tv Prime News HLN October 1, 2009 4:10am-5:00am EDT
the president lets some slowdown or stop the drawdown? >> i think unless we had some sort of, you know not only violence but salles may be a collapse of some reason and the government itself which i do not foresee, but it is what we look at as one of those potential points of instability that could cause us to have concern about the seating of the government and successful seeding of this government and will they be able to continue peacefully as we move forward. >> the last election as i recall it took months before they could form a coalition. if they haven't formed a government in february -- >> i think we would have to decide is if we think it will not happen peacefully, and i think i will know that the first 60 days following the elections, if they have trouble forming coalitions doing it peacefully i think we could continue. we will still have 50,000 people, that is still quite a bit of individuals we can still have some impact if we need to.
>> thank you. next question, we talked about the loss of oil revenue. how diversified is the iraqi economy, and what have we been doing or what are they doing to diversify? >> it is more diversified. 90% of the revenue comes out of the oil industry right now. one of the things they are doing, and october there will be an investment conference held here,. they still have work to do that they have to pass. i am hopeful me before the october meeting they will have passed one of these investment laws. there is some indication they might be able to do that but we have to wait and see. it is important they start to develop an atmosphere where
businesses, there's lots of opportunity in iraq for investment but it is about does it have the environment for the investors and we have to continue to help them focus on that. i also believe getting a new government will help. we will see the iraqi government continues to mature. i think the next government will be more mature than the last but they will understand the process more and their role and that will help also work some of these key issues that have to be worked in order to diversify the economy. >> and when you are in the economy diversifying education has to play a key role as well as building representative democracy. what's been happening as far as education? >> first, we just zero weeks ago they reported 6.6 million children would go to school in iraq. the school year just started, end of september, beginning of october and that is the highest
number they've had -- to be the highest number of record. i think it is actually the highest number even before 2003 so that is a positive sign the of 6.6 million children in school. the universities are now developing relationships with u.s. universities. we know that some of the grant universities around the u.s. have visited and are conducting regular engagements. the approved $4.5 million in grants for iraqi students to a fulbright scholarship for iraqi students to study around the world mostly in the united states and at western europe so these are all positive steps the starting to be taken that will allow them to continue to educate their population. the iraqi have always been a fairly educated population but there have been some problem based on what's happened here in the aftermath of 2003. but we see that starting to
regenerate itself and we are encouraged but there is still quite a bit of work to do. the strategic framework agreement, this is one of the strong parts of this agreement is the education peace. thank you very much. >> i thank the gentleman. mr. sestak? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, general. two questions, one is a tactical issue. you mentioned we have withdrawn 150,000 pieces of equipment already from iraq. gm says it is 31 million pieces of equipment in iraq. do you really believe we can be totally out of there by the end of 2011 in view of that number attended to that? and do you plan per the army requirements to close up the bases even with environmental requirements?
