US Ends Iraq War with Little Fanfare

Baghdad • Almost nine years after the first U.S. tanks began massing on the Iraq border, the Pentagon declared an official end to its mission here, closing a troubled conflict that helped reshape U.S. politics and left a bitter legacy of anti-U.S. sentiment across the Muslim world. As Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta marked the occasion with a speech in a fortified concrete courtyard at the Baghdad airport, helicopters hovered above, underscoring the challenges facing a country where insurgents continue to attack U.S. soldiers and where militants with al-Qaida still regularly carry out devastating attacks against civilians. "To be sure the cost was high — in blood and treasure of the United States and also the Iraqi people," Panetta told the roughly 200 troops and others in attendance. "Those lives have not been lost in vain — they gave birth to an independent, free and sovereign Iraq. "Let me be clear: Iraq will be tested in the days ahead — by terrorism, and by those who would seek to divide, by economic and social issues, by the demands of democracy itself," Panetta said. "Challenges remain, but the U.S. will be there to stand by the Iraqi people as they navigate those challenges to build a stronger and more prosperous nation." Read more at http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/world/53120976-68/iraq-war-troops-panetta.html.csp

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