DLH: "Well, this time you need a plan."
Michael appears on D.L. Hughley's program to discuss what we should do in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. That's a lot to cram in to just a few short minutes, but D.L. asks great questions, and gets straight answers. (The raw honesty of Michael's first answer is simply stunning.)
D.L. HUGHLEY: My next guest is a guy who takes risks every day, because he lives and works in a war zone, CNN's Baghdad correspondent, here to talk to me, taking out some time from dodging bullets, welcome Michael Ware.
How are you doing, Michael?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good day, mate, how are you?
HUGHLEY: How you doing? Is Baghdad very scary?
WARE: Um... yeah.
HUGHLEY: That's a good answer right there.
WARE: I mean, things are changing all the time. It's getting slightly better. But by and large, it used to be the case that if you were on the streets for more than 10, 15 minutes, you were gone. I mean, I got grabbed once. They put the gun to your head, pull the pin on the grenades. You know, it's worse than catching the subway.
HUGHLEY: Why is it that I hear so much talk about Pakistan? And how afraid of Pakistan should we in America be?
WARE: Well, Pakistan is a complicated place. You know, American intelligence says that's where al Qaeda senior leadership is. They say that, you know, they've got sanctuary in the mountainous Northwest Frontier Province. And, man, that place, I've been there, it's vicious. It swallows infantry divisions whole.
But, you know, they also say that al Qaeda has reconstituted its ability to attack the U.S. homeland. So basically al Qaeda and the Taliban have a safe haven. Meanwhile, you've got a weak, you know, central government in Pakistan. You've got a strong intelligence agency in Pakistan that's working with the Taliban and al Qaeda, certainly elements of it.
But even if you add all of that up, I'd be more worried about Iran than I would be about Pakistan.
HUGHLEY: You just scared the hell out of me. Now we're going to Iran?
WARE: Yeah, man! Well, I sure as hell hope not because I'll be going with them!
HUGHLEY: Why Iran more so than Pakistan?
WARE: Well, Iran has got a lot more muscle to flex within the region. Okay, Pakistan has got what they call the "Muslim bomb." They are a nuclear power. Iran wants to be a nuclear power. And Iran is writing all the checks on Lebanese Hezbollah. And they kicked the butt out of the Israelis a couple of years ago, and I was there to see that.
They're killing U.S. troops right now. Pakistan ain't doing that. Now, they're doing that in Iraq, using Iraqis, that they're arming, funding and training. And they're bleeding literally U.S. soldiers to gain leverage so they can get nuclear power, and many think a nuclear bomb. So you've got to watch out for those dudes, mate.
HUGHLEY: So President-elect Obama, he is going to have an obviously difficult task.
WARE: Oh, man.
HUGHLEY: So which, out of all those -- we have Iran, we have Iraq, we have Pakistan, we even have Afghanistan -- which is the most urgent matter he should deal with? What should he do first?
WARE: Your government took you to war to fight al Qaeda and a regime that wasn't threatening you, led by Saddam Hussein.
WARE: Because you did that, you've made Iran...
HUGHLEY: You keep saying "you" like -- wait a minute, I...
WARE: Yes, it's your fault!
HUGHLEY: I don't even...
WARE: Sometimes I feel like it's my fault.
HUGHLEY: Right, right. I'm like, always blame the white guy, I'm telling you. I was like, wait a minute.
WARE: No, I mean, Iran. Iran poses much more of a threat, I would argue, than al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is always going to be out there, I'm sorry. You're just not going to get rid of al Qaeda.
HUGHLEY: But now our resources are diminished, you know, we're in two wars, we're in a bit of an economic turmoil, so what can we do, like, here? What is the first thing he can do?
WARE: Well, this time you need a plan.
HUGHLEY: Oh, come on. What do we need a plan for, what, are you crazy?
WARE: Yeah, I know. It's so crazy it might work!
HUGHLEY: You know what's so funny, and this is -- I was just talking to the writers here -- every time I see Obama, he's reading a newspaper, a book, or a magazine. And it occurred to me, I haven't seen a president reading in eight years. So it's better already, ain't it? Maybe if you read, you can have a plan.
HUGHLEY: Thank you, Mr. Ware. Thank you very much.
WARE: Yes, thank you, mate.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
HUGHLEY: We have got plenty more coming up. Thank you, man.