Trouble Ahead (02:28)
In April 2003, optimism is widely felt after the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue. Hours later, the Iraqi people begin to loot and attack the ministries.
War Plans (01:21)
Donald Rumsfeld and Tommy Ray Franks draft war plans that do not include plans for securing Iraq. The Bush administration dismisses the looting and social distress of Iraqi people.
Mission Accomplished? (02:59)
As tensions rise in Iraq, General Franks announces the withdrawal of American troops. On May 1, 2003, President George W. Bush delivers this message personally. With the removal of forces, the plan is to leave Iraq in the hands of civilian diplomat Lewis Paul Bremer.
Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) (02:51)
Bremer, heading the CPA, arrives in Baghdad to a city on fire. His first order is to shoot a few looters to make a point. Military commanders refuse, citing their code of honor.
De-Ba'athification Order (02:54)
After one day in Iraq, Bremer distributes CPA Order Number 1, a plan to end Sunni domination of the government. General Jay Garner worries that Bermer is inexperienced and ill-informed.
Recalling Saddam Hussein's Army (02:09)
On May 15, 2003, Bremer announces the removal of Sunni occupation of government office. Seven days later, he distributes CPA Order Number 2, the decision to dissolve the Iraqi military.
First Major Attack (02:00)
Seventy-two hours after CPA Orders 1 and 2 are announced, the first major attack takes place, killing two American soldiers. Top military commanders leave Iraq.
America is Still at War (03:03)
Insurgents begin paying Shiites up to $500 for videotaped killings. In August 2003, war in Iraq begins with the bombing of the Jordanian Embassy and the United Nations Embassy.
Early Sovereignty (03:00)
In September 2003, Rumsfeld travels to Iraq and realizes his commanding general has zero intelligence on the enemy. Washington demands intelligence and General Ricardo Sanchez begins imprisoning and interrogating Iraqi people. Bremer's new mission is to hand Iraq back to Iraqis.
Fallujah Massacre (02:58)
On December 13, 2003, Hussein is captured. Some hope this might calm the insurgency. On March 31, 2004, however, four American contractors are murdered in Fallujah. President Bush orders marines to retaliate.
Interim Iraqi Government (02:05)
On June 28, 2004, Bremer pushes through an interim constitution, forms a new government, and hands Iraq back to the Iraqis. Ambassador Bremer and the CPA team leave covertly.
Light Footprint Mission and War Tourism (03:47)
In the summer of 2004, with re-election looming, President Bush appoints a new general in Iraq, George Casey. His mission is to prepare Iraq for a democratic election. In the Shiite slums, Muqtada al-Sadr gains thousands of followers enraged by American occupation.
Battle at Fallujah (03:03)
Sunni insurgents pose a threat to the upcoming Iraq elections, and Fallujah becomes their sanctuary. In November 2004, Casey executes a full-scale attack on Fallujah that rages for 10 days.
Dividing a Nation (03:35)
The battle of Fallujah decreases Sunni-Arab support for American occupation. On election day, thousands of Iraqis come out to vote, but Sunnis boycott. To undermine the new government, Sunnis target unprotected civilians.
Two-Sided Civil War (01:56)
Al-Qaeda joins the insurgency effort. On February 22, the Shiite's Samarra Mosque is destroyed to stimulate a civil war. Over the next 10 days, the Shiites counter-attack.
Appointing a New Prime Minister (03:29)
In May of 2006, the U.S. appoints Nouri Kamil al Maliki as Iraq's new prime minister. President Bush personally mentors Maliki in the art of politics.
The Surge (04:21)
On November 8, 2006, with democrats taking power in the House of Representatives and Senate, President Bush calls for Rumsfeld's resignation. General Jack Keane recommends a new plan to secure the Iraqi population.
Securing the Iraqi Population (02:57)
In the spring of 2007, General David Patraeus and almost 30,000 new troops initiate the surge. Troops fiercely engage with Sunni insurgents and Shiite militia groups. American casualties increase.
Growing Political Pressure (02:12)
Stephen Hadley produces a memo indicating Prime Minister Maliki's government is becoming increasingly sectarian. President Bush continues to support Maliki.
The Sons of Iraq (03:12)
General Patraeus attempts to drive a wedge between the foreign al-Qaeda fighters and the Sunni tribes. In the end, 103,000 Sunnis join Patraeus' army, costing $400 million. The level of violence in Iraq drops by 90%.
Deflating Moment (02:34)
In December of 2008, President Bush makes a final visit to Iraq. He signs an agreement to keep American troops present until 2011. During a press conference, an Iraqi reporter throws his shoes at the president.
New Commander and Chief (03:18)
On January 20, 2009, President Barack Obama inherits the war in Iraq. He publicly announces his intent to remove all U.S. troops by the end of 2011.
Maliki the Authoritarian (02:28)
The effects of President Obama's announcement are immediate. Ambassador Christopher Hill decides Iraq is going to be treated as a sovereign state. Prime Minister Maliki increases sectarian tension.
U.S.-Iraq Negotiations (04:06)
The Iraqi Army becomes Prime Minister Maliki's first target. Petraeus' Sons of Iraq become enemies of the state. By the spring of 2011, with the deadline for troop withdraw looming, the Pentagon requests to keep a residual force on the ground.
Political and Military Disengagement (02:52)
President Obama invites Prime Minister Maliki to the White House to celebrate the future of a democratic Iraq. On December 18, 2011, the last of the U.S. troops leave Iraq.
Shiite Control of the State (03:10)
With Americans gone, Prime Minister Maliki begins to crack down on the Sunni population, starting with the vice president. Mass protest breaks out in Sunni provinces. Peace is broken between Sunnis and Shiites.
The Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS) (03:34)
By 2014, the Sunnis begin to strike back by capturing the cities of Fullujha, Ramadi, and Mosul. ISIS begins releasing brutal execution videos. The Iraqi forces rapidly collapse and Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army is back on the streets.
Iraq's Uncertain Future (02:05)
At the White House, it is now President Obama whose legacy is being threatened by the war. In June 2014, he orders up to 300 military advisors back to Iraq.
Credits: Losing Iraq (02:28)
Credits: Losing Iraq
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