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Today we welcome Richard Clark. author of the new novel, "The Scorpions Gate," in his new book, Richard Clark relies on 30 years of experience in the government, the White House, State Department, and the Pentagon. As well as his experience as a Presidential advisor to four US Presidents It is a geo-political novel on terrorism, on warring nations, on political trecharry, in other words, life as we know it. Richard Clark began his federal service in 1973 in the office of the secratary of defence. Thank you very much and thank you Jane. It's a sort of coming home for me to be speaking at the World Affairs Council. I spent much of my high school years in the World Affairs Council of Boston. But, nonetheless, it feels like coming home. Well, thank you for coming. I thought, given what happened yesterday, in the United States Senate, it would be appropriate to talk together today about where we go, how we go forward on Iraq. What happened yesterday in the Senate was extraordinary by Washington standards. As you know, Senator Harry Reid invoked a rule of the Senate, allowing the Senate to go into classified session so that he could ask the question: "Where is the study that we were promised a year and a half ago on whether or not the administration actively, knowingly, distorted intelligence?" Just to review the record. As the Presidential election was going on, the Senate intelligence committee decided, under a lot of pressure, to look at whether or not intelligence leading up to the war on Iraq had been distorted. And the Republican majority in that committee voted to defer the issue of whether or not the administration had intentionally done that, until after the election. And then the election happened. And nothing happened. And they never got around to it. And so, as Senator Reid was saying yesterday, was when are we going to get that study? It turned out to be very emotional and bitter discussion in the Senate. And it is, I think, reflective of the fact that we are, as a nation, divided on the issue of Iraq. Largely because many people believe that they were either intentionally or otherwise, misled as to why we were going into Iraq. And now, the polling data suggests, only recently and for the first time, that the majority of the American people believe that going into Iraq was a mistake. Well, whether or not you believe that, we have to admit it has been costly. Whether you believe it was a costly mistake or a costly necessity, I think you can share and come to a consensus that it has been costly. Let me suggest seven ways in which it has cost our country dearly. The first and most obvious, is that last week we passed the milestone of having 2,000 American soldiers killed in Iraq in addition to many other Americans, contractors, civilians, journalists. But 2,000 Americans and now I think the number today is something like two 2,029 have been killed since we invaded Iraq. But, as terrible as that number is, we tend to focus on it to the exclusion of the second cost, which is the wounded. In this war, because of our advances in combat medicine, because of our advances in protective gear for our soldiers, many soldiers have survived, who in other wars, would have died. And they have come back to this country, many without an arm or without a leg or without an eye and they will live for the rest of their lives carrying that sacrifice and that burden as will their loved ones. I heard a tickling, moving story on NPR a few months ago that there are so many of these soldiers and marines at Bethesda hospital and Walter Reid hospital in Washington and the Pentagon will pay for a loved one to come from around the country to be with them for a week during their rehabilitation. But, only for a week. And after that, since these rehabilitations take many, many months, the family has to pay the burden of having the loved one with them. And yet the presence of that loved one with them is so important to their recovery. And so, many people have donated money to help those families. And one place you can donate money is the Semper Fi Foundation which pays for the mothers and sisters and spouses of these people to be with them at the hospital throughout their rehabilitation. The third cost is the death of Iraqis which we tend to overlook when we focus on the 2,000 Americans. We don't have a good, accurate, agreed upon number of Iraqi dead. But John Hopkins University, some people there, have used a very sophisticated interview and statistical model which has been validated by many others and have gone into the field at Iraq at great risk to themselves and applied this model with on-the-ground interviews. They did on-the-ground interviews in every city, including Falluja, but the results that they discovered in Falluja were so off the charts in terms of number of Iraqis dead that they excluded that data because they thought it would have distorted the outcome. And the result of their investigation is that a 100,000 Iraqis have been killed since the United States invaded Iraq Others believe the number is lower. The Pentagon suggests the number could be 20,000. But in any event, we know that the number of dead Iraqis is very high and just as in the United States the number wounded is multiples higher than the number