From Mission Accomplished to Mission Over – American troops have completed their withdrawal from Iraq into Kuwait after almost nine years.
They arrived in 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein and eliminate weapons of mass destruction that proved non-existent in a war that cost almost 4,500 American lives and tens of thousands of Iraqi ones.
They left just in time to meet President Barack Obama’s by-year-end schedule.
The soldiers are said to have mixed emotions about leaving. But on the streets of Basra in the south of the country, Iraqis seemed united in welcoming the withdrawal.
“Today is a victory for the Iraqi people, a long-awaited historical moment. Thank God we got rid of the Americans and God willing we the Iraqis will improve ourselves,” said one man.
“The US forces have caused many troubles and difficulties in the country and left a bad impression on this land,” added another.
But it is not quite over – 157 soldiers remain at the US embassy for training purposes and the diplomatic mission is protected by a small contingent of marines.