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The Last Card in the Deck: Inside George W. Bush’s Decision to Surge in Iraq

October 22 @ 11:30 am - 9:00 pm

This is the real story of how George W. Bush came to double-down on Iraq in the highest stakes gamble of his entire presidency. Drawing on extensive interviews with nearly thirty senior officials, including President Bush himself. The Last Card offers an unprecedented look into the process by which President Bush overruled much of the military leadership and many of his trusted advisors, and authorized the deployment of roughly 30,000 additional troops to the warzone in a bid to save Iraq from collapse in 2007.

Even a president at war is bound by rules of consensus and limited by the risk of constitutional crisis. What is to be achieved in the warzone must also be possible in Washington, D.C. Bush risked losing public esteem and courted political ruin by refusing to disengage from the costly war in Iraq. The Last Card is a portrait of leadership—firm and daring if flawed—in the Bush White House.

This event will include a daytime symposium and evening keynote, featuring members of the Bush administration who were interviewed for this project, and scholars from around the country who led the interviews and wrote assessments of the Surge decision for the book.


Luncheon Plenary, 11:30 AM- 1:00 PM
Meghan O’Sullivan, Peter Feaver, Dr. Timothy Sayle (Interviewer),

Panel 1: Participants Reflect – 1:30 PM -3:30 PM

Eric Edelman, William InbodenGeneral Douglas Lute, Brett McGurk   

Panel 2: Scholars Reflect – 3:45 PM-5:45 PM

Richard Immerman, Melvyn Leffler, Andrew Preston, Kori Schake, Hal Brands (Chair)

Evening Keynote, featuring Stephen Hadley – 7:30 PM -9:00 PM

Stephen Hadley Q&A with Jeffrey Engel


This event is hosted and co-sponsored by the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies and cos-sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth




October 22
11:30 am - 9:00 pm


Mack Ballroom (Umphrey Lee Center, SMU)
3300 Dyer St
Dallas, TX 75205
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