Michael Ware


NR: "...in a government where power vests in those who control militia forces, this is a man without a militia. So really, Maliki can't deliver."

Length: 3:05

LARGE (36.3 MB) ----- SMALL (3.5 MB)

TONY HARRIS: OK, let's go to Michael Ware. He is in Baghdad.

Michael, I take it you heard the president just a few moments ago, correct?


HARRIS: OK, Michael. Let's start with the support, lack of support, however we're defining the support, from the president for the Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Here's a bite from the president a short time ago.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRES. OF THE UNITED STATES: Prime Minister Maliki is a good guy, a good man with a difficult job, and I support him. And it's not up to the politicians in Washington D.C. to say whether he will remain in his position. That is up to the Iraqi people who now live in a democracy and not a dictatorship.


HARRIS: Michael, do you want to start on this? Do you need a question, or do you just want to respond?

WARE: Well, what I can tell you, Tony, is it is rather striking that the president says this today about Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, because everyone from the president to the U.S. ambassador of late has been prodding and criticizing the prime minister of Iraq. So this seems to be a very rapid turnaround.

I mean, the fundamental problem is that what the U.S. senators have said about Prime Minister Maliki, that he's not delivering, is quite simply true. But the answer is simple. Why? The prime minister has no power. America has invested everything in a guy who has absolutely no real control over what's happening within his government. Of his 37-member cabinet, 17 are boycotting his government or just not showing up. And in a government where power vests in those who control militia forces, this is a man without a militia. So really, Maliki can't deliver.

HARRIS: Michael, this goes nowhere, this surge goes nowhere if you can't get some kind of political reconciliation. It goes nowhere, whether it's 162,000, whether it's 180,000. It goes nowhere.

WARE: Right. Remember this, if America pulls out then the moral burden on America as a nation will be enormous for the bloodletting that will follow and for the destabilization of this entire region and the strengthening of al Qaeda and other Islamists.

But nonetheless, there are those here -- no one questions that democracy as a model is something to pursue. But what U.S. commanders and diplomats here on the ground are saying is that, "maybe we have bungled the execution of that mission so badly that now we need to stop and reconsider whether Malaki or his entire government are really the way to go."

Because, to be honest, Iran has much more influence with this government than America does, that's for sure. So really, a lot of people are finding it much harder to support the Maliki government.

HARRIS: CNN's Michael Ware for us in Baghdad. Michael, appreciate it. Thank you.