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Iraq War troop surge of 2007

Iraq War troop surge of 2007

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Encyclopedia
In the context of the Iraq War, the surge refers to United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

's 2007 increase in the number of American troops in order to provide security to Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 and Al Anbar Province.

The surge had been developed under the working title
Working title
A working title, sometimes called a production title, is the temporary name of a product or project used during its development, usually used in filmmaking, television production, novel, video game, or music album.-Purpose:...

 "The New Way Forward" and it was announced in January 2007 by Bush during a television speech. Bush ordered the deployment of more than 20,000 soldiers into Iraq, five additional brigades, and sent the majority of them into Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

. He also extended the tour of most of the Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 troops in country and some of the Marines
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 already in the Anbar Province area. The President described the overall objective as establishing a "...unified, democratic federal Iraq that can govern itself, defend itself, and sustain itself, and is an ally in the War on Terror." The major element of the strategy was a change in focus for the US military "to help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods, to help them protect the local population, and to help ensure that the Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security". The President stated that the surge would then provide the time and conditions conducive to reconciliation among political and ethnic factions.

Terminology


The phrases "New Way Forward", "The New Way Forward" and "A new way forward in Iraq" were widely used by White House Press Secretary Tony Snow
Tony Snow
Robert Anthony "Tony" Snow was an American journalist, political commentator, television news anchor, syndicated columnist, radio host, musician, and the third White House Press Secretary under President George W. Bush. Snow also worked for President George H. W. Bush as chief speechwriter and...

 and the news media prior to the President's speech on January 10, 2007 announcing the policy change. The US press also refers to the increase as a "surge" or "Iraq troop surge." Following the speech, some Democrats began using the term "escalation
Escalation
Escalation is the phenomenon of something getting more intense step by step, for example a quarrel, or, notably, a war between states possessing weapons of mass destruction. Compare to escalator, a device that lifts something to a higher level...

" rather than "surge", though others in the party use the terms interchangeably.

2006 election


Polls showed that after the 2006 general election
United States general elections, 2006
The 2006 United States midterm elections were held on Tuesday, November 7, 2006. All United States House of Representatives seats and one third of the United States Senate seats were contested in this election, as well as 36 state governorships, many state legislatures, four territorial...

, “A substantial majority of Americans expect Democrats
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 to reduce or end American military involvement in Iraq if they [won] control of Congress”. This view of the election as a referendum on the war was endorsed by Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Patricia D'Alesandro Pelosi is the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives and served as the 60th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011...

 who in the final days of the campaign said, “This election is about Iraq. If indeed it turns out the way that people expect it to turn out, the American people will have spoken, and they will have rejected the course of action the president is on.” The news media viewed the Democratic victory in both houses of the US Congress as “punishing President George W. Bush and his Republicans over ethics scandals in Washington and a failing war in Iraq.”

Democratic position


After her party's victory then House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (who would a month later make clear her disdain for the "surge proposal") wrote an article entitled "Bringing the War to an End is my Highest Priority as Speaker". The article explained that after visiting wounded Iraq War veterans at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center "I left there more committed than ever to bringing the war to an end. I told my colleagues yesterday that the biggest ethical issue facing our country for the past three and a half years is the war in Iraq. ...When the House reconvenes on January 4, 2007, Democrats will take power and I will take the gavel knowing the responsibility we have to you and to the country. The new Democratic Congress will live up to the highest ethical standard... [we] are prepared to lead and ready to govern. We will honor the trust of the American people; we will not disappoint."

Republican position


Following the 2006 United States midterm elections
United States general elections, 2006
The 2006 United States midterm elections were held on Tuesday, November 7, 2006. All United States House of Representatives seats and one third of the United States Senate seats were contested in this election, as well as 36 state governorships, many state legislatures, four territorial...

 where the Republicans
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 lost control of the House and Senate, a Heritage Foundation
Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation is a conservative American think tank based in Washington, D.C. Heritage's stated mission is to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong...

 conference was chaired by Republican whip
Whip (politics)
A whip is an official in a political party whose primary purpose is to ensure party discipline in a legislature. Whips are a party's "enforcers", who typically offer inducements and threaten punishments for party members to ensure that they vote according to the official party policy...

 Rep. Roy Blunt
Roy Blunt
Roy D. Blunt is the junior United States Senator from Missouri. He is a member of the Republican Party. His Senate seat was previously held by Republican Kit Bond, until his retirement....

 (R-MO) under the title "The New Way Forward: Refocusing the Conservative Agenda" on November 9, 2006 to analyze "setbacks" from the election results. Blunt bemoaned the fact Republicans had "become the defenders rather than the challengers of business as usual."

Blunt opened his speech listing the oft voiced explanations of his party's defeat which included that the results were in part “a referendum on the war in Iraq”. He dismissed the notion that any one single reason explained the loss, saying “Different candidates lost for different reasons”. He saw a bright side in events saying “The good news is that even with these shortcomings, low presidential approval numbers, and uncertainty about Iraq, our candidates saw, even with all those things happening, their ideas taking hold in the final days of their campaigns. A shift of 78,000 votes in the entire country would have changed the outcome. Our ideas didn’t get beat; in fact, we did.” He applauded the Constitutional system saying the defeat proves “that no one party has a permanent claim to power…This means any viable political movement, such as ours, can never afford to become stagnant or complacent. We must constantly refresh our ideas, assess our performance, and make corrections when necessary. This is a great moment to do all three of those things. For a generation Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 conservatives have consistently demonstrated an ability to do just that. Nowhere has this been more evident than in our response to the threats of Islamic totalitarianism and the fight with our terrorist enemies.” He said “While the threats of Islamic totalitarianism at times require different tactics, we are approaching those challenges with the same resolve that allowed us to defeat communism. I am convinced that in this fight we will also prevail because the American people understand the need to win. We must continue to lead the fight against Islamic totalitarianism and sustain the will to win the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. …[On the war and on domestic issues] Our plan must avoid the mistakes of the past several years. …I am confident that we will successfully move forward.”

Senturion Forecasts


In January 2005, the National Defense University
National Defense University
The National Defense University is an institution of higher education funded by the United States Department of Defense, intended to facilitate high-level training, education, and the development of national security strategy. It is chartered by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with Navy Vice Admiral...

 applied its "Senturion" predictive analysis software to the Iraqi elections in order to determine which factions would support the elections, which would oppose them, and which would remain neutral. Senturion's forecasts were largely borne out by the actual course of events. Among other things, Senturion predicted that "increased coalition military strength in Iraq would have improved the attitudes of Iraqi stake holders toward the election by making them feel more secure." The simulations indicated that a 50% increase in troop strength was optimal, though a 25% increase would have been sufficient to capture the support of "neutral Iraqis". It also determined that due to Iraqi perceptions, the use of United Nations peacekeepers in place of US or coalition forces could achieve the same results with a smaller troop increase. These analyses were "performed and briefed to senior government decisionmakers well in advance of events."

Iraq Study Group Report


On December 6, 2006 the Iraq Study Group
Iraq Study Group
The Iraq Study group , was a ten-person bipartisan panel appointed on March 15, 2006, by the United States Congress, that was charged with assessing the situation in Iraq and the US-led Iraq War and making policy recommendations...

 presented their report, which recommended both external and internal approaches for achieving positive progress in Iraq. Among other approaches, the report suggested that the "United States should significantly increase the number of U.S. military personnel, including combat troops, imbedded in and supporting Iraqi Army units." Co-chairman James Baker
James Baker
James Addison Baker, III is an American attorney, politician and political advisor.Baker served as the Chief of Staff in President Ronald Reagan's first administration and in the final year of the administration of President George H. W. Bush...

 said that since "events in Iraq could overtake what we recommend...[members] believe that decisions should be made by our national leaders with some urgency." Upon receiving the report Bush told the group "we will take every proposal seriously, and we will act in a timely fashion."

