Dying Iraq war vet pens scathing letter to Bush, Cheney

Tomas Young, an Iraq war vet who joined the US military in response to September 11 – he signed up two days after the attacks – is dying.

He’s now confined to a wheelchair and in hospice care as a result of the long-term consequences of wounds suffered in Iraq only five days after arriving there.  And he’s not happy about it.

As Young wrotes in his dying letter to George Bush and Dick Cheney, on this tenth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, had he been dying for Afghanistan, at least it was a just war.  But Iraq?

Here’s a short story on Young from 2008:

Cathy Smith, Young’s mother, says a blood clot in Young’s right arm migrated to his lung on Friday. Over the weekend, he fell into a coma and, when he first woke up, the signs were worrying. “He went through a place where he wasn’t able to communicate,” Smith says.

Once he regained the ability to speak, Young was moved out of the critical care wing. But on Sunday his condition deteriorated and he returned to the I.C.U.

More on Young’s decision to enter hospice care and die, from Chris Hedges at Information Clearinghouse:

“I had been toying with the idea of suicide for a long time because I had become helpless,” he told me in his small house on the Kansas City outskirts where he intends to die. “I couldn’t dress myself. People have to help me with the most rudimentary of things. I decided I did not want to go through life like that anymore. The pain, the frustration. …”

He stopped abruptly and called his wife. “Claudia, can I get some water?” She opened a bottle of water, took a swig so it would not spill when he sipped and handed it to him.

“I felt at the end of my rope,” the 33-year-old Army veteran went on. “I made the decision to go on hospice care, to stop feeding and fade away. 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. After the anoxic brain injury in 2008 [a complication that Young suffered] I lost a lot of dexterity and strength in my upper body. So I wouldn’t be able to shoot myself or even open the pill bottle to give myself an overdose. The only way I could think of doing it was to have Claudia open the pill bottle for me, but I didn’t want her implicated.”

And here’s part of Tomas Young’s letter published today on TruthDig:

I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.

I have, like many other disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t theft and selfish ambition sins? I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.

My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

Share This Post

  • hollywoodstein

    No.

  • hollywoodstein

    I think this is where the media person says whatever we think, I think we all thank him for his service.

  • hollywoodstein

    Why do some people know it’s a big Grift before they take up guns? Would this guy have had the scales fall from his eyes if he didn’t get hurt himself, but instead got medals and promotions? Sorry for his fate sure, but how many did he kill before he got hurt, and when did he realize the war was wrong, and all a big grift? Before he killed, after he killed one, after he killed a dozen, after he got hurt?
    Why do some know it is not a just war and don’t go, and why do some who eventually see up close that it is not a just war keep firing?

  • rwiggim

    Like most crimes 9/11 was perpetrated by the people who had the most to gain from it. See Cheney and his “Project for the New American Century”.

  • cambridgemac

    Not just bad knees (Cheney) – hemorrhoids, too, as I recall (Limbaugh)

  • Toms0ld

    You will notice that non of them has taken a foreign vacation. They will be arrested.

  • random.guy

    The Navy Seal incursion into Pakistan might not have been necessary if a plan by Delta Force to attack Bin Laden, while he was still in Afghanistan, was allowed to go forward. Although that would’ve ended things too soon if it was allowed to happen. A special forces member was interviewed by 60 Minutes about their ideas to get Bin Laden before he left Afghanistan.

  • http://twitter.com/Peachallie Darla Christopher

    Baby Bush abandoned the fight against terror as soon as the photo ops were finished; he would not displease his cousin, Bandar, nor his future King, Abdullah, remember when his King held his hand & kissed him? Baby Bush was in heaven.

    Bush & Cheney served multinational corporations(.) Americans were way down the line of ‘priorities’; as Cheney bragged he had better things to do than serve this nation.

  • http://twitter.com/Peachallie Darla Christopher

    The stay at home soldiers wave Chinese manufactured US flags also.

  • http://twitter.com/Peachallie Darla Christopher

    The YELLA boy & Blackheart will be surrounded by “saddened friends & family”, all waiting to see what they can scam out if their deaths. Scum of the earth stay together.

