U.S. Casualties in Operation Iraqi Freedom July 2003 - History

U.S. Casualties in Operation Iraqi Freedom July 2003 - History

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U.S. Casualties in Operation Iraqi Freedom July 2003

Total Casualties47
Service MemberAgeDate
1st Sgt. Christopher D. Coffin51July 1, 2003
Cpl. Travis J. Bradach-Nall21July 2, 2003
Pfc. Corey L. Small20July 2, 2003
Pfc. Edward James Herrgott20July 3, 2003
Sgt. David B. Parson30July 6, 2003
Spc. Jeffrey M. Wershow22July 6, 2003
Staff Sgt. Barry Sanford, Sr.46July 7, 2003
Sgt. Chad L. Keith21July 7, 2003
Sgt. 1st Class Craig A. Boling38July 8, 2003
Pvt. Robert L. McKinley23July 8, 2003
Sgt. Roger D. Rowe54July 9, 2003
Sgt. 1st Class Dan Henry Gabrielson39July 9, 2003
Lance Cpl. Jason Andrew Tetrault20July 9, 2003
Sgt. Melissa Valles26July 9, 2003
Spc. Christian Schultz20July 11, 2003
Spc. Joshua M. Neusche20July 12, 2003
Sgt. Jaror C. Puello-Coronado36July 13, 2003
Cpt. Paul J. Cassidy36July 13, 2003
Sgt. Michael T. Crockett27July 14, 2003
Lance Cpl. Cory Ryan Geurin18July 15, 2003
Spc. Ramon Reyes Torres29July 16, 2003
Petty Officer 3rd Class David J. Moreno26July 17, 2003
Sgt. Mason Douglas Whetstone30July 17, 2003
Spc. Joel L. Bertoldie20July 18, 2003
Second Lt. Jonathan D. Rozier25July 19, 2003
Sgt. Jason D. Jordan24July 20, 2003
Master Sgt. David A. Scott51July 20, 2003
Sgt. Justin W. Garvey23July 20, 2003
Sgt. 1st Class Christopher R. Willoughby29July 20, 2003
Cpl. Mark A. Bibby25July 21, 2003
Spc. Jon P. Fettig30July 22, 2003
Spc. Brett T. Christian27July 23, 2003
Joshua T. Byers29July 23, 2003
Cpl. Evan Asa Ashcraft24July 24, 2003
Pfc. Raheen Tyson Heighter22July 24, 2003
Staff Sgt. Hector R. Perez40July 24, 2003
Sgt. Juan M. Serrano31July 24, 2003
Spc. Jonathan P. Barnes21July 26, 2003
Pfc. Jonathan M. Cheatham19July 26, 2003
Sgt. Daniel K. Methvin22July 26, 2003
Pfc. Wilfredo Perez Jr.24July 26, 2003
Sgt. Heath A. McMillin29July 27, 2003
Spc. William J. Maher III35July 28, 2003
Sgt. Nathaniel Hart Jr.29July 28, 2003
1st Lt. Leif E. Nott24July 30, 2003
Pvt. Michael J. Deutsch21July 31, 2003
Spc. James I. Lambert III22July 31, 2003

Army Spc. Vincent Sebastian Ibarria

22, of San Antonio, died July 3 in a vehicle rollover accident in Farah, Afghanistan. Ibarria was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York. Ibarria’s awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Army Achievement Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon. The incident is under investigation.

The Pentagon announced the death of a soldier killed in a vehicle rollover accident in Afghanistan.

Spc. Vincent Sebastian Ibarria, 21, from San Antonio died July 3, in Farah, Afghanistan, according to a Pentagon media release. The incident is under investigation.

Ibarria was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Spc. Vincent Ibarria during this difficult time. The loss of any Mountain Soldier has a lasting impact on every member of the team. The 10th Mountain Division mourns the loss of Spc. Ibarria, he will be severely missed from our formations,” said Lt. Col. Kamil Sztalkoper, spokesperson for the 10th Mountain Division.

Ibarria’s awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Army Achievement Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon.

U.S. Casualties in Operation Iraqi Freedom July 2003 - History


"Toujours Prêt"

(Updated 5-30-08)

The unit that most Cold War era veterans knew as the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR) has recently fielded the Stryker Armored Vehicle and is now designated as the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment (SCR). The 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment is a military unit within the United States Army that can trace its lineage back to the early part of the 19th century. 2SCR has the distinction of being the longest continuously serving unit in the United States Army. The mission of the 2nd Cav is, upon receiving orders, to rapidly deploy and execute reconnaissance and security operations anywhere in the world and be prepared to fight upon arrival and win.

The 2nd Regiment of Dragoons was constituted on 23 May 1836 to fight in the Seminole Indian Campaigns in Florida. The Dragoon was basically a mounted infantryman. That type of unit was considered to be the most capable in defeating the agile and elusive Seminole. From these campaigns the Regiment earned their first Battle Streamer. The Second Dragoons then served on the Texas frontier guarding the western expansion of the nation. The regiment fought in the Mexican-American War, the early frontier Indian Wars, Bleeding Kansas, and the Mormon War in Utah.

When the Civil War began in the spring of 1861, the 2nd Dragoons made the long trek across the United States to join Federal Forces around Washington D.C. Elements of the unit arrived in time to participate in the First Battle of Bull Run. The 2nd Dragoons, like all mounted units, were re-organized and became the 2nd U.S. Cavalry on August 3, 1861. The Second U.S. Cavalry served in almost every major battle and campaign that the Federal Army of the Potomac participated in. The Regiment earned 14 Battle Streamers during the Civil War and three 2nd Cavalry Troopers were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

After the Civil War the 2nd Cavalry returned to the West. Through 1890 the Regiment participated in the Indian Wars. The 2nd Cavalry Regiment was scattered across the frontier, where they were called upon to keep the peace, explore the vast unknown lands of new territory, establish forts and develop road systems and telegraph lines. The 2nd U.S. Regiment of Cavalry added eleven additional Battle Streamers from the Indian Wars to their Colors. Fifteen more Troopers of the 2nd Cavalry were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during this period.

In 1898, during the Spanish-American War, the 2nd Cavalry deployed to Cuba, joining Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders in the fighting at El Canay, San Juan Hill, Aquadores, and Santiago. The 2nd Cavalry Regiment stayed in Cuba on occupation duty until 1903. From 1903 to 1906 and again from 1910 to 1912, the Regiment served in the Philippine Islands. There they conducted operations against the Moro Natives and the insurrection against the established Philippine government. Upon returning from the Philippines, the 2nd Cavalry was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas to conduct border security during the turbulent years of the Mexican Revolution.

World War I was another era during which the 2nd Cavalry Regiment distinguished itself. By 1917 the Regiment, based at Forts Ethan Allan, VT and Fort Myers, VA was training additional cavalry units for the coming war. Based on its reputation and history, General Pershing called on the Regiment to serve in the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) and in 1917 the Regiment deployed to Europe as the only American horse mounted Cavalry unit to fight in WWI. The Regiment served throughout the American sector conducting cavalry operations and was used as an exploitation force in several combat operations, working as Dragoons, dismounting to hold key terrain. Through these actions the Regiment proved that horse-mounted cavalry units still had value on the modern battlefield. The Second Cavalry remained with the Army of Occupation in Germany at Koblenz until August 1919.