Later in the day White House spokesman Tony Snow
Tony Snow
Robert Anthony "Tony" Snow was an American journalist, political commentator, television news anchor, syndicated columnist, radio host, musician, and the third White House Press Secretary under President George W. Bush. Snow also worked for President George H. W. Bush as chief speechwriter and...

 told CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

's Larry King
Larry King
Lawrence Harvey "Larry" King is an American television and radio host whose work has been recognized with awards including two Peabodys and ten Cable ACE Awards....

 that Bush was comparing recommendations "by the Iraq Study Group
Iraq Study Group
The Iraq Study group , was a ten-person bipartisan panel appointed on March 15, 2006, by the United States Congress, that was charged with assessing the situation in Iraq and the US-led Iraq War and making policy recommendations...

 with pending studies by the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Joint Chiefs of Staff is a body of senior uniformed leaders in the United States Department of Defense who advise the Secretary of Defense, the Homeland Security Council, the National Security Council and the President on military matters...

 and National Security Council
United States National Security Council
The White House National Security Council in the United States is the principal forum used by the President of the United States for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and Cabinet officials and is part of the Executive Office of the...

." Once the review was finished, Snow believed that the President would be able to "announce a new way forward" in Iraq by the end of the year.

The 1999 book A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of American's Last Years in Vietnam by Lewis Sorley
Lewis Sorley
Lewis Stone "Bob" Sorley III is an American intelligence analyst and military historian.-Biography:Lewis Sorley was born in 1934, in West Point, New York, the son and grandson of officers in the United States Army who were both also West Point graduates...

 was also an influence on the troop surge. This book has been read by several high level politicians and military leaders, including Obama. It explains how the policy changes in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 from William Westmoreland
William Westmoreland
William Childs Westmoreland was a United States Army General, who commanded US military operations in the Vietnam War at its peak , during the Tet Offensive. He adopted a strategy of attrition against the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam and the North Vietnamese Army. He later served as...

 to Creighton Abrams
Creighton Abrams
Creighton Williams Abrams Jr. was a general in the United States Army who commanded military operations in the Vietnam War from 1968–72 which saw U.S. troop strength in Vietnam fall from a peak of 543,000 to 49,000. He served as Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1972 until shortly...

' policies won the war in on the battlefield though America eventually pulled out due to lack of support by Americans and Congress.

State Department


On December 11, 2006 Bush met with Senior State Department
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 advisers (including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice is an American political scientist and diplomat. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and was the second person to hold that office in the administration of President George W. Bush...

)"on how to shape U.S. policy in Iraq as part of Bush's mission to come up with a new strategy." He reiterated his intent to communicate that strategy to the nation before Christmas 2006, and said "There is no question we've got to make sure that the State Department and the Defense Department– the efforts and their recommendations are closely coordinated, so that when I do speak to the American people, they will know that I've listened to all aspects of government and that the way forward is the way forward to achieve our objective: to succeed in Iraq."

Experts


Later on December 11, 2006 Bush met “with a group of Iraqi experts, including historians and former generals, in the Oval Office
Oval Office
The Oval Office, located in the West Wing of the White House, is the official office of the President of the United States.The room features three large south-facing windows behind the president's desk, and a fireplace at the north end...

.” The Washington Post reported that among the panel of experts were retired four star generals Barry McCaffrey
Barry McCaffrey
Barry Richard McCaffrey is a retired United States Army general, former U.S. Drug Czar, news commentator, and business consultant....

, Wayne A. Downing
Wayne A. Downing
Wayne Allan Downing was a retired four-star United States Army general born in Peoria, Illinois. He graduated from the United States Military Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1962 and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Tulane University.-Military career:*Sep 62 - Feb...

, and John Keane
Jack Keane
John Keane is a retired four-star general and former Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army, and a defense analyst currently serving as Chairman of the Board for .-Biography:...

; along with academics Stephen Biddle
Stephen Biddle
Stephen Biddle is an American author, historian, columnist, and pundit whose work concentrates on U.S. foreign policy. He is perhaps best known for his award-winning 2004 book Military Power: Explaining Victory and Defeat in Modern Battle, published through Princeton University Press. He also has...

 and Eliot Cohen, who panned the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group. The Post went on to say "The group disagreed on the key issue of whether to send more troops to Iraq, with retired Gen. John M. Keane arguing that several thousand additional soldiers could be used to improve security in Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

, and others expressing doubt about that proposal." The group also suggested Bush change personnel in his national security team. One panel member reported that "All of us said they have failed, that you need a new team." The President thanked the panel and told reporters “I appreciate the advice I got from those folks in the field. And that advice is . . . an important component of putting together a new way forward in Iraq.”

Joint Chiefs


On December 13, 2006 Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney
Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney served as the 46th Vice President of the United States , under George W. Bush....

 met with the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Joint Chiefs of Staff is a body of senior uniformed leaders in the United States Department of Defense who advise the Secretary of Defense, the Homeland Security Council, the National Security Council and the President on military matters...

 for 'more than an hour," discussing different military options for Iraq. While "no dramatic proposals" were put forward, "a pragmatic assessment of what can and cannot be done by the military" was offered.

They did "not favor adding significant numbers of troops to Iraq" but saw "strengthening the Iraqi army as pivotal to achieving some degree of stability." They pressed for “greater U.S. effort on economic reconstruction and political reconciliation.” They stressed the need for "employment programs, reconstruction and political reconciliation…[as] key to pulling young men from the burgeoning militias." They said there was "no purely military solution for Iraq" and "without major progress on the political and economic fronts, the U.S. intervention is simply buying time." They also urged "that any new strategy be sensitive to regional context, particularly the impact of political or military decisions." They fear that throwing too much support to the Shiite majority may lead Sunni nations in the region to step up support of Sunni insurgents, and that a crackdown on Iraq's largest Shiite militia, the Mahdi army, may instigate more interference by Iran.
Chiarelli plan

General George William Casey Jr.
George William Casey Jr.
George William Casey, Jr. is a former United States Army four-star general who last served as the 36th Chief of Staff of the United States Army from April 10, 2007 to April 11, 2011...

, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, was reported to be “reviewing a plan to redefine the American military mission there: U.S. troops would be pulled out of Iraqi cities and consolidated at a handful of U.S. bases while day-to-day combat duty would be turned over to the Iraqi army.” It was said that he was “still considering whether to request more troops, possibly as part of an expanded training mission to help strengthen the Iraqi army.” These options were laid out by the outgoing U.S. ground commander, Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli
Peter W. Chiarelli
Peter W. Chiarelli is a United States Army General who is serving as the 32nd and current Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. He previously served as commander, Multi-National Corps—Iraq under General George W. Casey, Jr. He assumed his current assignment on August 4, 2008...

. Under the Chiarelli plan “the military would shift about half of its 15 combat brigades away from battling insurgents and sectarian violence and into training Iraqi security forces as soon as the spring of 2007. … About 4,000 U.S. troops are now serving on 11-person military training teams embedded with Iraqi forces. The new plan would add 30 troops to each team, allowing them to provide supervision and mentoring down to the level of Iraqi army companies. … the remaining seven to eight brigades of U.S. combat forces would focus on three core missions: striking al-Qaeda, strengthening security along Iraq's borders, and protecting major highways and other routes to ensure U.S. forces freedom of movement in Iraq. …The plan would not allow for any major reduction in U.S. troops in Iraq over the next year– nor would it call for any surge in troops”. Military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said that “In northern and western Iraq, U.S. commanders are already moving troops out of combat missions to place them as advisers with lower-level Iraqi army units.”

The Chiefs expressed “concern about the erosion of the U.S. military's ability to deal with other crises around the world because of the heavy commitment in Iraq and the stress on troops and equipment”. They told Bush that there was “significantly increased risk to readiness in the event of a new emergency”.

Speaking to reporters afterward Bush said “Our military cannot do this job alone. Our military needs a political strategy that is effective.” He also stressed his ongoing commitment to securing Iraq, saying “If we lose our nerve, if we're not steadfast in our determination to help the Iraqi government succeed, we will be handing Iraq over to an enemy that would do us harm.” When pressed for when he would announce his new way forward, he said he would not be “rushed” into a decision and was still reviewing his options.

