tv U.S. Senate CSPAN November 15, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EST
for vitiation of the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coats: now i ask for i ask unanimous consent to speak for up to 15 minutes as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coats: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, we've been seized with obviously pressing issues and emergencies and i fear that we have not been paying enough attention to the issue of iran and the growing nuclear threat posed by that country. the repeat release of the report by the international atomic energy commission has returned the iran nuclear issue to the front pages, and hopefully to the top of our list of priority issues that need to be discussed and need to be evaluated. the iaea nuclear watchdog which i visited last march with a group of the house and senate intelligence committees has never been an instrument of u.s. policy. in fact, it's often offered perspectives contrary to
america's views or preferences and has rigorously defended its objectivity independent of individual governments. and therefore, i think this latest report has all the more weight that we should give serious consideration to. so this objective organization, the nuclear experts, has had unrivaled access to information and sources within iran, it stripped away the veneer of ambiguity and uncertainty about iranian efforts to develop nuclear weapons. iran is after the bomb and we all know it. we can see the proof in this iaea report, including compelling detail about iran amassing fisi -- fissile material, and designing delivery system. the report details the way iran has relentlessly pursued this
objective over the years and from whom it has obtained assistance. the report also shows that our own intelligence community's official estimate in 2007 that iran had suspended these activities in 2003 was wrong. the activities to design nuclear weapons soon resumed, and are continuing now. ironically, it seems that efforts to slow down or halt nuclear weapons development through sanctions or even through computer viruses have only had minimal or temporary effect. many have been unwisely comforted by such delays and therefore have been less focused and less determined to find real solutions to this mortal security threat. also, we have been mistakenly reassured by the contention that iran has not yet made the political decision to actually assemble nuclear weapons. this potentially could be one of
the most dangerous delusions of all. as i have repeatedly said from this floor and during my tenure at the bipartisan policy center, a nuclear weapons-capable iran is nearly as dangerous as the nuclear armed iran, an iran that has spent years secretly pursuing and now we snow successfully, the technologies, the expertise and materials required to create nuclear weapons is a threat to the united states and to the world. facing this imminent danger now with ample verification from the iaea that our anxieties are well founded is absolutely essential. it is no longer possible to avoid the hard choices or defer to the administration's decisions. in my opinion, there are only three ways we can respond to this threat. we can accept the inevitability of a nuclear iran and learn to live with it, to tolerate and
try to contain this new iranian power. secondly, we can reluck thraint take up the military option to remove the threat, an option three presidents have confirmed has always been on the table. or third, we can dramatically escalate the sanctions regimes to force iranian compliance with our collective gat international will. the first option, tolerating a nuclear weapons-capable iran is not acceptable. as i said, three previous u.s. presidents have unequivocally stated this. a nuclear armed iran would threaten the entire region and its enormous energy resources, motivate broad nuclear proliferation throughout the middle east, further destabilize a region already in turmoil, encourage radicalism and terrorism and threaten the destruction of the state of israel. this last danger alone to which
israel is the last resort would most certainly respond to ensure its survival, compels us to be clear eyed and determined to find a viable solution. toleration, i would suggest, is not a solution. the second option, military action, while always posed as a last resort following the failure of all other efforts, must in my opinion remain on the table. our nation and the international community as a whole must see with vivid clarity what measures remain should our other efforts continue to fail. and the iranian regime must be especially nondelusional about those potential consequences should it not changed its behavior. indeed, to make all our efforts to find a solution credible, the military option itself must be entirely believable. it is also essential to note that military options are not ours alone.
there is broad, open discussion now in israel and elsewhere about whether israel itself should act to remove this threat to the survival of their state. this also must be part of our own policy cal education. -- calculation. as former state of state condoleezza rice said in a television interview this week and i quote, i don't have any doubt the israelis will defend themselves if the iranians look live they are about to cross that nuclear threshold, she said. if there is any remaining doubt that the united states should not tolerate a nuclear iran, i think we can assume that israel may not. it's exactly to avoid this violent option that we must renew all our efforts at finding other ways to force the iranian regime to change its behavior. and that includes compelling persuasion to convince our friends and allies and china and russia as well, that united efforts are essential.
we need a new, dramatically tougher sanctions regime, and we need it now. and if we don't impose it now, it may very well be too late. now, i say this, mr. president, with some real reservations about whether any new sanctions can persuade the iranian regime to change its policy. if we truly believe a nuclear weapon-capable iran is unacceptable, then only,,the only logical response is to at least prepare for a strike, and send the signal that the united states is prepared to act on what has been deemed by, as i said, three presidents as unacceptable. i think it's contrary to u.s. interests to try to outsource this task to the state of israel, but i also think the long-term danger is far greater than the serious but shorter
term negative consequences of a strike. having said that, this force option needs to be carefully considered, and i think we need to continue whatever efforts we can make to prevent us from having to ultimately choose that as our only option. so i am suggesting a new dramatically tougher sanctions regime. it's going to have to be imposed very, very quickly. publicly released information clearly indicates that iran is much closer to nuclear weapons capability than previously acknowledged. we must use the full focused power of our diplomatic instrument, not to persuade iran -- that's clearly been a total failure to date -- but to persuade other nations that immediate tough, new international sanctions are the only way to prevent us from having to go to an option which none of us wishes to go to. we must convince other reluctant
nations to make different calculations about their own self-interest in this matter. if other nations, including china and russia, come to realize that a nuclear iran truly will not be tolerated and that move developments bring us closer to a military solution and its unforeseeable consequences, then they will hopefully come to different conclusions about how their own interests can best be served. our allies and friends, once they come to accept the reality of our firm determination to neither tolerate a nuclear iran nor remove the military option, will increase their own commitment to the sorts of sanctions regime as that are now essential. this, in turn, will show the iranian regime at last that they face a truly united, truly formidable and genuinely firm coalition entirely devoted to preventing them from having nuclear weapons at their disposal. only then will we have a chance
