TSR: Timetables, violence, and abductions
WOLF BLITZER: As lawmakers here in Washington debate whether it's time for a timetable in Iraq, the death toll rises among U.S. troops and Iraqis alike.
Joining us now in Baghdad, our correspondent, Michael Ware. Michael, we heard from General Abizaid before the Armed Services Committee suggesting the U.S. military can still stabilize the situation in Iraq and does not -- repeat -- does not need more U.S. troops on the ground right now.
How does that stack up to what you're seeing on the ground?
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it sounds very much, Wolf, like a political answer. I mean it seems that General Abizaid, despite all the information that he has at his fingertips and his personal experience, is talking about a completely other dimension.
I mean, the violence here in Iraq, for ordinary Iraqis, is palpable. And for U.S. troops, six U.S. servicemen died on Tuesday alone. So far this month, 41 Americans have been killed here in Iraq.
It really doesn't feel like stabilization. And if General Abizaid can see a way to put this genie of sectarian violence, insurgent attacks and foreign interference, particularly by Iran, back in the bottle, then he clearly knows something that the commanders and diplomats here on the ground are not sharing.
BLITZER: Michael, 24 hours ago we were talking about that brazen kidnapping of scores of Iraqis at that Ministry of Education complex in Baghdad.
What's the latest information? How many of those kidnapped remain captive?
WARE: Well, the figures still continue to vary radically, depending on whom you're talking to. But most recently we heard from the Minister of Higher Education. And he said that from among his staff -- now, that does not include any civilians or visitors who happened to be hauled within the grab -- that among his staff, around 40 still remain unaccounted for. And it turns out that that the assurances overnight from the Ministry of Interior that almost all the victims, all the kidnapped hostages had been released, are not entirely true.
So it just further deepens the mystery and further adds to the suspicion that points to, if not the Ministry of Interior itself, then certainly associated rogue or militant elements within the government security forces or the closely affiliated militias.
BLITZER: And those being the Shia militia, the Mahdi Militia of Muqtada al-Sadr, I assume, target suspect number one.
Michael, thanks very much for joining us.
WARE: Wolf, it's my pleasure.