December 14 comments


On December 14, 2006, when pressed by reporters for more information on his thinking on the matter Bush said “I am listening to a lot of advice to develop a strategy to help you succeed, a lot of consultations. I will be delivering my plans after a long deliberation, after steady deliberation. I'm not going to be rushed into making a decision.” He stated that he had heard some “interesting” ideas. He also said he heard some “ideas that would lead to defeat…[and] I reject those ideas. Ideas such as leaving before the job is done. Ideas such as not helping this (Iraqi) government take the necessary and hard steps to be able to do its job.” He said he wanted the incoming Defense Secretary Robert Gates
Robert Gates
Dr. Robert Michael Gates is a retired civil servant and university president who served as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011. Prior to this, Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and under President George H. W....

 “to have time to evaluate the situation” and come up with his own suggestions. That same day Iraqi President Jalal Talabani
Jalal Talabani
Jalal Talabani is the sixth and current President of Iraq, a leading Kurdish politician. He is the first non-Arab president of Iraq, although Abdul Kareem Qasim was half Kurdish....

 issued a written statement saying that he had received Bush’s assurances that “he would make no decisions on his new Iraq strategy that would be ‘against your interests’…[and his pledge] to work with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on his efforts to implement a Baghdad security plan”. CNN reported that “Administration officials say Bush is ‘not satisfied’ with some of the information he has been getting and ‘is asking people to get him more’ information on various options in Iraq.”

Though originally scheduled for late 2006, the announcement on "the new way forward" was delayed to give the President "more time" to gather information. Press secretary Tony Snow said the administration was hoping for the president to deliver the speech before Christmas, although he said the timing was not nailed down.

American Enterprise Institute


This American Enterprise Institute
American Enterprise Institute
The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a conservative think tank founded in 1943. Its stated mission is "to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism—limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and...

 report referenced is listed as having been posted December 14, and was called the "real Iraq Study Group report" by its author. file of report The draft was presented on December 14 by Frederick Kagan
Frederick Kagan
Frederick W. Kagan is an American resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute , and a former professor of military history at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He graduated from Hamden High School before earning a B.A. in Soviet and East European studies and a Ph.D. in Russian and...

, AEI, General Keane, and Kenneth Pollack
Kenneth Pollack
Kenneth Michael Pollack, PhD , is a noted former CIA intelligence analyst and expert on Middle East politics and military affairs. He has served on the National Security Council staff and has written several articles and books on international relations.Pollack obtained a BA from Yale University,...

, (Brookings Institution
Brookings Institution
The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C., in the United States. One of Washington's oldest think tanks, Brookings conducts research and education in the social sciences, primarily in economics, metropolitan policy, governance, foreign policy, and...

) event detail. AEI released its final report to the press on January 5, 2007, under the title "Iraq: A Turning Point (With Reports from Iraq from Senators John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

 and Joseph Lieberman)". The event description stated the following:
Andrew Ross
Andrew Ross
Andrew Ross is currently a professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. A writer for Artforum, The Nation and The Village Voice, he is also the author and/or editor of numerous books...

 of the San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
thumb|right|upright|The Chronicle Building following the [[1906 San Francisco earthquake|1906 earthquake]] and fireThe San Francisco Chronicle is a newspaper serving primarily the San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. state of California, but distributed throughout Northern and Central California,...

 also connects Bush's strategy to this American Enterprise Institute
American Enterprise Institute
The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a conservative think tank founded in 1943. Its stated mission is "to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism—limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and...

 report, saying "In addition to the changing of the military guard and moving ahead with the 'surge' option, President Bush's Iraq strategy involves more money for reconstruction, job creation, and for 'moderate Iraqi political parties as a means of building a centrist political coalition to support Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki,' according to the Wall Street Journal. This more holistic approach– reportedly entitled 'The New Way Forward'– echoes in many ways a paper from the American Enterprise Institute
American Enterprise Institute
The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a conservative think tank founded in 1943. Its stated mission is "to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism—limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and...

, authored by Frederick Kagan, better known as the prime mover of the 'surge option.'"

Pre-speech expectations


Bush was expected to announce a "surge" in forces that some sources say could be up to 20,000 troops. According to Reuters, "While Bush is to announce a complete overhaul of his Iraq policy, including economic and political components, the possibility of a troop increase has gained the most attention. Despite a divide on the issue, Bush in recent days has hinted toward a preference for increasing troop strength by saying he wanted to help Iraqis gain control of the security situation there. "One thing is for certain, I will want to make sure that the mission is clear and specific and can be accomplished," Bush said on Thursday when asked about a troop increase." In fact, Bush's proposed increase was 21,000 US troops, 4000 of which would be Marine Corps focused on the Anbar province while the others would be embedded into Iraqi units to provide security to Baghdad.

Prebuttals



Just before the 110th Congress convened on January 4 some Democrats said they planned to call Defense Secretary Robert Gates before the Senate Armed Services Committee "to explain, if not try to defend, the president's plan"

Prior to the speech, US Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), a member of the Armed Services Committee
Armed Services Committee
The term Armed Services Committee may refer to:*United States House Committee on Armed Services*United States Senate Committee on Armed Services...

, held a press conference (mp3 version) with former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark
Wesley Clark
Wesley Kanne Clark, Sr., is a retired general of the United States Army. Graduating as valedictorian of the class of 1966 at West Point, he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford where he obtained a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and later graduated from the...

 and Jon Soltz
Jon Soltz
Jon Soltz served as a United States Army Captain in the Iraq War and served as the chairman and co-founder of VoteVets.org, before taking a leave of absence for a year beginning in 2011, while deployed as part of Operation New Dawn . As a member of the army, he served in both the Kosovo Campaign ...

, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Patty Murray
Patty Murray
Patricia Lynn "Patty" Murray is the senior United States Senator from Washington and a member of the Democratic Party. Murray was first elected to the Senate in 1992, becoming Washington's first female senator...

 (D-WA) and together called on Bush "to listen to the advice of his generals and the American people and offer a new plan to change course in Iraq."

Plan announcement



In a nationally televised address on January 10, Bush stated “America will change our strategy to help the Iraqis carry out their campaign to put down sectarian violence and bring security to the people of Baghdad. This will require increasing American force levels. So I've committed more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq. The vast majority of them– five brigades– will be deployed to Baghdad”.

On the same day of the speech, ABC News announced that ninety advance troops from the 82nd Airborne Division had already arrived in Baghdad.

Immediately following the speech, the Bush administration issued talking point
Talking point
A talking point in debate or discourse is a succinct statement designed to persuasively support one side taken on an issue. Such statements can either be free standing or created as retorts to the opposition's talking points and are frequently used in public relations, particularly in areas heavy...

s and transcripts about the strategy to communicate the strategy to the public. According to the "Fact Sheet: The New Way Forward in Iraq " issued by the White House, "the President's New Iraq Strategy Is Rooted In Six Fundamental Elements" as follow:
  1. Let the Iraqis lead;
  2. Help Iraqis protect the population;
  3. Isolate extremists;
  4. Create space for political progress;
  5. Diversify political and economic efforts; and
  6. Situate the strategy in a regional approach.


The fact sheet further divides the proposal into four "Elements Of The New Approach" (Security, Political, Economic, Regional) that each have subcomponent responsibilities for three categories: Iraqis only, Coalition only, and combined Iraqi and Coalition.

On January 11, Gordon Johndroe
Gordon Johndroe
Gordon Johndroe was Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush, Deputy Press Secretary and a spokesman for the United States National Security Council...

 told the press gaggle
Gaggle
A gaggle is a term of venery for a flock of geese that isn't in flight; in flight, the group can be called a skein.In terms of geese, a gaggle is equal to at least five geese....

 about Bush's trip to Fort Benning, saying, "The President is going to, one, thank them for their service in the global war on terror– personnel from Fort Benning have, one, a long tradition of being deployed overseas in battles for the United States, but most recently in the global war on terror in Afghanistan and in Iraq– thank them for their service; thank the family members that are here for the sacrifices they make when their loved one is overseas. And then he's going to talk about his speech last night and the mission he outlined and the way ahead in Iraq."

