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Tomas Young - 'The Last Letter'
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Alan Hague



Joined: 05 Sep 2008
Posts: 621
Location: http://askthedead.bandcamp.com
Tomas Young - 'The Last Letter'  Reply with quote  

Powerful stuff.


http://www.truthdig.com/dig/item/the_last_letter_20130318/


The Last Letter
A 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.
Post Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:03 pm
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 8547
Location: Third Coast
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I came across this the other day on Buzzfeed. What pains me most about the letter is that pro-war, pro-Republican, and pro-idiot people will chalk it up to the ramblings of a delusional and angry moribund soldier. But I do hope that Bush et al do read the letter and feel some fucking moral twitch in their cancerous hearts. I pray those men aren't totally dead on the inside.
Post Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:28 pm
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CriticalTheory_Breakfast



Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 1404
Location: NYC/Rochester
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Video of Tomas reading his letter.
http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2013/3/21/exclusive_tomas_young_reads_in_full_his_letter_to_bush_cheney_a_message_from_a_dying_veteran


This letter is so important on so many levels. Though the people it is targeted at likely won't hear or read it, it gives a very articulate voice to so many people who can't express exactly what the Bush Administration has done.

"I did not join the Army to go to Iraq"
Post Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:46 pm
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mortalthoughts
LAME KID


Joined: 12 Dec 2002
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CriticalTheory_Breakfast wrote:
c


This letter is so important on so many levels. Though the people it is targeted at likely won't hear or read it, it gives a very articulate voice to so many people who can't express exactly what the Bush Administration has done.

"I did not join the Army to go to Iraq"


why pigeon whole the bush administration when obama seems to be upholding a lot of the same policies that bush 2 started? not saying you are wrong in saying that but i feel its more of an issue with our governments systems then JUST what bush started

EDIT: im not trying to take anything away from the letter i see and understand and like the perspective this is coming from but i feel the letter could have had more of an impact if it wasn't targeting specific individuals but at least making note of our governments policy's in general

again no disrespect to the author but the VA has been a joke since long before the usa invaded iraq, no?

edit 2 : i know im going to look like im putting my foot in my mouth but i have personal experience with uncles getting damaged in veitnam (due to miss actions buy OUR govt) and it was a direct result of our own govt that put them at risk......the VA didnt try to do anything about it till there was a special on 20/20 .........what this letter is saying will be applicable far before and after he is here and gone...

at this point my uncles refuse help ffrom the VA because its downright offensive
Post Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:41 pm
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
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I imagine that this soldier holds Bush and his administration personally responsible, which explains his writing a specific (as opposed to general) letter. And indeed, they started the war for all of the wrong reasons in all of the wrong places, so I can understand this soldier's viewpoint. The intention of the letter is not to gripe about the VA (which has historically been crap, especially for Vietnam vets), or to attack Obama for continuing what Bush Jr. started. If anything, the purpose is to illuminate the massive divide between the soldier, who performs the ugly, soul-sucking, and indeed fatal tasks, and the politician, who launches ill-advised, illegal, and otherwise unscrupulous wars from the safety of their cushy armchair bunkers. I think it also shows how you can actually support the troops without supporting the government that ushers them out to battle like so many pawns. Finally, I think it calls attention to the fact that not every soldier is racist musclehead hell-bent on killing everything and everyone that isn't a white American.
Post Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:48 am
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CriticalTheory_Breakfast



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Young is making a case against the Bush Administration for using the 9/11 attacks to get into a war that was completely unrelated. He admits that he himself was misled into joining the army. The truth is, we've really let this part go as a country. I don't think condemning the Bush Administration is implying that the Clinton or Obama administrations are squeaky clean, but I do find it weird that we've sorta let Bush skate on some glaring questions that we have as a country about a war that has devastated far more innocent people than has saved or defended.

Mortalthoughts, of course there are problems with our government that go beyond what Bush's Administration did after 9/11. But the fact that nobody has been held accountable for the things that we can collectively agree on as being mistakes (and in some cases crimes) is just insane.

Young's letter is VERY specific, and even though it'll probably be dismissed by many for that reason, I think our lack of specificity regarding WHY the Iraq War was a mistake pretty much relieves anyone of having to take responsibility for it.
Post Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:42 pm
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T-Wrex
p00ny tang


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
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NPR did a little something on him.

http://www.npr.org/2013/04/07/176509136/after-years-of-struggle-veteran-chooses-to-end-his-life
Post Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:10 am
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