This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.
This week, the war in Iraq entered its sixth year. For millions of Americans, the economy is a more pressing concern now. But the war is still an important political issue as Americans prepare to elect a new president.
|Iraqis walk past the ruins of the former Iraqi army air defense headquarters in central Baghdad five years after the start of the war.|
Rebuilding Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein has proven more difficult than expected. Free elections took place and a new government was formed, but an insurgency grew.
Last year President Bush ordered a temporary increase of thirty thousand troops. The surge has reduced levels of violence. But experts say long-term security will require political unity among the different groups in Iraq.
Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed in the war. Several million have been displaced from their homes.
The fifth anniversary came as the United States had lost almost four thousand troops in the war. More than sixty thousand have been wounded.
Protesters demonstrated in Washington, D.C., and other cities, but the protests were not as energetic as in the past. President Bush marked the anniversary with a speech Wednesday at the Pentagon, the Defense Department headquarters.
PRESIDENT BUSH: "Five years into this battle, there is an understandable debate over whether the war was worth fighting, whether the fight is worth winning, and whether we can win it. The answers are clear to me. Removing Saddam Hussein from power was the right decision 鈥