On January 11, the White House released a transcript of statements by Condoleezza Rice, Robert Gates, and Peter Pace with respect to the president's speech under the title of "Background Briefing by Senior Administration Officials".

2007 State of the Union Address


In advance of the State of the Union
State Of The Union
"State Of The Union" is the debut single from British singer-songwriter David Ford. It had previously been featured as a demo on his official website, before appearing as a track on a CD entitled "Apology Demos EP," only on sale at live shows....

 address, Bush gave several promotional speeches to Belo
Belo
Belo Corp. is a Dallas-based media company that owns 20 commercial broadcasting television stations and two regional 24-hour cable news television channels. The company was previously known as A.H. Belo Corp. after one of the early owners of the company, Alfred Horatio Belo, now the name of the...

 television and [Sinclair television], suggesting that "it should be given a chance" and challenged critical lawmakers to offer an alternative.

On the night of Tuesday, January 23, the president had this to say on the troop increase in Iraq, outlining their purpose in supporting the Iraqi government maintain control:

Response


The substance of the debate that followed the speech reflected " widespread disagreement with the Bush administration over its proposed solution, and growing skepticism that the United States made the right decision in going to war in the first place". Some issues of contention were divisions over the advisability of committing more troops versus complete withdrawal, the 'winnability' of the Iraq War regardless of a surge, and framing
Framing
Framing or enframing may refer to:* Framing , the most common carpentry work* Framing or Framing effect , terminology used in communication theory, sociology, and other disciplines where it relates to the construction and presentation of a fact or issue "framed" from a particular perspective*...

 of the issue.

Support

  • “The presence of additional coalition forces would allow the Iraqi government to do what it cannot accomplish today on its own: impose its rule throughout the country,” McCain said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Jan. 12.
  • The New York Times reported that Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney
    Mitt Romney
    Willard Mitt Romney is an American businessman and politician. He was the 70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 and is a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination.The son of George W...

     and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, as backing Bush on the troop increase.

Opposition


Immediately following Bush's January 10 speech announcing the plan, Democratic politicians, including Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid and Dennis Kucinich, called on Congress to reject the surge. Senator Dick Durbin issued the Democratic response which called upon Iraqis to "disband the militias and death squads."
On January 18, Xinhua News Agency
Xinhua News Agency
The Xinhua News Agency is the official press agency of the government of the People's Republic of China and the biggest center for collecting information and press conferences in the PRC. It is the largest news agency in the PRC, ahead of the China News Service...

 reported that "whitehouse hopefuls" Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

, D-Ill., Chris Dodd, D- Conn., Joe Biden
Joe Biden
Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. is the 47th and current Vice President of the United States, serving under President Barack Obama...

, D-Del, and Sam Brownback
Sam Brownback
Samuel Dale "Sam" Brownback is the 46th and current Governor of Kansas. A member of the Republican Party, he served as a U.S. Senator from Kansas from 1996 to 2011, and as a U.S. Representative for Kansas's 2nd congressional district from 1995 to 1996...

, R-Kansas, all voiced their discontent Wednesday with the course of events in Iraq

Jim Manley
Jim Manley
Jim Manley is an artist, born on 17 January 1934, in St Helens, Lancashire, England. He has lived in Killough, County Down, Northern Ireland since 1971...

 of the Office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Harry Reid
Harry Mason Reid is the senior United States Senator from Nevada, serving since 1987. A member of the Democratic Party, he has been the Senate Majority Leader since January 2007, having previously served as Minority Leader and Minority and Majority Whip.Previously, Reid was a member of the U.S...

  issuing weekly press releases entitled "The Iraq Accountability Project: A Wrap-Up of This Week's Senate Oversight on Iraq" with sound bites from select testimonies to the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

On January 17, Moveon.org released an ad that identifies the surge strategy as "McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

's idea". The NYT reports that [presidential candidate] "John Edwards
John Edwards
Johnny Reid "John" Edwards is an American politician, who served as a U.S. Senator from North Carolina. He was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 2004, and was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008.He defeated incumbent Republican Lauch Faircloth in...

 has taken to referring to the administration proposal as 'the McCain Doctrine.'"

On January 18, the LA times
Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It was the second-largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States in 2008 and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country....

 released a Bloomberg
Bloomberg L.P.
Bloomberg L.P. is an American privately held financial software, media, and data company. Bloomberg makes up one third of the $16 billion global financial data market with estimated revenue of $6.9 billion. Bloomberg L.P...

 poll that said 60 percent of those polled opposed the troop surge, 51 percent want Congress to try to block Bush from sending more soldiers, and 65 percent disapprove of the president's handling of the war. Meanwhile, a Fox News Poll reported that 59 percent to 36 percent, Americans oppose sending more U.S. troops to Iraq

Congress


On January 16, Republican Chuck Hagel
Chuck Hagel
Charles Timothy "Chuck" Hagel is a former United States Senator from Nebraska. A member of the Republican Party, he was first elected in 1996 and was reelected in 2002...

, Delaware Democrat Joe Biden
Joe Biden
Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. is the 47th and current Vice President of the United States, serving under President Barack Obama...

 (Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair), and Michigan Democrat Carl Levin
Carl Levin
Carl Milton Levin is a Jewish-American United States Senator from Michigan, serving since 1979. He is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services. He is a member of the Democratic Party....

 (Armed Services Committee
Armed Services Committee
The term Armed Services Committee may refer to:*United States House Committee on Armed Services*United States Senate Committee on Armed Services...

 chair) co-sponsored a non-binding resolution
Non-binding resolution
A non-binding resolution is a written motion adopted by a deliberative body that cannot progress into a law. The substance of the resolution can be anything that can normally be proposed as a motion....

 that says it is “not in the national interest of the United States to deepen its military involvement in Iraq.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats in her chamber would back a non-binding resolution
Non-binding resolution
A non-binding resolution is a written motion adopted by a deliberative body that cannot progress into a law. The substance of the resolution can be anything that can normally be proposed as a motion....

 "declaring that President Bush's decision to send additional troops to Iraq is 'not in the national interest of the United States.'" The Washington Times reported Pelosi "has made clear her disdain for the 'surge' proposal" since before Bush unveiled it last week, but her latest remarks "were her first indication of the language that she will want the House to approve

After three days of debate, on February 16, 2007 the House of Representatives passed House Concurrent Resolution
Concurrent resolution
A concurrent resolution is a resolution adopted by both houses of a bicameral legislature that lacks the force of law and does not require the approval of the chief executive.-United States Congress:...

 (HCR) 63 on a vote of 246 to 182. The resolution states:
  1. Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and
  2. Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.


Following passage in the House, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) convened an unusual Saturday session of the Senate on February 17, 2007, to consider an identically-worded resolution. However, the measure was tabled when a cloture
Cloture
In parliamentary procedure, cloture is a motion or process aimed at bringing debate to a quick end. It is also called closure or, informally, a guillotine. The cloture procedure originated in the French National Assembly, from which the name is taken. Clôture is French for "ending" or "conclusion"...

 motion failed on a 56-34 vote (four votes short of the 60 votes needed to end debate).

Pelosi announced that despite opposition to the surge, she would not push for blocking congressional funding for additional troops

Personnel changes


In addition to the January 5 AEI report press conference, the press reported on several public announcements by the Bush Administration on January 5 that they attributed to the new Iraq initiative, as follows:
  • U.S. National Intelligence Director
    United States Director of National Intelligence
    The Director of National Intelligence , is the United States government official subject to the authority, direction and control of the President, who is responsible under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 for:...

