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The 20th Anniversary of the Start of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)

Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) Michael A. Monsoor (kneeling) poses for a photo with his teammates while deployed to Ar Ramadi, Iraq, in 2006. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy).

March 20, 2023 is the 20th anniversary of the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). This is also known as the Iraq War or War in Iraq.

The Authorization
It was “authorized when Iraq was found to be in breach of a United Nations’ Security Council resolution that ‘prohibits stockpiling and importing’ weapons of mass destruction. The coalition began with preemptive airstrikes on Saddam Hussein’s presidential palace and military targets, followed by nearly 70,000 ground troops and 15,000 warships in the region.

By The Numbers
On Dec. 15, 2011, after nearly nine years of conflict, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other top U.S. military leaders observed the official end to OIF. According to the Department of Defense, nearly 4,500 U.S. military personnel were killed and nearly 32,000 wounded in the Iraq War. VA estimates that more than 3.6M Veterans served in the Post-9/11 era.

The History
Since 1994, U.S. troops have been raging war against terror. This war heightened during the attack of 9/11. Operation Iraqi Freedom aimed to take down Saddam Hussein. And we did. On December 30, 2006, Saddam Hussein was executed on the gallows.

The Navy reports the following:
20 March 2003 marked the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom with preemptive airstrikes on Saddam Hussein’s Presidential Palace and military targets followed by approximately 67,700 “boots on the ground” with 15,000 Navy personnel on ships in the region (Belasco). OIF was authorized when Iraq was found to be in breach of U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 1441 which “prohibits stockpiling and importing weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).”

Iraqi forces were overwhelmed quickly and Baghdad fell a mere five weeks after the invasion began. With the invasion complete, an insurgency and influx of al Qaeda inspired fighters poured into the country which sparked guerilla warfare tactics against U.S. troops and civil war between the Sunni and Shia tribes. On 15 December 2011, “The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other top U.S. military leaders observed the official end of U.S. Forces Iraq’s mission after nearly nine years of conflict that claimed the lives of nearly 4,500 troops (Torreon).”

After U.S. forces withdrew from Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) invaded areas of Syria and Iraq causing widespread causalities, destruction of the country’s infrastructure and barbaric practices against citizens. In response to the terrorists group, Operation Inherent Resolve began 17 October 2014.

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12 days ago

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