CB: "President Obama...is on the cusp of history here."

Length: 3:50

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Michael talks to Campbell Brown about the Newsweek article and whether sending another 30,000 troops will really help. (Seems like he's been answering that one for months. Oh wait... he has been!) They also discuss the Iraqi elections.

CAMPBELL BROWN: This afternoon, the president also focused on another crisis, the growing chaos in Afghanistan.

"Newsweek"'s latest cover bluntly suggests Afghanistan may be President Obama's Vietnam.

And we want to bring in our longtime Baghdad correspondent, Michael Ware, who has also spent a lot of time on the ground in Afghanistan as well.

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I lived there a year, unfortunately, yeah.

BROWN: And let me ask you about this. What we know is, today, Defense Secretary Robert Gates sat down with President Obama. It's been reported that they're going to send 15,000 more troops into Afghanistan.

What does that mean on the ground?

WARE: Well, we're also looking at a grand total of 30,000 extra troops in Afghanistan.

Bottom line, in terms of the fight, yes, they will always be useful. But are they going to make that much of a difference? I would think not. Have you ever seen the countryside down--

BROWN: Why. It's just too small a number?

WARE: Too small.

I mean, the Russians had 100-and-something thousand there, 130,000 there, and they couldn't control that country. President Obama has done a daring thing. He's hanging his foreign policy cap on success or failure in Afghanistan.

And Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires. The British couldn't do it. The Russians couldn't do it. And, in fact, the Russians were beaten by the exact same mechanism that is now working against America: Islamic militants harboring in Pakistan.

BROWN: So, what is the military's thinking? If 15,000 troops is a drop in the bucket, they just don't have anymore troops to send given what is going on in Iraq, I'm supposing. So, they're...

WARE: Well, I'm sure the war planners in a perfect world would be sending a lot more troops if they could.

But what we're also talking about a shift in tactic and strategy. I think we're seeing noises about a move away from all the onus or all the investment in Karzai, the president of Afghanistan.

BROWN: Right.

WARE: They're looking at other ways to spread America's interests.

But the bottom line by the special envoy, Richard Holbrooke, that President Obama has sent to the region, he has to cut a deal with Pakistan's intelligence agency, or you can send as many troops to Afghanistan as you like; it's not going to make a difference.

BROWN: So, what do you make of "Newsweek"'s assessment of this, that it could ultimately be Obama's Vietnam?

WARE: Well, that's a very brave statement to make on "Newsweek"'s behalf. But I can certainly see their rationale.

President Obama, it's almost trite to say, is on a precipice. He is on the cusp of history here. And he's either going to make it very, very right or he can make it very, very wrong. These are very bold times for this new administration. And to go out and cut your teeth on Afghanistan is not an easy measure, Campbell.

BROWN: Okay.

Before I let you go, let me ask you about Iraq, because over the weekend, the Iraqis went to the poll for provincial elections. We're waiting for the final tally, but observers are saying this looks very good for the prime minister, Maliki, a show of support for him generally.

What does that mean for President Obama's plans to try to draw down troop levels?

WARE: In terms of drawing down troop levels, I don't think it means very much at all.

Indeed, we're seeing some reports about nervousness among the highest levels of U.S. military command trying to get President Obama to roll back the acceleration of his timetable for the withdrawal.

Bottom line, we have just seen provincial elections in Iraq. Now, that's essentially state by state, voting for Iraqi versions of Arnold Schwarzenegger and local legislatures. What we have seen is little violence, no violence.

But we can expect that probably for the rest of the year. Why? Because all the political factions, it's in no one's interests to go and start a fight right now.

They're rolling the political dice and waiting to see what they get. And if one of the most powerful factions lost out in these elections, as some of the polls indicate, the question is going to be, are they going to roll out their militias again? And if they don't do it now, will they do it later in the year?

It's not a time to be taking your eye off Iraq.

BROWN: No, absolutely not. Michael Ware with us tonight -- always good to have you here in person.

WARE: Thanks, Campbell.

BROWN: All right, Michael, thanks.