March 11, 2008 / 10:17 AM / 10 years ago

FACTBOX: Iraq war, the notable quotes

(Reuters) - Following are notable quotes from before and after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

* July 11, 2002 - “Support for Saddam, including within his military organization, will collapse after the first whiff of gunpowder.” - Richard Perle, then Pentagon Defense Policy Board chairman.

* September 19, 2002 - “I hereby declare before you that Iraq is clear of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.” - Saddam Hussein in message to U.N. General Assembly.

* November 14, 2002 - “The Gulf War in the 1990s lasted five days on the ground. I can’t tell you if the use of force in Iraq today would last five days, or five weeks or five months. But it certainly isn’t going to last any longer than that.” - Then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

* January 20, 2003 - “His regime has large, unaccounted for stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, including VX, sarin, mustard gas, anthrax, botulism and possibly smallpox. And he has an active program to acquire and develop nuclear weapons.” - Rumsfeld.

* March 16, 2003 - “I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.” - U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney to U.S. television network NBC.

* March 20, 2003 - “The criminal little Bush has committed a crime against humanity.” - Saddam, on first day of invasion.

* April 10, 2003 - “Saddam Hussein is now taking his rightful place alongside Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Ceausescu in the pantheon of failed brutal dictators, and the Iraqi people are well on their way to freedom.” - Rumsfeld.

* April 11, 2003 - “Stuff happens.” - Rumsfeld, asked about rampant lawlessness in Baghdad after U.S. troops captured the capital. “It’s untidy, and freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things.”

* May 1, 2003 - “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” - U.S. President George W. Bush, aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln under a banner declaring “Mission Accomplished”.

* July 24, 2003 - “Death is not enough. They should have been hung up on poles in a square in Baghdad so all Iraqis could see them. Then they should have died as people ate them alive.” - Baghdad businessman Khalil Ali after U.S. forces kill Saddam’s sons Uday and Qusay.

* September 14, 2003 - “He (Saddam) had long established ties with al Qaeda.” - Cheney to a conservative think-tank.

* October 3, 2003 - “There’s no question this guy (Saddam) had invested billions in developing illegal programs of weapons of mass destruction and don’t let anybody tell you this was not a significant threat.” - Cheney to political fund-raiser in Iowa.

* December 13, 2003 - “My name is Saddam Hussein. I am the president of Iraq, and I want to negotiate.” - Saddam to U.S. troops who captured him.

* December 14, 2003 - “We got him,” then U.S. governor of Iraq Paul Bremer announcing the capture of Saddam.

* January 30, 2005 - “This is a historic moment for Iraq, a day when Iraqis can hold their heads high because they are challenging the terrorists and starting to write their future with their own hands.” - interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

* March 31, 2005 - “The intelligence community was absolutely uniform and uniformly wrong about the existence of weapons of mass destruction (in Iraq).” - Laurence Silberman, co-chairman, Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States regarding weapons of mass destruction.

* March 19, 2006 - “We are losing each day on average 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more. If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is.” - former interim Prime Minister Allawi.

* October 25, 2006 - “It’s my responsibility to provide the American people with a candid assessment on the way forward ... Absolutely, we’re winning.” - Bush.

* November 2006 - “Here I offer myself in sacrifice.” - Saddam, in a letter dictated after he was sentenced to death for crimes against humanity. “If my soul goes down this path (of martyrdom) it will face God in serenity.”

* December 20, 2006 - “We’re not winning, we’re not losing.” - Bush in interview with the Washington Post.

* December 30, 2006 - “Moqtada, Moqtada, Moqtada.” - Unidentified man attending Saddam’s hanging, referring to a Shi’ite cleric whose family was persecuted by Saddam. Saddam, the noose around his neck, responded: “Is this what you call manhood?”

“The tyrant has fallen.” - Unidentified witness at hanging.

* Dec 30, 2006 - “What happened today is unbelievable, it’s a great joy that I can’t even express.” - Mohammad Kadhim, a journalist in Basra. “I can’t believe what I’m seeing on television — Saddam led to the gallows where he hanged tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis by the same method.”

* January 10, 2007 - “The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people — and it is unacceptable to me ... Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me.” - Bush.

* April 18 - “The street was transformed into a swimming pool of blood.” - Shopkeeper Ahmed Hameed, witness to a car bombing in Baghdad that killed 140 people.

* Aug 26 - “There are American officials who consider Iraq as if it were one of their villages, for example Hillary Clinton and Carl Levin. I ask them to come back to their senses,” Maliki after Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Hillary Clinton and other U.S. critics who have called for him to be replaced.

* Sept 10 - “We succeeded in stopping Iraq from sliding toward civil war, which was threatening our beloved country.” - Maliki.

* Nov 16 - “I tell folks all the time one way to train to conduct operations in Iraq is to watch the last season of the Sopranos. You get a sense of the conflict among like individuals.” Major-General Rick Lynch, commander of U.S. troops south of Baghdad.

* Dec 5 - “I believe that the goal of a secure, stable and democratic Iraq is within reach.” - U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates during a visit to Baghdad.

Compiled by Dean Yates, Baghdad newsroom; Editing by Samia Nakhoul

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