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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

Chapter:
(p.296) Chapter 13 Strategy and the Surge
Source:
The Last Card
Author(s):

Joshua Rovner

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501715181.003.0014

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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