Some notes from Iraq...
I'm sorry I didn't blog yesterday. I spent most of the day with the U.S. Army's 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division south of Baghdad. It's one of the areas where local Sunnis have turned against al Qaeda in Iraq and now are getting paid by the U.S. to man checkpoints. (Editor's note: Scroll down to read Anderson's report on this transformation
The person in charge -- U.S. Colonel Michael Kershaw -- is a student of history, a smart, hard-charging West Point grad who is working hard to capitalize on the Sunni switch. The question of course is what happens when the U.S. leaves? Do these armed Sunni groups become insurgents once again, attacking the Shiite dominated central government we are now trying to support?
The 2nd Brigade has taken hard losses; 53 troops have been killed in their area of operations. So the drop in violence there over the last couple months is very welcome.
Yesterday, there was an attack on Camp Victory, the U.S. base where we had been staying. One person was killed and 11 others wounded.
It's strange: Camp Victory is a sprawling U.S. base near the Baghdad airport, and the previous day I went for a run on the grounds. I could occasionally hear shots in the distance, but for the most part I could have been on any base in any part of the world. The base gets attacked with rockets and mortars with some regularity, but I was still shocked to hear of the losses.
We've since moved to the CNN compound. That was our plan all along: two nights with the military; two nights on our own.
Today, I interviewed Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, as well as General David Petraeus, who is still in Washington. Both interviews will be on the program tonight. Prime Minister al-Maliki surprised me. I expected him to disagree with Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who called his government "dysfunctional." But al-Maliki actually agreed with him.
Anyway, I've been up for two days straight and have to finish editing the al-Maliki interview, but I hope to see you later tonight on the broadcast. By the way, I am curious to hear what you all thought of Petreaus' testimony this week: Was it what you expected? Did it change anyone's mind? Let us know.
-- By Anderson Cooper