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tv   National Security Threat of Islamic State Terrorists  CSPAN  February 20, 2015 8:29am-11:29am EST

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and non coercive tools of u.s. aircraft. in other words, the use of military power is just one tool and it must be integrated way set of other tools particularly bilateral and lateral diplomacy. perhaps the greatest success we've seen against isis is this nation's ability to mobilize a diverse and significant national coalition. over 60 nations have not just committed to fighting the threat in words, but they are acting. they are participating in the airstrikes they are countering isis' financing they are stopping the flow of foreign
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fighters and they are responding to the catastrophe. the use of u.s. force is needed but what president obama said is evidence of what has worked in the past five months. what have we seen in the past five months that have effectively degraded isis in iraq and syria? since september, we are making significant progress and degrading isis by using a combination of airstrikes by the coalition coordinated with local forces on the ground. through this partnership approach, we've eliminated nearly 6,000 isis fighters in iraq and a thousand in syria. we are diminishing supply lines and manpower and probably most importantly, we have decreased the group's momentum. we have three main military partners on the ground. we have the iraqi security forces, the kurdish forces as
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mentioned, associated with the krg and then we have our syrian opposition forces which include both arab and kurdish factions. they are the best place to understand the sociopolitical context that has allowed isis to incubate themselves and thrive in the nation. i believe this reflects a larger strategy. one has preliminarily been working. a strategy that prioritizes the role of the partners on the ground in ultimately defeating isis and filling in the vacuums left behind upon isis' retreat. the limited tailored approach suggests to the muslim world that we are not interested in another decade-long presence on the ground in the heart of the middle east. degrading isis and reducing the threat it poses simply does not require that kind of approach. in conclusion, force is one element of our strategy and we
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should use it wisely, ju dishsly, in a way that is most effective. this element is certainly insufficient to sustain isis in a long-term manner. so i urge you, even as congress is focused on the force, it must not lose sight of the political strategy and the work that might be necessary. i look forward to your questions so we can talk more about these military objectives which stretch between three iraq, syria, and to the global concept of lessening isis idealogy. >> ambassador, you raised the question, so isil has taken mrgs os -- mosul. who is going to dig them out of there? this committee raised the issue before they got to mosul that we should have used air power when they were on the desert to decimate that force, but it
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wasn't done at that time. so as of this morning the peshmerga forces had surrounded isil in mosul on three sides. they're working to cut isis' ability to maneuver in the area. the greatest problem right now is the area south of mosul where iraqi government forces and where the sunni tribes are struggling to gain control of solidan province. so when we look at the authorization just sent down from the committee, we're the committee of jurisdiction. so from the white house they sent to congress an authorization that would provide the flexibility to conduct ground combat operations in limited circumstances. and we go through some of the list. the use of special operations forces to take military action against isil leadership. and for intelligence collection and sharing and missions to enable kinetic strikes, in other
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words, on the ground in order to call in airstrikes, and i guess there's about 3,000 special forces involved in that right now. where the provision of operational planning and other forms of advice and assistance of partner forces. i want to get to this question of assistance for our partner forces. because i am concerned about the situation that the kurds face. we've had numerous meetings with them in which they've called repeatedly for anti-tank weapons that they could use for artillery, for long-range mortar mortar, you know, armor. and that has not been done. and so as they surround mosul, this gets to the question of what kind of leadership on the ground would be given, what kind of weaponry would be given, and what kinds of airstrikes will be you know, called in by our spotters on the ground and maybe
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we can open with that. ambassador, would you like to give us your thoughts on some of this? >> certainly mr. chairman. it's to some degree two separate questions. arming the courage is an important issue. and there are two elements to it. one is what they need and secondly, the political ramifications in the longer term because there will be an iraq and there will be a lot of problems in the middle east after we defeat isis. and one of the problems is keeping iraq together and it makes sense, it was the position when i was there is to give iraqi weapons with a check to the kurds. we just need to make sure weapons go to the kurds. these are m-rap and humvee humvee-supplied vehicles night
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vision goggles armor and all of that thing. the question is long-range artillery, as you mentioned, and armor armor. that can not only be used in a long-term situation, it can be used in contact with baghdad. that's a tricky question. for the moment i would focus on giving them better equipment to do what they're doing now to make sure they have the armor to move around the battlefield. i'm not sure giving them artillery and tanks is such a great idea assuming they can hold their ground now, and they have been, including a quite difficult attack last week. in terms of the kurds taking mosul, there are different opinions on that. the pot mosul was always critical
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considering there was a considerable population in east mosul, and they might be willing to fight in that. i'm not sure they would take heavy casualties to fight to take over -- >> they're taking heavy casualties now, they're taking it against artillery when they don't have artillery to match. only 25 of the 250 mraps that they went through baghdad got through, so i'm just pointing out that the weaponry is not getting through to the kurds and i think on both sides of the aisle here the fighting is going to be done by kurdish by jordanian, by sunni tribes, by arab troops and kurdish troops on the ground. and if we are not giving them the assistance they need to get them rolled back. we need to see them decisively rolled back. let me go to lieutenant brennan
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for your thoughts on this because i know you've written about peshmerga and coalition ground forces the necessity to help them on the ground. would you like to elaborate? >> thank you mr. chairman. my view is that in order to assist these organizations whether they be the peshmerga or coalition forces that we bring on the ground we have got to put u.s. forces with them. i would be putting a-teams at the battalion level to help them plan intelligence to help them organize and to allow them to bring in the type of air support that's necessary at the precision level. the problem you're going to have as you go into cities is there will be a great reluctance to use air support as you're in there because of the potential for collateral damage. having our troops on the ground gives a sense of confidence that
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you can then bring those weapons where they're needed and i think without putting our boots on the ground to do that would be extremely difficult to win this battle. >> you've got about 3,000 special forces now u.s. personnel, on the ground in theater, and they are calling in airstrikes right now. you're saying as you get into these cities they need to be further deployed to make sure the isil targets are the targets that are hit. >> exactly. and they need to be engaged with all the coalition military so we have an integrated air campaign something much greater than we have right now. >> my time is expired. i'll go to mr. engle, the ranking member of the foreign affairs committee. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, and i want to thank our witnesses for their testimony. our hearing today takes place in the wake of president obama sending his requests for the use of force to the congress yesterday. the aumf lands squarely in the jurisdiction of this committee.
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i look forward to working with chairman royce and all of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to thoroughly review the president's proposal and our overall strategy to defeat isis in the days and weeks ahead in order to help the syrians and the thousands of iraqis that have been driven from their homes, we've worked on cracking isis funding scheme to crack for ransom ransom, and i'm working on cultural properties so groups like isis cannot steal their heritage and sell it to pay for weapons of terror. we are stemming the flow of foreign fighters, helping to ensure that when we remove an isis extremist from the battlefield, there isn't another recruit from france or england or the u.s. waiting to take his place, and the coalition is
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fighting back against false idealogy preached in isis propaganda. coalition military operations are making some progress under the cover of coalition airstrikes. we're seeing some reversals in isis gains. as the chairman spoke about we continue to advise and assist the iraqi security forces and the kurdish peshmerga. i share the chairman's thoughts on the peshmerga and the kurds. we continue to prepare vetting opposition, though this effort is slow-moving and long, long, long overdue, in my opinion. so the coalition is working on a multilateral effort the way they should. as questions arise we try to meet concerns. we're working to bring the ua back into the effort as one of the most reliable allies in the region and that's why jordan backed down on its commitment after the aftermath of the horrific murder of captain
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senespa. obviously we're not out of the woods. i want to start by talking about the aumf. the president put his language as a starting point on the aumf, so i'd like to hear from our witnesses what their thoughts are. should this aumf be limited to a certain geographic area? should it limit u.s. combat troops on the ground? should we consider a sunset clause for an aumf? why don't we start with ambassador jeffrey. >> i would urge the committee to give as much latitude as possible to the administration particularly on timing. i'm very concerned about the three years, because having been in the administration it's going to be very difficult, as the next administration comes
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into office and they're just getting their people confirmed in may or june of 2017 to have to think about a resolution while also thinking about what their overall strategy is going to be. if there has to be a time limit on it and i understand why people would want it i would urge a broader one. i'm also a bit concerned about the enduring offensive ground operations because that can be interpreted to mean no ground operations. certainly the kind of operations by special forces advisory teams and such that dr. brennan has talked about are very feasible and are the normal procedure in such campaigns. we've used them many times before. and if the commanders on the ground need them i think they should. i would not rule out using american ground troops to take territory if that's necessary to defeat isis. what i would rule out myself but that's a political decision is long-term american presence
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on the ground as we saw in iraq, in afghanistan, in vietnam. it does not work mr. engel. >> isn't enduring people on the other side worry that enduring might be allowing troops for a longer period of time than people would like, so you've got people on both sides of the divide worrying about the nebulous term "endurgeing"enduring"? >> it's a bad idea to have enduring ground troop presence almost anywhere in the middle east, and we have not traditional done that before 2001, 2002 and 2003 and that's a good rule to get back to generally, with exceptions. advisory teams air power perhaps in the long term but you don't want to keep a large ground presence because that's perceived as a threat by various actors in the region. >> thank you. let me ask dr. brennan and then dr. rand to comment. >> i would agree with what
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ambassador jeffrey said. the other point i would like to make, though, is limiting the president of the united states to not allowing him to have enduring ground operations sends a signal not only to our friends but also to our enemies. we have to go into this -- if this is a grave threat to the u.s. national security, i believe the congress ought to authorize the president to do what's necessary. and more importantly while there may be no plans to do an enduring operation, we do not know where the world is going to evolve in six months. we have to be able to have the flexibility of the president to have troops on the ground, and i say this, with the ability to have troops on the ground, the lawyers will be wrestling with this every day trying to figure out if it's offensive operation is it defensive. it's going to cause so many problems that i think it would be a mistake to keep this in the
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aumf. >> dr. rand, you said a lot about this in your written testimony. >> overall i think it bounces back between the flexibility requirement and the strategy that i think is working in a preliminary way. the most important clause here i think, is the sunset provision, because as my colleagues have mentioned, so much is changing and is fluent on the battlefield that the question of how extensive the ground forces need to be, the question of the geography rgs the question of what is an affiliate or associate of isis these are questions that in two years or three years, we will have to re-evaluate. so i see that as the most important limitation on the use of force because it demands every evaluation of the strategy and it demands questions such as metrics of success and progress that congress will require based on their requirements in here. the only final question i would add is the geographical scope in terms of the global authorization for the use of
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force against isis' affiliates and associates. that might need to be clarified. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. we go now to ileana russ-slaton of florida. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. the obama administration states that the training of syrian and moderate fighters is a large part of our strategy, but as of yet, we have not seen much evidence of this success. former ambassador to syria robert ford said in our subcommittee that the administration does not bother to coordinate or discuss strategy with syria's moderate fighters at all and won't strike isil near aleppo the moderate stronghold. if this force does eventually get up and running what should its mission be and who do you think will set and coordinate the strategy? will it be the united states or the coalition partners? can these forces fight against assad and isil simultaneously? and ambassador jeffrey, you
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testified that iran's policies almost drove iraq apart between 2012 and '14 and also that we won't be able to defeat isil over the long term without a more forceful u.s. policy toward the assad regime. what can you tell us about iran's goal and the activities in iraq and the region, and how does this impact our fight against isil? do you suspect that we are not going after assad because we're negotiating with iran on nukes? and lastly, when iran violates iraqi air space will the prime minister embody the u.s. and the coalition turn a blind eye because it's not convenient? >> thank you, madam chairman. first of all, i agree with you that we need to do much more to explain how syria fits into this whole equation.