of dead. Beyond that, there has been a financial cost to the United States. That cost is now estimated at US$ 300 Billion. And while, these days, numbers like US$ 300 Billion seem to be easy to say, that is still an immense amount of money. A few years ago, that was the entire budget of the defense department for a year. It is probably equal to most of the discretionary spending that the Federal Government has. US$ 300 Billion. And for that, you would think that we could have made Iraq a paradise on Earth. To make the United States a better place to live. And perhaps even a safer place to live. And for that, you would think that we could have made Iraq a paradise on Earth. To make the United States a better place to live. Safer against terrorism. We could have done with a fraction of that money and enormous amount of effort here to reduce our vulnerabilities and to increase our emergency response capability. But what have we got for the US$ 300 Billion that we have spent in Iraq? Well, Congress appointed an Iraqi inspector general, an American official who would keep an eye on that spending. And the inspector general reported last week that despite all of that money, there has been almost no obvious or appreciable change in Iraq. That electricity is still an occasional thing, water and sewers are still an occasional thing, unemployment has gone up in Iraq since we've been there, but not the standard of living. Part of the reason for that is that we insisted initially that the money be spent on American contractors. And those American contractors, because they were Americans, needed security wherever they went. And so, so much of the money was going to security to protect the Americans, that very little money was available to actually allow the American contractors to do anything. Now, we are apparently beginning in some places to shift the redevelopment money and give it to the Iraqis. Iraqis are, after all, highly skilled people. Lots of engineers, lots of scientists, and great tradition of that. The problem has been and many in the Congress thought that if we gave the reconstruction money to the Iraqis, there would be corruption and graft. The unquantifiable costs are also important. One of them is the alienation of the Islamic world. We have, thanks to the Pew surveys and others, surveys going back 20 and 25 years of asking the same question in the same way in the same countries. And so we are able to see what attitudes towards the United States were like. In Morocco, in Egypt, in Jordan, in Turkey, in Pakistan, in Indonesia; throughout the Islamic world. And attitudes towards the United States, especially after 9/11, were highly favorable in that entire swath of Islamic countries. They are all so different, one from the other. Some of them Arab, many of them not. And yet today, in these countries, most of which we have traditionally counted as allies, Turkey, Pakistan, Jordan, Morocco, Egypt; today in those countries, the positive attitude towards the United States is often in the single digits. And the change has not been Al-Qaeda persuading people of its ideology. The change has been the United States presence in Iraq as seen through the Arab media. That the Arab media may distort occasionally. American media might distort occasionally. But Arab media is what they see. And what they see causes them to dislike the United States, in some cases, to hate the United States. We focus when we have a, an incident in Iraq, we focus on the Americans involved. Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabia and the other channels, Arab channels, tends to focus on what happens to the Arabs, the Iraqi people. That's not necessarily distortion. It's just telling a different side of the story. Sometimes they do distort but we have to recognize that the Arab people and the Islamic world in general, have become alienated towards the United States. Not because of distortions. For the most part, they have been alienated because of what they see and what they know we are doing in Iraq. And the other intangible cost has been the strengthening of terrorism. It's not just me that thinks that. I've talked to terrorism experts throughout the world and I asked them, "What do you think the effect is on terrorism of the war in Iraq?" And there is unanimity that the US occupation of Iraq has greatly strengthened the Jihadist terrorist movement throughout the world. In fact, in last week's New Yorker magazine, we learned that General Scowcroft, the National Security Advisor to the first President Bush, also is part of this expert group that believes, to quote General Scowcroft, "Iraq seeds terrorism." And we now know that according to CIA studies that have been reported, people come from other countries to Iraq, learn skills of terrorism, engage in terrorism, engage in murders of Americans and Iraqis, and then in some cases, go back to their homeland and enter terrorist sleeper cells. So, while we destroy the Al-Qaeda training ground and the Al-Qaeda sanctuary in Afghanistan finally, as well we should have, we also created circumstances in which we have allowed it to be replaced by Iraq as the new terrorist training ground and the new breeder of terrorists. And finally, the seventh cost and the one that is hardest to measure. And that is the credibility of the