2002 September 28 Saturday
Kissinger and Powell on Preemption

Henry Kissinger and Colin Powell testified before a Senate panel on Sept 26, 2002:

Kissinger, calling preemption "inherent" in the nature of the terrorist challenge, warned that "if the world is not to turn into a doomsday machine, a way must be found to prevent proliferation - especially to rogue states whose governments have no restraint on the exercise of their power."

Although some critics claim the case is not strong enough to warrant a military attack on Iraq, both Powell and Kissinger felt otherwise. Powell went through Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction, his repeated violations of United Nations resolutions, his abysmal human rights record, and perhaps the administrations worst fear, that terrorists will acquire some of Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

"We now see a proven menace like Saddam Hussein in possession of weapons of mass destructions who could empower a few terrorists with those weapons to threaten millions of innocent people," Powell told the committee.

Kissinger expressed similar concerns: "The existence and, even more, the growth of stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq poses a threat to international peace and stability...It's policy is implacably hostile to the United States, to neighboring countries, and to established rules that govern relations among nations...By it's defiance of the U.N. Security Council resolutions requiring it to give up WMD, Iraq has in effect asserted the determination to possess weapons whose very existence compounds the terrorist threat immeasurably."

When members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee asked if there was a peaceful solution, particularly a way to achieve such thorough weapons inspections, Powell argued that "We must not believe that inspectors going in on the same conditions and under the same terms that they went in on so many occasions earlier will be acceptable now. We won't fall for that."

Kissinger, as a former Secretary of State, favors a strong U.N. resolution calling for stringent weapons inspections, but Kissinger expressed the same skepticism about inspections as Powell.

"It should be backed by standby authority and perhaps a standby force to remove any obstacle to transparency," he said. "Moreover, any system of inspection must be measured against the decline in vigilance that accompanied the previously flawed system's operation."

Senators also expressed concern that a war with Iraq would detract from the war on terrorism. Kissinger disagreed, arguing, "The opposite is more likely to be true. Eliminating such weapons in Iraq is an important aspect of the second phase of the anti-terrorism campaign. It demonstrates American determination to get at the root causes and some of the ultimate capabilities of what is, in essence, a crusade against free values."

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 September 28 09:43 PM  US Foreign Preemption, Deterrence, Containment


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