During the Inter-War years, the 2nd Cavalry Regiment was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. There the Regiment performed peacetime duties as the Cavalry School Training Regiment from 1919 to 1939. At Fort Riley the Regiment experimented with the first armored cars, and in 1936, as more money became available for maneuvers, it participated in the first armored and cavalry maneuvers.

When the United States entered World War II on December 7, 1941, the 2nd U.S. Cavalry Regiment was deeply involved in training cavalry troopers in mechanized operations at Fort Riley. Adjustments were made within all of the existing Cavalry Regiments to help create new armored units that were needed to fight in Europe. After the restructuring, in January 1943, the Regiment was re-designated as the 2nd Cavalry Group (Mechanized).

During World War II, the Regiment, under the new designation of "2nd Cavalry Group," landed in France on July 19, 1944, becoming part of General Patton's Third Army. During this period, the Regiment became known as the "Ghosts of Patton's Army" due to their ability to conduct reconnaissance, materializing seemingly at will behind German lines. The Regiment made the deepest penetration of the war, arriving in Czechoslovakia before finally linking up with Soviet forces heading west. The Regiment also conducted a famous raid behind Soviet lines to rescue the famous Lipizzaner Stallions.

At the end of the war, units that held the lineage of the Second Dragoons were re-designated as the 2nd U.S. Constabulary Regiment. Their mission was to first serve as occupation forces, then as surveillance and security along the Iron Curtain of East Germany and Czechoslovakia. The Regiment remained in Germany for the next 47 years. The 2nd Constabulary Regiment was re-organized and re-designated the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in 1948. The 2nd ACR served along the East German and Czechoslovakian geopolitical borders for the remainder of the Cold War, until 1992. Throughout this period the Dragoons fielded newer weapons, tanks and equipment while serving on the forward edge of freedom's frontier.

When Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, the 2d ACR was a fully trained, combined arms combat unit, equipped with M1A1 Abrams Tanks and M-2 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicles. While the Regiment's peacetime mission had been defense and deterrence along the border, their wartime mission was to be the covering force for the U.S. VII Corps. In November of 1990 the 2nd ACR deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield (later Operation Desert Storm) where they would spearhead the VII Corps' attack. On the 26th of February 1991, the Regiment was heavily involved in blocking the Iraqi counterattack into Kuwait by seven of Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard Divisions. At a desolate spot deep in the eastern Iraqi desert the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment engaged the Tawakalna Division. This engagement became known as the "Battle of 73 Easting." The outcome of this battle was the destruction of the Iraqi armored force which earned the Regiment the Army's Valorous Unit Award. The actions against the Iraqi Divisions have become instructional examples of modern high intensity armored warfare.

Returning from the Gulf, the Regiment was relocated from Germany to Fort Lewis, Washington after 49 years of continuous overseas service. The Regiment's ground squadrons were converted into a light cavalry unit consisting of Humvees (Scout HMMWV) mounted with TOW launchers, MK-19 grenade launchers, .50 caliber machine guns and squad automatic weapons (SAW). The 2nd ACR (Light) was then sent to Ft Polk, LA in 1992. The 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (Light) became the "Corps Cavalry" or the eyes and ears of the XVIII Airborne Corps. At Fort Polk, the 4th Squadron (Regimental Aviation Squadron) was added to the new Regiment's organization. The addition of the 4/2 ACR (Air Cav), with their OH-58D Kiowa Warrior scout helicopters and UH-60 helicopters, completed the Regiment's re-organization into a Light Cavalry Regiment.

The Regiment next deployed in support of Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti from 1995 to 1996. In 1997, the 2nd ACR was deployed to Bosnia to serve as part of NATO's SFOR in support of Operation Joint Guard for peacekeeping operations in that country.

After returning from Bosnia, the Regiment returned to Fort Polk, Louisiana. In 2002, elements of the Regiment were deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan as part of the Global War On Terrorism. Soon the unit deployed again to the Gulf, this time for Operation Iraqi Freedom. With only 96 hours notice, the Regiment deployed the Second Squadron and O Troop (Air Cavalry) to protect the V Corps lines of communication during major combat operations against the Iraqi Army. By May of 2003 the entire Regiment was deployed and served in the Baghdad Area of Operations. Upon the Sadr Uprising of April 2004, the Regiment's tour was extended in combat. The 2nd ACR fought urban battles in Sadr City, Diwaniya, Al Kut, Kufa, and An Najaf. The Regiment remained for a total of 16 months and earned the Presidential Unit Citation.

In March of 2005, the 2nd ACR was moved to Fort Lewis, Washington. In April 2005, the Regiment was re-designated the 2nd Cavalry Regiment and began reorganizing into the Army's newest Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT). The Regiment was returning to its original mission as Dragoons, or mounted infantry.

On June 1, 2006, the 2nd Cavalry Regiment and the 1st Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division conducted a joint re-flagging and casing ceremony. The 2nd CR was re-flagged as the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker). The 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division cased its brigade colors and was re-flagged as the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment (SCR). As of September 15, 2006, the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment has been home-based at Rose Barracks, Vilseck, Germany, near the Regiment's Cold War home of Nuremberg. With a foundation of infantry-based tactics and the mobility of the Stryker vehicle, the Stryker brigade has become more of a hybrid unit, filling the gap between pure light infantry and the mechanized, heavy infantry.

On August 3, 2007, a farewell ceremony was held in Vilseck as the 2nd SCR prepared to deploy to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom once again. They are scheduled for up to a 15 month tour. From the Swamps of Florida to the Deserts of Iraq, the 2nd Dragoons have lived up to their Motto of "Toujours Prêt," meaning "Always Ready," when our Nation calls.

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Operations Iraqi Freedom – Resolute Sword – Dragoon Sabre

Camp Muleskinner, Iraq
The 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment and attached units served with distinction in the Global War on Terrorism in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM from 30 March 2003 until re-deployment on 15 July 2004. The Regiment had elements OPCON to the 3rd Infantry Division and the 82nd Airborne Division during Major Combat Operations (30 March -“ 15 May 03) against Saddam’ s Regime and the destruction of the Iraqi Army and then OPCON to 1st Armored Division (16 May 2003 -15 July 2004), distinguishing themselves by extraordinary heroism and gallantry during combat, stability and security operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Resolute Sword (90 day combat extension). Regardless of the mission or task at hand, each Squadron and separate company played a vital role in returning Iraq to the control of the Iraqi people and in improving the quality of life for the citizens of eastern Baghdad and southern Iraq. Throughout the deployment, all assigned and attached units performed their missions while under constant threat from guerilla style attacks by former regime loyalists, insurgents, and foreign terrorist networks. This narrative highlights some of the Regiment’ s greatest accomplishments, but cannot hope to give due recognition to all the remarkable accomplishments of the Troopers of the Regiment. It is simply an overview of the major events that contributed to the success of the Regiment during its fifteen months in the Iraqi theater.