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the campaign is correct in putting the priority on iraq because there we do have allies, there we do have -- we're engaged in syria is a longer term question, but that doesn't mean you can now not answer questions. our allies in the region most of them want to do more against assad. assad contributed to the creation of isis. assad is allied with iran. as my colleague dr. brennan said, we're dealing with not just one extreme islamic violent movement in the region with isis, we're dealing with a whole series of them and one of them is the vilead aquire the religious establishment. it's both a poster boy for the cause as it has done a great deal to drive iraq into the disunity that isis was able to exploit in 2014 by allowing and in some cases encouraging malaki
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and some members of the shiite coalition to oppress the sunnis and disagree with the kurds to some degree that the country wasn't holding together very well, and then isis came on the scene and we saw what happened. we have to deal with a loft these -- lot of these problems. we have a lot of friends in the region. i'm sorry iran doesn't do more against syria because of the negotiations. i hope that isn't the case, but i think we need to separate the two out. that negotiation on nuclear weapons has to rest on its own merits whatever they may be and our policy to it providing security in this region with our allies has to be moved forward without consideration of other exterior questions such as that. >> thank you so much. the other witnesses?
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>> we need to develop a reasonable strategy to address this. as mr. jeffrey said, we have a lot of partners in the region that's being threatened by what's taking place. if you look at the rapid expansion of what iran has done recently, currently they have hezbollah and lebanon, they have the large number of shia militias in iraq, probably as much as 5 to 10000, and when we look at the success in iraq a lot of success is being done by the shia militias and iran inside iraq that will tend to distort iraqi politics in the long run. you've got the huthi and yemen and you've got assad and syria. you essentially have a creation of a shia presence that is threatening all our allies in the region. it's no wonder these allies when we ask them to join us, come to us with a concern
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because they see iran as a primary threat and we have to come together and develop a strategy that takes into consideration our allies' concerns and move on from there rather than just trying to look at solely the issue of isis. although i agree with ambassador jeffrey, isis in iraq has to be a first priority. >> thank you. >> the ranking member of the subcommittee on terrorism here, mr. brad sherman of california. >> mr. chairman, i've now become the ranking member on asia. >> congratulations on the promotion. >> but i believe isis is a lesser threat to the united states than the shiite alliance. ground troops if necessary to take territory will be necessary to hold the territory. the peshmerga are not going to be welcomed in sunni arab areas
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and the shiites, it was the greatest weaponry in american history. the shiite militias that have engaged in murderous cleansing of sunnis underreported in the american press and so i don't see who we have that will be a ground force to take sunni areas. i do know that i don't want to vote to have american soldiers going house to house in mosul in a bloody hand-to-hand combat role because no other ground forces are available. as to the aumf, we've got the text the president sent over leaves in place the 2001 aumf.
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in effect, republishes, reaffirms that. what is it that we would be reaffirming 15 years later? unlimited in time. unlimited in what weapons or tactics or ground forces it authorized over 100,000 soldiers in afghanistan. last decade it would authorize 100,000 soldiers to be deployed on the ground next decade and of course, unlimited in geography. so if we republish rather than repeal that, it's hard to say that the president doesn't have enough authority to do all the things that many of us hope he does not do. and then as to the timing issue, if congress is doing its job and there is a three-year aumf after two years we pass something else rather than waiting for two days while we have soldiers in the field wondering whether congress will pass the bill. but i want to focus with my time
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on economics. this is the richest terrorist organization in history. they got a huge quantity of iraqi currency. i don't know if our witnesses have qualifications to focus on this. what some countries have done is they've done currency exchanges. you know your blue money is going to be void because you have to change it for purple money. this inconveniences the corrupt tax evaders, et cetera and therefore is extremely unpopular for governments that are dominated by corrupt tax evaders which may very well describe baghdad. are any of you qualified to talk about whether iraq should do a currency exchange designed to invalidate the many values of dollars of iraqi currency that isil conceded in the local bank?
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>> for what it's worth i think it's a good idea. i would suggest maybe after you reflect on it rkts, if you could have written response to the congressman's question, that would be helpful. >> and let me establish just a policy for this committee. i will yield automatically to any member who wants to say, i have a good idea. >> so it won't happen all the time. >> it's unlikely to interrupt me very often. in world war ii, the french lived under enemy occupation and we regarded those areas as areas to be bombed and constricted. obviously, the vishi government wasn't allowed to buy argentine wheat and just bring it in a ship across the ocean. we regard france as an asset of
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the nazis. yet i'm told, and news reports indicate, that the iraqi government is paying the civil servants in mosul, and of course isis then takes as much of that money as they want. do any of you have a comment about that and whether it should continue? am >> ambassador? >> certainly, mr. sherman, that's a tough question. i know the embassy is focused on that. they saw the news reports as well. it gets also to the question of can you just change the currency? we did that from time to time in vietnam when i was there. it had a lot of second and tertiary level impact on a lot of people. i think that the reason the iraqi government is continuing these payments is, first of all you know it's hard to explain this but it's their legal only
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gagsz -- obligations to the government of their civil service. >> somehow the government of france did not feel it necessary to pay the teachers of vishy. go on. >> yes, but they were not the legal government of france. that's a whole other complicated question. the iraqi government is and i think that's important. but the most important thing is it gets to the questions you've asked about who is going to do the lib ratingerateliberating? the answer is much of it by the sunni population the sunni tribes the sunni members of those congregations. they need to feel a certain loyalty to baghdad. i'm not sure cutting off that money is going to give them that loyalty. >> every penny that goes to isis-controlled areas is scooped up by isis. i just take 30 seconds to say, in addition, there are news reports that we're providing free electricity. the iraqi government provides free electricity to the isis
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areas, so in world war ii where we took it seriously we bombed the electric generation facilities that occupied france. here the mosul dam i believe provides electricity to mosul. the mosul dam was taken by iraqi forces. the consumer has to pay. they pay isis. i yield back. >> we go now to mr. smith of new jersey, chairman of the subcommittee on africa and human rights. >> thank you very much to the chairman for giving this important hearing. i want to thank the three panelists for their extraordinary service to our country, and by providing this committee and the extension of the american people the benefit of your insights and recommendations. ambassador, if i could ask you, you do not think a campaign of strategic patience is appropriate. how do you think president obama defines that? you also point out that, in your testimony, that the stress when
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the coalition begins a major ground offensive operations would occur, you talked about day-after scenarios and a containment mission that would eventually crater the coalition and lead to new isis threats. then you say time is not on our side and that the administration has to move faster. has the administration moved fast enough years to date? and does the president's aumf meet the criteria to move faster? >> thank you very much mr. chairman. first of all the administration moved not at all after my colleague brett mcgurk came up here and talked to you over a year ago, and that has led to a tragedy, first felusia in january and mosul in june. i must say i'm surprised how fast they acted when merbel was
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threatened. i think the central command has done a good job of putting together this coalition, getting a lot of steel on target and in some cases pushing back isis. my question is what happens next? this gets to the question of strategic patience. president obama has laid this out last week in his national security strategy, he laid it out in his interview with cnn's fareed zakaria he laid it out in his state of the union speech. the president is clearly very nervous about the use of military force, particularly ground forces, without a lot of allies, without a lot of legal backing, without the support of you and everybody else. sometimes that's necessary, sometimes that's smart. we could have used a little bit more of that a decade ago. but there are times when action is necessary. i'm concerned we may not be moving fast enough. >> just ask you as well, how do you think the isis leadership
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and other interests who are completely antithetical to our interests in the region look at what's happening in the white house and what's happening up here? >> that's a very good point and i was about to use it saying any restrictions on the authorization is going to encourage the enemy. don't encourage the enemy. but fair is fair. these guys are so busy dodging precision munitions right now that i don't think they'll spend a lot of time. what i worry about is iran, russia, china. in all of our conversations, members of this committee, that we talk about with isis we have to take this in the context of a whole extraordinary variety of challenges we've seen over the last year. china, russia, al qaeda elements on the march particularly in north africa isis itself syria and iran. they're all watching us. isis probably won't respond the most to any signs of weakness but others might and i'm concerned across the bored board
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with -- board with all of these challenges. >> with all respect to the administration i suggested they insert boka horan. a day we were having a hearing we were getting ready to mark up the bill. the administration announced it a day late and a dollar short, but welcomed it nonetheless. the parallels to boekka horan and train the military i saw how they firebombed many churches. they're going after christians with a vengeance but they're also going after muslims who stand in their way. you're asking about what we do vis-a-vis isis as well as training up battalions who are human rights vetted soldiers to combat boka horan. >> again, i would go back to some of my responses i made
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earlier and modify them on peshmerga. you have to find allies who are willing to fight. if they're willing to fight, i wouldn't worry all that much about vetting them. i would give them weapons. in the case identifyof iraq it's a bit complicated and it's very complicated sending the peshmerga to certain areas. they're doing well and i hope they get it. people who are fighting boka haste horam need our support the same kind of support we're giving the folks in iraq. this is a region-wide struggle with manien myy enemy and i think if you are a day short and a dollar behind and only at the last minute you take action, obviously, boka haste arksa horam. >> leader of the subcommittee on europe.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the witnesses for your testimony today. i look at these hearings as i did back in 2001 when we were endeavoring to try to decide what was the best thing to do there. and i also try to utilize where we are now understanding what took place in 2001 so that we could have learned from it. and sometimes i think what the president is talking about when you say patience et cetera, we didn't have any patience. in fact, we thought that -- and sometimes we think it's a quick hit. i remember very well when shotgun happened, and the next day we heard the president say mission accomplished. once we got in there, they said individuals would be waving a flag and saying, thank you america. and we bring in all of our values to them and they would just embrace it and that would be the great thing and everything would be different. 10, 11 years later, we still had troops on the ground. we have committed more in the
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region than anyone else and still hear folks say we didn't do anything. no one has lost over 6,000 lives in military combat. it's us. and then i still hear and i've heard some testimony here today where allies say, you in the united states, you need to get back there and get some more folks. they are the ones that have an immediate threat. we're going to help our allies because they're in our strategic interests, but the ones in immediate danger are the ones there so we need to back out and say, you need to do something, too. we're losing our lives. we put our lives on the line. we're ready to give you all the strategic help you can get. the president was very clear, keep our special opposites. if we find that someone from our organization cannot get to them, that's when we want to use that limited number that's in the aumf so they can go after those guys and absolutely destroy
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them. and i do think you know, clearly, and i think that what became more evident than ever this is not a religious group. because if you see what they did to the jordanian pilot that's so anti-islam. and if you see how they do it, that's so anti-islam. these are thugs and terrorists, so we have to make sure that's out there with efforts to delegitimize their idealogy. someone else said what they're doing with their pr folks maybe they're just asking for us to come in. i think they do. because they would love for us to have people on the ground on a continuous basis. that's their best recruitment. if it was us on the ground and they can recruit more folks to fight against us because it's them against us and that's why we have to resist that temptation. when we start to delegitimize their idealogy then their recruitment will begin to rescind. now, i happen to agree, and i
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thank dr. rand with your testimony because i think we have to do a whole other thing with eunilateral basis military. i did agree with dr. rand in her opening statement. ambassador jeffrey, what was wrong with dr. rand's testimony this morning? >> nothing at all. it was really good testimony and i agree with it. if strategic patience means not making the mistakes of the last decade, i'll sign up for strategic patience. if strategic patience, however, means, and it's not just this administration that's looked at it this way, if it means to casualties and no risk of casualties, it means assuming that the people in the region not only have more at stake than us -- that's a debatable thing -- but assuming they can carry a big pot of the burden, i don't see anything in our history. at the beginning of this meeting
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or hearing chairman royce talked about us doing 85% of the strikes, i believe. i would say if you look at libya four years ago, if you look at bosnia, if you look at kosovo where we had all of nato, if you look at the korean war other than the koreans themselves you will find similar statistics for the last 70 years. we can complain about that, but that's how we have maintained national security. where we've run into trouble three times going into north korea, vietnam and iraq have been as you pointed out, we thought we could do regime change and we could change populations. we're not going to do that but i don't think anybody up here is suggesting that. what we are suggesting, or at least two of us are that we at least consider if our military commanders and if our diplomats need it, a mora aggressive policy militarily but a more
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agressive action. >> doctor, what do you have to say? >> just to clarify my opening statement, i'm not advocating a more agressive use of force than what has been suggested by aumf text. i also look at the past ten years, especially in iraq. this is the 25th year the u.s. is involved in some military action if you count all the pragz in operations in the 1990s. it's quite remarkable we're still talking about iraq and the proper use of american force. i would agree with you, congressman, the first one in my mind is don't make americans part of the story. you're not leading from behind, you're not taking a backseat role, but you don't want to assert our presence to change a dynamic and create insurgency against american power. that was clear in the 2003 and 2004 situation. the second, and my colleagues have alluded to it is the importance of the isf being
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sustainable. they need to be multi-sectarian, professional and less susceptible to the penetration by outside actors like iran, like the shiite missiles. that's the only way to sustain and protect iraq as a sovereign country over the long term. we've had the sons of iraq, the awakening. we've had problems with iraq and its sensitivity with baghdad. this is the third time this has happened, so we need to create a force that will really think of itself as representing the security of all iraqis, and that will take time, and that's part of the strategic patience. that's what the kurds are doing, by the way, and it's more effective to train them with our european allies. we're training 12 new brigades, as you know. thank you. >> thank you. we go now to mr. rorbacher of california member of the committee on american threats.
