Top books and movies about the Iraq War





The Iraq War began on March 19, 2003 . Since that time, an estimated 120,000 ( civilian Iraqis have been killed . Coalition deaths totaled 4,803, of which 4,484 were U.S. forces. 32,200 Americans were wounded . An estimated 463 contractors were killed. According to estimates the Iraq War has cost $800 billion dollars . The U.S. completed its withdrawal of military personnel in December 2011. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the long term cost of the war will be $2.4 trillion by 2017, due to the high debt cost of financing a a war with borrowed money. Interest cost alone are estimated to be $700 billion by 2017 .


The Iraqi insurgency has continued since the withdrawal of US troops in December 2011. Iraqi insurgent groups have been fighting against the central government and there has been sectarian violence between Iraq's religious groups. Since the US military's withdrawal, the level of violence has risen, leading to fears that Iraq could descend into civil war.


The population of Iraq is divided along ethnic and religious lines. The two main religious groups are Shiites and Sunnis . About 605 of the population of Iraq are Shiites, who were oppressed under Saddam Hussein . The two main ethnic groups are Arabs, who make up about 75 % of the population, Kurds in northern Iraq who make up about 18% of the population and 5% made up of Assyrians, Turkomans and Chaldeans . the population of Iraq is around 27 million and the country is a little larger than California .




 Detailed map of the Iraq War


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 map of Iraq


Following the Persian Gulf War (1990-91) Saddam Hussein (1937 - 2006)continued to defy the UN mandated sanctions and made it impossible to determine if Saddam's regime was continuing to manufacture weapons of mass destruction including biological, poison gas and nuclear weapons . In the terms of the UN ceasefire set out in Security Council Resolution 686, and in Resolution 687, Iraq was forbidden from developing, possessing or using chemical, biological and nuclear weapons by resolution 686.


Saddam's Fedayeen wore a unique Helmet to match their Black Uniforms as part of their brutal intimidation tactics against the Iraqi people. They were Modeled after the Star Wars Darth Vader famed Helmet, by Saddam's  sons. Sometimes these helmets can be found for sale on eBay.


Saddam was internationally known for his use of chemical weapons in the 1980s against Iranian and Kurdish civilians during and after the Iran–Iraq War. It is also known that in the 1980s he pursued an extensive biological weapons program and a nuclear weapons program, though no nuclear bomb was built. Iraq's nuclear weapons program suffered a serious setback in 1981 when the Osiraq reactor, which would have been capable of breeding weapons-useable nuclear material, was bombed by Israel before it could be commissioned.



Interview that occurred between President of Iraq Saddam Hussein and American news anchor Dan Rather on February 24, 2003, very shortly before the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.


In 1998, Saddam stopped cooperating with UN inspectors who were charged with searching for weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and the UN withdrew its inspectors . UN inspectors did discover some evidence that WMD programs were being continued . During the lead-up to war in March 2003, United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix had found no stockpiles of WMD and had made significant progress toward resolving open issues of disarmament noting "proactive" but not always the "immediate" Iraqi cooperation as called for by UN Security Council Resolution 1441.


Some people are investing in post-Saddam Iraqi Dinars, hoping their investment will rise in value if Iraq stabilizes and is able to resume full oil production . This is a very risky investment, post war Iraq has $125 billion in external debt, is unstable and it has been rumoured that Iraq may elminate this Provisional Currency and create a new one . However, if you want to role the dice, Dinars are available for purchase from citizens of the United States under Presidential Order and allow US citizens to invest in the new Iraq . If you invest in Dinars, make sure they don't have a picture of Saddam and are not counterfeit . You can buy Dinars at certain banks or on eBay .


In response to diminishing Iraqi cooperation with UNSCOM ( United Nations Special Commission on Iraq ), the United States called for withdrawal of all UN and IAEA inspectors in 1998, resulting in Operation Desert Fox a major four-day bombing campaign on Iraqi targets from December 16, 1998, to December 19, 1998, by the United States and United Kingdom.   .


