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Tomas Young, Iraq War Veteran And Activist, Dies At 34

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Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now let's remember an American veteran, Tomas Young, paralyzed in the Iraq War, who became a critic of that war. He died in Seattle, as NPR's Quil Lawrence reports.

QUIL LAWRENCE, BYLINE: Tomas Young joined the Army after seeing President George W. Bush speak at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "BODY OF WAR")

TOMAS YOUNG: And I wanted to go to Afghanistan and get the people that did this to us. But after I joined the Army, it became clearer and clearer to me that we weren't going to go to Afghanistan, that we were going to go to Iraq.

LAWRENCE: That's Young in the documentary, "Body Of War." The film tells how Young came home in a wheelchair. He began speaking against the war because Iraq had no connection to 9/11. His health declined. A blood clot left him quadriplegic, racked with pain and almost unable to speak. Young said last year he could no longer bear to watch the film.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

YOUNG: I'm glad that it came out and people saw the reality of war. But now I can't even watch it because it serves as a reminder of what I used to be able to do.

LAWRENCE: Contemplating suicide, Young wrote a letter to Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney labeled, a message from a dying vet. But last December, Young told NPR he'd changed his mind. He wanted to spend a little more time with his wife. She says he died in his sleep sometime Monday morning. Quil Lawrence, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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