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On Iraq War's Third Anniversary, Bush Expresses Optimism

President George W. Bush (file photo) (CTK) March 20, 2006 -- U.S. President George W. Bush today expressed optimism that progress is being made in Iraq, three years after the start of the U.S.-led invasion there.

Speaking in the U.S. state of Ohio, Bush also acknowledged that the situation in Iraq remains tense.

Earlier, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw admitted that the security situation in Iraq is "serious," and urged Iraqi political leaders to form a government of national unity to address continuing violence.

Three years ago today, U.S.-led forces began the bombardment that toppled Saddam Hussein's regime.

The anniversary was marked in Iraq by roadside bombs and killings. In one incident, a bomb ripped through a coffee shop in northern Baghdad, killing at least three civilians and injuring 15.

U.S. and British officials reject claims that the country has fallen into sectarian civil war.

(compiled from agency reports)

Boots On The Ground

Boots On The Ground

RFE/RL correspondent Ron Synovitz with U.S. troops in Iraq in March 2003 (RFE/RL)

THE SOUND OF THE GUNS: In the days just before and after the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom on March 19-20, 2003, RFE/RL worked hard to cover the unfolding conflict. RFE/RL correspondent RON SYNOVITZ was embedded with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team in the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division as it crossed the border from Kuwait and drove deep into Iraq. Synovitz stayed with the U.S. troops through mid-April, covering the battle for Baghdad and the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Listen to Synovitz's report from the Iraq-Kuwait border on March 18, 2003 (about four minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media

Listen to Synovitz's report from March 19, 2003, just hours before the 3rd Infantry Division began to cross into Iraq (about three minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media

See also:

Embedded RFE/RL Correspondent Recalls War's First Day

RFE/RL correspondent CHARLES RECKNAGEL also covered the beginning of the war from Kuwait and Iraq. Here are some links to his reports:

Iraq: Desert Dispatch -- The View From Kuwait

Kuwait: Desert Dispatch -- Kuwait City Under Constant Air-Raid Alerts

Iraq: Desert Dispatch -- Correspondent Crosses Iraq Border

THE COMPLETE PICTURE: To view an archive of RFE/RL's coverage of the beginning of combat operations in Iraq, click here.

RFE/RL's complete coverage of events in Iraq and that country's ongoing transition.