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Us - Iraq War

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The US-Iraq War, a military action led by the United States against the regime of Saddam Hussein, the authoritarian leader of Iraq. US president George W. Bush, who announced the beginning of the war in March 2003, explained that the goals were to disarm Iraq and to free its people. For months, President Bush had threatened war, arguing that Saddam Hussein's regime posed a grave threat to US security and peace in the region because of its alleged pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.

The conflict began when US, British and small numbers of Australian and Polish soldiers invaded Iraq. The major fighting ended about three weeks later after US troops entered Baghdad and toppled the Hussein regime. The military campaign was short and one-sided, but hard fought.

The US forces, however, were plagued by a morass of supply shortages, radios that could not reach far-flung troops and virtually no reliable intelligence on how Saddam Hussein would defend Baghdad. Many army units ran low on fuel and water as fast-moving armoured forces raced towards Baghdad and outran their supply lines. As a result, more US forces were deployed for a longer period than the US government anticipated, and the casualty toll rose.

The total US death toll was nearly 750 by early May 2004, a year after President Bush proclaimed an end to major combat operations. Thousands of Iraqis were believed killed in the war, although US military officials did not maintain a count of enemy dead or civilian casualties.

The seeds for the US-Iraq War of 2003 were sown by the 1991 Persian Gulf War, which took place during the administration of US president George Herbert Walker Bush, George W. Bush's father. The war was an armed conflict between Iraq and a coalition of 32 nations including the United States, Britain, Egypt, France, and Saudi Arabia. It was a result of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. The US-led coalition began a massive air war to destroy Iraq's forces and military and civil infrastructure.

Although the Gulf war was a decisive military victory for the coalition, Kuwait and Iraq suffered enormous property damage, and Saddam Hussein was not removed from power. Saddam Hussein's regime remained a threat to its people and its neighbors, and did not meet any of its obligations to the UN that would allow the UN to lift sanctions.

His priorities were clear. If given control of Iraq's resources, Saddam Hussein would use them to rearm and threaten the region, not to improve the lot of the Iraqi people. Have palaces for himself, prisons for his people, and weapons to destroy Iraq's citizens and its neighbors. He has built 48 palaces for himself since the Gulf War. He would not have used Iraq's resources to improve the lives of Iraqis. Rather than spend the funds he had to help the people of Iraq, Saddam Hussein chose to build monuments for himself. In addition, he deprived those in need of water and other scarce resources in order to favor elites and other supporters of the regime. In July 1999, Forbes Magazine estimated Saddam Hussein's personal wealth at $6 billion, acquired primarily from oil and smuggling.

During the recent war, those that were pro-Saddam and anti-US were taken prisoners to Abu Ghraib; a prison located approximately 20 miles west of Baghdad, formally the Baghdad Central Confinement Facility (BCCF). The facility occupies 280 acres with over 4 kilometers of security perimeter and 24 guard towers. The prison is composed of five distinct compound each surrounded by guard towers and high walls. Built by British contractors in the 1960s, Abu Ghraib is a virtual city within a city. The political section of Abu Ghraib was divided into "open" and "closed" wings. The closed wing housed only Shiites. The open wing held all other varieties of real or suspected activists. The "closed" wing was so named because its inmates, until 1989, were permitted no visitors or outside contact. Cells measured approximately four meters by four meters and held an average of 40 persons. Currently the US-led coalition occupying Iraq utilizes the site as "Camp Redemption", though it remains better known under its original official name.

It came to the notice of the world when allegations of Iraqi prisoner abuse committed by US and other Coalition forces, then under investigation by the Pentagon, were publicised by the media. In late April 2004, the media broke stories involving regular abuse and humiliation of Iraqi inmates by a group of US soldiers. They included photographs depicting the abuse of prisoners, and has resulted in a substantial political scandal within the US and other coalition countries.

In January 2004, a US Army MP discovered digital images of apparent detainee abuse on a CD-ROM. He reported the pictures to his superiors, prompting investigations. Reports concluded that U.S. soldiers had committed "egregious acts and grave breaches of international law" at Abu Ghraib. It was found



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