ARCHIVAL VIDEO: US forces invade Iraq in 2003

March 21, 2003: The Iraq War begins.
6:44 | 03/01/17

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Transcript for ARCHIVAL VIDEO: US forces invade Iraq in 2003
Night the world's attention is absolutely fixed on Iraq. We only see a slice of the whole battle feel on television where there were cameras specifically Baghdad today. But this was a violent representation of what is happening in many places. The US fired 600 cruise missiles at Iraq today 600 million dollars worth of technology the British fired some two. The United States flew 15100 missions today 700 of which were bombing raids. On the ground US and British forces pushed into Iraq from the south there was some resistance US forces were held up at times. But based on official US sources and reporters in the field of they are moving steadily toward Baghdad. Two Marines have died in combat today one of them in the battle for whom Custer the southern port. Another is Marines rushed to take over an oil installation in the south. In the town of south one today once that US have arrived the locals tore down a poster of Saddam Hussein hundreds of thousands of posters to go. We're told that Iraqi troops are surrendering in considerable number and today the first commander of an Iraqi division surrendered. Sodom Hussein seen on television today with his younger son and two officers. A smaller gathering than usual whenever that videotape was made. The CIA now believes that Saddam Hussein survived the attack on Wednesday night. The Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld seated didn't know much more than that but he said. So that the Iraqis could clearly hear that he thinks the regime is losing control of the country. We're gonna begin of course at the Pentagon with our pentagon correspondent. Who worked funny for hours today ABC's John McWethy John. Peter as you say this was a day of dramatic changes in the air war and on the ground. And for a few hours tonight in the Iraqi capital the US gave the regime its first taste of the strategy called. Shark and off. Downtown Baghdad lit up in explosions and balls of fire. Hundreds of bombs and cruise missiles ripping into Saddam Hussein's palaces into the headquarters of his secret police and his security structure. On this one day sources say the US use more than 15100. Bombs and cruise missiles throughout the country. The goal cut off the regime's ability to communicate with its military and cripple the military's ability to fight. It was intended to be another body blow one of many now being delivered by the US led coalition. To a regime that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld claimed was starting to crumble. The regime is starting to lose control of their country their ability to see what is happening on the battlefield to communicate but their forces. And to control their country is slipping away. In a bizarre effort to prove just the opposite the Iraqi minister of defense held a press briefing this evening during the worst of the bombing. Bravely pretending to ignore the explosions outside that shook his maps. As the bombs fell on Baghdad growth the coalition ground offensive made sweeping changes in the map of who controls the country. We have had in incredible. 24 hours of success. Unlike anything I've ever experienced in my career. First the south. More than 60000. Troops moved across the border with Kuwait. The force so massive it took 25 hours just to roll its 20000. Tanks trucks and armored personnel carriers into Iraqi territory. By day's end lead elements of the. Army's third infantry division and the first marine expeditionary force were more than 100 miles up the road toward Baghdad. Meanwhile US and British forces when after the key Iraqi port of long because Sar. Fighting weren't nearly a day before the American flag was raised in triumph. This harbor will now become a main resupply port for cargo heading north. The fight for Basra another major port and the second largest city in Iraq rage for most of the night. But sources say the commander of the Iraqi division defending Basra and his top deputy have surrendered. The first division commander to do so. Also of major importance all major oil fields in the south are now under coalition control. In the west US and British commandos in a huge parachute operations seize to crucial airfields in the desert. The largest called H three is to become America's main base in the west. Through wit and a second base captured later in today the US plans to pump thousands of troops will eventually pressure Baghdad on the west. In the north sources say US special operations forces took over one airfield in Kurdish controlled territory. Then seized a second near her Beale. That force will eventually press Baghdad from the north. Another important part of its mission is to gain control of Iraq's rich northern oil fields. Where Iraqi forces had begun to towards some of the wells. They do not as yet have full control. While taking control of territory as part of the goal of influencing world opinion of how this war is perceived is also considered crucial. For success. I doubt that in a conflict of this type there's ever been. The degree of free press coverage to as you are witnessing in this instance. And that coverage is now not only showing the bombing of Baghdad but also the whole sales surrender of Iraqi units. And as US troops pushed through southern Iraq. There were the first images that answered the question at least in one small village of whether US troops would be welcomed as liberators or invaders. But today there was also a warning Baghdad the heart of Saddam Hussein's power base still lay ahead. As you seem from the TV coverage from an Betty and embedded media. Clearly were moving towards our objectives. But we must not get too comfortable. The administration says it is negotiating with a number of top officials within the Iraqi military the problem here is that none of the officials they are negotiating with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld acknowledges. Command units in Baghdad and that's where the trouble late Peter many thanks John.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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