in some cases it takes nine months to ten months months to do this. so it's important to identify this ahead of time. and many of the bases will be turned over to the government of iraq, especially the big bases. >> you do this in a -- >> we have closed 200 bases so far so we have already done it. >> my second question is, iran consistently comes through this committee and almost any security briefing in the general area of southwest asia, the middle east. whether it's afghanistan or missile defense. and you spoke a lot of iran. over the last couple years i was struck by several comments that have been made. one was by the intelligence
agency who said if wire not there bleeding, iran as he departed afghanistan as a general. and when asked if iran works towards our same objective, he replayed, yes, they do they want stability there and they don't like al-qaeda because they're sunni. the intelligence committee testified that with regard to foreign policy and security decisions, iran takes a cost-benefit approach rather than a head-long rush to a decision irregardless of cost of benefits to it diplomatic, political and other goals. you have worked -- and you can't miss it in this job and you
brought up iran. what perspective can you provide us? iran will continue to be brought up in almost any security briefing, and you can provide us, rather than, they cause mischief. what can you take away to give us on how to deal with this nation? view of those three statements that say, you know, maybe this nation overall, much like other nations we have had to deal with, has similar goals but comes about it from a different way. >> i would just say first, if we went there to bleed, that they wouldn't conduct attacks, it's hard to say. what i tell you is, i know right now, on a daily basis they conduct attacks on iraqi security forces with no u.s. forces around. so i'm not sure that tracks with that statement. what i would say is, again, i think iraq needs to have a relation -- iran needs to have a
relationship with iraq, but it has to be the right kind of relationship. i think free trade and a relationship that helps with religious activities, et cetera. but again, i think that they have objectives that aren't clear to us. iraq is important to them because of the potential sunni-shi'a issues in the middle east, and iraq falls in the middle of that. so i think there's other ropes -- reasons why they want to be in iraq. >> mr. hunter. >> if the secretary could just answer -- >> just win community on afghanistan. they're -- meddling there is less than iraq but they support sunni groups. >> i didn't catch this. thank you very much. mr. hunter, please. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first, mr. vickers, i know you
through reputation. thanks for your work on the doctrine that is been invented for afghanistan. and thanks for letting us walk up to the men and women who have served in iraq and say, thanks for winning this. those important. the first question is, if you could both put your heads together and say, i think we have been through two and a half, maybe three generals, in afghanistan, from the time you have been in charge of iraq. what lessons learned would you like to see brought over to afghanistan from iraq you haven't seen? >> i would just say, i have spent large majority of the last several years in iraq, so i don't pretend to understand the environment in afghanistan. in order to understand what could be aapplicable in
afghanistan versus iraq, and you have to understand the environment and the social, economic, political, military issues that underpin the reason why violence is occurring. so, the one thing -- and from what i have seen, general mcchrystal is doing exactly that, outlying the underlying factors causing the instability inside of afghanistan. you have to take a whole government approach to solve those problems. i can tell you that from everything i have read, he understands that completely and understands the fact it's a complete approach that has to be taken to solve the problem there, just like we needed to do that in order to solve the problem in iraq, and will continue to need to do that until we leave in the end of 2011. >> let me ask a quick followup. do you think you would have seen
success in iraq you have seen now if you did not have the surge? >> well, again, i would say obviously the surge of forces in iraq helped us to create the security environment we have now, along with many other things. the one thing i tell everyone with the surge in iraq, it was not just about the surge of forces. it was about the change in our tactics and procedures. it was about a surge of the state department people as well in order to create provincial -- impredded provincial reconstruction teams. it was about an outreach program though sunni insurgents and forming the sons of iraq. it was about understanding what was causing the underlying impacts and that we tried to go after these using a combination of military capacity and others. so that's what i learned in
terms of surge. >> a lot of things happened, but you wouldn't have been able to do it without the increased security to allow those things to take place. >> the surge of forces clearly had the impact on the ability to improve the security inside of iraq. >> mr. vickers, the first question, lessons learned, without being critical. i know ttps are different in iraq and afghanistan, different people, different violence, different area, actual terrain. so if you can take something from iraq and put it in afghanistan, maybe systems of lessons learned, ways that we did things there that we are not doing in afghanistan, what would it be? >> first, the difference, the insurgence is more rural based, it's a pashtun based insurgency in the south and east. and the critical importance of the sanctuary that afghan insurgents enjoy in pakistan.
they also receive more funding from external sources than iraqi insurgents did more internally. that said, there are common principles in counterinsurgency that can be transported, and i think general mcchrystal is doing that now. the focus on protecting the population is a core mission for forces, and the integration of all elements of power, the whole government approach as general odierno talked beside. and counterterrorism and counternarcotics, has done very well in iraq. as you know, we have a major review going on right now at the white house over the afghanistan strategy and that's as much as i would like to say now. >> thank you both for your service, and thanks for winning, once again, general. >> gentlemen, we have mr. taylor
and dr. snyder. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, gentlemen, for being here. i was unable to be here earlier, general odierno, but in your written statement, on page seven, you talk about nonlee that operation and force multiplier, and you talk about the information operation. there's very little mention of the provincial reconstruction teams. do you not consider them in that category? 00 -- a reason why you didn't discuss them? >> they're absolutely critical to what we do. the provincial reconstruction teams were a key piece in the surge, allowing to us get out and reach and build civil capacity, and it continues to be very important. >> how is that working as you have transitioned? you mentioned the number of bases that have been closed.
