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The Iraq War - the United States

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The Iraq War

        Almost every American has heard of the Iraq War. It was the main topic of debate across the nation for almost all of the 2000’s.  Your first thought when you hear this topic is most likely the politics that surrounded this time. George Bush’s presidency, the supposed WMD’s that sparked the war that remain unfound. But few understand the specifics of the war and the events that surrounded it. It all began in 2003.

        The United States and coalition forces invaded Iraq on March 19, 2003 because Dictator Saddam Hussein refused to leave the country despite the deadline given by the U.S to flee or face war. Saddam was a target because he was believed to be building Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD’s), and because he was accused of several mass killings. (1) There were two phases of the war. (3) The first was simply known as phase one. The goals of this phase were to capture and control Iraq’s cities and then catch Saddam. This phase was proven to be the quickest. Coalition forces took over Iraq’s major cities and then captured Hussein later that year on December 13th, 2003. He was found hiding in the small Iraqi town of ad-Dwar. He stood trial and was found guilty of the accused mass killings and also crimes against humanity. He was sentenced to death by hanging and was executed a few years later on December 30, 2006. (1)

        The soldiers who fought against the U.S coalition in the name of Saddam were referred to as insurgents. They were composed of terrorists and criminals that were freed by Saddam the day before the invasion. Some fought for Saddam because they supported his beliefs or to try and rid their country of the attacking coalition. But several of these fighters were persuaded by the more obvious reason. Money. Insurgents were paid $1000 for every attack on the coalition and $5000 if a soldier was killed. The regime would also frequently place bounties on the high-value coalition targets, paying out large sums of money such as $80,000, as a way of trying to get them killed. Once Saddam was in the hands of the coalition, many of these money-seeking insurgents abandoned the regime. But despite several insurgents leaving and the lack of leadership within the regime, the remaining insurgents, which were mainly the loyalists and Al Qaeda terrorists, kept fighting. (2)

        With the first phase of the war completed in 2003, the goal, which would be known as phase two, was to liberate Iraq from the remaining insurgents. This would prove to be more difficult. An outbreak of violence and crime suddenly plagued Iraq’s major cities that were recently captured by the coalition. Casualty rates on all sides were booming and the U.S and ally forces struggled to keep these cities in their control. As a result the United States sent a large amount of much needed soldiers to the country in 2007 to help in the fight. This mass deployment became known as “The Surge.” The exact number of military personnel is still unknown but it is estimated to be around 30,000 troops. Still despite the strength in numbers the war continued until officials agreed on a withdrawal date for the troops, December 31, 2011, although they still kept several thousand troops in Iraq to sustain control of the cities to prevent the insurgents and terrorists from gaining control again.

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