The Surge: The Whole Story (2009)


Never-before-interviewed military personnel, including General Petraeus, recount their Iraq experience and how they reacted.


This 70 minute documentary, produced by ‘The Institute for the Study of War’, and directed by Bruce Van Dusen, takes a detailed look at the War in Iraq, in particular what happened in 2007, when sectarian violence was on the rise and the country was on the verge of chaos.

With the situation becoming desperate, a new strategy was needed…The Surge. General Petraeus and over 20,000 additional combat troops were sent to Iraq. One year later the rates of violence and sectarian killing had plummeted, and the fledgling government of Iraq was gaining control.

By late 2006, attacks on US troops and Iraqis reached nearly 5,000 per month and 2,500 to 3,000 Iraqis were being killed each month. Then came The Surge. Those in command were charged with the responsibility of making Iraqi citizens safe and restoring order – but they did not have a clue as to how they’d pull it off. In December, 2006, General Petraeus put his head down on his desk and wondered what he was doing there. Never-before-interviewed military personnel tell the story of what they found when they arrived in Iraq, and how they reacted. No history of the Iraq war is complete without this story, and the strategies employed by these men will likely be used elsewhere. Includes interviews with: General David Petraeus, General Nasier Abadi, Colonel Mike Garrett, Brigadier General John Campbell.

This then is a definitive account of how this new strategy succeeded beyond all expectations from those who were there. Every senior military officer and official who participated was interviewed including Generals David Petraeus and Ray Odierno, as well as Ambassador Ryan Crocker.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Bruce Van Dusen.
  • Producer(s):
    • Bob Fisher … executive producer.
    • Libby Geist … producer.
    • Kimberly Kagan … executive producer.
    • Bruce Van Dusen … executive producer.
  • Writer(s):
  • Music:
  • Cinematography: Bruce Liffiton.
  • Editor(s):
  • Production: Institute for the Study of War.
  • Distributor(s): Brainstorm Media.
  • Release Date: 01 December 2009.
  • Running Time: 68 minutes.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

Video Link

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