Witness to War is a documentary from CNN International in which six war correspondents -- Atia Abawi, Stan Grant, Nic Robertson, Reza Sayah, Ivan Watson, and Michael -- discuss the war in Afghanistan/Pakistan and the people and events they have covered there. These are just the segments Michael contributed; to view the entire special, go here.
Length: 1:11 / 0:54 / 0:21 / 0:38 / 1:18 / 1:46 / 0:10
Advance / CrocMedia event
Los Angles, 30 July 2009
I created this transcript from a recording of the event.
Any errors are mine.
So if you had ten minutes to interview Michael Ware, what would you ask?
Here's the transcript of my chat with him prior to Thursday's event in LA.
Watch the clip, read the transcript...
In a prepared piece, Michael looks at the Afghan Taliban leader holding PFC Bowe Bergdahl -- he used to be on the CIA payroll and was Charlie Wilson's contact inside Afghanistan, so we have some history. Michael is also on-set with Anderson Cooper and gives a brief summary afterwards.
Michael is back in New York, and joins a discussion about the Army private being held by the Taliban. John Roberts hosts, Chris Lawrence (via video from DC) and Seth Jones are the other panelists.
Michael gives some good info about the background of the Afghanistan warlord who now holds the private (almost certainly now in Pakistan) and points out how valuable he is to the Taliban as a means of getting the US to the negotiating table -- which bodes well for the continued health of the young man.
AC: "A witness to another recent attack...said that if this continues there will be no Christians left in this country."
This is mostly the same clip that aired on International, but there is one new segment that has been added.
In this pre-recorded piece, Michael visits one of the churches targeted in last weekend's string of bombings.
"Transcendent" is how Michael describes the sheer joy evident at the packed football stadium in Baghdad for the first international game played there since before the war began. This piece for BackStory shows Michael's eye for capturing the moment even as he loses his voice while trying to be heard over the noise. Jim Clancy clearly enjoys presenting the piece, although his compliment at the end is sidestepped. (And just in case Michael ever sees this: Jim is right. Just sayin'.)
CB: "This has been the Iraqi people's disconnect from the horror around them...the only thing that's united the Iraqi people."
The former rugby player gives us a glimpse at football in Iraq -- the first international match played in Baghdad since before the war began. For a country that is football-crazy this is a huge event, and for the people who came out to watch the home team win the match 4-0 this was a day to enjoy a glimpse of normality.
NR: "The attacks are the latest in a long-running series that have targeted Iraq's Christian community."
AAM: "This conflict is not going to be won with bombs and bullets alone; the generals and the diplomats all agree on that."
John Roberts and Kiran Chetry each talk to Michael about the Pakistan exclusive, and we also hear from US Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke on the administration's position regarding talking with the Taliban leadership.
Length: 4:18 / 4:18
Michael talks to Don Riddell about the church bombings and the attack on the US ambassador. The timing and location of the latter attack poses some interesting questions as to who was behind it.
During the following hour, International aired a pre-recorded report on the bombings of the Christian churches in Baghdad and the attack on the US ambassador.
NOTE: the same report aired Monday morning on Domestic during the first hour of Newsroom but with different graphics.
Length: 1:38 / 1:43
Moments after the Domestic report, Michael is on International's World News to report on the bombing attempt targeting US Ambassador Christopher Hill and the string of bombings targeting Christian churches in Baghdad.
What was planned as another update on the bombings of Christian churches starts out with some breaking news of an attempted bombing targeting US Ambassador Christopher Hill.
A second recording of the update used on Saturday Morning.
Michael updates the first official reaction from the Obama administration, as Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke basically says that while the connections between the Pakistan Army and the Taliban have long been suspected it's good to now have the cards on the table. (Maybe we can now make some progress!)
A note on the clip -- my supplier of International clips is on vacation and was able to snag this on borrowed equipment, so the size is not the usual one. But it's welcome anyway! (Thanks, Delie!)
A pre-recorded clip updating the reaction to the Pakistan piece, including the response from Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke.
Michael talks to Hala again about the exclusive from the Pakistani army spokesman, and this time her crew has the clip ready to play. He also explains the nature of the Pashtun culture, which embraced many of the social restrictions we associate with the Taliban long before the Taliban actually rose to power. (He refers to the Pashtun section of the country as the Koran Belt, a reference to what is commonly referred to in America as the Bible Belt, the extremely conservative Christian southeast section of this country.)