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>> this is a discussion between us and the witnesses about what direction we should go and we appreciate your advice. dr. brennan, let me just note that i agree with your basic assessment that we are not just talking about isil or isis, whichever one we want to call it, that this actually is an enemy that has been 10 years or 15 years around us, and it's radical kerrterrorism, or groups willing to use terrorists to terrorize the western world, and this goes back even before 9/11 when we lost 3,000 americans murdered to try to terrorize our country. so these groups, whether we call them isil or whether they're burning somebody to death out there to try to show us how mean
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and nasty they are or whether they're trying to bring down buildings in new york, that is the same enemy, whatever they want to call their organization at whatever particular moment. so with this i would suggest that that is the primary threat that we face in, the western world faces today. that is the primary threat to our security and our safety and the united states needs to recognize that and figure out how we defeat these type of enemies. let me just note that i personally will not, and i can't speak for my colleagues but i don't believe that i will be giving the president of the united states -- and i don't think the congress would give the president of the united states a blank check on the use of american military force in
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the arab world or in the gulf, wherever it is. and bity the way, it's maybe not specific enough in the territory much less the timing of this. we're not going to give them a blank check for a given period of time. we need to know exactly if that means that he would be willing to commit major forces on the ground or not. that needs to be part of any agreement that we have. so i don't see this just being, oh, the president is asking thus he's going to get whatever he wants. we need to work out the details. i personally don't believe this is going to be settled by the military. when we eliminated the soviet union, which was then the ultimate threat to peace and stability in the world it was done by -- not by deployment of
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large numbers of troops. and we need to create a dynamic that will end up with the defeat of this threat to western civilization. we need to create that dynamic, and that means what we did to defeat communism, we made that our number one goal and we worked with anybody who would work with us to defeat that goal. and that made it by the way, possible for us to defeat them without a conflict, direct military conflict, with the united states. let me just note that i think this president has not reached out -- we've already heard about the kurds and other people and other groups in the world, and especially in that region, who should be our best friends and mobilize them in this effort. whether it's general cici or whether it's the people who are
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fighting against -- who marched against radical islam in tehran where the president couldn't get himself to say anything about that and they're in support of those kids earlier on. so we need to have that dynamic created rather than just having the president come to us and asking for military -- for a military blank check. and the question i have -- i know, we're just about out of time here, but let me just note this. i would like to ask about, shouldn't we be working with assad? we worked with stal irgs nstalin to defeat hitler. shouldn't we be working with assad? shouldn't we be working with putin in order to defeat this threat you've capitalized for us of radical fanatic islam. >> thank you. the gentleman's time has
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expired. >> i ask unanimous consent that he be able to answer. >> no objection. >> i think we need to be able to talk to all the countries in the region. but i think if you go back to my earlier argument, assad is actually part of this broader islamist movement that is supported by tehran. so we have, in the middle east today, what is the equivalent of a sunni shia civil war that is taking place and we need to determine which side of this we're on, and how are we going to try to pull together these various countries in order to address the issue. you're absolutely right, it's a radical islamist idealogy, large sunni and shia. we need a strategy for it. military is just one component of that but that's where we ought to be going.
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if there's one thing that comes out of this committee, it could be a process of thinking about, how do you move forward to confront this global threat to our interests, not just isis or one of the other groups? >> thank you, mr. rohrabacher. mr. sears of new jersey. >> thank you, chairman. and thank you for your service to our country and being here. every time i sit here and i hear witnesses talk to me about training the iraqi army, it just shears because of the experience we have had with this ideal training. i don't know where we get the confidence that if we train this army it's going to solve our problems. because, you know, we spent billions and they took a shot out of them, they ran. so to go back and start training
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people again and spending all that money -- i'm just concerned that at the end of all this people are going to say, the only people that can solve the end of all this, people are going to say that the only people who can solve the problem are us putting troops on the ground and i would never vote for that. you lost 6,000 lives. countless people coming back. we have soldiers coming back, committed suicide and for what? we saw one problem, one group, another one pops up. you know, i don't know the answer, obviously. you're the experts. i just take your word for it. you know, what you're saying. i do agree with you that we should fund the kurds, and we should give them the weapons that they need. i'm wondering where a few years ago president biden said maybe iraq should be divided in three. i wonder how viable that is.
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i mean all these groups. maybe it's not viable now. but just seems like an idea back then. and i'm concerned about jordan. i'm concerned about the impact of the refugees are having on the economy. of jordan. more and more people keep coming and i'm concerned are we doing enough to make sure that our friend jordan is well prepared to deal with what they're dealing now. i mean they've taken a big step. they have stepped forward. so maybe you could just comment a little bit on some of the things that i may be wrong about, training the iraqis may be the only option. but i got to tell you, it's hard for me to accept that. >> good questions, mr. chairman.
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the iraqi troops ran in mosul. the iraqi army did not really run in anbar province. maliki pulled the troops out of fallujah in january because of a political dispute, and they rushed in and took over the police, who were in many cases much weaker than the military. the military, they have some bad days in anbar province, but they haven't upped and ran. my experience, and a good number of laws on various levels including out there trying to train them is that you can train forces to do well. it helps a hell of a lot if you have american troops advisory teams, and american air power with them. the vietnamese ran in 1972 when the non-vietnamese came in until we put in massive air strikes and we had our advisory teams out there fighting with them and the result was they turned the tide and pushed the vietnamese back. i've seen this also in iraq in 2010, 2011. iraqi troops did well against
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hard-core al qaeda but particularly when they had american advisory teams with them. so that's the first question. in terms of puffing up, having been spending much of my license, the 1974 yom kippur war where i was almost he candeployed to the region. i have a feeling of popping up, too, because history of my life in the last 40 years is constantly being redeployed to the middle east in some capacity. my take away is this is something we're not going to fix. we can provide multipliers to the people fixing it and the most important is assuring that really radical violent elements do not get a hold of large territories. that's the iranians, that's isis, that's al qaeda, that's assad. and to contain and beat back those forces so that the people of the region have the chance to eventually move on away people in the balkans, away people in
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central america, and away people in other places where we've been successful have moved on. but you're right, this is a long struggle and it's frustrating. and because it's a long struggle we shouldn't tie a lot of troops down and a high casualty effort to fix this once and for all. because we won't. >> how about biden's idea? >> i'm sorry. he's recanted, first of all. and secondly, the problem with that is i know of no border in the middle east and frankly no border i've ever been stationed in the balkans elsewhere, that you can just break up into three parts because there are overlapping groups. what these people will do, they won't agree to a piece of paper. they'll fight. you change one border in the middle east, they're all going to start being shaky and we'll
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have yet another bigger problem. >> thank you. now we turn to mr. salmon and our deepest condolences to all of the residents of arizona for kayla. >> thank you very much. i really appreciate that. i guess my question is to anyone on the panel that would like to take a stab, ambassador, i'd appreciate your thoughts first on it. let me just say first for the record that i very much support a very robust aumf being given to the president, which gives maximum flexibility to our generals so that they can prosecute this effort until we win. and we do it quickly, as quickly as possible. but the president and his advisers have been clear for the last several months anyway, that they believe that they have full legal authority under the 2001 aumf to prosecute isil.
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my question is why would the president be submitting to congress, or asking congress to give him an aumf that ties his hands? i've never heard of a president sending that kind of a request to congress. please tie my hands, and give me a time limit, and also, you know, limit my ability to use ground forces. i get really frustrated. i marvel in fact, i can't imagine franklin roosevelt standing up for the american people and saying here's the five things i'm not going to do to the japanese. it just doesn't make a lot of sense to telegraph what we're willing to do and what we're not willing to do. and if the president believes that he has authority, and i believe he's said that many times, some of his advisers that he has the authority, why would he want a further limiting aumf?
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>> very briefly so my colleagues can. he does have the authority under the existing legislation. but it's an awkward fit and he's absolutely right to come back here and ask for more specifics from all of you. in terms of why would he limit it, that's his philosophy and i have to be fair to him. i've worked for him. he doesn't think that military force can often be a solution and he thinks that we have gotten very committed almost like a drug to using military force. rather than other means of national power. i disagree with him, but it's an honest position. he can point to areas from marching into north korea from vietnam to iraq that others have cited where we have gone astray and it's something to really worry about, but while i wouldn't support that position myself, i mean, i understand why he has it and a lot of americans agree with him.
