TSR: "Iraq is broken. Iran is stronger. Al Qaeda is stronger."
WOLF BLITZER: President Bush, meanwhile, says U.S. troops are making progress in Iraq, arguing that an early pullout would turn Iraq into a "caldron of chaos." Joining us now from New York, CNN's Michael Ware. He's been on the ground in Baghdad from the start. He's spending some time back here in the United States for the time being.
What would be the impact in the short term, Michael, of this debate here in Washington, this veto the president's going to undertake, the continuing struggle to come up with a war funding bill?
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the reality on the ground, Wolf, is that nothing will change. Everyone knows that this is just pure political theater. I'm sure even those pushing for an immediate withdrawal must know rationally that that's simply impossible.
Whether you were for this war or against it, whether you've supported the way that this war has been executed or not no longer matters. Iraq is broken. Iran is stronger. Al Qaeda is stronger. America's enemies have benefited from this U.S. intervention in Iraq. It's backfired miserably. Democracy has taken a slide, rather than a lurch forward, as was the grand design.
So there's absolutely no chance in the world that, in real terms, U.S. forces can withdraw. So all that this politicking does is send a message to America's enemies, advertising America's domestic weakness.
BLITZER: Well, having said all that, how worried are Iraqis that, when the dust settles, the U.S. is simply going to pull out?
WARE: Well, ordinary Iraqis don't want the U.S. to leave. They don't like the U.S. forces. They don't like the occupation, but they know that it's the devil or the deep blue sea. At least the U.S. forces, as limited as their powers are, are at least some kind of a hedge against the multitude of warring factions. And they know that, should America pack up tonight and leave tomorrow morning and be gone with empty bases, the blood would flow. And, obviously, the ordinary people, the men and women with their families don't want that.
However, there's many parties in Iraq, particularly the major power blocs, the factions within this government, would be more than happy to see America leave, no matter what they say publicly, because they know that once the U.S. forces leave, there's no one to keep them in check. And as it stands, all the cards are in their hands and their backers in Tehran.
BLITZER: Michael Ware, thanks very much. Michael Ware joining us from New York.