At the end of the segment, he says that there have been some new developments, but Hala ends the segment anyway ... and I'm still wondering what else he had to say! (Yes, he loses his temper a bit, but he's actually calmer than I was when I first heard it! "What the ...?!?! What happened? What new developments? Wait, don't go to commercial now! Come back!" Alas, they didn't listen to me, either...)
NR: "You're not going to win the war in Afghanistan IN Afghanistan; you have to win it in Pakistan."
Michael talks to Ali Velshi about the realities of trying to stop the Taliban in Afghanistan when they can just drift across the border into Pakistan, where US/NATO troops cannot follow. He also explains how important India is to the war in Afghanistan.
Hala Gorani talks to Michael about the exclusive and although the segment Michael expects to be played is not ready to roll, he sums up the major points.
Michael talks to Kiran Chetry about last night's exclusive regarding the Pakistani military being willing to bring the Taliban to the table.
Prior to returning to Baghdad last month, Michael spent several weeks in Pakistan, and tonight we finally get to see some of reason why he was there -- he travelled to the Pakistan/Afghanistan border to take a look at what it will take to win the war in Afghanistan. He has a spokesman for the Pakistan Army saying on camera they can bring the Taliban to the negotiating table with the Americans. He also interviews the former head of the ISI (a man also known as "the godfather of the Taliban") who says that only Mullah Omar can bring this war to an end.
In a live 'footnote' added tonight from Baghdad, Michael says that the Obama administration is willing to meet Pakistan's requirements to begin negotiations, and to meet with the Taliban.
Michael also has an article on CNN.com about this piece.
And this is not Michael's first time on the hunt for Mullah Omar; in 2002 he made a long and dangerous trip in an attempt to locate him.
Michael talks to Wolf Blitzer about the "covert conflict" and lays out the timeline.
Michael talks to Hala again about the bombings over the past 24 hours.
Domestic finally gets its first discussion of the multiple bombings, and Michael starts right out by saying that it is NOT a "surge" of violence, but just what passes for normal in Iraq. (But with an emphasis on Thursdays, for some reason.) Kudos to Ali Velshi for calling out the banner graphic as being wrong.
Fionnuala Sweeney asks Michael about the "deadliest day" since the US forces pulled out of the cities as well as what Iran is playing for these days.
Michael talks to Hala Gorani about today's bombings (and while there is certainly a special corner of hell reserved for suicide bombers, I have to think that there is an even worse corner waiting for those who do these double-bombings in order to target emergency personnel and civilians trying to aid the wounded). He also goes through the timeline of the capture and release of Iranian and US/Brit personnel which seems to have had a new chapter added today.
Michael talks with Jim Clancy about the bombings and the release of the Iranian diplomats/operatives.
Another recap of the bombings and the reality that it doesn't matter who is in charge of security, the attacks will continue.
The first look at the bombings that hit several Shia areas of the country (leaving more than 60 civilians dead in 24 hours) as well as the release of 5 Iranian "diplomats" that were arrested in January 2007 and accused of being members of the Quds Force.
A BackStory clip from the July 4th softball game at FOB Hammer. Tommy Evans seems to be the instigator here, but gets the tables -- and cameras -- turned on him. We also finally get introduced to the third member of the team, cameraman Miguel Castro.
The tournament has ended and the troops get ready to head to the mess hall for some food -- burgers and dogs, etc. (Too bad about the near-beer, though...)
The sandstorm in Iraq continues, and Michael spends the day with the troops at Forward Operating Base Hammer. There is a softball tournament underway and a good time being had by all.
Happy Independence Day to all the troops, and thank you for your service!
It's 5am in Baghdad, yet Michael is wide-awake and raring to go. Anderson Cooper (anchoring from Los Angeles) talks to him primarily about Afghanistan and the new push by the Marines into Helmand Province, a place that Michael knows well from 2002, when he reported from there for Time magazine.
They also talk about the Iraqi reaction to the American pullback from the cities. Personally, I think all that show of Iraqi nationalism is a good thing -- if anything will pull the country together, it is that kind of pride and feeling that they are one country, not a bunch of warring factions or sects or tribes.
A mostly-VO piece about the awarding (or lack thereof) of the oil contracts. Although the on-screen clock says it is 10pm in Baghdad, Michael is in the bright sandstorm-enhanced afternoon light, so this was probably recorded around the same time that the interview for World News Asia was done.