BEIJING,Dec. 16 – The war in Iraq is now officially over. The US Forces-Iraq flag has been lowered in a ceremony in Baghdad attended by US Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta. He told troops they leave Iraq with lasting pride.
After the death of 4,500 Americans, the injury of 32-thousand others, and at a cost of at least 800 billion US dollar, the flag of the US Forces-Iraq in Baghdad is lowered and put away for good.
US Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta said the nearly 9-year war in Iraq was worth the price in blood and money, as it set the country on a path to democracy.
The last 4-thousand American troops will withdraw by the end of the year, leaving Iraq still tackling a weakened but stubborn insurgency, sectarian tensions and political uncertainty.
Only around 150 US soldiers will remain in Iraq after the withdrawal, attached to the US Embassy. Civilian contractors will take on the task of training Iraqi forces on US military hardware.
Iraq’s leadership presents the withdrawal as a new start for the country’s sovereignty, but many still question its ability to protect its own people.