Michael Ware


TSR: "Does America want to fight this war or not?"

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Length: 3:59

WOLF BLITZER: The U.S. military today announced the deaths of five more Americans in Iraq. As this very bloody month nears an end, is the change in strategy bringing any changes on the ground for American troops?

Joining us now from Baghdad our correspondent Michael Ware. Michael, we heard the defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, today make the case that the U.S. military is in fact adjusting, has been adjusting as needed throughout this entire process. Is this adjustment visible, based on what you have seen?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, not yet, Wolf. I think it would be too soon to expect to see tangible differences marking a shift in strategy. I mean, turning this boat around literally is like turning an oil tanker at full steam. It really will take some doing. So no, there's nothing playing out here on the ground. Although, it's clear that there's a mood for change in the air just as I suspect there is domestically back home in the United States -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Are there enough troops on the ground right now, 140- 150,000 troops realistically to get the job done?

WARE: Well, this is the thing, Wolf. I mean I think a decision needs to be made by the administration and the American people by extension: does America want to fight this war or not? Because, the commitment it's made so far, as substantive and as painful as it may have been, simply isn't enough. It amounts to a half measure, so to speak. All it's doing is offering opportunity to inflame. It's not a robust enough presence with a robust enough mandate, perhaps, to implant the kind of order and security and stability that America is looking for here -- Wolf.

BLITZER: October's been the deadliest month for the U.S. military in Iraq. Now in more than a year, the argument against introducing more troops is that you send another 20- 30- 50,000 troops in, then the insurgents, the terrorists, the al Qaeda operatives, the others they have a greater target capability. In other words, more Americans to kill and the numbers would even go up higher.

WARE: Well, absolutely. I mean it increases the exposure of U.S. troops simply by the volume of numbers, Wolf. However, I mean, even 10- 20- 30- 50, I'm not sure would be enough to make the impact. The point is, perhaps, the people who would be supportive of an influx of troops, would say better a short term pain now to cauterize this wound within President Bush's global war on terror than let it drag on and continue seeing, you know, the enemies of America as the administration has identified them becoming stronger and more robust -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Why isn't the Iraqi army, the Iraqi police force, capable three and a half years after the downfall of Saddam Hussein? Hundreds of billions of dollars spent by the United States, all this training going on, why are they simply incapable of doing this at this point?

WARE: Well, Wolf, I mean the fundamental dynamic is back to the building blocks of power here in this country. And those building blocks have not been addressed. So the army, like all other government institutions, are riven with militias, insurgent interests, competing influence, external and internal. So, there was much talk early on in the mission about achieving set numbers for the Iraqi security force, expecting that trained and equipped, 300-plus thousand would be able to handle the situation. Well, we're now within a whisper of achieving that number and the situation remains a disaster. So, until the fundamental issues are addressed not the army, the police, nor anything else will change -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Michael Ware reporting for us from Baghdad -- Michael, thanks very much.

WARE: Thank you, Wolf.