Photograph of Baghdad city hall taken by the 375th Criminal Investigation Division while serving in Iraq from February to October of 2003.
On March 20, 2003, a coalition of countries, principally the United States and Great Britain, invaded Iraq, contending that the Iraqi government, headed by Saddam Hussein, had developed or was in the process of developing chemical weapons and weapons of mass destruction. Hussein's actions, if true, were in violation of United Nations directives, resulting from Iraq's defeat in the original Gulf War.
The Second Gulf War lasted just three weeks and ended with Saddam Hussein's overthrow. However, since April 2003, United States forces, as well as troops from other countries, have struggled to end violent resistance in the nation. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, including Ohioans, have served in the Second Gulf War. Casualty numbers rise daily, with more than four thousand Americans perishing in the war itself and in the subsequent occupation of Iraq through July 2008. In early August 2005, a National Guard unit from Ohio lost approximately twenty dead during a series of attacks over a several week period. President George Bush has stated that U.S. forces will remain in Iraq to help the new government draft a constitution and to fight terrorism.
In 2007, President Bush sent an additional forty thousand American troops to Iraq. Known as the "surge," these forces succeeded in reducing the violence in Iraq. Proving especially helpful to coalition forces in 2007 and 2008 was the rejection by many Iraqi warlords of the terrorists and other insurgents. These warlords have been actively assisting the United States against the insurgents, when previously they had been warring against the Americans and their allies.
Unlike the first Gulf War, many Americans have actively opposed the United States' invasion and continued occupation of Iraq in the Second Gulf War. These Americans have been especially upset by revelations that Saddam Hussein had no and was not in the process of developing chemical weapons or weapons of mass destruction. Despite initial claims by the United States government, there also has been no concrete evidence discovered linking Hussein to terrorists. Supporters of the invasion quickly counter with the fact that Hussein prohibited United Nations inspectors from entering Iraq to see if the nation was producing weapons of mass destruction or chemical weapons. By refusing to allow the inspectors into the nation, the supporters claim that Hussein sealed his own fate.