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Excerpted from Diane Feinstein’s speech on the Senate Floor, Jan 29, 2003 before President Bush invaded Iraq:
…I believe America's national security policy stands at a crossroads. I believe in the wake of 9/11, last year was fundamental in terms of the administration's articulation of what constitutes, to my mind, a brand new approach to foreign policy by the United States. Within about 8 months last year, the administration put out three separate documents. One of them was the National Security Strategy. The second was the Nuclear Posture Review. The third was the Doctrine of Preemption as represented in the President's speech at West Point.
Although individually each may appear innocuous, taken together these documents are revolutionary. They posit a world in which the exercise of U.S. military power is the central organizing principle for international affairs in this new century. These documents, in fact, put forward a litany of ways in which the United States will make military activism and adventurism the basic tool for pursuing national security.
First, the National Security Strategy quite pointedly moves the United States away from the concept of deterrence and, to a great extent, substitutes preemption in its place.
Secondly, the administration's Nuclear Posture Review is extraordinarily provocative and dangerous. It blurs the line between the use of conventional and nuclear weapons. It suggests that certain events might compel the United States to use nuclear weapons first, even against non-nuclear states. And it calls for the development of a new generation of United States nuclear warheads, including ``mini-nukes.''
As was well documented in the press last year, the Review also discusses contingencies in which nuclear weapons might be used, including--and I quote--``a North Korean attack on South Korea or a military confrontation over the status of Taiwan'' in which our adversaries do not necessarily use nuclear weapons first.
The Review also addresses contingencies in which the United States might use nuclear weapons not in retaliation to a nuclear strike on the United States but to destroy enemy stocks of chemical or biological arms.
Karl Rove was specifically asked that question on television on Sunday, and he did not answer the question.
This Review also states that in setting requirements for nuclear strike capabilities, distinctions can be made among immediate, potential or unexpected contingencies, and that North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Libya are among the countries that could be involved in these immediate, potential or unexpected contingencies.
That is what makes what is being suggested here in Iraq--if you look at it, in its total expression--so troubling.
The fact of the matter is that several of the nations cited in the Nuclear Posture Review's contingencies lack nuclear weapons. Using nuclear weapons against them would be constitute first use. Under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the United States has agreed not to use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state unless that country attacks the United States ``in alliance with a nuclear weapons state.''
And finally, the doctrine of Preemption--which we may be seeing for the time with Iraq--asserts a unilateral right for the United States to preempt a threat against our Nation's security.
The doctrine says:
“The United States can no longer solely rely on a reactive posture as we have in the past. ..... We cannot let our enemies strike first.”
“The greater the threat, the greater the risk of inaction--and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves.”
Taken at face value, this means the United States holds for itself the right to strike against another sovereign nation--wage war, if you will--even in the absence of a clear and present danger, an immediate threat or provocative action, but based solely on the perception of a sufficient threat.
I deeply believe the administration's course in these areas stands in contrast to the successful bipartisan tradition of supporting a world ordered by law, with capable international institutions and reciprocal restraints on action.
But the administration's emphasis on unilateral action, its dismissal of international law, treaties, and institutions, and its apparent focus on the military, especially as documented in the National Security Strategy, the doctrine of Preemption and the Nuclear Posture Review, have created widespread resentment in the international community.
I believe that these documents are the clearest statements
in writing of the administration's long-term intentions, and I find them questionable and seriously disturbing.
I must also tell you that Secretary Powell essentially said to me: Well, the Nuclear Posture Review really isn't operative. But, nonetheless, that is a doctrine that was released. It is serious in its ramifications. And the way this relates to Iraq is Iraq may be the first test case. If there are chemical and biological weapons--and there very well might be--does this then justify the use of a nuclear weapon to destroy them? The Nuclear Posture Review puts this on the table as an option. I think we need to know.
So I ask these questions because I think they must be asked. And this is as good a time as any.
If we are going to depend on the might of the sword to right wrongs, and in so doing risk committing our own wrongs, how are we better off?
Coalitions, alliances, treaties, peacekeepers, inspection regimes--all can and have been successful instruments in deterring adversaries, safeguarding American lives and U.S. security interests, and in resolving disputes, conflicts, and crises.
So, Madam President, I remind this body that since World War II, there has been strong bipartisan support of a United States which has embraced international cooperation, not out of vulnerability or weakness but from a position of strength.
House Joint Resolution 114, which I supported, and which authorizes the use of force against Iraq, specifically calls for a Presidential determination, that--and I quote--``reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone either will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.''
That finding, that determination, required by our resolution--for which 77 of us voted--has not yet been made. The evidence has not yet been laid out. The conclusions have not yet been drawn.
What happened to the missing anthrax, the missing botulinum toxin, the missing VX nerve agent, the missing precursor chemicals, has not yet been determined. So that is why I come to the floor to say that it is critical that Iraq fully cooperate. It is critical that the inspectors be allowed to continue.
If Iraq does not come clean, if Iraq does not submit the documentation as to the disposition of these chemicals and biological agents, then a legitimate conclusion can be drawn.
But the reason I believe arms inspections must be given a chance to succeed and must continue is that I believe Iraq is just one small part of a larger sea-change in U.S. national security policy. It is a small part of the doctrine of Preemption, in which we move against a perceived or real threat. It is a small part of the Nuclear Posture Review, which says the United States would countenance the use of nuclear weapons against hard and deeply buried targets or biological or chemical weapons.
So I believe that restraint is the proper course. It means that diplomacy is a prudent course, and it means that if international law--if international bodies are to have any relevance in this new millennium--then the Security Council itself must respond.
It is my deep belief that in the long run a foreign policy oriented toward cooperation and consultation will prove to be a more effective guarantor of U.S. national security than one of unilateral impulse and confrontation.
Let us remember that we are currently engaged in a war on terror. It is a war that, if we are to win it, will require the cooperation of our friends and allies.
There is no doubt in my mind that if the United States acts precipitously against Iraq, Taliban and al-Qaida fighters in the hinterland of Afghanistan are gathering today and are prepared to strike against our forces there and against the government of Hamid Karzai.
And let us recall that beyond Iraq, there are a host of other challenges--the situation in the Middle East, the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula--that require international cooperation and action. So I am deeply concerned that if we are not careful in our approach to Iraq, if we do not present a just case, if we do not build an international coalition, we may well precipitate the very events we are trying to prevent. For example, a preemptive unilateral attack against a Muslim nation may well create a divide between the United States and the Muslim world so deep and so wide that it will bring with it negative consequences for decades, and unforeseen ones.
I deeply believe that if Iraq is in possession of weapons of mass destruction, it poses a real threat to the entire international community; and there is no doubt, as the President pointed out, that Saddam Hussein is an evil dictator.
But at this point I believe it would be a tremendous mistake for the United States to unilaterally attack Iraq, and I urge the administration to go slow, let the inspectors do their work, and build that international coalition. War should be a last resort, not a foregone conclusion.
Madam President, I yield the floor.
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