to force the regime to change its behavior. so far, as i said, sanctions are simply not achieving the desired result. those who point to their modest effect actually harm the broader effort because those effects deflect our determination to force a real change in iranian behavior. sanctions may have reduced iranian g.d.p. by one or two percentage points and may have forced the regime to find creative ways to avoid them. for example, i understand that as official banks have been subject to sanctions, many banks have miraculously privatized. there's absolutely no evidence anywhere that these sanctions have actually forced the regime to change its behavior regarding its nuclear ambitions. and now we learn from the iaea report that these sanctions also have not been serious obstacles to the technological, commercial and scientific activities focused on acquiring nuclear
weapons capability. we simply must do much more and we must do it now. i'm cosponsor of a bill, s. 10 1048, which is intended to further tighten the noose on the iranian regime. le continue to support those measures, but in light of thi this -- i will continue to support those measures but in light of this new information by the iaea, i am in favor of even greater sanctions pressure. i've signed a letter to the president calling on him to use his prerogatives to impose sanctions on the iranian central bank. many have opposed that option because it could constrict global energy supplies, increase oil prices and would be ineffective if not supported by other nations. according to media reports, the administration itself decided just days before the release of this iaea report to take central bank options -- sanctions off the table for these reasons. this was, i believe, a serious
mistake and those judgments i suggest should be reconsidered. when the reality of this imminent threat to global security is clear, what all nations reflect on the consequences of military action against iran and when a well-designed, comprehensive new sanctions regime with real teeth is presented to them, we will have the determined coalition we need to avert the disastrous consequences of our failure to prevent the unacceptable. mr. president, with that, i yield the floor. mr. alexander: mr. president, i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mrs. feinstein: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. feinstein: as i understand the current situation -- the presiding officer: tbher a quorum call. mrs. feinstein: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. officer without objection. mrs. feinstein: as i understand the current situation, we do not really know whether we're on three bills or one bill. that is up to the leadership. the senator -- senator alexander and i have worked on the energy and water bill. we are very hopeful that we can move this bill. it was unanimous in the subcommittee on appropriations. there was only one dissent in the full committee, which is one of the largest committees in the senate in the appropriations committee. it is a significant bill. and we believe we should move it
as quickly as we possibly can. so we have been talking. obviously we are waiting to hear from the leadership. we are hopeful that once we hear, we can move very quickly to get this bill passed by this body. and it's been a great pleasure for me to work with senator alexander, and i know you have some comments that you would like to make at this time. mr. alexander: thank you, madam chairwoman. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: as she usually does the senator from california said directly what the situation is. we understand on the republican side that the majority leader has some important business he has to make sure that the senate finishes this week. we, as do many democrats, would like for us to get to the defense authorization bill before we go -- before we go home. and senator reid would like to do that. we respect that, and we agree with that. senator reid would like to make sure that we have a chance to deal with the conference report that the house is expected to
pass on thursday, and which contains a continuing resolution to fund the government until mid-december. we need that as well. that gives us a little time here, a day or two, to consider the energy and water appropriations bill. that senator feinstein described t. has broad consensus in the senate. it has no mandatory spending in it. it has an important defense component, nuclear weapons proliferation. it has a great many non-defense items that are important to the growth of our country. and it seems on the republican side -- i can speak for that -- that there is broad consensus. at senator reid's request, i checked with many of our republican senators, asked them how many amendments they have and whether they thought they could bring them to the floor today or tomorrow morning so we could deal with them tomorrow, at the latest thursday morning. so farther news has been
encouraging. -- so far the news has been encouraging. there are not that many amendments and the senators with whom i've talked they said if they have amendments, they believe there is no reason why, as long as they are given a short period of time to talk, a chance to vote -- and they're germane of of course to fit with the rules of the senate, they'll be fine with that. we're going to be checking tonight with all republican offices. we don't want to encourage more amendments but we want to know about them if there are any, so i can go to senator feinstein and senator reid and say here are the amendments the republican senators want to offer. we're ready to go and we can deal with it tomorrow and thursday. and hopefully we'll be able to do our basic work which is -- our basic work is to do appropriations work in this body. that's our constitutional responsibility. so i thank senator feinstein for the way she approaches this. i understand where the majority leader is. so far i'm encouraged. i'll gather information. i'll make my report to you and senator reid, and then we'll see
where you want to go. mrs. feinstein: i thank the distinguished ranking member for those comments, and i believe we're in agreement. of course what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. so i would hope that any democratic amendments could come in just as quickly as possible. we think we have a good bill. hopefully there will not be many -- i agree with what the senator said about the defense bill. we have a c.r. and we really need to get cracking. so time is of the essence. we have been sitting here for a couple of hours waiting for amendments. there have been none thus far. and i think the word is out. now is the time. please, members, if you have amendments, please file them. we have had one amendment just filed on the republican side and know of a couple of others, but that's about it at this stage.
mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, as i indicated, senator feinstein and senator alexander are working very hard to come up with a -- an agreement that we can move forward on the energy and water bill. i'm terribly disappointed that we weren't able to do the so-called minibus consisting of three appropriations bills, as we did a couple of weeks ago. it's too bad, it's unfortunate that we're not able to do that, but objection was raised that caused us not to be able to do that. they have not been able to reach an agreement tonight. they're going to continue working on this, and hopefully tomorrow something good will happen. it's my understanding the republicans have run a hotline with their members to see if they can reduce the number of amendments on the energy and water bill. remember, with that bill, you can't legislate on an appropriation bill and it has to
be germane, so at least we have those restrictions. i would also say that while my friends on the republican side are working through amendments, democrats also, if, in fact, there is be a agreement, there are democrats who also want to offer amendments, so it's not just going to be amendments offered by republicans. if, in fact, we work something out, there are democrats who also want to offer amendments. so i hope and i'm cautiously optimistic that the two fine senators can work through this morass we have here and move forward. i sure hope we can do that. we're not going to spend a lot of time on this. we wasted most of the day on procedural issues relating to this, but thanksgiving is fast approaching. we have got a lot of stuff to do other than this energy and water appropriation bill. a senator: mr. president.
