March 19 is the anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war. It was on this day in 2003 that the United States and the United Kingdom joined forces to launch an offensive against the country of Iraq. Not long after the first coalition bombs started falling on Baghdad, President George W. Bush made the following televised announcement, "At this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.”

Weapons of Mass Destruction

According to President Bush, the primary basis for the United States-led offensive against Iraq was due to intelligence that showed Iraq and its dictatorial leader, Saddam Hussein, were manufacturing weapons of mass destruction, which posed a threat to the United States, its allies and freedom in general.

First, the United States ordered Saddam Hussein to exit the country by a certain date or there would be military repercussions. When Saddam Hussein failed to comply, he was given a 90-minute grace period before the Tomahawk cruise missiles began to fly. The missiles struck key military targets and they were sent from warships and fighter-bombers that had been dispatched to the Persian Gulf. Following the strike, national Iraqi radio station announced that "the evil ones, the enemies of God, the homeland and humanity, have committed the stupidity of aggression against our homeland and people.”

Not long after the first attacks, Saddam Hussein went into hiding. The coalition forces conquered the biggest cities of Iraq in only three weeks' time. By May 1, 2003, President Bush declared the end of the most intense fighting. However, insurgent guerrilla warfare persisted in Iraq and it continues to persist until this day. As a result, thousands of deaths have occurred on both sides and among civilians since Bush announced the U.S.-led victory.

Saddam Hussein Captured

Eventually, U.S. soldiers located Saddam Hussein. He was hiding inside a small hole, just nine miles away from Tikrit, his hometown. Hussein was captured peacefully and was not injured. In October 2005, Hussein was tried for mass murder and other alleged crimes against his people. On November 6, 2006, he was found guilty and sentenced to the death penalty by hanging. He was hanged on Dec. 30, 2006.

Incidentally, no weapons of mass destruction and no evidence of weapons of mass destruction were ever discovered in Iraq.