are they using iraqi sources to provide security in what does the transmission mean? >> the plan we have, we have 27 locations, some or satellite locations. we provide the security for them in all those areas. when we plan our drawdown, one of the considerations we take into place is the breach of the provincial reconstruction teams, and we coordinated with the state department to do this. they have maintained six teams in the country, and one of the main missions of the -- will be to provide security to make sure they have access. >> you don't perceive that will be at some point the prts with have iraqi -- only iraqi troops for security? >> i think will we slowly turn that over to them so when we got to post-2011, they could do that and that would be part of the
process. >> as you mentioned earlier in a discussion with mr. shuster, you talked about iraquis that left the country. are the returning or not returning? >> they're returning but in small numbers. >> do the ones outside the borders participate in the elections? >> in 2005 they participated in the election. they will develop what countries they will provide the opportunity for those not in iraq to vote. that will be part of the election laws. >> we focus a lot here in the -- and the american people do, too on troop strength, i think probably sometimes to our detriment and we should focus on the afghanistan and a whole lot of other things. but i wanted to ask, there are any limits or considerations
with regard to u.s. government civilian numbers? i assume those numbers are relatively small. you mentioned civilian contractors have come down substantially. a whole lot smaller number of u.s. civilian numbers there. is that a number you're following? and which way is that going. >> the ambassador tracks the civilians working on the state department side. as part of our contracts we have some american citizens who work and i do track that in terms of the state department side, they -- we do watch that. they are -- what they're trying to determine as part of the joint campaign, they're determining the number need as we transition. and i think that number will not go down. i think it will stay what it is now. and in fact some cases have to come up. if they take over the police
training, they will need more civilians. >> are you satisfied with the level of morale of our troops? >> as i go around i'm very satisfied. i talk to them all the time. re-enliftments are over 100 mtv -- mtv -- >> s a you have closed bases, are you satisfied with the ability to rapidly do medical evacuations of wounded troops? >> about once every two weeks i get an update on our ability to conduct medical evacuation. i am absolutely confident that we can provide medical evacuation for all of our soldiers, sailors and marines.
do they recognize the significance out what has happened? what steps have they taken to keep them on the payroll or fine some other job in the iraqi government for them? >> thank you, congressman. the government of iraq does understand the importance. they have a plan in place to -- a list of all the names of sons of iraq, and they showed us the list that some will goes to this ministry, some will go to the local government, and laid it all out. so we're going to begin to execute that. and what's interesting is after the bottommings in august in baghdad, the commander said, i want to slow down the movement of the sons of iraq.
i want to keep them on longer because of what they do for us in order to help us with the security. so they made the decision to keep them on longer. i think that shows first the recognition of the senior commanders how the important the sons of iraq are to security, and secondly, i believe they will transition them and take care of them. in 2009, when they head the budget cuts, the only line that was not cut was the sons of iraq. so those are all positive signs. what i have to make sure happens is they will not get them all transitioned by the end of 2001, we -- 2009, we have to make sure it's done by 2010. >> i didn't see in your prepared remarks, but obviously one sign of things getting back to normal would be electricity to the average iraqi. and i know -- have we gotten to
the point where they have reached pre-war levels levels of electricity to the average citizen? >> actually, they're above pre-war levels. they're approving 155,000 mega watts. that's a 20-% increase from last year, and they have less units going offline. so they're able to maintain a more stable grid. that said, although they're producing more electricity, they still have problems with distribution. and so they have some problems in some areas of distributing electricity to all the people. so my guess is you will run into some iraquis who have yet to see an increase. the other problem is demand has increased five-fold since 2003, which is a sign of freedom and puts more pressure on the government of iraq to provide more and more electricity. >> i guess lastly, i'm going to ask you to look out in the
future. it is my impression from several thousand miles away that we have replaced a strong, brutal thug with more of a distribution of the powers amongst the shaikhs, and if you had to say it would look more like the magna carta than the declaration of independence or the united states constitution. i was curious in your opinion, do you think it remains for the foreseeable future to have a power-sharing agreement amongst the shaikhs? how do you see their political system going forward? >> i think it's style be determined. but what i would say is, what we are seeing is following the provincial elections this year, where people want to see more of a nationalistic government. i think as we see the new
