LEXIS-NEXIS® Academic Universe-Document
Copyright 2001 The
New York Times Company
New York Times
September 20, 2001, Thursday, Late Edition - Final
SECTION: Section A; Page 1; Column 5; Foreign Desk
LENGTH: 981 words
HEADLINE: A NATION CHALLENGED: WASHINGTON;
Bush's Advisers Split on Scope Of Retaliation
By PATRICK E. TYLER and ELAINE SCIOLINO
DATELINE: WASHINGTON, Sept. 19
The Bush administration is struggling with its first high-level quarrels over
the scope and timing of its military response to last week's attack on the
United States, administration officials said.
Some senior administration officials, led by Paul D. Wolfowitz, deputy
secretary of defense, and I. Lewis Libby, chief of staff to Vice President Dick
Cheney, are pressing for the earliest and broadest military campaign against
not only the Osama bin Laden network in Afghanistan, but also against other
suspected terrorist bases in Iraq and in Lebanon's Bekaa region.
These officials are seeking to include Iraq on the target list with the aim of
toppling President Saddam Hussein, a step long advocated by conservatives who
support Mr. Bush.
A number of conservatives circulated a new letter today calling on the
"make a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power" even if he cannot be linked to the terrorists who struck New York and
Washington last week.
In response to these efforts, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell argued during
weekend meetings with Mr. Bush that the administration must take the time to
prepare the diplomatic groundwork for American military action, first in
Afghanistan, by consulting with allies and building the case to justify
American actions under international law.
"We can't solve everything in one blow," said an administration
official who has sided with Secretary Powell.
But at the Pentagon today, asked if he felt there was an Iraqi connection to
the attacks, Mr. Wolfowitz said,
"I think the president made it very clear today that this is about more than
just one organization, it's about more than just one event.
"And I think everyone has got to look at this problem with completely new eyes
in a completely new light."
Mr. Wolfowitz did not return a telephone call tonight. It is unclear what
position the Joint Chiefs of Staff have taken on the scope of any possible
retaliation. The State Department declined to comment.
The shock of last Tuesday's attacks and the magnitude of the challenge before
it in fashioning a response has, in some ways, united and galvanized the Bush
national security team.
But there are tensions. They stem in
part from the basic clash of roles: Secretary Powell faces the pragmatic work
of coalition building and careful diplomacy with allies who will take
significant risks to support the United States when so much anger is directed
at its policies in the Middle East.
The Pentagon is surveying a host of unattractive military options as officials
seek to fulfill presidential and public expectations to strike back quickly and
There are also ideological differences and even old personal conflicts from the
first Bush administration, the Reagan and the Ford administrations cleaving a
group of people facing an urgent crisis.
Today, President Bush and his advisers watched with some anxiety as the
Pakistani leader, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, addressed his people to try to
persuade them to support the American response to last week's attacks.
"A lot of us are worried that he may not survive politically," one official
Mr. Bush and Secretary Powell also met with Russia's foreign minister, Igor D.
Ivanov, who expressed Russian concerns about the use of military force in
Central Asia, formerly under Soviet control. The Russians already are providing
intelligence information and Mr. Ivanov pledged to cooperate in other ways.
During a weekend of intense national security planning, Secretary Powell was
said by several officials to have urged caution. He argued that to undertake a
broad military campaign, especially including Iraq -- whose civilian population
draws great sympathy in the Middle East for the suffering it has endured since
1991 -- would undermine the support Mr. Bush needs now.
On Sunday, Vice President Dick Cheney seemed to ally himself with Secretary
Powell's view when he said in a televised interview that the
administration did not have evidence linking Saddam Hussein to last week's
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was said to have joined the consensus
position of leaving Iraq and other targets out of initial plans.
"Rumsfeld for whatever reason has decided that Iraq can wait," one official said, adding that
"he hasn't given up on it."
But Mr. Wolfowitz, the Pentagon's influential deputy secretary, is a
conservative thinker who has frequently clashed with Secretary Powell and the
State Department. He has continued to press for a military campaign against
Iraq that would not only punish Mr. Hussein for his past support for terrorism
at home and abroad but would also eliminate the danger he poses to Israel and
the West in his quest to acquire weapons of mass destruction.
One account of last weekend's private discussion among Mr.
Bush and his senior aides suggested a tense exchange occurred when Mr.
Wolfowitz made the the case for a broad and early campaign, including bombing
Iraq. Secretary Powell said targeting Iraq and Saddam Hussein would
"wreck" the coalition.
Mr. Wolfowitz has been more
"concerned about bombing Iraq than bombing Afghanistan," one senior administration official said.
Another administration official, an ally of Mr. Wolfowitz, said,
"Paul's very spirited position is to look at this more comprehensively."
On Monday, Secretary Powell betrayed his own impatience with Mr. Wolfowitz's
assertion -- later retracted -- that the administration was committed to
"ending states" that supported terrorism.
"We're after ending terrorism," Secretary Powell said when asked about Mr. Wolfowitz's formulation.
"And if there are states and regimes, nations, that support terrorism, we hope
to persuade them that it is in their interest to stop doing that.
But I think 'ending terrorism' is where I would leave it and let Mr. Wolfowitz
speak for himself."
LOAD-DATE: September 20, 2001