White House launches new attack on Iraq book
he White House has launched a new attack on a book that criticizes President Bush's handling of the Iraq war, saying that author Bob Woodward's opinions are not supported by his reporting.
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON — The White House has launched a new attack on a book that criticizes President Bush's handling of the Iraq war, saying that author Bob Woodward's opinions are not supported by his reporting.
"The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-2008" depicts an administration riven by dissension over Iraq war strategy in 2006 and says Bush privately believed U.S. efforts were failing even while declaring publicly that the war was being won.
White House press secretary Dana Perino, in a statement issued late Friday, said "a thorough and careful reading of the book leads us to conclude that Woodward's prologue and epilogue are not supported by his own reporting in the body of the manuscript."
The statement focused criticism on Woodward's depiction of the military establishment as being marginalized in the debate over troop levels in Iraq, and his assertion that Bush "maintained an odd detachment" from war management.
"In fact, President Bush was engaged with his war Cabinet in the process leading up to the decision to surge troops in Iraq," the statement said, listing a series of quotes and meetings cited in the book. The citations include meetings between Bush and national-security adviser Stephen Hadley, and a quote from Bush: "I will be making the decisions, and the goal is radical action to achieve victory."
The statement also faulted Woodward's assertion that Bush "rarely leveled with the public" and "rarely was the voice of realism on the Iraq war." The statement again cited Bush quotations: "I know many Americans are not satisfied with the situation in Iraq," he said in October 2006. "I'm not satisfied, either."
The statement does not include another, widely noted quote from the same news conference: "Absolutely, we're winning," Bush said at the time.
Friday's statement was the second in a week from the Bush administration criticizing Woodward.
Woodward, a Washington Post associate editor, had no comment.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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