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State of Denial, by Bob Woodward

By an everyday book reader
June 1, 2007

State of Denial examines how the Bush administration avoided telling the truth about Iraq to the public, to Congress, and often to themselves.

Woodward's book presents an insightful glimpse into the inner workings of the Bush administration as it led our country into the war in Iraq.

This book answers the core questions we've all had: What happened after the invasion of Iraq? Why? How does Bush make decisions and manage a war that he chose to define his presidency? And is there an achievable plan for victory?

State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III
by Bob WoodwardBook Picture

Softcover: 575 pages
ISBN: 9780743272247, 0743272242
Simon & Schuster
September 2007

"Insurgents and terrorists retain the resources and capabilities to sustain and even increase current level of violence through the next year."

This was the secret Pentagon assessment sent to the White House in May 2006. The forecast of a more violent 2007 in Iraq contradicted the repeated optimistic statements of President Bush, including one, two days earlier, when he said we were at a 'turning point' that history would mark as the time "the forces of terror began their long retreat."

In this detailed inside story of a war-torn White House, Bob Woodward reveals how White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, with the indirect support of other high officials, tried for 18 months to get Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld replaced. The president and Vice President Cheney refused. At the beginning of Bush's second term, Stephen Hadley, who replaced Condoleezza Rice as national security adviser, gave the administration a 'D minus' on implementing its policies. A SECRET report to the new Secretary of State from her counselor stated that, nearly two years after the invasion, Iraq was a "failed state."

State of Denial reveals that at the urging of Vice President Cheney and Rumsfeld, the most frequent outside visitor and Iraq adviser to President Bush is former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who, haunted still by the loss in Vietnam, emerges as a hidden and potent voice.

Woodward reveals that the secretary of defense himself believes that the system of coordination among deparments and agencies is broken, and in a SECRET May 1, 2006 memo, Rumsfeld stated, "the current system of government makes competence next to impossible."

"As depicted by Mr. Woodward, this is an administration in which virtually no one will speak truth to power, an administration in which the traditional policy-making process involving methodical analysis and debate is routinely subverted. He notes that experts -- who recommended higher troop levels in Iraq, warned about the consequences of disbanding the Iraqi Army or worried about the lack of postwar planning -- were continually ignored by the White House and Pentagon leadership, or themselves failed, out of cowardice or blind loyalty, to press insistently their case for an altered course in the war." - Michiko Kakutani - The New York Times

"Rather than a liberated state, Iraq has become this administration's "state of denial." With apparently limitless access, Woodward recounts the trials and tribulations of Bush, focusing on Iraq. Woodward presents a broad range of sincere efforts, missed opportunities and blatant mistakes by Bush and his team of advisers. According to Woodward (and many others in the administration), one of Bush's most contemptuous denials is his continual endorsement of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. But the ultimate denial by Bush is his refusal to be genuine, sincere and honest with Americans, other world leaders and the war-torn impoverished Iraqis. His fear of showing weakness, doubt or emotion actually debilitates and discredits his humanity. Woodward illustrates Bush's emotional capacity, even revealing several times when Bush cries. This, more than any speech, would make Americans believe again in their president, but Bush denies Americans this reality." - Publishers Weekly

"Woodward's new book, the third in his trilogy on George W. Bush, conveys a great deal of information, none of it good for the president and his team. It gives far more operational detail on Iraq than its predecessor, Plan of Attack. It also goes much further in asserting the author's distaste for the war and the administration's handling of it than anything Woodward has written previously. In fact, it is the angriest book Woodward has written since his first, All the President's Men. Like that masterpiece, State of Denial feels all the more outraged for its measured, nonpartisan tones and relentless reporting. It is nothing less than a watershed." - Ted Widmer - The Washington Post

Bob Woodward's third book on President Bush is a sweeping narrative - from the first days George W. Bush thought seriously about running for president through the recruitment of his national security team, the war in Afghanistan, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the struggle for political survival in the second term.

After more than three decades of reporting on national security decision making - including his two #1 national bestsellers on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Bush at War (2002) and Plan of Attack (2004) - Woodward provides the fullest account, and explanation, of the road Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and the White House staff have walked.

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