The below impassioned letter was written by paralyzed Iraq War vet Tomas Young, of Kansas City, Missouri. He was paralyzed in 2004 from a gunshot wound in his spine. Young was shot while riding in an open, unarmored truck during an ambush staged by rebels in Sadr City. One of the bullets pierced his spine and left him paralyzed from the chest down.
He returned home and joined the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and has since become a public critic of the Iraq War. Last year, he wrote the below letter addressed to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, who of course were the architects of the clusterf*ck in Iraq. We are publishing the letter today because once again, Cheney and other war hawks are making the rounds on various talk shows, criticizing President Obama for a troop draw-down that was in fact signed off on by George W. Bush, while clamoring for U.S. troops to return to Iraq.
Sadly, Young’s condition has deteriorated to the point where he is now under hospice care, and he is not expected to live much longer.
George W. Bush, at a White House Correspondent’s dinner in 2005, had the audacity to joke around about the missing WMDs in Iraq during the dinner. It was an amazingly vile display considering that there was apparently no thought given to people like Tomas Young and their families, who have had to live with the consequences of a war fought under false pretenses.
As you watch Bush make his jokes in the video below, an attempt at humor his audience disturbingly happened to find funny, one finds themselves wanting to interrupt and remind Bush that over 4,000 troops perished, and over 30,000 more were injured due to he and his administration’s miscalculations and lies.
To those troops and their families, the missing WMDs is not a joking matter. They were not sent to Iraq to avenge 911, although 911 gave Bush, Cheney and company sufficient political coverage to carry out the Iraq invasion. They were sent there to chase the pipe dream of forcing a democracy on Iraq, and to nation-build, and to quell the lust of an imperialistic administration’s desire for an increased influence in the Middle East.
Watch Young react to the jokes Bush made at that dinner in 2005. If you find yourself getting angry, you have plenty of company…
And here is Young’s letter. It should be required reading for the likes of Bush, Cheney and every other war hawk who clamors for a repeat of the Iraq disaster.
The Last LetterA Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran
To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
From: Tomas Young
I write this 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. I am living under hospice care.
I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. 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.
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.
Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.
I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. 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. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.
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.
The post The Last Letter: A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran (Video) appeared first on Firebrand Progressives.Reblogged 3 years ago from firebrandprogressives.org