I write this letter on the 10th
anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War
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 whose wounds,
physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am
one of those gravely wounded. I was 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 a parent, 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
I write this letter on behalf of those
veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have
witnessed, endured and done 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
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.
I write this letter, my last letter, to
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
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
Your positions of authority, your
millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public
relations consultants, your privilege and your 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 joined the Army two days after the 9/11
attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been
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 September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to
its neighbors, much less to the United States.
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 Iraqís 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 largest
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
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 would not be writing this letter if I
had been wounded fighting 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 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.
I have, like many other disabled
veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care
provided by the
I have, like many other disabled
veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical
wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to
We were used. We were betrayed. And we
have been abandoned.
You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of
being a Christian. But isnít lying a sin? Isnít
murder a sin? Arenít 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 brothers you finally do to
yourself, to your own soul.
My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours
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.