US Army (USA) M1A1 Abrams MBT (Main Battle Tank), and personnel from A Company (CO), Task Force 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Regiment (1-35 Armor), 2nd Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 1st Armored Division (AD), pose for a photo under the “Hands of Victory” in Ceremony Square, Baghdad, Iraq during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. The Hands of Victory monument built at the end of the Iran-Iraq war marks the entrance to a large parade ground in central Baghdad. The hand and arm are modeled after former dictator Saddam Hussein’s own and surrounded with thousands of Iranian helmets taken from the battlefield. The swords made for the guns of dead Iraqi soldiers, melted and recast into the 24-ton blades.
The Iraq War began in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition that toppled the government of Saddam Hussein. The conflict continued for much- of the next decade as an insurgency emerged to oppose the occupying forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government. An estimated 151,000 to 600,000 or more Iraqis were killed in the first years of conflict. The invasion occurred under the administration of US President George W. Bush following the September 11 terror attacks.