24 March 2013

Many of you have probably already read the letter that Iraqi vet Tomas Young recently wrote to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney on the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Young, the subject of the documentary “Body of War,” enlisted in the Army two days after 9/11, believing he would be part of a military team that would bring to justice the people responsible for the terrorist attacks.  Instead, he went to Iraq and was paralyzed in a 2004 battle after being shot in the spine. He has decided to stop any nourishment that keeps him alive and to die the way he wishes. 

The letter is powerful stuff. Even if you’re one of the minuscule, tiny minority who feels the war in Iraq was justified, I’d still encourage you to read Young’s letter. It’s impossible to not be moved by his words at the inadequate treatment returning soldiers receive. These are the words of someone who paid an unbearably high price for serving his country, who has suffered in ways that most of us can never imagine, for a war that lined the pockets of Cheney and his buddies and, in the process, left close to 4500 U.S. soldiers and Marines dead and many, many more wounded and traumatized. 

Young, 33, isn’t anti-war. He writes: “I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded 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 our country I love—the country I love.”

Here’s a link to the letter and Young reading it aloud. Young is under hospice care. I wish him a peaceful, painless passing. As he states, none of us escapes our day of reckoning. Not him, not me, not past presidents. No one.

Today’s $10 goes to Wounded Warrior Project, whose mission is to “honor and empower wounded warriors  returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq. It is a non-partisan organization. 

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