United States government. The credibility of the United States government in the eyes of other governments, the eyes of the people of the world, and in the eyes of the American people. Were a President now to come before the United Nations or the Congress or the people, and say we have a problem in Iran. Iran is building a nuclear weapon. Iran is engaged in support for terrorism. We have to do something about Iran. Who would believe him? Who would be willing to go along after the experience of Iraq. And yet that day may come. Because Iran is probably developing nuclear weapons covertly. Certainly planning to do so. And it has been for a very long time engaged in supporting terrorism. Perhaps, perhaps even in supporting Al-Qaeda. Well, against that backdrop of the costs of the war in Iraq, what have we achieved because to be fair, we need to balance the costs with the gains. One gain clearly is that Saddam Hussein is no longer in power. The person who was genuinely a war criminal. Someone who engaged in acts that by any standard, violated international law. Against the people of Kuwait, against the people of Iran, against the people of Israel, and against his own people is now going to pay the price for that. And that's all to the good. You may not think it was worth the price we've paid but you have to admit that that at least, is all to the good. We have also finally assured ourselves that Iraq does not have weapons of mass destruction that they're threatening. There are other ways of figuring that out. In fact some people believed we had already figured that out. After all, at the beginning of the Bush administration, both Secretary of State, Powell, and National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice, said in the early days of the administration, Iraq is contained. Iraq does not pose a military threat. But, at least now we know. And the third benefit we have to admit has been achieved is that there is a nascent democracy. And who, amongst us, cannot take some pride in seeing millions of Iraqis at the risk of their own lives, going to the polling places around the country, over and over and over again. That is something. Unfortunately, I believe the constitution which they have just approved will begin the disintegration of Iraq. Because the constitution which was just approved and the constitution which was developed with American guidance and assistance, relies heavily on ethnic division. Codifies ethnic division. And I believe, sets in motion a path which will cause, at least Kurdistan, to become an independent country over the course of the next decade. And, when Iraq does split up if it does, it may pose more threats to regional stability than it ever did when it was united. So, who benefits from all this? Well, all the great unintended consequences of our occupation of Iraq is that Iran benefits. You will recall that during the 1980's, Iran and Iraq fought their own seven year war. Only in this seven year war, a million people died on both sides combined and many, many were injured. And weapons of mass destruction were used. Chemical weapons were used extensively. First by Iraq, and then by Iran. Missiles were used against cities. It was a terrible war. Eventually, the two sides exhausted each other and the war ended without any one having won. But what were the war aims of Iran? They were to throw Saddam Hussein out of office, to eliminate the Iraqi military threat, including its weapons of mass destruction, to take the Shiite religious group inside Iraq, To allow the Iranian people to come and visit the Shiite shines in Najaf and elsewhere. which was the largest of the religious groups, and have it become the largest influence in the running of the government. To allow the Iranian people to come and visit the Shiite shines in Najaf and elsewhere. And, finally, to have the revolutionary government in Teheran have great influence in the government in Baghdad. Those were the war goals. They fought seven years. They were unable to achieve them. We have now created the circumstance at the cost of all of our dead and all of our money, we have now created the circumstance where all of the Iranian goals have been achieved. And Iran, probably at this point, is either the second or third largest contributor to the coalition, although it's not formerly a member of the coalition. But Iran probably has, after the United States and Great Britain, more troops and intelligence officers in the country than anybody else. Covertly. And overtly, giving billions of dollars in assistance to the new government in Baghdad. New government in Baghdad that consists of so many people who spent the last 20 years in Teheran. When the defense minister of Iran visited Baghdad earlier this year, he held meetings with his Iraqi counterparts and they all spoke Farsi. And the Iranian defense minister said, "The United States will eventually leave and when it does, we will still be there." So, we have made Iraq safe for the Ayatollahs in Iran. Well, the issue that we now face, whatever you think about whether or not we should have been there, we are there. The issue that we now face is should we have an exit strategy, and if so, what should that exit strategy be? The administration hasn't said explicitly, you have to sew the piece together a mosaic of statements