Michael Ware


TSR: "...ailing, if not failing..."

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Length: 3:25

WOLF BLITZER: A senior State Department diplomat has apologized for saying publicly that history may judge the United States to have shown arrogance and stupidity in handling the Iraq war.

Alberto Fernandez made the remarks this weekend to an Arab TV network.

And joining us now from Baghdad, our correspondent, Michael Ware -- Michael, I'm sure you've heard about these comments on Al Jazeera from a senior State Department official, Alberto Fernandez, suggesting in Arabic that U.S. policy in Iraq has been -- has shown "arrogance and stupidity."

You speak to U.S. diplomats, officials, military commanders on the ground all the time.

Is there a sense that U.S. policy over the past three-and-a-half years has shown "arrogance and stupidity?"

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what's clear, what is common consensus and taken as fact here on the ground, Wolf, -- by senior U.S. commanders, by top U.S. diplomats -- is that grave errors were made, particularly in the first year of the occupation in Iraq. Most often cited was the way in which the disbandment of Saddam's military was handled, the extent and depth of de-Baathification and a host of other issues.

There's a whole range of reasons postulated as to explain those mistakes, from ideology run-amok to people not listening to those on the ground to people simply being unaware or unaccepting of the realities to suggestions that people were far too cloistered and shrouded within the Green Zone and other fortified bases.

I think implicit in most of those is some element or charge of arrogance and/or stupidity -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Why is October of this year, this month, shaping up already as the worst month of the year for the U.S. military in Iraq?

WARE: Well, there's a whole host of factors at play here, as well, Wolf.

I mean, firstly, this has been the month of Eid-- of the holy month of Ramadan. This is a time traditionally of an offensive by the insurgents. Indeed, this is the fourth Ramadan offensive of this war. So there's naturally an increase in insurgent activity.

Couple that with an increased presence of U.S. troops on the streets of the capital in what's the now ailing if not failing Operation Together Forward, or Battle of Baghdad. That increases the U.S. troop exposure. And don't forget, the insurgency took a number of hits this year in terms of its leadership, most spectacularly al Qaeda in Iraq losing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, its charismatic leader. These insurgents, these groups, had to re-gather. And we see them now lay out yet another offensive platform.

And don't forget, once more, the insurgents here are savvy politically. They're attuned to what's happening elsewhere in the world, and particularly what's happening with American domestic politics. So I'm sure that's a factor in this upswing in American casualties -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Michael Ware reporting for us from Baghdad.

Michael, thanks very much.

WARE: Thank you, Wolf.