You’ve got to ask the question, what caused me to want to win?” George W. Bush, during his oral history for The Last Card: Inside George W. Bush’s Decision to Surge in Iraq
How does a president decide to send troops into battle? How does he or she weigh the contradictory, even conflicting advice from national security officials, military advisers, and those outside of government? Variations across time, individuals, and problems mean that Presidents have approached wartime decisions more like artists than engineers. They have drawn on bits of history, their interpretation of the national interest, and consideration of their fellow citizen’s views in making choices and crafting strategy.