August 2007

OIO: "We don't need yet another tell us this."

Rick Sanchez talks to both Michael and the WaPo's Thomas Ricks regarding the GAO report card.

Length: 6:11

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TSR: "It ain't coming back."

Wolf asks Michael about today's WaPo/AP story that says that the new GAO report will give the benchmarks worse grades now than in July.

Length: 3:08

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YWT: "Welcome to the future of a post-American Iraq."

Michael discusses Muqtada al-Sadr's call for the Mahdi militia to lay down their arms -- you know what they say about things sounding too good to be true? Yeah, same here.

Length: 3:45

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TSR: "Iran is using its military strategy to help its political gains."

President Bush today raised the rhetoric level against Iran, and Wolf asks Michael about the ongoing Iranian "interference" within Iraq. He also talks about another weapon being supplied by Iran: a 240mm rocket (that's bigger than the Katyushas used by Hezbollah last summer.) One such rocket that landed at a US base had a 110-pound warhead ... that's no shoulder-fired missile!

Length: 3:54

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LE: Ayad Allawi continues to position himself as Maliki successor

Wolf asks Michael for reaction to the Ayad Allawi interview earlier in the show in which he spoke further about the need to replace Maliki.

Length: 5:53

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TWAW: Two segments: the 'Replace Maliki' controversy and assessing the strength of the insurgency

Michael does two segments in this week's program.

First up is a discussion about the replace-Maliki whirlwind that was stirred up this week by Ayad Allawi's new $300,000 ties-to-the-White-House PR firm. Also in this segment is Bobby Ghosh, Time magazine's new World Editor and former Baghdad Bureau Chief. (Although not, as Tom says, for the past four years; he became BC when Michael moved to CNN last year.)

The second segment focuses on the insurgency and whether we are making any gains against it. Also in this segment is Seth Jones, a terrorism analyst with the Rand Corporation.

Length: 7:18 / 5:45

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TSR: "There is no government here... There's nothing here for America to work with."

Wolf talks to Michael about the latest political bloc to bail from parliament.

Length: 3:35

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AC: "Everyone's planning on what they're going to do once America leaves."

John King does a summation of Sen. John Warner's call for a drawdown by Christmas, the swirling rumors, the NIE, the Allawi interference... and then asks Michael for some Baghdad perspective on all the chatter.

Length: 7:50

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TSR: "There is no...single political figure who has even the vaguest prospect of unifying this country."

Michael talks to Wolf about the possibility of someone replacing al-Maliki -- certainly no-one immediately jumps to mind as being the Grand Unifying Theory for Iraq.

Length: 4:21

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AC: "Of all his cabinet ministers, there's only three he can actually rely on."

Anderson speaks to Michael about the prospects for settling for less than a democratic Iraq. (He also attempts to speak to David Gergen, whose microphone never works, so we get twice as much Michael.)

Length: 5:47

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LDT: Shorter version of the democracy piece

A cut-down version of the piece that aired on TSR, but with more complete graphics (identifying the Iraqi interviewees, for instance).

Length: 4:14

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TSR: No democracy for Iraq?

Michael delivers a stunning piece on a new reality in Iraq: democracy may not be the solution. Among the ground commanders, it has become clear that a stable and secure Iraq is far more important than a democratic one. Until the civilian population has the basic necessities of life being met -- until, indeed, their lives are not constantly threatened -- the insurgency will continue to have a base to work from and to hide among.

Length: 5:44

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YWT: More on Bush/Maliki

More commentary on President Bush's speech.

Length: 3:05

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NR: " a government where power vests in those who control militia forces, this is a man without a militia. So really, Maliki can't deliver."

Michael responds to President Bush's speech this morning in which he expressed support for Prime Minister Maliki.

Length: 3:05

Watch the clip, read the transcript... U.S. officials rethink hopes for Iraq democracy

U.S. officials rethink hopes for Iraq democracy

From Michael Ware and Thomas Evans

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Nightmarish political realities in Baghdad are prompting American officials to curb their vision for democracy in Iraq. Instead, the officials now say they are willing to settle for a government that functions and can bring security.

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LDTW: "even with the surge...there's not enough boots on the ground"

Kitty Pilgrim fills in for Lou this weekend. This piece was not shown on Saturday, but leads the Sunday edition. Unfortunately (for our purposes) we lose the beginning to hurricane coverage, the hurricane status is up throughout most of it, and the transmission pops off completely at one point. Oh, and it looks like it was edited with a chainsaw. But anyway...

Michael, Suzanne Malveaux (in Crawford, Texas), and Barbara Starr (in DC), discuss the war, the September report, the possible reactions, etc.

Length: 7:43

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TWAW: "...a much more Lebanon-style civil war once U.S. forces draw down..."

Tom Foreman talks to Michael about his embed in Diyala and -- incredibly -- whether or not we have a civil war in Iraq. (Seriously... is anyone still in doubt?)

Length: 3:58

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AC: "You'll never be able to tame or defeat al Qaeda. They will be a lingering presence."

Anderson talks to Michael about yesterday's horrific truck bombing in northern Iraq, which is now said to have killed more than 500 people.

Length: 3:28

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TSR: The Diyala embed

Michael's prepared piece from the Diyala embed is shown in full for the first time in the US. This is another amazing glimpse into the difficult work that our troops are doing in Iraq.

Length: 4:01

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LDT: "The irony of the foreign terrorist listing is extraordinary."

Michael talks to Kitty Pilgrim about the terrorist designation, EFPs, and the possibility that General Petraeus will draw down some troop levels.

Length: 3:45

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TSR: "In fact, it may even spur it on."

Michael talks to Miles O'Brien about the plans to label Iran's Revolutionary Guard as terrorists and gives a preview of his recorded piece from the Diyala embed.

Length: 2:58

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AAM: "There's always a price for everything."

Michael starts off American Morning covering two stories: the White House is trying to get Iran's Revolutionary Guard listed as a terrorist organization (the first time an official branch of a country's military would be so branded) and a report that General Petraeus will recommend troop withdrawals in certain areas of Iraq.

(A slip of the tongue near the end of the report -- he mentions Mosul in the north and then says "Iran" in the south...I assume he meant Basra.)

Length: 2:58

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AC: "...deaths are down because it's much harder to kill each other -- until the Americans withdraw and the real battle begins."

Anderson talks to Michael about today's report that the number of al Qaeda-style attacks and sectarian killings are down. Does this mean the surge is working? Like most things in this insane war, the answer is more complicated than it first appears...

(So this time around, we aren't even going to declare victory and then get out... we're going to declare that "only" 20 people being tortured to death every day in Baghdad is an acceptable figure; that the current state of ethnic cleansing and sectarian militias is okay with us; that leaving the citizens of this country without electricity and water and schools and doctors is reasonable... as long as it isn't happening to us. All this in a country that was no threat to us and had nothing to do with 9/11. Truly, Osama bin Laden could not have dreamed he would achieve this level of victory. Our Constitution shredded, our freedoms curtailed, the Muslim world furious at us, and the blood of thousands of innocents on our hands. In the days after 9/11, people gathered in the streets of Tehran to show support to America. How did we come to this?)

Length: 4:45

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TWAW: "There's a lot of stuff that has to be sorted out, and it's not going to be to an American timetable."

Tom Foreman asks Michael whether the August recess -- both in Baghdad and DC -- will have any effect on the September benchmarks, and also what it will take to get the Iraqis to meet those goals that we are using to measure progress.

Length: 6:31

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