alliances form, they're reaching out. just not a shi'a alliance, it will be shi'a plus sunnies and and maliki will be an alliance with many different groups. so i think that's extremely positive they have recognized the fact, to be successful you have to have more than one representative of one area of the people inside of iraq. >> thank you again for your service. >> ms. giffords. >> thank you for your time to come here and for your service to our nation. unfortunately i wasn't here for most of the hearing, but i had a chance to read your testimony. and you talk about military families and their unwavering service and their sacrifice amp lot of strategic questions have been asked, but i would like to talk about families. as a military spouse myself, i
had a chance to meet with military families and learn about the unspoken heroes, the real stories of hardship that happens behind the scenes. i remember when i met you in iraq and you talked about your wife and how if you lose the families, you lose the soldiers, the sailors, airmen and marines. so could you talk about what -- our efforts to draw down, the changing stresses on the service members and their families? >> i think what we're trying to do, obviously, is reduce the time between deployment -- i mean increase the time between deployments, and because we all know -- all of us, and all the people sitting behind me, they have all been on several deployment is, and although we tend to play off what that really means, we know there's an impact on every single person
who deploys, and you need a time to recover from that deployment. if you're not given enough time, it can impact the soldier the -- soldier and the family. so we have to increase the time between deployment. build the relationships and allow time for them to recoup and recover with their families. we also have to realize the impact these deployments have on a single parent because you become a single parent for a long time and that's the part we miss. we think about the soldiers. we forget about the impact of the wives and husbands who become single parents for very long periods of time. you sometimes during very difficult times for the children. so i still think there's some work we have to do along those lines. i know the army and the marine corps constantly look at it.
but the strength of our families, you rely on that so much without giving them asi -- assistance, and it's something we have to keep our eye on. >> general, obviously we look forward to your suggestions. we were able to implement through the wounded warriors assistant act help for soldiers that were getting out of the military. i think when i last saw you, there was a -- i wouldn't say epidemic but a strong spike in the number of suicide, particularly in the army. i know you talked about implement something programs there in iraq, but can you talk about whether or not those were successful? >> we haven't had a suicide in # 0 days. -- 60 days but i think we might
have had one last night. but i think we have started to see some of these programs take hold. the fact we have more counselors, the fact we have more awareness. it's about lead evership awareness and learning to recognize when an individual is having problems. i'm seeing progress in iraq itself. i can't speak for the army as a whole but i can speak about iraq. but we still have too many. what's disappointing to me, it's not because people don't care. when you break down a suicide, you always find there's three or four place if somebody intervened we could have stopped the act from happening. so we have to understand where those intervention points are and then do it so we save a life, and that's what we have to work on. >> mr. chairman, there's incredibly strong bipartisan support for the service members
and the families, but we look to you, those commanding officers in the field to let us know what is working and not working. so having feedback is important. in closing, i have to thank you for your willingness to reach out to the colbert show. this is a population that wouldn't be paying attention to day-to-day operations in iraq but putting a real face on how hard it is, and what the service members go through, and of course it was a comedy segment, but very well done. >> i think he is due for another haircut. >> i think so too. >> we will take judicial notice of the fact. so mr. porter and mr. kaufman. >> thank you. i would like to associate myself with congresswoman giffords and
the attention you're giving to the military men and women who have carried the burden for the rest of us. so thank you. i wanted to talk to you about a conversation i have with general petraeus earlier this year when i was talking about the electrocution deaths of some of our soldiers, and i was told there was an operation task force safe and they were going to do an investigation. and i believe the investigation was supposed to end about now. again, comes some horrible news about a former military man who came as a contractor to iraq, and he was recently electrocuted. so i had a couple questiones. was his facility inspected or were you only inspecting facilities that soldiers occupied? >> it was not inspected. what happens, as a contractor, it's the responsibility of the contractor to have adequate facilities, so we were not
