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Rumsfeld defends Iraq war handling

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Rumsfeld defends war handlingFormer US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld remains largely defiant about the Iraq war, saying in a new book that had Saddam Hussein remained in power, the Middle East would be "far more perilous than it is today".

Mr Rumsfeld, 78, has written an autobiography due out next week.He concedes he could have sent more troops, and that internal US rivalries hampered post-war reconstruction. Leaked excerpts have been published by the Washington Post and New York Times.

On the question of troops, he says in the 800-page Known and Unknown: "In retrospect, there may have been times when more troops could have helped."

But he says that if senior military officers had reservations about the size of the invading force, they did not inform him.

And as the conflict continued, US commanders, even when asked repeatedly for their views, did not ask him for more troops or disagree with the strategy, he adds.

Although he describes George W Bush as "a far more formidable president than his popular image", he also suggests the former president was at fault for not doing more to resolve disagreements among senior advisers.

Mr Bush "did not always receive, and may not have insisted on, a timely consideration of his options before he made a decision, nor did he always receive effective implementation of the decisions he made", Mr Rumsfeld writes.

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