Major Combat Operations

The 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment was alerted on 26 March 03 and tasked to send a Ground Cavalry Squadron (+) to Iraq to secure the lines of communication for V Corps during the initial phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 96 hours later the Regiment (2/2 ACR and Outlaw Troop (OH-58D) from 4/2 ACR) landed in Southwest Asia. On 5 April 2003 these elements of the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment crossed the Kuwait-Iraq border to conduct offensive operations against Saddam’ s Regime and the Iraqi Army. 2d Squadron and the Regimental TAC led by the 71st Colonel of the Regiment, COL Terry Wolff, moved to secure the rear area of V Corps and prevent guerilla attacks by Fedayeen Saddam forces on the lines of communications as the Corps, led by the 3rd Infantry Division, moved north to destroy the Iraqi Army and end the Ba’ ath Party Regime under Saddam Hussein. Working with elements of the 82d Airborne Division from 6 April 2003 to 9 April 2003, the Regiment operated in and around As Samawah to find, fix, and destroy Fedayeen Saddam irregular forces operating in the area, curtail the flow of weapons and militant forces traveling along Highway 9, and reopen an alternate line of supply from Kuwait to Baghdad. Utilizing a mix of lethal and non-lethal fires, checkpoint operations, force-oriented zone reconnaissance, and overwhelming firepower over the three-day period, clearing and securing the three major metropolitan areas along ASR MIAMI (HWY 9) between As Samawah and An Najaf.

On 10 April 2003, 2d Squadron moved north to An Najaf, establishing a Forward Operating Base in an abandoned Fedayeen training camp in the eastern half of the city. From there, they conducted combat operations that spanned nearly one hundred miles in every direction. The Regiment found, seized, and destroyed numerous cached air defense weapon systems and countless mortar rounds and assault rifles. In addition, they found and raided the Ba’ ath Party Headquarters building in Diwaniyah, yielding vast amounts of intelligence documentation, including the membership rolls of the entire Ba’ ath Party in and around Diwaniyah. The Regiment also conducted route clearance and convoy escort missions along the primary and alternate supply routes of southern Iraq during this critical phase of the war. The Regiment’ s unequivocal success in their mission, a ten-day combat operation stretching 750km from Kuwait to Baghdad, resulted from their courage, tactical expertise, and unwavering dedication, and ensured the uninterrupted flow of critically needed supplies to the V Corps main effort in Baghdad, and allowed freedom of movement for the 4th Infantry Division, 3rd ACR, and other follow-on units to move through to northern and western Iraq and complete the destruction of Saddam Hussein’ s regime. For their heroic efforts, the Regimental TAC, 2nd Squadron, and attached Dragoons were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation as a subordinate element of 3rd Infantry Division.

Baghdad Area of Operations

17 April 2003 -“ 1 April 2004

The Regiment’ s Area of Operations (AO) from April 03 -“ April 04 was the east side of Baghdad, a population of 3-4 million people, predominately Shi’ a with a relatively large Christian sector, inter-mixed Sunni population, and an Palestinian refugee camp. This AO included the predominantly Shi’ a neighborhood of 9 Nissian and the Shi’ a slum of Sadr City (formerly Saddam City). Sadr City was the Regiment’ s main effort during this phase. During this phase of the operation, 2-37 AR of 1AD was attached to the Regiment and 3rd Squadron was detached to 2nd BCT/1AD where it performed convoy security missions for the Coalition Provisional Authority through Iraq.

MISSION: 2ACR conducts full-spectrum operations to restore order to the Baghdad area of operations to enable the establishment of a self-sufficient, representative government in Iraq. On order, transition responsibility to an appropriate civil or military authority, enabling the Regiment to redeploy.

Daily Operations in Baghdad:

-¢ Reconnaissance patrols and offensive operations focused on former regime loyalists, foreign terrorists and religious leaders actively opposing Coalition efforts

-¢ Fixed site security focused on critical infrastructure, police stations, and hospitals

-¢ Assisting in the repair of infrastructure to improve the Iraqi quality of life

-¢ Supporting creation of Iraqi institutions to reinforce a safe and secure environment

-¢ Supporting the creation of a local government

-¢ Approximately 700 soldiers conducting 100 mounted and dismounted patrols daily

-¢ 3-5 aerial recon patrols conducted covering 12-15 hours daily focused along major routes, fixed sites, and public works

-¢ Platoon-sized ground Quick Reaction Force (QRF) at each FOB

-¢ 1 Scout Weapons Team (SWT=2xOH-58D Scout helos) and 1 UH-60 QRF available 24/7

-¢ Recruited and trained an Iraqi Light Infantry Brigade

Operation Dragoon Sabre: An Najaf, Kufa, Ad-Diwaniyah, Al-Kut

SITUATION in April 2004: The 2ACR had completed its 12 month tour in Iraq and was conducting the final phase of a battle-handover of its Area of Operation in Baghdad to 1st BCT, 1st Cavalry Division set for 10 April 2004. 2nd Squadron had re-deployed to Fort Polk on 1 April and the Regiment’ s Advance Parties had moved down to Kuwait to begin port activities. The Regiment’ s entire air power in 4th Squadron had flown down to Kuwait to begin loading onto ships for redeployment. The remainder of the Regiment was preparing to road march south to Kuwait for re-deployment.

Early on the 4th of April 2004, Muqtada Al-Sadr’ s Mahdi Militia participated in a large demonstration at the Coalition Provisional Authority HQ in An Najaf, south of Baghdad. Two days later hundreds of Al-Sadr’ s supporters attacked and seized key locations in An Najaf, Ad-Diwaniyah, and Al-Kut essentially giving them control of South Central Iraq. In the days to follow 3rd Squadron of 2ACR, OPCON to 2BCT/1AD participated in an attack against the militia in Al-Kut to defeat the militia stronghold there. The April 2004 Sadr Uprising was in full force, a change in th
e operational situation that was not expected. 1st Armored Division and 2nd ACR would be extended for 90 days in combat to put down this uprising and defeat Sadr’ s illegal militia.

Operation Dragoon Sabre began the first week of April and the Regiment’ s main body relieved 2BCT to take control of Al-Kut. The Regiment was then given the task to relieve elements of 1ID which had been positioned near An Najaf after the militia offensive had occurred in that town. 1st Squadron remained in Al-Kut along with the Regimental Support Squadron. 4th Squadron repositioned from Kuwait up to Al-Kut to begin conducting aerial support from forward operating base. On 20 April 2004, the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment, with attached Task Force 2d Battalion, 37th Armor, of 1st Armored Division, assumed mission from 3d Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, in the Holy City of An Najaf, Iraq. 3rd Squadron returned to Regimental control at this time. The enemy, known as Muqtada’ s militia, controlled An Najaf and neighboring Al Kufa. The mission statement: destroy the militia and restore order to An Najaf and Al Kufa to allow transition of authority to a legitimate Iraqi government and, on order, transfer security responsibilities to Iraqi security forces. The 2d ACR and attachments battled non-stop for six weeks and broke the enemy’ s will to fight. They destroyed over 600 militia and wounded countless others, capturing and destroying weapons, successfully detaining two top aides to Muqtada al Sadr, and seizing weapons caches in the holy cemetery and Sahla Mosque, which ultimately led to the defeat of Sadr’ s militia in Najaf and Kufa.

Today in history: 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' begins

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

March 19, 2003: A U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq. President Bush said the goal of Operation Iraqi Freedom was to "disarm Iraq, to free its people, and to defend the world from grave danger." The Iraqi invasion was strongly supported by Vice President Cheney. As Defense secretary during the 1991 Gulf War, he opposed an invasion of Iraq, saying it wasn't worth the casualties or "getting bogged down." Some 4,486 Americans were killed in the Iraq war, and another 32,223 wounded. Direct spending on the Iraq war is estimated at $757 billion, a figure that does not include interest on money borrowed to finance the war — or taking care of veterans. A Brown University study in 2011 said it may also cost $1 trillion more (through 2050) to care for veterans of the 105-month war.

