LKL: Haditha investigation
LARRY KING: ...and Michael Ware, who's just joined us from "TIME" magazine.
KING: And returning now is Michael Ware. And by the way, Michael, we want to congratulate you, recently joining CNN as our Baghdad-based correspondent. Prior to becoming part of the CNN team he was "TIME" magazine's Baghdad bureau chief. "TIME's" loss is our gain, Michael. Great to have you with us.
WARE: Thanks, Larry.
KING: Congressman John Murtha, a critic of the war, says Iraq is the kind of war that's impossible to train for. How would you comment on that?
WARE: Well, in many ways, I guess that's true. There's certain things that can be done. But what's lost on the people back home is the grim realities of the nature of the fight there in Iraq, particularly in Al Anbar province, where you see Haditha and Ramadi.
I recently left Marines in Ramadi. They are in blood and guts combat each and every day. The battalion I was with had lost seven men in seven days. And you have to understand that this is a brutal war that's being fought in the midst of a civilian population trying to go about its life. Now, no matter how hard the military tries, it remains a blunt instrument.
So there are Iraqi deaths each and every day as a result of U.S. operations. So the Iraqis very much are desensitized to this. So this is much more an American story about a reflection of the values that America holds and what it expects of its troops in these situations.
KING: Michael Ware, I know you've dealt a lot with the insurgency. The ambassador, the Iraqi ambassador to the United States says that this incident, whatever it turns out, is going to boost the insurgency morale and recruitment. Do you agree?
WARE: Absolutely. This is grist for the insurgent mill. I mean, they're very good at spreading disinformation but also publicizing their own attacks. So they'll very much be using this and putting this at the centerpiece of a propaganda campaign.
However, for the Iraqi people, it's all but they assume this is going on anyway. I mean, I've been in operations with U.S. troops where civilians are killed in the course of operations. The wrong bomb lands on the wrong house; a man is shot peering out of his front gate.
One of the most difficult things for the troops, though, is now with the Marines I was most recently with, they feel that they're fighting this horrendous war in a vacuum. They know that it's increasingly unpopular back home, and they know that the appetite among people for news of their daily grind is very, very low. One of the Marines begged me to tell their story.
Yet, this just shows you this broader strategy, there's simply not enough troops in Iraq now, despite the calls from people to get out early. Why is Haditha still Haditha, and why is Ramadi still a Ramadi? This incident can tell us many things about the war in Iraq.