by the Vice-President, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense and the President. But they appear to say that there is both a political and a military necessity that have to be achieved before we can leave. Interestingly though, the Secretary of Defense, has said, "The goal is not for the United States army to defeat the insurgency." Donald Rumsfeld has said, quote, "When the United Sates army leaves, the insurgency will still be going on." It's the job of the new Iraqi army to defeat the insurgency. So, our military criteria for exit strategy is not to stop the insurgency but rather to train other people to get killed stopping the insurgency. Well, if that's the case, then maybe we should accelerate the process. Is there really a big difference among Americans about an exit strategy? Sometimes you think so. The President says "We have to stay the course and we cannot cut and run." And then we see others, Arthur Schlesinger for example, who wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times recently saying, "We ought to cut and run. It's in our interests as a nation to cut and run," he said. But those who don't want us to do that say that if we leave too soon, whenever that is, if we leave too soon, there will be chaos in Iraq. How would you know? They say, "Well, okay, that's right. There is chaos in Iraq but if we leave too soon," whatever that means, "there'll be more chaos in Iraq." So, understand why we're still there. We're still there because the difference between this level of chaos and that level of chaos is really important to us. This never gets an analysis. No one ever tries to define the difference between the two levels of chaos nor do they ever tell us how long the higher level of chaos would go on. So, we don't know how big the difference is that justifies our continued presence and we don't know how long that higher level of chaos would continue. But, we are training up the Iraqi army. We are training up the Iraqi army so that they can have battalions that will operate on their own without any US military support. Initially, the Pentagon said there were 3 such battalions already operating. And then when the commander of US forces in Iraq was back and testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, he said, "No, no. actually, there is only one." And our goal, apparently, is to have seventy. 70. So, after all this time of training them, we didn't create 3. We've created one. And that,. at least in my mind, raises the issue if we continue to be there, does the new Iraqi government and does the new Iraqi army use us as a crutch and as an excuse not to assume the responsibilities and the missions themselves. I think that's possible. So, there are those that urge a date certain for pullout. Date certain meaning what? Date certain to start or date certain to finish? Sometimes, the people who propose a date certain are a little inexact about that. The President says, "We won't have a time table." And he keeps insisting that somehow a time table is evil and bad because the enemy will know when we are leaving. I don't know what's wrong with the enemy knowing when we are leaving. It's not obvious, inherently obvious to me that it's wrong for the enemy to know when we are leaving. I happen to believe that most of the insurgent activity will stop when we are no longer there. That most of the insurgency is about nationalism, about opposition to occupation. The President once said, "Yeah, I understand that. I wouldn't want to be occupied either." Well, good. Most of the Iraqi activity, I believe, not the foreign fighters, the foreign fighters are probably about 10 percent of the insurgents. Most of the Iraqi activity, I believe, will stop, the insurgent activity will stop when we leave. But this debate, about a date certain, is causing a lot of people to think about Vietnam. And to see everything through the prism of Vietnam. Henry Kissinger has written a long piece saying, that from his experience of Vietnam, which we all remember, that if you set deadlines and goals and timetables, those time-tables take on a life of their own. And you lose any flexibility to adjust to them. Well, perhaps. But I think it is wrong and dangerous to make analogies to Vietnam. Iraq is not Vietnam and when we, those of us who lived through Vietnam, simply impose our memories of the problems that we faced in Vietnam, we are doing ourselves and the country a disservice. We need to analyze and understand this situation, which certainly is unique. I think in the absence of a timetable, it can be somewhat open-ended, somewhat vague, somewhat parametric. But in the absence of a timetable, I do not believe the new Iraqi army will be trained up and assume responsibilities. And the absence of a time table I think persuades many Iraqis that we are going to stay forever. Now, we have said officially, including last week, when the US ambassador to Baghdad, Zal Khalizad was in Washington. He said it again, "We do not seek a permanent US military presence in Iraq." Most Iraqis don't believe that. And one of the great benefits of having a timetable is that it will help to persuade the Iraqis that we are going to leave and we do not intend permanently to occupy their oil rich country. So, what should we do? I think a combination of a date