March 19, 2011: President Obama ordered air strikes on Libya, as part of a U.N. Security Council decision to enforce a no-fly zone. He told Congress that attacks were undertaken with French, British, and other allies, would be limited in scope and duration, and that preventing a humanitarian disaster in Libya was in the best interest of American foreign policy and national security goals.

Quote of the day

"The true history of my administration will be written 50 years from now, and you and I will not be around to see it." -George W. Bush

HISTORY Vault: Operation Desert Storm

Though the long-running war between Iran and Iraq had ended in a United Nations-brokered ceasefire in August 1988, by mid-1990 the two states had yet to begin negotiating a permanent peace treaty. When their foreign ministers met in Geneva that July, prospects for peace seemed bright. Two weeks later, however, Saddam Hussein delivered a speech in which he accused neighboring Kuwait of siphoning crude oil from their common border, claiming that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were conspiring to keep oil prices low in an effort to pander to Western oil-buying nations.

In addition to Hussein’s incendiary speech, Iraq had begun amassing troops on Kuwait’s border. Alarmed by these actions, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt initiated negotiations between Iraq and Kuwait, but Hussein broke off the negotiations after only two hours, and on August 2, 1990 ordered the invasion of Kuwait. Hussein’s assumption that his fellow Arab states would stand by him proved to be a miscalculation. Alarmed by these actions, two-thirds of the 21 members of the Arab League condemned Iraq’s act of aggression, and Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd, along with Kuwait’s government-in-exile, turned to the United States and other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for support.

The Failure of Operation Iraqi Freedom

What everyone can agree on with respect to the current crisis in Iraq is that Operation Iraqi Freedom, the slogan that the Pentagon used in the run-up to its 2003 invasion of Iraq, has been one great big miserable failure. Despite Pentagon and CIA plans to convert Iraq into a paradise of freedom through massive death and destruction from bombs, missiles, tanks, and guns, the country today is one gigantic hell-hole of violence and the absence of freedom.

In fact, the Pentagon’s assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani is a perfect sign of the failure of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Suleimani’s presence in Iraq signified the ease by which Iranian officials, both military and non-military, visit Baghdad and travel easily around the city, which has to infuriate the Pentagon and the CIA. By contrast, U.S. officials know that if they try to do that, their lives will be quickly snuffed out in the land of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

How any American can still be an interventionist after this fiasco is beyond me. Operation Iraqi Freedom was supposed be the Pentagon’s and the CIA’s campaign to show the American people the “service” they could provide even though the Cold War was over. They could invade Third World countries and bring freedom to them through force of arms. Operation Iraqi Freedom was to be their showcase.

Let’s not forget, after all, that the Iraq invasion was a plain old war of aggression, a type of war that was condemned as a war crime at Nuremberg. The U.S. government attacked and invaded a country that had never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. It was Iraq, not the U.S. government, that was engaged in self-defense.

Compounding the war crime was the fact that Iraq was a Third World country, one that had been impoverished by more than a decade of brutal U.S. and UN sanctions. The outcome of the war was never in doubt, given that the most powerful regime in history was attacking and invading one of the weakest regimes in the world.

Let’s not forget that regime change had been the goal of brutal U.S. and UN sanctions for some 11 years prior to the post-9/11, fear-filled invasion of Iraq. During those 11 years of sanctions, U.S. officials had made it clear to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who had once been a close friend and ally of the U.S. national-security establishment, that if he were to exit the country, the sanctions, which were killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, would be lifted. U.S. officials hoped that Saddam would leave so that they could establish their paradise of freedom on the cheap — that is, without having to wreak death and destruction with an invasion and occupation.

It’s worth observing that as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, there was never an upper limit on the number of Iraqis who could be killed and maimed in the effort to convert Iraq into a paradise of freedom. Any number of Iraqis killed and maimed would be considered “worth it,” even though obviously the dead would not be around to enjoy all that “freedom.”

Forgetting Counterinsurgency, Again: Lessons from Reconstruction and Operation Iraqi Freedom

The Pentagon is engaged in a strategic transformation that may imperil the future of American national security. According to a 2018 independent bipartisan commission appointed by Congress, the United States’ preoccupation with counterinsurgency (COIN) and counterterrorism has enabled near peers and rogue states to shrink the capability gap between their militaries and that of the world’s only superpower. Policymakers and the defense community must recognize that great-power competition is not only a test of conventional military strength it also demands mastery of actions below the major-war threshold that include counterinsurgency, irregular warfare, hybrid threats, stability operations, and the “gray zone.” A COIN capability is critical to American competition and conflict with other states, and war with nonstate actors. The US Army should be careful lest it commit too many resources to high-intensity war. This article surveys the service’s changed approach to readiness and the threat landscape. It then compares the transition from official hostilities to stability operations early in post–Civil War Reconstruction (1865–1866) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003–2004) to demonstrate that counterinsurgency requires a heavy commitment to manpower and training.

The Army has not completely abandoned COIN. It retains the capability through doctrine, education, and assistance it provides to other armed forces. The 2018 Army Strategy and 2019 Army Doctrine Publication 3-0, Unified Land Operations affirm that irregular warfare is important—a view echoed by Pentagon officials and an officer self-study webpage. A 2019 article in War Room, the online journal of the Army War College, actually criticizes the counterinsurgency emphasis of the training.

The general trend, however, has been a course correction. Congress and the defense community doubt American readiness for a major conflict. In January 2017, for example, the Army reported only three of fifty-eight brigade combat teams ready for immediate deployment. The result is a growing emphasis on the dangers that China and Russia pose. The 2018 National Defense Strategy declares that “inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.” More evidence of this shift can be found in the 2018 National Military Strategy, the 2019 Army Modernization Strategy, and the Pentagon purchase of new vehicles and weapon systems. Articles in Military Review, Small Wars Journal, and War on the Rocks note the Army pivot to conventional warfare. The approval of some senior officers and the decreased size of the service facilitate this trend, as does limited funding that adds pressure to prioritize the greatest threats. Given the Army’s renewed emphasis on major war, its response to insurgencies will depend on security force assistance brigades and special operations forces. Its stability operations will involve small deployments, reliance on partners, and prioritizing aid to civilian agencies.

The Army risks forgetting past experience. Comparable doctrines emerged from Vietnam and Iraq, reflecting the Army’s tendency to avoid preparing for occupations, grudgingly adapt to them, and discard the knowledge afterward. Illustrative of growing disinterest in counterinsurgency are generals who regard irregular tasks as a lesser aspect of conventional duties. The Army’s history with irregular operations reveals that COIN requires more resources, but as Capt. Justin Lynch warns, the Pentagon may “acknowledge the importance of counterinsurgency, but not provide enough training or resources to produce an effective force.”

The Department of Defense formally defines COIN as “comprehensive civilian and military efforts designed to simultaneously defeat and contain insurgency and address its root causes.” This article uses it more generally to denote Army activities that promote stability and defeat insurgents. They range from kinetic operations, to enforcing law and order, to winning hearts and minds. These capabilities must remain an Army priority. Navigating the transition from conflict to a condition of stable governance is central to modern warfare. Maintaining a counterinsurgency capability is essential for this mission and reflects the fact that the defense community cannot remove this option from the ones available to policymakers. Concentrating exclusively on conventional fighting implies that America can choose its conflicts, an assumption disproven by history. Irregular operations have imposed a heavy toll in casualties, money spent, and reputation lost. Roughly four-fifths of global conflicts since 1815 have been either civil wars or insurgencies there were 181 of the latter from the Second World War to 2015. Between 1798 and 2018, nearly three-quarters of American operations abroad were irregular, while one-fourth were conventional. Being unable to wage such campaigns reduces the service’s deterrent effect and American influence in unstable, strategic regions.

