NR: "As far as they were concerned, the Americans were going."
June 29, 2009
TJ Holmes gets his turn at bat with the "Are they ready" question.
DON LEMON: To Iraq. Very close by. Our Michael Ware is standing by, joining us live from Baghdad.
Michael, hello to you again.
Tomorrow is the day. It's deadline day for U.S. troops to be pulling out of those cities. The question is, are the Iraqi forces ready to step up?
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a couple of things. First, T.J., it's actually less than a day. We're at about four and a half hours away. And there is celebrations aplenty here in Baghdad, the capital. And there's been other celebrations around the country.
In fact, I just came from a public park not from the bureau here and there were hundreds, perhaps thousands of people dancing and singing and celebrating. And just simply marking the fact that as far as they were concerned, the Americans were going, at least out of their city, Baghdad.
Now, to the point you turned to, security. There was another car bombing today. Nine police officers killed in the northern city of Mosul, two more wounded, bringing the death total over the last eight or nine days to something like 220.
The answer to your question specifically, are the Iraqi security forces ready? It's a very simple answer, T.J. No. No, they are not. And that's why you're still going to have 130,000 American troops here, albeit largely restricted to their bases outside of the city, limited to operations in the desert and in the Green Zone around Baghdad. And they need to underwrite the Iraqi security forces and provide the heavy firepower that the Iraqis lack. Nonetheless, the Iraqis are insistent as of midnight tonight, just a few hours away, this is their war. T.J.
HOLMES: All right. Our Michael Ware keeping an eye on things there for us. And like you said, just a few hours away from deadline day in Baghdad, in Iraq.
Thank you so much, Michael. We'll talk to you again soon.