Katie Couric's Notebook: Iraq

Iraqis greeted the final withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from their cities as if it were New Year's Eve - with a countdown clock, fireworks and dancing in the streets. Today was even declared a national holiday.

Their reaction reflects a long-held ambivalence toward American troops in their country. Rather than being hailed as liberators, as Vice President Cheney once predicted, we were often scorned as occupiers.

Yet our presence helped achieve major results - the overthrow of a brutal dictator and the establishment of a fledgling democracy.

And while the celebrations are understandable, they may be premature. As the U.S. military closes outposts, violence is increasing - with more than 250 people killed in the past week alone.

I visited Iraq in 2007 and was struck by the courage of the US troops and Iraqi people I met. I hope the future brings more joy to that country, not just because U.S. troops are leaving, but because of the enormous strides the Iraqi people themselves have made.

That's a page from my notebook.