Has American credibility been severely damaged by the Iraq War? One day after the last US combat unit left the country, some in the German press say that it has. Commentators are pessimistic about Iraq’s ability to cope alone.
It has been seven and a half years since Shock and Awe, the military campaign launched by US and UK forces to topple Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. On Thursday, the last US combat unit crossed the border into Kuwait with far less fanfare than when those first coalition forces arrived in March 2003.
Just before dawn on Thursday morning the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division passed through the border posts at the Khabari Crossing to Kuwait. One soldier, Luke Dill, now a staff sergeant, had been part of the initial invasion back in 2003 when he was just 18 years old. Now aged 25, he told the Associated Press that he would proud for the rest of his life that “I came in on the initial push and now I’m leaving with the last of the combat units.”
Yet the cost of the war has been enormous both financially and in terms of human lives. Over 4,400 US troops and 100,000 Iraqi civilians died during the conflict. And the country is by no means completely pacified, with sectarian and ethnic tensions still present and insurgents thought to be regaining strength.