Iraq was our biggest mistake |

Iraq was our biggest mistake

William S. Pintzow

John McCain is excited about the surge leading toward victory in Iraq, although what victory is in Iraq has never been defined. Actually, the reduction in violence was mainly due to us paying off the Sunni to fight against al-Qaida and the increase of our troop numbers is now over with. In the heat of this election, it might be valuable to remember the following about our Iraq War.

Our war and occupation of Iraq has accomplished something truly amazing. It has made Saddam Hussein look good.

Just think, under Hussein there was no al-Qaida in Iraq, war was not a threat, the people could walk in their streets, shop, go to school without being hit by gunfire, suicide bombs and mortars. The schools taught a secular education with Islamic fundamentalism not permitted. Hussein was not under our military control by our air power with fly-over for 10 years with little cost in dollars and no cost in lives for us.

Electricity and other utilities worked 24 hours per day and as long as the populace didn’t cross Hussein, they led decent lives. The world respected our country, looked up to us as we waged a successful campaign against the Taliban in Afganistan.

Now, five years after our invasion of Iraq, here is what we have accomplished:

Over 4,000 Americans dead, 30,000 wounded, most quite seriously. The U.N. says 650,000 Iraqis are dead. Two million Iraqis (mostly the cream-of-the-crop professionals) have left their country. Another two million are displaced internally.

Al-Qaida situated itself in Iraq after our invasion and is still a threat. We rebuilt and constructed schools which now teach Islamic fundamentalism. Electricity is on from four to eight hours a day and the infrastructure of the country is either heavily damaged or destroyed. The bombs and bullets continue and the streets in most of the country are treacherous. Iran is now a serious threat without the checkmate of Hussein to stop them.

We’re spending $10 billion a week with no end in sight. Our closest allies think we were crazy to do what we did and the loss of respect for our country is profound.

Our campaign in Afghanistan was severely weakened by our Iraqi adventure and that is where the main al-Qaida threat is.

Our Army and National Guard are stretched to the breaking point, and our top military are worried that we could not address an attack from another quarter.

Saddam Hussein was a bloody tyrant , but the Iraqi lives he cost were a tiny percentage of what we have caused by invading.

Our rush to war was a crime. Hans Blitz, the UN inspector, said, “If he had two more months, he could have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that there were NO weapons of mass destruction.”

Now that the top news in our country is the economy and politics, the war is consigned to page 25 in the newspapers and the public has lost interest.

It’s time to realize that the invasion of Iraq and its occupation, is the most terrible disaster of foreign policy in our history. The arrogance and incompetence were monumental.

Those of our leaders who were responsible for this tragedy should be held accountable, so that future generations might have a better chance to avoid a repetition of this horrible error!

Dr. William S. Pintzow lives in Edwards. E-mail comments about this column to

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