This is a poignant story of a brave and eloquent Iraq war veteran whose health condition has deteriorated so much that continued living is no longer an option. He has finally decided to put an end to his suffering.
Exuding with patriotism, Tomas Young was only 22 years old when he joined the US Army after hearing the call of former President George W. Bush, who stood on the rubble of Ground Zero just after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 and pledged to go after those responsible.
Since it was known, without doubt, that Osama Bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda terrorist group were behind the attacks, with Afghanistan identified as their base of operation, Young thought this is where he wanted to go and join the forces that would hunt them down.
But instead of being deployed to Afghanistan to fight al-Qaeda and its allies, he ended up in Iraq in 2004 following Saddam Hussein’s capture by coalition forces.
On the fifth day into his deployment, Young’s unit came under fire from insurgents in Baghdad. He was hit and his spine was severed. This was the start of the young soldier’s woes.
After his return to the US he campaigned from his wheelchair against the war in Iraq and in 2007 was the subject of a documentary, Body of War.
But Young was not getting any better despite the best medical attention due a war veteran.
In 2008 Young suffered a pulmonary embolism and an anoxic brain injury due to a reduced oxygen supply that impaired his speech and arm movement. A colostomy operation last year provided only temporary relief.
Young’s wife, Claudia Cuellar Tomas, said that last year his pain and discomfort increased dramatically and he grew weary of repeated hospital visits to treat infections and other ailments.
“He didn’t want to do any more procedures or surgeries. It’s not that he wants to die – he simply doesn’t want to suffer any more,” Claudia added.
Unable now to eat solid food, he is fed through a tube in his stomach. The skin on his hips is breaking down, exposing raw flesh and bone.
As agreed by the couple, however, Young will continue to take food and liquids until their first wedding anniversary on 20 April. After that they will stop talking publicly about his case and spend time together until they feel the time is right for him to end his life, which most likely is by starving himself to death since there is no suicide-assisted death permitted in Missouri.
But, what I wanted most of all to bring out of this blog is the moving letter that Young wrote to Bush and Cheney, the former US president and vice president, respectively, who were the leaders behind the Iraqi invasion.
Please open this link: http://www.truthdig.com/dig/item/the_last_letter_20130318