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Iraq War

The Iraq War began on March 20, 2003 with an invasion by US-led forces and will end December 31, 2011 when the last US forces are scheduled to leave the country. Although the eight-and-a-half year the war was successful in dismantling the regime of Saddam Hussein, it has produced a host of legal issues in its wake. The legitimacy of the initial invasion, the trial and execution of Saddam Hussein, the myriad of problems associated with facilitating democratic elections and a stable government, accusations of war crimes against all sides in the conflict and continuing unrest in the region have all played a role in the legal implications of the Iraq War. Another facet of this conflict is its enormous human and economic cost. As of November 30, 2011, the Brookings Institute estimates that 4,486 American troops have died, 32,226 American troops have been wounded, 179 British troops have died, and approximately 115,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the war began in 2003. Financially, the war is estimated to have cost the US approximately US$3 trillion in total economic loss. The Iraq War has created controversies on both the domestic and international stages, plaguing the administrations of presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and leaving many unanswered legal questions. While battlefield conflict may be winding down in anticipation of the December 31 withdrawal date, the war's legacy will continue to play out in courtrooms, legislatures and in the international community for years to come.

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