Thursday

Invading Iraq (2003)

Listen to "Invading Iraq (2003)"

This episode will only cover the period between March 2003 and May 1 2003.

Reasons for Invading Iraq:
  • Iraq's possession of WMDs
  • Saddam's link to Al Qaeda
  • Iraq's failure to respect no-fly zones
  • Tyrannical part of the Axis of Evil
The United States Congress supported military action against Iraq, but the UN did not approve of it. The US launched Operation Cobra II with the coalition of the willing (consisting of 49 countries) and many military contractors. The main invasion was in the South, where there were three fronts:
  • Western Front: US's 3rd Infantry Division goes through Najaf and Karbala towards Baghdad
  • Central Front: US's 1st Marine Expeditionary Force goes through Nasiriyah towards Baghdad
  • Eastern Front: UK's 1st Armored Division goes through Basra towards Baghdad
A secondary invasion in the North was led by the 10th Special Forces Group and the Kurdish Peshmerga. This force pushed through Mosul and Kirkuk towards Baghdad.

The actual invasion of Baghdad took place early in April, when Colonel Perkins invented the concept of Thunder Runs--rapid mechanized thrusts into the city to inspire shock and awe. Two thunder runs were sent into Baghdad and eventually the city (minus Saddam Hussein) was taken.

On May 1st, 2003, President Bush declared Mission Accomplished (excerpt in episode).

Sources:
http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/world/daily/graphics/iraqMap_040103_2.gif
http://www.military.com/NewContent/0,13190,011805_Thunder_Run,00.html
Foreign Affairs (May/June 2006): Saddam’s Delusions
http://geocities.com/saberoca/
http://icasualties.org/oif/
http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/iraq/casualties.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uh4U-Tbqbx4
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/invasion/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soohikNdbWs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdlEcFfYZ2k
http://www.mongabay.com/igapo/Iraq.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFijzDyJnVE

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine