War in Iraq officially declared finished

Alyssa Sykuta

An astonishing $800 billion later, the war in Iraq is officially finished. With the lowering of the flag of command from the Iraqi capital of Baghdad  Thursday, Dec. 15, America declared the conclusion of the war launched in March 2003.
Opening with a loud, explosive bombardment of Baghdad, the war ended on opposite terms: not with a final battle, but with — as President Barack Obama described — a final march home for the American soldiers. The long-awaited trek home commenced with an understated 45 minute formal ceremony, a few brief words from American officials and the placing of the U.S. flag of command in a camouflage case, according to Army tradition.
During the past eight years, both nations have felt the destructive effects of the war; 4,500 Americans and more than 150,000 Iraqis died. Over 32,000 Americans are wounded, with many more Iraqis right alongside them. Billions of dollars were lost and remain l unaccounted for the United States.
Though Defense Secretary Leon Panetta believes the United States is leaving Iraq on the threshold of opportunity and a promising future, Iraqis remain concerned about what is yet to come. According to the Associated Press, the Americans are not leaving behind a modernized, stable country. Iraq instead stays fragile, struggling with the effects of post-war violence and pushing to establish a firm democracy. According to CNN statistics lfrom 2007, 28 percent of Iraqi children suffer from Chronic Malnutrition. The rate of unemployment soars from 27 to 60 percent.
Though Iraqi’s future lingers uncertain for the moment, Obama met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki earlier this week and vowed to stay committed to the country as they continue facing hardships. The official end of the war, however, fulfills an early promise of the Obama administration to finally draw the war in Iraq to a close.__

UPI (United Press International)