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>> let me just modify that before you speak. i also believe that one of the reasons for the conflicts you cited that we were not very successful is that politicians micro manage the whole damn thing. dr. brennan. >> i agree with the ambassador. we need to put something on the ground that's wide enough, that gives the president the ability to make the decision. he may choose he doesn't want to do that. and that's a legitimate choice that he should make. but i think that if the issue is, as i've portrayed in my testimony, and i think as the others have, that this is a great threat to u.s. national security, if it is a grave threat, as president clinton in his aumf, then we need to be giving the president everything that he needs. you don't know what's going to happen six months from now. and to have a complete going back and forth on this i think just ties his hands, and i agree with you, congressman, that i think it makes most sense to
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look back and perhaps the 2001 aumf can be cleaned up or amended to provide the types of capability that are needed. it's not a perfect fit, but whether or not we need to restrict the hands, i'd be very concerned about that. as a commander, as well as somebody who's going to look about how the country moves forward on this. >> i'm going to run out of time and i have one other question. because i'm deeply concerned that the administration isn't very serious about this fight, with only 250 coalition sorties flown a month versus the 1,000 air strikes a day we flew in previous conflicts in the region, couldn't we do more with the air power that we have to at least degrade isil, or isis, and couldn't additional air power support further attack isis and the funding strength they're using to support their caliphate? >> i believe that we ought to be having a much more robust air
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campaign, but to do that, you need to have more targetable intelligence and you get that kind of targetable intelligence by having troops out forward with our allies. and without having that i think you run the risk of having collateral damage, which will run counter to our policy counter to our strategy and counter to the interests we have in iraq. >> so, it gets back to the ground forces and support again. >> i believe so. >> thank you. mr. salmon. mr. higgins, new york. >> thank you, madam chair. just, you know it amazes in all of these hearings how quickly we just kind of bypass the fact that the united states paid about $25 billion to build up an iraqi army and the first test of that army was against the islamic state of iraq and syria. and they essentially ran. and we are told that reason they
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were not committed to the fight was because the previous prime minister nuri al maliki was not inclusive of the shia sunni population, and therefore didn't feel as though it was a fight worth committing to. and now, we're told that there's a new prime minister who's also a shia, but more inclusive of the sunni community and therefore, we should have confidence again in the iraq national army. $25 billion. thousands of lives lost in no commitment. who had the most effective fighters in iraq today? the peshmerga 190,000. and the shia militia. the new prime minister had said there are about a million shia militias who are trying to fill the void of the ineffectual iraqi army. mr. brennan, you said earlier, you talked about the shia
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militias who recently experienced success against isis. you also made reference to the iranian kwud quds forces leader who really negotiated a second term of nuri al maliki with one condition. that the americans leave. that the americans leave. and now we have a president with a resolution before congress asking for authorization to engage again militarily. you know the shia militias are not there to prop up the iraqi government. they're there to do what seoul manny and others in asymmetrical warfare try to do and that is create a prop he is in places that they want to control. be it in southern lebanon, be it in syria, or be it in iraq.
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my concern is is if we commit american forces and there's no passive wing of the american military. everybody has weapons and fights and die courageously when they do. we are continuing a situation in this country that has been going on for way too long. tom friedman, the author and "new york times" columnist once said is iraq the way it is because saddam was the way he is? or is saddam the way he is because iraq is the way it is? and i think it just speaks again to the sectarian, tribal nature of a place that we are trying to impose a political solution to. we are told that the american military, with extraordinary courage, extraordinary commitment, extraordinary effectiveness, could only do one thing. create a breathing space. within which the shia, sunni
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and kurdish community could achieve political reconciliation, including the sharing of oil revenues. and we saw a hopeful sign in december that that was occurring between the central government in baghdad and kurdistan. with a 17% sharing of the national revenues, and also a billion dollars to equip and train the peshmerga. where i will tell you where our investment has been made financially, where our investment has been made morally has been an abject failure. and what we're proposing to do with this resolution by the president is continue that failed policy without any clarity about what it is we're going to achieve. because when there's no political center here's what we know in that part of the world. when there's no political center, there are only sides to choose and right now, there's no political center and don't argue
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the changing of a shia prime minister in iraq is going to fundamentally change the will and the commitment of the iraqi national army. you know let's just acknowledge that our investment of $25 billion in the iraqi national army failed. failed miserably. because when you say they all ran, 250,000 of them in the face of 30,000 isis fighter well certainly because iraq is a majority shia country many of those fighters would be shia. so at least they wouldn't run. so i don't know really what's going on here. but i know where this is leading. and i think most americans know where this is leading. it's not in a good place because again, america is essentially going it alone, for the third time in two different countries.
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and unless there's the recognition of minority rights, unless there's a recognition of the pluralistic nature of iraq, there will never be peace there. >> gentleman's time has expired. thank you. >> yield back. >> thank you, madam chair. you know, being this far down the dais, it is of some help because a lot of good questions have been asked. one that i don't think has been covered because we are considering the authorization for use of military force is sort of what we have and what we need. let me just run through it quickly. 2001, the aumf basically said global war on terror, al qaeda. go anywhere. get them. 2002, it was specifically iraq. liberate iraq. i think it's fair to say whether
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we like the way iraq is or not, it's been liberated. any new problem in iraq very clearly is a new iraq. that's where i have some real challenges with the president's belief that he has any authority under the 2002. but leaving that aside, they're both obsolete. al qaeda as we knew it is no longer al qaeda as we knew it. would i get your agreement that as we defined it in 2001, it's really a different organization. is that fair to say? and anything we do in iraq and syria and other areas in which derivative organizations, including isil or daesh is in fact, at least fundamentally different or expanded and fits a slightly different definition. so we all agree on that part, i think. so, let me ask the broader question. aren't we dealing with two ideological groups, both of whom are a threat to regional
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security, to democracy, and to the west to a certain extent? one of them, daesh, is a radicalized derivative of what we once knew as al qaeda. the other, the shia activists, whether it's hezbollah, tehran directly or various groups at any level, are ultimately a group that looks at the 12th up imam, mohammed mafi and his proclamation of what you have to do, which is more or less take the holy lands and bring back all the glory and peace. and i listen to the former president of iran at the u.n. in 2012 and he may be crazy, but that's what he was saying is the 12th imam is going to bring this all back and it was a call for jihad for the shia. question. and i'll start with dr. brennan, but all of you can answer it. aren't we really dealing with
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the need to be targeted against both as appropriate and at the same time, and i'll use syria, an area i've worked a little bit in, as the poster child. we have if you will the 12th imam crowd on one side backing assad. and then we have isil. aren't we in a position in which we have to make sure that we give a nimble authority to the president but one in which he weighs the comparative balances? one in which he clearly does no harm to one group, however reprehensible, that simply advances the other and isn't that really the shia and doctor to you first, the shia sunni conflict that we're now in the middle of. it's not just isil. it's not just bashar assad. it's not just hezbollah. we have mets asided into a conflict in which in many cases we're fighting on one side and
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empowering our enemy on the other side. doctor? >> congressman, i agree with your assessment on that. i think that as we're looking at the conflict between sunni and shia, we have to be understand that this islamist movement is is a cancer that has evolved from various elements of islam and we need to go back and take a look and reinforce those people who are really helping us. king abdullah has made some courageous stands. president sisi in egypt. this has got to be done through them and we have to be working politically to encourage them. and all of our neighbors, all those neighbors that have been our allies for the last ten years, 20 years 30 years. so the gulf state saudi arabia, they need to change internally to stop what's going on but we can encourage them to do that. >> okay, let me narrow the question then because i think you said it very well. isn't the president's obligation
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with whatever authority we give him to work with those who will be forces for moderation or at least tolerance in the region and you mentioned president sisi who has been disrespected by this administration in an amazing way. they were quick to recognize the muslim brotherhood, and very slow to even call the president after he was legally elected internationally recognized elections. and obviously king abdullah as an example of a sunni leader who is just simply trying to bring back a moderate sunni border to his near jordan. but quickly, i know my time is expired. this, for me, is the important part. i don't want to topple a syria that iran has power in to get at isil, but i don't want to defeat sunni extremists only to empower a shia aspiration paid for out
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of a dictatorial iran that since 1975 -- '79 has consistently managed to ruin country after country and continues doing so. >> thank you, mr. issa. mr. cicilline. >> thank you madam chair. thank you to the witnesses for your testimony and for your excellent written testimony, as well. it was very helpful. i want to build for a moment on gentleman from new york's last questions. one of the things i'm very concerned about is that i don't think we have a clear understanding of what the end game is or what success even looks like. and i think it builds on what you were saying dr. brennan that it's more than just defeating and killing individuals who are members of a terrorist organization. but it's really do we have the ability to kill an ideology. a radical islamist terrorist ideology? i think one of the things that i'm struggling with is i have deep skepticism that continued or deepening military engagement is the solution. and, in fact real questions about whether it will make it worse and more long-term because of what you
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raised, dr. brennan, in your testimony. but if you think about the role of iraqi security forces and you think about the money we spend and now, we've embarked on a training of the syrian opposition, so-called moderate syrian opposition, who can we have confidence that there will be any different result and over what period of time? we're talking about beginning this training process now, presumably isis and isis fighters will not stand still while we sort of get up to speed. so, how should we tell the american people that we should have any confidence after having spent $25 billion and training hundreds of thousands of iraqi soldiers that somehow this time it's going to be different, that they're going to take up the fight. that's my first question. my second question is that we talk about the role of our international partners in this coalition. and then we learn that 85% of the airstrikes are by the u.s. and is it just impossible to imagine that the uae, and saudi arabia, and jordan, and egypt,
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who are in the region, will actually take on the responsibility, the chief responsibility, for this ground operation? and for the airstrikes? or do they just not have the capacity? do they not have the interest because of the political context? but, you know, everyone seems to suggest it's going to require air strikes and ground operations to be successful. whatever that means. but nobody seems to have identified who the ground troops are and we talk about peshmerga, which is great and they're doing a terrific job, but there are these allies in the region who have real resources and real armies. i'm interested in why they're not playing a role. those are my first two questions. i have one more but i want to make sure you have time to respond to those two. >> real quick on the last one you had. if you -- the reason the united states provides so much air support is because we have a capacity to do that. the other allies in the region, jordan being one of the more -- a stronger ones, has capacity, but it's limited. and they i think what they're
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doing now is probably as much as they can. in terms of ground forces as the ambassador commented earlier, each one of these countries has an islamist problem in their own country and those armies that are there that they have are being used to maintain security of those countries so they can deploy some but they still need to maintain security within their own borders so that's a challenge with us. >> first of all, i have a lot of sympathy with that you've said because i've been out there and lived this. but it's not just in the middle east. since world war ii, we have had conflict after conflict, where the number of sorties, the number of infantry companies on the ground have been somewhere between 50% and 90% americans where our allies often leave behind their american equipment. they were doing that in june of 1950 in south korea and we've seen it ever since. we've also seen, though, including in korea, including in
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vietnam, i've seen it in my own eyes, including in iraq i've seen it in my own eyes where they turn around and go back, often we including small numbers of we can make and do make a difference. but there i will agree with mr. higgins, particularly in the middle east, in my 1 years, counting turkey, that i served there, i never felt one day that i was in a good place. compared to even the rest of the world, that -- >> i want to give dr. rand a moment to also respond, please. sorry to interrupt you. >> i can finally add that these are two excellent, excellent questions, congressman. i think the answers are actually linked. what is different about this enterprise right now is actually the partners that are involved. if you consider november and december the reformation of the iraqi government, these arab neighbors were not at all interested in the formation of the iraqi government post-saddam. they were not there. the ambassador can attest to this. they were distancing themselves from iraq. they sent no ambassadors, had no embassies. it was really unprecedented that all the neighbors were involved unanimously in helping prime
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minister abadi get started and adding political capital. and that is to me, none of this is particularly promising. but that is a source of promise that suggests there could be a chance for this new iraqi government that will be different than the mistakes of its predecessors. thank you. >> thank you. i yield back. >> mr. brooks of alabama. >> thank you, madam chairman. i want to follow up on some of the comments of my colleagues david cicilline of rhode island and daniel issa of california and some of the written testimony we've had the benefit of. dr. brennan stated in response to a question that the islamic state has, quote, metastasized from various elements of islam, end quote. further, in dr. brennan's written testimony, i'm going to read some quotes. quote, while the threat is often portrayed as terrorism, the true danger is the ideology that provides the logic of extremism, violence, and acts of
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inhumanity, end quote. next, another dr. brennan quote. while bin laden has been killed, the idea of jihadism continues to spread and the global threat by al qaeda isis and affiliate groups is greater than ever, end quote. again from dr. brennan. quote, while the tactic of terrorism is frequently the immediate threat focused upon by political leaders, i think it is critical to note that the ideology underlying these actions seeks revolutionary change of the existing political and social order. thus, the strategic challenge of our generation isn't one particular group of insurgents of terrorists, it is the ideology that gives them cause, defeating this ideology will require development of a grand strategy that employs all elements of national power and influence. finally, dr. rand, i'm going to quote from her written remarks. quote, isil's savage tactics are
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at the very core of its ideology. while al qaeda justifies individual suicide bombing attacks against civilians and civilian areas, isil has adopted a new ideology, manipulating select stories from islamic history and modern jihadi text to redefine jihad and to generate a blanket justification for violence, including against women and children, end quote. if we take these remarks of dr. rand and dr. brennan on face value, dr. brennan, can america permanently defeat the islamic state and other islamic terrorist organizations without also defeating the underlying ideology that attracts so many fighters to their cause? >> short answer to that is no. what we find is that the -- this is an ideology of revolution. and if during the late 20th
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century we had marxism provided for the ideology of our revolution that went around the world, today this is it. we have to confront the ideology. >> dr. rand, do you concur the answer is no, that we have to defeat the ideology that breeds so many reinforcements to the islamic state and other islamic terrorist organizations? >> certainly, congressman. and we are. this is one of the nine pillars in the areas where the coalition is working on the counterradicalization, countering violent extremism. what's promising in this regard is some of our arab partners are beginning and starting programs in their own countries to counter this ideology. recently in egypt, for example, a fatwa was issued against some of the isis ideology that was unprecedented. thank you. >> with respect to ambassador jeffrey, dr. brennan and dr. rand how can america best conduct itself to defeat the underlying islamic ideology of the islamic state and its brethren, islamic terrorist organizations?
