The Gamble: Key Documents

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Saturday, February 7, 2009; 2:31 PM

2006 Anbar Intelligence Assessment

A secret report filed by Col. Peter Devlin in August 2006 concludes that the U.S. military had lost Anbar Province to al-Qaeda forces. "The social and political situation has deteriorated to a point that MNF [Multi-National Forces] and ISF [Iraqi Security Forces] are no longer capable of militarily defeating the insurgency in al-Anbar... Underlying this decline in stability is the near complete collapse of social order in al-Anbar."

'We Are Losing Because We Are Not Winning'

A slide from an October 2006 Pentagon study concludes that U.S. forces were losing the war in Iraq. The document cites a "'short war' approach to a 'long war' problem.

Gen. Casey's Orders to Lt. Gen. Odierno

The "Bridging Strategy" outlined to Odierno on Dec. 4, 2006, called for U.S. forces to "move outside all major cities," reinforce Iraq's borders, and hasten the transition to Iraqi security forces, letting them handle fighting in the cities.

'Security Now'

Lt. Gen. Odierno's briefing to Gen. Petraeus from Feb. 7, 2007, lays out his plans for the surge. It's purpose was to "break the current cycle of sectarian violence, we must set the conditions for the [Iraqi Security Forces] to emerge as the dominant security force, able to protect the population and provide security in a fair and impartial manner. This operation will be Iraqi-led with Coalition support."

How to Win the War in Anbar

Capt. Travis Patriquin's briefing explaining the counterinsurgency effort to U.S. soldiers in Anbar Province. The briefing offered a key solution: talking to the sheikhs about making local militiamen members of the police force.


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