is a no-fly zone, two is protect civilians and third is to degrade his military. i guess one of the things i would like to understand is are we degrading his military only when they are engaged in attacking civilians?
or are we degrading his military capability somewhat preemptively >> i think the principle focus is certainly been as he has been on the move. but it's not exclusively, you know, where they exist on the move because there say command and control piece here, which isn't, you know, exist -- which isn't approximate to where the forces are. so substantial degradation there as well. and, yes, we have focused on this, as he's moving forces, as he was to benghazi and came back through ajdabiyah and focused for the last several days on misrata, the president talked about al zawiya in the west, but t the regime has dug in pretty hard in that city. so it is really in combination and we haven't -- i mean, we
have certainly focused on it this way, but i don't think we have been overcautious in terms of representing what he does in threatening his people and taken his forces on in that regard. >> okay. in the rampdown, we're going to provide logistics, intellence, support,ommand and control support, what else? >> the logistics is probably more than anything else, it is fuel for airplanes. though there are other countries with tankers out there as well. the intelligence surveillance reconnaissance aspect of th, the electronic attack, i tald about having the vast majority of his air defenses dow but he's got some mobile capability that is still there. and we, in a very limited number of other countries, have a capability of taking that out when it radiates. so that's -- those are the principle four or five areas where we will support. >> okay.
if i could just say a word about the attacks on his military. i mean, what we're trying to do is prevent him from using his military against civilian populations. and so what we're trying to do is hit convoys on the move, hit ammunition dumps, things like that, that give him the capability to go after the civilians because he has shown in every stce where he was able to that's exactly what he's done. >> sure. but you mentioned a few minutes ago, mr. secretary, that other nations have a somewhat more aggressive stance than we do. i presume that our support logistics intelligence so forth will continue even if the other nations escalate in some way their operations. i mean, we're going to support them. >> having watched this coalition come together, and having watched it debated inside nato,
there is certainly some tension with respect to that. i think that tension will continue from the standpoint of what we are going to do to support that, it is in those areas and it will continue to be so. at, i think, doesn't necessarily mean that under any circumstances we wouldn't change that. but certainly for what we can see right now, what i can see right now, we will continue that support. >> seems to me in both areas there is a potential for some growth in this mission that at least we ought to be aware of. mr. secretary, one thing i haven't heard discussion discus the consequences of this action on the worldwide terrorism threat. do you see ways that this makes the world more dangerous for terrorism, less dangerous, in this setting? what is your -- what can you say about that? >> well, i think the first thing to remember is that gadhafi was a principle sponsor of terrorism
himself. and our country has been the victim of that terrorism. and, in fact, he and hezbollah have killed more americans than anybody, except al qaeda in the attacks on the united states on 9/11. so i think -- i think gadhafi was not exactly a force for good in terms of the terrorist threat. you know, the terrorists themselves are saying that these changes provide them with opportunities. and perhaps that's true, but the reality is, i think the success of changes in tunisia and egypt and places like that, and actually will make it harder in the long run for the terrorists. but they certainly do see opportunities and i think we
have to be on guard against that as do these countries themselves that the revolutions don't get hijacked. but i think in the long run, al qaeda is a loser in this process -- in this revolution that is taking place. >> thank you. mr. garamendi. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. and thank you for your testimony, gentlemen. if this question has been answered, just say so, and i'll pick it up from the record. i've been in and out. how are we paying for this? we know the numbers, 500 plus, plus 40 million going on. how are we goingo pay for it, where is the money coming from? >> there is -- right now i am in discussions with both the white house and omb about how to do this. i think it will come from within defense resources, but whether
it's just exactly how we do that, we haven't established yet. >> so we're not looking at a new appropriation, but rather a reassignment of money that has already been appropriated to the defense department? >> i think that's likely, yes, sir. >> i thank you and areciate the detail when you have it. thank you very much. >> thank you. mr. secretary, i know we have agreement to end in five minutes, but we have two more members. would you be willing to take theiquestion? >> i thank you. mr. scott? >> thank you, mr. secretary. and i want to say this with as much respect as possible, i want to -- if i could just repeat some of the things that i've heard you say over the last few days. success is removal of gadhafi. the goal is not regime change. e
dod's job to make it where it is easier for the secretary of state to do that. is that where we are? >> what i've been trying to make clear is the difference between a political objective and the military mission. and the military mission is much more limited than the political objective. >> yes, sir. but the u.s. -- but they both, would you agree, are -- they're two facets of a u.s. mission or u.s. goal. there is a political -- there is a u.s. political goal and there is a u.s. mitary mission. the end result that gadhafi would no longer be in charge in libya? >> you could -- well, fit of all, i would say we have accomplished the military goal
and now we need to sustain it in terms of no-fly zone and in trying to protect the civilian population. you could have a situation in which you achieved the military goal, but do not achieve the political goal. >> yes, sir. i'm one of those that think gadhafi is smarter and more capable than most people give him credit for and maybe the rebels. i mean, look he's got command and control and an army and they have got neither. so us fighting it withirplanes and saying we're not going to put boots on the ground is a serious concern to me. i want to go back to one other thing that you said, and i'm a member of congress and so i take a certain amount of offense to the timing of what the president did. and you said it is your position that the u.s. can bomb libya without congressional approval, but you would need congressional approval to bomb iran. who makes the determination of who we can and cannot bomb
without congressional approval? >> the president. and in the case of iran, i was asked -- what i was doing was quoting an answer to a question that received in a congressional hearing when i was asked if i felt if it was my personal opinion that we would need the approval of congress to go to war with iran. it wasn't just bombing. but to go to war with iran and i said i thought so. >> admiral, if i could, we have got a contiing resolution that expires within a couple of days that we don't have an agreement on. we approached the national debt ceiling within weeks. we're now in iraq, afghanistan, and libya. the president made the decision to ginto libya, knowing that we were approaching those timelines with regard to funding. obviously it takes money to do all of these things.
