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As the troops pull out, what kind of Iraq has America left behind?

Not long after the "liberation" of 2003, the US-led coalition was preparing the Iraqi public for their ultimate departure. A television advert showed a bunch of boys in an excited football match, while their parents looked on with fond smiles – the portrait of a happy and contented land. In a swirl of dust, came Western troops in their armoured cars; they stopped beside the young players for a brief exchange of greetings, and then the convoy disappeared into the desert.

Obama salutes US Iraq war veterans

President Barack Obama saluted troops returning from Iraq today, declaring that the nearly nine-year conflict is ending honourably, "not with a final battle, but with a final march toward home."