Troops enter Baghdad

March 17, 2003, midnight | By Nora Toiv | 20 years, 8 months ago

US forces entered Baghdad and destroyed various symbols of the regime, according to CNN. Reports unconfirmed by the Pentagon indicate that Hussein himself, as well as his sons, may have been killed in a US attack.

Meanwhile the Kurds have moved into oil rich Kirkuk. Secretary of State Colin Powell assured Turkey that the U.S had control over the city and not he Kurds. There is still fighting in Baghdad; Maj. Gen. Victor Renuart called it an "ugly place."

Many troops have been greeted by cheering crowds in Baghdad. In Firdos Square dozens of Iraqis tied a rope around a statue of Hussein while pounding on the base with sledgehammers. "We thought we were going to get a lot of resistance but we never did, so we just kept pushing and pushing until we got here," said Cpl. Steven Harris with the Marines in the square, according to CNN.

A statue of Hussein on a horse was destroyed earlier by U.S soldiers and some other symbols of his rule. "This sends a powerful message to the remnants of the regime that we can go where we want when we want," said a Pentagon official.

Fighting continued to the east of Baghdad, a red cross convoy was hit. But a U.S official told reporters that "the majority of Iraqi forces [in the Baghdad area] have now given up."

An Iraqi missile killed two journalists, one from Spain and one from Germany, and two soldiers while wounding 15 others, according to the Washington Post. David Bloom of NBC died of a pulmonary embolism, in Iraq, on April 6. Bloom was the second journalist to die from the U.S. Michael Kelly, the Atlantic Monthly editor-at-large and Washington Post columnist died in a Humvee accident on April 4.

Hussein's cousin and Iraqi General, nicknamed "Chemical Ali" for ordering the chemical attack on the Kurds, was found dead in Basra, according to CNN.

Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf said that they will not use weapons of mass destruction but that there could be widespread use of "martyrdom" by non-military people.

A combination of the terrible weather, insecure supply lines, and the unexpected level of resistance from the Iraqi's have contributed to the war lasting longer than originally thought.

The army's senior ground commander Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace said that an unpredictable enemy has stalled the troops drive on Baghdad. "The enemy we're fighting is different from the one we've war-gamed against," he told the 101st Airborne division in Iraq.

Some of the tactics that Iraq is using surprised Wallace. "I'm appalled by the inhumanity of it all." Wallace's response stems from reports of Hussein forcing Iraqi's to fight by threatening their families.

U.N secretary General Kofi Annan said that he is "increasingly concerned" about the number of civilian casualties. It is uncertain as to how many deaths there have been but according to the Iraqi information minister, there have been over 100. There have been 132 deaths among the British and American troops combined.

Congress is moving to approve Bush's $75 billion request for the war but is putting some restrictions on how the money may be used, according to the Washington Post. For instance, the $2.5 billion that was supposed to be given to the Pentagon for humanitarian relief will be given to the state department and other non-military entities. There was money added to help the struggling airlines and there was $60 billion allotted for combat.

France, Russia, Canada and Germany have all expressed their disagreement with the war. France has said that it is against any use of military force. Germany has said that they may not help with the cleanup after the war, either.

For more information on the war, go to

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