Oct 11 2002


U.S. Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-AL) spoke today in support of the resolution authorizing the use of military force against Iraq:

"I support this resolution because the threat posed by the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein is real, immediate, and growing."

"The threat is real because Saddam possesses conventional, chemical and biological weapons. He is doing everything in his power to acquire the means to construct and field nuclear weapons.

"The threat is real because Saddam has used his conventional and chemical weapons to attack his neighbors and his own people.

"The threat is real because Saddam has openly defied the world and has made no secret of his enmity towards the United States and our allies. Saddam even attempted to assassinate a former American President.

"The threat is immediate and growing because Saddam has extensive and growing ties to terrorist organizations that have either attacked the United States or declared the United States to be a legitimate target of their twisted crusade that they call 'jihad..'

"The threat is immediate and growing because Saddam has developed the ability to deliver his poisons and pestilence by unmanned aerial vehicles that can easily be smuggled into the United States.

"The threat is immediate and growing because Saddam has circumvented the sanctions regime to such an extent that he is virtually unrestrained by resources in his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.

"Let me put this in a historical context. Following its bloody war with Iran, Hussein's Iraq was heavily in debt. While continuing to spend billions on weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, Saddam, in 1990, invaded and plundered Kuwait in order to help pay his bills. With that act, he made it clear that his priority was to feed the war machine which kept him in power.

"In 1991, Kuwait was liberated and the Persian Gulf War ended when Saddam Hussein committed to abide by U.N. Security Council resolutions. Since then, he has broken those commitments. He ignored U.N. weapons prohibitions and ruthlessly crushed rebellions of the Shia and the Kurds.

"Today, he continues to violate U.N. resolutions, the very commitments he made to save his regime. His actions continue to impose terrible hardships on his own people. After a decade of sanctions, Saddam's unwillingness to relinquish his prohibited weapons programs continues to cost his country tens of billions of dollars.

"There are those who believe that a new U.N. Security Council resolution and renewed inspections are the answer. In reality, inspections will accomplish little, delay the inevitable and provide Saddam with yet more time to field additional weapons of mass destruction.

"UN Security Council Resolutions have required much of Saddam and produced very little. Starting in April 1991, Resolution 687 requires Iraq to declare destroy, remove, or render harmless under U.N. or International Atomic Energy Agency supervision and not to use, develop, construct, or acquire all chemical and biological weapons, all ballistic missiles with ranges greater than 150 kilometers, and all nuclear weapons-usable material, including related material, equipment, and facilities. What has happened?

"Saddam has refused to declare all parts of each WMD program, submitted several declarations as part of his aggressive efforts to deny and deceive inspectors, and ensured that certain elements of the program would remain concealed. The prohibition against developing delivery platforms with ranges greater than 150 km allowed Baghdad to research and develop shorter-range systems with applications for longer-range systems.

"Additionally, the prohibition did not affect Iraqi efforts to convert full-size aircraft into unmanned aerial vehicles for use as potential WMD delivery systems with ranges far beyond 150 km.

"Resolution 707 enacted in August 1991, requires Iraq to allow U.N. and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors immediate and unrestricted access to any site they wish to inspect. It also demands that Iraq provide full, final, and complete disclosure of all aspects of its WMD programs; cease immediately any attempt to conceal, move, or destroy WMD-related material or equipment; allow UNSCOM and IAEA teams to use fixed-wing and helicopter flights throughout Iraq; and respond fully, completely, and promptly to any Special Commission questions or requests. What has happened Mr. President?

"In 1996, Saddam negotiated with the UNSCOM Executive Chairman modalities that it used to delay inspections, to restrict to four the number of inspectors allowed into any site Baghdad declared as "sensitive," and to prohibit them from visiting altogether sites regarded as sovereign. These modalities gave Iraq leverage over individual inspections. Iraq eventually allowed larger numbers of inspectors into such sites but only after time consuming negotiations at each site.

"Resolution 715 adopted in October 1991, requires Iraq to submit to long-term monitoring of Iraqi WMD programs by UNSCOM and IAEA; approved detailed plans called for in United Nations Security Council Resolutions 687 and 707 for long-term monitoring.

"In reality, Iraq generally accommodated U.N. monitors at declared sites but obstructed access and manipulated the monitoring process.

"Beginning in March 1996, Resolution 1051 established the Iraqi export and import monitoring system. This system requires U.N. members to provide IAEA and UNSCOM with information on materials exported to Iraq that may be applicable to WMD production, and requires Iraq to report imports of all dual-use items.

"In reality, Iraq is negotiating contracts for the procurement, outside of U.N. controls, of dual-use items with WMD applications. The U.N. lacks the staff needed to conduct thorough inspections of goods at Iraq's borders and to monitor imports inside Iraq.

"In June 1996 the following resolutions were adopted: Resolutions 1060, 1115, 1134, 1137, 1154, 1194, and 1205. These demand that Iraq cooperate with UNSCOM and allow inspection teams immediate, unconditional, and unrestricted access to facilities for inspection and access to Iraqi officials for interviews. U.N. Security Council Resolution 1137 condemns Saddam for his refusal to allow entry into Iraq of UNSCOM officials on the grounds of their nationality and for his threats to the safety of U.N. reconnaissance aircraft.