After the September 11 attacks, Saddam's continued defiance of UN inspections were considered to be a major threat to world security by the governments of the United stated and Great Britain . It was feared that Saddam's regime, which had a history of supporting terrorist groups might make Iraq's possible WMDs, funding and training facilities availible to the surving remains of the Al-Qaeda organization . In the age of terrorism, a preemptive war was needed, they argued .



George W. Bush giving his 'axis of evil speech'  at 2002 State of the Union Address.


On September 12, 2002, President Bush gave a speech at the UN demanding that Iraq under Saddam Hussein destroy all weapons of mass destruction and stop supporting terrorist organizations . Saddam remained in power in Iraq after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 and was defeated in the Gulf War . In 1998, Saddam stopped cooperating with UN inspectors who were charged with weapons of mass destruction . No weapons of mass destruction to date have been found, and no connection between Saddam's regime and Al Qaeda have been found . Indeed, there were found to be enemies rather than allies, leading to more criticism of the war as it bogged down into an occupation .


National Geographic's "Inside the Iraq War"


The United States effectively terminated the search effort for unconventional weaponry in January 2005, and the Iraq Intelligence Commission concluded that the judgments of the U.S. intelligence community about the continued existence of weapons of mass destruction and an associated military program were wrong. Rumors have abounded of possible transportation of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to foreign countries, namely Syria, Lebanon and Iran, in the weeks before Operation Iraqi Freedom began. Another conjecton is that Saddam lied about WMDs to prevent another invasion and stay in power .


On February 15, 2003, a month before the invasion, there were worldwide protests against the Iraq War, including a rally of three million people in Rome, which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest ever anti-war rally.




Uncle Saddam (2000) Documentary on Saddam Hussein


The Iraq War begins  Differences between the Iraq and Persian Gulf War


On March 17, 2003, President Bush gave Saddam Hussein until 8 P.M. on March 19 to leave Iraq or face war . Saddam refused to leave and U.S. forces launched the first air strikes two hours after the deadline had passed .  The 2003 invasion of Iraq was supported by a coalition of over 25 countries . The U.S. provided 250,000 combat troops, the U.K 40,000 and Australia 4,000 . France and Germany refused to take part in the invasion as did NATO .


A deck of 52 playing cards with major wanted Iraqi leaders were distributed to the troops by the Dept of Defense to try to track down the leaders . These sold well in the U.S. as well. Buy cards


Unlike the Persian Gulf War of 1990-91 where Coaliltion forces bombed Iraq for a month before ground troops entered Iraq, this time Coaliltion troops entered Iraq immediately . In the Persian Gulf War, Schwarzkopf commanded a coalition of 550,000 troops . In 2003, General Tommy Franks commanded a force of about 150,000 troops. Approximately 148,000 soldiers from the United States, 45,000 British soldiers, 2,000 Australian soldiers and 194 Polish soldiers from the special forces unit GROM were sent to Kuwait for the invasion . The invasion force was also supported by Iraqi Kurdish militia troops, estimated to number roughly 70,000 . It is estimated the Iraqi armed forces in total numbered 538,000 (Iraqi Army 375,000, Iraqi Navy 2,000, Iraqi Air Force 20,000 and air defense 17,000), the paramilitary Fedayeen Saddam 44,000, Republican Guard 80,000 and reserves 650,000. During the invasion, foreign volunteers traveled to Iraq from Syria and took part in the fighting, usually under the command of the Fedayeen Saddam . The Iraqi air force had about 13 French-made Mirage F1 fighters, 29 Russian-made MiG-29 Fulcrum-A and 12 MiG-25PD Foxbat fighter aircraft. soon after the ground war began, the Iraqi air force flew 115 to 140 of its aircraft, mainly MiGs, to Iran, its recent enemy . The rest, including some highly sophisticated planes such as the MiG-25PD Foxbat ordered to be disassembled or buried by Saddam .


The Iraqis had about  700 T 72 tanks  and about 1500 T 54/54/62 tanks at the start of 2003.


An Iraqi 'Lion of Babylon" tank, made in Iraq and derived from the Russian T-72 main battle tank . Operation Desert Storm was the first conflict to see the extensive use of depleted uranium, which were used to great effect against Iraqi tanks.  An Iraqi T-72 has an effective range of about 1,800 yards, while the American M1 Abrams and the British the Challenger 1/2 had a range of twice that . The largest tank engagement of the Iraq War was the destruction of seven T-72 Lion of Babylon tanks in a point-blank skirmish of less than 50 yards, near Mahmoudiyah, about 18 miles south of Baghdad, with no losses for the American tanks.




During the Iraq War, destruction of bridges, power stations and other infrastructure was avoided to keep down reconstruction cost, unlike in the Persian Gulf War .



A video that came home from Iraq as part in an American soldier's belongings

after he and several others were killed in an Nasiriyah on march 23rd, 2003



In the following days after the war started, the coalition forces carried out 'shock and awe" campaign, dropping thousands of smart bombs on military targets . At about the same time, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force entered Iraq from Kuwait . While the special forces launched an amphibious assault from the Persian Gulf to secure Basra and the surrounding petroleum fields, the main invasion army moved into southern Iraq, occupying the region and engaging in the Battle of Nasiriyah on 23 March. The Battle of Nasiriyah took place from March 23, 2003 to March 29, 2003, and was one of the first major battles of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Massive air strikes across the country and against Iraqi command and control threw the defending army into chaos and prevented an effective resistance. On 26 March the 173rd Airborne Brigade was airdropped near the northern city of Kirkuk where they joined forces with Kurdish rebels and fought several actions against the Iraqi army to secure the northern part of the country.


A rapid advance was made into Iraq, leaving concentrations of Iraqi forces behind to attack supply convoys . On March 23, 12 soldiers of the 507th Maintenance Company were captured, including two women, Shoshanna Johnson and Jessica Lynch, who were later rescued . Cities where troops could get exposed to guerrilla attacks for a rapid advance on Baghdad .Iraqi soldiers sometimes wore civilian clothing while engaging Coalition forces . As they advanced U.S. troops would often question and detain all Iraqi men of military age . There were reports of Iraqi civilians being forced to attack Coaliltion troops after their families were held hostage .



Documentary based around the conflict in and around Baghdad during the 2003 Iraq invasion



From March 27 to April 2, the war in Iraq increased in intensity.  U.S. Marines and the 3rd Infantry Division moved northward in a two pronged attack toward Baghdad and by the end of this period they were on the outskirts of Baghdad . Tough resistance emerged in towns that had been bypassed by the rapid advance in cities such as An Najaf In the south, Coalition forces took the large Basra refinery . On March 29, an Iraqi suicide bomber killed four U.S. soldiers. At An Nasiriyah, where two important bridges were located, fighting continued with the Fedayeen Saddam . Fighting also continued in An Najaf and Karabala as Iraqi forces tried to threaten transport convoys .   At An Najaf, one Iraqi unit continued to fire on Coalition troops with impunity as they were stationed in an mosque which was considered a holy site an off limits to attack .In An Najaf the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division used air strikes and artillery to target militiamen who targeted U.S. supply lines . In As Samawah, two battalions of the 82nd Airborne fought an estimated 1,000 militiamen .Three republican Guard divisions defended the approaches to Baghdad . The Republican Guard were the best trained and equipped forces of the Iraqi Army . Almost all the troops were Sunni Arabs . Units of the republican Guard mounted some of the strongest resistance to Coalition forces . from the southwest, near the city of Al Kut, U.S. marines for the most part eliminated the Baghdad Division of the Republican Guard .


On April 2-4 Baghdad airport was taken after a fierce defense by the Iraqis who defended the base with two tank battalions . 250 Special republican Guards were killed and one U.S. soldier killed . About 2,500 Republican Guard troops surrender near Al Kut, the single largest surrender in the war up to that time .



During the Iraqi war in 2003, Najaf was a key target of the invading United States forces. The city was encircled during heavy fighting on March 26, 2003 and was captured on April 3, 2003 by 1st, 2nd, 3rd Battalions, 327th Infantry Regiment, units of the 101st Airborne Division.


