Dying Soldier Pens Heartbreaking Letter to President Who Put Him in Harm's Way

Rant 39

Iraq war letterThis week, we passed the 10th year anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. Yesterday marked a decade since President George W. Bush gave the order to invade Iraq, and since then, it's so much a part of life, it's easy to forget just how wrong it was that we even invaded in the first place. But thanks to a letter from a dying soldier named Tomas Young, we ought to be pulled right back to reality.

This war was wrong. It was started on lies. Bush told us there were weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist. We believed him and we supported his greed and since then, 4,488 soldiers and Marines have died in Iraq. Every one of them had people. They had moms and dads and sisters and brothers and wives and husbands. And they all died for Bush's lies. 

Remind me why he isn't charged with war crimes? Young was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. He is living under hospice care, but wanted to write one "last letter" to Bush and Dick Cheney. And his words are painful. See below:

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.

The anger is palpable. Who could blame him? We talk a big game of supporting our troops and we wear yellow ribbons and we claim to care, but when push comes to shove, we are not there, fighting for what is right. What Bush did was wrong. And yet he isn't being held accountable. Young goes on:

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.

It's a heartbreaking plea and one that wouldn't have to happen if Bush had just been honest. Sure, presidents make hard decisions every day, but this wasn't a hard decision. This was a lie. A lie that killed millions.

Sometimes it's easy to forget what a horrible president Bush was. It's easy to slip into complacency and laugh at how funny his paintings of himself in the shower are and kind of have a new respect for him as a doddering old coot.

And then I read something like this and remember the legacy he left us with. I have been lucky in that my life was relatively untouched by his lies. But Young -- and many like him -- haven't been as lucky.

On the anniversary, we should be thinking of them. They had courage, bravery, and loyalty and all the things our country asks of our military. And our president lied to them. Why is that OK.

My heart breaks for Young and I salute his courage and his outspokenness even at the end of his life. We owe him our attention and our anger.

Do you think Bush should pay for his lies?


Image via brittanylynae/Flickr



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tbruc... tbrucemom

Iraq did have WMD. They either got rid of them before they could be found or we received bad intel that they still had them, but they did have them, Hussein used them against his own people and Kuwait. The world is better off without him.  I feel for this young man especially as the mother of a Marine. However, articles like this are so disrespectful to the those families that lost their loved ones fighting that war. Bush didn't declare war on his own, congress had to approve it.

bills... billsfan1104

I am slowly going to back out of this, because I am seething with anger towards you Sasha. You are disrespectful to my father and brother in law who are in the military. Words cannot express my anger right now.

OoOJa... OoOJanisOoO

I am not huge fan of some of the things president Bush did but to say he lied about WMDs in Iraq is ridiculous. Several top democrats including Hilary Clinton  and John Kerry have been quoted saying the same thing, Were they lying too? 

Happy... Happydad73

Sorry, I guess I missed something because Bush has beenout of office for over 4 years and we are still over there fighting. Obama promised to get us out in 18 months and close Gitmo, yet we fight on and Gitmo is still open. You can't blame all of this on Bush.

nonmember avatar VAL

I think that THIS is what EVERYONE needs to be aware of!...The TRUTH. This whole war was created for the rich to get richer! #knowledge

Patricia Ann Drake

This invasion was wrong. It has cost many lives and billions of taxpayers dollars . What a mess it has left for the USA

Sierr... SierraLynn

I'm am absofuckinglutely appalled at this. Fucking appalled. I'm glad the writer got to throw in her own personal agenda on the war in Iraq and what it must mean to everyone. It's disgraceful even this veteran is trying to blame Bush. You were a soldier. You did what was asked of you. You took your orders like a soldier does, he knew very well the moment he raised his right fucking hand and swore in.

I am a veteran. I did 2 tours in Iraq and my husband is still active duty and deployed this very second. You are a disrespectful little twat, Sasha. I want to say so much more, but I can't even get my thoughts straight I am so angry.

nonmember avatar Kristi

Before you sign the enlistment papers you need to assume that you will be called to war and if you are truly prepared to go to war and accept any and all consequences associated with that then sign away. I appreciate more than words can say how many sacrifices our armed forces and their families have made for our freedom, but please don't be surprised that when you trained--of your own free will-- to fight in war that you end up fighting in one.

Sierr... SierraLynn

I can't, this is fucking stupid. I don't know a single person who thinks like this, within the military. No one. I have had friends die over there. And they did NOT die for nothing. They did NOT, like this asshat and author seems to think.

abmz72 abmz72

As a military wife whose husband spent 9 months in Afghanistan in 2011, this story frustrates me a lot.  The individual signed up for the Army after 9/11 knowing full well he would deploy.  And on a deployment, you can be injured or die.  This is something that isn't secret.  My husband signed on for the military knowing full well he would deploy and could die.  And I signed on as his wife knowing that I could lose him to a war.  The author's views on Bush completely ruin the article.  It's not an article about the soldier; it's an article bashing Bush.  Military decisions are not made by the President alone.  They are made based on the advice of intelligence and military officials and Congress.  Sadaam Hussein was a terrible human being.  He killed thousands if not hundreds of thousands of his own people.  Instead of hating on our former leader who was elected through a democratic process, why don't you use your energy to stand up for people in Iraq and Afghanistan who are persecuted to this day?  As a female, maybe you should use your energy to do something to help women's rights in the Middle East. 

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