insuspectinging the -- inspecting those facilities. however, since then, we have outlined to the contractors what is expected of them in terms of proper safety requirements. and we have also offered them any assistance they need, and go and look at all their facilities so make sure they're in line with safe structures. >> since we we knew we were havg trouble with contractors, why was the decision made to not inspect. >> i don't think we made conscious decision not to inspect. what we focused on was the department of defense personnel and i think as we continue to expand this, we will look, but there are some contractual issues so we have to look at this to see what we can do. so we are working through this
now. this obviously highlightes a problem we all didn't understand at the time, and so we continue to work it. we are working the problem now but we have to go through legal reviews. we have offered some initial assistance so we don't have repeat events. but many contractors have facilities that sometimes aren't even under the department of defense. i think this one was under the department of state contract as well. so that throws in a whole nuther issue. we want to get rid of the bureaucracy and save the lives of the people that are working. >> these men and women serve this country as well. know many of them had access to the medical care that the military was providing, and so clearly there was some crossing over there. if they felt comfortable and not even reimbursing, as you recall,
i'm sure. i just can't understand what happened there any other services provided for the people in those building? >> i have to get back with you. >> i would appreciate that. one last question. can you comment on how the department of defense has declined to investigate the apparent electrocution of the department of defense contractor? >> again, i have to go ahead and take a look at that and see exactly what happened. okay? i will get you an answer back on that. >> i would appreciate that. file very certain when that family sent their loved one over to serve this country, they expected we would do what we could do protect all of them, whether they're in uniform or serving at civilians. thank you, and i yield back. >> thank the gentle lady. mr. kaufman, second round. >> thank you, mr. chairman. general and mr. secretary, cue discuss the kurdish aspirations
does the krg have the authority? that's is left to be resolved, and has to be resolved through the hydrocarbon legislation. >> the dee baathication went too far. it led to a lot of resentment among the sunni arabs. >> they have the accountability and justice law, which has had significant problems with implementation. so what it's going to require, i believe, is for them to go back and pass some more legislation that will adequately address this issue. and that's something that i think they have to do internally. the law has been very difficult to implement because in some
cases had not appeared to make sense based upon some of the individuals we have known to be working with and serving horribly within the system. so the -- honorably within the system. but it's a problem that has to be addressed. >> the problem's -- problems with the shi'a militias, to what extent are they aligned with iran? >> the number of shi'a militias has declined significantly since the march-april '08 operation done by the government of iraq in both al basra and iraq. i think there are -- what you don't see anymore is large movement of shi'a militias. what you have now is militant groups that don't control areas
but conduct attacks for self different reasons, and i think we have seen the militia empty -- militia units to move, and they do conduct attacks against both u.s. forces and iraqi security force and others, but their influence has been significantly reduced to what it was in 2007 and the beginning of 2008. >> to what extent is iran -- i think you mentioned briefly iran providing them training. so what extend -- i think you also mentioned iran providing weapons. what is the trend line on that now? >> i think it's less. what they have done, they appear to have targeted smaller organizations that continue to train inside of iraq, and train inside of iran, and come across with increased capabilities to conduct operations and attacks inside of iraq, and they're
still provided munitions suchs a rockets. >> many of the sunnies would say, are they arabs first or shi'as first and and they would speak of this in reference to the influence of iran over a shi'a-dominated iraqi government. how do you see that at this time? >> the people i deal with -- i don't -- what i would say is this. the people i deal with i believe are iraqis first. i put it that way. and i think iraq is first and foremost in their mind. i think iran is trying continue nuisance -- influence them. i think there's others, syria as well. that's what makes iraq so important in the long run. >> i certainly thank the
gentleman. general odierno, we thank you for your testimony and the service you're rendering. you're making history, and your leadership in iraq for our country, and we thank you for that. i also mentioned that all of us on this committee feel that the young men and women in your command are making history as well, and when the final chapter of iraq is written and our efforts are, i know full well that your name will be very, very prominent, as well as all those young men and women who have worked so hard and so professionally. we can't thank them enough. so, general, thank you very much. mr. vickers, thank you very being with us. this hearing is adjourned.
