President Bush’s 2007 addition of 20,000 troops in Iraq helped stabilize the country
—but advisers didn’t support the idea until the situation there looked like “civil war,” in the CIA’s words. Instead, the Pentagon wanted to shift responsibilities to Iraqi troops; the State Department wanted to focus fighting elsewhere; and the US Iraq ambassador said a troop surge would hurt conditions there, the New York Times reports.
Military leaders were divided on the decision, with top commander George Casey against the surge while his second-in-command was for it. The GOP’s defeat in the 2006 midterm elections fueled concern about the continuing presence in Iraq. But Bush pushed for the move, and after a series of meetings, others warmed to the idea. “If the bicycle teeters, put our hand back on it,” he said. (Read more George W. Bush stories.)