The final U.S. troops have left Iraq as of Sunday, December 18, marking the end of the nearly nine year old conflict. More than 4,500 U.S. troops were killed in Iraq in addition to the more than 30,000 wounded. Over 100,000 Iraqis died by some estimates. In all, 1.5 million Americans served on the ground in Iraq. At the height of the war some 239,000 troops were stationed across 500 bases with another 135,000 contractors working in the country.
The withdrawal doesn’t mean that the U.S. presence has ended. As CNN points out: “The United States will still maintain a presence in Iraq: hundreds of nonmilitary personnel, including 1,700 diplomats, law enforcement officers, and economic, agricultural and other experts, according to the State Department. In addition, 5,000 security contractors will protect Americans and another 4,500 contractors will serve in other roles.”
The U.S. embassy in Iraq is the largest in the world despite the two countries having little in common culturally or economically. They don’t even share a border. Why we need over 11,000 people to man an embassy is anyone’s guess (I think you can surmise why we are still there), but should a civil war occur, a lot of Americans will be in harm’s way. It is almost begging for another Iran hostage crisis to happen.