A timeline and photos of a costly war
Sunday marks 20 years since the US and coalition forces invaded Iraq on a mission to overthrow Saddam Hussein’s dictatorial regime and find weapons of mass destruction.
Former President George W. Bush and his administration bet the American public and the international community that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction. The coalition found no such weapons, and two years later the Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction, set up by Bush, acknowledged in a report that the “weapons of mass destruction” fiasco was “one of the most public – and Most Damaging – Intelligence Failures in Modern American History.
The forces succeeded in removing Saddam Hussein from power, setting the stage for a fraught nation-building project spanning nearly a decade.
When the United States withdrew in 2011, The costs of the war were high:
- At least 4,480 Americans are killed and more than 32,000 wounded
- At least 100,000 Iraqi civilians were killed
- No less than $806 billion was spent on the war
- It is believed that thousands of soldiers suffer from diseases Exposure to burns
In 2003, an American audience Still distraught from 9/11. 11, 2001 Terrorist attacks greatly supported the war. But public sentiment has changed today. Pew Research Center survey 2019 found 62% Or Americans think the war “wasn’t worth it.”. In the same survey, 64% of veterans shared the same opinion.
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Bush and the war supporters would continue to admit failure to find weapons of mass destruction, but the preservation of the world would. it was “much worse” If Hussein remained in power.
Iraq war pictures
in 2002 State of the Union castBush indicated that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction.
“This is a system that has something to hide from the civilized world,” Bush said. “Countries like these and their terrorist allies constitute the axis of evil… The United States of America will not allow the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons.”
Just over a month before the invasion, Secretary of State Colin Powell impassioned speech and presentation before the United Nations Security Council, Under the pretext that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction.
The speech helped swing American public opinion in favor of the war. Powell, who died in 2021, will continue to regret the speech.
“I will always regret it,” Powell said in an interview with the Harvard Gazette Five years later. “It was a huge mistake on the part of all parts of us and the intelligence community… I wish it had been different.”
Colin Powell:The late official gives his prestige to defend the cause of the Iraq war: “I will always regret it.”
As war became imminent, thousands of protesters demonstrated in the United States and around the world.
after The deadline set by Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq Bush announced the start of the invasion on the evening of March 19, 2003.
US airstrikes hit Iraq to clear the way for the invading forces.
After three weeks of fighting, American forces captured Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, and topped the statue of Hussein, symbolically ending his rule.
In May 2003, Bush declared that “mission accomplished,” but that the war would drag on for years as sectarian violence and insurgencies engulfed the country.
Hussain was arrested by US forces in December 2003. He will be tried and found guilty of crimes against humanity. He was executed in 2006.
The United States saw protests throughout the war.
President Barack Obama, elected in 2008, promised to withdraw troops from Iraq.
The United States completed its withdrawal from the country in December 2011, leaving security in the hands of the Iraqi government.
Major conflict and violence will continue to roil the country. A fugitive terrorist group, ISIS, is best known for emerging and conquering parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria in the mid-2010s.
today, Small network of 2500 American forces It is stationed in the country as part of the United States’ ongoing partnership with Iraq.
Contributing: Tom Vanden Brook and Dan Nowicki, USA TODAY Network; Associated Press