The U.S.'s War in Iraq is officially over today. According to the BBC, about 4,000 troops remain in Iraq, but will be home by the end of this month. At the peak of the war, there was more than 170,000 troops in Iraq.
The war came to an end after the US and the Iraqi government couldn't come to an agreement about U.S. troops staying in the country past 2011.
The war, which started in the aftermath of Sept. 11th, 2001 and the Bush Administration's larger "War on Terror" lasted for nine years and resulted in the end of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship. But also resulted in the deaths of more than 100,000 Iraqis and more than 4,400 American troops. Nearly 32,000 U.S. troops were injured in the war. And the U.S. spent more than $1 trillion fighting it.
With the U.S. leaving, we're fulfilling a promise that we did not come to Iraq as permanent occupiers, but fears remain that by pulling out sectarian violence will increase.
As upsetting as that possibility may be, it still continues to be unsettling that we may never know why we truly invaded the country to begin with, considering Iraq had nothing to do with the Sept. 11th attacks, had no intention of launching attacks on the U.S. and Hussein had no "weapons of mass destruction." The dictator had merely been bluffing about his weapon capabilities out of fear Iran would increase its aggression towards its historical adversary if they knew Saddam's regime was severely weakened.
President Barack Obama spoke at Fort Bragg Wednesday on the end of the war, ending his speech with a "Welcome home" to returning troops.
And a welcome home to those who bore the brunt of the war sacrifice.
Hopefully, if we ever have to do this whole send you overseas to fight thing again, it'll be because we absolutely had to. Not because we got lost in a billowing fog at the intersection of tragedy and crass opportunity.
War should never be executed on a hunch.