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“The Iraq War was the biggest strategic blunder in U.S. history… It installed a corrupt and brutal government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror… 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.” –Tomas Young
Tomas Young, an Iraq War veteran and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (www.ivaw.org), died last week on November 10, 2014, the day before Veterans Day. He was 34 years old. He died of complications of the incurable war wounds he incurred in Iraq (and of complications related to his complex medical care, including the cocktail of toxic and addicting drugs that had been prescribed for him for the last ten years of his tormented life). The initiating physical wound came from a sniper’s bullet that severed his upper spinal column in Sadr City, Iraq, on April 4, 2004. Young had been in Iraq for only four days.
Like so many other patriotic citizens, Young had eagerly enlisted in the U.S. Army a few days after 9/11/01. He had trained at the U.S. Army facility at Fort Hood, Texas. It is interesting to note that Young was shot by a sniper on the 36th anniversary of the day that Martin Luther King was assassinated by a sniper in Memphis, Tennessee (April 4, 1968). Following Young’s discharge (from Walter Reed Hospital), he became a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and an antiwar activist as courageous and as outspoken as King had been in opposing the American War in Vietnam.
Young gradually came to understand that he had been a pawn in the illegal and immoral pre-emptive war and occupation of a sovereign nation whose people had had nothing to do with the events of 9/11. He also came to understand that the invasion of Iraq had been perpetrated by the White House’s “current occupants” (who, as of 9/11/01, were George W. Bush and Dick Cheney) and their unidentified handlers and paymasters.
Young was just one of a million (and counting) wounded Afghanistan and Iraq War veterans (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fL6iY6u2saQ) who had been effectively duped into enlisting because they believed—or wanted to believe—the now discredited official propaganda lie and conspiracy theory (so aggressively pushed by the Bush White House) that two jet planes—after hitting two massively steel-reinforced, nonflammable Twin Tower skyscrapers—caused localized office fires that (impossibly) resulted in the pulverization and freefall collapse of World Trade Center towers #1 and #2, and then #7 five hours later. Unbeknownst to Young and the other men and women who had signed up to kill and die in Afghanistan, those World Trade Center collapses were later shown to have occurred because of controlled demolitions from pre-planted explosive cutter charges and not because of office fires (see www.ae911truth.org for the documentation and information further below).
Because of the non-stop post-9/11 propaganda efforts of war profiteers like the multinational oil cartels, Wall Street financiers, weapons manufacturers, mainstream media, and the advocates for U.S. imperialism, Young and a multitude of other patriotic soldiers were doomed to become permanently disabled, brain-damaged, prematurely dying, suicidal, and prescription drug-addicted veterans who had so easily rushed to judgment about what had really happened on 9/11. They had volunteered to kill and die in Afghanistan on insufficient information and found out too late that they were being used by cunning ruling elites for other purposes, one of which was the invasion and imperialist domination of an oil-rich region for powerful, profit-making multinational corporations. (Check out https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century for important information about the motives and identities of the dozens of pro-imperialist, neo-conservative, Cheney/Bush administration members in the Project for the New American Century.)
Conspiracy to Wage aggressive War Is an International War Crime
Conspiracy to pre-emptively wage aggressive war is an international war crime, and Young gradually came to understand that fact. The Iraq War was a pre-emptive war against a nation that was no threat to the U.S., and therefore Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Blair, and many other behind-the-scenes pro-war ruling elites and campaign contributor/bribers were involved.
That group of plutocrats regarded themselves as too big to fail, too big to impeach, too big to indict, and too big to imprison or punish. But Tomas Young knew that they met the definition of international war criminals, and that is what inspired him to write his letter to Bush and Cheney last February. (Watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhdMA_KhcwA&index=2&list=PLfrlsC1yJ2dQUb-sj-DxuDLdPtiMrKjZ4 for some of the reasons for indicting these ex-leaders for war crimes. Such indictments would effectively neutralize the Republican Party’s absurd intention to impeach President Obama, because impeachment would logically be placed second in line behind the war crimes trials of the Bush/Cheney operatives.)
Young, like most other wounded, chronically ill warriors from any war, had been massively intoxicated and addicted to his cocktail of prescription drugs, and thus he suffered intermittent and often intolerable withdrawal symptoms on top of his chronic pain. He had been on undisclosed combinations of drugs that had never been proven, even in the rat lab, to be safe long term. His drug-induced disabilities, which are typically ignored by caregivers, may have accounted for many of his disabilities, his mental distress, his insomnia, his dysfunctional marriage, his depression, and his suicidality. Understandably, many war-traumatized veterans like Young, in their darker hours, sense that they are losing the battle and are often tempted to give up on life.
America (and Much of the Rest of the World) has been Financially, Morally, and Spiritually Bankrupted by War and Violence
The $3 to 6 trillion price tag for the Cheney/Bush military fiascoes (not counting the $4 trillion that was tallied up by borrowing for Cold War expenditures during Ronald Reagan’s reign, the hundreds of billions paid out annually in interest payments to wealthy investors in U.S. debt, or the annual $1 trillion Pentagon and VA budgets ever since) has contributed mightily to the threatening financial bankruptcy of America.
The moral and spiritual bankruptcies of traumatized American combat vets and their families has been happening to entire generations of veterans damaged in body, brain, and soul since the beginning of the “century of (industrial-strength) war” that started 100 years ago with the so-called “war to end all wars.” (A peaceful, disarmed, war-free planet is a notion that has been vigorously opposed by the military/industrial/congressional complexes of every war-mongering nation since 1914.)
But, as can be expected of most saber-rattling, testosterone-laden chicken-hawks who like to play war games but have exempted themselves from fighting in them, the moral lessons of the century of disastrous wars have not been learned. WWII general Omar Bradley, no chicken-hawk himself, knew what he was talking about when he said, “We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we do about peace—more about killing than we do about living.”
The moral and economic bankruptcy of our nation, the most militarized and most violent nation in the history of the world, bar none, is assured when our plutocratic misleaders repeatedly ignore Eisenhower’s warnings about the rising economic and political power of the military/industrial/congressional complex.
Here is Young’s powerful letter:
Letter to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney from a Dying Veteran
“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 one 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 futures 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.
Young: “I Want to Be Remembered as Someone Who Fought as Hard as He Could to End the Criminal War in Iraq”
“I have, like many other [wounded and 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 [own] brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.
“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. 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.
“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 end.”
I first became aware of the plight of Tomas Young when I watched Phil Donahue’s critically acclaimed documentary “Body of War” (2007) and then read Chris Hedges’ powerful TruthDig essay about Young’s decision to end his life. Hedges’ essay was entitled “The Crucifixion of Tomas Young” and can be found at http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_crucifixion_of_tomas_young_20130310/.
For more on the irrefutable proof that neither Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, Saudi Arabia, Saddam Hussein, nor the alleged 19 Arab hijackers had anything to do with pre-planting or detonating the incendiary charges that brought down, demolition-style, the three WTC buildings on 9/11/01, study www.ae911truth.org and www.911scholars.org and then listen to Michael Ruppert, the author of “Crossing the Rubicon,” and his illuminating and well-documented testimony about Dick Cheney’s role in the events of 9/11/01. See one of the interviews with Ruppert at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kW5qiuLb8jY.
To learn more about “Body of War,” go to http://www.bodyofwar.com/.
To watch the “Body of War” trailer and related YouTube videos, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HZuQkITY64.
To watch the Democracy Now interview with Tomas Young, go to http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2013/3/21/part_2_exclusive_dying_iraq_war_veteran_tomas_young_on_bush_missing_wmds_failed_medical_care.