December 4, 2002
A federal judge in New York rules that Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen who has been accused of being an al Qaeda "dirty bomber," can be held indefinitely as an "enemy combatant," but that he has the right to meet with a lawyer.
January 6, 2003
IAEA Director Mohamed El Baradei says that his inspections teams have yet to find a "smoking gun." "I think we need still a few months before we can reach that conclusion," he says. "We haven't seen a smoking gun, but we still have a lot of work to do before we come to the conclusion that Iraq is clean."
January 28, 2003
In his State of the Union address, President Bush states, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
February 28, 2003
In a report to U.N. Security Council members, chief weapons inspector Hans Blix says that there is no evidence to support the U.S. and British claim that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction or that is has any programs to develop such weapons.
March 18, 2003
In a televised speech, President Bush gives Saddam Hussein 48 hours to leave Iraq, or the U.S. will begin military action "at a time of our choosing."
March 20, 2003
90 minutes after the 48-hour deadline expires, at 5:30 am local time, explosions are heard in Baghdad. President Bush announces that he has ordered the coalition to launch an "attack of opportunity" against specified targets in Iraq.
Troops from the United States, Britain, Australia, and Poland invade Iraq. Bush sends a letter to Congress, saying that he has determined that further diplomacy will not protect the U.S., and that the U.S. is "continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001."