at what point when we see the president lead on the issues of the continuin resolution, the national debt limit, and the budget as a whole, wouldn't you agree they affect our ability to engage in these operations? >> well, i mean, the queson was asked earlier if the government shut down would that affect the operations and as best we can tell it wouldn't in iraq, afghanistan or libya. or elsewhere or japan right now specifically. it is not really mine to answer what the president should do. i would only say that the coern that you raise is one that is, as i have seen, rout e routinely discussed in the meetings that i've been, in terms of understanding what the -- one, what the challenge is and that they need to be resolved. other than that, i really wouldn't comment more on those
issues. >> if i could, you -- one last thing very quickly, youaid before the ink was dry we were on the way. well, the ink was dry on friday. congress was in session on thursday. so the decision was made that we were going that way while congress was in session, yet there was a decision made not to even bef the armed services committee. is that correct? >> what i saw was the president consult and meet immediately after the decision was made. i was in the meeting in the situation room on the phone, and he did that, you know, very much approximate to that decision. >> when was priestbriefing of t armed services committee? >> there wasn't one. >> thank you, sir. >> mr. young. >> thank you, mr. secretary. and mr. chairman for being here today. you know, notwithstanding my great concerns about the
constitutionality of the action that we have seen take place in recent days, and with due recognition of the fact that there were certain members of this body and over in the senate that seemed to have bless a no-fly zone, i still wish the procedure had played out differently. i would like to start with a comment related to the nature of the mission and then i'll have a question. i'm a u.s. marine and it has been my understanding that humanitarian environments, i think as was mentioned earlier, typically are things that occur within permissive environments, certainly not a permissive environment. we have a -- what has been styled a no-fly zone plus. it seems that plus is tomahawk attacks and as i read it, select boots on the ground, depending upon how you define boots on the ground. we sent u.s. marines in for the search and rescue mission.
and recent press reports at least indicate there are cia operatives on the ground. so boots on the ground, as i would define it, but perhaps military boots on the ground is what we really mean. my question relates here to the desire to end state and our ability to achieve not only the military objective, but also the political objective which presumably is why we're in there militari militarily. our political objective stated so many times is to remove gadhafi from power, and hopefully replace him with someone who does have the moral authority to ld, someone who is not a tyrant. and i think it is quite possible, i agree with you, mr. secretary, we may well achieve some narrowly defined military objective and find out the larger political aims have not been realized. and to what end are we fighting? it is the political objectives. we heard here today the rebel
forces are not coherent group. and that there are multiple leaders. probably more in the west than there are in the east part of the country. so my question i this. if we're not dealing with the cohesive group here and we're dealing with various leaders, are you concerned that al qaeda or hezbollah or some other unsavory group might take advantage of a adership vacuum that we are helping to facilitate through our military action? >> i think that in libya that would be very unlikely. and i would not -- i would not underestimate, in terms of the achievement of an objective, i would not underestimate the importance of preventing large numbers of libyans from being killed by their own government. i mean, that is one of the u.n. security council resolution authorizations. and it, you know, the humanitarian side of ts at
this point is not so much sending in food and water and medical attention and so on, it is trying to prevent these people from being killed by their own government in large numbers and destabilizing the entire region. >> why do you regard it in the case of libya as an unlikely scenario that al qaeda or hezbollah could take advantage of a leadership vacuum? >> well, because of what i've said earlier. i mean, i'm no great expert on libya, but i think that the future government of libya is going to be worked out among the principle tribes. and they are the ones that even gadhafi has had to balance and work with. so i think that for some outside group or some element of al qaeda and the islamic maghreb to be able to hijack this thing at this point looks very unlikely to me. >> thank you.
