THE HUFFINGTON POST HAS BEEN POSTING ARTICLES ON THIS TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE "IRAQ WAR". THAT SERIES OF ARTICLES MAY BE FOUND HERE:
SOME OF THE ARTICLES REVEAL HOW MOST OF THIS NATION FEELS NOW, LOOKING BACK. TOO BAD WE DIDN'T LOOK FORWARD IN 2003 INSTEAD.
~Bush Administration Publicly Shamed On Anniversary Of Iraq War
~Iraq War Anniversary Finds GOP Regretful, Trying To Find A Path Forward
~Ten Years Later, The Media's Failure On Iraq Still Stings
PERHAPS THE MOST COMPELLING ARTICLE, TO ME, WAS THIS ONE:
"Tomas Young, Dying Iraq War Veteran, Pens 'Last Letter' To Bush, Cheney On War's 10th Anniversary"
<<Young was the subject of the 2007 documentary "Body of War," which was about his recovery process and the Iraq War. At a February screening of the film, Young told the audience that he planned to end his life in April.
Days after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Tomas Young, then a 22-year-old from Kansas City, Mo., made a decision repeated by many other Americans around the country: He was going to enlist in the military in hopes of getting even with the enemies who had helped coordinate the deaths of nearly 3,000 men, women and children.
Less than three years later, Young's Army service placed him not in Afghanistan -- where then-President George W. Bush had told the nation the terrorist plot had originated -- but in Iraq. On April 4, 2004, just five days into his first tour, Young's convoy was attacked by insurgents. A bullet from an AK-47 severed his spine. Another struck his knee. Young would never walk again, and in fact, for the next nearly nine years, he would suffer a number of medical setbacks that allowed him to survive only with the help of extensive medical procedures and the care of his wife, Claudia.
The incident turned Young into one of the most vocal veteran critics of the Iraq War. He has, however, saved his most powerful criticism for what he claims will be his last. Young says he'll die soon, but not before writing a letter to Bush and former Vice President Cheney on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War.
According to the Ridgefield Press, Young announced that he would stop taking all nourishment and life-extending medications at that time. He's since said that the deterioration to his body from the injury and ensuing complications would make it physically impossible for him to commit suicide in any other way.
"It's time," he told the audience over Skype, while seated beside his wife. "When I go I want be alert and aware."
Young spoke more about his decision in a recent interview with journalist and Iraq War critic Chris Hedges.>>
[That interview follows, below.]
READ HIS ENTIRE LETTER HERE (though I have posted it below):
<<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. >>
From the comments section on the above site, from a man who identifies himself by name, and as a former Dept. of Veterans employee:
<<Spencer Matthew Williamson • 3 days ago
Dear Mr. Tomas Young,
Although I highly doubt you will hear from Mr. Bush or Mr. Cheney, your letter deserves a genuine response. Since you won't hear it from them, I'll say it. As an American citizen, I'm sorry. As a former civil servant with Department of Veterans Affairs, I sincerely ask for your forgiveness. I don't say this out of guilt or pity, which does nothing for you, but out of recognition of my own complicity with the powers that led to your current condition.
It's easy for me to point the finger and criticize morally bankrupt politicians/bureaucrats, yet take no direct action to curtail their abuses.
It's easy for me to say, "I didn't vote for them. Those insufferable, corrupt bastards should burn in a hell of their own greed-fueled making for what they did to you." Or I can argue with you about some of the political views in your letter as opposed to first and foremost acknowledging the crux of what I hear you communicating: you are among the many who were physically, emotionally, and spiritually wronged by the selfish actions of a powerful few and all you did was act on a very old and very profound sense of "greater love." >>
The Tomas Young Interview with Chris Hedges
Mar 10, 2013
THOUGH I POST A LINK OF TOMAS READING THIS LETTER, I DO NOT POST THE VIDEO HERE. WHEN I PREVIEWED THIS BLOG, THE VIDEO DID NOT PLAY PROPERLY HERE, SO I REMOVED IT. I WANT YOU TO SEE IT IN GOOD QUALITY ON YOUTUBE.
Dying Iraq War Veteran Tomas Young Reads "Last Letter"
Another part of the video interview:
THERE IS ANOTHER WEBSITE I HOPE ALL MAY VISIT.
Iraq Veterans Against the War
I SINCERELY HOPE YOU WILL TAKE THE TIME TO GO SEE THIS SITE.
THESE MEN ARE NOT 'TRAITORS', THEY ARE NOT 'COMMIE SYMPATHIZERS', THEY ARE NOT ANYTHING BUT AMERICAN MILITARY WHO HAVE BEEN WHERE YOU AND I WILL NEVER GO, DONE WHAT WE WILL NEVER DO, AND SAW THE TRUTH OF THIS ABOMINABLE, UNDECLARED WAR ON A NATION THAT, MORE THAN ANYTHING, NEEDED HELP TO RID THEMSELVES OF A TYRANT THAT THE UNITED STATES HELPED INSTALL TO POWER, WHOM WE EQUIPPED TO COMMIT HEINOUS CRIMES AGAINST HIS OWN CITIZENRY, AND WHOM WE USED AGAINST IRAN FOR DECADES.
WE, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, CHOSE THIS MAN, SADDAM HUSSEIN, TO USE AGAINST IRAN, AND THEN WE CHOSE TO ACT AGAINST A NATION WHICH HAD SUFFERED UNDER OUR CHOICE FOR THEM, TO INVADE AND BOMB AND DEVASTATE AN ENTIRE NATION WHICH HAD NEVER ONCE RAISED ARMS AGAINST US UNTIL THE FIRST INVASION UNDER GEORGE H.W. BUSH IN 1991.
WE HAVE MULTIPLIED THEIR PREVIOUS SUFFERING A THOUSAND-FOLD. THEY MAY NEVER RECOVER FROM THE TWO WARS THAT HAVE BEEN WAGED AGAINST THEM.
THEY WILL LIVE WITH OUR DEPLETED URANIUM DUST FOR CENTURIES, SEE THEIR NEWBORNS DEFORMED, SEE THEIR CHILDREN DIE OF CANCERS, AND THEIR ENTIRE POPULATION SICKENED BY WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND...JUST AS OUR OWN TROOPS WILL SUFFER FROM THE SAME ABOMINABLE THING.
[SEE: http://havacuppahemlock1.blogspot.com/2013/03/depleted-uranium-killing-people-around.html ]
LET THESE MEN SHOW YOU THE REALITY OF WHAT HAS HAPPENED.
THEY WERE THERE, YOU WERE NOT.
THEY HAVE LIVED TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH.
BE GLAD FOR THAT.
AND LEARN...LEST WE PERISH.
PART 1 OF THE DOCUMENTARY, 'THE BODY OF WAR', THE FILM ABOUT TOMAS YOUNG AND HOW WE WENT TO WAR IN IRAQ. WHEN THIS VIDEO ENDS YOU WILL SEE CLIPS OFFERED OF THE OTHER 6 PARTS OF THIS TELLING STORY.