The Bush administration marched to war with Iraq armed with inaccurate intelligence, mistaken assumptions and extravagant hopes that have cost the United States dearly in blood and treasure.
Following is a series of quotations, statements and subsequent outcomes of some of the main justifications that led the United States to invade Iraq on March 19, 2003:
Saddam's weapons of mass destruction
* President George W. Bush, two days before the war's start: "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."
* Then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice in September 2002: "We don't want 'the smoking gun' to be a mushroom cloud."
* Vice President Dick Cheney on Aug. 26, 2002: "There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.
"Many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon."
* An October 2002 US National Intelligence Estimate -- representing the consensus views of the American intelligence community -- concludes that Iraq is pursuing a nuclear device, has an active biological weapons program and has resumed making deadly mustard, sarin and VX chemical agents.
* In an exhaustive 2005 review, the blue-ribbon Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction finds that the NIE's conclusions were flat wrong.
"The intelligence community's Iraq assessments were, in short, riddled with errors," the commission concludes.
"The harm done to American credibility by our all too public intelligence failings in Iraq will take years to undo."
Connections to al-Qaeda
* Top Bush administration officials spoke of ties between Saddam and al Qaeda and implied Iraqi involvement in the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. Cheney said on September 14, 2003: "He (Saddam) had long established ties with al-Qaeda."
* But independent bodies, including the September 11 commission, found there had been no collaborative links between Iraq and the militant network before the 2003 invasion.
* In February 2007, a report by the Pentagon inspector general said former US defense policy chief Douglas Feith presented the White House with claims of a "mature symbiotic relationship" between Iraq and al-Qaeda while ignoring contradictory views from the intelligence community.
The cost of war
* In September 2002, Lawrence Lindsey, then director of the White House National Economic Council, estimates that war with Iraq could cost between $100 billion and $200 billion.
The Bush administration quickly disputes the assertion, with White House budget director Mitch Daniels calling it "very, very high." Other officials estimate the tab at $50 billion.
* A congressional report released in January 2008 shows Congress has so far set aside $440 billion for the war, plus $21 billion to support Iraqi security forces and $26 billion for diplomatic operations and foreign aid.
Rejuvenation of Iraq's Oil Ministry
* In April 2003, Cheney predicts Iraqi oil production could rise to between 2.5 million and 3 million barrels per day by the end of 2003 -- up from around 2 million barrels per day the year before the war began.
Five years later, Iraqi oil production has yet to reach the lower end of Cheney's band.
Baghdad was pumping 2.3 million barrels per day at the start of this year and expects to boost production to between 2.6 million and 2.7 million during 2008, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani told Reuters in January.
* Cheney, on NBC's "Meet the Press" on March 16, 2003: "My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators."
* While violence has fallen significantly since Bush ordered additional US troops to Iraq last year, tens of thousands of Iraqis have died as a result of insurgent and sectarian attacks since the invasion.
According to the human rights group Iraq Body Count, up to 89,300 Iraqi civilians have been killed since 2003. Over the same period, U.S. military deaths have reached nearly 4,000.
Five years on in Iraq: blood and despair
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in a statement issued Monday said because of the war millions of Iraqis have insufficient access to clean water, sanitation and health care.
Although security has improved in some parts of the country, Iraqis continue to be killed or injured on a daily basis in fighting and attacks, the ICRC noted. Civilians are often deliberately targeted in complete disregard for the rules of international humanitarian law. In many families there is at least one person who is sick, injured, missing or detained, or who has been forced to flee from home and live far away.
In a recent report on Iraq, Amnesty International said despite the heavy presence of US and Iraqi security forces, "Iraq is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, with hundreds of Iraqi civilians killed every month."
The report noted that since early 2006: "Violence has intensified and become more sectarian, with Sunni and Shiite armed groups targeting followers of opposite faiths and driving whole communities out of mixed neighborhoods. This has contributed to the displacement of over 4 million people. Two million of these are now refugees in Syria and Jordan."
Among other serious human rights violations, Iraq is becoming increasingly unlivable for women. "With the rise of fundamentalist religious groups, conditions for women have also worsened. Many have been forced to wear Islamic dress or are targeted for abduction, rape or killing. A survey conducted by the World Heath Organization (WHO) in 2006/2007 in Iraq found that 21.2 percent of Iraqi women had experienced physical violence," the Amnesty International report further noted.
Costs to Bush and the US
At home, the war has cost President Bush the popularity that got him elected twice.
Warren P. Strobel wrote in an article for McClatchy newspapers: "Thanks in part to the Iraq war, the next US president -- Republican or Democrat, black or white, man or woman -- will take office with America's power, prestige and popularity in decline, according to bipartisan reports, polls and foreign observers."
The war has also cost the US a tremendous amount of prestige, analysts mostly agree. Alison Smale in an article for the New York Times wrote: "Bernard Kouchner, the foreign minister of France and a longtime humanitarian, diplomatic and political activist, said this week that whoever succeeds President Bush might restore something of the United States' battered image and standing overseas but that 'the magic is over.' Asked whether the United States could repair the damage it had suffered to its reputation during the Bush presidency and especially since the 2003 American-led invasion of Iraq, Mr. Kouchner replied, 'It will never be as it was before'."
Rights organizations in Turkey have also been protesting the invasion. In a statement made on behalf of the İstanbul chapter of human rights group Mazlum-Der, Şeyma Döğücü said: "We have always known and still know that the excuses the US and its allies put forth regarding the occupation of Iraq do not have any legitimate basis and that ... democracy and freedom are not wanted. We've known this all along, just like we have known that the 'freedom' the US would bring would be slavery and torture; their 'democracy' is bombs and death. However, humanity is assessing the process started with the occupation of Iraq and the entire world sees that it is the US being damaged. They have traded their freedoms for security -- or rather for a life of fear and paranoia."