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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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This Strategy Is Not Working

This Strategy Is Not Working

January–June 2006

Chapter:
(p.46) Chapter 2 This Strategy Is Not Working
Source:
The Last Card
Author(s):
Timothy Andrews Sayle, Jeffrey A. Engel, Hal Brands, William Inboden
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501715181.003.0003

This chapter discusses the Samarra bombing and the resulting debates over its significance. The winter and spring of 2006 was a time of conflicting signals and conflicting efforts in Washington. Some officials began to believe that the strategy in Iraq was not working. The predominant view in the intelligence community, according to David Gordon, vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council, was that “we were transitioning into something very different, that we were really transitioning from insurgency to a civil war.” Around the same time, the failings of the US mission in Iraq led a number of retired generals to publicly call for the ouster of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Unknown to its advocates, the public “Revolt of the Generals” actually undermined ongoing, internal efforts to replace the secretary of defense—and thus, ironically, delayed rather than accelerated a review of strategy in Iraq. Meanwhile, efforts from within government to rethink US strategy remained nascent and largely disconnected. The successful seating of the Iraqi government and a new prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, and the success of US forces in locating and killing Sunni militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, undercut arguments that the war was failing, and in particular derailed efforts to kick off a major strategy review beginning with a high-level meeting at Camp David in June of 2006.

Keywords:   Samarra bombing, Iraq, David Gordon, National Intelligence Council, Donald Rumsfeld, Iraqi government, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, US military strategy, Camp David, Nouri al-Maliki

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