Please Note: It is important to note that wars are intricate and complicated endeavors, and that these summaries are meant to provide a quick overview, and do not delve into the many complexities involved in each individual war.
Iraq War → 2003-2011 (War on Terror)
Following the Gulf War of 1990, Saddam Hussein was instructed to eliminate all of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), however it was difficult to know if he actually did. Following the attacks on September 11th, President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair believed that there was enough evidence to prove that Iraq still had WMDs. They also thought that Hussein and his regime might support what was left of al Qaeda, due to their past history of supporting terrorist organizations. Both leaders got approval from their governments to wage war, but didn’t have the support of the UN and NATO, or traditional allies like Canada, France, and Germany. Those opposed to the war believed that there wasn’t strong enough evidence to link Hussein’s regime to al Qaeda.
On March 19, 2003, Bush gave Hussein 48 hours to resign and leave the country, which he did not. On March 20 a three week campaign began that effectively destroyed the Iraqi army and defeated Hussein’s regime. The Iraqi’s never formally surrender and didn’t have a recognized government left. Armed resistance by the Iraqi’s against the occupying forces began quickly. President Bush declared the end of combat on May 1. No WMDs were ever found. Saddam Hussein was captured by US forces on December 13, 2003 and subsequently put on trial for crimes against humanity. He was executed on December 30, 2006.
US military casualties: 4,079
Surviving Minnesota veterans: Unknown – Roughly 2.5 million vets nationwide have served in the War of Terror