TSR: "...though it certainly raises questions."
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WOLF BLITZER: A dramatic and deadly day in Iraq. At least six people were killed in Baghdad in a new wave of bombings and shootings. Three dozen bodies were also found in the streets of the capital. Another painful blow for the U.S. military -- a Marine Corps helicopter went down in the Al-Anbar Province, killing all seven Americans on board. Insurgents say they shot it down. The U.S. military, however, isn't so sure.
Still, is it part of a disturbing new pattern?
CNN's Michael Ware is in Baghdad. But let's go to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, first.
She's got the latest details -- Barbara.
BLITZER: So is this latest helicopter crash part of a deadly new pattern? Are U.S. forces now fighting a new war, not only on the ground, but also in the air?
Joining us now from Baghdad, our correspondent, Michael Ware. Michael, we've all known for years now how dangerous it is for U.S. military and civilian personnel to drive around Iraq with the improvised explosive devices and the gunfire.
But in the last few weeks, we've seen how dangerous it is to fly around Iraq, as well. And the ramifications are enormous.
Talk a little bit about that.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, since the invasion back in 2003, more than 50 helicopters have come down from Iraq's skies, as many as half of them from hostile fire. Indeed, we saw during the invasion itself an Apache strike on one of the southern cities, a stronghold of the Republican Guard, was beaten back.
So this airborne warfare has been a factor from the beginning.
Now, what we've been seeing is the insurgents learning how to mask their fires so that these helicopters are flying into walls of lead. We are also hearing lots of reports about missiles coming in. We don't know exactly what the cause is so far.
Five choppers down in two and-a-half weeks. It's still too early to call it a pattern or a new phenomenon, though it certainly raises questions, particularly given the military says four of those five came down as a result of hostile fire.
BLITZER: It's got to make it more difficult -- I assume they're -- the insurgents, the terrorists, the enemy in this particular case, whoever they may be, are improving their capabilities in dealing with these choppers and other U.S. aircraft.
WARE: Absolutely. As they are in almost all areas of the warfare at play here. I mean, everyone from President Bush himself to American commanders in the field have repeatedly called this a thinking, adaptive enemy.
Every time the Americans introduce a new tactic, the insurgents adjust.
One of the interesting things about these helicopter strikes is that at least two of the recent five -- and perhaps we'll find out more -- have been claimed by al Qaeda. The Islamic State of Iraq claiming it's now set up air defense battalions.
That, in fact, may be a propaganda stretch, but maybe we're seeing al Qaeda honing a new technique that is, hopefully, to them, going to be able to make an impact on the American operations in the sky.
BLITZER: We know back in the '80s, the Mujahedeen, as they were called, the guerrillas fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, used those Stinger, those shoulder-fired missiles, very successfully against Soviet helicopters, Soviet aircraft. They lost hundreds of them and in the end they pulled out.
Is it a stretch to see a pattern developing that they're trying now to use some of those Mujahedeen techniques in Iraq?
WARE: Well, Wolf, I think it is far too early to say yet. But, I mean, what was clear during that Afghan conflict, the -- you know, the Arab and Afghan Mujahedeen holy warriors -- precisely what these insurgents call themselves -- Mujahedeen. The impact that striking at these helicopters that were, until then, were relatively immune, had on the Soviet effort.
Now, should the insurgents find a way to try and do that to the American forces here, I'm positive that's something they would put a lot of energy into, particularly given the fact that in so many ways, the coalition, the U.S. Army, does not own the roads here in Iraq, certainly not to the degree to which they'd like. And that's why there's so much reliance on air travel and the movement of people and material by air.
BLITZER: And so many of those shoulder-fired missiles were provided by the CIA through Saudi Arabia and other sources to the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan, as a lot of us will recall.
Michael, thanks very much for joining us.
WARE: Thank you, Wolf.