by Peter Pezonus CPW News Services
For the Vietnam War, prompted as it was by the fictitous Gulf of Tonkin affair led by the father of the lead singer for The Doors, Admiral George Stephen Morrison, the prophetic voice of the wounded warrior was the voice of Ron Kovic whose book Born On the Fourth of July should have won Tom Cruise an Oscar.
Today, in as much as Theodore Westhusing and Pat Tillman cannot speak for themselves, Tomas Young has spoken for them. Paralyzed by a bullet in an attack in Sadr City in 2004 on the 5th day of his first deployment Young, now on hospice care in Kansas City, penned a letter to George Walker Bush and Richard Cheney on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War.
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. 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. 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.