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War Planning

I couldn't get the video finished at this time so I'm posting just the dialogue from The Situation Room. It's a very sad report by Michael Ware who I'

I couldn't get the video finished at this time so I'm posting just the dialogue from The Situation Room. It's a very sad report by Michael Ware who I'm sure will be attacked for being afraid to leave his hotel room.

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, I mean, to be honest, I'm
quite stunned that people are so surprised by this report. I mean, the
situation has not deteriorated. It's been like this for over a year,
perhaps even two.

I mean, it can still be reclaimed. I mean, it's not always lost. And I
think people who suggest that fail to understand the true dynamic. But
certainly what the Marine general in charge of Al Anbar said tonight on
the conference call is he admitted for the first time that right now,
today, through the combination of the U.S. and/or Iraqi forces, he does
not have enough troops to win against the al Qaeda insurgency.

His mission is to train, he said. If his mission was to change and that
to be to win, then his metrics, his troop numbers would have to change.

This is not new. Al Qaeda has owned Al Anbar for quite some time. And
the soldiers out there are being left out there undermanned just to hold
the line. They've been screaming for more troops for at least a year
and a half -- Wolf.

BLITZER: But it seems like the U.S. military has put a priority, as you
know, Michael, on getting the job done in Baghdad and the surrounding
areas of Baghdad. That's where they are bringing reinforcements.
That's where they are moving troops. And they are sort of relegating
the Anbar Province out in the west, which is a huge part of Iraq, to a
lesser priority.

Is that accurate?

WARE: That's certainly what I'm being told by senior military
intelligence officials. They are saying that Al Anbar and Ramadi
(INAUDIBLE), like a saw, as long as we win Baghdad. But that's very
shortsighted.

I mean, if this is the global war on terror, President Bush put Al Anbar
in the center of the war on terror. And they are undermanning it.

I mean, this is making al Qaeda stronger, not weaker. This is giving
them the oxygen they need to breathe -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And you've just come back from Ramadi, one of your many visits
to this part of Iraq. Give us a little flavor.

We're showing our viewers some video that you came back with, you and
your crew. Give us a little flavor, Michael, of how the U.S. men and
women, the military personnel who are deployed to the Anbar Province,
how they are dealing with this. What kind of mood they are in.

What's going on?

WARE: Well, I mean, we've just seen a new brigade go in and the other
brigade come out. There's some crossover. There's some units that I've
spent a lot of time with.

I mean, there's some units out there that literally I've seen them bleed
on the streets. And one of them is about to go home. And they stand by
their resolve to fight where the president needs them.

But the toll it has taken on them out there, I mean, Ramadi is referred
to as the "Meat Grinder." And that's really what it's been.

I mean, it's just so hard to express, Wolf, what the -- what the battle
is like out there. And it's a false measure. I mean, America, at the
end of the day, in terms of fighting al Qaeda here in Iraq, is not
committing to the fight.

And it's the same across the country. Al Anbar does not have enough
troops. Iraq does not have enough troops. You either do this war, or
you don't. And that's the feeling of the men on the ground -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Michael Ware, our reporter, thanks. Michael, very much.
Michael's been doing some exclusive and excellent reporting on the scene
embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq.

WaPo has Thomas Ricks' coverage of the Al-Anbar province too.

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