Skip to main content
‘White House Warriors’ Review: A Bullpen for Strategy
President George W. Bush meets with his National Security team in the White House Situation Room, Friday, March 10, 2006, on the latest developments in Iraq. (Eric Draper)
(Eric Draper)

‘White House Warriors’ Review: A Bullpen for Strategy

Arthur Herman

After the first success of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 a growing insurgency began to destabilize Iraq. Yet neither the Pentagon nor the field commanders seemed to know how to respond. Stephen Hadley, President Bush’s national security adviser, decided to ask two staffers on loan to the National Security Council—Meghan O’Sullivan from State and William Luti from the Pentagon—to come up with options. According to John Gans in “White House Warriors,” Mr. Hadley asked Mr. Luti, a Navy veteran: “If you had a clean sheet of paper, what would you do?” After crunching the numbers, Mr. Luti argued, with Ms. O’Sullivan’s help, that there were enough U.S. troops available to add up to five brigades to the American contingent in Iraq—that is, 20,000 to 25,000 soldiers. These fresh troops, Mr. Luti and Ms. O’Sullivan felt, could stabilize the country and even begin to reverse the situation on the ground.

Thus “the surge” was born—the campaign that set the table for a new counterinsurgency strategy led by Gen. David Petraeus. It was a classic example of the NSC’s capacity for quick outside-the-box thinking at times of crisis, in this case with spectacular results.

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal here

Related Articles

Modernizing the Missile Technology Control Regime

William Schneider

The Missile Technology Control Regine (MTCR) and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are the diplomatic foundation agreements for constraining ...

Continue Reading

Thinking Hard About Missile Defense

Bryan Clark & Henry Sokolski

Last month, Prime Minister Abe ignited a trans-Pacific debate over how best to protect Japan from North Korean missile attack by canceling Aegis-Ashor...

Continue Reading

Book Release: “Making India Great: The Promise of a Reluctant Global Power”

Aparna Pande

Making India Great seeks to explain the dichotomy that lies at the heart of the nation: its belief in being a great power and yet reluctance to consis...

Continue Reading