Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) was launched on March 20, 2003 with the two-fold goal of changing Saddam Hussein’s regime and the obliteration Â of Â all weapons of mass destruction. Later, the focus of the program changed to providing assistance to the Iraqi government in areas of security, governance, and the fostering of economic development.
Fact 1. In 2002, President Bush named three countries as the ‘œAxis of Evil,’ one of which was Iraq. On October 10, 2002, a joint resolution was adopted in using force against Iraq, and on March 17th, 2003, Saddam Hussein was given 48 hours to leave Iraq. On March Â 19, 2003, the United States and an Allied coalition commenced with Operation Iraqi Freedom. On May 1st, Â 2003, President Bush declared the end of major combat operations indicating the transition to an operational level.
Fact 2. Â In January, 2007, the Bush administration announced a new strategy called ‘˜the new way forward’ which included a surge in Â troops and new, counter-insurgency operations.
Fact 3. Â Â In 2009, a new, U.S.-Iraqi security agreement was formalized confirming Iraq’s responsibility for its own security. This also indicated the winding down of American military involvement in Iraq.
Fact 4. Â President Obama on February 27, 2009 announced the withdrawal of Â the U.S. military by August, 2010 and the transitioning of services to training and advisory roles in security and counter-terrorism.
Fact 5. Â Although the transitioning has begun, it is foreseen that Iraq will require more time to achieve self-responsibility at the operational and strategic level. This includes the fostering of political stability and the economic development of the country.
Fact 6. Iraqi war veterans have been exposed to environmental and chemical hazards carrying potential health risks including Â infectious diseases such as Â malaria, brucellosis, campylobacter jejuni, Coxiella Burnetii, Mycobacterium Tuberculosis, Nontyphoid Salmonella, Shigella, Visceral Leishmaniasis, and West Nile virus.
Fact 7. War veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom have sustained wounds due to toxic, embedded fragments from blast injuries.
Fact 8. Â Most soldiers stationed in Iraq were exposed to gases such as sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulphide at dangerous levels impacting their health. A fire at the State Sulphur Mine Plant burnt for a month polluting the air and exposing the Army to the dangerous levels of sulphuric gases.
Fact 9. Physical injuries sustained by veterans include sources of blast injuries from improvised explosive devices (IED), artillery, rocket and mortar shells, traps, aerial bombs and rocket-propelled grenades.
Fact 10. An estimated 1,118,846 Iraqis were killed during Operations Iraqi Freedom.