THE MISSILE THREAT (Senate - January 31, 1996)

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Mr. INHOFE. I wanted to take just a moment, Mr. President, to mention something else that will be very dear to the heart of our previous speaker, Senator John Kyl, from Arizona. I am sure, since he was quoted in the article that I am about to quote, that he shares my concern over an article that appeared in the Washington Times yesterday entitled `Missile Threat Report Politicized, GOP Says.'

I will just read the first paragraph of this article. It says:

A new intelligence estimate by the Clinton administration which foresees no ballistic missile threat to the United States for at least 15 years enraged GOP lawmakers who want to deploy a defense against a limited missile attack.

This is factual. I am one of those who was enraged because there is a lot of redundancy here. We have stood on this floor. We have tried through talk radio, through every other means possible, to convince the American people that we really do have a very serious threat out there. This estimate was made by the national intelligence estimate which only a year ago stated, as was pointed out by Senator Kyl, that there is a risk out there. And it specifically talked about North Korea and the Taepo Dong II missile that would have the capability--this was a year ago--of reaching Hawaii and Alaska by the year 2000 and the Continental United States by the year 2002.

We just had a defense authorization bill that was vetoed by President Clinton. In his veto message he said we did not want to spend that money on a missile defense system to defend Americans against a missile attack. This is something that came not too long after the statement made by James Woolsey, who was the CIA Director appointed by President Clinton, that between 20 and 25 nations either have, or are developing, weapons of mass destruction, either chemical, biological or nuclear, and the missile means to deliver them. We also know that there are countries, as he pointed out, that now have this technology, and what they have they will sell.

This article goes on to report that the new national intelligence estimate indicates that it is very unlikely that any of the countries with this missile technology would sell it. I find that very difficult to believe when you look at such countries as China and North Korea. Then you look at countries in the Middle East that have an abundance of wealth due to their oil holdings--Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, any number of countries--and you begin to realize that they could be willing buyers, not to mention in potential nations which could be inclined to fire a missile at the United States.

I have to say this. I hesitate to stand on the floor of the Senate and make this statement, but I tend to think that this national intelligence estimate was dramatically influenced by the White House.

It was just a week ago that we heard the State of the Union Message when the President of the United States made a statement that seemingly went unnoticed when he said that we are changing the role of our military from defense to peacemaking. Earlier, in vetoing the defense authorization bill, he talked about the fact that there is a linkage between the START II arms limitation agreement that was supported and ratified by this body a couple of days ago and the 1972 ABM Treaty.

Well, I have questioned that linkage, but since the President believes it is there, I have to go back and talk about it and see how that relates to this article that came out just yesterday. The ABM Treaty was put together, it was a philosophy that was articulated for national defense to defend our strategic interests by the Nixon administration, by Dr. Henry Kissinger.

Back at that time, they formulated a plan that was called MAD, mutually assured destruction, and what we were talking about at that time was we only had two superpowers in the world. We had the U.S.S.R. and the United States of America. They said, `Well, I tell you what. You don't defend yourselves; we won't defend ourselves. If somebody shoots at us, we'll shoot back and we all die.' That was fine. That was the policy. I did not agree with it at that time, but at least it was predicated on the assumption there were two superpowers in the world, and at that time it was true, the U.S.S.R. and the United States of America.

Now, in light of the statement of James Woolsey and of what our intelligence has reported to us, there are probably 25 countries now that have this power. So we are not talking about just two.

In a way, I think things were more secure back during the cold war; at least then we could identify a singular enemy. Now we do not know where it is coming from. So if the President has his way and we are to accept his idea of continuing a policy that was articulated and established back in 1972 of mutually assured destruction--assuming, of course, that Russia, which is the other party of this policy, this being the START II Treaty, if they do what they say they will do--and their performance is not very good in the past in their arms reduction commitment--but assuming that they do, then you have Russia and the United States reducing our nuclear capability at the same time there are 24 other nations out there that are not reducing theirs; they are raising theirs.

That is the situation, the environment that we find ourselves in today. I felt we could win this argument on the debate because the American people are intelligent people. There are a lot of ways of getting to the American people and getting the truth that is not filtered through the Washington, DC, media, and that is going straight on talk radio and other means.

Now, all of a sudden, as reported in yesterday's paper, we are confronted with this dramatic conversion in the national intelligence estimate from one that only a year ago said we were under a threat of nuclear attack within 5 years to one that now says there is no problem for the next 15 years. This is very disturbing because to most people, it is surely an implausible conclusion.

If you look at the hits that have been taken on the budget that Senator Kyl was talking about, the only real reduction that we have had during this administration is in our military capability. We have consistently, time and time again each year for 10 consecutive years, reduced our military spending while all other spending has gone up.

The Senator from Arizona quoted President Kennedy. The more I hear quotes of President Kennedy, the more he sounds like a present-day Republican. He did make the statements that Senator Kyl mentioned. But he also recognized back in 1961, when he developed his first budget, that we had to have a strong national defense. And the first budget under President Kennedy had 50 percent for military and 30 percent for human resources. Today, in the budget we have, only 17 percent is for military and defense and 60 percent is for human resources. So it is just reversed, and yet we are saying this at a time when some would like to lull the American people into believing that there is no threat out there when, in fact, we know that there is. So it may be only a handful of us in the Senate who are going to do our very best to keep America strong. And, again, I would reiterate my concern about what was reported in the article that just came out in yesterday's paper. I am personally outraged that this critically important estimate of the threat to our national security has been totally reversed from previous estimates seemingly just to support a position that the President is holding.

I yield the floor.

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Mr. KYL addressed the Chair.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.

Mr. KYL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.