By April 9, 2003, U.S. and coalition forces entered the center of Baghdad . Scenes of a large statue of Saddam being pulled down while crowds of Iraqis cheered were broadcast around the world . In the wake of the collapse of Saddam's government, lawless followed. The was widespread looting, including priceless artifacts from Iraqi museums . The regime of Saddam,weakened by years of sanctions were defeated in three weeks. Saddam himself escaped and no formal surrender was given by what remained of the Iraqi government . Many Iraqi soldiers took off their uniforms and went home . While the Iraqi army and the Republican Guard quickly collapsed, Fedayeen Saddam forces put up stiff and determined resistance to the coalition invasion. The Fedayeen Saddam was not part of Iraq's regular armed forces but rather operated as a paramilitary unit of irregular forces. They were usually only armed with AK-47 machine guns and RPGs.


With no functioning government, Iraq spiraled into chaos . Only 120 American had been killed by the time President Bush declared victory on May 1, 2003 . Many more were to die fighting in the insurgency in Iraq in the years that followed . The question of if the war was 'justified' and the planning for post-Saddam Iraq remains very controversial .



Tony Blair makes the case for the Iraq War





Bush: "Mission Accomplished" speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln May 1 2003. After Bush declared an official end to the war on May 1, 2003, unrest in Iraq grew.  Robberies and murders rose dramatically . ethnic tensions, long suppressed by Saddam were come to the surface violently .



The Capture of Saddam Hussein - A Day that Shook the World [HD]. On the 14th December 2003, Operation Red Dawn was launched in order to locate and capture Saddam Hussein, who they believed was hiding in the town of ad-Dawr, Iraq, near Tikrit. The operation was conducted by 1st Brigade Combat Team, which included elements of Special Operations teams.  Saddam was found with, a pistol and an AK-47 Assault Rifle along with 750,000 dollars in cash. He showed no resistance however. He was captured near his hometown of Tikrit . Saddam had been hiding for months, moving between about 30 hideouts .




A compilation of several videos filmed during the battle of Fallujah that occurred in November and December 2004. This joint American, British, and Iraqi offensive, called "Operation Phantom Fury" . . . was led by the U.S. Marines who were heavily involved in the very intense fighting that resulted in a vital victory during this critical period of the Iraq War.


The occupation of Iraq after the fall of Saddam's Government


Saddam and his regime had planned for a draw out guerrilla war to wear out the Coalition and prepared for this by burying and hiding caches of weapons throughout Iraq . After President Bush's speech, coalition forces noticed an increase of attacks,especially in the "Sunni Triangle".The initial Iraqi insurgents were supplied by hundreds of weapons caches created before the invasion by the Iraqi army and Republican Guard. Initially, Iraqi resistance (described by the coalition as "Anti-Iraqi Forces") largely stemmed from Fedayeen and Saddam loyalists, but soon religious radicals and Iraqis angered by the occupation contributed to the insurgency.



In June 2004, U.S. officials handed over power to a temporary Iraqi government led by prime minister Ayad Allawi . In Najaf, a city sacred to the Shiites, Shiite leader Moktada al-Sadr, encouraged Shiite militia forces to attack U.S. forces . After the new Iraqi government was installed, U.S. and Iraqi troops joined forces. The battle was now between insurgents who used IEDs (Improvised explosive devices ) usually of roadside bombs.



The battle of Fallujah


In 2005, Iraqis held their first ever free election and a constitution was approved by the people, which called for an election every four years . Elections for a new parliament were held on December 15, 2005 . About 70% of eligible voters cast a ballot .



In keeping with Barack Obama's presidential campaign promise, the US has withdrawn its troops from Iraq and by the end of 2012 US spending in Iraq will be just five per cent of what it was at its peak in 2008.

In a special two-part series, Fault Lines travels across Iraq to take the pulse of a country and its people after nine years of foreign occupation and nation-building.

