Dying US Iraq veteran’s letter to Bush and Cheney

This video from the USA is called Ten Years Later, U.S. Has Left Iraq With Mass Displacement & Epidemic of Birth Defects, Cancers.

By David Walsh in the USA:

Dying US army veteran denounces “illegal” Iraq War

22 March 2013

Iraq War veteran Tomas Young, currently under hospice care at his home in Kansas City, Missouri, has written a scathing “last letter,” published at Truthdig.com, addressed to former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Young, the subject of the 2007 documentary film Body of War , explains that he is writing his letter “on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end.”

Young goes on: “I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.”

Tomas Young visits Ground Zero

Body of War (2007): Tomas Young visits Ground Zero [Credit: Ellen Spiro / Mobilus Media]

Addressing Bush and Cheney, Young writes: “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.”

Body of War, co-directed by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro, recounted Young’s story, his horrendous medical condition and his ongoing opposition to the Iraq War. Young enlisted in the US Army after the September 11, 2001 attacks, because, as he explains in his recent letter, “our country had been attacked.”

Gold Star Mothers who have lost children in the Iraq War touch Tomas Young at a Washington DC peace march

Body of War (2007): Gold Star Mothers who have lost children in the Iraq War touch Tomas Young at a Washington DC peace march [Credit: Ellen Spiro / Mobilus Media]

Only five days into his first deployment in Iraq in April 2004, while riding in a Humvee in Baghdad’s Sadr City, the young soldier was shot by an insurgent from above. The bullet severed Young’s spinal column. At the time of the making of Body of War, as the WSWS reported, he was “not only confined to a wheelchair but suffers severe attendant disabilities, including an inability to cough, trouble regulating his body temperature, dizzy spells, urinary tract infections and sexual dysfunction.”

After an anoxic brain injury in 2008, Young, now 33, explained to Truthdig’s Chris Hedges, “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.” He told Hedges, “I felt at the end of my rope … I made the decision to go on hospice care, to stop feeding and fade away.”

The Donahue-Spiro documentary included a number of moving sequences of Young participating in anti-war activities where he encountered other disabled veterans, as well as family members of soldiers who had died in Iraq. In August 2005, along with his wife at the time, Young traveled to Camp Casey, Cindy Sheehan’s protest encampment outside George W. Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas. …

“I did not join the Army to ‘liberate’ Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called ‘democracy’ in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes.”

Young describes his body “filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away,” dealing 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.”

Toward the end of his letter, Young writes, “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. … My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial.”

Young’s letter and condition speak to the appalling tragedy of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the waste and destruction of hundreds of thousands—perhaps millions—of lives, all sacrificed in the pursuit of US imperialist dominance of the globe.

George W Bush, the man held responsible by millions around the world for ordering the US invasion of Iraq, reportedly charged a charity $100,000 to speak at a fund-raising event for military veterans: here.

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