The war in Iraq came to an end Thursday, by official decree of the U.S. military and the Iraqi government. The end came nearly nine years after it began, nearly five years since Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was hanged for his crimes against his people.
It would be more accurate to say U.S. involvement in the war ended. Iraq remains a battleground, with bombings and gun battles between Iraqi security forces and various insurgent groups still common.
The war was a lot longer, a lot more expensive and a lot less satisfying than originally expected. A total of 4,500 Americans and more than 100,000 Iraqis died. Tens of thousands more were injured. More than $800 billion was spent by the U.S. The result? A brutal dictator was overthrown, but Iraq's weapons of mass destruction that were the prime reason for the war were found not to exist. The idea that the Iraqi people would quickly and gladly adapt to a western-style democracy was stymied by the internal strife between different Muslim sects and tribal divisions.
We hope the end of the war and the withdrawal of U.S. troops will allow the Iraqi people to calm down and come together to build a just and peacful society. That was the ultimate goal of the war. History will decide if the effort and sacrifice was successful.