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A Decade Of Mistakes: Timeline Of The Iraq War

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"A Decade Of Mistakes: Timeline Of The Iraq War"

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Ten years ago, “Operation: Shock and Awe” launched the war in Iraq. The next ten years would prove to be a calamity of unthinkable proportions, leading to the deaths of thousands of American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians, trillions spent and billions wasted. ThinkProgress has cataloged the entirety in a single timeline, stretching from the early days of the war to the present. The following is just a small sampling:

MAY 1, 2003: Mission Accomplished

[M]y fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. [Bush, 5/1/03]

JULY 2, 2003: Bring ‘Em On

There are some who feel like — that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring them on. [Bush, 7/2/03]

APRIL 19, 2004: Bob Woodward reveals CIA Director George Tenet said there was a “slam dunk case” against Iraq

About two weeks before deciding to invade Iraq, President Bush was told by CIA Director George Tenet there was a “slam dunk case” that dictator Saddam Hussein had unconventional weapons, according to a new book by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward. [CNN, 4/19/04]

APRIL 28, 2004: Images of torture at Abu Ghraib are revealed

torture

JANUARY 12, 2005: WMD search in Iraq is declared over

U.S. inspectors have ended their search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in recent weeks, a U.S. intelligence official told CNN. [CNN, 1/12/05]

MAY 30, 2005: Dick Cheney: Insurgency in its “last throes”

I think they’re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency. [CNN Larry King Live, 5/30/05]

DECEMBER 18, 2005: Bush: “[M]uch of the intelligence turned out to be wrong.” [Bush, 12/18/05]

 

FEBRUARY 2, 2006: Rumsfeld doubts “long war” in Iraq

“Is Iraq going to be a long war?” Mr. Rumsfeld answered, “No, I don’t believe it is.” [Washington Times, 2/2/06]

NOVEMBER 1, 2006: Classified military briefing reports Iraq “edging toward chaos.”

A classified briefing prepared two weeks ago by the United States Central Command portrays Iraq as edging toward chaos, in a chart that the military is using as a barometer of civil conflict. … An intelligence summary at the bottom of the slide reads “urban areas experiencing ‘ethnic cleansing’ campaigns to consolidate control” and “violence at all-time high, spreading geographically.” [New York Times, 11/1/2006]

DECEMBER 19, 2006: The White House is “aggressively promoting” a plan to send “15,000 to 30,000 more troops” to Iraq “over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” the Washington Post reports. [Washington Post, 12/19/2006]

FEBRUARY 2, 2007: National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq declares Iraq is worse than a civil war. The document states that the term civil war “accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict,” though it “does not adequately capture the complexity of the conflict.” [Washington Post, 2/3/2007]

MAY 12, 2007: Billions in oil missing in Iraq.

“Between 100,000 and 300,000 barrels a day of Iraq’s declared oil production over the past four years is unaccounted for and could have been siphoned off through corruption or smuggling, according to a draft American government report. Using an average of $50 a barrel, the report said the discrepancy was valued at $5 million to $15 million daily.” [New York Times, 5/12/2007]

SEPTEMBER 11, 2007: Petraeus: ‘I don’t know’ if Iraq war makes America safer. At the Senate Armed Services hearing on progress in Iraq today, Sen. John Warner (R-VA) asked Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq, “if we continue what you have laid before the Congress, this strategy, that if you continue, you are making America safer?” “Sir, I don’t know actually,” replied Petraeus. [CSPAN, 9/11/07]

OCTOBER 1, 2007: FBI sending investigators to Iraq to probe Blackwater. The agency is “making the move at the request of the State Department…to pursue possible criminal charges in light of allegations that guards working for Blackwater might have shot innocent Iraqi citizens.” [SF Gate, 10/1/07]

JULY 22, 2008. The U.S. troop “surge” in Iraq that President George W. Bush ordered last year has ended after the last of five additional combat brigades left the country, a U.S. military spokesman said on Tuesday. The remaining troops from that brigade departed over the weekend, leaving just under 147,000 American soldiers in Iraq, the spokesman said. [Reuters, 7/22/08]

JUNE 13, 2011: Department of Defense announces that $6.6 billion dollars earmarked for Iraq has been lost with no explanation

[It was] enough to run the Los Angeles Unified School District or the Chicago Public Schools for a year, among many other things. For the first time, federal auditors are suggesting that some or all of the cash may have been stolen, not just mislaid in an accounting error. [LA Times, 6/13/11]

DECEMBER 15, 2011: The US formally declares an end to the Iraq war

Nearly 4,500 U.S. servicemembers were killed in more than eight years of war and about 30,000 wounded. Tens of thousands of Iraqis died, troops and civilians, as the U.S. deposed Saddam’s regime and beat down an insurgency backed by al-Qaeda terrorists and sectarian revenge killings that threatened to destroy the country. [USA Today, 12/15/11]

Read the full timeline HERE.

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