The conflict began when US, British and small numbers of Australian and Polish soldiers invaded Iraq. The major fighting ended about three weeks later after US troops entered Baghdad and toppled the Hussein regime. The military campaign was short and one-sided, but hard fought.
The US forces, however, were plagued by a morass of supply shortages, radios that could not reach far-flung troops and virtually no reliable intelligence on how Saddam Hussein would defend Baghdad. Many army units ran low on fuel and water as fast-moving armoured forces raced towards Baghdad and outran their supply lines. As a result, more US forces were deployed for a longer period than the US government anticipated, and the casualty toll rose.
The total US death toll was nearly 750 by early May 2004, a year after President Bush proclaimed an end to major combat operations. Thousands of Iraqis were believed killed in the war, although US military officials did not maintain a count of enemy dead or civilian casualties.
The seeds for the US-Iraq War of 2003 were sown by the 1991 Persian Gulf War, which took place during the administration of US president George Herbert Walker Bush, George W. Bush's father. The war was an armed conflict between Iraq and a coalition of 32 nations including the United States, Britain, Egypt, France, and Saudi Arabia. It was a result of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. The US-led coalition began a massive air war to destroy Iraq's forces and military and civil...