certain to start the operation of departing and a parametric expression of when we're going to end is what we should say. We should say now that after their January election, we will begin in February, a phased withdrawal of US and coalition forces. That we anticipate will take about 18 months. But, that the rate at which we pull out and the final date at which the last unit pulls out depends upon the security environment. Now, in point of fact, that's what the Pentagon has been planning all along. They are just not authorized to admit it. Senator Levin and others on the Armed Services Committee have asked for the schedule for training up these new Iraqi battalions. And, they have it." We have been aloud to see it it's classified but the Senate Armed Services Committee knows. When we think we'll have twenty when we'll have fifty, when we we'll have seventy Battalions. So there is in the Pentagon and the Armed Services Committee a timetable so why can't we tell the American people that and why can we tell the Iraqi people that. I think we should. I think we should come clean both with American people and the Iraqi people about the future of course that we intend to take regard to Iraq. What are the minimum essential requirements that the United States should have with regards to the future of Iraq. While we all want a Jeffersonian Democracy, we all want the country to stay united, we all want the country to achieve great economic and social progress but what we'll we settle for? What do we really need now that we're in there? Let me suggest that their are only three things. First, we do need to be assured that future Baghdad governments do not develop weapons of mass destruction. That's important. We ought to be able to arrange things thru the U.N. thru the I.A.E.A. and other mechanisms to ensure an inspection regime so that we can be happy that that's not going on. Number Two, we want to ensure that there are no major human rights violations of the type of ethnic cleansing that Sadam engaged in at the close of the first Gulf War against the Gulf Arabs in the South and against the Kurds in the North and I think that again is something that we can observe and the international community can observe and if something happens we can act as we did somewhat belatedly in 1991. And the third minimum U.S. requirement must be that Iraq not become a terrorist haven, not become a failed state like Somalia and Afghanistan and the others, not become some place we're a new Al Qaeda can create a califade in Alan Bar provence. And we can work with new Iraqi government so that that doesn't happen. But if the new Iraqi government turns a blind eye to it or is incapable of dealing with it then we should as a matter of doctrine say this now reserve the right to do something about it ourselves. In fact if anywhere on the world becomes a terrorist sanctuary and a terrorist training ground as Afghanistan was in 1990's we should as a matter of doctrine reserve the right to do something about it. Hopefully in a coalition, hopefully in cooperation with the United nations security council but yes unilaterally if we have to. So how would we do that? We can after all U.S. combat units are withdrawn from Iraq we can maintain on overwatch of Alan Bar and the other provinces from Kuwait as we did for ten years after the first Gulf War. We maintained aircraft, we maintained special forces, we maintained armor units in Kuwait and the Kuwait's are happy to have us. A) Because they owe us there continued existence as a nation to us and B) Because they tend to agree with our policies and C) Because they have a vast empty space in there country that doesn't really matter to them who is running around in it with tanks. And we can use covert action if necessary to go after terrorists in Iraq after we withdraw our troops and perhaps we can say to organizations like the gulf cooperative council that they should have peace keeping forces in the Suni provinces because the gulf cooperative nations of Kuwait and Baharan and Katar and Oman and the Emirates are largely Suni. They have good relations with Suni's in Iraq and they could after we leave put in some sort of stability force into those provinces. So in conclusion, I think we have two tasks ahead of us on Iraq as a nation. The first is to do what Senator Reed called upon the Senate. yesterday to do and that is for our own purposes of national reconciliation and national healing on Iraq to get the truth out as to what happened. Why did we go in? What distortions may or may not have taken place? And who did them? I don't suggest that this should be part of a criminal process like the fact that Scooter Libby and others are being dragged through a criminal process. I think we can take a page out of the book of South Africa and think abut a truth commission, truth and reconciliation commission because I think there are a lot of parents with kids who need to know why. And at the same time build a national consensus of what we think we should do in Iraq going forward. And my contribution to that is to suggest that we announce a date certain for the initiation on American combat troop withdrawl. And that date certain should be February 1st and we should say that we hope and intent to have all combat troops out by the end of 2007. Thank you very much.