Since the anti-government protests began in October, over 600 protesters have been killed in Iraq. Continued instability in the government and throughout the country shows no sign of ending despite the presence of the U.S. military. The U.S. had the option to withdraw from the country in 2003, but Washington wanted to remake Iraq in their image. Over the next several years more American lives were lost, and little headway was being made. Any political improvement was quickly squashed by the extreme violence and upheaval that would occur shortly after.