Dying Iraq War Veteran’s Open Letter To George Bush & Dick Cheney


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.

Tomas Young





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9 Responses to Dying Iraq War Veteran’s Open Letter To George Bush & Dick Cheney

  • This is very powerful and I intend to share it as I believe in the points the writer makes. But why is the present "Commander in Chief," who has continued and escalated the Bush administration’s wars, excused from blame. Obama is now in his fifth year in the White House. This is not Bush and Cheney’s war. It is, like all other war, a war against the people of the world by the global financial elite who use soldiers – mostly American – as their pawns to exploit populations and natural resources. Stop the republican vs. democrat politics. Our puppet politicians are all the same. God bless.

  • Im an Iraq Vet too, I was almost killed numerous times too. It would have been way easier to make a point without accusing people of being liars. Now your letter has backfired on the points you were trying to make because the premise of your letter is a lie. People like to say that Bush lied and People died because its rhymes. Well, people said it so much that you believed it. Bush may have lied about a lot of things but the one thing he did not lie about was that Saddam Hussein had WMD. It is documented on video that he had them and he documented on video that he was using them on people. All Intelligence in Iraq also knew that he transferred his WMD over to Syria before we invaded. Oh thats weird… Bashar Assad began using chemical weapons on his people in Syria last week.

    Look I am not saying that the Iraq war the way it was run was a good thing, but at please do yourself some justice on your deathbed and think this over. You are wrong and the whole premise of your letter in a lie. I feel bad for you

  • Chris, this dying man just poured his heart out the least you can do is shut your cynical mouth and let him have his peace.

  • I’m a veteran of Iraq too. Tell me where were the weapons of mass destruction? By the way the "chemical" weapons in Syria was nothing but a chlorine bomb which equates to uber-tear gas. I’ve been in a chlorine attack before.

  • The WOLFOWITZ DOCTRINE at its finest. Military Industrial Complex. A shame. My cousin lost his arm in Iraq.And those who were not so lucky to just lose a limb have died in vain. Under false pretense.And the nonsense continues with new ways of policing the globe, for financial gain and radical ideologies. The government is no better than those they occupy. No religion = No war.

  • We did a hell of a better job killing Iraqis than Saddam could have ever dreamed of. We know what we were doing there. Damn shame. My heart goes out to all the vets that fight these bullshit wars. No matter what flaws may be present in that letter, it rings with much more truth than anything our government says.

  • tyrants need to be beaten to death in public.

  • Mr. Young… All I can say is that I praise you for your courage and am so very sorry for your pain and suffering… Take pride in what you did "Over There" and that you answered the call of duty for America, not a president…

    I’m also a disabled vet from the 60s and not the greatest fan of the VA…(But it sure beats Obama care) I really feel sorry for the people stuck with it….

    I praise you for your valor and know you’re in many of our prayers….

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