Now that US troops have left, how are Iraqis overcoming the legacy of violence and toxic remains of the US-led occupation, and the sectarian war it ignited? Is the country on the brink of irreparable fragmentation?

Correspondent Sebastian Walker first went to Baghdad in June 2003 and spent the next several years reporting un-embedded from Iraq. In the first part of this Fault Lines series, he returns and travels from Basra to Baghdad to find out what kind of future Iraqis are forging for themselves.


 IRAQ War Santa Monica beach, LA

Each white cross represents a fallen US solider in the IRAQ war.

This memorial is situated on Santa Monica beach, LA



Top books and movies about the Iraq War  




What Michael Herr’s Dispatches did for Vietnam, veteran correspondent Dexter Filkins’ The Forever War has now done for Iraq. He spent more than a decade reporting from the wars in the Middle East. He witnessed a public execution at a soccer stadium in Kabul, stumbled through the rubble of the World Trade Center on September 11, followed Marines in their brutal battle in Fallujah. " Filkins reports on the rise of the Taliban in the '90s, the attacks of September 11, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and their aftermath. He covers a great deal of territory, reporting from many locales on the lives of everyday people caught up in the historical events. Selected as one of the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2008, and winner of the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award for best general nonfiction book.


 No True Glory: A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah

"This is the face of war as only those who have fought it can describe it."Senator John McCain Fallujah: Iraq's most dangerous city unexpectedly emerged as the major battleground of the Iraqi insurgency. For twenty months, one American battalion after another tried to quell the violence, culminating in a bloody, full-scale assault. Victory came at a terrible price: 151 Americans and thousands of Iraqis were left dead. The epic battle for Fallujah revealed the startling connections between policy and combat that are a part of the new reality of war. The Marines had planned to slip into Fallujah "as soft as fog." But after four American contractors were brutally murdered, President Bush ordered an attack on the cityagainst the advice of the Marines.


The assault sparked a political firestorm, and the Marines were forced to withdraw amid controversy and confusiononly to be ordered a second time to take a city that had become an inferno of hate and the lair of the archterrorist al-Zarqawi. Based on months spent with the battalions in Fallujah and hundreds of interviews at every levelsenior policymakers, negotiators, generals, and soldiers and Marines on the front lines No True Gloryis a testament to the bravery of the American soldier and a cautionary tale about the complexand often costlyinterconnected roles of policy, politics, and battle in the twenty-first century.


Thomas Ricks Fiasco

#1 New York Times bestseller, Fiasco, transformed the political dialogue on the war in Iraq. Now Ricks has picked up where Fiasco left off-Iraq, late 2005. With more newsbreaking information, including hundreds of hours of interviews with top U.S. officials who were on the ground during the surge and beyond, The Gamble is the natural companion piece to Fiasco, and the two are sure to become the definitive examinations of what ultimately went wrong in Iraq.

Thomas Ricks’ Fiasco was one of the first classic works of journalism to come out of the Iraq war—it was seen in the arms of everyone from soldiers to politicians to politically active celebrities. The Washington Post reporter’s 2006 book chronicles how after a very successful invasion, the war went terribly wrong.


 Imperial Life in the Emerald City

Rajiv Chandrasekaran's damning, in-depth report on life in Baghdad's Green Zone--the cordoned-off section of the city that was the seat of the U.S. military command as well as of the Coalition Provisional Authority--reveals case after case of a stunningly mismanaged post-invasion occupation. Chandrasekaran looks at a large number of people--military and civilian both--and credits those who tried to help, but also reports on outrageous behavior that was at times inept and, at other times offensive. The Coalition Provisional Authority failed to restore Iraq's infrastructure, and it was staffed, the author claims, with politically connected people who had little interest in Iraqi culture and who only made things worse. Chandrasekaran describes a surreal city-within-a-city and an occupying force in a state of collective denial about the realities just outside its perimeter--none of which escaped the notice of the Iraqi population, and which, Chandrasekaran asserts, fueled the insurgency. Selected by the New York Times as one of the 10 Best Books of 2007.

