Katie Couric's Notebook: Iraq

The end of war sounds like a cause for celebration...marching bands and ticker tape parades.

But the end of combat operations in Iraq has been a far more sober affair. For one thing, the war is not over -- there are still 50,000 U.S. troops waiting for their chance to come home.

And our losses have been profound: More than 4,400 American soldiers and 100,000 Iraqi civilians, $7.5 billion dollars. That's quite a price tag for a very fragile peace.

As General David Petraeus acknowledged in our interview last week, violent extremists still plague Iraq. Just last week, 61 Iraqi Army recruits were killed by a suicide bomber.

It's hard not to become cynical, especially with another war raging in Afghanistan. But the general also told me Iraq is a much more hopeful place now than it was a few years ago.

After decades of terror under Saddam Hussein and a long, painful war, maybe hope for Iraqis is a victory in and of itself.

That's a page from my notebook.

I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.