Jim Lewis from Tuesday's Talkline
This week marks ten years since the start of the War in Iraq. It took just 21 days for U.S. forces to take over Iraq’s largest cities, but it would be December 2011 before U.S. involvement there ended.
In all, 4,448 Americans were killed in Iraq and more than 31,900 were wounded. An estimated 122,000 Iraqis died in the fighting, but many historians say the true number is probably much higher.
“It’s just been a huge, massive mistake,” the Reverend Jim Lewis said on Tuesday’s MetroNews Talkline. He was one of West Virginia’s most vocal opponents to the war with his group, Patriots for Peace.
In the decade that has passed, Lewis says more people, including many of the leaders who made the decision to go to war, have come to his side. “We’ve seen them come around and change their minds on this stupid war that we’ve been involved in,” Lewis said.
He says what happened in Iraq should make it clear that war is not the answer.
“We were working hand in glove with Saddam Hussein, a real tyrant, but we were working right alongside him against Iran in the Iran-Iraq War,” Lewis says. “So we ought to be able to try diplomacy and talking with people, even the worst people in the world.”
However, Lewis says he is still concerned that U.S. leaders are turning their backs on history.
“I think we’re headed for more war here. I’m afraid we haven’t learned the lessons from this one, like we didn’t learn the lessons from Vietnam,” he said.
The monetary cost for the War in Iraq, which started on March 19, 2003 with a “shock and awe” bombing campaign over Baghdad, is an estimated $3 trillion.