In Baghdad today, the US flag was lowered as America's military headquarters was finally closed down. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta presided. Acknowledging the high cost paid by both Americans and Iraqis, he affirmed that their lives were not lost in vain. "They gave birth to an independent free and secure Iraq, and because of the sacrifices made these years of war have now yielded to a new era of opportunity." Julian Barnes is traveling with Panetta for the Wall Street Journal.