    John Negroponte
    John Negroponte
    John Dimitri Negroponte is an American diplomat. He is currently a research fellow and lecturer in international affairs at Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs...

     resigns. United States President George W. Bush
    George W. Bush
    George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

     appoints him Deputy Secretary of State
    United States Deputy Secretary of State
    The Deputy Secretary of State of the United States is the chief assistant to the Secretary of State. If the Secretary of State resigns or dies, the Deputy Secretary of State becomes Acting Secretary of State until the President nominates and the Senate confirms a replacement. The position was...

     according to officials. Retired Admiral John M. McConnell
    John M. McConnell
    John Michael "Mike" McConnell is a former vice admiral in the United States Navy. During his naval career he served as Director of the National Security Agency from 1992 to 1996...

     will take his place.
  • CENTCOM
    United States Central Command
    The United States Central Command is a theater-level Unified Combatant Command unit of the U.S. armed forces, established in 1983 under the operational control of the U.S. Secretary of Defense...

     commander
    – Navy Admiral
    Admiral
    Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

     William Fallon replaces General John Abizaid
    John Abizaid
    John Philip Abizaid, AO is a retired General in the United States Army and former Commander of the United States Central Command , overseeing American military operations in a 27-country region, from the Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, to South and Central Asia, covering much of the Middle...

     as CENTCOM
    United States Central Command
    The United States Central Command is a theater-level Unified Combatant Command unit of the U.S. armed forces, established in 1983 under the operational control of the U.S. Secretary of Defense...

     commander
  • Commander of Multinational Force Iraqcounter-insurgency
    Counter-insurgency
    A counter-insurgency or counterinsurgency involves actions taken by the recognized government of a nation to contain or quell an insurgency taken up against it...

     expert General
    General
    A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

     David Petraeus
    David Petraeus
    David Howell Petraeus is the current Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, sworn in on September 6, 2011. Prior to his assuming the directorship of the CIA, Petraeus was a four-star general serving over 37 years in the United States Army. His last assignments in the Army were as commander...

     replaces General George Casey
    George William Casey Jr.
    George William Casey, Jr. is a former United States Army four-star general who last served as the 36th Chief of Staff of the United States Army from April 10, 2007 to April 11, 2011...

     as Commander of Multinational Force Iraq.
  • U.S. Ambassador to Iraq
    United States Ambassador to Iraq
    This is a list of United States ambassadors, or lower-ranking heads of a diplomatic mission to Iraq.* Alexander K. Sloan - Chargé d'Affaires* Paul Knabenshue - Minister* Thomas M. Wilson - Minister* Loy W...

     and ambassador to the United Nations
    – Bush announced the appointment of U.S. diplomat Ryan C. Crocker
    Ryan Crocker
    Ryan Clark Crocker is a Career Ambassador within the United States Foreign Service and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He currently is the United States Ambassador to Afghanistan. He was the United States Ambassador to Iraq until 2009; he previously served as the U.S...

     as the new ambassador
    Ambassador
    An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation and is usually accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization....

     to Iraq. Zalmay Khalilzad
    Zalmay Khalilzad
    Zalmay Mamozy Khalilzad is a counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and president of Khalilzad Associates, an international business consulting firm based in Washington, DC. He was the United States Ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush...

    , then U.S. ambassador to Iraq, was nominated to replace Alejandro Daniel Wolff
    Alejandro Daniel Wolff
    Alejandro Daniel Wolff , an American diplomat, is the US Ambassador to Chile. He was the acting U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations...

     as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
    United States Ambassador to the United Nations
    The United States Ambassador to the United Nations is the leader of the U.S. delegation, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. The position is more formally known as the "Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, with the rank and status of Ambassador...

    . Khalilzad was confirmed by the Senate
    United States Senate
    The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

    , he was the first Muslim
    Muslim
    A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

     to serve in the position, and he was the highest serving Muslim-American official in the U.S. government
    Federal government of the United States
    The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

    .
  • White House Counsel
    White House Counsel
    The White House Counsel is a staff appointee of the President of the United States.-Role:The Counsel's role is to advise the President on all legal issues concerning the President and the White House...

    Harriet Miers
    Harriet Miers
    Harriet Ellan Miers is an American lawyer and former White House Counsel. In 2005, she was nominated by President George W. Bush to be an Associate Justice of the U.S...

     is leaving, White House spokesman Tony Snow said. The counsel advises the president on legal aspects of military actions

Units deployed


The five U.S. Army brigades committed to Iraq as part of the surge were
  1. 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division (Infantry): 3,447 troops. Deployed to Baghdad, January 2007
  2. 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division
    4th Brigade (US 1st Infantry Division)
    The Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division is the formation bundling all Army Aviation assets of the US Army's 1st Infantry Division.-1980s History:...

     (Infantry): 3,447 troops. Deployed to Baghdad, February 2007
  3. 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Heavy): 3,784 troops. Deployed to southern Baghdad Belts
    Baghdad Belts
    The Baghdad Belts are the residential, agricultural and industrial areas, as well as communications and transportation infrastructure that encircle the Iraqi capital and connect it to other areas in Iraq...

    , March 2007
  4. 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker): 3,921 troops. Deployed to Diyala province, April 2007
  5. 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Heavy): 3,784 troops. Deployed to the southeast of Baghdad, May 2007

This brought the number of U.S. brigades in Iraq from 15 to 20. Additionally, 4,000 Marines
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 in Al Anbar had their 7 month tour extended. These included Marines from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit
13th Marine Expeditionary Unit
The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit is one of seven Marine Expeditionary Units currently in existence in the United States Marine Corps. The Marine Expeditionary Unit is a Marine Air Ground Task Force with a strength of about 2,200 personnel. The MEU consists of a command element, a reinforced...

, the 1st Battalion 6th Marines
1st Battalion 6th Marines
The 1st Battalion, 6th Marines is an infantry battalion in the United States Marine Corps based in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. It consists of approximately 1,100 Marines and Sailors...

 and the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines. Most of the 150,000 Army personnel had their 12 month tours extended as well. By July, 2007, the percentage of the mobilized Army deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan was almost 30%; the percentage of the mobilized Marine Corps deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan was 13.5%.

Operations


The plan began with a major operation to secure Baghdad, codenamed Operation Fardh al-Qanoon (Operation Imposing Law), which was launched in February 2007. However, only in mid-June 2007, with the full deployment of the 28,000 additional U.S. troops, could major counter-insurgency efforts get fully under way. Operation Phantom Thunder
Operation Phantom Thunder
Operation Phantom Thunder began on June 16, 2007, when Multi-National Force-Iraq launched major offensive operations against al-Qaeda and other extremist terrorists operating throughout Iraq...

 was launched throughout Iraq on June 16, with a number of subordinate operations targeting insurgents in Diyala province, Anbar province and the southern Baghdad Belts. The additional surge troops also participated in Operation Phantom Strike
Operation Phantom Strike
Operation Phantom Strike was a major offensive launched by the Multi-National Corps - Iraq on August 15, 2007 in a crackdown to disrupt Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Shia extremist operations in Iraq. It consisted of a number of simultaneous operations throughout Iraq focused on pursuing remaining AQI...

 and Operation Phantom Phoenix
Operation Phantom Phoenix
Operation Phantom Phoenix was a major nation-wide offensive launched by the Multinational Force Iraq on January 8, 2008 in an attempt to build on the success of the two previous corps-level operations, Operation Phantom Thunder and Operation Phantom Strike and further reduce violence and secure...

, named after the III "Phantom" Corps which was the major U.S. unit in Iraq throughout 2007.

Counterinsurgency strategy


Counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq changed significantly under the command of General Petraeus since the 2007 troop surge began. The newer approach attempts to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people through building relationships, preventing civilian casualties and compromising with and even hiring some former enemies.

