WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Four years ago today, the US commenced hostilities against Iraq. The regime of Saddam Hussein soon fell in the invasion that followed. But the optimism of those early days has long since dissipated in the bloodshed of a guerrilla war that is still being waged. It is the most sobering of anniversaries, one that might go unnoticed to many Iraqis, who are just trying to stay alive. Four years after the US. invasion to depose a brutal dictator, 80 percent of Iraqis have been near the scene of an attack. So many bombings, that only 30 percent of children are attending school, down from 75 percent two years ago. President Bush continues to urge patience. "Success will take months, not days or weeks. Those on the ground are seeing some hopeful signs," Bush said. Early this year, the president ordered thousands more US troops into Iraq, in hopes of containing the spiraling violence in Baghdad, where 100 percent of Iraqis say they do not feel safe. The president points out there has been some success. "Together we've carried out ops against Sunni and Shiite extremists, al Qaeda, uncovered large caches of weapons, destroyed two major car bomb factories located on the outskirts of Baghdad," Bush said. But Americans are increasingly unconvinced. Over the weekend, from coast to coast, thousands of protestors renewed their calls to bring troops home. More than 3,200 US troops have died in Iraq; tens of thousands have been wounded. LOCAL REACTION Despite the thousands of military and Iraqi casualties since the war on terror began four years ago, President Bush says the fight in the Middle East will press on. During his presidential address earlier Monday the president mentioned he didn't know when it would end or how, but asked the American public to support his efforts in the war -- a war that many politicians say has become senseless, one that local political analysts say has been a bad idea from the start. Cape Fear Community College political science professor Ralph Kornegay said, "We've made progress in creating a strong civil war, we've got three groups of people that don't like each other, we have seen the growth of terrorism, we've seen the growth of insurgency, we've seen all of the elements that go into destroying a country's ability to function. We've seen very little progress." President Bush is also calling for thousands more troops to be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in the coming months. But despite this fact, local recruitment offices in Wilmington say they aren't seeing an increase in military recruits. On average, recruitment officials say anywhere from 10 to 15 people sign up for the military each month. FLAGS FLOWN And across America flags are flying in remembrance of those who have died in Iraq. In Louisville, Kentucky 4,000 flags are on display at Waterfront Park. Organizers say the flags were placed so America would not forget the service and sacrifice of the fallen in Iraq.
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