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News & Politics News & Politics

Dying Iraq Veteran Eviscerates Bush, Cheney

Posted by on Mar. 19, 2013 at 6:18 PM
  • 17 Replies

Tomas Young, Dying Iraq War Veteran, Pens 'Last Letter' To Bush, Cheney On War's 10th Anniversary

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted:   |  Updated: 03/19/2013 5:08 pm EDT

Days after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Tomas Young, then a 22-year-old from Kansas City, Mo., made a decision repeated by many other Americans around the country: He was going to enlist in the military in hopes of getting even with the enemies who had helped coordinate the deaths of nearly 3,000 men, women and children.

Less than three years later, Young's Army service placed him not in Afghanistan -- where then-President George W. Bush had told the nation the terrorist plot had originated -- but in Iraq. On April 4, 2004, just five days into his first tour, Young's convoy was attacked by insurgents. A bullet from an AK-47 severed his spine. Another struck his knee. Young would never walk again, and in fact, for the next nearly nine years, he would suffer a number of medical setbacks that allowed him to survive only with the help of extensive medical procedures and the care of his wife, Claudia.

The incident turned Young into one of the most vocal veteran critics of the Iraq War. He has, however, saved his most powerful criticism for what he claims will be his last. Young says he'll die soon, but not before writing a letter to Bush and former Vice President Cheney on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War.

From Young's letter, published on TruthDig:

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

Young goes on to attack the "cowardice" of Bush and Cheney for avoiding military service themselves, and to encourage them to "stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness."

(Read Young's entire letter here.)

Young was the subject of the 2007 documentary "Body of War," which was about his recovery process and the Iraq War. At a February screening of the film, Young told the audience that he planned to end his life in April.

According to the Ridgefield Press, Young announced that he would stop taking all nourishment and life-extending medications at that time. He's since said that the deterioration to his body from the injury and ensuing complications would make it physically impossible for him to commit suicide in any other way.

"It's time," he told the audience over Skype, while seated beside his wife. "When I go I want be alert and aware."

Young spoke more about his decision in a recent interview with journalist and Iraq War critic Chris Hedges.

“I made the decision to go on hospice care, to stop feeding and fade away," he said. "This way, instead of committing the conventional suicide and I am out of the picture, people have a way to stop by or call and say their goodbyes. I felt this was a fairer way to treat people than to just go out with a note."

For the rest of Hedges' interview with Young, click here. For the rest of The Huffington Post's coverage on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War, click here.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

by on Mar. 19, 2013 at 6:18 PM
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Replies (1-10):
nanaofsix531
by Platinum Member on Mar. 19, 2013 at 7:17 PM
1 mom liked this

His letter makes me want to cry.So many suicides by Iraq veterans.Thanks for posting this.I would like to post this to facebook.

joyfree
by Kat on Mar. 19, 2013 at 7:43 PM

veterans daysimple frown

Dzyre1115
by Bronze Member on Mar. 19, 2013 at 8:20 PM
1 mom liked this

 His situation is so sad, but when you enlist, unless there is a draft, you do so knowing the risks and as much as we would like to blame Bush for Iraq, the problem in Iraq, we were obligated to correct, goes back decades. 

SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Mar. 19, 2013 at 9:09 PM
1 mom liked this

That is very sad. It is heartbreaking that he was injured by insurgents (IEDs?). My brother, who was an Air Force ER doc in both Iraq and Afghanistan, witnessed some horrific ambush victims. He also was one of the firstdoctors to operate on Bob Woodruff, the ABC reporter whose caravan  was hit by an IED.

Just to correct a few items:

Bush did NOT go AWOL from his National Guard unit. That was a LIE , based on a counterfeit memo, reported on by Dan Rather -  knowing he did not have proof of the validity of the letter. Rather was fired as a result.

It is true that Dick Cheney submitted deferments. But again, we have had a volunteer military for years.

The "lies" he refer to about WMD are not lies. They were based on intelligence from about 20 countries all over the world, which all confirmed that Saddam had WMD - Clearly, he had used them on his own people. But according to many Iraqis, Saddam destroyed some, and sent others to Syria in the guise of humanitarian aid after a natural disaster (eg, earthquake?). Therefore, the WMD was never found in Iraq. A "lie" is when something says something they know is not true. Not something 20 international intelligence agencies, the military, and virtually all Senators and Congressmen and women also believed to be true.

Many mistakes were made in Iraq:

-deBaathization - not allowing former leaders and party members to have jobs.

-too small of a fighting force, which could have ended things much faster. Military leaders say the force should have been 4X what it was.

-Holding elections before the Iraqi constitution was complete. Bass ackwards.

-Not from the beginning having personal relationships with Iraqis. This wasn't done until David Petraus was in charge, late in the war.

-Obama's changed Rules of Engagement - which made it extraordinarily likey that US troops whould be killed or wounded.

Bush actually cares a long more about wounded veterans than Obama.

This young man's situation is a tragedy, and it was an unforeseen accident. And he has every right to his opinion. I think it is sad that he is basing his anger on rumors but not the facts. And that his anger is the only thing he feels right now. He can still send his letter, but if he wants to go in peace and make things easier on his family, he could try forgiveness, even if that is not something he can even fathom now. It usually isn't. Not forgiving hurts him more than Bush and Cheney - and has likely been exacerbating his illness - especially if he has been feeling the fiery anger for 10 years. That eats anyone up, not just wounded military.

So rest in peace. It is a sad, tragic, unfortunate situation. And I can appreciate his arguments. Just let go of the false ones. 

rccmom
by Gold Member on Mar. 19, 2013 at 10:07 PM

Even at the time some realized the bs being fed to the American people about Iraq. When my husband retired from the military under Bush, he was so happy that his letter was signed by Sec of State Colin Powell. Some officers were requesting that their retirement letter not be signed by Cheney or Bush. There was plenty of intelligence that was ignored and shoved under the rug in favor of only intel that supported their desire to invade. What they did was shameful and a betrayal to every single military man and woman.

grandmab125
by Platinum Member on Mar. 19, 2013 at 11:19 PM

 Powell is a bitter man....because he didn't get reappointed Sec'y of State?  He claims to still be a republican, even though he's backed and voted for Obama twice.  SMH.  I respect him for his years of service in the military, but that's about it now.

Quoting autodidact:

 

Colin Powell Rips CIA Over Sham WMD Source


 




 

grandma B

autodidact
by Silver Member on Mar. 19, 2013 at 11:31 PM

so you're calling him a liar? 


Quoting grandmab125:

 Powell is a bitter man....because he didn't get reappointed Sec'y of State?  He claims to still be a republican, even though he's backed and voted for Obama twice.  SMH.  I respect him for his years of service in the military, but that's about it now.

Quoting autodidact:


Colin Powell Rips CIA Over Sham WMD Source






 






grandmab125
by Platinum Member on Mar. 19, 2013 at 11:48 PM

 Don't put words in my mouth.  That's not what I said, and you know it.  It's really pathetic when some people on CM twist other's words around in a veiled attempt to make the poster look badly.

Quoting autodidact:

so you're calling him a liar? 

 

Quoting grandmab125:

 Powell is a bitter man....because he didn't get reappointed Sec'y of State?  He claims to still be a republican, even though he's backed and voted for Obama twice.  SMH.  I respect him for his years of service in the military, but that's about it now.

Quoting autodidact:

 

Colin Powell Rips CIA Over Sham WMD Source


 




 

 

 

 

grandma B

mom2twinboyz
by Bronze Member on Mar. 19, 2013 at 11:56 PM
Sad but nobody forces them to enlist. I don't see how it's Bush/Cheny's fault.
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