Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Woodward on the Surge

Since it hasn’t been available until today, I have not yet read Bob Woodward’s new book, The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008. But his articles in the Washington Post and and his 60 Minutes interview do invite commentary.

The most important point to make, I think, is that the book underscores what an extraordinary decision President Bush made in deciding on the so-called surge. As Woodward’s book recounts, and my own experience in the White House underscores, in settling on a surge of five brigades to Baghdad and 4,000 Marines to Anbar Province, the President bucked the views of most members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (including the Army Chief of Staff, Peter Schoomaker, and Chief of Naval Operations, Michael Mullen), General George W. Casey, Jr., then the commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq, John P. Abizaid, the commander of U.S. Central Command, military analysts, the entire Democratic Party, much of the Republican Party, most of the foreign policy establishment, the Iraq Study Group, and many within his own Administration.

The prevailing view was that of General Casey, whom Woodward quotes as telling the President in June 2006, “To win, we have to draw down.” General Casey was exactly wrong, as was the much-heralded Baker-Hamilton Report, which in its 96 pages dismissed the idea of a surge in a single paragraph. (The ISG did recommend a short-term surge, but it argued, “Sustained increases in U.S. troop levels would not solve the fundamental cause of violence in Iraq, which is the absence of national reconciliation… past experience indicates that the violence would simply rekindle as soon as U.S. forces are moved to another area… America’s military capacity is stretched thin: we do not have the troops or equipment to make a substantial, sustained increase in our troop presence.” The ISG also recommended a drawdown of all U.S. combat forces by early 2008.)

Read the rest of the COMMENTARY web exclusive here.



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Pin It on Pinterest

Shares
Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!

Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.