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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

The View from Baghdad

Aired September 23, 2003 - 10:05   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Imagine how all of this is being seen in Iraq. While the United States we talk about the political implications of all of this, this is their country, the Iraqis, their future. When will they govern it so they have an enormous stake in all of this.
CNN's senior international correspondent Walter Rodgers joins us from Baghdad with a look there.

Walter, good morning.

WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Aaron.

You know, in the short term, the continuing violence here in Iraq, the continuing instability may actually help President Bush make his case against the French that now is not the time to cede responsibility for Iraqi security to a multinational force, an international force like the United Nations. There continue to be many pockets of violence and instability, albeit pockets, but nonetheless considerable violence in this country.

At 2:00 a.m. this morning, U.S. troops of the 82nd Airborne came under attack in Al Jisser (ph), a village just outside Fallujah. The 82nd Airborne had to call in airstrikes, close air support, to extricate themselves from a predicament there.

Then there was yesterday's suicide attack against the United Nations compound here in Baghdad. That was the second bombing attempt against the United Nations compound in just exactly a month. That, of course, sent a signal to the United Nations that perhaps it's not safe here, especially after the far more lethal August 19th bombing in Iraq. That one, of course, killed 23 people at the United Nations compound, and the U.N. is indeed reconsidering the level of its presence here because of the dangers.

But of course, most of all here, the people that will be watching the president's speech will be the Iraqis, 24 million Iraqis, because right now, their entire future is in the hands of the Americans, 130,000 American troops here are occupying this country, 150,000 occupation troops, and the Iraqi people still are not secure in their own minds. They don't have a police force which they can trust, if anyone breaks into their home at night. So, again, the Iraqis will see this presidential speech on many of the Arabic networks, and they will be watching most closely -- Aaron.

BROWN: Walter, thank you very much. It's a very mixed picture in Iraq. Some parts peaceful, some very dangerous and messy, all involved in whatever outcome comes out of the U.N.

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