“Insurgents sent a bloody message on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion, carrying out a wave of bombings across the country Tuesday that killed at least 65 people in the deadliest day in Iraq this year.
The nearly 20 attacks, most of them in and around Baghdad, demonstrated in stark terms how dangerously divided Iraq remains more than a year after American troops withdrew. More than 240 people were reported wounded.
It was Iraq’s bloodiest day since Sept. 9, when an onslaught of bombings and shootings killed 92.
Violence has ebbed sharply since the peak of Sunni-Shiite fighting that pushed the country to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007. But insurgents are still able to stage high-profile attacks, while sectarian and ethnic rivalries continue to tear at the fabric of national unity.
“The bombings came 10 years to the day that Washington announced the start of the invasion on March 19, 2003 — though by that time it was already the following morning in Iraq. A new CBS News poll found 54 percent of Americans say going to war with Iraq was not the right thing to do. Nearly 7 in ten backed the war when it started.
The symbolism of Tuesday’s attacks was strong, coming 10 years to the day, Washington time, that former President George W. Bush announced the start of hostilities against Iraq. It was already early March 20, 2003, in Iraq when the airstrikes began.
The military action quickly ousted Saddam Hussein but led to years of bloodshed as Sunni and Shiite militants battled U.S. forces and each other, leaving nearly 4,500 Americans and more than 100,000 Iraqis killed.
A decade later, Iraq’s long-term stability and the strength of its democracy remain open questions.