"Throughout the inspection process in Iraq, Saddam consistently sought to impede and limit UNSCOM by blocking access to numerous facilities, sanitizing sites before the arrival of inspectors and routinely attempting to deny inspectors access to requested sites and individuals. At times, Saddam would promise compliance to avoid consequences, only to renege later.

"Resolution 1154 enacted in March 1998, demands that Iraq comply with UNSCOM and IAEA inspections and endorses the Secretary General's memorandum of understanding with Iraq, providing for 'severest consequences' if Iraq fails to comply.

"Resolution 1194 adopted in September 1998, condemns Iraq's decision to suspend cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA.

"Resolution 1205 adopted November 1998, condemns Iraq's decision to cease cooperation with UNSCOM.

"These resolutions were meaningless without Iraqi compliance. Baghdad refused to work with UNSCOM and instead negotiated with the Secretary General, whom it believed would be more sympathetic to Iraq's needs.

"Finally, in December 1999, Resolution 1284 established the United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), replacing UNSCOM. The resolution demanded that Iraq allow the Commission's teams immediate, unconditional, and unrestricted access to any and all aspects of Iraq's WMD programs.

"Iraq repeatedly has rejected the unrestricted return of UN arms inspectors and claims that it has satisfied all UN resolutions relevant to disarmament. Compared with UNSCOM, Resolution 1284 gives the UNMOVIC Chairman less authority, gives the Security Council a greater role in defining key disarmament tasks, and requires that inspectors be full-time UN employees.

"Saddam has manipulated the U.N. before, and if permitted, he will do it again. Right now, Saddam is 'shuffling the deck' to hide his prohibited items in anticipation of the return of inspectors.

"I believe that inspectors will not set foot in Iraq until Baghdad is ready for them. If they were to return, they would be starting from square one in a hostile and deceitful environment.

"In a June 11, 2000 article, Charles Duelfer, the former deputy executive chairman for UNSCOM, noted that, '. . . the attempt to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction was doomed from the start. This failure repeats the same mismatch between disarmament goals and disarmament mechanisms that frustrated efforts to disarm Germany. . .' after the First World War.

"In the Versailles Treaty of 1919, the victorious allies imposed disarmament obligations upon a defeated Germany. An international organization called the Inter-Allied Control Commission was created to implement those provisions. The Germans, however, were very adept at denial and deception. Consequently, Germany was able to preserve illicit armaments and weapons production. The Germans argued that the inspectors were too demanding and acted like spies. Does this rhetoric sound familiar?


"The lessons of appeasement are not intended solely for history classrooms. These lessons are to be learned and where relevant, applied. Saddam Hussein's priorities have not changed and I do not believe that they ever will, so we must act before his alliance with terror finds its way to our shores.

"Much has been said about how unprecedented it would be to engage in anticipatory self defense by taking military action against Iraq. In one respect, this is true: it is a step that our country has historically tended to shy away from taking.

"But 'unprecedented' is not the same thing as illegal or improper. Scholars have debated the idea of anticipatory self-defense for many years, and while there is no consensus upon its exact meaning, the idea is clearly not foreign to international law.

"Under Article 2 of the United Nations Charter, countries may not use the 'threat or use of force' in a manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations. Article 51 of the Charter also recognizes that countries have an inherent right of both individual and collective self-defense.

"Reading Articles 2 and 51 together, it is clear to me that the right to self-defense can arise not only in response to the 'use' of force but also in response to the threat of the use of force.

"That this must be the case should be clear to anyone familiar with the dangers of the modern world. At some point in the past, it might have been possible to wait until an attack actually occurs before striking back. Today, however, such a rule would clearly be unworkable - so dangerously unworkable as to imperil the inherent right of self-defense in the first place.

"Today, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction make it madness to wait until one is attacked first. These basic military realities compel us to understand the idea of self-defense in response to a threat in broader ways than before.

"To paraphrase U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, the law is not a suicide pact. The law does not require us to wait for a biological weapon such as smallpox or a genetically-engineered anthrax strain to be used to kill potentially millions of Americans before we have the right to attack the would-be user.

"Especially in this age of modern transportation, biological weapons know no boundaries. From 1918 to 1919, the influenza pandemic killed between 20 and 40 million people worldwide. Today's biological weapons scientists have the capacity to cause even worse mayhem - not just to any single target country, put perhaps to everyone on the planet.

"We have long recognized such principles in our domestic law. A policeman, for instance, need not wait for a criminal to actually shoot at him before he can use lethal force in self-defense.

"The United States has been involved in Iraq for years in attempting to enforce the many Security Council resolutions violated by Iraq. Throughout this entire period, Iraq has continually fired upon our forces - and those of our allies - with conventional weapons.

"Iraq has a large and expanding biological and chemical weapons program. And he is doing everything in his power to add nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles to his arsenal.

"The law does not require us to wait to be attacked with the other weapons in Saddam's arsenal before completing the task the Security Council has set for ending the threat Iraq poses to international peace and security. The law does not require this, and our security - and that of other countries in the region, and around the world - does not permit it.

"There are those at home and abroad who criticize the U.S. intent to take action. I remind them that the U.S. did not pick this conflict. The U.S. does not want this fight -- Saddam Hussein forced our hand by not complying with his obligations under the 1991 cease fire. He forced our hand by not complying with U.N. resolutions. He forced our hand by building alliances with terrorists.

"We do not make this decision lightly -- we are very aware of the potential costs of taking action, but we are much more aware of the costs of not taking action. As said by Edmond Burke, 'All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.'"