"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."
State of Denial examines how the Bush administration
avoided telling the truth about Iraq to the public, to
Congress, and often to themselves. Two days after the May
report, the Pentagon told Congress, in a report required by
law, that the "appeal and motivation for continued violent
action will begin to wane in early 2007."
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 Rice 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 departments
and agencies is broken, and in a SECRET May 1, 2006, memo,
Rumsfeld stated, "the current system of government makes
competence next to impossible."
State of Denial answers the core questions: 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?
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