Some people might be angry with Woodward for attributing the drop in violence, at least partly, to American ingenuity. Boo hoo.
Secret killing program is key in Iraq, Woodward says
The program -- which Woodward compares to the World War II era Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb -- must remain secret for now or it would "get people killed," Woodward said Monday on CNN's Larry King Live.
"It is a wonderful example of American ingenuity solving a problem in war, as we often have," Woodward said.
In "The War Within: Secret White House History 2006-2008," Woodward disclosed the existence of secret operational capabilities developed by the military to locate, target and kill leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq and other insurgent leaders.
National security adviser Stephen Hadley, in a written statement reacting to Woodward's book, acknowledged the new strategy. Yet he disputed Woodward's conclusion that the "surge" of 30,000 U.S. troops into Iraq was not the primary reason for the decline in violent attacks.
"It was the surge that provided more resources and a security context to support newly developed techniques and operations," Hadley wrote.
Woodward, associate editor of the Washington Post, wrote that along with the surge and the new covert tactics, two other factors helped reduce the violence.
One was the decision of militant cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to order a cease-fire by his Mehdi Army. The other was the "Anbar Awakening" movement that saw Sunni tribes aligning with U.S. troops to battle al Qaeda in Iraq.