War in Iraq Enters Its Fifth Year

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Four years ago Monday, US forces began military operations in Iraq. As has been the case for much of that stretch, today's anniversary was met with optimism from the White House, and protests from some citizens.

It's becoming a common scene, a small group of protestors along the corner of Texas Avenue and University Drive, getting the word out that they aren't happy with the war in Iraq, a war that has turned another year on the calendar.

"It's just important to voice our opinion because we are a government by the people, for the people," said Amanda Stolnacke, one of the local protestors.

In Washington Monday, the mood was different. President Bush touted achievements in Iraq, like the removal of Saddam Hussein from power, the subsequent free elections and 12 million voters, the creation of a constitution, and a movement, Bush said, towards securing the country.

"We're continuing to train the Iraqi security forces so they ultimately take full responsibility for the security of their own people," the president said.

Sunday, the country's top military official appeared for the first time in a one-on-one interview to discuss the recent troop increases.

"It's very early," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on CBS's Face the Nation. "The commander out there has said it will probably be summer before we know whether we're being successful or not."

But just outside the campus Robert Gates once watched over, a small group once again stood, making their opinions clear.

"Did I think I would be out here in four years," pondered one protestor, Eliot Tretter. "Yes, I thought, at the time of the invasion, that I'd be out here in four years, and I think I'll probably be out here in another four years."

The following is an Associated Press story on the day's events in Washington surrounding the fourth anniversary of the war:

As the Iraq war enters its fifth year, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is defending the mission and urging patience.

On NBC's "Today" show, Rice said Saddam Hussein was a "dangerous man in the world's most dangerous region" and that it was worth it to overthrow him.

Asked on CBS's "The Early Show" to say what the administration could have done better, Rice said the US should have sent more troops at the beginning to calm the civil strife that erupted after Saddam was toppled. But Rice says that strategy is being pursued now.

Rice made the rounds of the morning news shows on the fourth anniversary of the start of the war. At the same time, congressional Democrats are pushing legislation that would require that US troops be withdrawn next year.

Democratic Senator Joseph Biden said the Bush administration is pursuing a "failed strategy." Also appearing on CBS, he said the US should do in Iraq what did in Bosnia, and give the various factions "breathing room."