Michael Ware


TSR: "I would very much like to ask...how he defines winning."

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Length: 3:32

WOLF BLITZER: Let's go to the front lines right now, which, in these days, means the Iraqi capital itself.

And joining us now from Baghdad, our correspondent, Michael Ware.

The president flatly said today the United States is winning. We're winning, he said, in this war in Iraq. From your vantage point, does it look like the U.S. is winning right now?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The president's remarks are absolutely striking, Wolf.

I mean, I would very much like to ask President Bush how he defines winning, because on the ground here, it looks like anything but.

Given the state of chaos, given the near civil war, given the rising tempo of the Sunni insurgency, given the increasing influence, as Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad pointed out, of Iran and, to a lesser degree, Syria, I would like to know how the president defines victory.

So far in this war, what we have seen with the way things have developed is that two of America's greatest enemies are the only beneficiaries of this conflict -- al Qaeda, which 16 U.S. intelligence agencies say has become stronger, not weaker, as a result of this war. So the very thing the president says he came here to prevent, he has fostered.

And the other one is Iran. Iran's sphere of influence once stopped at Saddam's border. Now, they have great sway not only in southern Iraq, but within the central government; arguably, more sway than the United States -- Wolf.

BLITZER: The argument some are making is that what the United States needs to do now to win is to bring over thousands more U.S. troops.

The counter argument is that could be counter-productive. You'd just have more targets there if you bring 10- 20- 50,000 more American troops.

You've spent a lot of time embedded with the U.S. military.

Would an introduction of thousands of more U.S. troops right now make a difference?

WARE: Well, Wolf, this is a fantastic question -- 10- 20- 30- 50,000 more troops: nowhere near enough. America, at this juncture in the war, has two options. Clearly, there's no single military solution. So even if you increase the level of troop numbers, much, much more has to be done around that.

The two options -- one is fight this war. Right now, U.S. forces are not fighting to win. They have not been equipped to win. We see in Al Anbar Province, which the president himself says is the central heart of al Qaeda's global plans, the American Marine general in command of that province says he does not have enough troops to win against the al Qaeda-led insurgency.

The same goes across the country. There are not enough U.S. forces to defeat the Sunni insurgency, to tackle the Shia militias, or to combat Iranian influence.

If you want to occupy this country and fight this war, you need an incredible increase in troops, and, arguably, a draft.

The other alternative is reshaping the political drawing board from scratch and starting again -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Michael Ware reporting for us from Baghdad.

Michael, thanks very much.

WARE: Thank you, Wolf. A pleasure.