On March 20, 2003, a coalition of countries, principally The United States and Great Britain, invaded Iraq, contending that the Iraqi government, headed by Saddam Hussein, had developed or was in the process of developing chemical weapons and weapons of mass destruction. Husseinís actions, if true, were in violation of United Nations directives, resulting from Iraqís defeat in the original Gulf War.
The Second Gulf War lasted just three weeks and ended with Saddam Husseinís overthrow. However, since 2003, United States forces, as well as troops from other countries, have struggled to end violent resistance in the nation. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, including Ohioans, have served in the Iraq War. Casualty numbers rise daily, with more than four thousand Americans perishing in the war itself and in the subsequent occupation of Iraq through July 2008. In early August 2005, a Marine Reserve unit from Ohio lost approximately twenty dead during a series of attacks over a several week period. President George Bush has stated that U.S. forces will remain in Iraq to help the new government to draft a constitution and to fight terrorism.
In 2007, President Bush sent an additional forty thousand American troops to Iraq. Known as The Surge, these forces succeeded in reducing the violence in Iraq. Proving especially helpful to coalition forces in 2007 and 2008 was the rejection by many Iraqi warlords of the terrorists and other insurgents. These warlords have been actively assisting The United States against insurgents, when previously they had been warring against Americans and their allies.