33 of the Day
Today, in a Democracy Now! special on this week’s 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, we spend the hour looking at
the remarkable life and imminent death of one Iraq veteran: 33-year-old
Tomas Young. He recently announced he’s decided to end his life by
discontinuing his nourishment, which comes in the form of liquid through
a feeding tube.
Tomas Young’s tragedy goes back to 2001. Just two days after the 9/11
attacks, he signed off—he signed up for the military after hearing
President Bush’s Ground Zero pledge to go after those responsible. He
wanted to deploy to Afghanistan, but instead he was sent to Iraq. On the
fifth day into his deployment in Iraq, on April 4th, 2004, Tomas’s unit
came under fire in Sadr City. He was left paralyzed, never to walk
again. Released from medical care, he returned home to become an active
member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
He was wounded on the same day that Cindy Sheehan’s son, Casey Sheehan,
was killed, April 4th, 2004. Tomas Young’s story was the subject of the
award-winning documentary Body of War, made by the legendary
talk show host Phil Donahue and the filmmaker Ellen Spiro. The 2007 film
follows Tomas’s rehabilitation, his struggles with his injuries, his
political awakening to become one of the most prominent antiwar U.S.
veterans of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.