January 20, 2001
George W. Bush is inaugurated as the 43rd President of the United States.
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September 11, 2001
Al Qaeda attacks the United States, causing the deaths of almost 3000 people. Within hours after the attacks, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld puts Saddam Hussein on target list.
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September 14, 2001
President Bush speaks at Ground Zero, "And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."
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September 17, 2001
Dan Rather on David Letterman, "George Bush is the President, he makes the decisions and you know, as just one American wherever he wants me to line up, just tell me where." In the months after 9/11 many networks note increasing public pressure over coverage.
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September 22, 2001
Knight Ridder reporter Warren Strobel publishes a story with the lede: "While President Bush's top advisers debate whether to target Iraq for devastating bombardment as part of the U.S.-led war on terrorism, U.S. officials and terrorism experts say there is little evidence Saddam Hussein's regime played a role in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon."
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October 2001
Pentagon dispatches former CIA director, James Woolsey, to Europe to search for connection between Iraq and the 9/11 attacks.
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November 2001
As US strikes in Afghanistan are underway, pundits begin citing Saddam Hussein's removal as the next mission in the war on terror. Bill Kristol, editor of THE WEEKLY STANDARD on Fox News: "...it's no longer a question of if, it's a question of how we go after Saddam Hussein." THE NEW YORK TIMES publishes an article citing intelligence from Iraqi defectors.
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November 12, 2001
William Safire of THE NEW YORK TIMES calls meeting between 9/11 Hijacker Mohammed Atta with an Iraqi diplomat an "undisputed fact."
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December 2001
FRONTLINE, in collaboration with THE NEW YORK TIMES, produces "Gunning for Saddam," detailing the strong evidence provided by defectors that Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction.
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December 20, 2001
Judith Miller publishes the first of six stories for the NEW YORK TIMES based on Iraqi defectors' testimony. One major source for such defector information was the former head of the Iraqi National Congress, Ahmed Chalabi.
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January 29, 2002
In his first State of the Union address since September 11, George W. Bush declares Iraq part of an 'axis of evil'
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February and May 2002
VANITY FAIR writer David Rose publishes a number of stories relying on the information provided by Iraqi defectors. He follows the series with January 2003's "Baghdad's Cruel Princes." While most of the stories are not online, Rose's January 2007 article on prominent Neoconservatives look back at the Iraq war - "Neo Culpa" is available.
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August 2002
Vice-President Dick Cheney: "Many of us are convinced that Saddam Hussein will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon."
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September 8, 2002
Vice-President Cheney cites NEW YORK TIMES story about aluminum tubes on NBC's MEET THE PRESS.
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September 19, 2002
Joby Warrick reports in THE WASHINGTON POST "A key piece of evidence in the Bush administration's case against Iraq is being challenged in a report by independent experts who question whether thousands of high-strength aluminum tubes recently sought by Iraq were intended for a secret nuclear weapons program."
Headlines

October 2002
Administration releases unclassified version of The National Intelligence Estimate detailing Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs.
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October 7, 2002
President Bush: "We cannot wait for the final proof - the smoking gun- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."
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October 10, 2002
Congress passes Joint Resolution to authorize the use of United States Military force in Iraq.
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October 26, 2002
In largest public anti-war protest since 1960's, 100,000 march in Washington to protest military strike against Iraq. WASHINGTON POST Ombudsman later criticizes the paper for not giving this event wider coverage.
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November 2002
James Fallows piece "The Fifty-first State?" is published in THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY in which he queried "Going to war with Iraq would mean shouldering all the responsibilities of an occupying power the moment victory was achieved. These would include running the economy, keeping domestic peace, and protecting Iraq's borders-and doing it all for years, or perhaps decades. Are we ready for this long-term relationship?"
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November 8, 2002
UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1441, which dictates "Iraq will face serious consequences if it does not comply with inspections."
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November 27, 2002
UN weapons inspectors arrive in Baghdad for the first time since December 1998 in order to search for weapons of mass destruction.
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December 7, 2002
Iraqi officials in Baghdad present 12,000 page weapons report to United Nations, as instructed by UN resolution 1441. Iraqi General Hasam Amin says report proves "that Iraq is empty of weapons of mass destruction."
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December 19, 2002
Hans Blix, UN Chief Weapons Inspector, states that the Iraqi weapons report does not contain substantial new information about its capability to produce weapons of mass destruction. The United States thus declares that Iraq is in "material breach" of UN Resolution 1441.
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January 13, 2003
Tony Blair says that Britain and the US could act against Iraq without a second UN resolution.
International Atomic Energy Agency Chief, Mohammed ElBaradei, says that weapons inspectors need "a few months" to finish their search in Iraq.
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January 16, 2003
Weapons inspectors find 12 empty chemical warheads, not accounted for in Iraq's 12,000 page weapons report.
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January 28, 2003
In his State of the Union address, President Bush alleges "the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
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February 5, 2003
Colin Powell addresses the United Nations, making the United States case for war against Iraq. He draws attention to a British Intelligence Report, which, it was quickly proven, had been downloaded off the Internet. The U.S. press focuses its criticism of the mistake on U.K. intelligence
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February 12, 2003
UN weapons inspectors report that Iraq possesses illegal missiles: two Samoud rockets that exceed the maximum range of 150km set down in the 1991 Gulf war ceasefire agreement.
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February 14, 2003
Chief UN Nuclear Weapons Inspector, Mohamed Elbaradei, reports to the UN: "We have to date found no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear related activities in Iraq."

Vice-President Cheney on MEET THE PRESS on March 16, 2003 responds to IAEA reports: "I think Mr. ElBaradei frankly is wrong. And I think if you look at the track record of the International Atomic Energy Agency and this kind of issue, especially where Iraq's concerned, they have consistently underestimated or missed what it was Saddam Hussein was doing."

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February 28, 2003
Hans Blix releases interim report, which gives a mixed assessment of Iraqi cooperation with weapons inspectors, but particularly commends Hussein's pledge to destroy the two illegal Samoud missiles.
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March 6, 2003
President Bush gives press conference in which he indicates that war is very close
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March 7, 2003
Hans Blix before UN Security Council states that searches have "found no evidence of mobile biological production facilities in Iraq," and that "after three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons program in Iraq." He also says that Niger uranium documents are "not authentic."
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March 16, 2003
At a summit in the Azores, President Bush and Prime Minister Blair issue an ultimatum to the United Nations that if it does not enforce its own demands for Iraqi disarmament, the United States and Britain will lead a coalition to war within days.

Vice President Cheney on MEET THE PRESS: "My belief is that we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators."

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March 17, 2003
In a televised address to the nation, Bush gives Saddam Hussein 48 hours to leave Iraq or face invasion.
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March 20, 2003
War begins.

US planes bombard military targets in Baghdad. British marines invade the Faw peninsula in the south of the country.
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April 9, 2003
With the help of a US Marine tank, an Iraqi crowd topples a giant statue of Saddam Hussein in central Baghdad. Widespread looting breaks out in Baghdad.

April 22, 2003
The UN chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, condemns British and American handling of the hunt for any possible weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Headlines Documents

May 1, 2003
President Bush lands on the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln wearing a flight suit and in front of a giant "Mission Accomplished" banner states, "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended."
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Posted April 25, 2007