In the lead-up to the war in 2002 and 2003, there were anti-war protests across the country and around the world. The anti-war movement was the largest seen in this country since the Vietnam War. Protests were held in more than 500 US cities. Exact numbers are difficult to determine, but it is clear that many millions of citizens around the world demonstrated against going to war in Iraq. After worldwide mass protests on February 15, 2003, Bush compared them to a “focus group” that would not have any influence on his decisions. Protestors argued that the preemptive war was unnecessary, and suspected motives such as financial gain and control of oil, rather than the rationale that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. In a rare admission of a mistake on the part of the Bush Administration, the Bush Library does acknowledge that no weapons of mass destruction were ever found.
According to the US Department of Defense, 4,425 US service members were killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2012, and 32,223 were seriously wounded in action.
Estimates of Iraqis killed during the same time period range from a conservative estimate of 151,000 to a high estimate of more than one million killed as a direct result of the conflict. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that 1.8 million Iraqis were displaced abroad (with many of them going to neighboring Syria and Jordan), and an additional 1.6 million were displaced internally, forced to move to other areas of Iraq.