Exclusive: Dying Iraq War Veteran Tomas Young Explains Decision to End His Life
In the week marking the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, we spend the hour looking at the remarkable life and imminent death of Iraq War veteran Tomas Young. Citing his overwhelming physical pain from wounds that left him paralyzed in Iraq, Young recently announced he has decided to end his life by discontinuing his medicine and nourishment, which comes in the form of liquid through a feeding tube. Young joins to explain his decision from his home in Kansas City, along with his wife Claudia Cuellar. We’re also joined by Phil Donahue, the legendary TV talk show host, whose 2007 documentary, "Body of War," follows Tomas’ rehabilitation and his political awakening to become one of the most prominent antiwar U.S. veterans speaking out against the invasion and occupation of Iraq. "I am, on one hand, sick and tired of being sick and tired," Young says. "And on the other, I don’t want to watch my body waste away." Donahue calls Tomas’ announcement "a very unusual act of moral courage. He wants people to see this, because he came home from the most sanitized war of my lifetime. We don’t see this. But less than 5 percent of us, maybe 1 percent ... have made a personal sacrifice for this war. And Tomas is one of them."
Phil Donahue on His 2003 Firing from MSNBC, When Liberal Network Couldn’t Tolerate Antiwar Voices
In 2003, the legendary television host Phil Donahue was fired from his prime-time MSNBC talk show during the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The problem was not Donahue’s ratings, but rather his views: An internal MSNBC memo warned Donahue was a "difficult public face for NBC in a time of war," providing "a home for the liberal antiwar agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity." Donahue joins us to look back on his firing 10 years later. "They were terrified of the antiwar voice," Donahue says.
Exclusive: Dying Iraq War Veteran Tomas Young Reads "Last Letter" to President Bush and Dick Cheney
Iraq War veteran Tomas Young was left paralyzed in a 2004 attack in Iraq. 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 medicine and nourishment, which comes in the form of liquid through a feeding tube — a decision which will hasten his death. Joining us from his home in Kansas City, Young reads from his letter, "A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran." Young says to Bush and Cheney: "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."
To Watch these Episodes
Use this interactive timeline to see highlights from a decade of Democracy Now! coverage of the Iraq War. It was 10 years ago on March 19, 2003, that the United States invaded Iraq on the false pretext that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction. Six weeks later, President Bush stood under a banner reading "Mission Accomplished" and declared an end to major military combat operations. But Operation Iraqi Freedom would lead to an almost nine-year U.S.-military occupation
Iraq War Timeline: From "Shock and Awe" to Civilian Toll, to Billions in Reconstruction, Vet Health