New York Times headline (12/19/11): "Last Convoy of American Troops Leaves Iraq, Marking a War's End"
Second paragraph in the Times story: "As an indication of the country the United States is leaving behind, for security reasons the last soldiers made no time for goodbyes to Iraquis with whom they had become acquainted. To keep details of the final trip secret from insurgents--or Iraq security officers aligned with militias--interpreters for the last unit to leave the base called local tribal sheiks and and govenment leaders on Saturday morning and conveyed that business would go on as usual, not letting on that all the Americans would soon be gone."
Final three paragraphs in the Times story: "History's final judgment on the war, which claimed nearly 4,500 American lives and cost almost $1 trilliion, may not be determined for decades.
"But as the last troop convoy crossed over, it marked neither victory nor defeat, but a kind of stalemate--one in which the optimists say violence has been reduced to a level that will allow the country to continue on its lurching path toward stability and democracy, and in which the pessimists say the American presence has been a Band-Aid on a festering wound.
"'Things will go worse in Iraq after the U.S. withdrawal, on all levels--security, economics and services,'"said Hatem Imam, a businessman in Basra. "'We are not ready for this.'"
Impertinent questions: So how many civilians deaths were there? And what the hell were we doing in Iraq in the first place?
Note: The graphics and cartoons of Louis Dunn, former Guardian art director, illustrator, and cartoonist, will appear regularly in the Bruce blog and in the Guardian. B3