PBS: THE WAR IN IRAQ THROUGH A PHOTOGRAPHERS EYES 2 OF 3
The Iraq War (March 20, 2003 to present), sometimes known as The Second Gulf War, is an
ongoing war which began with a United States-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The main rationale for the war offered by U.S. President George W. Bush and supporters in the Republican and Democrat parties, was that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction. These weapons, it was argued, posed a threat to the world. In George W. Bush's 2003 State of the Union Address he claimed that the U.S. could not wait until the threat became imminent, as Saddam Hussein would not announce his intentions before attacking. After the invasion, however, no evidence was found of such weapons.
Other U.S. officials cited claims of Saddam Hussein's alleged connection to Al-Qaeda. Yet others pointed to human rights abuse in Saddam Hussein's Iraq and the need to establish democracy in Iraq as reason for the war. They have also claimed that the economic importance of Iraq's oil supply limited non-military options. Many critics of the war have alleged that this was a primary reason for the invasion.
The war began in March 2003, when a largely British and American force attacked Iraq. They were supported by small contingents from Australia, Denmark and Poland. The invasion led to the overthrow of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. The U.S. led coalition occupied Iraq and attempted to establish a new democratic government. The coalition, however, was unsuccessful in restoring order to Iraq.
The unrest led to asymmetric warfare with the Iraqi insurgency, civil war between Sunni and Shia Iraqis and al-Qaeda operations in Iraq. As a result of this failure to restore order, a growing number of coalition nations have withdrawn troops from Iraq. The causes and consequences of the war remain extremely controversial.