Semper Bellum Episode 04 Immersion Guide: The Iraq War

Semper Bellum Episode 04 Immersion Guide: The Iraq War

0:00 – 1:09 — Intro and content warning

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1:10 – 5:21 — Bush’s Speech

5:21 – 8:55 —A Long, Unjustified War

The Iraq Body Count website keeps tabs on all the civilian deaths caused by violence. You can see the toll caused by the 2003 “shock and awe” campaign here, as well as the continuing devastation (now totaling more than 200,000 deaths) that war continues to have on the Iraqi people.

Watch: “Shock and Awe” 2003 US Invasion of Iraq – YouTube

Watch: Operation Shock and Awe: Iraq, 2003 – YouTube

According to the Watson Institute at Brown University:

As of 2021, 9.2 million Iraqis are internally displaced or refugees abroad.

The refugee crisis has impacted both Iraqis who fled and the communities that they left behind. Engineers, artists, lawyers, academics, doctors, and other professionals were among the first to escape the war.”

Read: The 9/11 Commission Report

Read: Chilcot report: Tony Blair’s Iraq War case not justified

CORRECTION: The 1,700 sorties number for Shock and Awe mentioned during the episode is correct to the best of my knowledge, but it turns out the “more than 80,00 tons of ordnance” number I quote in the podcast is actually incorrect. That number (which is actually 88,500) comes from the Gulf War in Iraq of 1991.

We’re terribly sorry for the mistake. As it turns out, I’m unable to find any numbers on the tonnage of ordnance dropped during OIF but, as mentioned above, experts put the (unclassified) number of missiles/bombs fired and dropped at close to 30,000. If you can link us to a decent estimate as to how much actual boom that equals in raw tonnage, we’d very much appreciate it.

Screenshot from the Air Force Magazine archives:

8:55 – 14:00 —Mission (not) Accomplished

Know your meme:


This is one of the earliest reports of the use of white phosphorous rounds in Iraq, by an embedded journalist: Violence subsides for Marines in Fallujah – The San Diego Union-Tribune (

Read: U.S.-Led Coalition Has Used White Phosphorus In Fight For Mosul, General Says

Lessons learned from Fallujah One: Urban Warfare Case Study #6: First Battle of Fallujah – Modern War Institute (

14:00 – 16:18 — Iraq 2, Closing Thoughts, Outro

Check out more Semper Bellum here.


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