At 6:59 A.M., Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta approved "EXORD 1003 Victor, Mod 9", the order officially ending the Iraq war.
Earlier in the day the last convoy of American troops left Iraq Sunday morning, crossing the border into neighboring Kuwait. The convoy consisted of 110 vehicles carrying over 500 soldiers according to media reports. For the first time since early 2003 no U.S. soldiers or Marines beyond embassy security are in Iraq.
This fulfills a key promise President Obama made, before being elected President. His opposition to the invasion of Iraq was one of the key reasons I was an early supporter of his campaign for President.
The Congressional Research Service puts the cost of the war at nearly $900 billion, though other source put the overall cost at a much higher amount. The human cost is MUCH higher. Over 4,500 U.S. troops died, and over 30,000 were wounded, to say nothing of the number of killed or wounded coalition forces, or more significantly, the Iraqi people.
It is now up to Iraqi people to keep in place a government that is representative of its three main sects, while also fashioning an oil revenue-sharing pact. Whether this can been done while fighting Iranian and western powers meddling in their affairs remains to be seen.
While it is hard to argue that it is a bad thing that Saddam Hussein no longer draws breath given the brutality and crimes he committed, in my view the war was a tragic, even criminal enterprise which should never have been undertaken.
The only thing I think can be said which would meet with universal agreement is, the wish that wounds heal, and that peace and a better life can be reached by everyone whose have been affected by this conflict. I would add to that, mourn the loss of life, and commit ourselves to try resolve problems in a better way.
Please share your reflections on the end of the war.