PRESIDENT Obama's visit to Fort Bragg yesterday and his speech of thanks there to all US servicemen and women who have served in Iraq brought to an end the formalities involving the President and the Prime Minister of Iraq, Nuri al-Maliki, over the past few days. After nine years Bush's war is over and, with the exception of a very few remaining Army personnel, America's military presence in Iraq will finish on 31 December, enabling the President to fulfil his pledge to bring it to an end during his term of office.
However, the US Embassy in Baghdad will be the largest in the world with a reported staff of twelve thousand.
There are very few people indeed who now think the Iraq war was worth the suffering of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis, the loss of 4'500 American lives and the expenditure of one trillion dollars.
It is impossible to say that George W Bush's aim of establishing a beacon of democracy in the Middle East has been accomplished.
Although Iraq has an elected parliament and ministers, there are serious doubts about the governments ability to keep the internal peace of the country or to handle external pressures, especially those from neighbouring Iran.
The status of the Kurdish part of the country remains uncertain and casts a shadow over hopes of prosperity based on oil revenues.