By Fox News Radio's Alastair Wanklyn in Baghdad
The White House wants us to think America is out of Iraq.
The trouble is, many Iraqis believe it.
"America's withdrawal is a bad idea," says one man buying bread, who gives his name as Abu Mohammed. "Iraq needs another five to ten years to strengthen."
"Only the Americans can protect us," says a woman nearby.
On a day the temperature here reached 116, outgoing U.S. commander, General Ray Odierno, delivered a farewell speech in which he noted the worries.
"There are those that doubt that the Iraqi security forces are ready to take full responsibility for security. I am here to tell you that they are ready."
Many American officers and soldiers say Iraqi army and police are keen to take charge. But to some civilians, that enthusiasm for power fuels the unease.
"Look at them on roadside checkposts. Young guys with no training," says another Baghdad resident. "Half of the time they are not even watching for car bombs: they are playing with their cellphones."
Is Iraq really being left in the hands of young armed men, hurriedly recruited to boost the numbers?
No. Almost 50,000 U.S. troops remain here, to continue training and beefing up Iraq's forces. A huge number, and one Washington doesn't like to admit.
"Better take a photo of me so I can prove to myself I'm still here," joked an American soldier at Baghdad's Camp Victory on the day of the handover. "Because the TV tells me that we're all back home already."