Michael Ware


PZN: "The military knows..."

Click photo to play
Length: 2:30

PAULA ZAHN: ...turn to the reality on the ground tonight, with scores of new Iraqi dead in another day of shootings and bombings and more American troops killed.

Michael Ware now joins us from Baghdad.

So, Michael, what's the very latest tonight?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest, Paula, is that this is just another day in Iraq.

What we have seen is the announcement of the deaths of three more service personnel over the last 24 hours. We have seen 31 more executed bodies, the result of sectarian violence, appear on the capital streets this morning.

And, across the country today, 41 Iraqis have died. 11 in Mosul when a suicide bomber, using a fuel tanker, attacked the police headquarters. We had another 11 more killed in Kirkuk, when yet another suicide bomber attacked soldiers as they went to collect their pay.

In Baghdad, five people were killed in a roadside bomb, a police officer assassinated. In Diyala Province, seven people were killed in a crowded market bombing. Two executed bodies showed up. Four other people were shot.

This is just another day -- Paula.

ZAHN: And a lot of people were stunned to hear that announcement by that top U.S. military spokesperson, admitting that the plan is not working.

What is the reaction on the ground to the fact that this plan wasn't enough?

WARE: Well, it shouldn't really come as any surprise.

I mean, the plan only had limited goals from the beginning, or expectations. I mean, this was all about perception. The idea wasn't to actually break the back of the insurgency or the militias or the death squads that actually have the grip on Baghdad, as opposed to the U.S. military. The military knows they can't do that, not with the forces they have got, not with the mandate they have.

So, it was to give the appearance of security to try and prop up a paper-thin prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki. I mean, a lot of the plan involved coordination with Iraqi security forces. Yet, U.S. commanders talk openly about the leakage of information, because these security forces are penetrated by the insurgents, death squads and militias that the Battle of Baghdad plan was supposed to address -- Paula.

ZAHN: All right, Michael, we would like to you stay right there. We're going to come back to you in Baghdad in just a few minutes. Thanks.

Click photo to play
Length: 1:45

PAULA ZAHN: General Grange, what do you think needs to be done to turn things around?

GRANGE: Well, first of all, the -- what needs to be done is, one, stem the influence of Iran and Syria, especially Iran. A lot of this influence you have right now on violence is manipulated by Iranian agents and their strategy. I mean, their strategy is actually working in Iraq.

The other thing that has to be turned around is this -- at least this elected government has to survive, with a reliable Iraqi military supporting it, and the people having freedom from fear. Those things have to be established. You notice they said that does not mean the measure of success that we leave.

ZAHN: Well, let's ask Michael Ware about those two points you have just made.

I have got to imagine that there's got to be a huge concern that the insurgents will be actually emboldened by what that top U.S. military spokesperson had to say, when he said things aren't going as planned.

WARE: Well, of course, that's exactly what they're after. But, I mean, that just reflects the reality on the ground. I mean, it's not as if that was a secret to anyone here.

And in terms of victory, one of the ways of looking at it is to ask, in terms of American interests -- in terms of, theoretically, the Western alliance interests, and the international community, much more loosely -- is a secure, stable state in Iraq able to defend itself, protect its borders, and whose interests are at least mutual to the West and the international community, if not actually friendly.

And what's happening now in no way is developing this end state. You are not on the path to that, as it stands right now.