Photos: Looking Back at the War in Iraq, 15 Years After the U.S. Invaded

Fifteen years ago, the bombs started falling on Baghdad. U.S. war planners had hoped a campaign of “shock and awe” would expedite the conflict, demoralize the Iraqi forces, and speed up their surrender. While the initial overthrow of Saddam Hussein was relatively quick, the Iraq War itself was anything but. For nearly nine years, occupying coalition troops tried to work with Iraqis to secure and rebuild in the face of mistrust, poor post-invasion planning, U.S. mismanagement of defeated forces, insurgent rebellions, eruptions of sectarian violence, and serious self-inflicted issues like the inability to find Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (the main pretext for invasion), and the scandalous abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison. The Iraq War caused more than 150,000 deaths, cost trillions of dollars, and its repercussions continue to have strong effects in the region, on foreign policy, and on thousands of families to this day.

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