Panetta formally shuts down US war in Iraq
POSTED: Thursday, December 15, 2011 - 2:04pm
UPDATED: Thursday, December 15, 2011 - 6:02pm
iraq — The U.S. military has formally shut down the war in Iraq with a ceremony retiring the flag of U.S. Forces-Iraq.
Troops lowered the flag and wrapped it in camouflage, formally "casing" it, according to Army tradition.
The ceremony was attended by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who told troops they leave Iraq with "lasting pride." Panetta said veterans of the nearly nine-year conflict can be "secure in knowing that your sacrifice has helped the Iraqi people to cast tyranny aside."
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Lloyd Austin, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, also spoke at the ceremony at Baghdad International Airport.
The $800 billion war lasted nearly nine years, claimed the lives of 4,500 Americans and 100,000 Iraqis and left 32,000 Americans wounded.