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Factbox: Iraq War: quotes from the conflict and its aftermath

2023-03-15T06:07:19Z

Iraqi protesters gather to mark the third anniversary of the anti-government protests in Baghdad, Iraq October 1, 2022. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

Here are some notable quotes from before, during and after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 that toppled Saddam Hussein.

* Jan. 29, 2002 – “States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.” – U.S. President George W. Bush referring to Iraq, Iran and North Korea in his State of the Union Address.

* Feb. 5, 2003 – “My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.” – Colin Powell, then U.S. Secretary of State, to the U.N. Security Council describing what he said was evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that proved to be wrong.

* July 11, 2002 – “Support for Saddam, including within his military organisation, will collapse after the first whiff of gunpowder.” – Richard Perle, then Pentagon Defence Policy Board chairman.

* Sept. 5, 2002 – “We will continue to work to avoid a military confrontation or a military action because we believe that it will open the gates of hell in the Middle East.” – Amr Moussa, then secretary-general of the Arab League.

* Sept. 19, 2002 – “I hereby declare before you that Iraq is clear of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.” – Saddam Hussein in message to U.N. General Assembly.

* Nov. 14, 2002 – “The Gulf War in the 1990s lasted five days on the ground. I can’t tell you if the use of force in Iraq today would last five days, or five weeks or five months. But it certainly isn’t going to last any longer than that.” – Donald Rumsfeld, then U.S. Secretary of Defence.

* Jan. 20, 2003 – “His regime has large, unaccounted for stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, including VX, sarin, mustard gas, anthrax, botulism and possibly smallpox. And he has an active programme to acquire and develop nuclear weapons.” – Rumsfeld.

* Feb. 12, 2002 – “There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.” -Rumsfeld.

* March 16, 2003 – “I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.” – Dick Cheney, then U.S. vice president.

* March 20, 2003 – “The criminal little Bush has committed a crime against humanity.” – Saddam Hussein on first day of invasion.

* April 10, 2003 – “Saddam Hussein is now taking his rightful place alongside Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Ceausescu in the pantheon of failed brutal dictators, and the Iraqi people are well on their way to freedom.” – Rumsfeld.

* April 11, 2003 – “Stuff happens.” – Rumsfeld when asked about rampant lawlessness in Baghdad after U.S. troops captured the capital. “It’s untidy, and freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things.”

* May 1, 2003 – “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” – U.S. President George W. Bush aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln under a banner declaring “Mission Accomplished”.

* July 24, 2003 – “Death is not enough. They should have been hung up on poles in a square in Baghdad so all Iraqis could see them. Then they should have died as people ate them alive.” – Baghdad businessman Khalil Ali after U.S. forces kill Saddam’s sons Uday and Qusay.

* Sept. 14, 2003 – “He (Saddam) had long established ties with al Qaeda.” – Cheney to a conservative think-tank.

* Oct. 3, 2003 – “There’s no question this guy (Saddam) had invested billions in developing illegal programmes of weapons of mass destruction and don’t let anybody tell you this was not a significant threat.” – Cheney to political fund-raiser in Iowa.

* Dec. 13, 2003 – “My name is Saddam Hussein. I am the president of Iraq, and I want to negotiate.” – Saddam to U.S. troops who captured him.

* Dec. 14, 2003 – “We got him,” Paul Bremer, then U.S. governor of Iraq, announcing the capture of Saddam.

* Jan. 30, 2005 – “This is a historic moment for Iraq, a day when Iraqis can hold their heads high because they are challenging the terrorists and starting to write their future with their own hands.” – Iyad Allawi, interim Prime Minister.

* March 31, 2005 – “The intelligence community was absolutely uniform and uniformly wrong about the existence of weapons of mass destruction (in Iraq).” – Laurence Silberman, co-chairman, Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States regarding weapons of mass destruction.

* March 19, 2006 – “We are losing each day on average 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more. If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is.” – Iyad Allawi, Iraq’s former interim prime minister.

* Oct. 25, 2006 – “It’s my responsibility to provide the American people with a candid assessment on the way forward … Absolutely, we’re winning.” – Bush.

* Nov. 2006 – “Here I offer myself in sacrifice.” – Saddam, in a letter dictated after he was sentenced to death for crimes against humanity. “If my soul goes down this path (of martyrdom) it will face God in serenity.”

* Dec. 20, 2006 – “We’re not winning, we’re not losing.” – Bush in interview with the Washington Post.

* Dec. 30, 2006 – “Moqtada, Moqtada, Moqtada.” – Unidentified man attending Saddam’s hanging, referring to a Shi’ite cleric whose family was persecuted by Saddam. Saddam, the noose around his neck, responded: “Is this what you call manhood?”

“The tyrant has fallen.” – Unidentified witness at hanging.

* Jan. 10, 2007 – “The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people — and it is unacceptable to me … Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me.” – Bush.

* Feb. 23, 2007 – “Having tasted victory in Iraq, the jihadists would look for new missions,” Cheney said in a speech in Australia. “Many would head for Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban, others would set out for capitals across the Middle East.”

* April 18, 2007 – “The street was transformed into a swimming pool of blood.” – Shopkeeper Ahmed Hameed, witness to a car bombing in Baghdad that killed 140 people.

* Nov. 16, 2007 – “I tell folks all the time one way to train to conduct operations in Iraq is to watch the last season of the Sopranos. You get a sense of the conflict among like individuals.” Major-General Rick Lynch, commander of U.S. troops south of Baghdad.

* Dec. 1, 2008 – “The biggest regret of all the presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq. A lot of people put their reputations on the line and said the weapons of mass destruction is a reason to remove Saddam Hussein,” – Bush.

* Dec. 14, 2008 – “It’s like going to a political rally and have people yell at you. It’s a way for people to draw attention,” – Bush in Baghdad after an Iraqi journalist called him a dog and threw shoes at him.

* Aug. 31, 2010 – “Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country.” – President Barack Obama in a televised speech.

* June 12, 2014 – “I don’t rule out anything because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria.” – Obama when asked whether the United States was considering air strikes to stop the violence.

* July 4, 2014 – “God ordered us to fight his enemies.” – Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a Mosul mosque after announcing the restoration of the caliphate.

* March 30, 2015 – “I am concerned by allegations of summary killings, abductions and destruction of property perpetrated by forces and militias fighting alongside Iraqi armed forces.” – U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the fight against Islamic State.

* Dec. 9, 2017 – “Honorable Iraqis, your land has been completely liberated. The dream of liberation is now a reality,” Haider al-Abadi, then Iraqi prime minister, declaring victory over Islamic State after three years of conflict.

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