the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business for up to 15 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. this week marks the 90th anniversary of american education week where we honor our teachers, education, support professionals, parents and substitute teachers for their dedication and service to our children and to our schools. my mother was a high school english teacher born in mansfield, ohio, a town of about 500 people. she taught in the area -- in the era of segregation in central florida. raising my two older brothers and me in mansfield, ohio, she taught in an era of growing american middle class. like teachers throughout our history, she taught her students and her sons that education is a gateway to opportunity, that it can integrate a divided and segregated nation and in the process create a more prosperous nation. now, when our nation needs our
teachers the most, at a time when our economy needs our schools to succeed, we must remind ourselves of the importance of educators. i would add the presiding officer is known in this body as one of the premier educators in our country when he was -- before he came to the senate as the superintendent of the denver schools. unfortunately, though, many of our educators are working in substandard school buildings with leaky roofs and poor air quality and malfunctioning h-vac systems. the average u.s. public school building is 40 years old. obviously, many are much older, which impairs school -- teacher effectiveness and student achievement. ohio, thanks to former governor taft, in part, was able to renovate a large number of its school buildings about a decade ago, which has made a significant difference, but school buildings in my state, as they are across the country, are still too often old, too often
decaying, too often much less efficient and often compromise teacher and student moral and teacher effectiveness. conservative estimates suggest it would cost some $270 billion to make much-needed maintenance and repairs to our schools. that's why i introduced the fix america's schools today act, the fast act, which would invest some $30 billion to repair and modernize our nation's school facilities. the fast act would invest in states and local school districts to help them make critical repairs to existing facilities or to supplement their current maintenance effort. modernizing our schools can save 100,000 a year in maintenance costs, enough for two new teachers or 200 more computers or 5,000 textbooks. the fast act would focus on areas of needs, school districts with high percentages of poor children, schools with great -- with the greatest need for repair and renovation. modernizing schools can improve
the academic experience for students. in september, i spoke with principals from across ohio who discussed how the quality of their school facilities affected their students and their teachers. and this is pretty interesting, mr. president. i heard from the former principal at a high school near zanesville who -- a city in eastern ohio who described a student's reaction following the renovation of their school. this was a generally low-income, appalachian area of ohio. students were used to going to schools that were substandard and not in terms of teacher quality but in terms of the facility itself. we preached to our young people that educate matters more than anything else in our society, then we send students to physically substandard, if you will, schools. well, this student's reaction after the renovation of the new school, he said i felt rich because he had gone in a nice -- he was going to school now, in a renovated, modern, high-tech
environment, something he had never really seen growing up in appalachia, ohio, as a kid whose parents didn't make a lot of money. improving school facilities is more than than about student morale. test scores improved in a more modern school facility. it's also about increased teacher effectiveness. according to a study conducted by the department of education, 43% of schools indicated the condition of their permanent facilities interferes with the delivery of instruction. the condition of the school interferes with delivery of instruction. this is problematic. some 70% of students are forced to learn in facilities that have at least one significant, sometimes more than that, inadequate building features, such as an outdated heating and air conditioning system, a leaky roof, a plumbing problem. some 57% of students are learning in a school with at least one unsatisfactory environmental condition, poor indoor air quality, poor
acoustics, heating and lighting challenges. these substandard conditions can also harm the health and well-being of students and teachers and support professionals. last week, i hosted a national call with advocates to discuss this legislation and discuss the impact of substandard schools have on students and faculty and parents. one of the participants shared with me her personal experience as a special ed teacher. it's a support i would imagine many of you have heard before and can be found anywhere in our country. joellen spent nine of her 23-year teaching school career at an elementary school in fairfield, connecticut, with contamination by mold. because of these poor working conditions, joellen has lost 50% of her lung function and is currently dependent on an oxygen tank. she is not the only one affected by these conditions. 85 of her colleagues are also battling health conditions as a result of an unhealthy school environment. it's unacceptable that our
failure to act undermines student achievement and teacher effectiveness in the health and well-being of entire school communities. it's even more disturbing that our schools go unrepaired when there are thousands of workers ready and willing to modernize our schools. the fast act by employing people to repair our aging schools would create good-paying middle-class jobs. we know we have got to fix our schools. we know we have got to do this renovation. we know as a nation when we put real attention into infrastructure, that the dividends it paid for generations were significant. the united states in the 1950's, 1960's, 1970's and 1980's led the world in infrastructure, whether it was school repairs, whether it was building of a community college, whether it was a water and sewer system, whether it was highways and bridges, whether it was ports and lox, whether it was medical research. we were the envy of the world in our infrastructure, and we -- and it set the foundation for
decades of prosperity. unfortunately, mr. president, as this congress has been more interested in tax cuts for the rich and less interested in investment, in medical research, in education, in health care facilities, in transportation, we have declined economically as a nation, the middle class is under fire, we're not able to build and produce the way that we could have if we had kept this infrastructure up to date. that's the importance of the fast act. it's the importance of much of the rest of those jobs bills that we have pushed in this congress. we know that every $1 billion in school renovation can create 10,000 jobs. the fast act includes strong buy-america provisions to ensure that ohio workers, for instance, we're the third leading manufacturing state in the country, exceeded only by texas, twice our size in california, three times our size, includes strong protections buy-america provisions to ensure that ohio worker, construction workers,
roofers, painters, electricians and people who manufacture these products are using american-made products. the fast act is included in president obama's america jobs act. under his proposal, ohio would receive some $985 million in funding for k-12 schools. in addition, $148 million for ohio's community colleges. ohio is one of the best community college networks in the country. it's obvious our schools need fixing, our workers need work, interest rates are low, construction companies want to put people to work and competing with each other will bid as low as they likely will in the next decade or two, so now is the time to do this. this bill has been endorsed by some 50 organizations -- the american association of school administrators, the american federation of teachers, the national association of education association, the building and construction trades, first focus campaign for children, the parent-teacher association, the p.t.a.
