Graeme Wood reports from Tash, Anbar Province, Iraq, where a base is being torn down in anticipation of the June 30th, the date when US forces will be required to move out of Iraqi cities:

It's difficult to guess what will happen here, and whether the Iraqis' glee at seeing the Marines' backs is born out by actual ability to keep peace in Tash. It's still a place where I would be reluctant to go out for anything but heavily guarded stroll. Safe or no, it will soon have a small patch of new real estate, allegedly left as if no Marines had ever lived here at all. I suspect that despite Angeloff's best efforts, detritus will remain, and that some member of a future civilization will feel a chunk of metal underfoot, find it marked "Camp Pendleton," and wonder what improbable episode brought it out here, to a place with no water, no crops, nothing but sand in every direction.


--PA

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.