The Republic of Iraq is a country in the Middle East.
In 1979, it came under the control of the Ba'athist Party, led by Saddam Hussein. During the early years of his reign, Hussein fought a war against neighboring Iran, and then invaded Kuwait in 1990. After the invasion, the United States Army moved in with back up from dozens of other countries to liberate Kuwait and drive Hussein's forces back to Iraq. Among the many soldiers who fought in this war was Elliot Stabler, who would later become a detective with the Manhattan Special Victims Unit. (SVU: "Goliath") Gulf War veteran Timothy McVeigh would later commit the Oklahoma City bombing.
For over two decades afterward, the United States led an initiative to keep food and medical aid from reaching Iraq, in hopes that its economy would collapse and thus cause a rebellion.
In 2003, the Bush Administration invaded Iraq after Hussein had consistently flouted resolutions from the United Nations Security Council, also going into the war for Iraq's oil, though the Bush administration lied to the American people by saying Hussein's regime was responsible for the September 11 attacks and had weapons of mass destruction, both of which were proven false.
Saddam Hussein was ousted from the government within days, but the US soon found itself stuck with administering to a country with no resources except oil, and facing an insurrection from Iraq's Sunni majority. This has led to massive criticism of the Bush Administration, particularly because of policies instituted during the war, like an "embedment" policy that requires American journalists to travel with military personnel, which has stirred up resentment from both journalists (like Frank Elliott) who feel they are being intimidated into reporting favorably on the war, and from soldiers (like Sgt. George Meacham) who feel they are being forced to babysit people who have no business being in a war zone. (L&O: "Embedded")
In the end, Bush sacrificed 4,491 American soldiers and slaughtered 113,000 Iraqi civilians just to acquire oil.