Portion of a mural about the suicide rate among returning Iraqi vets. It reads the Few and the Far

The Trauma of Betrayal

First posted March 08, 2015

Tomas Young was 34 when he died on November 10, 2014 from
wounds he received while serving in Iraq.

The welfare of the men and women who serve in our armed forces and their proper deployment as guardians of our Nation is every citizens concern.

If you are someone who places your political party above the rule of law and the good of the nation you have nothing to say to me. You have no defense.

Young explains why he thought he was going to Iraq in an open letter that he wrote in 2013 to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney:

” 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.”


Young said, ” I called my recruiter after hearing Bush say he was going to smoke the evildoers out of their caves.” The Topeka Capital-Journal

That is what Bush said on September 17, 2001:

“…we’re going to find those evil doers, those barbaric people who attacked our country and we’re going to hold them accountable and we’re going to hold the people who house them accountable….And the Taliban must take my statement seriously…”

George W. Bush Monday, Sept. 17, 2001

The Taliban were in Afghanistan.

Young expected to serve in Afghanistan; isn’t that where Bush said the evil doers were?

According to an interview Young gave to the Kansas City Star, Young could not understand why he was going to Iraq:

While training in the woods of central Texas, he wondered aloud why the U.S. was in Iraq.

“Shut the … up, Young, ” officers told him.”

Young said in an interview with The New York Times in 2008:

“If I had been shot and hurt in Afghanistan…I would not have
felt my wounds were received in an invalid war”

Imagine the pain of feeling as if your life meant nothing to people
you admired and trusted.

In his letter to Bush Tomas Young wrote:

” 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.”

It is now common knowledge that there were no weapons of mass destruction and documents that were declassified in 2014 affirm that members of the Bush Administration were actively looking for ways to exploit 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq.


Betrayal is a wound to the soul.

In his letter to Bush Tomas Young wrote:

“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 injuries. 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 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, 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.”

Tomas Young

I chose this month to post this memorial to Tomas Young and as a tribute to the men and women who serve in our military because March 20th marks 12 years since the invasion of Iraq.

There is more than enough evidence to justify an official inquiry into the allegations of a conspiracy to deceive the American people.

One would think that a sense of moral duty to the people who have suffered as a result of this invasion would prompt us to do the one thing that might help them to heal, which is to seek justice, but there is nothing but silence.

It is this silence, this denial of the obvious, this refusal to see the crushing brutality for what it is that wounds the soul of the person who suffers from PTSD.

Justice is the only way to heal the trauma of betrayal.

Declassified talking points reveal the Bush team had decided 9/11 gave them a pretext for a war they had already planned to launch: “…Various scenarios were outlined:  “US discovers Saddam connection to Sept. 11 attack or to anthrax attacks?” reads one of them. “Dispute over WMD inspections?” reads another. “Start now thinking about inspection demands.”


On April 4, 2004 Young is shot by a sniper and paralyzed from the chest down. He is 24 years old.

Below is a follow up post:

Reuben Chip Santos, 1982-200


10 thoughts on “The Trauma of Betrayal

  1. I agree not with the assessment of the Gulf Wars but the one about young people losing their lives and then politicians taking away medical benefits or aid of a different kind. To me, the guy who pushed for elimination of Food Stamps is a heel. I forget this name but he is a (R).

    I resent too the idea that healthcare benefits only happening for a short period of time when injuries and emotional trauma are in many cases for life. I am sickened by Washington insiders who use us veterans as pawns, whether for oil or any other reason. Billy Don’t Be A Hero was a song about a young girl who wanted her boyfriend to come home alive. He did not. The letter from the military was thrown away by her. I understand that.

    The ways veterans were abused after Vietnam underscores being fated to a generation and in a place you did not choose. The bottom-line, being Air Force I often told people, do not disrespect the rank-and-file soldier for being born where he was and this includes all wars.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for an excellent comment. We are in agreement on the truly important issues and ultimately what we believe about the invasion of Iraq is incidental to what the men and women who fought in those wars believed. What matters is that Tomas Young believed that he had given his life to enrich a corrupt and wealthy elite. It pained him and offended his sense of honor.

      I don’t know if he is right or wrong. What I do know is that we investigated a President for lying about a blowjob and it took congress years to find a stain
      to match their allegations.

      Why haven’t we investigated the possibility that members of the Bush Administration used 9/11 as a cover to invade Iraq?

      For me it’s about the rule of law and respect for all of the citizens of the country, not just party loyalists, regardless of the party.

      It is possible that everything was a pure as the virgin birth. But we don’t know because congress uses it’s investigative power for gaming and not for seeking the truth and protecting the interests of the people.

      I think that this is the source of much of the cynicism in the United States. We appear to be pawns in a rigged game that we can’t afford to play. The problem is that we can’t afford not to play it either.

      I am personally sick of the Republican double standard regarding the law and ethics. I never want to hear them discuss another scandal until they man up and investigate the the invasion of Iraq. Until then, all of their rants about morality has
      less substance than a pair of digital jeans.

      I want to know if the people who led us into Iraq used the deaths of 3000 Americans on 9/11to justify an illegal invasion of a nation that had not
      attacked us.

      The legal question is not whether Saddam Hussein was an evil man. The legal question is whether he was guilty of hiding weapons of mass destruction.

      If we knew Saddam Hussein didn’t have WMD them then we executed the leader of another nation for a crime he didn’t commit.

      I know that the charge at his execution was using WMD against his own people but that was not the original charge. We didn’t invade Iraq to bring justice to the Iraqis. We invaded Iraq because we were Hussein had the power to nuke us.

      If our government knew before it launched the invasion that Saddam Hussein was innocent then the Bush Administration not only committed a war crime, it committed a crime against humanity and the rule of law.

      Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children were killed in the fantasia we called “Shock and Awe”. I remember watching the news in a bar and listening to oooos and ahhhs from its patrons as the bombs went off and thinking; those aren’t fireworks!

      The fact that our government still believes that it has the moral credibility to call out other nations for human right’s abuses is pathological.

      The only way we can possibly regain moral credibility is to follow the rule of law and investigate the evidence objectively. If there was no wrongdoing then we
      will know. And if there was, we will know that too.

      And will have shown the world that we are a people who live by civilized

      Liked by 2 people

      1. And they all need investigations for their excesses (both parties) and I am angry with both. What is it that all parties and states in those parties do when they want to divert attention? But go after the scandals and the harmless sex offender like teens with their dumb pictures.

        I hate how we eat each other and make drinking, nudity and drugs taboo. Police officers playing Rambo over possession of weed.

        When it is finally legalized, do police and politicians apologize? I will die before that happens. I would never let a politician kiss a baby of mine.

        Vitter was the Republican who messed with food stamps and Obama putting the squeeze on us (the military) for leverage politically. Unlike major sports stars, it is our lives under stress and a death sentence of sorts for us with severe anxiety disorders.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Teens are doing strange things these day with webcams. But that’s the way teens are.

        I agree with you that when it comes to our lives, our national security, our health, and how the State uses the lives of our children, all discussions must be rational and based
        on the facts–not the latest spin bought by rich guys who are never held accountable for the damage they do.

        I was once friends with a woman who lived in North Carolina. She couldn’t read or write. One day we were talking
        about politics and she said, “I can’t read but I know who my enemies are.” I watch what they do.

        Our government is top heavy with people who have nothing to gain economically by standing up for
        the rights of the poor and working class.

        That’s a problem.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I suppose youthful indiscretion will have an entirely new meaning…if it matters by the time they’re in their 40’s.

        I pray that they will be more united and less prone to self deception.

        Liked by 1 person

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