Instead of seeing every Iraqi as a potential enemy, the current COIN strategy focuses on building relationships and getting cooperation from the Iraqis against Al Qaeda and minimizing the number of enemies for U.S. forces. The beliefe is, that maintaining a long term presence of troops in a community improves security and allows for relationships and trust to develop between the locals and the U.S. military. Civilian casualties are minimized by carefully measured use of force. This means less bombing and overwhelming fire power, and more soldiers using restraint and even sometimes taking more risk in the process.

Another method of gaining cooperation is by paying locals, including former insurgents, to work as local security forces. Former Sunni insurgents have been hired by the U.S. military to stop cooperating with Al Qaeda and to start fighting against them.

However, opponents to occupation such as US Army Col. David H. Hackworth (Ret.) responding to whether he thought that British soldiers are better at nation-building than the Americans?, "They were very good at lining up local folks to do the job like operating the sewers and turning on the electricity. Far better than us -- we are heavy-handed, and in Iraq we don't understand the people and the culture. Thus we did not immediately employ locals in police and military activities to get them to build and stabilize their nation."

CNN war correspondent Michael Ware, who has reported from Iraq since before the U.S. invasion in 2003 had a similar dim view of occupation saying, "there will be very much mixed reaction in Iraq” to a long-term troop presence, but he added, “what’s the point and will it be worth it?” Mr. Ware contends that occupation could, "ferment further resentment [towards the U.S]."

Security situation


Despite a massive security crackdown in Baghdad associated with the surge in coalition troop strength, the monthly death toll in Iraq rose 15% in March 2007. 1,869 Iraqi civilians were killed and 2,719 were wounded in March, compared to 1,646 killed and 2,701 wounded in February. In March, 165 Iraqi policemen were killed against 131 the previous month, while 44 Iraqi soldiers died compared to 29 in February. US military deaths in March were nearly double those of the Iraqi army, despite Iraqi forces leading the security crackdown in Baghdad. The death toll among insurgent militants fell to 481 in March, compared to 586 killed in February; however, the number of arrests jumped to 5,664 in March against 1,921 in February.

Three months after the start of the surge, troops controlled less than a third of the capital, far short of the initial goal, according to an internal military assessment completed in May 2007. Violence was especially chronic in mixed Shiite-Sunni neighborhoods in western Baghdad. Improvements had not yet been widespread or lasting across Baghdad.

On September 10, 2007, David Petraeus
David Petraeus
David Howell Petraeus is the current Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, sworn in on September 6, 2011. Prior to his assuming the directorship of the CIA, Petraeus was a four-star general serving over 37 years in the United States Army. His last assignments in the Army were as commander...

 delivered his part of the Report to Congress on the Situation in Iraq
Report to Congress on the Situation in Iraq
The Report to Congress on the Situation in Iraq was a two-part report released on September 10, 2007 by General of the Multinational force in Iraq David H. Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker on progress by the Iraqi government in the ongoing Iraq War...

. He concluded that "the military objectives of the surge are, in large measure, being met." He cited what he called recent consistent declines in security incidents, which he attributed to recent blows dealt against Al-Qaeda in Iraq
Al-Qaeda in Iraq
Al-Qaeda in Iraq is a popular name for the Iraqi division of the international Salafi jihadi militant organization al-Qaeda. It is recognized as a part of the greater Iraqi insurgency....

 during the surge. He added that "we have also disrupted Shia militia extremists, capturing the head and numerous other leaders of the Iranian-supported Special Groups, along with a senior Lebanese Hezbollah operative supporting Iran's activities in Iraq." He argued that Coalition and Iraqi operations had drastically reduced ethno-sectarian violence in the country, though he stated that the gains were not entirely even. He recommended a gradual drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq with a goal of reaching pre-surge troop levels by July 2008 and stated that further withdraws would be "premature."

Michael O'Hanlon
Michael O'Hanlon
Michael Edward O'Hanlon is a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, specializing in defense and foreign policy issues. He began his career as a budget analyst in the defense field.-Education and early career:...

 and Jason H. Campbell of the Brookings Institution
Brookings Institution
The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C., in the United States. One of Washington's oldest think tanks, Brookings conducts research and education in the social sciences, primarily in economics, metropolitan policy, governance, foreign policy, and...

 stated on December 22, 2007 that Iraq’s security environment had reached its best levels since early 2004 and credited Petraeus' strategy for the improvement. CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 stated that month that the monthly death rate for US troops in Iraq had hit its second lowest point during the entire course of the war. Military representatives attributed the successful reduction of violence and casualties directly to the troop surge. At the same time, the Iraqi Ministry of Interior reported similar reductions for civilian deaths.

However, on September 6, 2007, a report by an independent military commission headed by General James Jones found that the decrease in violence may be due to areas being overrun by either Shias or Sunnis. In addition, in August 2007, the International Organization for Migration and the Iraqi Red Crescent Organization indicate that more have fled since the troop increase.

On February 16, 2008, Iraqi Defense Minister Abdel Qader Jassim Mohammed told reporters that the surge was "working very well" and that Iraq has a "pressing" need for troops to stay to secure Iraqi borders.
He stated that "Results for 2007 prove that– Baghdad is good now".

In June 2008, the U.S. Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 reported that "the security, political and economic trends in Iraq continue to be positive; however, they remain fragile, reversible and uneven."
In the month of July, 2008, US forces lost only 13 soldiers, the lowest number of casualties sustained by US troops in one month since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Also, a report by the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, given to Congress in May 2008, and published July 1, stated that the Iraqi government had met 15 of the 18 political benchmarks set out for them.

Political system and economy


The US Government Accountability Office
Government Accountability Office
The Government Accountability Office is the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of the United States Congress. It is located in the legislative branch of the United States government.-History:...

 (GAO) reported on September 2, 2007 that the Iraqi government had only met three of the eighteen benchmarks created by the US Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 in June 2006. Two other government reports measuring progress in Iraq, a National Intelligence Estimate and an independent commission assessment by retired general James L. Jones
James L. Jones
James Logan Jones, Jr. is the former United States National Security Advisor and a retired United States Marine Corps General....

, were published for Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 in fall 2007. USA Today
USA Today
USA Today is a national American daily newspaper published by the Gannett Company. It was founded by Al Neuharth. The newspaper vies with The Wall Street Journal for the position of having the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States, something it previously held since 2003...

compared the findings. The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

also did so. Another GAO
Government Accountability Office
The Government Accountability Office is the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of the United States Congress. It is located in the legislative branch of the United States government.-History:...

 report stated that the Iraqi Government did not meet 11 of the 18 benchmark measures as of August 30, 2007. On September 14, a White House
George W. Bush administration
The presidency of George W. Bush began on January 20, 2001, when he was inaugurated as the 43rd President of the United States of America. The oldest son of former president George H. W. Bush, George W...

 survey reported "satisfactory" progress on 9 of the 18 benchmarks.

Lionel Beehner of the nonpartisan
Nonpartisan
In political science, nonpartisan denotes an election, event, organization or person in which there is no formally declared association with a political party affiliation....

 Council of Foreign Relations has called the benchmarks "vague because the metrics to measure them are imprecise." The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

stated on May 13 that "Nobody in Washington seems to agree on what progress actually means– or how, precisely, it might be measured." General
General
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

 David Petraeus
David Petraeus
David Howell Petraeus is the current Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, sworn in on September 6, 2011. Prior to his assuming the directorship of the CIA, Petraeus was a four-star general serving over 37 years in the United States Army. His last assignments in the Army were as commander...

, commander of the Multinational force in Iraq
Multinational force in Iraq
The Multi-National Force – Iraq was a military command, led by the United States, which was responsible for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Multi-National Force – Iraq replaced the previous force, Combined Joint Task Force 7, on 15 May 2004, and was later itself reorganized into its successor, United...

, has stated that his recommendations on troop strength are not dependent on the Iraqi government's ability to meet the benchmarks.

