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Weekend Marks Three Years of War in Iraq


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.


And I'm Robert Siegel. On Sunday, it will be three years. Three years since the war in Iraq began. Over those three years, more than 2,300 Americans have died.

NORRIS: The polls show that many Americans have become disillusioned with the mission and doubtful of the prospect of victory. In a moment, our regular guest commentators talk about our politics three years into the Iraq war. How might U.S. policy or strategy change for the better?

SIEGEL: First, though, what it sounded like here almost three years ago when the war began.


NORRIS: Tonight President Bush addressed the nation and the world, calling on Saddam Hussein and his sons to leave Iraq within 48 hours or face a devastating attack.

GEORGE W: Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict, commenced at a time of our choosing.

SIEGEL: The military offensive against Iraq is in progress.

BUSH: Now that conflict has come, the only way to limit its duration is to apply decisive force.

Unidentified Journalist #1: About half an hour ago, little more than that, we heard air raid sirens wailing across the city.

BUSH: And I assure you, this will not be a campaign of half measures, and we will accept no outcome but victory.

SADDAM HUSSEIN: (Through translator) Iraq will be victorious. We'll win. And with Iraq, our nation and humanity will win.

DONALD RUMSFELD: What will follow will not be a repeat of any other conflict. It will be of a force and scope and scale that has been beyond what has been seen before.

TONY BLAIR: Tonight British servicemen and women are engaged from air, land and sea.

P: — seized a peninsula near the peninsula near the Persian Gulf. A group of Royal Marines moved in by helicopter and by boat, by hovercraft, seizing a beachhead and then moving inland.


Unidentified Journalist #3: It started at 8: It started at 8:15 and came in three waves, again at 9:15, again at 10:30.

Unidentified Journalist #4: Lighting up the sky. White and yellow explosions as well as red tracer fire --

W: Around me there are four oil wells that are burning. We have three giant --

K: — explosion follows another helicopter crash. In Kuwait, earlier this week, a U.S. helicopter went down with a dozen British and American troops on board.

NORRIS: — an apparent car bombing-suicide bombing here. I'm at a hospital where they've been pulling out the dead and wounded from this situation. I have seen two bodies --

NORRIS: Voices from NPR's coverage of the opening of the war nearly three years ago. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.