they agree it's about jobs but it's about education, it's about our nation's future. i urge my colleagues to support this commonsense legislation. and last, mr. president, i want to read a couple of letters that received -- that i received about this legislation. the first is jeanine from strongsville, ohio. she is a teacher. she writes -- "i have taught at the same middle school for 24 years. during that tame, i have watched our building physically detear deteriorate before my eyes." strongsville is what you would call one of cleveland's more affluent, outer ring suburbs. nonetheless she is teaching at a school she has seen physically deteriorate in 24 years of teaching. the leaky roof leaves stains on the ceilings and the floors. often the heating doesn't work. two years ago, my classroom had no heat in december. we're a suburb of cleveland, so i don't need to tell you how cold it was in there. after two decades with no paint, our vice principal asked home
depot for help. it donated enough to spruce up the hallways and a handful of classrooms. she writes does it sound like i teach in the inner city or an extreme rural area in ohio? well, i don't. she teaches in an affluent suburb of cleveland. i teach in a suburban community. many of the homes sell for $300,000 or more but the community hasn't passed a levy in a while. my colleagues may remember governor kasich pushed through a bill to take away collective bargaining right for people like janine saying they should pay more of their health care while they made those concessions at the bargaining table, janine says she pays 20% towards health insurance, i haven't seen a pay increase in years. i love what i do but am despond ept at times about the lack of community support for education. that's a whole other issue, mr. president, but we do know here we can make a difference in making not -- not just janine's
life better, that's a goal we should share but most importantly making teacher morale, student morale and teacher effectiveness and learning significantly better. erin from columbus, ohio is a special ed teacher. of 14 schools, five are currently undergoing the last of a two-year renovation project. we had schools where walls for falling in. we're in urgent need of these repairs. now we find ourselves in lacking in technology and updating these needs to compete with the ever-changing needs of the demands of the marketplace our students will be entering. investments in education such as targeted resources for schools, campus repair, modernization, all those will jump-start our economy and ensure students the learning environment so essential to their success. our student day is now shorter all in an effort to save money. i think -- think about this,
mr. president, that they're making the school day shorter when we are talking in the paragraph before in her letter about how do we compete internationally. we're we'll make our school day-day shorter when already we go -- i think the former denver superintendent would confirm this, we go to school fewer days because than many of our competitors. because we give tax breaks to the wealthiest people in the country, we can't fund the kind of things we need to fund to compete internationally. in the end erin writes it's the students lo oh lose and our educators know this and we strive to reach every single student with the demands put upon them. she writes the fast act will make sure our students have the learning environment they need and deserve. my words may have i hope convinced some of my colleagues. i think the words -- the two letters from janine and erin, janine in a cleveland suburb, erin a central ohio teacher both with long experience in the
classroom, i hope that their words were compelling enough so that my colleagues join me in supporting the fast act, get it, getting it through the senate, let's not filibuster it, weats let's vote on it up or down, send it to the house, hopefully get it to the president by tend of the year to start putting people back to work doing school renovation, putting factory workers back to work making these windos and cement and brick and all that we need in school construction and school renovation, and make a difference for our students in the decades ahead. i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent we proceed to a period of morning business, with senators allowed to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the help committee be discharged from further consideration of s. res. 231. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 241, expressing support for the designation of november 16, 2011, as national information and referral services day. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. reid: i further ask the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, there be no intervening action or debate, any statements related to this
matter appear in the record at the appropriate place as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask consent we now proceed to s. res. 323. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 323, recognizing the 75th anniversary of the welfare program of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints and the significant impact of the welfare program in the united states and throughout the world in helping people in need. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. the clerk: i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, we adjourn until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, wednesday, november 16. following the prayer and the pledge, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning business be deemed expired, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. following any leader remarks, the senate be in a period of morning business for up to an hour, senators permitted to
speak for up to ten minutes each with the time equally divided and controlled between the two leaders and their designees, with the majority controlling the first half, the republicans controlling the final half. following morning business, then resume consideration of h.r. 2354. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: as i indicated an hour or so ago, mr. president, i hope we're going to be able to get some kind of an agreement on the energy and water appropriation bill. we also have to consider a continuing resolution, conference report, on the first minibus we did, department of defense authorization bill, so we have a lot to do in a short period of time. the senate will be notified when votes are scheduled. if there is no further business, i ask we adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
year. here's some of that hearing starting with secretary leon panetta's opening statement to the committee. >> i appreciate the opportunity to describe or strategy in iraq and to do so alongside general dempsey who has overseen so many critical efforts of the iraq campaign from its onset in 2003. i think general dempsey has been deployed multiple times to that area, served in key positions here in washington and in tampa and has a pretty good feel for the situation in iraq. it's helpful as always to recall the objective here with regards to iraq. in february of 2009, president obama and president bush i heard him say this to likely to the study group readout a very and achievable goal that was shared by the american and iraqi people
and that was simply an iraq that was sovereign, stable and self-reliant. in the words of president bush in iraq that could govern sustain and secure itself. today thanks to innumerable sacrifices from all involved, iraq is governing itself. it's a sovereign nation. it's an emerging source of stability in a vital part of the world and as an emerging democracy it is capable of being able to address its own security needs. for our part the united states is ready to mark the beginning of a new phase in our relationship with iraq, one that is normal, similar to others in the region, and based on mutual interests and mutual respect. as the president announced last month we are fully implementing
the 2008 u.s.-iraq security agreement and under the outstanding leadership of general wade austin and i can't complement him there are no limits to what i can say about his leadership. it's the now standing at a very difficult period. we are completing the drawdown of our forces by the end of this year. this fulfills the pledge made by president bush as well as president obama, which called for an end to the combat mission last august in the removal will fall in u.s. combat forces december 31st, 2011. we are continuing to pursue a long-term training relationship with the iraqi is through the office of security cooperation which will include a limited number of u.s. military personnel operating under our embassy and reseeding normal diplomatic protections. from the u.s.-iraq strategic
framework agreement, we also have a platform for future cooperation and counterterrorism and naval and air defense and in joint exercises and we will work with the iraqi to pursue those efforts. let me briefly walk through some of the major challenges that have already been pointed out that will confront iraq and mention why i believe iraq is at a stage when it is able to deal with them certainly with our continuing long-term relationship i think they can deal with these issues. first is the challenge of extremism. i expect that we will see extremists including al qaeda and iraq and the fact militant groups that will continue to plan and carry out high-profile attacks. while the kurds remain capable of conducting these type of tax, they do not enjoy widespread
support among the iraqi population, and more importantly, they have developed some of the most capable counterterrorism forces in the region. they've been active against the i iranian-backed militant in recent months, and we will be in a position to continue to assist them in building these capabilities through the office of security cooperation. the fact is despite the reduction in forces for well over 150,000 to now approximately 24,011 levels of violence in iraq remain low. the second challenge for iraq is the conflict between the political blocs. sunnis, shia, kurds, others as an any democracy. iraq deals with a range of competing agendas. but the solution to these challenges lie in the political,
