When people refer to the Iraq War, they generally refer to the conflict that began in 2003, and which officially ended in 2011. This skirmish led to the downfall of Saddam Hussein, Iraqi general and dictator. However, the conflict was not without its controversies, with US and UK figureheads at the time – George W Bush and Tony Blair, respectively – coming under fire for initiating a war without much of what was perceived to be public need.
In this fact file, we will be exploring the various facts about the Iraq War conflict which continues to be worth remembering – almost a decade after the conflict came to a close, and nearly 20 years after skirmishes were first initiated.
The Iraq War officially began as of March 20th, 2003. It was at this time when then US President George W Bush announced that the military would be operating in the country. His forces would initially try to remove Saddam Hussein by means of air strikes, though these would prove to be unsuccessful.
It is, however, important to remember how many lives were lost during the conflict. It is thought that at least 189,000 people lost their lives during the Iraq War, purely through direct effect. It is thought that hundreds of thousands more people, Iraqis, died following hardships suffered years afterwards.
It’s actually been surmised that little was gained by the US through the conflict other than removing Saddam Hussein. Some reports actually suggest that in an effort to bring western democracy to the state, forces actually did more harm than good to the country’s infrastructure, even damaging equal rights.
It’s thought that the war is still costing the world money to this day, as a result of interest. The total cost of the Iraq War is not yet known, though it is thought that it may peak at around $6 trillion or more. This is at direct odds with the figure of $60 million initially advised by the US government the year before Bush’s initial air strikes.
Saddam Hussein would eventually be captured hiding in a dark hole near Tikrit, on local farmland. He was captured in the December of 2003, put on trial, and eventually executed.
Controversially, then-US Vice President Dick Cheney was shown to be in charge of Halliburton, a company which received a contract worth $7 billion as a result of the conflict. Halliburton would go on to make almost $40 billion from the war.
It is thought that President Bush advised over 230 times that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which would be a leading reason for the conflicts to take place. However, it was never proven that weapons of mass destruction ever existed in the country.
There is still a divide over the status of WMDs in the country, despite the fact that none were found. Some claim that weapons were simply relocated to Syria. However, it is unclear whether we will ever know for sure – other than that there were no WMDs physically found in Iraq.
It was in January 2004 that the search for WMDs in Iraq officially ended. ‘We were almost all wrong’, then-US weapons inspection chief David Kay advised Congress. Even more crushingly for the government, it was declared in 2005 that not a single piece of intelligence on alleged WMDs pre-conflict actually transpired.
Following the end of the Iraq War, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) would go on to claim Iraq for themselves and would claim responsibility for multiple terrorist atrocities all over the world long after the conflict ended.
President Barack Obama, who succeeded Bush, would eventually remove forces from Iraq by 2011, over a period of two years.
More than 100,000 Iraqi people lost their lives during the war, with around 4,500 US soldiers and personnel also dying during the battles.
Bush stated that the war was ‘over’ as of May 1st, 2003, though the ripple effect would continue up until 2011, and then beyond in many different ways. Bush famously stated that this was a ‘war on terror’, which began following the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001.
Do you have any interesting facts about the Iraq War that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!