On December 2, 2007, the Sunni Arab Iraqi Accord Front
Iraqi Accord Front
The Iraqi Accord Front or Iraqi Accordance Front also known as Tawafuq is an Iraqi Sunni-Islamist political coalition created on October 26, 2005 by the Iraqi Islamic Party to contest the December 2005 general election...

 called for the end to their boycott of the Iraq Parliament. On January 20, 2008, Iraq's parliament passed a law to let members of the Ba’ath party return to public life, a major U.S. congressional benchmark for the success of Iraqi government. That month, the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 (IMF) stated that Iraq’s economy would expand significantly from the previous year’s lows. Mohsin Khan, the IMF’s director for the Middle East, said Iraqi oil production was forecast to climb by 200000 oilbbl/d to 2.2 Moilbbl/d in 2008. Also reported by the IMF was that Iraq's gross domestic product growth is expected to jump significantly up to over 7 percent, in 2008 and 2009, from just 1.3 percent in 2007

On December 22, 2007, Michael O'Hanlon
Michael O'Hanlon
Michael Edward O'Hanlon is a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, specializing in defense and foreign policy issues. He began his career as a budget analyst in the defense field.-Education and early career:...

 and Jason H. Campbell of the Brookings Institution
Brookings Institution
The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C., in the United States. One of Washington's oldest think tanks, Brookings conducts research and education in the social sciences, primarily in economics, metropolitan policy, governance, foreign policy, and...

 called Iraq's economy and political system to be "only marginally better than a year ago". The envoy to Iraq reported on the dialogue between the Sunni and Shia communities and praised the government's work in late 2007. The envoy, Staffan de Mistura
Staffan de Mistura
Staffan de Mistura is a long-serving Italian-Swedish diplomat. After a 36 year career in various UN agencies, United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon appointed him as his Special Representative for Iraq on 11 September 2007...

, said he would present a positive picture of progress in Iraq in a report to the UN Security Council despite earlier serious misgivings. He said, "At the beginning of [2007]... we were genuinely concerned by the lack of progress on national dialogue, today that has substantially changed. It has changed our mind from being worried or from being pessimistic." The UN report would, he said, "compliment" Iraq's government on its work at fostering reconciliation.

In January 2008, Council of Foreign Relations fellow Michael O'Hanlon
Michael O'Hanlon
Michael Edward O'Hanlon is a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, specializing in defense and foreign policy issues. He began his career as a budget analyst in the defense field.-Education and early career:...

 stated that "Overall, Iraq's political system probably merits a grade of roughly C for its performance over the last 12 months." He also stated that "the pace of progress is finally picking up."

On February 13, 2008, the Iraqi parliament passed three pieces of legislation that were considered contentious. The three measures were an amnesty law, a law that defines the scope of provincial powers, and the budget for 2008. The amnesty law was one of the benchmarks set by Bush. The provincial powers law includes a provision for provincial elections, another key benchmark. And the budget should pave the way for the creation of up to 700,000 new jobs for Iraqis.

USA Today
USA Today
USA Today is a national American daily newspaper published by the Gannett Company. It was founded by Al Neuharth. The newspaper vies with The Wall Street Journal for the position of having the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States, something it previously held since 2003...

 stated on February 17, 2008 that US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker
Ryan Crocker
Ryan Clark Crocker is a Career Ambassador within the United States Foreign Service and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He currently is the United States Ambassador to Afghanistan. He was the United States Ambassador to Iraq until 2009; he previously served as the U.S...

 "may be hard-pressed to argue that Iraqis have met political benchmarks Congress sought" and contrasted the political progress with the recent military progress.

Interpretation of results


Whether the surge led to the improvement in Iraqi security, or other factors caused it, is disputed by some. Council of Foreign Relations fellow Noah Feldman
Noah Feldman
Noah Feldman is an American author and professor of law at Harvard Law School.-Education and career:Feldman grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, where he attended the Maimonides School....

 has remarked that:

Support


Both critics of the surge and independent news services have stated that the conventional wisdom
Conventional wisdom
Conventional wisdom is a term used to describe ideas or explanations that are generally accepted as true by the public or by experts in a field. Such ideas or explanations, though widely held, are unexamined. Unqualified societal discourse preserves the status quo. It codifies existing social...

 in the United States media is that the surge 'worked'.
In June 2008, correspondents on Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer
Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer
Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer was a Sunday talk show hosted by Wolf Blitzer on CNN and broadcast around the world by CNN International. The show's slogan was The last word in Sunday talk and comments made on the show were often featured in the following Monday's news headlines.The show, launched...

stated that "few would argue about the success of the so-called surge in Iraq". Time has stated that "the surge is a fragile and limited success, an operation that has helped stabilize the capital and its surroundings." The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

has stated that "The surge, clearly, has worked, at least for now... The result, now visible in the streets, is a calm unlike any the country has seen since the American invasion".

Peter Mansoor, General Petraeus's executive officer and author of the Baghdad at Sunrise: A Brigade Commander's War in Iraq, stated in a August 2008 The Washington Post op-ed
Op-ed
An op-ed, abbreviated from opposite the editorial page , is a newspaper article that expresses the opinions of a named writer who is usually unaffiliated with the newspaper's editorial board...

 that "The Iraq war is not over, but our war effort is on a firmer foundation... The surge has created the space and time for the competition for power and resources in Iraq to play out in the political realm, with words instead of bombs." Blogger and independent reporter Michael Yon
Michael Yon
Michael Yon is an American writer and photographer. He served in the Special Forces in the early-1980s, and he became a general freelance writer in the mid-1990s. He focused on military writing after the invasion of Iraq...

, who has been embedded with the troops in Iraq for years, had suggested the surge strategy before it was formalized. In his book, Moment of Truth in Iraq, Yon argued that Petraeus had turned defeat into victory in Iraq and that the surge had succeeded. In July 2008, Yon stated in a New York Daily News
New York Daily News
The Daily News of New York City is the fourth most widely circulated daily newspaper in the United States with a daily circulation of 605,677, as of November 1, 2011....

editorial that "'The war in Iraq is over... the Iraqi people won."

Historian Larry Schweikart
Larry Schweikart
Larry E. Schweikart is an American historian and professor of history at the University of Dayton. He is the author of more than a dozen books....

 argued in his book America's Victories: Why the U.S. Wins Wars, that the surge's success, in part, came from the incredible casualties the U.S. military inflicted on al-Qaeda in Iraq and on the "insurgents" from 2003 to 2006---some 40,000 killed, about 200,000 wounded, 20,000 captured, and nearly 10,000 deserted. He has stated that those levels of attrition on an enemy the estimated size of al-Qaeda were substantial and deeply damaging, not only to the terrorists' efforts in Iraq, but had the effect of depleting them worldwide. Moreover, Schweikart argued, virtually all estimates of enemy casualties were severely undercounted (as are all numbers of guerilla casualties) given the inability to know identify bodies which were completely annihilated by explosives or to count carcasses dragged away, as well as how many would die later after attempted medical treatment by other Al Queda sympathizers.

Opposition


Journalist Patrick Cockburn
Patrick Cockburn
Patrick Cockburn is an Irish journalist who has been a Middle East correspondent since 1979 for the Financial Times and, presently, The Independent....

 has stated that the reduction in violence was a direct result of ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing is a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic orreligious group from certain geographic areas....

 by the Shia-led Iraqi government and Shia militias against Sunnis. He has stated that "the battle for Baghdad in 2006-07 was won by the Shia, who now control three-quarters of the capital. These demographic changes appear permanent; Sunnis who try to get their houses back face assassination." UCLA professor of geography John Agnew
John A. Agnew
John A. Agnew is a prominent British-American political geographer. Agnew was educated at the Universities of Exeter and Liverpool in England and Ohio State in the United States.-Life and career:...

 released a study in mid-September 2008 stating that violence has declined in Baghdad "because of intercommunal violence that reached a climax as the surge was beginning," said that "By the launch of the surge, many of the targets of conflict had either been killed or fled the country, and they turned off the lights when they left."

Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward
Bob Woodward
Robert Upshur Woodward is an American investigative journalist and non-fiction author. He has worked for The Washington Post since 1971 as a reporter, and is currently an associate editor of the Post....

 has interviewed U.S. government sources according to whom the US "surge" was not the primary reason for the drop in violence in 2007-2008. Instead, according to his view, the reduction of violence was due to new covert techniques by US military and intelligence officials to find, target and kill insurgents.

Some, such as then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Patricia D'Alesandro Pelosi is the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives and served as the 60th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011...

, have credited the Iranian government for all or part of the reduction in violence. Pelosi stated in May 2008 that "some of the success of the surge is that the goodwill of the Iranians-they decided in Basra when the fighting would end, they negotiated that cessation of hostilities-the Iranians." Cockburn has also stated that the Iranians played the major role.

Other commentators have pointed to the Sunni Awakening (which started in 2005) as the most important reason for the decline in Iraqi violence. David Kilcullen
David Kilcullen
David John Kilcullen F.R.G.S is an Australian author and consultant who is a leading theorist on counterinsurgency and counterterrorism. In 2007 he served as the Senior Counterinsurgency Adviser to the Commander of the Multi-National Force - Iraq responsible for planning and executing the Joint...

, General Petraeus's counterinsurgency and troop surge adviser, believes that "the tribal revolt was arguably the most significant change in the Iraqi operating environment in several years."

One article mentions that "Currently, the dominant U.S presence in Iraq allows the rest of the world to avoid responsibility for stability in and around Iraq even as everyone realizes the stakes involved". In addition "A plan to draw down U.S forces would therefore contribute to the success of a larger diplomatic strategy, prompting Middle Eastern states, European governments, and the UN to be more constructive and proactive in working to salvage stability in the Persian Gulf"

Congressional Democrats believe military progress has been made in Iraq but that the political progress that President Bush gave as the primary reason for the surge has not occurred. They have continued to call for a withdrawal of American troops. In February 2008, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Patricia D'Alesandro Pelosi is the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives and served as the 60th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011...

 told reporters that "God knows, anytime our military men and women go into a military exercise, we want them to succeed, and they did. The politics did not follow. So they can paint whatever picture they want on it; the goal has not been accomplished. The tragedies, the casualties continue. We are going in the wrong direction in Iraq." Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, having already voted to support Petraeus, now stated on Fox News Sunday
Fox News Sunday
Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace is a public affairs program on the Fox network, hosted by Chris Wallace and airing on Sunday mornings. The show began on April 28, 1996, which predated the launch of Fox News Channel, and usually talks about items similar to Sunday morning talk shows...

that month that "the so-called surge was designed to give the Iraqi government the space and time to make the tough decisions that only the Iraqis can make for themselves. … And I think that putting forward a very clear objective of beginning to withdraw our troops is the best way to get the Iraqis to take responsibility."

Public opinion


An early February 2008 Gallup Poll found that 43% of Americans think the troop increase is "making the situation there better". A CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 poll conducted during the same period found that 52% think that US forces are "making progress in improving conditions in Iraq and bringing an end to the violence in that country" while 45% disagree. A poll released by the Pew Research Center
Pew Research Center
The Pew Research Center is an American think tank organization based in Washington, D.C. that provides information on issues, attitudes and trends shaping the United States and the world. The Center and its projects receive funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts. In 1990, Donald S...

 on the same day found that 48% of those polled believed the war to be going well, up from 30% a year earlier, with a similar number supporting keeping troops in Iraq "until the situation has stabilized". A majority still believed the war to be a wrong decision in the first place. A commentary on the poll by National Public Radio called some of its results a "sign that the troop surge is being seen as successful." Nonetheless, an Opinion Research Corporation
Opinion Research Corporation
Opinion Research Corporation, based in Princeton, New Jersey, is a demographic, health, and market research company. It was founded in 1938 by Claude Robinson and George Gallup, although Gallup quickly left the firm in 1939....

 poll conducted in June 2008 found that 68% of Americans were opposed to the war in Iraq and that 64% of Americans want to see the next President remove most troops from Iraq within a few months of taking office. A Summer 2008 CBS News
CBS News
CBS News is the news division of American television and radio network CBS. The current chairman is Jeff Fager who is also the executive producer of 60 Minutes, while the current president of CBS News is David Rhodes. CBS News' flagship program is the CBS Evening News, hosted by the network's main...

 poll found that 46% think it improved the situation in Iraq while 11% think it made it worse and 32% think it had no impact.

A March 2008 poll of Iraq found that 42% of Iraqis call attacks on U.S. forces acceptable and that only 4% of Iraqis believe that U.S. forces are responsible for the drop in violence. The poll also found that 61% believed that the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq was actually worsening the security situation. In July 2008, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki and Iraqi National security advisor Muwaffaq Al-Rubaie both sought a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops.

See also


  • Timeline of the Iraq War troop surge of 2007
    Timeline of the Iraq War troop surge of 2007
    -January 2007:U.S. troop levels in Iraq are at 132,000.*January 5, 2007: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to Bush stating, “Surging forces is a strategy that you have already tried and that has already failed...

  • American Enterprise Institute
    American Enterprise Institute
    The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a conservative think tank founded in 1943. Its stated mission is "to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism—limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and...

  • Iraq Study Group
    Iraq Study Group
    The Iraq Study group , was a ten-person bipartisan panel appointed on March 15, 2006, by the United States Congress, that was charged with assessing the situation in Iraq and the US-led Iraq War and making policy recommendations...

  • Iraq insurgency
  • Iraq withdrawal benchmarks
    Iraq withdrawal benchmarks
    The Iraq withdrawal benchmarks are a series of benchmarks the U.S. Government under the Bush administration have asked the Iraqi government to meet before the withdrawal of U.S...

  • July 12, 2007, Baghdad airstrike associated with WikiLeaks
    Wikileaks
    WikiLeaks is an international self-described not-for-profit organisation that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources, news leaks, and whistleblowers. Its website, launched in 2006 under The Sunshine Press organisation, claimed a database of more...

     in 2010
  • Kerry-Feingold Amendment
    Kerry-Feingold Amendment
    The Kerry and Feingold Amendment proposed the withdrawal of American Armed Forces from Iraq by July 2007 with the exception of a few to maintain security. The proposal was defeated in the United States Senate in a 86 to 13 vote.-Vote Summary:...

  • Report to Congress on the Situation in Iraq
    Report to Congress on the Situation in Iraq
    The Report to Congress on the Situation in Iraq was a two-part report released on September 10, 2007 by General of the Multinational force in Iraq David H. Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker on progress by the Iraqi government in the ongoing Iraq War...

  • Special Activities Division
    Special Activities Division
    The Special Activities Division is a division in the United States Central Intelligence Agency's National Clandestine Service responsible for covert operations known as "special activities"...

  • Strategic reset
    Strategic reset
    Strategic reset is a policy framework designed to stop counterproductive U.S. engagement in a fragmenting Iraq and to strengthen the United States' stance throughout the Middle East. In military terms, "reset" refers to "a series of actions to restore units to a desired level of combat capability...

  • United States general elections, 2006
    United States general elections, 2006
    The 2006 United States midterm elections were held on Tuesday, November 7, 2006. All United States House of Representatives seats and one third of the United States Senate seats were contested in this election, as well as 36 state governorships, many state legislatures, four territorial...

  • 2007 in Iraq
    2007 in Iraq
    -Incumbents:* President - Jalal Talabani* Prime Minister - Nouri al-Maliki* Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government ** President - Massoud Barzani** Prime Minister - Nechervan Idris Barzani-January:...

  • 110th United States Congress
    110th United States Congress
    The One Hundred Tenth United States Congress was the meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, between January 3, 2007, and January 3, 2009, during the last two years of the second term of President George W. Bush. It was composed of the Senate and the House of...

  • 2007 State of the Union address
    2007 State of the Union Address
    The 2007 State of the Union address was a speech given by United States President George W. Bush on Tuesday, January 23, 2007, at 9:13 P.M. EST. The speech was given in front of a joint session of Congress, presided over by Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Vice President...


External links