U.S. President Barack Obama has declared the Iraq war over. While he proclaimed what he once termed a "dumb war" a success, he lamented the heavy cost. "Over 30,000 Americans have been wounded and those are only the wounds that show. Nearly 4,500 Americans made the ultimate sacrifice," he said. What he didn't say was that at least 100,000 Iraqis have died, hundreds of thousands have been wounded, also many with wounds that don't show, and millions exiled.
He lauded American achievements—"a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq with a
representative government that was elected by its people"—yet ignored the suffering of the Iraqis that was collateral to the achievement.
Needless to say the Iraqis, faced with rebuilding their country, political instability, rampant sectarian violence and millions of refugees, are not so sanguine about the "success." Neither Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki or President Jalal Talabani
turned up for the departure ceremony in Baghdad. Uniformed U.S. soldiers belatedly
moved into the seats reserved for the two Iraqi leaders. Perhaps an empty seat should have been reserved for the Unknown Iraqi Civilian.