traffic. this is probably not a major threat to our homeland security. she is totally plugged into the communication and she will be here and a couple of minutes but in the interest of time we will proceed and she will understand. proceed and she will understand. before statement i want to welcome to this committee the newest member of the united states senate, senator paul kirk of massachusetts. i have have the privilege of knowing paul for a long time. he is an extraordinarily able and conard individual with a great skill set. obviously he comes to the senate for reasons that our sad for all of us most particularly for him because he was a confidante of senator ted kennedy but i don't think anybody would be happier or prouder than teddy to know that paul kirk is here. i just joked with him that teddy is probably in have been laughing and saying okay kirk now let me see what you can do
in the senate. [laughter] so paul it is a great honor to welcome you here to this committee. [inaudible] to be part of a body that is so important to our democracy and with senator kennedy obviously loved as an institution and as you say the circumstances of my being here provide me with an incredible honor on the part of my own life and i hope to be able to work closely with u.n. senator collins. i know this committee enjoys a great record and has an important mission and we look out for our security here at home and protect our troops abroad and if i can contribute in any way to what we are dealing here as an important body of the senate, i will be delighted so thank you for your kind comments and i look forward to working with you. >> thank senator kurd. i am sure you will contribute substantially and i am delighted
you have chosen to be on this committee. today's hearing, which is titled eight years after 9/11, confronting the terrorist threat to the homeland, was scheduled and planned more than a month ago as part of our committee's responsibility to monitor the terrorist threat to our homeland and to oversee our government's defense of us from that threat. in fact for the last few years our committee under senator call in leadership his head a particular focus on the threat of homegrown islamic terrorist. that is the threat of attacks planned against america by people living in our country as opposed to the attackers of 9/11 who obviously came from outside. then, quickly in the last two weeks we have had a rest in the very serious cases of homegrown
terrorism. to lone wolves, michael curtis senton and one more ominous cell led by-- these are certainly not the first such plots against our country that have been broken since 9/11 and in fact we have been a nation regularly under attack in this unconventional or with terrorist. just the last few months going back to may, a group was arrested in the work ordered around newburg new york who had planned to launch an attack around an airbase, an air force reserve base or guard base there and then was caught in the act they thought of planting a bomb in a synagogue in the riverdale section of the bronx. e in june, another homegrown
terrorists walked into a u.s. army recruiting station center and little rock, arkansas shot and killed an army recruiter and wounded another and in july it was in the rest of seven people in north carolina who were planning an attack on our base at quantico. so, in a way that is dispersed and therefore i think often not seen by the public, we have regularly been under attack since 9/11 2001 but these three cases in the last several days were significant and in some sense and different, and bring a sense of real time urgency who are hearing today. mr. fenton, who was the gentleman from illinois, was
about to debt native bomb against the federal building in springfield illinois and mr. morrow within the process of what the thought was an attack with an explosive against the wells fargo motor bank in dallas, texas. these three cases, realized both our worst fears about homegrown islamists terrorist attacks against americans and i had our best hopes for our government's capacity to defend us from them. the case is the scenario that many of us have worried about and watched out for. a legal permanent resident of america free to travel in and out of our country, going to pakistan, connecting with al qaeda dare, receiving training and perhaps directions and returning to america to join with others here in an attack on
the new york city. senator collins and i were first briefed on this case. we each have the same reaction, which was a sense of gratitude that all the things that have been done by congress, the bush and obama administrations, hundreds of thousands of u.s. government employees since 9/11 worked on the case. the department of homeland security and the federal bureau of investigation, the national counter-terrorism center and a lot of other such as the and were relevant with state and local law enforcement. to end -- to make certain he was in a prison cell before they could attack. those working for us in the government