"Touch me, touch me, tell me that this is real, tell me that the nightmare is really over."
an unidentified Iraqi man, tears running down his face, as quoted in The New York Times
After encountering little serious resistance, U.S. forces roll into central Baghdad and take control of Iraq's capital city. On April 9th, Marines pull down a giant statue of Saddam in Firdos Square amidst celebrating Iraqis. After an initial period of relative calm, lawlessness quickly spreads. Looting becomes rampant, and countless objects are taken from Iraq's national museum, which housed artifacts up to 10,000 years old.
Next May 2003 Victory Lap