The last US combat troops left Iraq on Thursday when the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division rolled over the border in Kuwait. The line of heavily armoured American military machines, their headlights twinkling in the pre-dawn desert, lumbered past the barbed wire and metal gates marking the border between Iraq and Kuwait and rolled into history.
Is it a cause for celebration? No. It is far from over. Scatterings of troops await departure and some 50,000 will stay another year in what is designated as a non-combat role. They will carry weapons to defend themselves and accompany Iraqi troops on missions - but only if asked. Special forces will continue to help Iraqis hunt for terrorists.
The death/injury toll in the Iraq war is into the millions. Nobody has recorded the exact number of civilians killed because it's nigh an impossible task. We assisted the US in this war and ought to be ashamed. We did nothing to ensure that the Iraqi people would be protected and rushed headlong into a war without even closing the doors behind us. That was the biggest mistake and it allowed so many insurgents to flood in and cause more mayhem.
Are the Iraqis better off now? Opinions vary but, where women are concerned, certainly not. Many are now in the control of Islamic fundamentalists who have little regard for women. When Hussein was in power women were as highly educated as men but now they struggle to gain a higher education. It's frowned upon in the areas where the fundamentalists rule - and they are many.
Is the world a safer place since the Iraq war? Who knows. I certainly don't feel the UK is a safer place; on the contrary, we will be paying for our involvement in this war for generations. The Iraqis will still have 50,000 armed US troops in their country and that is not a withdrawal. Let's not forget, the British armed forces entered Afghanistan as non-combat troops. John Reid, now infamously said, "It's to be hoped not a shot will be fired".
Celebration will be due when the last Western soldier leaves Iraq. Until then I consider Iraq is still a US occupied country, albeit with a diminished 'shoot first ask later' strategy than the previous seven and a half years.