not the military realm. diplomats including ambassador jeffrey and his team continue to work with and assist the iraqi in bridging the the remaining divides. in particular, the formation of the government and the appointment of defense and interior ministers which still has not happened and should and the cooperation along the error occurred to fight in the north resolving all of these issues will take time. iraq's political leadership remains committed to doing so within the political process that has been established. a further challenge is closing the gap in the external defense. the iraqi civil need assistance in this area including logistics and air defense and the will be an important focus of the office of security cooperation. a recent decision by the iraqis
u.s. f-16 has the part of a $7.5 billion foreign military sales program demonstrates iraq's commitment to build up its external defense capabilities and maintaining lasting multiple relationship with the united states. finally won last challenge is the regime attempt to influence for iraq and its own ambitions. they sought to weaken iraq by trying to underline its political process these and as i mentioned, by facilitating violence against innocent iraqi civilians and american troops. these destabilizing actions along with iran's growing ballistic missile capability and efforts to advance its nuclear program constitute a significant threat to iraq, the broader
region and u.s. interest. yet the strong sovereign self-reliant iraq we see emerging today has absolutely no desire to be dominated by iran or by anyone else. with our partners in the region, the united states is committed to countering iran and efforts to extend its destabilizing influence. we've made very clear we are committed to preventing iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and while we have strengthened our regional security relationship in the recent years, tehran's destabilizing activities have only further isolated that regime. so, as we mark this phase in our partnership with iraq, the regime is more likely than ever to be marginalized in the region and in its ability to influence the iraqi political process. our long-term security partnership with iraq is part of
a broad commitment by the united states to peace and security throughout the region. our message to our allies, our friends, and our potential adversaries is. we've more than 40,000 american troops that remain in the gulf region. we are not going anywhere and we will continue to reassure our partners, the tour aggressors and counter those seeking to create stability. iraq has come through this tickled period in its history and emerged stronger with a government that is largely representative of and increasingly responsive to the needs of its people. this outcome was never certain especially during the war's darkest days. it is a testament to the strength and resilience of our troops that we help them reverse a desperate situation and
provide them the time and space to foster the institutions of a representative government. this was pointed out more than a million americans have served in iraq. more than 32,000 have been wounded, and as we know, on nearly 4,500 service members have made the ultimate sacrifice for this mission. americans will never forget the service and sacrifice of this next greatest generation and will always within the heavy debt. in the coming weeks as the forces leave iraq, they can be proud of what they've accomplished come and they and all veterans of the iraq campaign has driven the the nation's most profound gratitude. are there concerns about the future? of course there are. concerns about what sadr will do, concerns about iran, concerns about al qaeda and the
shia extremism, concerns about the arab tensions along with disputes and other secretary in areas. there are many of us that could have designed perhaps a different result. no question a lot of pressure was brought on the iraqis. pressure by the senator said that visited and pressures by the president of the united states, vice president of the united states, secretary clinton, by secretary gates, and by myself. but the bottom line is that this is not about us. this is not about us. it's above with the iraqi small to do and the decisions that they want to make. and so we have now an independent sovereign nation that can govern and secure itself, and hopefully make the decisions that were in the
interest of its people. the u.s. will maintain a long-term relationship with iraq and we are committed to that. we will establish a normal relationship as we have with other nations in the region. in talking with our commanders, i asked this question yesterday to general odierno, who has been there for a good period of time. basically has said the time has come. the time has come for iraq to take control of its destiny. with our help hopefully it can be a stable and secure in that region of the world. thank you. >> thank you very much. general dempsey. >> thank you. senator mccain and other members of the committee. in june of 2003i arrived in baghdad to take command of the army's 1st armored division and i was given the responsibility for the city of baghdad.
nine months later in april 2004, our effort to establish security to develop the iraqi security forces enabled restoration of the fundamental services to the iraqi people and encourage them to take control of their own destiny was at risk. although about a third of my division was already redeployed to germany, our tour of duty was extended in order to suppress an uprising of the shia militia and in the southern provinces of iraq. over the course of the next few days i visited nearly every unit in the division to explain to them why it was important that we remain in iraq for another four months. to their great and everlasting credit to a man and woman they recognize the importance of the mission they embrace the challenge and they did with the nation asked them to do. as i look back, i think i will remember most the toughness, the results and the resilience of america's sons and daughters and their families in those early
days. sometimes often actually always their character shines through the toughest of times. i remember in particular one female staff sergeant listening intently as i listed why we were being occur extended. she interrupted me to say listen, general, don't worry, we trust you. but, she said, when we get to the point that the iraqis can and should do with the need to do for themselves also trust the you will bring us home. today we are gathered to talk about the future of iraq in preparing for this session i thought about the context of that discussion, the discussion with that staff sergeant. i thought about what we set out to accomplish, what we have accomplished and what we should seek to accomplish. today we are going to talk about establishing a normal security relationship with iraq. let me put it in context. in 1991i left my family to drive iraq out of kuwait.
in 2003i left my family to drive saddam hussein out of baghdad and in 2011 we are talking about establishing a normal security relationship with iraq. if you are a colonel or master sergeant in the armed forces of the united states or more senior than that, this has been a 20 year journey. we have shed blood and invested america's treasure in iraq. our futures are inextricably linked. it's not a question of whether we will continue to invest in iraq. it is a question of how. there is no question we must continue to support to develop much of the iraqi security forces and there is no question we must continue to support our diplomatic effort so that we can continue to demonstrate our commitment to iraq's nascent democracy. in anticipation of the question about whether i am concerned about the future of iraq, the answer is yes. nevertheless, america's armed forces are proud to have been part of this effort to provide
iraq the opportunities it now has come in and we are eager to be part of the effort to determine how we can continue to partner with them on issues of common interest for the future. i look forward to questions. >> thank you very much, general dempsey. let's try and eight minute round for the first round. >> let me ask you both th you bs question about the 2008 u.s.-iraq security agreement which was agreed to between president bush and prime minister maliki which requires the withdrawal of u.s. forces by the end of december of this year there's been an effort made to negotiate a continuation of a limited number of u.s. forces beyond december of this year
particularly trainers. let me ask you first, general, did we make a strong effort to negotiate the continuing presence of the trainers providing there was an immunity agreement with iraq our people would not be subject to the iraqi courts? >> senator, as you know i was the chief staff of the army and that period of time and i can tell you that in conversations among them the joint chiefs to engage our counterparts and encourage them to accept some small permanent footprint. our recommendation was a small footprint and rotational training agreement for field training exercises and such bills fundamentally around what we call the program of record which is the foreign military sales case. so i can speak for the joint
chiefs having been encouraged by secretary gates and then secretary leon panetta to engage our counterparts. >> did you make the effort -- >> i did, sir. >> what is it a living presence of the force? are you willing to have those forces remain without an agreement will put to immunity for the troops? >> no, sir, i'm not coming into was the recommendation advice and a strong belief of the joint chiefs that we wouldn't leave servicemen and women there without protection. >> why is that? >> because of the institutions in iraq better still evolving and in the sure the iraqi judicial system is certainly among those and we did not believe the was appropriate and prudent to leave servicemen and women without the protections in a country that still had the challenges we know it has and a
very immature judicial system. >> is it your understanding that that is the sticking point that iraq was not willing to provide that assurance? >> you know, sir, it's hard for me to understand exactly prime minister melody's bottomline was, though i have spoken to him within the past six months. what i will say is a was part of it. the other part is that he believed it to be in his political interest to cause us to live up to the agreement we made to withdraw from iraq in the 2008 agreement. the was called a security agreement. it's important to remember underneath that was the security framework agreement which establishes six lines operation, and was his strong preference in my conversations with him to base our relationship on that and that simply on the matter of of the three prisons. >> so, from what you know, there
