George Bush takes advice on Iraq. Now that would be news.

According to Bob Woodward, one of the two investigative journalists who brought the facts of the Watergate break-in to light, the Bush administration fails to take seriously any reports, even when they come from top military and intelligence advisers, if they challenge Mr Bush’s convictions about how well the war in Iraq is going.

Woodward, who has been out and about publicising he now book State of Denial, claims that Bush is so convinced that he was right to go to war that he has, as far back as 2003, repeatedly ignored advisers who have told him that large reinforcements would be needed to put down the insurgency in Iraq.

A report by The National Intelligence Estimate, some of which has been released by Mr Bush during the week, predicted a continuing escalation of violence in Iraq as the conflict as the insurgents came to be perceived as central part of the global jihad.

According to Woodward, who was speaking to CBS, “the assessment by intelligence experts is that next year, 2007, is going to get worse, and in public, you have Pentagon [saying], ‘Oh no, things are going to get better’”

So Bush, in the words of the singer-songwriter Paul Simon, “hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest”. An enlightened leader of a sophisticated western democracy behaves like some tin-pot dictator in remote banana republic. Tut, tut!! Whatever next?


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