Iraqi people have expressed mixed feelings over the withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq. Some hoped it would deprive militants of a pretext for targeting government offices. Others, however, voiced concerns over whether Iraq's own forces were ready to fill the security vacuum. The US military is holding steady in its aim to reduce troop numbers in Iraq to 50,000 by August 31, when the US combat mission launched by former President George W Bush comes to an official close. The last US brigade officially classed as a combat unit formally handed over responsibilities to its Iraqi counterparts on August 7, but US troops have been steadily flowing out of the country on transport aircraft and by road for a year.