Tomas Young

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Tomas Young
Photo of Tomas Young visiting Ground Zero.jpg
Born Tomas Vincent Young
(1979-11-30) November 30, 1979 (age 34)
Kansas City, Missouri
Occupation War protester
Years active 2004–present
Military career
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 2001–2004

Tomas Young (born November 30, 1979) is an American military veteran of the Iraq War. He was paralyzed by a bullet to the spine while deployed in Iraq. One of the first veterans to come out publicly against the war, he has spent most of his life since the war protesting. Young's conditions have worsened due to various medical complications and he had chosen to go on hospice care, awaiting his death.[1] He later reversed that decision.[2]

Military career[edit]

Two days after the September 11 attacks, Young was inspired by President George W. Bush to enlist in the United States Army. There he hoped to earn money for college through the G.I. Bill and, in his words, "exact some form of retribution"[3] on those who caused 9/11.

On April 4, 2004,[1] five days after being sent to Iraq, Young was shot while riding in an open, unarmored truck during an ambush staged by rebels in Sadr City. One of the bullets pierced his spine and left him paralyzed from the chest down.[4]

He returned home to Kansas City, Missouri and joined the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). He has since become a public critic of the Iraq War.

Body of War[edit]

Body of War is a documentary directed by Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue which follows Young as he adapts to his paralyzed body and questions his motives to enlist in the army.[4]

The Last Letter[edit]

In March 2013, Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges published an interview with Young about his worldview and circumstances.[1] Young was in hospice care at the time of the interview, which was conducted at his home in Kansas City. Although he has contemplated suicide on various occasions, he decided "to go on hospice care, to stop feeding and fade away. This way, instead of committing the conventional suicide and I am out of the picture, people have a way to stop by or call and say their goodbyes."[1] He later changed his mind, saying "I want to spend as much time as possible with my wife, and no decent son wants his obituary to read that he was survived by his mother."[2]

That same month, on the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War, Truthdig published "The Last Letter"[5] by Young directed towards George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. In the letter, Young accuses Bush and Cheney of war crimes; says that millions of Americans and Iraqis know "who you [Bush and Cheney] are and what you have done"; condemns "the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration"; and expresses his belief that he and other veterans were viewed as expendable by the Bush Administration. He ends by expressing hope that U.S. leaders will have the courage to apologize for the damage wrought by the war.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Hedges, Chris. "The Crucifixion of Tomas Young". Truthdig. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Wing, Nick. "Tomas Young, Dying Iraq Veteran, Chooses To Live: I'll 'Hold On As Long As I Can'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  3. ^ Young, Tomas. "Antiwar Veteran". ZCommunications. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Gay, Patricia. "Tomas Young, disabled veteran, tells audience he’ll commit suicide". The Ridgefield Press. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Young, Tomas. "The Last Letter". Truthdig. Retrieved 19 March 2013.