This week, the Pentagon marked the official end to the war in Iraq with a brief ceremony in a secure part of the Baghdad airport -- helicopters hovering protectively overhead. Although Defense Secretary Leon Panetta later declared that the cost paid by America was "worth it," a look at the price tag offers a more sobering assessment: 4,487 U.S. military personnel killed, over 2,000 U.S. government contractors killed, over 40,000 American troops wounded, over 100,000 Iraqis killed, at least 2 million Iraqis displaced from their homes, and a final tab that could ultimately reach $4 trillion doled out by U.S. taxpayers (a far cry from the $50 billion to $80 billion the Defense Department originally predicted it would cost). And beyond the cost in lives and treasure are the less quantifiable costs we'll be paying for years to come, including the strengthening of Iran and the weakening of America's moral standing in the world.
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