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whoever wants to answer. >> i'll start. i agree with the problem. i would be very skeptical of the idea of we, the united states, or the western world, defeating a philosophical concept or distortion of a religion. that's a very tricky thing. the vast majority of muslims around the world are not our enemies. they look at their religion differently than the salafis and the isis people and the people around -- >> okay. i'm not asking for an overall picture of what's going on. i'm asking for what has to be done to defeat it. i have limited time. 40 seconds. >> fair enough. stop the military manifestations of it, which is what we're doing with isis, which is what we're trying to do with iran on nuclear weapons. and give the people of the region the space and support those who are strong in fending off this threat among themselves. that's all we can do. >> dr. brennan? a few seconds left. how do we defeat the ideology?
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>> continue to work with people like king abdullah and president sisi, and develop that in other countries so that we have the cure from this cancer come from within islam. >> dr. rand? just a few seconds left. any additional words? >> i would add the people in the sunni heartland across iraq and syria, they're mostly tribes. they don't necessarily inherently subscribe to this ideology. what we're trying to do is give them a chance. they have been exploited, too, by the isis groups that are in their midst. so we're trying to help them. >> thank you, madam chairman for the additional 15 seconds. >> thank you, mr. brooks. dr. bera. >> thank you madam chairman. we thank the witnesses. dr. rand was i correct in hearing you say we've been involved in 25 years of continuous engagement in iraq? >> to clarify, on and off for 25 years. i was counting the time at the beginning of the gulf war, you know, which is sort of beyond the 25th anniversary of the invasion. >> so, on and off. as we look at this current
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engagement, it's accurate to say we're not talking about years, we're talking about prolonged periods of time, perhaps decades. no one disagrees with that. dr. brennan, in answer to my colleague from rhode island, mr. cicilline, when asked about who can provide the numbers of ground troops in order to maintain stability to create that open space i think you characterized it as, you know, our allies in the region have limited capabilities. limited ground troops. and those ground troops largely are tied up within their own countries. is that an accurate assessment? >> they are tied up, but that doesn't mean they can't provide some. what i think we have to have is reasonable expectations about what they can do based upon their own internal security interests. >> so in this larger debate, much of the debate is, you know, what the united states involvement is, what our troops' involvement is.
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no one is discounting that, you know, isil is -- these are monsters. these are despicable individuals. these are folks that are distorting a religion, and we do have national security threats and we do have an interest in, you know, ridding the region of this ideology. but it's not going to be easy. and it is going to be prolonged. and it is going to take decades. you know, i disagree with my colleague, mr. salmons. i do think it is our responsibility as members of congress to be engaged in defining the context of what this engagement looks like. not in prosecuting this. that's up to our military commanders, our diplomats and so forth. but engaging. i think the public wants us to be engaged in this definition. so i think that is a good thing. this is not going to be easy.
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there clearly is a scenario. ambassador jeffrey, you talked about some of the bad guys here. assad, iran, others. you can clearly see a scenario where you defeat isil, you drive them out, where you see this chain from iran to a shia-dominated iraq to assad to hezbollah to hamas. we have to be conscious that, you know, that is one outcome here, which is not an outcome i desire. i think it's an outcome that, you know, puts some of our closest allies in a very precarious position. and maybe even creates a worse scenario in this. as we members of congress engage in this debate, we have to be very conscious of all possible scenarios. ambassador jeffrey, you touched on, you know, the lessons from vietnam that -- i can imagine a ground campaign in iraq with shia militia, with iraqi forces,
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a prolonged ground come pain that drives out iraq. but the real challenge here is what happens in that bordering country in syria. there isn't a moderate syrian force that can cut off that line of retreat. that then draws us into another rabbit hole. and another prolonged scenario. so, you know, i guess in the minute i have, i think starting with dr. rand, these scenarios that i'm laying out, are they inaccurate? and the questions we should be thinking about asking. >> sure. obviously none of this is clear and the outcomes are not predetermined. this is a very difficult region. it's undergoing generational change in the form of the popular uprisings that have weakened state authority across the region. we don't need to get in to all the factors that are making this an unprecedented moment in the region. of course, there's dangerous potential. but, you know, the strategy is trying to figure out the
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political end game, as i said in the written testimony, in each of these particular theaters. and in syria, the idea of inserting a trained moderate opposition faction, 5,000 fighters, is smart because this is the type of fighters that we could ally with. these are the type of fighters that have a chance of reclaiming the territory once isis has been weakened in the area. >> but it will take time. it will take time to train, to equip, to create this capable fighting force. ambassador jeffrey? again, as i'm thinking about this, am i thinking about this in the correct context? >> thank you, doctor, but your time is limited. mr. perry of pennsylvania. >> thank you, madam chair. i'd like to thank the panel for your service. dr. brennan, additional thanks to you for your time in uniform. i'd like to associate myself with my colleagues ss issa, brooks and higgins in their remarks. and just before i get started, regarding the contention that none of what we've tried in this arena has worked in the past, and we tried to provide the
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breathing space, i think you must acknowledge that america was providing the support for the breathing space. of course it's not going to work when you walk away and no longer provide the support. that having been said, to dr. brennan, i think we've already agreed that isis is a symptom of a portion of a larger challenge. would you agree with that? i mean, i think we've said that before, but i want to clarify. and you said it should be the first priority. you particularly said that. would it be fair for me to characterize -- i think everybody is looking for a way to characterize it as a global violent jihad movement. could that be a way of characterizing it? >> i think it is, but i think when you do that, you also need to ensure that it addresses both sides of the equation. >> sure. absolutely. we also have acknowledged that we're in the middle of a shia/sunni civil war, sharia dogma.
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but let me ask you this. they fight each other, they hate each other on occasion, what have you, but they see us, the west, the united states as a common enemy. where they will get together and fight us. is that true or not true? >> i think if we're there in a large capacity, then we will attract those forces to attack us. we had that situation in iraq where we were both being attacked by the shia -- >> but even if we're not there in large forces, i mean, they travel the globe looking for us and the west. >> we don't need to do anything for them to attack us. >> right. we've already proven that, right. and people say we've incited this and caused it. i think that's a little specious. further, dr. brennan, we've already kind of broached the question, the aumf, why now. article 2 powers, the first aumf. i look at administration's track record. look at it from a member of congress' standpoint. libya, syria, yemen, the side they chose in egypt, what's happened in iraq.
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we declare, he prosecutes. in my mind, he hasn't prosecuted very well. no disrespect intended, but i just went down through the list. is there some rationale of thinking that the president might be looking for a compliciter? in what has been in many people's minds a failed, an ineffective policy strategy. i don't want to call it a strategy, a plan, an execution a something. i don't really see a strategy but we're going to get to that quickly. is that a fair rationale? i mean, i'm not saying it's not the end result, but is it reasonable to think that people could feel that way? >> not going into the motivation of the president, it is fair to say that he is looking to have congress as a participant in this process. >> agreed. can i stop you there? ambassador, i agree with you that military force is not the only answer. tediously, i'm a student of clause. it's an extension of diplomacy. that having been said, what
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about -- and where is the proper place for the associated actors here in this country and abroad that enable, that fund, that support through fighters and materiel? how should they be dealt with in an aumf? and if not, where? >> you mean the people who are supporting the isis movement? >> the people that support the global jihadist movement. i think that -- and the organizations that have vowed publicly that we let walk around among us that we have in this building, and down the street. what about them? where do we deal with them if we're in this fight committed to winning? and where is that in the strategy? >> it is in the strategy, as my colleague pointed out. it is actually a nine-track strategy, which internationally is a five-track strategy. but it's actually -- it includes all of that. the problem is some of this is political, some of it is legal. for example, pursuing a lot of these people requires american laws and judicial action. >> with all due respect so we
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have a couple hundred maybe or more, unindicted co-conspirators in the holy land foundation trial. they're walking around among us here. if you say this is a strategy that includes going after these people and that american laws are stopping us, there's one person that's stopping us. it's the attorney general. because he refuses to prosecute them. how do we feel -- how do you explain to me that this is an authorization without a strategy? the strategy is an aspirational goal of defeating the enemy. that's it because in reality we aren't going to do the hard things that need to be done. >> i think the congressional record of declarations of war and things like declarations of war including this one have not tried to expand into these very complicated ideological, legal, and other things but rather authorize the use of military force as part of that strategy. you need an explanation of that strategy. you need an explanation of why
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those people have not been arrested and what we're doing about them as part of your analysis of our whole process here, but i wouldn't stick it in the legislation. >> appreciate your thoughts. >> lois frankel of florida. >> thank you, mr. chair. thank you to the panel. let me just start, there have been many folks on this panel who served our country. i want to thank them. and those of you have. i come from a little different perspective because i have a son who i saw go to two wars. sorry if i babble or get emotional. but i wanted to say that i'm lucky he came home safely. i cannot tell you how horrific it was for his family. i don't even -- so when i went to -- and i think of the families who have lost their children, their loved ones, the morbidity of the thousands of soldiers who return and we have to say what for?
