Tomas Young – 1979 to November 2014
Tomas Young, Iraq War veteran and the main subject of the documentary, Body of War. On April 4, 2004, his fifth day in Iraq, Young’s unit came under fire in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad. Young was left paralyzed, never to walk again. Released from medical care three months later, Young returned home to become an active member in Iraq Veterans Against the War. He recently announced that he will stop his nourishment, which comes in the form of liquid through a feeding tube — a decision which will hasten his death.
Below is a letter Thomas Young wrote in November 2014 to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney prior to his death from war wounds on November 10, 2014 in Seattle Washington.
“I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of [those who bear those wounds. I am one of those.] I am one of the gravely injured. I [am] paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.
“I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost parents, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have [done, witnessed, endured] in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.
“Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, [and your privilege and power] cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.
“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 [9/11] attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the [U.S.] 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. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the [Army] to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the biggest strategic blunder in U.S. history. 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. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.
“I have, like many other [wounded and many other] disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical [disabilities and] wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. 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? I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your [own] brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.
“I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded 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 our country I love—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.
“My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. 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. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.”
Forgiveness is the only way to Peace.
Let us embrace our brothers and sisters who are wounded by war. Embrace them and their families in our hearts and our communities. Tell them they are loved.
Have you ever stopped to notice if you are choosing joy or pain?
Watch your upsetting thoughts.
Ask yourself: Do I want to be upset about this?
Do I like being upset about this?
Do I enjoy the upset feelings?
Sometimes we really enjoy those feelings?
Why? It makes us “feel” something…..big, strong? Little, victimized?
What do you feel? Do you like it?
Say to yourself:
I WANT to feel peaceful. I don’t like feeling this way _________________!
I can let this upset go. I now let this upset go.
You are the only one who can let it go!
That is a powerful decision from your powerful mind! Let it go -
Choose Joy instead of Pain!
See A Course In Miracles Workbook Lesson 190 – I choose the joy of God instead of pain.
Imagine ascending into the cloud – go through it and into the LIGHT!
see: http://www.acim.org – workbook lessons
Whether you are two or one hundred and two, inner peace is up to you.
Peace is not an event, a campaign, or a movement.
It is a way of life we continually choose to lead every moment, hour to hour; day to day and throughout the year.
Print out the following and post it somewhere where it can remind you that:
I can change my mind about something that bothers me. I can see it differently. I can choose a different perception.
I can accept someone as a friend and equal even if I disagree with them.
I will respect everyone no matter their choice of lifestyle, politics, culture, sexual orientation; economics or religion.
I exclude no one from my friendship.
I am happy when I stop believing my ego judgments and thoughts.
I choose to be happy today.
Peace is simply a choice! Really!
The Spiritual book, A Course In Miracles, tells us there is no death!
There is no death, The Son of God is Free.
There is no death because Spirit cannot die.
Spirit is eternal.
Why is death unreal?
Because it was not created by God.
God only creates the eternal.
God’s Son, YOU, are Spirit and YOU are eternal.
Death is the embodiment of the thought of guilt.
We carry guilt because we believe we have separated from God.
You can no more separate from God than you can separate from your thoughts.
A year ago a beloved relative died. However…….
He is not dead. His Spirit has moved on and we no longer see his
body but that still does not mean he is dead. He came to learn lessons.
The grief and sorrow we feel comes from detaching, letting him go.
The lesson: accept that death is natural to bodies. They are not eternal.
Rather than seeing bodies and personalities see the Spirit Christ Light within.
Love what is eternal and attach to that – their loving sprit.
Love them for the Spirit they came and shared, but detach from the body they are not.
We are ONE Spirit. We are ONE Holy Son of God.
Celebrate their reality; the Son of God; the Christ they and you both are, and you will know that
death is not real. No one dies. And neither will you.
Yes! Light and Joy are within you! You find reminders in the world:
A Grandchild’s smile
Your Favorite Pet
A big juicy peach
But whatever the reminders are – Ask yourself where does the perception of Light and Joy come from?
They come from a decision in your MIND!
You have decided to see the JOY.
If you are not seeing JOY it is because YOU are making the decision not to.
Look at someone you judge and decide to see JOY instead.
Let everything be a reminder to you of JOY and LIGHT. Why not? It is up to YOU.
See A Course In Miracles – Lesson 112 – Light and Joy and Peace Abide in Me
It has been one year since I started this blog…..sharing thoughts from my spiritual journey with truth seekers. The illusory world does not care and it does not matter anyway because the ego runs the illusion. If you don’t know what anything is for I can tell you. It is for forgiveness.
What do I KNOW?
Nothing in this world is true.
Nothing in this world is real.
God IS. That’s all I know.
Do I see God with mortal eyes? NO
Do I feel God with a mortal Body? NO
Do I know what love is? Sometimes.
Do I know that LOVE exists? YES
How do I know that LOVE exists?
From a mystical experience words could not describe
But, I tried anyway because I needed to understand it, in a poem called
The Greatest Gift. It was my way to hold on to the beauty
and to always remember that only Love is Real and never ever
forget the Magnificence that I knew and now have known.
This is what I know:
Forgive everyone for everything including yourself and you’ll be happy.
God Is. Love Is.
I am Love. You are Love.
Only the Love within is Real.
Poem: The Greatest Gift can be read on this blog posted December 24, 2013
My day of liberation: Detaching.
On Wednesday, July 23, 2014 – it was a day that will live in (my awakening) infamy! And maybe Diego’s too!
