The summer of 2003 was spent trying to uncover leads of Hussein’s regime. On July 22, Hussein’s sons were found and killed by the U.S. 101st Airborne Division as well as soldiers from Task Force 20. In total, over 300 of the top leaders from Hussein’s regime were captured or killed.
Then on December 13, 2003, finally the leader of the regime, Saddam Hussein himself was found and captured. His hideout was on a farm near Tikrit. His hiding place was leaked by members of Hussein’s family members and his former bodyguards.
The beginning of 2004 led to insurgency groups picking a new target: the Iraqi Security Forces, a group of Iraqis who were created to police the country. Hundreds of these police officers, as well as Iraqi civilians, were killed using a series of bombings.
On March 31, 2004, insurgents ambushed some private military contractors in Fallujah who were protecting caterers. These U.S. contractors were killed and their bodies set on fire and hung over a bridge that crosses over the Euphrates River. As a response, the U.S. started a battle called the First Battle of Fallujah in April 2004 to try and pacify the city. The effort was unsuccessful.
In November 2004, a second battle began lasting 46 days. This battle was won by the multinational group of soldiers, but resulted in the loss of 95 U.S. soldiers as well as 1,350 insurgents. Luckily civilian casualties were low because most of them had abandoned the city before the second battle began.
With Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech given in May 2003, many would have thought that the war would have been over by the end of 2004, especially since the provisional government set up to run Iraq was signed over to Iraqi’s Interim Government on June 28, 2004. But with the insurgents continuing to fight and with the government so unstable, Bush’s administration most likely felt that pulling out now would likely cause more problems than it would help. So the fighting continued as the rebuilding effort of the cities and government began.
Stay tuned . . .