MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 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 all is 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 that he admitted for the first time that right now, today, through the combination of either 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 for that to be to win, then his matrix, 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 out are being left out there on demand 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're bringing reinforcements. That's where they're moving troops. And they're 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're saying that al-Anbar and Ramadi can fester like a sore as long as we win Baghdad. But that's very short- sided. I mean if this is a global war on terror, President Bush put al-Anbar in the center of the war on terror and they're under-manning 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 the -- 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're dealing with this, what kind of mood they're 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 is some crossover. There are some units that I've spent a lot of time with. I mean there are 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 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.
I don't agree with the president's characterization of the war in Iraq but if it really is The Most Important Thing Ever then he has certainly fucked it up badly.