The True Final End of the Iraq War

By: Daniel Nardini

Finally, the last of all U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq are finally leaving. U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed the remainder of the troops back to the United States at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on Wednesday, December 14. There will be no more U.S. soldiers left in Iraq by the end of the year. This truly marks the end of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, and the true end of the war that had ebbed and flowed from year to year since the U.S. invasion of 2003. Whether one can call it a victory, a defeat, or a stalemate for the United States will be written by future historians. The only thing that is clear is that the U.S. military is out of Iraq permanently and that Iraq is truly on its own. Whatever “facts” about the Iraq War that can and will be disputed, these four facts are not in dispute. The U.S. military lost 4,485 soldiers killed in action. Over 32,000 American soldiers have been wounded—many maimed for life. The Iraq War is the third longest in United States’ history after the current Afghanistan War and the past Vietnam War. The war cost this country $800 billion, and the full costs for how much it will take to treat those wounded for life remains unclear.

The only other known fact that can be stated, although it can be interpreted different ways, is that the current Iraqi government is stable. The question is by whose hands? Some will say because of the U.S. military’s efforts to build a new government from scratch. Others will say because Iran has had a strong hand in helping the Iraqi Shiites build their government. Because of this many Middle East experts fear that Iran is fast making Iraq into a puppet to its will. There is no question that Iranian influence in Iraq is immense. From cross-border trade to Iranian businesses and companies to Iranian banks, Iranian influence is everywhere in Iraq. American influence is virtually non-existent. I have mentioned this before a few months back, and this will be a concern for the United States in the near future. This is why the United States is still keeping some military in Kuwait—one of Iraq’s neighbors.

What does the end of this war mean for Americans? For the families who had loved ones killed in Iraq, it will be a war that will never really end for them. For those families whose loved ones have returned, it will mean trying to adapt to a life that has for many of them been on hold for some time. For those soldiers who have been seriously wounded, it will mean trying to fight a different war—trying to create a new life as they rehabilitate their minds and bodies. What the future will hold for these soldiers as they come home to a changed America remains an unknown. These brave men and women will without question be the generation that will help rebuild and guide America into I hope a better destiny and make this country good again for future generations. The one final fact about this war is that it is officially over .

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