was an unwillingness on the part of the iraqi leadership to negotiate the continuing presence of the troops for two reasons. one, they would not give the assurance of legal protection or immunity and second, the politically it was not in their interest to make such an agreement. >> that is my understanding, yes, sir. >> given that, is it your understanding that our military commanders are also unwilling to have our troops there without that legal protection? >> it was the topic of many security teleconferences from person-to-person, and i can say that they also believe we needed the protections both general austin and general mattocks in order to leave our troops there. >> so the decision of the president basically comply with the 2008 u.s.-iraq security agreement that was agreed to
between president bush and president maliki that that decision to comply with that agreement unless we could negotiate a satisfactory continuation to the residual force with protection, with immunity to you agree with the president's decision to proceed in that way? >> i do, senator. >> secretary, some have expressed the concern that the u.s. troop withdrawal from iraq is going to give iran a propaganda victory with iran claiming to the u.s. forces of iraq but we'd do you believe that the iraqi leaders and other nations in the region will buy into the propaganda that they drove us out of iraq? >> i really don't. i think that the one thing i have seen time and time again is that prime minister maliki and
iraq and other countries in that region basically reject what iran is trying to do and a view iran as having a destabilizing influence in that part of the world, don't support iran and what they do and my view is the region largely reject iran and its intentions, and i think that iraq is at the top of that list. >> let me ask you both protection of the religious minorities since our invasion of iraq in 2003i have worked with many members of the congress of worked with our military and civilian leadership would here and in iraq to ensure that small and small religious minority communities interact or are protected from the violence and persecution. give your assessment first the
sector and in general. but of the iraqi government's willingness and capability of protecting the religious minority communities in iraq and particularly the christians. >> i believe that investor jeffrey and this the department continue to work very closely with the iraqi to ensure that the religious minorities are protected. it is a problem and its concern. i think it is going to command a continuing vigilance by all of us continuing pressure by all of us on the iraqi government that they do everything possible to recognize both human and religious rights. there is a lot of history and there are a lot of challenges here. but i'm absolutely convinced when you talk to the political leadership in iraq that they
don't want to have these kind of divisions, they don't want to have this kind of discrimination to place within their country, but it's going to require constant vigilance to make sure it doesn't happen. >> general, do you have a comment on that? >> just a comment, senator, in the pre-surge period which many of us remember was very common for state sponsored militia out of the security ministry to be conducting these kind of attacks against those religious groups that didn't agree with their particular faith. we haven't seen anything like that since the search meeting the security ministries have become responsible agents of government so not discounting the continued pressure on the small religious communities at least there's no evidence that there will be state-sponsored, and that is a significant
change. >> thank you very much, senator mccain. estimates before mr. sherman. since you brought up, regrettably general dempsey into the some three and 2004, the fact is you did not support the surge and set it would fail. secretary panetta was a part of the iraqi study group recommended withdrawal from iraq and opposed the surge. we are all responsible for the judgment that we make and obviously that affects the credibility of the judgment that we make now, iraq, a regret that you had to bring that up, general dempsey. the fact is there are some of us that we're over there in those years he talk about and in fact maybe even had other members of the family over there and saw that it was failing and that we needed to have the search succeeded. the fact is we could have given sovereign immunity as we have in other countries to keep our
troops there and do them the community that the needed. we had other agreements with other countries that guaranty sovereign immunity. the fact is that every military leader recommended that we have residual forces at a minimum of 10,000, and usually around 20,000. that was the recommendation made before this committee by general odierno. recommendations made by general petraeus, recommendations made by even lower ranking military who had spent as you mentioned a great deal of time there and did not want to see that service and sacrifice all we said we because of our inability and lack of desire to reach an agreement with the iraqi. as i said in my opening statement they are largely responsible as well. but the fact is senator lieberman, senator gramm and i were there the iraqis were ready to deal with and what was the
administration's response? they didn't have a number and mention the last may as to the residual force-iraq. as things happen in that country, things fell apart. now, can you tell the committee, general dempsey, if there was any military commander that recommended that we completely withdraw from iraq? >> no, senator, none of us recommend that we completely but draw from iraq. >> when did we come up with of the numbers of troops that we wanted to remain in iraq to you know when the decision was made, the exact numbers that we wanted? >> to my understanding the press started in about august and as you know there was a series of cascading possibilities or options that started at about 16,000 ended up with about ten and then migrated and we ended up with a program under.
>> tuna when the final decision was reached? >> the final decision on focusing on the office of the secure the cooperation was based on a conversation between our president and president maliki. prior to that, i don't know. >> the reason why if you don't know this because there never was. they're never was an exact number in the missions articulate it by our government with which would have been a concrete proposal for the iraqi government. succumb to see that the iraqi government didn't want us when they didn't know the numbers and missions that we wanted to have their of course is understandable why we didn't reach an agreement with them as a you mentioned cascaded down from 20,000 down to the ridiculously small number of 33sa secretary leon panetta, we are now going to have a residual presence of iraq of some 16,000 american embassy personnel. isn't that correct?
>> i believe with contractors that's correct. >> how are we planning on ensuring the security of those 16,000 americans? >> a lot of the 16,000 are secure people. >> so, we will not be using civilian contractors to protect and maintain the security of the state department personnel, the largest in the c personnel in the world; is that correct? >> that's correct. >> and the comparative cost of a contract personnel first is a military individual is dramatically different. the cost of the contract personnel is dramatically higher than that of the cost of an ordinary service member; correct? >> i believe you are correct. >> when these times -- >> i think in these times of fiscal austerity we withdraw our military troops in the high year a whole bunch of contractors who either rightfully or wrongfully do not have a very good
reputation as opposed to the uniformed military in order to secure the safety of some thousands, certain thousands who were there for security and some thousands who were there the 16,000 divided up that way. >> senator mccain, if i could just for the record, when i as the director of the cia talked with prime minister maliki regarding this issue and then when i became secretary defense had a number of conversations with him as well in which i made very clear with general austin and investor jeffrey that it was extremely important that we needed to have an agreement that we needed to have immunity for the troops, we needed to have the protection, and he believed
there was a way to do this that did not involve having to go to the parliament for approval, and was free clear among all of the attorneys here that we absolutely had to have their approval through their parliament if we were going to have an agreement that provided the kind of immunity that we needed. i can't tell you how many times we made that clear. i believe the prime minister understood that, and it was at the point that he basically said we can't deliver it. i can't get through parliament that we were then left with the decisions that were made. >> welcome a you know, again, we happen to withdraw the troops from those countries where we have a presence that we don't have going through the parliament that is done through the sovereign immunity, and the fact is the president was presumed with options either the
declaration of sovereign immunity made by the government is the case with other countries which the iraq easily have been able to do, and the demanding would go through parliament, so i guess now we would withdraw those from countries that we don't have a parliamentary approval. so, look, the fact is if we could get in the iraqi is the number and the mission that we wanted long ago, if we had done with condoleezza rice, the secretary of state said, quote, everybody believed it would be better if there was some kind of a residual force. there was an expectation we would negotiate something like the residual force. we met with barzani and maliki and allow the and they were able to move forward and the fact is that they were not given that number and mission of the residual united states troops would be there for.
