Michael Ware


LDT: "...five million people craving security..."

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Length: 2:58

LOU DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.

U.S. troops in Baghdad tonight have begun what could be the decisive battle of this war. The first U.S. reinforcements are deploying in the Iraqi capital, trying to stop the spiraling violence. The deployment comes two days after insurgents killed nearly 130 Iraqis in a massive truck bombing.

On Capitol Hill, supporters and opponents of that troop increase are escalating their political opposition. Republican leaders tonight threatening to block any vote on a Senate resolution that criticizes the president's conduct of this war.

Michael Ware tonight reports from Baghdad on the tremendous challenge that faces our troops in Iraq.

Andrea Koppel reports from Capitol Hill tonight on the political showdown.

And Suzanne Malveaux reports from the White House on the president's massive new budget. Much of it for the war in Iraq.

We turn first to Michael Ware in Baghdad -- Michael.

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad today, a city of more than five million people craving security, the violence continues unabated. Following the weekend's devastating truck bomb attack in a crowded marketplace that killed more than 128 people, the capital awoke today to 25 more bodies found on its streets, most likely the victims of sectarian violence.

This was followed by a five-hour spree of violence in which 27 more people were killed by at least five car bombings, mortar attacks, shootings and roadside bombings. All of this as the city awaits for the Baghdad security plan to deliver stability.

With 21,500 American reinforcements expected, only one brigade, about 3,200 troops, have been activated so far. They have begun moving into the city, creeping through operations as they begin to not only secure neighborhoods, but attempt to hold them, putting American forces in place where they are expected to stay -- a dramatic change from previous plans.

However, this surge, as President Bush has described the Baghdad security plan, is merely mutation of the previous battle of Baghdad known as Operation Together Forward, the military's plan to reclaim the capital from the death squads, militias and insurgents who hold this population in a stranglehold.

Meanwhile, elements of the Iraqi government have criticized the American military for failing to institute the new security plan quickly enough, crediting the Americans with creating a security environment that has allowed these vicious attacks to continue -- Lou.

DOBBS: Michael Ware from Baghdad.