The Green Zone, Baghdad, 2003: in this walled-off compound of swimming pools and luxurious amenities, Paul Bremer and his Coalition Provisional Authority set out to fashion a new, democratic Iraq. Staffed by idealistic aides chosen primarily for their views on issues such as abortion and capital punishment, the CPA spent the crucial first year of occupation pursuing goals that had little to do with the immediate needs of a postwar nation: flat taxes instead of electricity and deregulated health care instead of emergency medical supplies. In this acclaimed firsthand account, the former Baghdad bureau chief ofThe Washington Postgives us an intimate portrait of life inside this Oz-like bubble, which continued unaffected by the growing mayhem outside. This is a quietly devastating tale of imperial folly, and the definitive history of those early days when things went irrevocably wrong in Iraq.


 Generation Kill

Based on the national bestseller by Evan Wright, this war series portrays the life led by US marines during the first 40 days of the Iraq war. With everything from non-existent strategies, lack of necessary armor and supplies, and unknown enemies, to inefficient commanding officers and their whims, this series gets you acquainted with the historic Iraq war in detail. This HBO mini series features a three-disc set that comprises the emotional and physical challenges of young marines forced to fight a meaningless war by virtue of their profession. An eye-opener for many, the "Generation Kill" war series not only shows you the spoils of war but also exposes the futility of war, its tragic consequences, and the risk one takes to survive. Produced by Emmy award winner David Simon, the "Generation Kill" series portrays a realistic and heartwarming story.



 Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army

In this investigative report on the high-tech security firm known as Blackwater, military journalist Jeremy Scahill details the origins of the company founded by a former Navy Seal who inherited a billion-dollar fortune. Blackwater holds lucrative, and dangerous, contracts in the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan, and their staff has been engaged in numerous firefights with the enemy. While its operations fall outside of military jurisdiction, Blackwater claims "Total Force" legal protection as a contractor in the war zone, and Scahill explores the issue of whether they act beyond the scope of the law and without oversight. He also examines the role that Blackwater played in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, securing homes and businesses in wealthy areas, and sometimes engaging with civilians. He asks the old question of who will oversee the overseers, and whether this highly trained security firm poses a threat of its own. Jeremy Scahill was awarded a 2007 George Polk Award for BLACKWATER.


 The Occupation

"In February 2003, Patrick Cockburn secretly crossed the Tigris river from Syria into Iraq just before the US/British invasion, and has covered the war ever since. In The Occupation, he provides a vivid and disturbing picture of a country in turmoil, and the dangers and privations endured by its people." "The Occupation explores the mosaic of communities in Iraq, the US and Britain's failure to understand the country they were invading and how this led to fatal mistakes.

Cockburn, who has been visiting Iraq since 1978, describes the disintegration of the country under the occupation. Travelling throughout Iraq, from the Kurdish north, to Baghdad, Falluja and Basra, he records the response of the country's population - Shia and Sunni, Arab and Kurd - to the invasion, the growth of the resistance and its transformation into a full-scale uprising. He explains why deepening religious and ethnic divisions drove the country towards civil war." "Above all, Cockburn traces how the occupation's failure led to the collapse of the country, and the high price paid by Iraqis. He charts the impact of savage sectarian killings, rampant corruption and economic chaos on everyday life: from the near destruction of Baghdad's al-Mutanabi book market to the failure to supply electricity, water and, ironically, fuel to Iraq's population.


 Saddam's Secrets

  Georges Sada was one of Saddam's top generals and foremost military advisors. A truth-teller in a government that made the truth dangerous. A devout Christian in a Muslim country. And a man who would stand up for what was right―even at the risk of his own life.  In this eye-opening exposé, General Sada shares his bizarre yet amazing journey as an insider to one of history's most sinister regimes.

He also, for the first time, reveals the disturbing truth about Saddam's plots to destroy Israel, hide weapons of mass destruction and overtake the Arab world. As an eye witness to history, Sada paints a painfully truthful picture of Hussein and his country that is at once personal and alarming, truthful and compelling, candid and sobering. It is a story guaranteed to send shock waves around the world.



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