Wednesday, 30 September 2015

NZ Labour Party needs a backbone...

The weak kneed NZ Labour Party is being given an example of courage and principle. Something they lost under Roger Douglas and never regained since that period. We all saw the panic when David Cunliffe was elected leader, gosh he was of the left! And we can’t have that screamed the caucus…so they created a reason to shed a little blood…and Cunliffe had to go and in his place we got a so-called union leader who never actually acted as principled unionist. 

The British Labour party will now 'automatically' support all strikes

Pictured: Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell’.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015 9:21 AM

The British Labour party will now "automatically" support all strikes taken by trade unions, the new shadow chancellor said last night.

John McDonnell told a conference fringe meeting that Labour would have "absolute solidarity" with all actions taken by the trade union movement.
He said the party needed to become a "resistance movement".

"And that means absolute solidarity. The view now is straightforward and I tell you this: If there is industrial action taking place then we should automatically now, automatically come alongside our brothers and sisters in the trade unions and support them."

He said the former party leadership had been too hesitant to publicly support strikes.
"Time and time again in the hierarchy of the Labour party there has been hesitancy about this. I think we have to break that hesitancy and give people the confidence and courage and determination to start standing up," he told the ‘Assembly against Austerity’.

"My role, whether it is in parliament, or on the picket line, is to support workers in struggle.
"That is what the role of Labour MPs is going to be in the future."
McDonnell is chair of the Public Services Union (PCS) group in parliament. He was joined last night by PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka, who praised McDonnell for giving "hope and inspiration to millions of people."

He suggested that PCS and other trade unions would now seek to launch co-ordinated strike action across the public sector, with the support of the Labour leadership.
"There should be united, co-ordinated strikes… And the thing about the strike that may well come our way, is unlike in 2011 [the] Labour leadership when asked to support the strikers shuffled embarrassingly and looked at their shoes, we now have a leader of the opposition and a shadow chancellor who will support these strikes."
Serwotka, who was barred from voting in the Labour leadership contest, added that Corbyn's election and McDonnell's appointment meant the Labour leadership was now "well to the left of the TUC".

Wow! Just image what would happen here in NZ if Labour made the same statement, just imagine the hell that would break out in the ranks of Labour Party members of Parliament…they would have to make a stand…have a public opinion…they would have to support the workers in real terms…not just state platitudes and insincere head nods…and make meaningless statements. I mean really folks did the now Labour Party leader [Andrew Little] in his days in the Trade Union movement ever make a stand against Roger Douglas and his introduction of super right wing Neoliberalist mayhem that brought havoc to workers in NZ. No way! ‘Andrew Little’, was the big pusher for the idiotic ‘Partnership’ an arrangement that led to a massive rise in unemployment that reached almost 11% and a huge number of publicly owned business sold off, putting thousands of public servants on the dole, they did it without a blink of the eye. The National Party thought all their dreams were being fulfilled, so much that they were happy to support the sell off of state assets.

The Labour Party really has yet to oppose the TPPA and have tip-toed around the issue, it would seem that Labour still sees itself as right-wing.

In their latest advertising Labour said that if the reason was worthy “We would fight for it” the real question is, what do they mean by ‘Fight for it’ ?

  • ·        Does that mean they would support strike action or that they would take to the streets in protest?

  • ·        Did the Labour Party take to the streets when care givers were denied a wage increase?

  • ·        Did they take to the streets to stop Charter Schools?

  • ·        Did they take some form of industrial Action when the government made No Hour Contracts legal?

  • ·        Did they take action when public broadcasting was slashed and we have types like Mike Hosking being paid by the state?

No they did not! Did they march out of parliament and onto the streets and demand fairness and democracy…No they did not… The present Labour Party is but a fading shadow, a ever diminishing image of those who created the party back in the thirties, those who stood tall for everybody, and it’s sad because it means we no longer have a model to look up to, someone to emulate and aspire to. They have lost their heart, their guts, their strength.

The British Labour Party elected by a massive margin Jeremy Corbyn and the young and old have flocked to the party in their tens of thousands, at last they’ve blown away forever the stupidity of and criminality of Tony Blair and his so-called ‘third way’ he was nothing more than a Thatcher in drag!

New Zealand Labour has to toss into retirement those right-wing die-hard leaches that still take up room in their caucus…and thereby introduce some backbone, some social courage into the ranks once more. It can be done… It’s called fighting for what you believe in…you've just got to start believing once again in working people...because rest assured they will  in the end win...      

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Bennett ruined Welfare now she is doing the same to housing:

Crazy Bennett now knows all about building.

Labour’s Phil Twyford summed up the feelings of many – including most building industry players – in his media release responding to Bennett’s remarks:

“This is just another example of National’s mindless ideological love of deregulation. Back in the 1990s they cursed thousands of good hardworking Kiwi homeowners with the leaky homes catastrophe. Paula Bennett says the country has moved on from the leaky homes catastrophe but it’s clear she hasn’t learned from previous mistakes. Ms Bennett’s rules reduction taskforce is nothing more than a political stunt. Back in May she was justifying the task-force by pointing out how ridiculous red tape that banned lolly scrambles and required people to wear a harness when using a step ladder was. Four months later she is back saying the taskforce found out those supposed ‘loopy rules’ were just misconceptions that had become myths. Now that really is ridiculous!”

