AC: In DC for SotU reaction: "Where is the hope?"
ANDERSON COOPER: President Bush on the war in Iraq. He did not go in-depth on the topic until more than half an hour into his speech.
We're joined now by somebody who spent a lot of time on the ground in Iraq, covering the war for us, CNN's Michael Ware.
Michael, it's good to see you here in Washington.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: It's probably a more dangerous town in some ways than Baghdad, in a whole different way.
What did you think of the president's address in terms of what he said about Iraq? Was there anything new there? Is his policy new?
WARE: No. He uses the term, the new strategy. And I think that is -- that's a bankrupt term. I mean, what we see is a Band-Aid strategy that's furthering something that hasn't already worked.
Sending an extra 21,500 troops is simply not enough. I mean, it's a continuation of the same old, same old. It still fails to address the fundamental dynamics that are driving the many wars that are plaguing Iraq.
And I mean, it still leans upon the old alliance upon allies who have not stepped up. In fact, you see President Bush saying we now demand more of the Iraqi government. Then he immediately chides them. He says you need to deploy more troops. You need to confront the radicals. You need to come to the strategy. We've heard all that before. Nothing's different -- Anderson.
COOPER: Well, supporters of the strategy will say you're focusing too much on just the numbers, on the escalation, when in fact what is different, they will say, is the way those troops are going to be deployed. That they're going to be deployed throughout Baghdad, in neighborhoods. They're going to have sweeps of neighborhoods, yes, with Iraqi forces, but then they're not just going to pull out. Actually, U.S. soldiers are going to be based--
WARE: They're going to stay.
COOPER: --are going to be living in these neighborhoods. Is that new?
WARE: Right. To that degree, that's new. U.S. forces taking and occupying ground--
COOPER: New and risky.
WARE: --with Iraqi partners.
There's a great inherent risk that goes with that. Is the American public ready to pay the price for that? Theoretically, they should be. Iraq is in such a perilous and dire state, America needs to be prepared to do what has to be done.
That's the other thing about the president's address as to the State of the Union. He painted a picture that was bereft of any optimism. He pointed to--
COOPER: There was no talk about winning, there was no...
WARE: None. He said, let's listen to al Qaeda. Something he said before. They are serious and they mean business. And then he points out al-Anbar Province, the commitment of more troops. Then he says, we're now seeing an escalating danger from Shia extremism. That's Iran.
This is the president tacitly acknowledging what many have been saying for some time. Iran has benefited more from this invasion, from this war, than America. So, too, al Qaeda.
And here's the president, pointing to that and saying what do we do about it? Well, we need to talk more, let's add an extra layer of discussion and bipartisanship, let's increase the size of the military, let's put in more of a humanitarian effort. But where is the hope? Where is the light?
COOPER: Well, we'll see. We'll see if there is any light.
Michael Ware, appreciate it. Thanks. You'll be in Baghdad soon?
WARE: I head there on the weekend, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Well, Godspeed. Thanks, Michael.
WARE: Thank you.