The United States' military operation in Iraq ended in December 2011. Former U.S. president George W. Bush ordered the invasion in 2003 citing reports that the country had weapons of mass destruction. No such weapons were ever found.
At the height of the war, there were as many as 170,000 U.S. troops in the country. Almost 4,500 U.S. troops lost their lives as well as tens of thousands of Iraqis, and the military effort cost hundreds of billions of dollars.
*Click on the icons on the map of Iraq for information about cities and events
Looking forward, will the situation inside Iraq be better or worse? What awaits U.S. soldiers when they return home? VOA searches for answers.