Michael Ware


TSR: "...how many generations are you prepared to wait?"

Length: 3:10

LARGE (37.2 MB) ----- SMALL (3.7 MB)

WOLF BLITZER: By rolling back its troop strength to pre-surge levels, is the United States moving back to square one in Iraq?

Let's go to Baghdad right now.

Joining us, our correspondent, Michael Ware -- Michael, as I was saying, if they go back to the pre-surge level, that's sort of open-ended. Unclear how long those troops will have to stay in order to maintain -- at least maintain the level of security they have right now.

What do you think of this?


I would expect that whether you like it or not, America's military and diplomatic footprint in this country is going to be significant for a sustained period of time. Whenever I speak to military analysts or planners or any of the diplomats, no one is deluding themselves. To think that with this country so broken, so torn apart by America's intervention here, that they can simply walk away completely -- it's just not being entertained.

What is being entertained is how much you can scale back and how you then reset your goals and who do you look to as your new partners. And what we're finding increasingly from the testimony of both the ambassador and the general here in Iraq is that that answer -- the cornerstone of America's policy going forward -- is the engagement with the Sunni tribes and the Sunni insurgency. This seems to be their next building block -- Wolf.

BLITZER: I want you to listen, Michael, to the ambassador, Ryan Crocker. He keeps making this point during these hearings yesterday and today.

I'm going to play you a little clip.

Listen to this.


CROCKER: In my view, a secure, stable, democratic Iraq at peace with its neighbors is attainable.


BLITZER: All right, do you agree that a secure, stable, democratic Iraq at peace with its neighbors is attainable?

WARE: Well, it is, depending on a number of things. One is how many generations are you prepared to wait? Even the outgoing U.S. ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, in his last sit-down interview before he left Baghdad, he himself said that, yes, while he still holds a democratic Iraq as the ultimate goal, he considered it would take generations. And for it to truly take root in this country, that's what it will require.

Also, to bring about this democratic Iraq that the ambassador is pursuing, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's in the current form it is now. You could have a drastic change in the face and the shape of this government, either by parliamentary or even non-parliamentary means. All of these things are being canvassed.

So, yes, those goals may be attainable. But the path to those goals has not been discussed nor how long America will have to hold out and dig in here in Iraq -- Wolf.

BLITZER: I think few Americans are thinking in terms of generations for democracy to emerge in Iraq, those goals.

Michael Ware, thanks very much.