  • http://twitter.com/Peachallie Darla Christopher

    Bush OPENLY admitted he did not CARE about taking out bin Laden, read up on it. bin Laden got a PASS from Bush & company. Perhaps Bush’s KING, ABDULLAH so ordered.

  • http://twitter.com/Peachallie Darla Christopher

    They acted as CHEERLEADERS, claiming bad knees, BETTER THINGS to do, age, any excuse to cheer on Bush’s War….safely in the US.

  • http://twitter.com/Peachallie Darla Christopher

    The Bush boy & Cheney protected bin Laden until he was able to secure adequate living facilities. As baby Bush SAID:”I DON’T KNOW WHERE HE IS & I DON’T CARE. His Saudi masters were SERVED, Baby Bush is their vassal.

  • http://twitter.com/Peachallie Darla Christopher

    Bush would never have crossed his heroes; the Saudis OWNED the Bush/Cheney gang.

  • ComradeRutherford

    Too late does a bullet-catcher learn that he gave his life for only one reason: for war profiteers to become more wealthy.

  • DetroitSam

    Yet most of those who adocate for war can’t seem to join the military to fight in those wars.

  • http://blogvader.tumblr.com/ Blogvader

    How is Afghanistan a just war? (Unless destroying millions of peoples’ lives, people who had nothing to do with 9/11, is somehow just?)

    Unfortunately for Tomas, most Americans’ support for the troops ends at buying bumper stickers. As sad as his story is, I’m happy for him that his pain isn’t going to last much longer.

  • Mademoiselle B.

    I’m sorry but Afghanistan is *NOT* a just war either.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    exactly!

  • Mike Meyer

    They NEED to be TRIED for these crimes.

  • FLL

    Saudi Arabia was the birthplace of almost all the 911 highjackers. Afghanistan was the base of operations that Bin Laden used to train everyone and launch the attack from, with the support of the Taliban government. Those are the bare facts, although opinions may differ as to which country the U.S. was justified attacking.

  • mf_roe

    Betrayal is bitter, but those who expect honorable behavior from political hacks need to accept their own failure to demand facts instead of embracing demagoguery. Sorry, for the guy’s ruined life, but as a Viet Nam era veteran who saw many unwilling young men get thrown into the meat grinder they didn’t agree with, I come away with the feeling that until this nation learns to question ANY call to war we are doomed to being cannon fodder whose purpose is enrichment of the war monger / profiteer class.

  • Zorba

    No surprise there. They’re thinking “rioting in the streets.” Which is what I have been thinking, too.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Off-topic breaking news: It would appear the Cypriot gov’t has resoundingly rejected the IMF/EU bankster bailout plundering.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21842966#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

  • nicho

    We went in for a pipeline, which is why Cheney let Bin Laden get away.

  • nicho

    Pakistan was in on the raid on Bin Laden. They just had to pretend they weren’t.

  • Dave of the Jungle

    The Navy Seal operation that killed bin Laden was something of an invasion into a country that had nukes. Such status did not deter them.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Maybe, but we went in because of bin Laden, and a lot of Americans feel that the justification for going in was far more credible than that for going into Iraq. I would tend to agree.

  • Dave of the Jungle

    What the likes of Bush and Cheney would think of this probably would be something like, “Serves you right for not being born to wealthier parents. Heh heh heh.” These blokes will be the last people on earth to beg anyone for forgiveness.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    What a powerful call to truth and justice. I do not recognize an America I once loved and this brave warrior says it all so simply.

  • http://heimaey.us/ jim morrissey

    I thought the same thing.

  • nicho

    I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in
    Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11.

    Unfortunately, the people we’re fighting in Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9-11 either. 9-11 can be laid at the doorstep of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan — but we don’t invade countries that have nukes.

  • samizdat

    “…day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come.”

    Amen, brother.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    If there is such a place as Hell, most of the Bush administration deserves to end up there.

  • A_nonymoose

    In the end, though, they will die alone, whimpering like the cowards they are, and not like this brave man.

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