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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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Strategy and the Surge

Strategy and the Surge

(p.296) Chapter 13 Strategy and the Surge
The Last Card

Joshua Rovner

Cornell University Press

This chapter studies the relationship between strategy and the surge. Strategy is the bridge that links military operations and political objectives in war. A practical strategy describes those objectives and explains how military action will achieve them. The chapter disputes the idea that the surge constituted a new US strategy in Iraq. Instead, it can be considered as a “decision to put strategy on hold.” The surge, the chapter argues, encouraged a perverse strategic effect—by obscuring the political objectives of the war, it undercut efforts to forge competent and self-reliant governance in Iraq and contributed to the breakdown of the Iraqi state in the face of the subsequent rise of the Islamic State.

Keywords:   strategy, surge strategy, military operations, political objectives, Iraq War, US military strategy, Iraqi state, Islamic State

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