My spiritual practice, being non-dual, tells us that this world is an illusion and that we are not bodies rather we are spiritual beings who can never die. Yes the body dies but we are not it. We are much more.
On this day while taking my morning shower I had the urge, to before dressing, to stand in my backyard nude and proclaim to the Universe “I am not a body, I am free, for I am still as God created me.” I have a fairly private back yard.
In this world we are separated by our individual identities inhabiting bodies, and separated even more by names, our status, country, culture and religion. Even animals, flowers, plants, rocks and dirt are named and considered separate entities. We feel alone and separate and apart from Oneness. But feelings lie, they are not true.
However, we are more than a named thing. We are not a thing, we are beings that are joined by the mystery that gives us everything we need and most of all love. After showering I made sure my husband was busy on his computer and completely nude, opening the sliding glass door, I stepped out on the deck.
Diego stirred, “It’s alright Diego! Sit.” And with that I gingerly stepped off the deck and stood on the patio. I stretched my arms and face to the sky and turning around and around proclaiming –
*“I am not a body, I am free, for I am still as God created me.”
A July Thunderstorms had brought a cloudy morning and I could feel a slight drizzle on my upturned face. I said goodbye to Diego and retraced my steps.
Doing something I would never, ever do has taken me years. Now in a 70 plus year old body, I finally had the courage. You notice I didn’t do it in front of anyone else. Well just Diego and he wears his furry birthday suit all the time so he understands.
Why is this inner peace for me? Peace is detaching. As we age we are more and more concerned about our pending death. If we can detach from the body, little by little we are liberated from the grossness of form, that we are not, and enter to the spirit self that we are, and share with everyone.
It is a life’s work and it started many years ago as I wondered “Who am I, What am I and why am I here.” I now know who I am is spirit, inhabiting a body, and I came to learn the lessons of my particular classroom, my assignment and forgive everything, everyone and most of all my self so I can go Home.
We all share the same name of “Spirit” even if we have names that separate us. Maybe we should add spirit to our name, for example: Spirit Jane Doe; or Spirit John Doe. This is the shared Oneness regardless what our culture, religion or even the era we lived in while on earth. We are connected as Spirit to both past and future. Bodies come and go, but Spirit comes to learn lessons and then moves on via a thing called death. Death, a conveyor belt moving through time that cleanses and washes us of our egoic selves so we can know our truth and be free.
I don’t want to recommend this “bodily” liberation process unless you have a private place because we still live in a world with laws about exposing one’s self. But of course, liberation is a state of mind and you can do it in the privacy of your home. For some reason I wanted the sky to know and the proclamation to extend out into space and beyond to Heaven that is our Home. And Diego didn’t even bark, he understood.
*A Course In Miracles, Workbook Review VI, Lesson 219 – August 7
I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”
Review of Lesson: 199) “I am not a body. I am free.”
“When seeing this (a sinless world) is all we want to see,
when this is all we seek for in the name of true perception,
are the eyes of Christ inevitably ours.
And the Love He feels for us becomes our own as well.
This will become the only thing we see reflected in the world and in ourselves.”
Quote: A Course in Miracles – Workbook Lesson 181 – I trust my brothers who are one with me. paragraph 8. sentences. 4,5 and 6.
http://www.acim.org (click on lessons to listen to the entire lesson.)
To see comments on suicide go to: http://www.suicideishurtful.com
Whenever you become upset about anything remember it is your *decision maker choosing the ego thought system. Choose again. Re-direct the decision maker to the Holy Spirit within your mind.
Whatever it is that upsets you; neighbors dog barking; boss rude; friend doesn’t call or answer e-mail; have a lousy cold; grief; death of a loved one; current situation in the middle east; Jews bombing Palestine; Palestine bombing the Jews; War; or all the problems of the world and life in general, they will never cease. There is always a problem to replace the last problem that was solved. But you do have the choice to see problems differently. How do you perceive things?
It does not matter what the problem is. You have chosen to notice it and let it upset you. You want it. You want to be upset….because your ego mind wants you in a state of unsettledness.
You have a powerful mind, given to you by God. At birth you were imbued with the spark that connects you to the great mystery; the One that is Father.
You have free will and can THINK anything you want. You can side with the ego or choose to listen to the voice of Peace, the Holy Spirit within. Test it out!
Try it, you’ll like it!!
*Dr. Kenneth Wapnick coined the term “decision maker” meaning that part of your mind that can and will choose. You are no longer a helpless victim of the ego’s thought system. You can choose between it and the other voice within, the voice of love, grace, compassion, the Holy Spirit within.
His books on the Course In Miracles are available at: http://www.facim.org
“That since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.”
The preamble to the UNESCO Charter adopted Nov. 16, 1945
The path to inner peace means changing the minds of men and women of the world. A mind that chooses peace as its goal is always “aware” of the thoughts contained within: Do they reflect peace or war? Here are some statements that could be used in “defense” of peace:
You and I are the same
I am you, and you are me
Whatever I see in you, also is in me
I am responsible for how I see and think
I choose to have an open mind
I refuse prejudice wherever it dwells
I exclude no one from my love
This world is an illusion but love is real
Love is all there is
We are One Humanity
I belong to all Religions and Faiths that honor God/ Allah/Yahweh/Creator
What are other statements in “defense” of Peace? Please post them here.
The above photo is the front of the United Congregational Church of Christ in Ashland, Or
whose membership made a donation to the building fund to the Islamic Mosque in Phoenix, OR