>> mr. secretary, mr. chairman, thank you very much for being here today, for being responsive to this committee. thank you for your service and, please, express our appreciation to all who serve under y. thank you very much. this committee is adjourned. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
>> our economy is in the tank. our budgets and [protester] [unintelligible] we were told iraq, eight years and we're still there and the iraqi people are worse off. the rebels -- al qaeda is inhe rebels. there is top u.s. officials who admitted there is al qaeda people, plus there is all sorts of gadhafi generals -- >> have we learned nothing after years of war? >> the gadhafi generals have gone to the opposition and they're now in leadership. you're going to trust them? so what are we doing here? eight years later, the iraqi people are worse off than when we got rid of their dictator. this is up to the libyan people. this is up to people to stand up
and change their governments, not for the united states. we have a track record, look at afghanistan, look at iraq. we can't afford it. and we can't do it a in the d it won't be good for the people of libya. the people of libya need to liberate themselves. we know that from history. >> you need to leavehen or we'll place you under arrest. >> we'll leave then because we certainly don't want to be arrested. >> drop your signs. >> just the american people don't get ask their questions. >> there is a lot of concern. >> on capitol hill this morning, a look at the nation's latest employment figures and the
economy. the head of the bureau of labor statistics will testify before the joint economic committee. that is live at 9:30 eastern on cspan 3. >> this year's studentcam competition considered washington, d.c. through their lens. today's third prize winner help them understand the role of the federal government. >> well, it is something i face every single day. when i go home, i have to pass it. when i go to work, i have to pass it. mounds and mounds of coal. ♪ >> what do you do when tragedy strikes? you can call the police for the fire station to get reinforcements for your problem. but what would have to happen for the federal government to step into your community and help you?
this bill was the result of a federal agency, the tennessee valley authority and its failure which released 5.4 million yards of coal ash into the river. >> this is the largest environmental disaster. people that have that million dollar homes who are my neighbors have $100,000 homes. their homes were not valued as much because of the economic conditions but also you take this step -- environmental disaster and nobody wants to live there. we're kind of stuff. tva bought 175 properties. do you live in a subdivision yourself? >> ido.
>> imagine going home tonight, and 175 moms are empty and owned by corporations. that is what we are facing. we have this challenge economically and environmentally that is taking a toll in the county. >> the government sent in the epa to help the town recover from another federal agency failure. >> i am grateful for the opportunity to speak about how the good people at the environmental protection agency have been helping. we have restored the rightful place of science in our decisions. we have developed rules that will protect and keep people healthy and save lives. >> the federal government created the environmental protection agency. it was greeted by a democratic congress and a republican president. the two parties worked together through thick and thin for only one reason -- to protect citizens of the u.s. for years to come. >> 1 when rain will have the in
2009, the rain would push people coal ash downstream to the tennessee river. that is when the epa became involved. they were instrumental in helping us with progress. >> most people agree that the first half after an accident is the clean up. >> i know they removed massive amounts of material out of the river. they promoted to a disposal site. >> we saw a 1 billion pounds of coal ash in tennessee. we tried to figure out how we don't have -- how we can't have that happen again and the epa will take that over. >> right now, coal ash has no
regulations that it can be thrown out with your household trash >> coal ash has proposed regulations for the end of the calendar year. >> the federal government is nothing without its citizens. without our voice, the government is basically gone. naturally, the environmental protection agency helps across the nation to hear the opinion of the people. lamar alexander requested the epa to extend the toperiod. hundreds of people came in to argue for their cause. we saw a passionate people. they argued for their -- through their hearts as they were taking part in the federal government just like we did. >> the tva failure which started this review and call important attention to this issue and
reinforce the need for operational changes in to avoid future accidents. the federal government must absolutely work to ensure safety and environmental protection. >> title c labeled the coal ash as an environmental danger. >> subtitle c is the bare minimum we need to protect public health. and i've spoken with several health professionals, board certified doctors and nurses, who say subtitle c would be .arely enough thencfol as >> coal ash has a wide variety of heavy metals. the metals' trade from a mercury, arsenic -- >> it would make it easier for
construction companies to recycle coal ash. 43% of coal ash is recyclable. >> this is overkill, putting precious jobs at stake and would cost $1.5 billion per year to implement according to the epa own estimate. these costs will be absorbed by american families who are already facing constraints of tough economic times. >> [unintelligible] we would not be putting our employees in context with the material simply because it is labeled as a hazardous waste. >> what if there is a compromise? >> some people are suggesting to
enact a law which would give some regulatory authority over subtitle c and not call the material hazardous for beneficial use. they could come up with a new subtitle. >> the epa has positive attributes. can anything improved? >> there can be changes made in the way it operates. >> we should expand our pressure on the epa to satisfy the need of all the environmental problems out there. >> the case in tennessee was a tragedy that affected our town in many ways. the tennessee valley authority dyke failure affected the community and the federal government. the government show its concern
by sending the epa in to help our community recover. the government really does care about us. originally, this led to subtitle c. our thoughts changed when we researched the other side. we don't know what the future will hold regarding the subtitle and the fate of our nation but we cannot wait and find out. >> go to studentcam.org and watch all the winning videos. >> "washington journal" is coming up next and we will take your phone calls. the house and gavels back in session in a couple of hours. they expect to finish work on extension of federal aviation programs. there'll be a number of votes on amendments. live coverage is at 9:00 eastern. eastern.