Iraq War Officially Ends

After nearly nine years of war, the loss of more than 100,000 lives and hundreds of billions of dollars spent, the U.S. military mission in Iraq has formally ended.

But violence continues to roil the Mideast nation, and its political destiny is far from certain.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday that the cost of the war was high, but that troops gave birth to a 'free and sovereign' Iraq. More than 4400 US service members died in Iraq.

All US ground troops will be out of Iraq by Dec. 31, and soon this sorry conflict will fade quietly into the past, the second-dumbest war in American history.