After 8.5 years of war, the US military has formally marked the end of its combat operations in Iraq this week.
More than 1.5 million American soldiers have served there over the years, 30,000 were wounded, 4,500 were killed. Nobody knows exactly, but it is estimated that more than 110,000 civilians died. The entire world changed dramatically since this whole catastrophe started. Facebook did not even exist yet when the first bombs targeted Baghdad in a night of “shock and awe” on March 21, 2003. One can only hope that President Obama is right when saying: “We are leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq”.
I was in Baghdad (Iraq) last week and I am still wondering. Military forces are all over the place, heavily armed security companies escort people from one place to the other. Late at night a curfew is still in place and people are still dying every day. Conflicting to this reality, there is also the normal life including shopping, enjoying tea with friends on the street or business (which brought me there). Let’s hope for the best and a peaceful future. http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/07/baghdad/addario-photography