Critics of this view might argue that many of these counterinsurgencies were wars of choice as opposed to wars of necessity. The problem with this thinking is that states choose to wage war in order to advance their interests. A conflict may appear unnecessary in hindsight, but policymakers at the time regarded it as a national imperative. As military historian Sir Michael Howard wrote, the primary motivation for warfare over the past two centuries has been the ability of humans to “discern, or believe that they can discern, dangers before they become immediate.” Focusing solely on unavoidable wars deprives the Army of capabilities, giving the initiative to hostile actors and thus weakening American foreign policy. The service will struggle to shape the threat environment if it is unable to intervene short of large-scale combat operations.

The ability to win a high-intensity conflict does not produce victory in a counterinsurgency, which frequently involves unique challenges. Army preparations must account for the fact that it will operate among civilians, and that rivals will combine regular and irregular warfare. Moreover, they will support insurgencies to avoid confronting America’s conventional overmatch. China, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, and Russia have either fostered such conflicts or can do so. Nonstate actors, with improved access to information and technology, form globally connected insurgencies that elude defeat by moving from one country to another. Articles in Foreign Policy, Military Review, Small Wars Journal, and War on the Rocks affirm the relevance of COIN insurgencies will be strategically important to great-power competition.

A comparison of Reconstruction and Operation Iraqi Freedom informs Army planning by revealing that ample manpower and consistent conduct are critical to success . The service will not have enough appropriately trained officers and soldiers if it sidelines counterinsurgency in favor of conventional war.

Troop Numbers

The Army during Reconstruction formed “a patchwork of sovereignties” across the South due to limited manpower. There were approximately one million Federals in uniform as of April 1865, the month the Civil War ended, but that number would drop quickly and dramatically. The number of troops overseeing Reconstruction shrank from about 190,000 in September of that year to roughly twenty-five thousand by December 1866. Available data indicates that this was a demanding assignment. In 1867, for example, the service numbered fifty-seven thousand, and over two-fifths of its companies were stationed in the South in the winter of 1867–1868. The Army force level for Reconstruction was too small for two reasons. First, it was attempting to control a population of nine million people in a territory that equaled the combined size of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Second, it ruled by martial law for most of this period, functioning as “a relief agency, a police force, a court, a public works bureau, and a school system.” The service’s constrained military means were a poor fit for its sweeping political powers. Stability crumbled with troop reductions, and resistance developed in areas devoid of Federals. Whereas soldiers once deterred violence by occupying county seats and towns located at major crossroads, shrinking numbers forced them to cede many rural areas to planters, and left civilians vulnerable to criminals. Many Southern whites engaged in terrorism that targeted the economic and political activity of freedpeople and loyal whites. They burned churches attacked, sued, and killed soldiers intimidated and assaulted loyal whites to expel them seized the property of former slaves and unleashed violence on them, resulting in hundreds of murders. By the end of 1866, much of the South collapsed into “near-statelessness.”

A century and a half later, the issue of insufficient troops likewise hindered the Army from quashing the insurgencies in Iraq, a country larger than California with a population of twenty-five million people. Force levels dropped from nearly 153,000 at the close of fiscal year 2003 to around 102,000 in September 2004.The Army numbered just under five hundred thousand in total between 2003 and 2004 hence, Operation Iraqi Freedom imposed a heavy burden by absorbing between 20 and just over 30 percent of the service’s available manpower. Soldier density varied widely, which frustrated efforts to defeat the enemy as well as to secure the borders, perform constabulary duties, seize weapons caches, handle detainees, and train Iraqi soldiers. There were shortfalls of interrogators, military police, Arabic linguists, interpreters, military intelligence assets, construction units, civil affairs personnel, and engineers. The dearth of combatants limited face-to-face interactions with Iraqis and helped drive some units to act on emotion rather than conducting the careful efforts required to build popular support and minimize collateral damage. Perhaps most importantly, there was usually no operational reserve in theater. It was impossible to balance troop distribution between the center of Iraq and its border areas, which enabled the insurgencies to grow. Units occupied areas until enemy activity faded and then moved on, which allowed the latter to retake those locations. Filling gaps, moreover, required pulling forces from elsewhere, so there were too few soldiers in key zones. Small units lost control of some hostile areas, other communities without large bodies of troops witnessed a decline in Iraqi security capability and greater Sunni-Shia tensions, and towns fell to insurgents due to inadequate protection. In at least one instance, it proved necessary to draw on a corps reserve that could not be reformed for lack of manpower.

Ground-Level Practice

The Army’s ground-level conduct was uneven during Reconstruction, an issue for which officers were largely responsible. Some suspended civil courts yet did not establish military ones for several months. They had flexibility in writing their own rules for legal appeals, and in creating provost courts that at times dealt with the cases of freedpeople. There were disagreements within the Army about the meaning of freedom for former slaves while officers favored written labor contracts for them, another idea was for them to buy land over time. Support for the creation of area militias was not universal. Lenient officers allowed local authorities to remain in office, worked so that ex-Confederates could serve in that capacity, promoted elections, established police companies, and distributed instructions to facilitate interaction between ex-slaves and their prior owners. Other examples of this behavior included the offering of transport for ex-Confederate soldiers, loaning of draft horses to impoverished farmers, providing shelter and food to white and black refugees, and establishing an affairs bureau for former slaves. Heavy-handed officers repressed newspapers, forbid the continued service of ex-Confederates in local offices, chose new authorities, suspended biased laws, determined election outcomes, and ordered militias to obey Army commands. They even tested civilian loyalty, arrested the unpatriotic, and forbid the public’s use of the word “Confederate.”

The Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom also had an inconsistent approach to counterinsurgency. Some units focused on destroying the enemy by adopting relaxed rules of engagement and performed nighttime cordon-and-search operations that detained large numbers of suspects. Other outfits, however, emphasized nation building. This conciliatory approach involved improved interaction with locals and concentrated on safety, employment, economic recovery, essential services, and governance. It featured more precise operations, less obtrusive cordon-and-search operations, a greater reliance on civil affairs teams, and the fielding, sustaining, and use of new Iraqi army and police units as well as Iraqi Civil Defense Corps outfits. Further inconsistencies occurred in the use of artillery. Approaches ranged from counterbattery fire to the combination of counterfire, intelligence collection, and encouraging locals to ensure enemy forces did not take up position on their land.

The True Cost of COIN

The examples of Reconstruction and Operation Iraqi Freedom demonstrate that counterinsurgency imposes a heavy burden in terms of force levels and preparation. Special operations forces and security force assistance brigades are too few in number to occupy an extensive territory akin to the American South or the smaller yet more populous Iraq. Restricting COIN capability to situations in which the Army supports a host government—rather than leading the effort—ignores fragile states that struggle to ensure effective rule and their citizens’ safety. A large-scale conflict would leave such countries in disarray, necessitating massive counterinsurgency operations.