as general dempsey chest mentioned, it cascaded down. it cascaded for months mr. secretary from 20,000, 15,000, 13,000, 10,000 to 5,000, and each time there was a different number given for the consideration and would be hard for me what they told us maybe they were not telling us the truth so, mr. secretary, but we have a relationship with them that goes back many years and they've always told us the truth and the truth is this administration was committed to the complete withdrawal of u.s. troops from iraqi and they made it happen. >> senator became. i respect your beliefs. the outcome is predicted. this is about negotiating, this is about negotiating with a
sovereign country and independent country. this is about their needs. this is not about us telling them what we are going to do for them or what they are going to have to do. this is about their country making a decision as to whether things are necessary and the conditions of that once they made the decision they were not going to provide any amenities for any level of force that we could have their and this is a lot different to the country's frankly it could be engaging in the combat operations if we were to engage in the ct operations you absolutely have to have in the andes and those communities have to be granted by the agreement was not about to have our troops go there in place without those amenities. for months we did not give the numbers and missions that is necessary in order to remain there. your version of history and mine
are very different but the way this turned out is the way unfortunately many of us were predicted that it would and in the view of every military expert that i know we are now at a greater risk than we were if we have a residual force and by the way, understand the american people's approval withdrawing from iraq if we would withdraw from turkey and that is because we haven't made the case as to what is at stake and what the consequences of our failure or. thank you mr. chairman psp mix before, senator mccain. senator lieberman. >> thank you, mr. psychiatry and general chairman for being here. so, i add my voice has one cool also felt during the time of the status of forces agreement between the u.s. and iraq based on conversations that i had with leaders in both countries that the expectations was that a
visible force would remain at the expiration of so far at the end of this year, 2011. and the reason was cleared and they would have to be negotiated between the two sovereign nations. the reason that was from our point of view we have invested so much blood and treasure and the success of a coterie, unexpected success in iraq that it wouldn't make sense to just pick up and leave unless we felt the country, that the iraqis were totally prepared to protect the security in the progress they've made. which incidentally my opinion hasn't always been great for them and transformation within their history but also throughout the middle east. personally, i think that the site of the iraqis pulling at saddam hussein and down showing people throughout the arab world that those parents were not for
ever wear as one of the preconditions of the factor that enable the eda spurring awakening that's going on now to occur. i also believe that president obama and primm minister maliki must have wanted to have a residual force remain in iraq and the tv people on both sides of the that and so to me the failure to reach agreement or the inability to reach agreement causing it to withdraw was not a success but a failure and i worry about the consequences. general, i thought that as senator mccain said we talked to our military commanders over there over the years and everybody said we should keep some troops. the numbers went from probably the low or 5,000 to the high of
25,000 different times. i was really interested in your answer to senator mccain and i appreciate it because i know it is the truth that no military commander including yourself recommended zero troops, american troops after january 1st, and i presume that's because you thought that there was an on necessary high risk for us and iraq if we had no troops remaining after january 1st of next year. is that a fair assumption? >> the cascading but i mentioned to senator mccain was the result of the negotiating the missions, the structure is completely dependent upon the mission you ask us to do. tell me what you want me to do i can tell you the structure to do it. the negotiations that occurred were on which mentions the iraqi government wanted us to continue to execute and that's why the
numbers went from 16 but it could have been 25 down to about five, and but at the end of the the the iraqi prez minister deemed that he wanted to rely on the security agreement and base future relationship. >> understood. in your own thinking, since you didn't recommend the zero trips after january 1st, what do you think now are dhaka greater risks that we face as a result of the fact that we will have no continuing military presence in iraq? >> some of the things the military footprint address what to be addressed diplomatically and that is some of the things that have come up today that the protection of the small
religious communities and so forth, the tensions if you will, but i also want to mention the security cooperation will help us ensure the military sales program, the program of record as we call it that continues to build the institution of the iraqi security forces will continue to be addressed. so this isn't a divorce. it may feel that way because of the way the members of -- the way the iraqi government has come to the decision but the fact is we will be embedded with them as trainers not only tactically but also with the institutional level and i think that is an important way to mitigate the risk you are talking about. >> let me go from that point. i've heard from friends in iraq that primm and mr. maliki said at one point he needed to stop the negotiations leave aside
from knowing the reasons that he was prepared to begin the negotiations again between two sovereign nations, the u.s. and iraq about some american troops being in iraq after january 1st. so that's what i've heard from there. but i wanted to ask you from the administration point of view, and i know that per minister melody's coming here and a few weeks to washington. is the administration planning to pursue further discussions with the iraqi government about deploying at least some u.s. forces in iraq after the end of this year? >> senator, as i pointed out in my testimony, what we seek with iraq is a normal relationship, and that does involve continuing negotiations with them as to what their needs are, and i believe there will be continuing negotiations. we are in negotiations now with regards to the size of the
security office the will be there and so there will be -- there aren't cero troops were going to be there. we will have hundreds that will be present by virtue of that office assuming we can work out an agreement there. but i think that once we have completed the implementation of the security agreement that there will be a series of negotiations about what picks ackley are the additional areas we can be of assistance, what level trainers to the need, what level -- or can we do with regard to the ct operations, what will we do on the joint exercises that work together? we have these kind of relationships with other countries in the region and that we are going to continue to pursue. spirit using the term both of you used the will be a normal relationship. the normal relationship would not exclude the presence of some american military and iraq, correct?
assuming the question of immunity could be overcome to you personally believe it is in the interest of the u.s. to have military presence in iraq as part of an agreement with the iraqi? >> there are areas we can provide important assistance to the iraqi is but again i would stress to you, senator lieberman that in order for this to happen we've got to be able to have them basically say these are our needs, this is what we want, these are the missions we want to accomplish and then we can assist them saying we can accomplish those missions. it has to be a two-way street >> we've been concerned and i will talk to you in the general dempsey about the fact that iran over the course of the war has been training and equipping extremist groups that have come back into iraq and killed a lot of americans and even more iraq
peace. what is your belief now about whether the iranians are continuing to train iraqi extremist militia to come back into iraq and cause havoc? >> we went through a difficult period where we knew that they were providing military weapons to the extremist groups and they were being used to kill americans, and we indicated our concerns about that and it was part of the discussion that i had with the prime minister was my concern about that. as a result of that, they did take action. the to the actions. operations were conducted against the iranian or the shia militant groups. in addition to that commonality made very clear to the iranians that this had to stop.
