September 11, 2001
he September 11, 2001 attacks
were a series of coordinated Islamist terrorist
attacks carried out in the United States
, September 11
. According to the official 9/11 Commission Report
, nineteen men affiliated with al-Qaeda
, a network of militant Islamist
organizations, hijacked four commercial airliners. They crashed one into each of the two tallest towers of the World Trade Center
, New York City
, shortly after which both towers collapsed. The third aircraft crashed into the U.S. Department of Defense headquarters,
, in Arlington County, Virginia
, just outside the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.
. The fourth plane crashed into a rural field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania
following passenger resistance.
The attacks were the most lethal ever carried out in the United States. The death toll of 2,986 exceeded the toll of 2,403
dead after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The September 11th attacks are arguably the most significant events to have occurred so far in the 21st Century in terms of the profound economic, social, cultural, and military effects that followed in the United States and many parts of the world.
The Invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq, also called the Iraq War or "Operation Iraqi Freedom", is a war that began March 20, 2003, between the United States, United Kingdom and a coalition of their allies, against Iraq.
The invasion began without the explicit authorization of the United Nations Security Council, and some legal authorities take the view that the action violated the U.N. Charter. The Bush Administration has cited Security Council resolutions from early 1990s as legal justification, though there is
no clear position in any of them with regard to the use of military action against Iraq.
On 17 March 2003, in his Address to the Nation, U.S. President George W. Bush demanded that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his two sons Uday and Qusay leave Iraq, giving them a 48-hour deadline  (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/iraq/20030317-7.html). The following
day, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer recinded Bush's previous statement, saying that the U.S. would invade Iraq whether Saddam Hussein left or not  (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030318-4.html).
United States military operations were conducted under the name Operation Iraqi Freedom. United Kingdom military
operations as Operation Telic, and Australian operations as Operation Falconer.
After approximately three weeks of fighting, Iraq was occupied by coalition forces and the rule of Saddam Hussein and his Ba'ath Party came to an end. Subsequently, the period known as post-invasion Iraq began. Approximately 260,000 United States troops, with support from 45,000 British, and smaller forces from other nations, collectively called the "Coalition of the Willing", entered Iraq primarily through a staging area in Kuwait. Plans for opening a second front in the north were abandoned when Turkey officially refused the use of its territory for such purposes. Forces also supported Iraqi Kurdish militia troops, estimated to number upwards of 50,000.
Facing them was a large but poorly equipped military force. The regular Iraqi army was estimated at 290,000–350,000
troops, with four Republican Guard divisions with 50,000–80,000 troops, and the Fedayeen Saddam, a 20,000–40,000 strong militia, who used guerrilla tactics during the war. There were an estimated thirteen infantry divisions, ten mechanized and armored divisions, as well as some special forces units. The Iraqi Air Force and Navy played a negligible role in the conflict.
Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts, died February 12 at the age of 77.
Walter Matthau, actor best known for his costarring roles in The Odd Couple and The Sunshine Boys, died July 1 at the
age of 79.
Ring Lardner Jr., last surviving member of the Hollywood 10, died November 1 at the age of 85.
Larry Linville, actor best known as Major Burns on the tv version of MASH, died April 10 at the age of 60.