Last night on 60 Minutes, host Scott Pelley interviewed Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward to discuss his new book “The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-2008.” Pelley noted that one part of the story Woodward tells is President Bush’s “frustration with the attitude of the Iraqi people”:
WOODWARD: He has a meeting at the Pentagon with a bunch of experts and he just said, ‘I don’t understand that the Iraqis are not appreciative of what we’ve done for them,’ namely liberated them.
PELLEY: But tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis have been killed in the invasion and through the occupation. He didn’t understand why they might be a little ungrateful about what had occurred to them?
WOODWARD: His beacon is liberation. He thinks we’ve done this magnificent thing for them. I think he still holds to that position.
Nearly 100,000 Iraqi civilians have lost their lives since 2003 (maybe more) and around 2 million have either fled the country or are internally displaced. For many years, ordinary Iraqis have had to deal with car bombs, suicide bombs, and other routine violence that ultimately resulted in civil war and the sectarian cleansing of Baghdad. Why wouldn’t Iraqis be grateful for all that?
Woodward also revealed during the interview that the “secret behind the success of the surge” was not the U.S. troop build-up but a “breakthrough” in “secret operational capabilities that have been developed by the military to locate, target and kill leaders of al-Qaeda in Iraq, insurgent leaders, renegade militia leaders.” Woodward would not provide any further details of the secret plan.