On Iraq

U.S. Department of Defense Speeches, July 29, 2003 | Go to article overview

On Iraq


Testimony as Delivered by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and Director, Office of Management and Budget, Joshua Bolten, and Acting Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, General John Keane, Tuesday, July 29, 2003.

SEN. LUGAR: (Strikes gavel.) This hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is called to order.

We are awaiting the completion of our witness panel, but in the interest of time, I'll give my opening statement, will call upon the distinguished ranking member to give his, and we know that our hearing may be interrupted by roll call votes on the energy bill that will be proceeding on the Senate floor. So we want to utilize each moment for our witnesses and for senators who will have questions of the witnesses. It's our pleasure today to welcome back Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, accompanied by General John Keane, acting U.S. Army chief of staff, and to welcome for the first time before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joshua Bolten, the new director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Today the committee will continue its examination of Iraq reconstruction and how sufficient resources can be provided to ensure that we achieve our goals.

Secretary Wolfowitz--and he is now approaching the podium, so I give this greeting personally to you--we are particularly pleased to have the opportunity to discuss your assessment of our reconstruction efforts, based on your recent visit to Iraq. When you were here with us in May, your testimony added greatly to this committee's understanding of the resource requirements in Iraq at that time. In subsequent hearings on Iraq, we've heard of many successes on the ground. But overall, the United States' mission in Iraq continues to hang in the balance. If we succeed in rebuilding Iraq, it will set off a positive chain of events that could usher in a new era of stability and progress in the Middle East. By contrast, failure can set back American interests for a generation, increasing anti-Americanism and multiplying the threats from tyrants and terrorists, and reducing our credibility.

Having visited Iraq four weeks ago with my colleagues Senator Biden and Senator Hagel, who are with me on both sides this morning, I can attest that the troops and officials in Iraq understand this urgency. I believe that most high-ranking officials and members of Congress understand the stakes as well.

Yet because of some combination of bureaucratic inertia, political caution, unrealistic expectations left over from before the war, we do not appear to be confident about our course in Iraq. Our national sense of commitment and confidence must approximate what we demonstrated during the Berlin Airlift: a sense that we could achieve the impossible, despite short time constraints and severe conditions, risk and consequence.

We know, for example, that coalition efforts in Iraq must undergo further internationalization to be successful and affordable. We know that the key to most problems in Iraq is establishing security. We know that we must have far more effective means of delivering honest information to the Iraqi people. We know that our credibility with the international community and the Iraqi people will be enhanced by a multi-year budgetary commitment. Yet we have taken inadequate policy steps toward realizing these objectives. We still lack a comprehensive plan for how to acquire sufficient resources for the operations in Iraq and how to use them to maximum effect.

Last week, similar concerns were outlined clearly by Dr. John Hamre and his team of experts, commissioned by the Department of Defense to assess reconstruction efforts in Iraq. Their excellent report offers 32 recommendations to help solve many problems. We understand the Department of Defense has praised this report and is beginning to implement some of these recommendations.

A major untapped resource with the potential for changing the dynamics on the ground is the international community. …

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