This raises the question: How should the service commit most of its funding, time, and resources? The answer depends on the assessment of future threats. High-intensity conflict with China or Russia is the most dangerous outcome, since defeat in the worst case might imperil the American homeland. And yet, this observation could be made of any substantial military rival that the United States faces, past or present. In a more probable scenario, those countries would wage wars so costly that America would allow them freedom of action in their areas of influence. The most likely situation, however, is the recurrence of insurgencies, since they have been more common historically than conventional wars. The Army should prepare for future conflict based on this reality rather than falling into the cyclical trap of retreating intellectually from its most recent COIN experience.

America has an expensive track record with counterinsurgency, suggesting a weakness that China and Russia could exploit. The post-9/11 conflicts—in Afghanistan and Iraq—cost the United States about $1.5 trillion as of 2015. This is slightly more than its financial burden in the First World War and the Korean, Vietnam, and Persian Gulf wars combined. It may appear that the country can afford such conflicts for years to come, as defense spending only represented 3.2 percent of the gross domestic product in 2018. And yet, the staggering reality of a $984 billion national deficit and $22 trillion national debt in 2019 will surely temper excessive military expenditures. Likewise, the current coronavirus pandemic presents the risk of a major economic downturn that could curb defense spending. The financial cost of COIN is a reminder that a failure to prepare forces the Army into the expensive and time-consuming process of adapting on the fly. Long conflicts are expensive ones, and shortening future counterinsurgencies will only be possible if the service has a well-honed capability.

Assessing near-peer threats requires thinking outside the conventional warfare box. Why would China and Russia risk conventional conflict with America when they could foment insurgencies or perpetuate existing ones in places of strategic significance? The Soviet Union and the United States did so in Vietnam and Afghanistan, respectively, to weaken one another during the Cold War. Now, the leaders of China and Russia enjoy the advantage of being able to craft a long-term strategy, one that could depend on the attritional effect of counterinsurgency campaigns to reduce the military strength of the United States. Chinese president Xi Jinping can rule indefinitely and Russian president Vladimir Putin is working to do so. Americans elect a new president every four years, however, which can complicate the efforts of US policymakers to craft an enduring strategy.

The Army must balance the national security issue of the moment and the areas that will be most important over the coming years. It should hone its COIN capacity as part of a comprehensive effort to ensure readiness for missions below the major-war threshold. Failing to do so makes counterinsurgency an American vulnerability that near peers will exploit for asymmetric advantage. Restricting Army readiness to conventional war limits the military options available to policymakers, increasing the risk of escalation with a belligerent adversary. The service needs to be prepared for everything from conventional war to COIN, irregular warfare, hybrid threats, stability operations, and the “gray zone.” The ability to engage America’s enemies across the full spectrum of warfare is the only way that the Army can rightfully claim to be the premier land-fighting force in the world. As a superpower, the United States has global commitments. It must be able to deter, and if necessary, defeat a broad array of adversaries with wide-ranging means of aggression. A strong counterinsurgency capability will be essential.

Alexandre F. Caillot is a PhD Candidate at Temple University specializing in American military history. His dissertation examines the Civil War, namely the combat performance of Union soldiers who entered the Army of the Potomac in time to serve during the Overland Campaign. He is a Junior Fellow, Program on National Security, at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the United States Military Academy, Department of the Army, or Department of Defense.

The author would like to thank the following individuals for unofficial conversations that do not represent the official views of the US Army: Dr. Conrad C. Crane Brig. Gen. (ret) Duke DeLuca Col. (ret) Paul C. Jussel, PhD Dr. Christian B. Keller Col. Jon Klug Maj. Mark Morrison Col. Matthew D. Morton Col. Dave Raugh and Col. (ret) Frank Sobchak. The author would also like to thank Dr. Michael Noonan for offering statistical information from a forthcoming publication on the number of US irregular and conventional operations abroad between 1798 and 2018.

2003 invasion of Iraq

The start of hostilities came after the expiration of a 48-hour deadline which was set by U.S. President George W. Bush, demanding that Saddam Hussein and his two sons Uday and Qusay leave Iraq, ending the diplomatic Iraq disarmament crisis.

The US military operations in this war were conducted under the name of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The UK military operations in this war were conducted under the name of Operation Telic. The Australian codename was Operation Falconer.

The United States, with support from approximately 45,000 British, 2,000 Australian and 200 Polish combat forces, entered Iraq primarily through their staging area in Kuwait. Coalition forces also supported Iraqi Kurdish militia troops, estimated to number upwards of 50,000. Included in these forces were groups of Australian SAS and Commando Personnel who performed Recon and combat search and rescue mission along side American and British SF units.

Timeline of the invasion

The invasion was swift, with the collapse of the Iraq government and the military of Iraq in about three weeks. The oil infrastructure of Iraq was rapidly secured with limited damage in that time. Securing the oil infrastructure was considered important in order to prevent Saddam Hussein's forces from destroying it (as happened in 1991, creating environmental and economic problems).

Casualties of the invading forces were limited, while Iraqi military and civilian casualties are unknown, probably at least in the thousands. A study from the Project on Defense Alternatives ( http://www.comw.org/pda/ ), a Boston-based think tank, numbered the Iraqi casualities between 11,000 and 15,000 ( http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/0310rm8.pdf ), and the Iraq Body Count project numbered the civilian Iraqis injured in 20,000 (http://www.iraqbodycount.net/editorial_aug0703.htm). However, the Iraq Body Count projects numbers have been the subject of much debate, and may or may not be overly pessimistic.

The U.S Third Division moved westward and then northward through the desert toward Baghdad, while the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force and a UK expeditionary force moved northward through marshland. UK forces secured Iraq's second-largest city, Basra, following two weeks of conflict, although their control of the city was limited. Preexisting electrical and water shortages continued through the conflict and looting began as Iraqi forces collapsed. While British forces began working with local Iraqi Police to enforce order, humanitarian aid began to arrive from ships landing in the port city of Umm Qasr and trucks entering the country through Kuwait.

Three weeks into the invasion U.S. forces moved into Baghdad with limited resistance, Iraqi government officials either disappeared or conceded defeat. Looting took place in the days following. It was alleged that many items in the National Museum of Iraq were amongst looted items. The F.B.I was soon called into Iraq to track down the stolen items. It was found that the initial claims of looting of substantial portions of the collection were somewhat exaggerated and for months people have been returning objects to the museum. Yet, as some of the dust has settled, thousands of antiquities are still missing including dozens from the main collection.

There has been speculation that some objects still missing were not taken by looters after the war, but were taken by Saddam Hussein or his entourage before or during the fighting. There have also been reports that early looters had keys to vaults that held rarer pieces, and some have speculated as to the systematic removal of key artifacts.

Many in the arts and antiquities communities warned policymakers in advance of the need to secure Iriaqi museums. Despite the looting being somewhat less bad than initially feared, the cultural loss of items from ancient Sumeria is significant. The idea that US forces did not guard the museum because they were guarding the Ministry of Oil and Ministry of Interior is apparently true. According to U.S. officials the "reality of the situation on the ground" was that hospitals, water plants, and ministries with vital intelligence needed security more than other sites. There were only enough US troops on the ground to guard a certain number of the many sites that ideally needed protection, and so some "hard choices" were made.

In the north Kurdish forces under the command of U.S. Special Forces captured oil-rich Kirkuk on April 10. On April 15, U.S. forces mostly took control of Tikrit.

As areas were secured, coalition troops began searching for the key members of Saddam Hussein's regime. These individuals were identified by a variety of means, most famously through sets of most-wanted Iraqi playing cards.

