Vet Speaks Truth to Power before Dying


“I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney….
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.”
Tomas Young

When Tomas’ wife, Claudia, is asked about his decision to wean himself off food and die, she replies, “It’s really emotional, and it’s overwhelming.” Slowly and sadly she describes the dilemma: “…how difficult it is to watch the person you most love in the world suffer immeasurably all day, every day.”

This suffering began five days after Tomas was deployed to Iraq. A battle left him paraplegic. Yet, as evident in “The Last Letter,” his mind is clear.

His assessment of the Iraq war is poignant: “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.”

The letter is direct. “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.”

Above all else, this letter is personal. “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?”

Director and Producer of a film about Tomas, “Body of War,” Phil Donohue concludes, “If you’re going to send young men and women to war, show the pain. Otherwise, it’s going to be easy for us to have another one.”

My take: Read Tomas’ letter. War is personal.

Rev. Rix welcomes comments at Quoflections@gmail.com. © 2013 Harry Rix.  All rights reserved.

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