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so for me to make a decision of whether to send someone else's child into harm's way is i think, the biggest decision or most important one that i will make in congress. and i feel like we have been given this huge jigsaw puzzle where the pieces do not fit. my colleagues today have made a lot of -- asked a lot of good question,s, a lot of comments. i can't repeat all of them, but i have a number. you could just pick which ones you want to answer. i feel like we're in conflict all over the world. and we have to have some strategy. what is the most important enemy to be focused on? we're trying to prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon. obviously they're a player against isil. we're trying to weaken russia. obviously they're a player with assad. that's just two examples. you've identified that we have
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to go after al qaeda as well. how does the past aumf affect that and repealing that? what about -- is military action the only thing? how does humanitarian aid fit into this or educating women? i mean, is this the only way out? and where does it leave us? who fills the void if we get isil? i mean, i could ask a lot more questions. so start with those and go at it. >> while i criticized earlier, the president's national security strategy does talk about that. it does a pretty good job. you know, while i'm a doom and gloom guy, because that's where i've been deployed for many years, i'll have to say, this is a much safer, better world now than it was when i started in this business as an army lieutenant in 1969. and that's largely because of
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the united states, the executive branch, the congressional support, and the american people and what we've done. so even though it's a jigsaw, we don't like working in this jigsaw any more than you do observing it. we wish we could give you a clean, sensible way forward. we're painfully aware we're not. but that's how we've lived with it. and what we have seen in our lives, in my case almost 50 years now, we've seen a lot of progress and we've seen that smart use of military force with all of the other things you said combined working with allies actually does work. we usually don't have the end game spelled out because we never know. we didn't have it spelled out with communism. we thought we would contain it, push it back, go against it and hope for the best and it worked out. that's about all i can tell you. but i'm pretty optimistic in the long run. i share your frustration at the jigsaw. >> i agree with the complexity,
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congresswoman. i think you raise a lot of good -- i like the image of a jigsaw puzzle. i think that's apt. in this particular aumf with the isis threat, in some ways there are three different theaters. it helps for me to think of them in iraq which differs from syria which is some more complyicatecomplicated. and then the global marketplace of ideas where there's social movements and twitter and all kinds of youth bulges all over the world, not just the arab world. they're leading some of the radicalization causes so that the tools need to be refined and specific to each of these three domains where our partners will be different, where our foes will be different, where those the patrons of the foes will be different. et cetera. >> and i'd just add that it is a jigsaw puzzle. it's a very complex issue, but i think that leads back to a piece i put in the paper.
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we need to be thinking about how do you develop a grand strategy that moves us for the next 30 years as we address this issue. we had the strategy of containment that came out in nfc-68. we need to be doing that same type of thinking about this current world that we're in. how do we carry this forward using all elements, not just military? military is just one piece. >> okay. we go now to mr. ruble of wisconsin. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this has been really an insightful hearing. i thank all three of you for being here. i would like to start with dr. brennan. we've heard from some of our colleagues here today that almost an implicit idea that we should just leave this to the region. if we leave this fight to take
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care of isis to our regional partners and just step back out of it, one, what do you think would happen as a result of that strategy, and would the u.s. homeland be put at risk implementing that strategy? >> thanks for the question, congressman. i think that if we -- since president carter, the united states has taken on the responsibility of being the guarantor of regional security in that part of the world. we have vital interests both with our partners as well as europe and our own economy that are at stake here. if we pull out, it'll create a huge power vacuum that will be filled by these very organizations that we wish to stop. so i think that would be the exact worst thing to do. and the perception unfortunately from the withdrawal of u.s. forces in 2011 by many of our partners in it the region is that we are disengaging from the region. we have to convince them that's not true. part of the ways of doing that is by being more active in what we're doing in iraq, showing that we're commitment.
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the argument i made on putting troops on the ground, unless you put troops on the ground, you aren't showing commitment. or it's off. i think if nothing else, that's one of the big benefits we'll get out of this. >> thank you. ambassador jeffrey, in your written testimony, in the second paragraph, you talked about the campaign with our coalition partners and its strategy. i'm going to quote out of here. building up political capacity with our partners in iraq and syria is one thing you wrote. then you wrote, combatting the violent extremist ideology that fuels isis. could you give us some specific ways that our partners along with the united states are combatting the violent extremist ideology? also, could you tell us how successful our political capacity efforts in syria are. >> to start with the latter, they're not very successful. we don't have a good argument for the sunni arabs who are
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fighting against the assad regime and simultaneously against the isis people. our long-term program to train a few thousand people is not an answer. what is our long-term vision of syria? we have a long-term vision for iraq. i mean, i can spell it out. it's not too different than it's been since 2003. and it's sometimes one-half, one-third, 60% there. that's a unified iraq with the three groups living in something approaching harmony. the people we're supporting in iraq including prime minister abadi, the kurds, many of these sunni tribes, many of the other sunni politicians, i know, are working to the to some degree, better than in the recent past certainly, and they are all opposed to this kind of violent extreme perversion of religion that we see in isis and that we see in iran. and they are our allies. but they need a lot of support
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because if we did just walk away, the bad guys win, as dr. brennan said. >> is there a specific strategy, though, that you can use to combat the extremist ideology? or is this just flowery language that ended up in a strategy statement because it sounds good? >> it's kind of like only even more complicated, how did we respond to communism? there that was different because it was an alternative vision of how we should live. this is how these people should live and what they should draw from their religion. the basic -- the first thing is fight those people who are coming out after us and coming out after the moderates. secondly, make it clear that this is not a war against islam. we're not trying to take anybody's territory. we want to live in peace with the 1.4 billion muslims around the world. and support people who understand and get that. support them politically,
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support it through our propaganda by other words, support it through our economic assistance and our diplomacy. and i think that this will work. >> thank you. dr. rand, a question specifically for you. you seem fairly supportive of the president's language in the aumf. why would it necessarily be bad for congress to give broader authority than the president is even asking? because he then would still have the ability to choose to restrain himself or not. why is that a bad idea? >> the aumf is filling a lot of roles. we've talked about a lot of them today. >> could you please move that closer to you so we can hear you? >> the aumf is serving a lot of roles. we've talked about a lot of them today, policy and legal. we haven't really hit on one of them, which is the legitimizing role it's playing and the message it's sending to our partners in this coalition and to the people in the region. so -- and to the american public, which by the way public opinion polls show majority are opposed to more extensive use of
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ground forces in this fight. so i think it hits the right target. it balances between the need to send the message that we're not going to re-enter, re-engage the same kind of engagement, boots on the ground we've had for the past ten years. that was deeply unpopular here at home in the united states and in the region. >> mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you. we go now to mr. jerry connolly of virginia. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome to the panel. by the way, ambassador jeffrey, where are you from originally? >> just north of boston. >> where? >> saugus. >> okay. i'm from boston. thought i heard something similar. all right. dr. brennan, i want to make sure i understood what you were saying about boots on the ground. where and how many? >> what i've suggested that we be able to do -- >> and again, if you could pull the microphone closer. thank you.
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>> what i've suggested is that the commanders on the field be allowed to have the types of capabilities that they need. >> which field are we talking about? >> we're talking about iraq today. >> okay. >> and i believe what we need is to put -- have a greater advise, train and assist role. we need to be able to put special operations forces down at the tactical level with our allied forces using "a" teams and "b" teams like they're meant to be used. we may need to put supporting elements that are out there. in my view, we're probably looking at a package of somewhere between 5,000 and 8,000 troops. again, that's kind of a general range. but the bigger issue is that's today, based on today's situations and conditions. as we get into the situation of having to take back mosul, there might be a different need and different determination that's necessary for that mission. i think the commanders need to be able to have the flexibility to come back and say, this is what we need for success. >> got you. thank you so much. just a real quick question for
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you and then i want to go to dr. jeffrey. and do you agree that an aumf is in order, that the president is correct to seek one and we are correct to authorize one? >> i think it's very useful to go through this discussion and have this debate in terms of whether or not to deploy forces and if so how they should be utilized. >> thank you. ambassador jeffrey, i heard you say, you know, we want to send the message to 1.4 billion muslims around the world that we're on your side, this is not an adversarial relationship. there are some bad apples, and let's all work together, muslim and non-muslim alike, to deal with the barbaric violence being perpetrated and insanity being perpetrated by this up degree sis. and that certainly sounds good
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to an american audience. but aren't we somewhat unwittingly the hand maidens of the creation of isis in that we so long supported the al maliki government that was perceived as absolutely hostile by the sunni majority? in fact that hostility even today continues to fuel support even with the barbarity and violence of isis in the sunni population. because they're looking at, what are my choices? they're not looking at the nuance of the violence. they're looking at, where do i throw my lot, where's my future? and the choice is a hostile shia government that is absolutely seeking to exclude me, if not worse, versus at least a sunni group that is fighting on my behalf, allegedly, however violent it may be. i'm not justifying that, but isn't that really what's going on in terms of what's fueling isis?
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>> you're right. that's how a lot of sunnis think, both about the al maliki government and about us. it's how the muslim brothers think about us in egypt. it's how, ironically, much of the egyptian military who threw them out think about us. that's the problem, and it's centered in your phrase supporting them. we, and we means american foreign service offices specifically, as well as the administration and a lot of the pundits and the media, have given the impression that we actually make or break governments. we really have very little control over them in the middle east. the iraqi people overwhelmingly voted for either a shia party, a shia coalition. maliki was basically the head. or a kurdish coalition that for its own reasons in the end wanted to form a coalition with that shia coalition. that led to maliki being in power. it was a democratic, legally done thing, although people argue about it. it's about as democratic and legal as anything gets in the
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middle east. the question is, were we going to withdraw our support, overthrow it? how were we going to do that? i didn't have an answer, and i was there. i tried as long as i could to find alternative candidates. i was to the extent i could getting involved in the internal machinations of that society because we all saw problems with maliki. but we have malikis all over the middle east that we have to do business with because there are even worse people out there. >> well, you make a very good point. there's this assumption in large chunks of the world that we're somehow omnipotent. and we most certainly are not. thank you. >> we go to mr. lee zeldin of new york. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i believe personally it's good that the president has broadened authorization for the use of force against isis. my litmus test is going to be very simple. are we doing absolutely everything in our power to ensure that we win?
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i have some questions and concerns. the president in his original strategy back in september when strategy back in september when he gave a speech, he was talking about dropping bombs and a reliance on iraqi military and law enforcement to finish the job. when i was in iraq in 2006, it was an accomplishment to get them to show up to work. expect nothing threat that day, to get them to show up to a precinct that's a quarter mile to their house. we were trying to get them to show up. so relying on elements on the ground who have no morale, no patriotism, they don't have the resources or the training or the will is something we have to take into account. in that speech, the president said this was going to be different than past wars in iraq and afghanistan because there will be no boots on the ground. in the same speech, he says, i'm sending 495 additional troops to iraq. someone shows me a picture of their grandson in the air force.
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he's in baghdad. he's wearing a uniform, carrying a rifle, wearing boots. those boots are on the ground. the use of this term boots on the ground here in washington, the reality is that we have boots on the ground right now, and i think that we need to not worry about what polls say, what wording sounds the best. we also have to understand that we have some of the greatest special operation forces in the entire world. we have the best special operations forces in the entire world. army rangers, green berets, navy s.e.a.l.s, marines, delta force. when we talk about boots on the ground, we're not talking about an enduring occupation. no one is talking about that. i don't support that. i'll tell you what i do want.
