Remember Rageh Omaar, who reported from Baghdad for the BBC when the Iraq war began in 2003? This is how he reported the arrival of US forces in Baghdad and the toppling of Saddam's statue in April 2003. Here you can see President George W Bush claiming "Mission accomplished" aboard the US aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln in early May 2003.
All because of 9/11. This video shows the second plane hitting the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in New York. You can hear the newscasters gasp. What a terrible tragedy. I remember watching it on CNN and couldn't believe my eyes. It was like the end of the world.
As the last US combat brigade pulls out of Iraq, leaving behind more than 50,000 US soldiers in the country, here's a moment of remembrance:
More than 4,400 US soldiers have been killed in Iraq, and over 1,200 in Afghanistan, according to the Washington Post. See The Faces of the Fallen.
At one point, the US had 150,000 troops in Iraq, says the BBC.
The number of civilians known to have been killed in Iraq since 2003 is between 97,000 and 106,000, according to Iraq Body Count.
The Baghdad bloggers Salam Pax and Riverbend have fallen silent. Salam Pax moved from Blogger to WordPress but hasn't posted since April 2009. Riverbend hasn't posted on her blog, Baghdad Burning, since October 2007, when she last wrote from Syria.
The war in Iraq has gone on longer than the U.S. Civil War, World War One and World War Two, says the New York Times.
And the money spent is more than the total market value of the world's five biggest companies (by market value), according to Forbes: PetroChina, ExxonMobil, Microsoft, ICBC and Wal-Mart Stores.
Reuters reported in January this year:
The cost to US taxpayers of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 has topped $1 trillion.
America has a $14 trillion economy. Its gross domestic product was estimated to be $14.26 trillion (based on purchasing power parity) in 2009, down from an estimated $14.61 trillion in 2008. China's GDP was, meanwhile, estimated to have grown from $8 trillion to S8.78 trillion (based on purchasing power parity).
China's growing economic clout is matched by its increasing military strength. Here is the US Defence Department's annual report to Congress on China. A US Army War College Strategic Studies Institute study in 2006 looked at the Chinese "string of pearls" naval strategy to expand its presence across the Indian Ocean. This document full of maps and graphics shows Chinese and other foreign bases, existing and planned, in the Indian Ocean.