Archive for the ‘Woodward’ Category

Woodwards “The War Within”

September 9, 2008

Bob Woodward´s new book ”The War Within” is describing one of the most critical periods of the war in Iraq.  The turning point.

Before that point or period of time it was not clear weather the USA led coalition should suffer from a extremely costly retreat or turn the war against the insurgence to a victory for the elected government in Bagdad and of course for the coalition itself.

Woodward underlines three different circumstances or reasons for the steep decline in insurgence raids, bombings and so forth in 2007.

First Reason:

Woodward told Larry King that while there is a debate over how much credit the new secret operations should get for the drop in violence, he concluded it “accounts for a good portion.”

“I would somewhat compare it to the Manhattan Project in World War II,” he said “It’s a ski slope right down in a matter of months, cutting the violence in half. This isn’t going to happen with the bunch of joint security stations or the surge.”

The top secret operations, he said, will “some day in history … be described to people’s amazement.

While he would not reveal the details, Woodward said the terrorists who have been targeted were already aware of the capabilities.


“The enemy has a heads up because they’ve been getting wiped out and a lot of them have been killed,” he said. “It’s not news to them.

“If you were a member of al Qaeda or the resistance or some extremist militia, you would be wise to get your rear end out of town,” Woodward said. “It is very dangerous.”

Second Reason:

Second reason was the decision of militant cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to order a cease-fire by his Mehdi Army.

Third Reason:

The third reason was the “Anbar Awakening” movement that saw Sunni tribes aligning with U.S. troops to battle al Qaeda in Iraq.


There will for sure be a speculation about what will be the shining sword that cut the insurgence to the levels of today. There are still bombs, still problems, but at a different level.

Between the lines one could read not only from Woodward but from other sources that we are talking about intelligence and technology and the unification of the two into a new dimension.

So are we talking of a sophisticated paintball game where the bad guys get their clothes painted in invisible colors only visible to the hunters. Or are we talking of a new generation of tracking systems.

That will be for the future debate.

What we know is that the modern satellite systems are way ahead of what we can see on Google Earth and we love Google Earth.

Modern computer based business intelligence systems (BI) are really sophisticated. They really do the job for you weather it is retrieving information from legal sources or hacking into computers on the internet.

That last couple of years there has also been a merger or fruitful exchange between surveillance and commercial technology of which the “Constant Hawk” example is the best example. The software was originally used on stock markets to pinpoint certain abnormalities on the market. For example if a listed company´s key staff suddenly starts to buy stocks or sell stocks after not doing so or if the do it in small post but every dag etc.

The aim with the actual software was to tell the user that here is something going on. What the US intelligence did was to adapt the thinking of the software to massive amount of surveillance photography. It works just fine in Iraq. Suddenly the system alerted that this road sequence has been free from stops for three days but three minutes ago a person did get out from a car and placed a package in the ditch beside the road or a person walked with a donkey over a field and did the same. The system focus on aberrations and it is patrolling from above.

I believe that this is the kind of new technology Woodward is talking about.