By Rebecca Santana
KHABARI CROSSING, Kuwait – The last U.S. soldiers rolled out of Iraq across the border into neighboring Kuwait at daybreak Sunday, whooping, fist bumping and hugging each other in a burst of joy and relief. Their convoy’s exit marked the end of a bitterly divisive war that raged for nearly nine years and left Iraq shattered and struggling to recover.
The war cost nearly 4,500 American and well more than 100,000 Iraqi lives and $800 billion from the U.S. Treasury. The question of whether it was worth it all – or whether the new government the Americans leave behind will remain a steadfast U.S. ally – is yet unanswered.
The 5-hour drive by the last convoy of MRAPS, heavily armored personnel carriers, took place under cover of darkness and under strict secrecy to prevent any final attacks on the withdrawing troops. The 500 soldiers didn’t even tell their Iraqi partners they were leaving before they slipped out of the last American base and started down the barren desert highway to the Kuwaiti border before dawn Sunday.
The atmosphere was subdued inside one of the vehicles as it streamed down the highway, with little visible in the blackness outside through the MRAP’s small windows. Along the road, a small group of Iraqi soldiers waved to the departing American troops. Click here to continue reading.