White House disputes book's view on internal administration battles over Iraq

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Washington, Sep 6 : The White House has disputed several elements of a new book detailing internal administration battles over Iraq, saying that a news story about the book wrongly portrays President George W Bush as detached from decision-making and misleading in his public statements about the war.

The book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward, "The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-2008," depicts an administration driven by dissension and slow to confront the deterioration of its strategy in Iraq during the summer and early fall of 2006.

The book, due for release on Monday, also says Bush privately believed US efforts were failing during that period, even while declaring publicly that the war was being won.

In a seven-paragraph statement, national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley disputes several of the book's main themes, reported in a Washington Post article published on Friday, calling Woodward's portrayal of Iraq war policy "at best incomplete."

Hadley said that Bush "acknowledged the violence in his public statements and discussed what we were doing about it" in 2006 and that there were positive developments that suggested our strategy at the time might work until that fall.

Hadley writes that the Post article about the book is wrong to say an increase in US troops in Iraq, beginning in early 2007, was not the primary reason violence has dropped in that country.

Hadley reiterates the White House's contention that the surge in troops was the crucial step that allowed other improvements to take hold.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said earlier in the day that the administration had been given two advance copies of the book on Thursday night and that senior officials were "working through it."

The statement does not address the allegation in Woodward's book that the Bush administration has conducted an extensive spying operation on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, his staff and others in the Iraqi government. Perino and other officials declined to comment.

ANI

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