In a man-on-the-street interview, a local Marine told the newspaper. “The Marines are at war. America is at the mall.”

That was years ago. As the country notes the seventh anniversary of the war in Iraq, America remains at the mall. Just as we were at the start of the war on March 19, 2003, Americans also are preoccupied with the NCAA basketball tournament.

In fact, during the war’s opening days, some sports bars had war reporting on some screens and the basketball games on others. It was a surreal scene, etched in our mind.

The troop pullout, promised by President Obama, is on schedule but thousands of U.S. troops remain in Iraq and many more are in Afghanistan. Nearly 4,400 U.S. military personnel have died since the Iraq war began.

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