By Brad Friedman on 12/18/2011, 8:40pm PT  

It seems perversely appropriate that we'd be able to watch the very last U.S. military convoy exit Iraq today, as seen above, courtesy of a U.S. Air Force Predator drone hovering overhead. The video documents what is purported to be the last truck crossing the border into Kuwait as the robotic camera zooms in on the gates at the border crossing as guards close them, bringing the undeclared war to a quiet and ignominious close...of sorts...

It required the service of more than 1 million U.S. troops, the deaths of some 4,474 of them (the last of whom was 23 year-old Army Spec. David E. Hickman, killed last month), debilitating and often permanent physical injuries to more than 33,000 of them, the mental scars to God-only-knows how many hundreds of thousands of them, the deaths of a minimum of 104,000, though as much as over 1,000,000 Iraqi civilians, all at a cost of nearly $1 trillion at a minimum, though as much as $3 trillion.

But the evil dictator, whose evil dictating the U.S. had helped support and finance and facilitate for much of his reign, was permanently removed from power. So there's that.

Today, after nearly a full decade in support of that absurd purported mission, the last of all but 150 U.S. troops have finally left Iraq, with the rest --- and several thousand "private" contractors --- left behind to guard our embassy and other remaining "U.S. assets".

Yes, it's true that candidate Obama had promised to end the Iraq War, even as President Obama fought to keep it going against the preference of the Iraqis, and even as, with that battle lost, he's now more than happy to take credit for it finally being "over" nonetheless.

As Marcy Wheeler notes, it's not really over, as evidenced by the U.S. Senate's recent rejection of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) motion to officially declare as much by Congressional fiat. The undeclared and second-longest "war" in U.S. history will rage on in the hearts of those who'd never had the courage to officially declare it in the first place.

But home the troops are coming, as scheduled, in time for Christmas. And for those men and women and their families, this particular leg of this particular self-inflicted long national nightmare --- one of an ongoing too-many --- is finally coming to a long overdue end.

And for now, at least if the calls to make the same-but-even-worse mistake all over again by attacking Iran --- as echoed by virtually all of the GOP Presidential candidates (save for Ron Paul) at last Thursday's debate --- is any indication, we will not have learned a single lesson from any of it.