A Decade Of Mistakes: Timeline Of The Iraq War

Written by Hayes Brown

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

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.

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.


Photo: White House Photo Office/public domain


Don H.
Don H4 years ago

Terry V, said; "get over it."

No chance, Terry. The actions of the Bush Administration have destroyed the nation. He should be hung by the neck until dead. And I am personally against the death penalty.

Mistakes? I don't think so.

Terry V.
Terry V4 years ago

this is old news, get over it, it is history

Robert H.
Robert Hamm4 years ago

Give it up folks. David lives in a very small world with high walls. You will never convince him that his country lied its ass off to him……welllll he will never admit a REPUBLICAN administration did. He simply can't conceive of it. You are wasting your energy.

Cletus W.
Cletus W.4 years ago

Don, Susan, Mary -- Like any spanked child, David F. goes off crying and struggles to conjure up a world that conforms to his limited ability to understand a reality that overwhlems his neural connections. When is the last time you saw a spanked child come back to tell his/her parents that he/she understands his/her parents and enter into a cogent discussion?

David F. is the poster-child for [R] immaturity and inaneness, and we should be gratefull -- politically speaking -- that he is happy enough to show it off publicly to the rest of us.

Susan T.
Susan T4 years ago

BTW David F - I'm not saying most of the Democrats were "clean" on the issue of the Iraq war - many of them cowardly voted for it even though there was not convincing evidence to support going to war.

In the Senate - 23 Senators voted against the war (21 Dems, 1 Repub and 1 Indep.) Please note this includes Carl Levin and Ron Wyden (as well as Dick Durbin) who you also claim were "convinced" there were WMDs in Iraq.

Daniel Akaka (D-HI); Jeff Bingaman (D-NM); Barbara Boxer (D-CA); Robert Byrd (D-WV); Lincoln Chafee (R-RI); Kent Conrad (D-ND); Jon Corzine (D-NJ); Mark Dayton (D-MN); Richard Durbin (D-IL); Russell Feingold (D-WI); Robert Graham (D-FL); Daniel Inouye (D-HI); James Jeffords (I-VT); Edward Kennedy (D-MA); Patrick Leahy (D-VT); Carl Levin (D-MI); Barbara Mikulski (D-MD); Patty Murray (D-WA); Jack Reed (D-RI); Paul Sarbanes (D-MD); Debbie Stabenow (D-MI); Paul Wellstone (D-MN); Ron Wyden (D-OR)

In the House, 81 Democrats voted Yes, 126 No (61% of the delegation) and 1 Present; the sole Independent voted No (Bernie Sanders).

In both houses of Congress, Republicans voted almost 100% for the war.

Susan T.
Susan T4 years ago

David F - stop making stuff up. Here's info on just one of the Dem. Senators you claim "knew" there were WMD's in Iraq. Please focus on the last 2 paragraphs especially.

"On September 9, 2002, Durbin was the first of four Democratic senators (the others being Sens. Bob Graham, Feinstein, and Levin) on the Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), responding to the Bush administration's request for a joint resolution authorizing a preemptive war on Iraq without having prepared a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), to ask George Tenet, the Director of Central Intelligence, to prepare a NIE on the status of Iraq's WMD programs. Durbin was one of the few senators who read the resulting prepared October 1, 2002 NIE, Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction.
On September 29, 2002, Durbin held a news conference in Chicago to announce that "absent dramatic changes" in the resolution, he would vote against the resolution authorizing war on Iraq. On October 2, 2002, at the first high-profile Chicago anti-Iraq War rally in Federal Plaza, Durbin repeated his promise to oppose the resolution in a letter read during the rally.

On October 11, 2002, Durbin was one of 23 senators to vote against the joint resolution authorizing the Iraq War.

On April 25, 2007, Durbin said that as an intelligence committee member he knew in 2002 from classified information that the American people were being misled by the Bush Administration into a war on Iraq, but he could not rev

Don H.
Don H4 years ago

David F, I know it is an embarrassment to Republicans, but the intelligence provided to Democrats was manufactured by Bush Administration operatives outside ordinary chain of intelligence.

What happened when Joe Wilson challenged faked up Bush intelligence? His CIA agent wife was outed by the Bush Administration. This is just another example of Bush Administration treason. Just like pappy Bush did in Iran Contra. They are traitors!

Cletus W.
Cletus W.4 years ago

Mary B. -- I have seen David F's rude attempts to minimize your contributions on here concerning America's socio-political scene...merely because you are Canadian. His response to you is really no different than his responses to others -- he DEFLECTS. It is the standard sophomoric response of feeble-minded rightwingers....similar deflective and vitriolic dismissals were given by Hitler and the Nazi's when the citizens of other countries 'dared' to comment on Germany's internal strife in the 1930s.

The next time this self-styled conservative baffoon spews his self-serving logic that you, as a Canadian, shouldn't comment on American issues on Care2, remind him that likewise he should shut his yap about women's issues, or cease his commentary on Obama, etc. -- becasue he is not a woman, and he is not a [D].

But, god love him, intelligent Americans will still appreciate David F. for the service he provides us as a poster child for [R] malignancy and therefore for continued [D] victories in 2014 and 2016.

Mary B.
Mary B4 years ago

Cletus W..... The boil on the butt of politics (David F.)....really doesn't listen or seem to care if ANY of his facts are right....He thinks because I'm Canadian, I am "STOOOOPID".....well, sometimes I know more about some things than he does. (even US things)
I am glad you are here, Cletus because you are the go to person for facts AND you don't take David F.'s BS....

Cletus W.
Cletus W.4 years ago


#2 ..."There’s no creditable evidence that Bush intentionally falsified evidence (LIE) to start the Iraq war.".... I'll ignore for the moment the reams of credible evidence that are out there for all to see, and I'll just focus on what the VP himself told **ME**0 on TV as he looked directly into the camera....paraphrasing....."not only do we know that Saddam has WMDs, we know exactly where they are, right now!!" Cheney's pants were on fire of course. At the time he said that, some inspectors were still in Iraq, and even my 3rd-grader knew that if his statement were true it would have been a simple matter for the Cheney-Bush administration to have kept quiet for another day or two, and to have sent the inspectors to where the WMDs supposedly were. That the real 1st-in-command, instead chose to commit a bald-faced lie on TV directly to the American people, shows how concerned the criminals were about building momentum to their war of choice. Maybe not in Texas, but in the rest of America that is a LIE!