Former US secretary of state Colin Powell warned President George W Bush he was facing a difficult insurgency in Iraq in their final meeting in January 2005, a new biography of Powell claims.
Washington Post associate editor Karen DeYoung, in an excerpt from her forthcoming biography of the former US chief diplomat in the Post on Sunday, said Powell told Bush that the coming Iraqi elections and US promotion of democracy for the country were not likely to quell the insurgency.
He also warned that divisions between the State Department and the politically more powerful Department of Defence were undermining Bush's global diplomatic efforts, including in problem areas like the North Korean nuclear problem and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
However, DeYoung wrote, Powell, who had been asked by the White House to resign several weeks before, found Bush dismissive and unconcerned, as unwilling to heed his top diplomat's warnings as he had been for the previous four years.
Powell afterward called the meeting, a formal final face-to-face between the two men before Powell would be replaced by Condoleezza Rice, as "really strange", DeYoung said. "The president didn't know why I was there," Powell said.
DeYoung's Powell biography, "Soldier: The Life of Colin Powell", to be released on October 10, is among a number of new books which tear into the Bush administration's policy-making and handling of the Iraq invasion and occupation.