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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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How the “Surge” Came to Be

How the “Surge” Came to Be

(p.207) Chapter 9 How the “Surge” Came to Be
The Last Card

Stephen Hadley

Meghan O’Sullivan

Peter Feaver

Cornell University Press

This chapter explores first-hand insights from President Bush's national security advisor, Stephen J. Hadley, and two National Security Council staff members, Meghan O'Sullivan and Peter Feaver, about the logic of the surge strategy and the process by which that strategy emerged. The “surge” is generally understood as the deployment to Iraq of 20,000 to 30,000 US troops in 2007 to supplement the roughly 160,000 already there. More importantly, however, it reflected a change in strategy in how US forces would be used. They would deploy with Iraqi military and police units and live out among the Iraqi people rather than on US military bases. Their priority would be to help Iraqi forces provide security for the Iraqi people. The surge would also create more time and a better environment in which to build Iraqi security forces. The essential feature of the decision-making process that produced the surge was that from the beginning President Bush was at the center of the process. Ultimately, President Bush's decision to launch the surge ended a major strategic debate within his administration.

Keywords:   George W. Bush, surge strategy, US troops, US forces, Iraqi military, Iraqi security forces, decision-making process

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