Alexa

AP PHOTOS: A look back at 10 years of war in Iraq

AP PHOTOS: A look back at 10 years of war in Iraq

The images remain fresh even as the memories fade _ the blinding flash of "shock and awe" bombing, the square-jawed confidence of an American president leading his people into war, the cowering prisoner trembling on the ground in the face of a small piece of American power.
Fast forward and the images transform like the war itself: the pain of an Iraqi mother's loss, grief-scarred faces of benumbed survivors, terrified soldiers under fire, mutilated bodies of slain Americans hanging from a bridge in a town few Americans had ever heard of.
The Iraq war began on March 20, 2003 to rid Iraq of a dictator and eliminate his weapons of mass destruction. No WMD was ever found. The dictator Saddam Hussein was caught _ literally hiding in a hole _ tried and hanged.
Yet the conflict dragged on in a grinding litany of bullets, bombs and barbarity. Dusty backwaters like Fallujah, Haditha and Ramadi became household words for Americans. The war was marked by the savagery of televised beheadings, Abu Ghraib prison and IEDs.
By the time U.S. troops left in December 2011, nearly 4,500 Americans and more than 100,000 Iraqis had lost their lives. Hundreds of billions of American taxpayer dollars were gone.
For Americans, the war's end in December 2011 brought relief and for the men and women who fought it, joy at reunions with loved ones.
For Iraqis, the war is harder to forget. Its signs are all around, from shattered bodies of survivors, to ongoing spasms of violence, to the pock-marked buildings still unrepaired.
Ten years after that first attack, Iraq languishes in a state between war and peace. And on the eve of the anniversary, a wave of bombings shook the Iraqi capital, killing nearly 60 people and wounding more than 200.
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Updated : 2021-03-05 09:47 GMT+08:00