March 21, 2003: The first American casualties of the Iraq war are reported— Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez, 22, of Los Angeles, killed by “friendly fire” in Um Qasr in Southern Iraq (Gutierrez was a Guatemalan native) and 2nd Lt. Therrel S. Childers, 30, Harrison County, Miss.
March 30, 2003: In an interview on ABC News, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is asked about the whereabouts of Iraq’s purported weapons of mass destruction: “We know where they are,” Rumsfeld asserts. “They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.
April 1, 2003: Pentagon stages the “rescue” of Pfc. Jessica Lynch, who later testifies to a congressional committee of the Pentagon’s and media fabrication of “the story of the little girl Rambo from the hills who went down fighting.”
April 9, 2003: Saddam Hussein’s statue is toppled in Fidros Square in Baghdad in another event staged-managed by the Pentagon.
May 1, 2003 : Speaking on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and below a banner declaring “Mission Accomplished,” President Bush says: “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” The same day, Richard Perle, a neo-conservative and Pentagon adviser, writes a column in USA Today entitled, “Relax, Celebrate Victory.”
May 6, 2003: President Bush appoints L. Paul Bremer head of the Coalition Provisional Authority. Bremer is essentially Iraq’s ruler.
July 16, 2003: U.S. military officials in Baghdad concede they’re facing a “classic guerilla-type campaign.”
July 22, 2003: Saddam Hussein’s sons, Uday and Qusay, are killed in a U.S. raid in the northern city of Mosul.
Dec. 13, 1003 : Saddam Hussein is captured alive by U.S. troops in Tikrit, Hussein’s hometown.
Jan. 17, 2004: The death toll for American soldiers in Iraq reaches 500.
March 31, 2004: Four American private security contractors employed by Blackwater USA (now Blackwater Worldwide) are killed in Fallujah.
April 4, 2004: A Shiite uprising led by cleric Moqtada al-Sadr erupts in several cities in Iraq.
April 29, 2004: Abu Ghraib torture scandal erupts as photographs of American soldiers torturing and humiliating inmates at Abu Ghraib prison outside of Baghdad are made public.
May 28, 2004: Iraqi Governing Council names Iyad Alawi interim prime minister.
June 28, 2004: The Coalition provisional Authority is abolished, power is transferred to Iraqi authorities in a hurried, secret ceremony two days ahead of the scheduled transfer.
Oct. 7, 2004: A CIA report concludes Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction.
Sept. 6, 2004: The death toll for American soldiers in Iraq reaches 1,000.
Nov. 2, 2004: Bush wins re-election to the presidency, defeating Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry.
November 15, 2004: U.S. Marines re-establish control over most of Fallujah after a fierce assault.
Dec. 8, 2004: Speaking to soldiers and answering a question about the inadequacy of American troop levels and equipment in Iraq, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says: “As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They’re not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”
Jan. 30, 2005: Iraqis vote in the first democratic, multi-party parliamentary elections in 50 years. Shiites and Kurds vote in large numbers. Sunnis do not.
May 2005: Violence and the civilian death toll surge throughout Iraq as Iraq’s interim government proves incapable of breaking deadlocks over power-sharing. Estimates put the civilian death toll since the war began at around 25,000.
May 30, 2005: Speaking to Larry King on CNN, Vice President Dick Cheney says: “I think they’re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.”
Oct. 15, 2005: Iraqis vote by the millions to approve an interim constitution that declares Iraq an Islamic, federal republic.
Oct. 19, 2005: Saddam Hussein’s trail begins in Baghdad.
Oct. 21, 2005: The death toll for American soldiers in Iraq reaches 2,000.
Dec. 15, 2005: Iraqis from most regions turn out in a vote for a permanent government. Shiites win a majority of votes but fall short of a dominant plurality.
Feb. 22, 2006: The Shiite al-Askari shrine in Samarra is bombed and severly damaged, triggering a new round of violence. Sectarian murders multiply as dozens of bodies are found executed on Iraqi streets daily.
April 22, 2006: President Jalal Talabani appoints Nouri Maliki prime minister and asks him to form a government.
June 8, 2006 : Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, self-styled leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, is killed in a U.S. strike north of Baquba.
Nov. 5, 2006: Saddam Hussein is convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging.
Dec. 6, 2006: The Iraq Study Group releases its report, recommending against permanent bases in Iraq, a timetable for withdrawal and negotiations with regional belligerents such as Iran and Syria.
Dec. 30, 2006: Saddam Hussein is executed by hanging.
Dec. 31, 2006: The death toll for American soldiers in Iraq reaches 3,000. The death toll for Iraqis killed in 2006 is put at 16,723
Next: 2007 and 2008.