Senator Bennett: Mr. Secretary, the U.N. sanctions on Iraq expire the beginning of June. We've had bombs dropped, we've had threats made, we've had all kinds of activity vis-a-vis Iraq in the previous administration. Now we're coming to the end. What's our level of concern about the progress of Saddam Hussein's chemical and biological weapons programs?
Secretary Powell: The sanctions, as they are called, have succeeded over the last 10 years, not in deterring him from moving in that direction, but from actually being able to move in that direction. The Iraqi regime militarily remains fairly weak. It doesn't have the capacity it had 10 or 12 years ago. It has been contained. And even though we have no doubt in our mind that the Iraqi regime is pursuing programs to develop weapons of mass destruction -- chemical, biological and nuclear -- I think the best intelligence estimates suggest that they have not been terribly successful. There's no question that they have some stockpiles of some of these sorts of weapons still under their control, but they have not been able to break out, they have not been able to come out with the capacity to deliver these kinds of systems or to actually have these kinds of systems that is much beyond where they were 10 years ago.
So containment, using this arms control sanctions regime, I think has been reasonably successful. We have not been able to get the inspectors back in, though, to verify that, and we have not been able to get the inspectors in to pull up anything that might be left there. So we have to continue to view this regime with the greatest suspicion, attribute to them the most negative motives, which is quite well-deserved with this particular regime, and roll the sanctions over, and roll them over in a way where the arms control sanctions really go after their intended targets -- weapons of mass destruction -- and not go after civilian goods or civilian commodities that we really shouldn't be going after, just let that go to the Iraqi people. That wasn't the purpose of the oil-for-food program. And by reconfiguring them in that way, I think we can gain support for this regime once again.
When we came into office on the 20th of January, the whole sanctions regime was collapsing in front of our eyes. Nations were bailing out on it. We lost the consensus for this kind of regime because the Iraqi regime had successfully painted us as the ones causing the suffering of the Iraqi people, when it was the regime that was causing the suffering. They had more than enough money; they just weren't spending it in the proper way. And we were getting the blame for it. So reconfiguring the sanctions, I think, helps us and continues to contain the Iraqi regime.