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How to write about Iraq

Bob Woodward's book on Iraq is parochial and bloated. For a real indictment of the failure to keep the peace, Americans should turn to Patrick Cockburn

By Denis MacShane   129

The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq by Patrick Cockburn (Verso, £15.99) State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III by Bob Woodward (Simon and Schuster, £18.99)

Bob Woodward’s third book on the Bush presidency’s handling of overseas military intervention since 11th September 2001—a longer period than the second world war—is in the American tradition that all that matters happens in a square mile around the White House. Nothing and no one counts unless it is said and done in English, preferably over dinner in Woodward’s Georgetown mansion.

Woodward never leaves the Beltway. Instead he pours into his book almost…

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