On May 1, 2003 George W. Bush landed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, in a Lockheed S-3 Viking, where he gave a speech announcing end of major combat in the Iraq war. Clearly visible in the background was a banner stating "Mission Accomplished". Bush's landing was criticized by opponents as overly theatrical and expensive. The banner, made by White House personnel (according to a CNN story: http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/10/28/mission.accomplished/) and placed there by the U.S. Navy, was criticized as premature - especially later as the guerrilla war dragged on.

It was soon found that "major combat" being over did not mean that peace had returned to Iraq. The U.S.-led occupation of Iraq thereupon commenced, marked by ongoing violent conflict between the Iraqi and the occupying forces. As of January 2, 2004, the total deaths of American soldiers in the Iraq war since March have reached 483. Of these the majority has been killed after the end of major hostilities on May 1. There is concern being voiced from domestic quarters comparing the situation to previous wars such as the Vietnam War.

The ongoing resistance in Iraq is concentrated in, but not limited to, an area known as the Sunni triangle and Baghdad [1]. Critics point out that the regions where violence is most common are also the most populated regions. This resistance may be described as guerilla warfare. The tactics used thus far include mortars, suicide bombers, roadside bombs, small arms fire, and RPGs, as well as purported sabotage against the oil infrastructure. There are also accusations about attacks toward the power and water infrastructure, but these are rather questionable in nature. In the only widely covered example of what some considered an attack on the power system, two US soldiers were killed, indicating that they may instead have been the target. In the purported attack against a water main, some witnesses reported seeing an explosion on the pipe, but US soldiers and repair crews on the scene stated that it did not appear to have been caused by an explosion.

There is evidence that some of the resistance is organized, perhaps by the fedayeen and other Saddam Hussein or Baath loyalists, religious radicals, Iraqis simply angered over the occupation, and foreign fighters. [1]

Events leading to the invasion

In September 2000, in the Rebuilding America's Defenses report [1], the Project for the New American Century planned an attack on Iraq, independently of whether or not Saddam Hussein remained in power. One year later, on the day of the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is reported to have written in his notes, "best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] at same time. Not only UBL [Osama bin Laden]". Shortly thereafter, the George W. Bush administration announced a War on Terrorism, accompanied by the doctrine of preemptive military action dubbed the Bush doctrine. In 2002 the Iraq disarmament crisis arose primarily as a diplomatic situation. In October 2002, the United States Congress granted President Bush the authority to wage war against Iraq. The Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq was worded so as to encourage, but not require, UN Security Council approval for military action. In November 2002, United Nations actions regarding Iraq culminated in the unanimous passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1441 and the resumption of weapons inspections. The United States also began preparations for an invasion of Iraq, with a host of diplomatic, public relations and military preparations.

Payoff of Iraqi Military

Shortly after the sudden collapse of the defense of Baghdad, rumors were circulating in Iraq and elsewhere that there had been a deal struck (a "safqua") wherein the US had bribed key members of the Iraqi military elite and/or the Baath party itself to stand down. These rumors were generally ignored or treated dismissively in the US media and among the US public.

In late May, 2003, General Tommy Franks announced his retirement. Shortly thereafter, he confirmed in an interview with Defense Week that the US had paid Iraqi military leaders to defect. The extent of the defections and their effect on the war were not clear as of this writing (May 24, 2003).

Invasion justification and goals

The stated justification for the invasion included Iraqi production and use of weapons of mass destruction, links with terrorist organizations and human rights violations in Iraq under the Saddam Hussein government. To that end, the stated goals of the invasion, according to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, were: to end the Saddam Hussein government and help Iraq transition to representative self-rule to find and eliminate weapons of mass destruction and terrorists to collect intelligence on networks of weapons of mass destruction and terrorists to end sanctions and to deliver humanitarian support and to secure Iraq's oil fields and resources.

No weapons of mass destruction have been reported as found as of September 21, 2003, though Saddam Hussein's government collapsed, former Palestine Liberation Front leader Abu Abbas was captured, and the oil fields and resources were rapidly secured but have since suffered continued sabotage.

After the fall of Baghdad, U.S. officials claimed that Iraqi officials were being harbored in Syria, and several high-ranking Iraqis have since been detained after being expelled from Syria.

Failed peace initiatives

After the war, evidence began to emerge as to the failed attempts to bring the conflict to a peaceful resolution.

In December 2002, a representative of the head of Iraqi Intelligence, Gen. Tahir Jalil Habbush al Takriti, contacted former CIA counterterrorism head Vincent Cannistraro, stating that Saddam "knew there was a campaign to September 11 and prove he had weapons of mass destruction. The Iraqis were prepared to satisfy these concerns. I reported the conversation to senior levels of the state department and I was told to stand aside and they would handle it." Cannistrano stated that the offers made were all "killed" by the Bush administration, citing that the fact that they all had Saddam Hussein remain in power was unacceptable.

Shortly after, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's national security advisor, Osama al Baz, sent a message to the U.S. State Department that the Iraqis wanted to discuss the accusations that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and ties with al-Qaeda. Iraq also attempted to reach the US through the Syrian, French, German, and Russian intelligence services. Nothing came of the attempts.

In January 2003, Lebanese-American Imad al-Hage met with Michael Maloof of the DoD's Office of Special Plans. Hage, a resident of Beiruit, had been recruited by the department to assist in the War on Terrorism. He reported that Mohammed Nassif, a close aide to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, had expressed frustrations about the difficulties of Syria contacting the United States, and had attempted to use him as an intermediary. Maloof arranged for Hage to meet with Richard Perle, head of the Defense Policy Board.

In February 2003, Hage met with the chief of Iraqi intelligence's foreign operations, Hassan al-Obeidi. Obeidi told Hage that Baghdad didn't understand why they were being targetted, and that they had no WMDs he then made the offer for Washington to send in 2000 FBI agents to ascertain this. He additionally offered oil concessions, but stopped short of having Hussein give up power, instead suggesting that elections could be held in two years. Later, Obeidi suggested that Hage travel to Baghdad for talks he accepted.

Later that month, Hage met with Gen. Habbush in addition to Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz. He was offered top priority to US firms in oil and mining rights, UN-supervised elections, US inspections (with up to 5,000 inspectors), to have al-Qaeda agent Abdul Rahman Yassin (in Iraqi custody since 1994) handed over as a sign of good faith, and to give "full support for any US plan" in the Arab-Israeli peace process. They also wished to meet with high-ranking US officials. On Feb. 19th, Hage faxed Maloof his report of the trip. Maloof reports having brought the proposal to Jamie Duman. The Pentagon denies that either Wolfowitz or Rumsfeld, Duman's bosses, were aware of the plan.

On February 21st, Maloof informed Duman in an email that Perle wished to meet with Hage and the Iraqis if the Pentagon would clear it. Duman responded "Mike, working this. Keep this close hold.". On March 7th, Perle met with Hage in Knightsbridge, and stated that he wanted to pursue the matter further with people in Washington (both have acknowleged the meeting). A few days later, he informed Hage that Washington refused to let him meet with Habbush to discuss the offer (Hage stated that Perle's response was "that the concensus in Washington was it was a no-go"). Perle told the Times, "The message was 'Tell them that we will see them in Baghdad."

