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The Last CardInside George W. Bush's Decision to Surge in Iraq $
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Timothy Sayle, Jeffrey A. Engel, Hal Brands, and William Inboden

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501715181

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501715181.001.0001

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The American Occupation of Iraq by 2006 and the Search for a New Strategy

(p.1) Introduction
The Last Card

Timothy Andrews Sayle

Hal Brands

Cornell University Press

This introductory chapter provides a background of George W. Bush's decision to deploy more American troops to Iraq in 2007, a desperate attempt to bring order to chaos, and to salvage his administration's signature foreign policy achievement: the ouster of Iraq's tyrannical despot, Saddam Hussein, nearly four years before. Bush's speech on January 10, 2007, and the change in policy it announced were hardly the work of spontaneous initiative, but instead marked the end of a long and secretive process designed to determine whether and how to change the course of a failing war in Iraq. The president's decision had not been easy. In fact, it had been resisted by most of his advisors, including many of his top military commanders, who feared greater loss of lives and treasure, and ultimately defeat. That was a sentiment Bush shared as well. Iraq stood on the precipice of civil war as 2007 began, but it was hardly certain that more American troops and a new strategy could improve conditions on the ground. Many advisors feared that putting more US forces in Iraq would not turn the war around and would instead weaken American positions elsewhere around the globe while straining the US military to the breaking point. Bush and his top aides thus recognized that “the surge” constituted a major strategic gamble, as well as their final chance to restore a floundering US project in Iraq.

Keywords:   George W. Bush, American troops, Iraq, foreign policy, civil war, US forces, US military

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