Iraq's chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs, together with Iraqi long-range missile development and support for terrorism, are the primary justifications put forward for military action. On March 17, 2003 President Bush issued an ultimatum demanding that Saddam Hussein and his sons depart from Iraq within 48 hours. On March 19, offensive operations began with air strikes against Iraqi leadership positions. By April 15, after 27 days of operations, coalition forces were in relative control of all major Iraqi cities and Iraqi political and military leadership had disintegrated. On May 1, President Bush declared an end to major combat operations. There was no use of chemical or biological (CB) weapons, and no CB weapons stockpiles have been found. The major challenges are now quelling a persistent Iraqi resistance movement, restoring civil order, and providing basic services to the urban population. U.S. troops continue to come under sporadic attacks, primarily in central Iraq. DOD officials have now acknowledged there is at least regional organization for these attacks, with apparently ample supplies of arms and funding. Resistance is believed to comprise primarily former regime supporters. There is concern that growing resentment of coalition forces and resurgent Iraq nationalism, independent of connections with the earlier regime, may be contributing to the resistance. Congress approved a $62.37 billion FY2003 supplemental budget request for Iraq operations (H. Rept. 108-76). DOD currently estimates the cost of operations to be $3.9 billion per month.
CRS Report for Congress, RL31701