Throughout March, Hage continued to pass messages from Iraqi officials to Maloof. At one point, Maloof wrote a memo stating "Hage quoted Obeidi as saying this is the last window or channel through which this message has gone to the United States. He characterized the tone of Dr. Obeidi as begging." Maloof contacted Perle, stating that Iraqi officials are "prepared to meet with you in Beiruit, and as soon as possible, concerning 'unconditional terms' ", and that "Such a meeting has Saddam Hussein's clearance." No action is taken.

According to an arab source of the Guardian's, Perle sent a Saudi official the following terms for Iraq to fulfill to prevent war: "Saddam's abdication and departure, first to a US military base for interrogation and then into supervised exile, a surrender of Iraqi troops, and the admission that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. "

Attempts were continued even after the war began, up to the fall of Baghdad.

Hage has since become embroiled in a situation involving an earlier incident involving airport security that many have viewed as payback similar to the case of Valerie Plame

Support and opposition

The Bush administration claimed that the U.S.-led coalition against Iraq included 49 nations, a group that was frequently referred to as the "coalition of the willing". These nations provided combat troops, support troops, and logistical support for the invasion. The nations contributing combat forces were, roughly: United States (250,000), United Kingdom (45,000), Australia (2,000), Denmark (200), and Poland (54). Ten other countries were known to have offered small numbers of noncombat forces, mostly either medical teams and specialists in decontamination. In several of these countries a majority of the public was opposed to the war. In Spain polls reported at one time a 90% opposition to the war.

There are some that claim the US intervention took place without any international legal framework. Others would counter by pointing out that the UN Security Council Resolutions authorizing the 1991 invasion gave legal authority to use ". all necessary means. ", which is diplomatic code for going to war. This war ended with a cease fire instead of a permanent peace treaty. Their view was that Iraq had violated the terms of the cease-fire by breaching two key conditions and thus made the invasion of Iraq a legal continuation of the earlier war. To support this stance, one has to "reactivate" the war resolution from 1991 if a war resolution can be reactivated ten years after the fact, it would imply that almost any nation that has ever been at war that ended in a ceasefire (such as Korea) could have the war restarted if any other nation felt at any time that they were no longer meeting the conditions of the cease fire that ended that war. Since the majority of the United Nations security council members (both permanent and rotating) did not support the attack, it appears that they viewed the attack as not being valid under the 1991 resolution.

However, a resolution drafted and accepted the year before the invasion fully endorsed the use of military action to force Iraq to comply with the United Nations desires, and every country that sat upon the Security Council voted to draft that resolution.

Several nations say the attack violated international law as a war of aggression since it lacked the validity of a U.N. Security Council resolution to authorize military force. The Egyptian former United Nations Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali called the intervention a violation of the UN charter.

The United States and United Kingdom claim it was a legal action which they were within their rights to undertake. Along with Poland and Australia, the invasion was supported by the governments of several European nations, including the Czech Republic, Denmark, Portugal, Italy, Hungary, and Spain.

Many people regarded the attack on Iraq to be hypocritical, when other nations such as Israel are also in breach of UN resolutions and have nuclear weapons this argument is controversial [1], as Iraq's history of actually using chemical weapons (against Iran and the Kurdish population in Iraq) suggested at the time that Iraq was a far greater threat.

Although Iraq was known to have pursued an active nuclear weapons development program previously, as well tried to procure materials and equipment for their manufacture, these weapons and material have yet to be discovered. This casts doubt on some of the accusations against Iraq, despite previous UN assertions that Iraq likely harbored such weapons, and that Iraq failed to document and give UN inspectors access to areas suspected of illegal weapons production. However, some believe that the weapons were moved into Syria and Lebanon.

Hussein Family Whereabouts

Saddam Hussein was captured on December 13th, 2003 by the U.S Army's 4th Infantry Division during Operation Red Dawn. His sons Uday and Qusay were killed earlier in 2003 during a raid by the U.S 101st Airborne Division.

Related slogans and terms

This campaign has featured a variety of new and weighted terminology, much coined by the U.S. government and then repeated by the media. The name "Operation Iraqi Freedom", for example, expresses one viewpoint of the purpose of the invasion. Also notable was the exclusive usage of "regime" to refer to the Saddam Hussein government (see also regime change), and "death squads" to refer to fedayeen paramilitary forces. Members of the Hussein government were called by disparaging nicknames - e.g., "Chemical Ali" (Ali Hassan al-Majid), "Comical Ali" (Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf), "Mrs Anthrax" (Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash) - for propaganda purposes and because Western peoples are unfamiliar with Arabic names.

    - The strategy of focusing on reducing the enemy's will to fight through a display of overwhelming force.
  • "embedding" - process of assigning reporters to particular military units
  • "coalition of the willing"
  • untidiness - Rumsfeld's term for the looting and unrest which followed the government's collapse

Media coverage

Media coverage of this war was different in certain ways from that of the Gulf War. The Pentagon established the policy of "embedding" reporters with military units. Viewers in the United States were able to watch U.S. tanks rolling into Baghdad live on television, with a split screen image of the Iraqi Minister of Information claiming that U.S. forces were not in the city. Many foreign observers of the media and especially the television coverage in the USA felt that it was excessively partisan and in some cases "gung-ho"

Another difference was the wide and independent coverage in the World Wide Web demonstrating that for web-surfers in rich countries and the elites in poorer countries, the internet has become mature as a medium, giving about half a billion people access to different versions of events.

However, the coverage itself was intrinsically biased by the fact that internet penetration in Iraq was already very weak (estimate of 12,000 users in Iraq in 2002 [1]), and the deliberate destruction of Iraqi telecommunication facilities by US forces made internet communication even more difficult. Different versions of truth by people who have equal ignorance of first-hand, raw data are by definition a very biased substitute for original, first-hand reports from people living locally.

Al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based news network, which was formed in 1996, gained a lot of worldwide attention for its coverage of the war. Their broadcasts were popular in much of the Arab world, but also to some degree in western nations, with major American networks such as CNN and MSNBC re-broadcasting some of their coverage. Al-Jazeera was well-known for their graphic footage of civilian casualties, which American news media branded as overly sensationalistic. The English website of Al-Jazeera was brought down during the middle of the Iraq war by hackers who saw its coverage as casting a negative view on the American cause.

Blisters on the battlefield: the prevalence of and factors associated with foot friction blisters during Operation Iraqi Freedom I

Background: Foot friction blisters in military personnel lessen a soldier's mobility, concentration, and critical decision-making skills.

Objective: To determine the prevalence of and factors associated with friction blisters during deployment in all military personnel who nonurgently presented to the 28th Combat Support Hospital.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was performed at the 28th Combat Support Hospital. Statistical tests used included descriptive statistics, chi-square tests, and logistic regression for nominal data.

Results: The response rate was 97% with 872 surveys completed. Blister prevalence was 33% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 30.0-36.4). Eleven percent of these sought treatment (p < 0.001). Factors increasing the risk of developing blisters include female sex (prevalence ratio [PR] = 1.55, 95% CI = 1.27-1.91), wearing boots not broken in (PR = 1.52, CI = 1.26-1.85), longer than 6 months in theater (PR = 1.33, CI = 1.09-1.63), and history of prior blisters (PR = 2.08, CI = 1.69-2.56).

Conclusions: The prevalence of foot friction blisters was 33% during a 12-month block of Operation Iraqi Freedom I. Of these, 11% required medical care. The group most likely to develop blisters is women, ages 26 to 34, who are unable to break in their boots and have a past history of blisters.