Woodward says Bush ignoring Iraq violence

NEW YORK – Violence in Iraq is greater than the White House has acknowledged, and the outlook is even bleaker for 2007, author and journalist Bob Woodward said in comments to air Sunday night on CBS television’s “60 Minutes.”

Woodward, the Washington Post reporter whose third book on the Bush administration, “State of Denial,” comes out next week, said U.S. troops and their allies are being attacked, on average, every 15 minutes.

“It’s getting to the point now where there are eight, 900 attacks a week. That’s more than a hundred a day. That is four an hour attacking our forces,” Woodward said.

“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.’ “

Known for his access to high-level officials, Woodward said President Bush is so sure of success in the Iraq war that he told some leading Republicans, “I will not withdraw even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting me.”

Bush and his wife, Laura, have a Scottish terrier named Barney.

Woodward also asserts that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have been meeting with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who served in the Nixon and Ford administrations.

“Now what’s Kissinger’s advice?” Woodward said. “In Iraq, he declared very simply, ‘Victory is the only meaningful exit strategy.’ This is so fascinating. Kissinger’s fighting the Vietnam War again because, in his view, the problem in Vietnam was we lost our will.”

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