On 29 January 2002, in his first State of the Union address, President George W. Bush named 3 countries as the "Axis of Evil." One of these nations was Iraq. On 10 October 2002, the US Congress adopted a joint resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq. On 17 March 2003, in an address to the United States gives Saddam Hussein and his regime 48 hours to leave Iraq. Military operations against Iraq, conducted by the United States and an allied Coalition, began at around 9:30 PM EST on 19 March 2003. This operation was known in the United States as Operation Iraqi Freedom. By 1 May 2003, President George W. Bush declared Major Combat Operations over, signaling a transition to operations to stabilize Iraq and support its reconstruction.
The 2003 invasion of Iraq was illegal, according to one of its architects, former Pentagon policy adviser Richard Perle. He admitted as much 20 November 2003, but the after-the-invasion confession didn’t bother the confessor. “I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing," said Perle. “International law … would have required us to leave Saddam Hussein alone."