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for a member of isis to sleep with one eye open because they fear an army ranger may be visiting their house or their fellow terrorist's house to put a round of lead wean their eyes. we have to cut off logistics, command and control. we have to find the funding streams to figure out how to cut them out. we need to increase our intelligence gathering abilities. these are all critically important. american exceptionalism isn't about strategic patience right now. american exceptionalism is about instilling fear in an element that does not respect weakness, they only respect strength. understanding that if we wait five years, what we're going to be up against is going to be 100 times greater than what it is right now. i want to support the president's use of force. i also want to do my due diligence. i want to know how many troops, which troops, what are their missions, who's in charge? are they going to be given the flexibility and resources necessary to accomplish the
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task? the president talks about necessary and appropriate in his resolution. what to him is necessary and appropriate? i'm going to read a letter that are i just received with my remaining time. i received this letter from someone who's watching, so there are people at home who watch these hearings. he says, lee, as a parent of a lieutenant in the marines, i have to doubt that if deployed, he will do his duty with valor and distinction. however, unless, one, the president can specifically articulate our goals, two, the president explains a strategy specifically designed to achieve those goals and those goals include the utter destruction of isis wherever they function, and three, our troops are given whatever they need for however long they need it without limitation, both as to weapons and tactics, i request that you vote against the authorization. the document as drafted appears to me to be an attempt to codify a failed strategy of limited our ability to prevail. it is a political document which allows the president to say he cannot do more because congress
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will not let him. he knows his strategy is failing and he needs someone else to blame. i will be damned if my son is going to be asked to risk his life for a failed strategy simply to allow the president to his incompetence. either authorize the full force of the united states or do not send our troops into harm's way. we must fight to win or not fight at all. our military has been outstretched. lives have been lost, limbs have been lost, missed birthdays, missed anniversaries, missed holidays. we're not looking for conflict, but conflict has found us. and it's time for us to defeat isis. we can't half ass it. we need to go all out and get the job done or not send our troops at all into harm's way. i yield back my time. >> we go now to ms. grace ming of new york. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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thank you, ranking member rangel and for all of our honorable witnesses for being here today. i sort of want to piggy back off of what mr. ribble had previously asked about what coalition members should be prepared to do to continue delegitimizing isis' ideology. for example, a recent report indicated that around 4,000 foreign fighters have joined isis since the air strikes began. are there specific strategies that coalition members should be employing to further prevent the flow of foreign fighters into syria and iraq? part two of that question is often talked about. isis calls themselves an islamic state. what name might you suggest we in america and around the world and in the media use to describe this barbaric group so as not to confer any undue sense of legitimacy? anyone can --
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>> those are excellent questions, congresswoman. i would just add that i'll defer the second one to my colleagues. the first one, it's very interesting the types of political capital that's needed to be invested by leaders in the arab and muslim world to fight, to counter radicalization. some of the examples i mentioned earlier were the leaders of saudi arabia and egypt have helped their clerics issue fatwas condemning isis' violence. there's also the importance of social media. the united states government is not the only government that has a technical capacity to tweet against isis. in fact, this is one sort of less reported part of the
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technical capacity that's being done. we're helping our coalition governments build these anti-social media websites, et cetera. it's a small thing, but it's an important thing given the percentage of the youth who are being radicalized in many of these societies. on the foreign fighters, my understanding is that the foreign fighters flowing into syria and iraq has been slowed in the past three or four months based on a couple of factors. one was turkey. we've increased our diplomacy or the coalition has increased its diplomacy and its technical capacity building efforts with turkey, and turkey has improved its border security. so there's a lot of this that's technical that you need to do with partners. it's better if it's done in a
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coalition so it's not just the united states telling people how to do better border security, how to fight foreign fighters. finally, i'll just mention the u.n. security council resolution that the president introduced in september that was basically condemning and urging all member states to stop the flow of foreign fighters. >> let me just go back to your question on the name. i think we should join our arab friends in the region and start calling them daesh. they are not the islamic state. they do not represent islam. they are an offchute of that religion, but they do not represent it. and i think that would be a good way for us both in the government and academia and others to try to show solidarity with our arab allies. but defeating the ideology, it goes back to working with those leaders in those countries, helping them, supporting them, giving them the type of support they need. in the case of iraq, iraq has a lot of problems. i'm not certain where it's going to go. half the time i think it's going to survive, and the other half i think it's going to fracture. but the reality is that we've invested a trillion dollars and million man years of labor and there's a possibility that this may be saved. if that's the case, we should continue to work on it. let me just take a little bit off for a second. we missed a great opportunity in 2006 when the maliki government needed us the most and we did not push for reconciliation. i think at this point in time when the iraqi government needs us, that a part of our strategy has got to be and our support for them has got to be honest to goodness reconciliation that is not going to walk away from as
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soon as the problem is over. >> thank you. i'll try to answer my last question fast. secretary kerry previously testified that the u.s. would be resupplying the iraqi, kurdish, peshmerga going through baghdad so as not to undermine the central government. has this prevented them from getting what they need to effective will i fight isis? and how will the central government in baghdad view an effort to provide military equipment directly to the kurds? >> it did prevent the transfer of equipment when i was ambassador. i don't have the statistics now, but the kurds certainly believe it has. they cite, as we heard earlier, only 25 of hundreds of armored vehicles that have been provided to them. while there's some pretty good
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reasons why we're careful on what we give them, the point is they're fighting. they are the allies of baghdad. and a lot of these weapons systems are no threat to baghdad, but they are a threat to isis, and they should be flowing. >> we'll go now to mr. tom emmer of minnesota. >> i'll try to be brief. i apologize for going back and forth. there seem to be a whole bunch of things going on at the same time. and i don't want to cover old ground, but i'm afraid i might touch a little bit. my understanding, first we're here because the president has requested renewed authorization for military force. and it seems everything that i've read and everything that i've been listening to, including your testimony, everybody agrees that isil must be defeated. there seems to be absolutely no disagreement. i heard today, and i think this is for you, dr. brennan, if you
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would. the others can certainly expand on it. you must first start by stopping the military manifestations. we've had reference to you got to cut off the revenue sources. you've got to -- i just wrote another one down listening to the testimony. we have the ability to interrupt or interfere with internet, social media, the like. i'd love to know to the extent this new authorization of military force. is that something the administration is planning on doing on every level? and how are we going to know what the strategy is? i'll tell you, i agree with my colleague from new york. i would offer that the executives should have all the authority that he needs to make sure that whatever the situation is, as fluid as it may be, you can deploy whatever resources are necessary to take the action
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that's necessary to win, not just hold something at bay. and i guess i'll add this for the ambassador. i thought i heard you say earlier that we've never ventured into -- that our country has never ventured into combatting such a complex ideology. all that came to mind was fascism and marxism. i would just ask you to help me with that because you've got that background. so dr. brennan, could you fill us in? what needs to be done? >> i think the first thing that we need to do is -- and i think the president is doing this correct. this is an iraq-first issue. how do you defeat isis in iraq? go after their finances to the extent we can. much more complex than it was when we were there earlier. you use the internet, social media. you attack the ideology. >> continue the air strikes? >> enhance air strikes.
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i think we need to do much more in the way of air than we've been doing. but that will require, again back to my point, you got to put boots on the ground, our forces with those four leading elements. not necessarily do the direct fighting, but to be able to reach back and pull the resources of the u.s. government. one of the things on the aumf that said the president was going to use our unique capabilities. i believe that as being air. i've got to tell you, u.s. ground forces capabilities, whether it be special forces, conventional forces, or army or marine, are unique. it's not that one individual you put out this. it's that joint capacity that you bring to the battlefield. if we're going to make certain our allies are going to be successful, we got to be out there with them. >> so my question then, dr. brennan, because we are so limited on time, is if congress
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is going to authorize the additional military force that the executive is asking for, why wouldn't congress authorize the executive to take whatever action with whatever unique resources are available? because this is such an immediate and dangerous threat, not just to this country, but the entire globe. why wouldn't the authorization be that broad? >> i personally think it probably should be that broad. again, the president can restrict what he chooses to do, but i think this aumf is going to continue beyond this presidency. what we shouldn't do is limit the next president based upon what this president may not want to do. >> last question. mr. ambassador, i'm sorry if i'm getting pinched.
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that's what i would expect as the answer, just common sense would tell me, not necessarily the experience because i don't have yours. but the only limitation i'm going to ask you if this is accurate or if you would disagree with this. the only limitation, if there was one, should be in the amount of time so that it has to come back to congress for reauthorization and a discussion of what the strategy has been, where it's been. would that be the only -- >> i think that would be perfectly acceptable to put a period of time. >> how long? >> i would go beyond the three years. maybe four years so the next president has time to look at it, to revise the strategy, and make the changes he needs before it comes back. >> thank you. my time is expired. >> representative from florida. >> section 2c of the president's draft authorization for the use of military force reads as follows. the authority granted in subsection a does not authorize the use of u.s. armed forces in enduring offensive ground combat operations. ambassador jeffrey, what does enduring mean? >> my answer would be a somewhat sarcastic one. whatever the executive at the time defines enduring as.
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i have a real problem with that. >> dr. brennan? >> i have a real problem with that also. not only because -- i don't know what it means. i can just see the lawyers fighting over the meaning of this. but more importantly, if you're looking at committing forces for something that's vital or an important interest to the united states and you get in the middle of a battle, and all of the sudden are you on offense or defense? what happens if neighbors cause problems? wars never end the way that they were envisioned. so i think that's really a terrible mistake to put in the aumf. >> dr. rand? >> enduring in my mind specifies an open endedness. it specifies lack of clarity on a particular objective at hand. >> dr. rand, is two weeks enduring? >> i would leave that to the lawyers to determine exactly. >> so your answer is you don't know. >> yeah. >> how about two months? >> i don't know.
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again, i think it would depend on the particular objective. enduring in my mind is not having a particular military objective in mind. >> so you don't really know what it means. is that a fair statement? >> enduring in my mind means open ended. >> all right. section five of the draft authorization of the use of military force reads as follows. in this joint resolution, the term associated persons or forces means individuals and organizations fighting for, on behalf of, or alongside isil or any closely related. ambassador jeffrey, what does alongside isil mean? >> i didn't draft this thing, but -- >> nor did i. >> but i would have put that in there if i had been drafting it. the reason is i think they went back to 2001.
