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Politics & Government

Iraq War ends, 159 Michigan soldiers killed, Senator Levin asks for reflection

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screen grab from NYTimes video
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U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta speaks at a ceremony marking the end of the U.S. mission in Iraq. "The cost was high. The blood and treasure of the United States and also for the Iraqi people," Panetta said.

Today, the U.S. government held a low-key ceremony to mark the end of military involvement in Iraq.

159 Michigan soldiers were killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta gave remarks to U.S. troops at a heavily fortified Baghdad International Airport.

Tim Arango reported for the New York Times:

After nearly nine years, some 4,500 American fatalities and about $1 trillion, America’s war in Iraq is about to end. Officials marked the finish Thursday with a modest ceremony at the airport days before the last troops traverse the southern highway to Kuwait, going out as they came in, to conclude the United States’ most ambitious and bloodiest military campaign since Vietnam. Iraqis will be left with a country that is not exactly at war, and not exactly at peace.

At a Shiite ceremony in Baghdad, one Shia member was thankful to the U.S. for one thing only:

"We are only thankful to them because they got rid of Saddam Hussein. They didn't bring any hope, any construction, any electricity, any water or any infrastructure."

Michigan Senator Carl Levin released this statement today:

“I hope every American will take some time today to reflect on the immense courage and selflessness of our men and women in uniform and their families over the last eight years. Over repeated deployments, in difficult and dangerous conditions, hundreds of thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines served in Iraq with honor. Beyond their service, they gave our nation unity – the unity of a people who, though divided over the decision to go to war, supported the men and women who fought it.”

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