Iraq War Formally Over
It’s been winding down for months now and today it became official: the War in Iraq is officially over. The Washington Post, perhaps, summarized it most accurately:
The American war in Iraq came to an unspectacular end Thursday at a simple ceremony held on the edge of Baghdad’s international airport, not far from the highway along which U.S. troops first fought their way into the capital more than eight years ago.
There were speeches paying tribute to the fallen, promises that the United States would not abandon Iraq, vague declarations of “success” and warnings of challenges ahead. A brass band played, and the flag that had flown over the headquarters of the U.S. mission here was lowered for the last time and folded away.
And that was it. No pronouncements of victory, no cheers or jubilation — only a profound sense that the war’s real reckoning is yet to come, even as the American part in it draws to a close.
Jennifer Griffin asked Defense Secretary Leon Panetta if it was worth it:
“I think I will remember this moment for the rest of my life,” he said.
“You know, it’s funny, we came into this war probably divided as a nation but I think we’re going out of it united,” Panetta continued. “I really think that most Americans really feel that regardless of why we got into this we’re leaving with our chins held high, that we have really given this country an opportunity to be able to not only govern itself, but to enjoy the hope of democracy. … I think all of us have to feel good about what’s happened.”
Most people probably have mixed emotions about the Iraq War, but we can’t ever forget the men and women who sacrificed their lives when called upon. We owe them our deepest thanks.