When the US and the UK forces invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003, their declared objective was to dismantle Saddam Hussein's Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), regime change and "free" the Iraqi people. They believed their troops would be welcomed with flowers and therefore expected the operation to be short; Saddam would see the writing on the wall and surrender. The gullible Americans believed that a regime change would soon follow and, freedom delivered to the Iraqi people, the US troops would soon be home and dry. Six years later, there is no sign of that. The hearts and minds that they thought they would win overnight is a dream. The fact is that, but for a handful of contractor type beneficiaries, everybody out there hates the coalition troops. In the event, no WMDs were found in Iraq, the CIA finally admitting it in a report in 2005. That lie has since been thoroughly exposed to the world through the international media. How government reports and documents were "sexed up" in London to justify the attack on Iraq is now common knowledge. In Washington too, fake documents were created for the same purpose, the then US Secretary of State waving one such paper before the Security Council. His subsequent claim that he did not know it was fake is difficult to believe. The coalition troops fought with the most sophisticated military hardware, no holds barred; the Iraqi army was no match. Nevertheless, they saw no signs of welcome and Saddam did not surrender. It was after fighting for nine months, on December 13, 2003, that Saddam was captured, not a sign of remorse on his face. He had literally been holed up underground alone for many weeks before he was captured. Unkempt, overgrown beard on the face, unwashed and bedraggled, he stared at the cameras without emotion as a dental surgeon peered into his mouth. Three years later he was executed. TV footage showed him walking calmly to the gallows minutes before his death. A regime change followed and, among others, Iraqi dissidents settled in the US, some of them fugitives from the law were installed. The security situation remained critical and the government and the UN, constantly subject to physical risk and attack, were bunkered in the so-called "Green Zone" outside Baghdad. Looking back over the present insurgency, coalition forces can perhaps claim victory by May 2003 in the initial phase, but the conflict was by no means over; it went into the insurgency mode where it remains till today, with no signs of peace. Added to it is a sectarian conflict. According to one independent estimate, over 1.2 million people had died violently in Iraq by September 2007; casualties continue. Today, Iraq remains under occupation and disturbed; freedom, democracy and peace seem notional. Returning soldiers from Iraq have had problems adjusting to civilian life. According to a recent AP report, 10 infantrymen from an army unit were accused of murder, attempted murder and man slaughter after returning to the civilian life in Colorado Springs. The Gazette of Colorado Springs has published a well-documented report after months long research based on interviews with soldiers and their families, medical and military records, court documents and photographs. It appears discipline of occupation troops had broken down in Iraq in many instances when soldiers ran amuck. "Toward the end, we were so mad and tired and frustrated," said one. "You came too close, we lit you up. You didn't stop we ran your car over with the (armoured fighting vehicle) Bradley," another reported how they went wild and shot in all directions if there was a roadside bombing. "Taxi drivers got shot for no reason," the report quotes another soldier, "and others were dropped off bridges after interrogations. You didn't get blamed unless someone could be absolutely sure you did something wrong." According to the report: "Since 2005, some soldiers also have been involved in brawls, beatings, rapes, drug deals, domestic violence, shooting, stabbing, kidnappings and suicides." An infantry specialist said: "The army pounds it into your head until it is instinct: kill everybody, kill everybody. And you do," he added. Another soldier wrote about a sergeant who shot a boy riding a bicycle down the street for no reason. "Another sergeant shot a man in the head while questioning him, lashed the man's body to his Humvee and drove around the neighbourhood." He also claimed sergeants removed victims' brains. The unit soldiers did not substantiate the allegations. The atrocities of Abu Ghraib are on film, and now public. What goes on in Gitmo was much worse. Same is the case with the Bagram base in Kabul. From what is known about the Afghan and Iraq invasions, throat-cutting the Taliban are accused of would be but a small step. The writer is a former ambassador at large