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Weekend Marks Three Years of War in Iraq

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

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.

SOUNDBITES OF PAST PROGRAMS

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF AUTOMATIC WEAPONS FIRE AND EXPLOSIONS)

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.

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