Not with a bang but a whimper. On Wednesday President Obama marked the end of the war in Iraq:
Barack Obama declares Iraq war a success
President told an audience of soldiers at Fort Bragg that the final pullout after nearly nine years of conflict is an ‘historic’ moment
Barack Obama marked an end to a war he once described as “dumb” by declaring the conflict in Iraq a success and saying the last US troops will leave in the coming days with their “heads held high”.
The president told an audience of soldiers at Fort Bragg that the final pullout from Iraq after nearly nine years of war is an “historic” moment and that the country they leave behind is “an extraordinary achievement”. … But the president, who came to power promising to end the war, said that for all the suffering, the result was success.
“We knew this day would come. We’ve known it for some time. But still there is something profound about the end of a war that has lasted so long,” said Obama. “It’s harder to end a war than begin one. Everything that American troops have done in Iraq – all the fighting, all the dying, the bleeding and the building and the training and the partnering, all of it has landed to this moment of success.” …
“Iraq’s not a perfect place. It has many challenges ahead. But we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self reliant Iraq with a representative government that was elected by its people. We’re building a new partnership between our nations and we are ending a war not with a final battle but with a final march toward home. This is an extraordinary achievement,” he said.
That interpretation is strongly disputed by critics of the way who say the conflict has destabilised the region, strengthened Iran and exposed US military shortcomings which may encourage future conflict. It is also claimed by critics that the war has strengthened hostility to the US and fueled not deterred terrorism.
This was a war waged on lies. It has resulted in hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, and the death of over 4,000 American soldiers. It has left Iraq poisoned by depleted uranium and other toxins. The cost to America is estimated at $1 trillion – “an expense that has contributed significantly to America’s economic decline”. And for what? A shameful chapter.