Michael Ware


AAM: "Here's the price tag for Iraq. Are you ready to pay it?"

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Michael is back in New York just in time for the Democratic Convention, and talks to Kiran Chetry about Joe Biden's plan to partition Iraq into three separate countries.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the next president will face a number of critical decisions concerning America's foreign policy. They include withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. When will that happen? How will it happen?

Plus, how to confront the growing threat from insurgents fighting in Afghanistan and also, should the U.S. directly engage Iran? Joe Biden's foreign policy experience is expected to be a big boost to Barack Obama.

CNN's Michael Ware is just back from Georgia, spent a ton of time in Iraq as well, and he's with us now in the studio.

Good to see you.


CHETRY: Yes. I want to ask you about your thoughts on Joe Biden and the fact that he's been a long-time supporter of partitioning Iraq into three separate autonomous regions.

WARE: Yes.

CHETRY: Is that something that could and would work?

WARE: Well, madness, really, to be honest. I mean, as you see, when Senator Biden was -- his nomination was announced, you found out that opposition to Senator Biden's partition policy is one thing that unites the three ethnic groups in Iraq. No one is for partition unless, of course, you're an Iranian-backed political party, because they'd love to have a self-governing zone in the south that effectively would become an extension of Iran. So really that would play into the hands of Tehran. So, no, that's not an effective strategy.

CHETRY: That's very interesting. When we talk about this troop plan, Barack Obama is talking about a withdrawal, saying we're talking about one to two brigades, and that perhaps by 16 months we could be out. Whereas John McCain is saying we do need to still have a distinctive troop presence to fight al-Qaeda, to train Iraqis, and to protect our interests there. Which one would work better?

WARE: Well, I think only time will tell. And right now, the agreement is being thrashed out in Baghdad and Washington at the moment, settles on what is it, 2011, as a full withdrawal, with U.S. troops back in their bases by June next year. So we're sort of standing in the middle of those two policies at the moment.

The real issue here that no one is facing -- and I would love to hear from Senator Obama's team about this -- you can withdraw. You can withdraw tomorrow. You can withdraw in 16 months, whatever you want, as long as you're ready to pay the price.

I want to hear people acknowledge, yes, we know what the price of withdrawal is. Yes, we're willing to pay for it, and this is how we're going to deal with the long-term implications, because at the end of the day what you're doing is giving Iraq to Iran.

And you're emboldening what President Bush called, remember, the axis of evil. And don't forget, Iran sponsored Hezbollah in Lebanon, who defeated the Israeli Defense Force. They're now back -- after helping America defeat the Taliban, intel reports say they're now helping the Taliban.

So Iran is very much in the middle of everything and that's the key foreign policy issue I want to hear from the candidates. Here's the price tag for Iraq. Are you ready to pay it?

CHETRY: Very interesting. It's always great to get your perspective. Michael Ware, thanks for being with us. We'll check in with you a little bit later as well.

WARE: Thanks, Kiran.