Karin Kamp / Bill Moyers.com & Democracy Now! – 2014-11-12 10:21:31
Remembering Anti-war Veteran Tomas Young
Karin Kamp / Bill Moyers.com
(November 10, 2014) — We’ve just heard that Iraq war veteran Tomas Young, one of the first vets to publicly oppose the war, has died at the age of 34.
Young was featured in Body of War, a documentary by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro that was featured on Bill Moyers Journal in March 2008. The film focused on Tomas, who was shot and paralyzed just days after beginning his tour of duty in Iraq.
Donahue, who visited Young last month at his home in Seattle, said the world had lost a “bright light” and a “talented young man” who was determined to speak out against “this massive blunder that was the Iraq war.”
“He was a political animal and he had a political statement that he wanted to make,” Donahue told BillMoyers.com. “Tomas wanted people to know that this is the drama being played out in houses across the country occupied by thousands of young men and women who fought in the war,” he said, referring to injuries that left Young in need of round-the-clock care.
The 24-year-old Young enlisted in the Army after the 9/11 attacks because he wanted to fight terrorists in Afghanistan, but instead was sent to Iraq. Five days after arriving there in 2004, he was shot in the chest and severely wounded. He was left paralyzed from the waist down and as the result of medical complications later became a quadriplegic.
In April 2013, Young announced that he would end his life by refusing his medication and feeding tube. But late last year, he told NPR he had changed his mind. “I just came to the conclusion that I wanted some more time with my wife,” Young said. “And I decided that I really don’t have the chutzpah to go ahead and do away with myself.”
Young is survived by his wife, Claudia Cuellar. In this video from the 2008 broadcast, Bill speaks to Donahue and Spiro about Tomas. They share scenes of him from Body of War.
Remembering Tomas Young (1979-2014):
Iraq War Veteran Turned Antiwar Activist
(November 10, 2014) — As the nation prepares to mark Veterans Day, Democracy Now! has learned that Iraq War veteran Tomas Young has died just weeks before his 35th birthday. Young was paralyzed in 2004 shortly after arriving in Iraq.
He went on to become one of the nation’s most prominent antiwar US veterans speaking out against the invasion and occupation of Iraq. He was featured in Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro’s documentary, “Body of War.” On Tuesday, Donahue will join us on Democracy Now! to talk aboug Young’s life.
In 2013, Young made headlines and appeared on Democracy Now! when he announced that he had decided to end his life by discontinuing his medicine and nourishment, which came in the form of liquid through a feeding tube. But 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.”
Young has been interviewed on Democracy Now! several times over the years.
Tomas Young Reads His Full Letter to Bush & Cheney, ‘A Message From a Dying Veteran’ /b> (2013)
Exclusive: Dying Iraq War Veteran Tomas Young Explains Decision to End His Life /b> (2013)
Body of War: New Doc Tells the Story of a Paralyzed Iraq War Veteran Coming to Terms with Disability and Speaking Out Against War/b> (2008)
Paralyzed Iraq Vet Responds to Cheney: ‘We Didn’t Volunteer Where You Sent Us to Go’ (2008)
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