BAGHDAD—After 19 months of struggle in Iraq, U.S. military officials conceded a loss to Iraqi insurgents Monday, but said America can be proud of finishing "a very strong second."
Casey (left) and Lt. Gen. John Abizaid shake hands with an enlisted soldier after the war.
"We went out there, gave it our all, and fought a really good fight," said Gen. George W. Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq. "America's got nothing to be ashamed of. We outperformed Great Britain, Poland, and a lot of the other top-notch nations, but Iraq just wouldn't stay down for the count. It may have come down to them simply wanting it more."
"In spite of jumping out to an early lead and having the better-trained, better-equipped team, I'm afraid we still came up short in the end," Casey said. "Sometimes, the underdog just pulls one out on you. But there's no reason for the guys who were out in the field to feel any shame over this one. They played through pain and injury and never questioned the strategy, even when we started losing ground."
Casey said that, although the U.S. military did not win, it did set records for kills, yardage gained, palaces overrun, defensive stops, and military bases stolen.
"The Americans can be proud of the numbers," Casey said. "All things considered, there was some very impressive maneuvering out there. We kept the folks at home on the edge of their seats, that's for sure."