The war in Iraq was over.
George W Bush said so, under a huge banner that read "Mission Accomplished."
Of course, he was wrong, as he'd been so wrong on so many things. The war in Iraq - touted as a neat, fast military adventure that would be relatively bloodless and paid for by the Iraqis themselves out of their oil revenue - has cost us over 4400 American lives and went a long way to crippling our economy.
Last week, with combat operations halted, we still had 45,000 troops in Iraq.
We were negotiating with the government there over a Status Of Forces Agreement, or SOFA. There were a few sticking points, notably how many troops will remain behind to help train the Iraqi Army.
Those talks foundered last week, and President Obama is calling the troops home.
Why did the talks cave in?
Well, the nice comfy SOFA the US was asking for included a clause granting immunity from prosecution for US troops stationed there. We've had similar clauses in other countries, but in this case Iraqi PM al-Maliki's guys put their foot down. To be fair to the Iraqis, I'd put my foot down as well.
What we'll be left with in Iraq after the last soldier, sailor, Marine and airman leaves is a couple hundred troops to safeguard our Brobdingnagian ziggurat of an Embassy - oh, and about 5,000 'contractors.'
For 'contractors,' read 'mercenaries in the pay of the US State Department.'
But we must rejoice.
The war in Iraq is (finally!) over.
Iran, of course.
And what kind of welcome will our troops face when they come home?
I'm SO glad you asked!
Unemployment is still high, thanks to the economy that was crippled in part thanks to financing two wars with borrowed money. Lawmakers are considering cutting veteran's benefits -
Yes, you heard me. Lawmakers are considering cutting veteran's benefits. For a Congress that has fetishized the military since 9/11 (HE SAID 9/11! EVERYBODY DRINK!) this move is particularly odious. 53,000 Americans were injured physically, and many more were doubtless injured mentally by what they've had to endure.
Once again, we'll have a Lost Generation, but they won't be talking about Vietnam. They'll be talking about Iraq.