Is Woodward Calling Bush a Liar?

By Dan Froomkin
Special to
Friday, September 29, 2006; 12:46 PM

After two books that made President Bush look pretty good, Bob Woodward is out with a new one that comes awfully close to calling the president a liar.

I can't imagine Woodward himself ever using the word -- it's much too shrill for the poster boy for the mainstream media.

But is there any other way to describe what seems like the central theme of his new book, tartly titled "State of Denial"?

Woodward is an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post, which is scheduled to run excerpts of the book in its Sunday and Monday editions. But the news about the book first came from CBS, which yesterday uncorked a preview of Woodward's upcoming interview on "60 Minutes". The New York Times ran a long piece this morning, after somehow managing to buy a copy of the book four days before the official release date.

CBS News reports: "Veteran Washington reporter Bob Woodward tells Mike Wallace that the Bush administration has not told the truth regarding the level of violence, especially against U.S. troops, in Iraq. He also reveals key intelligence that predicts the insurgency will grow worse next year. . . .

"According to Woodward, insurgent attacks against coalition troops occur, on average, every 15 minutes, a shocking fact the administration has kept secret. . . .

"The situation is getting much worse, says Woodward, despite what the White House and the Pentagon are saying in public. 'The truth is that the assessment by intelligence experts is that next year, 2007, is going to get worse and, in public, you have the president and you have the Pentagon [saying], 'Oh, no, things are going to get better,' he tells Wallace. 'Now there's public, and then there's private. But what did they do with the private? They stamp it secret. No one is supposed to know,' says Woodward."

Woodward also tells Wallace that aged Republican war-horse Henry Kissinger is closely advising Bush, telling him there is no exit strategy other than victory.

"Woodward adds. 'This is so fascinating. Kissinger's fighting the Vietnam War again because, in his view, the problem in Vietnam was we lost our will.' . . .

"President Bush is absolutely certain that he has the U.S. and Iraq on the right course, says Woodward. So certain is the president on this matter, Woodward says, that when Mr. Bush had key Republicans to the White House to discuss Iraq, he told them, 'I will not withdraw, even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting me.'"

Here's a video clip , worth watching if for nothing else to hear Woodward say of Kissinger: "He's back!"

David E. Sanger writes in the New York Times: "The book describes a White House riven by dysfunction and division over the war. . . .

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