POLITICS

Ambassador Crocker: "Baghdad's Never Looked So Good"

Highlighted Excerpts

On why he's eager to return to Iraq after his Congressional testimony

CROCKER: It's all part of American democracy, but Baghdad's never looked so good.

On American presence in Iraq

CROCKER: An end state that is - of a country that is stable, secure and democratic is probably years in the making. Now, that does not by any means imply that we're going to have to have significant numbers of troops on the ground to sustain security while we work through these things but this is a long term project.

On displacements and ethnic conflict

CROCKER: Well, that's right. The displacements are about equally divided between those who fled the country entirely and those who are displaced within Iraq and it is a fact that even with the surge that there are some displacements still ongoing.

BLITZER: Is that one of the reasons that there's been a reduction in violence, because in effect, in Sunni neighborhoods there are no Shia and in Shia neighborhoods there are no Sunnis?

CROCKER: Well, certainly, when, in a place like Sadr City, which is for example almost exclusively Shia, you see relatively little violence but that doesn't explain the general reduction in violence. That's attributable to the surge.

On meeting with Iranian leaders

BLITZER: Did it lead to any positive change as a result of those meetings?

CROCKER: So far we have really seen no change on the ground.

BLITZER: So the Iranians are still doing what they were doing?

CROCKER: That is certainly how it looks to us, yes.

On planning for Ramadan

CROCKER: Clearly Iraqis are aware of the pattern in Ramadan, as are we.

And a number of precautions have been taken to try to be ready for any

effort to increase the level of violence or insecurity. We'll have to

see what happens.

BLITZER: But you're stepping up your security precautions?

CROCKER: Yes we are.