we did go through a program that it did stop, but we continued to have concerns that the armenians would try to provide that kind of assistance as well, and we have made it very clear to iraq and that they've got to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that doesn't happen. the estimate of the vichy the answer. thank you mr. chairman. >> senator brown. >> thank you mr. secretary. i want to follow on a question senator lieberman asked. do you think it is important to have a military presence in iraq and you said we need to provide in support and assistance but do you or don't you think that we should have a military presence in iraq? >> i think that providing military presence that assists them with training, this them with the operations continuing to work against the terrorist
groups is important but i have to stress to you, senator, that it can only happen if the iraqi agree that it should happen. >> i understand that. >> i get the impression that somehow every betty is deciding what we want for iraq and that's what happens but it shouldn't happen that way. this is an independent country. >> i have some very specific questions to follow with senator mccain a little bit in his concerns about the contractor costs versus the soldier costs it is a tremendously large dollar amount. it's the same in afghanistan and the scene in iraq. we will have potentially 16,000 contractors over there. how does the agreement or their ability to perform their duties of their affect the contractors? they will be performing security and have some serious legal challenges as well.
how is it any different? >> i can take that one. when i was running the security transition command, training and equipping the iraqi security forces, i had a rather small military staff, about a thousand and hit three or four times that in the contractors and the contractors are often third country nationals and these are not all dod contractors, so security contractors could become a third country and as part of the contract there will be a negotiated position on protection and in manatee but oftentimes they are not protected and if something happens they can be in present and tried in the host nation and that is common practice around the world. we ought to take for the record i think the issue of cost because there's a distinction on the kind of contractors we use. a truck driver driving a cargo
truck with food from kuwait to baghdad will get paid a certain rate. a secure a contractor of a different rate. these are not all contractors seeking $250,000 a year, so i feel we ought to appeal the back yvette to see the real cost. >> it's important to let the american public know because i know when i was in afghanistan talking to the soldiers who were deeply concerned about the drivers through the post getting up words of $100,000 you have a soldier that can do it in 20 or $30,000 trying to squeeze out every last dollar i think it's important. i'd rather be quite frankly providing the tools and the resources to the military personnel versus the contractors. i would hope he would look at that. and mr. secretary, you said you committed to not allowing iran to get nuclear weapons. do you think we are accomplishing that? >> i think that the united
states working with our allies and implementing the sanctions that have gone against iran have combined with other efforts to impede their effort to forward in that area that is correct. we have so many sanctions, yet i think the biggest problem we have is enforcing them. i can't remember the last time we were actually finding a company for performing work and doing the business in iran. how involved is russia and actually helping them and the nuclear capability? >> i think you ought to ask on intelligence officials about the specifics of the russian engagement, but there is no question that they have provided some help. >> i bring it up because you bring up we are not allowing
them to gain the nuclear capability, and yet we seem to really not be putting any teeth behind the sanctions and really a think we can do it better is my point, and maybe we can talk offline about that, but i also have heard speaking to members of the committee and others the prime minister has kicked out officials in the intelligence service and the army and replacing the only list, police sources report that roughly 20 people have been arrested since october 24 on the charges of affiliation with the party under saddam and to conduct terrorism in iraq. are you concerned on these types of arrests and better it will either require us to have a larger footprint or how it's going to be affected by the footprint being reduced? >> i am concerned about the actions that the prime minister
took with regards to investing the baathist and they are being held at this point without charges and that raises concerns about the due process. >> at the same time i have to say that the sunnis and it's a reflection of what's happened in iraq that the population their recognizes that even in light of that their actions ought to take place through the institutions of government, and they are bringing, you know, the pressure through the parliament and through the primm government and i'd think that is what democracy should do. >> what level do you think in terms of the percentage basis would you give iraq's counterterrorism forces today? either one, sir. >> i will take that, senator. about 4500. stat how does that rank in terms of percentage capability being ready to perform their mission.
>> i would grab the rate to be about 80%, and the gap is in their ability to fit the are extraordinarily good, extraordinarily good at closing on to a particular target when the target is identified for them generally in their case through the unit. with the lack is their ability to fuse into evidence, signal intelligence, human intelligence and identify the network. >> you've visited -- by the way, nobody else in the world doesn't like us, so i am comparing us to them. but the point is when you visit our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines and operation centers in iraq they will have a wiring diagram of the network in their particular area. and that has come after years of adaptation and learning that we have not yet managed to pass over to the counterparts, but we have in this office of security cooperation. we have a cadre of the trainers to continue to build the capability and close the gap. >> how functioning as the air
force? is it capable of defending its airspace? does that matter at this point? where do you think we are with that? >> i will tell you where we are and then take a stab at whether it matters or not. as you know, they've got the f-16 on order as a part of the $7 billion sales program. the first 18 or so of what will eventually be 24 will be delivered in the 2015 time, so there is a gap between now and 2015. their ability to protect the sovereignty. does it matter? it doesn't -- it is not apparent to us that it matters that there is no threat to the iraqi sovereign airspace right now. but after the first of the year as prime minister maliki is the security agreement evolved what it looks like as we begin to withdraw i suspect there will be some negotiation backed on a religious to the sovereignty.
the of long-range radars on the orders that come this next calendar year to help read when the chief of defense speaks about not being ready until 2020, it's that kind to believe that he's talking about, not the day-to-day capability on the ground. >> thank you. thank you both. >> you can see all of secretary leon panetta and dempsey's testimony on c-span2 at 10:00 eastern.
to those who say we are rushing this issue of civil rights, i say to them we are 172 years late. for those who say this civil rights program is on states' rights i say the time has arrived in america for the democratic party to get out of the shadow of states' rights and walk into the bright sunshine of human rights. ..
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> good morning. thank you for coming here to early. very kind of you. appreciate you being here at the playbook breakfast. good morning to everybody in live stream land. people on twitter, this is hash tag playbookbreakfast. i thank bank of america to
continuing to support these conversations, and i'd like to recognize some special guests this morning. we have several student interns from the urban alliance high school internship program, and this is a dc non-profit connecting with local young people, companies in the area, and three of our students today are in attendance, interns at bank of the america. it's a great program that helps the community, and there's more information on your chair about being involved, and as you came in, you might have got one of these cards, very exciting. baby's first book. the right fights back, the first of the series of e-books that's done about the campaign "politico" is doing to tell the behind the scenes story in realtime. i think we announced the book in playbook, but this is the first time we talked about it. we have fantastic interviews with some of the candidates and what it's like