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In the 2006 U.S. midterm elections, the Republican Party lost control of both houses of Congress, largely because of voter dissatisfaction in the “swing” states with the conduct of the Iraq War up to that point. Soon after, President George W. Bush took the advice of a cohort of retired general officers and security intellectuals, several of whom were affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, and initiated a “surge” of U.S. forces in Iraq. These individuals had argued that to create the fundamental preconditions for an orderly U.S. liquidation of the Iraq War—“reconciliation” between Iraq’s Shia and Sunni political leaders and demobilization of their associated militias—the president needed to temporarily increase the number of combat brigades in Iraq from 15 ...

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