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Over 800 attacks every week in Iraq
The Bush administration has misled the American people about the level of violence in Iraq, where there is an attack by insurgent forces every 15 minutes, Bob Woodward, the investigative journalist, said yesterday.
In a new book, State of Denial, Woodward argues that the White House disregarded warnings from advisers in the autumn of 2003 that it needed thousands more troops to put down the insurgency. He says the administration continues to deny the gravity of the situation in Iraq because of Mr Bush's conviction that it was right to go to war.
"It's getting to the point now where there are 800-900 attacks a week. That's more than a hundred a day. That is four an hour attacking our forces," Woodward told CBS television in an interview to be aired tomorrow night.
The Pentagon's latest quarterly report on Iraq, presented to Congress and posted on the defence department website on September 1, shows the number of attacks rising to 792 a week in August. However, that figure includes attacks on Iraqi civilians, infrastructure and Iraqi police as well as US and coalition troops. Iraqi civilians suffered the majority of casualties.
Woodward argues the administration routinely glosses over such news from the ground, as well as intelligence predicting further deterioration in Iraq, because they collide with Mr Bush's convictions.
The White House failed to act on a memo from Robert Blackwill, then the senior Iraqi adviser on the National Security Council, calling for 40,000 additional troops in Iraq, he writes. It is equally resistant to intelligence forecasts of worsening violence in the year ahead.