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of course, this is the authorization we're still using along with the 2002 one for this campaign. and these things morph. for example, we've had a debate over whether isis is really an element of al qaeda. it certainly was when i knew it, as al qaeda in iraq in 2010 to 2012. and these semantic arguments confuse us and confuse our people on the ground in trying to deal with these folks. you'll know it when you see it if it's an isis or it's an ally of isis. >> how about the free syrian army? are they fighting alongside isil in syria? >> no, they're not fighting alongside isil. in fact, often they're fighting against isil and isil against them in particular. >> what about assad? is he fighting for or against? it's hard to tell that score card, isn't it? >> it sure is. >> yeah, what about you, dr. brennan? can you tell me what alongside isil means? >> i really couldn't. it might be -- the 9/11 commission uses the phrase radical islamist organizations. i think maybe if we went to wording like that. it includes all of those 52 groups that adhere to this type of ideology that threaten the united states. but we're putting ourselves in boxes. as you said, congressman, i'm trying to understand what that means, what the limits are, who we're dealing with is very
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confusing. >> dr. rand? >> first of all, i believe that the confusion is probably a function of the fact that this is an unclassified document. it's not going to specify exactly which group or considered associates. that would be for a classified setting. but second, as i said in the testimony, the nature of the alliances within isil are changing and are fluid. those who are targeting the military experts know exactly who is a derivative or an associate or an ally of isis at any given moment. >> why are you so confident about it? seems to me it's a matter of terminology, not a matter of
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ascertainable fact. >> based on my public service i've seen some of the lawyers and some of the methodologies. >> here's the $64 billion question for you, ambassador jeffrey. then if we have time, for you others. if you can't tell us, you three experts can't tell us what these words mean, what does that tell us? ambassador jeffrey. >> that it's very difficult to be using a tool basically designed to declare war or something like war on a nation state, which has a fixed definition against a group that morphs, that changes its name, that has allies and other things. do we not fight it? we have to fight it. are we having a hard time define it? you bet. >> dr. brennan? >> i agree with the ambassador. i think the issue that we need to be looking at is trying to broaden terminology and understand that it is -- that organizations or groups that
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adhere to this ideology and make it broad enough that if one pops up in a different country that is doing the same thing, that is a sister of this organization, the president has the authority to act. >> dr. brennan, i think you just described a blank check, which i'm not willing to give to the president or anybody else. but thank you for your time. >> we go now to to mr. ron from florida. >> the white house said he had authority to act based on the 2001 and 2002 aumf. so the media is reporting that he's asking congress for authority, but by their own view, he's asking congress to restrict and limit the authority, both by whatever -- and i agree these terms are nebulous, but having some prohibition on the use of ground forces and having a time limit -- and i agree with the witnesses. i don't think that's an effective way to fight an enemy. i think you need to determine the enemy, determine the strategy, and then bring all force to bear or be willing to
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do that. obviously the commander in chief needs to make these decisions. so i'm trying to figure out what is motivating this. i think it's because if you look at the way things are going, if you look at the strategy that's in place or lack of strategy, this is not going to succeed. and i think everybody understands that. so i think the president is looking to get congress on his strategy so he can point the finger at us and say these guys limited me. we all thought this was a good idea. right now he's kind of out there. congress is urging him to do different. and he gave an interview this week where he said, look, terrorism, the news makes a big deal about it. it's just something, like a big city mayor. you got to deal with criminals and stuff. i'm thinking like giuliani when
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he used to get these guys with the squeegees. is that really how you're seeing it? so i'm skeptical of the motivation for doing this now. let me ask you this, dr. brennan. i think that it kind of informs where we're going. is the problem a group of violent extremists who happen to go by the name of isis or whatever you want to call them, or is this a global jihad that presents national security implications and threatens our national security and our allies, not just in this part of syria or that part of iraq, but really in countries across the globe. >> i think it's useful to look at this as not as a terrorist organization. it is a global phenomena we're seeing. and i think you can also look at it as a global insurgency where you have sister organizations sprouting up all over the world, fighting in support of the same ideology, even though they may not have direct linkage or direct command and control. again, if i may use loosely the analogy of the 20th century when we had marxist revolutions all
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over the world. many of them didn't like each other, but they supported each other in different ways. >> dr. rand mentioned, i think accurately, that a lot of these sunni tribesmen in iraq, certainly when i was serving there, they're really not jihadists. they're sunni arabs, and if they they back then aqi was better than the deal they get with the central government, then they were apt to do that. and if they think it's a shiite government, that's going to push them further. i guess my question is, if you look at the administration's policy, there's a clear attempt to have a major reproachment with iran. if to you look at yemen now potentially an iran client state, the assad -- i know we've been through different machinations there, but i think the administration is content to leave assad there. and so if you're just the average sunni arab wanting to figure out should you kind of work with the americans and
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whatever forces we may be supporting or should you work with some of the sunni jihadist groups, if they see us as as a facilitating shiite domination of the region, isn't that going to push some of these sunni arabs who are not necessarily jihadists into the arms of the more radical sunni groups? ambassador? >> absolutely, which is why we can't pick a side in the sunni/shia struggle any more than we can pick a side in the christian/muslim struggle in the balkans. we have to have a set of values and friends who accept them and go after everybody who's violating them, whether they're coming out of mosul or they're coming out of tehran or they're coming out of damascus. >> so if you have, for example, isis fighters threatening the outer baghdad belts and you have shiite militia groups, which we've considered to be terrorists when we were in iraq and that are supported by iran's quds force, some have said
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there's an alliance with the u.s. >> who did your polling? >> that was done by true choice. >> i can't imagine 80% of the people feel good about something new something to have. you feel good about those numbers? >> senator, we feel very good about those numbers. >> what about the retirement community, how do they feel about the proposed changes? >> well, the feedback that we've gotten. >> can you poll retired military members and find out? >> we polled retired as well as active duty and reserve components. >> what were the numbers on the retired community? >> senator, let me take that question for the record. >> fair enough. it seems that the jury is in. people on active duty like what you're proposing. if they had an option they would take this new system. what we need to understand as members of this committee, where is the retired force? what do they think about the health care changes? because health care changes are not grandfathered, is that correct? >> that's right. >> at the end of the day your recommendations is driven by we think we can provide better choice and more efficient for the department of defense and give better coverage, is that correct?
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>> that is correct. >> if we do nothing in terms of health care costs, it is exploding in terms of dod's overall budget and somebody needs to do something with it. >> that's correct. >> and you have to deal with retirement and health care to fight the war today and tomorrow's expense and that's a choice we don't want to make. >> that's correct. >> thank you all for your hard work. >> senator. >> thank you. thank you all for your service, not just on this commission but many many of you have serve this country in other ways.
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i have questions about retirement proposals, and at the it isn't a question of enduring and it gets to could we use jordanian troop, absolutely, but there are lots of political problems and frankly, we have never seen arab troops on the offensive in any of our earlier wars. not in iraq and in 2003 not in afghanistan and not in kuwait. there are huge taboos about that in the arab world. some might be broken with some countries. >> do you think in light of recent events, we wouldn't face
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those those? >> i would say be careful because the main value of these allies is their political support, which plays well here and the what they're doing in their own societies to deal with this violent islamic manifestation. if they start taking a lot of casualties in ground combat against isis and they will. look at the kurds. that's going to be very hard for them to sustain. again, as i mentioned in my opening remarks these countries that are very weak states. they have lots of problems internally. >> so, do you think, do you think given the concerns ambassador jeffrey just laid out, it's realistic to believe that a ground war could be fougt by those troops without u.s. troops? >> with the peshmerga, we need
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to get out front. as we start pushing in to anbar province and moving into the key cities and mosul, it would be important to have our troops with them. what that composition troops is i think it depends on the situation, the time. but i think if congress is going to look at this and believe this is something worth fighting for, we need to give the commanders on the ground flexibility. >> this only deals with the 2002 aumf. so, the real question that i think a lot of us have the if the argument is that everything we're doing now we can pursue pursuant to the 2001 aumf, then should we assume that whatever the limitations are that
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ultimately might be included in this aumf, however broad those limitations are, that ultimately, we could wind up doing anything we want pursuant to the existing 2001 aumf any way. >> no, i don't believe that's the intention. i believe it's to make. >> i understand. i'm asking whether you could still rely upon the 2001 aumf to conduct whatever operations regardless of what's contained in here. >> isis is a different threat thattal that al qaeda. >> of course. the president's done everything he's done up to now and it is a very broad thing. i actually like it, but i'm having to give you an honest answer and yeah, that's a problem. >> thank you. >> okay, now to mr. ted yoho in florida. >> thank you, i appreciate y'all being here. you said since carter
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presidency, the u.s. have been the ga ran tors in the region. syria with 20,000 plus dead and we know the situation in afghanistan, iraq, libya, yemen lebanon, jordan. bright spot and let us not forget iran. how do you think we have done since the carter administration? >> i think or success rate has not been high. >> i agree with that statement. i'm not going to go into the cuba debacle right now. our whole process in the middle east has to change because where did isis come from? dr. brennan, you go ahead. >> originally, from al qaeda and
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iraq -- >> if we go back to what the president is saying here, that we are going to degrade and defeat isis, i remember those statements in the iraq war. i remember this president saying al qaeda is is on the run. they're the jv team. they're gone. the question i have is what is the definnive definition of defeat of isil? because it's an ideology. we're not fighting a nation state. it's like fighting a tumor that me tas sized and we're going after the metastasis not the root cause. so, i would like to hear a definition of defeat the definitive one and then i would like to hear what your root cause is of why there is an isis. why there was an al qaeda and
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i've got one other question after that. ambassador? >> it's a good point and the major flaw of this draft. it doesn't authorize the president to do anything more than use the armed forces. it doesn't say defeat so there is no goal. one of the reasons we've been debating about how long this should be or what enduring means is that there is no goal. my goal is to destroy its hold on terrain in iraq and syria. that is a military mission. we can do it if possible with our allies potentially we will have to use our own forces. if that's a vital mission, that's what the president should be tasked to do by you. >> you're absolutely right and if we don't define what isil is
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as a radical islamic, jihadist group, you can't defeat it. it's like let's build a house and i give you a bunch of two by fours and the material and you're like, what is is the plan i don't know, just build a house. that's what i see here. p i know that is a simple analogy or bad analogy but i see us not really wanting to commit. you're not playing to win you're playing not to lose. if we're not going to go in there with a very specific strategy, this is a bad idea. dr. brennan, what's your opinion? >> i agree with that. i think what you need to do to defeat iraq and syria, isis, is to understand that we are putting at some level, an artificial distinction at the border between remark and syria. we have to look at the entire organization. i agree, iraq first, but we need to be think b about how do we
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attack this entire organization and make sure they no longer control territory. the ambassador is right. that's a military objective, but it means we have to move into syria, also. >> which is attacking a sovereign state is. it may be a failed state and that opens up another can of worms. >> absolutely. >> dr. rand, go ahead and weigh in on that. >> i would disagree with my clegg colleagues. i think the strategy, again, there's preliminary evidence it's working. paired with the partners on the ground has killed 7,000 isis fighters. >> how many have grown though? every time you kill one, you get ten, 20 more to join the cause, so are we winning? >> and has helped the partners. we take key straenlgic areas, so in my mind, a strategy should be assessed based on how well it's
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working. in five months, there's significant evidence that this combination of limited u.s. force and parking lottners is working. >> thank you for your time. >> i thank the member from florida. we appreciate the time of all of our witnesses here today and that was a start of a very important conversation, so, i think as we deal with this, deal with this growing threat from isis and as we deal with the president's question, we thank you again. we are going to be submitting additional questions to our panel. appreciate your response and we stand adjourned.
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coming up at noon, cspan 2 will bring you live coverage on how to -- like isis and integrate former fighters back into society. a discussion on combatting violent extremeism is hosted by the washington institute. also, all this week, we are reairing "washington journal's" recent tour of historically black colleges and universities and today, a look at tuskegee university in alabama and at 7:15 it's xavier in louisiana. while congress is on its president's daybreak this week we're showing american history tv in prime time. tonight, japanese

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