Peter Grove.
Wheelers Corner Blog contributor Peter Grove comments on the strange behaviour of Paula Bennett in regard to builders signing off their own giving us an insight into past behaviours in gone makes such good sense that I thought it should be shared...

Peter wrote:

"Recent events in Parliament include the proposal for Builders to sign off their own work.
This is dangerous, Parliament letting the uninitiated loose on the technicalities of building. Those experts would be better advised to reserve their expertise to arguing the merits of flag design!
Opponents are insisting any sign-off should remain the province of Local Authorities? 

What did we see in Christchurch with the enquiry into the 10 second collapse of the six storey CTV Building, 
The court of enquiry found the building was designed to minimum standards to reduce costs. It was claimed all the drawings had been vetted by the Council’s Building Department and approved.

The owner and Principal of the Engineering Company responsible for the design tried to shift the blame for his incompetence to a more junior engineer  ‘Who had previously designed nothing more that two story buildings’ What does that say about the company’s competence, that his work appeared to have been unsupervised. It was submitted to the City Council for approval.

What depth of expertise exists in Council Building Departments to vet plans with the complexity of a six storey reinforced concrete building? Reportedly that vibrated every time trucks drove past on the street below. 113 people perished in that horrifying ten seconds of the collapse. Pictures seen after the collapse showed broken vertical columns with reinforcing verticals wound with heavy gauge wire on a very wide pitch that would have no effect in containing the concrete, which with the reinforcing, imparted strength to the building.

After outpourings of protest from the NZIE, I have it on good authority, they have no facility to discipline any of their members. 
Who has been held accountable? Nobody! 

In another example,Politicians with absolutely no knowledge of Building took it upon themselves to approve the use of untreated Dry Frame Radiata pine for building use. Building Research went along with the suggestion not realising that use of Radiata in preference to native timbers was never a choice in earlier years due to the inherent nature of Radiata to deteriorate rapidly in the presence of moisture. The stupidity of the change was shortly exposed by the Leaky homes saga, exacerbated by design features unsuited to New Zealand’s normal weather conditions.

Changes in building techniques contributed to the problem. In days gone by, house frames once erected were left for several weeks after the roofs were completed to let the sun and wind partially dry out the frame before interior and exterior cladding was installed. 

Under today’s pressure cooker building practices, once the frame is erected and the roof is on the frame is enveloped in a plastic reinforced wrap in place of the earlier tarred building paper, Exterior linings are fixed, followed by interior linings glued to the frames, in effect, this hermetically seals the building frame cavities, that when subject to the heat of the sun, cause the sugar content of the timber along with the moisture present on the frame to ferment and so give rise to the dreadful rot seen in the Leaky Homes saga. 

OK. The critics will say ‘It’s Dry Frame, there isn’t supposed to be any moisture. The timber is delivered from the merchants in plastic envelopes once it gets to the site it will be tipped off the delivery truck onto the ground breaking open the packaging. From there it will be exposed to the ambient atmosphere absorbing moisture while it is being cut to size and assembled. In any building project it is an absolute rarity for it not to rain at some time during the proceedings.
Now how dry is the Dry Frame? 

Herein lie some of the dangers of letting Builders certify their own work. The case was made that Plumbers and gasfitters as well as electricians certify their work on completion. Those trades are subject to registration and subsequent inspection  of their work which is something entirely different for the average builder, many of whom have simply picked up the trade, buckled on a nail bag and hammer and called themselves ‘builders’, relying very much on the expertise of the time served men they employ.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Tony Blairs UK legacy of death and destruction.

The real face of Neoliberalism

UK welfare reform fails and leads to deaths…Neo-liberalist policy in action: And it is fatal for the sick and disabled in the UK, Is this State murder? Can the State be put on trial? Is this happening in New Zealand? The NZ government has been systematically down grading our benefit systems and are considering tendering out parts of its services to SERCO. In the individual information recorded below you will notice the term Atos used this refers to the contract issued to that company to run key aspects of the assistance to those on benefits, The failure of the system was so bad that they had to be tossed out: This from Wikipedia:

In the United Kingdom, from 1998 - 2015 Atos Healthcare was at the centre of a controversy over the management of contracts by their healthcare division of the Work Capability Assessment for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).[47] The DWP negotiated an early exit from the WCA contract with Atos after raising concerns about the quality of its work.[48]

Atos Healthcare
The involvement of Atos in government benefit contracts dates back to 1998. A good deal of the criticism from claimants was directed at the way Atos staff dealt with them personally, on a human level.[49] The Welfare Reform Act 2007 introduced Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) to determine who should receive Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Decisions were taken by officials at the DWP using evidence from the assessments, carried out by the Atos subsidiary Atos Healthcare.[50] Following the implementation of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 ESA claimants were subject to rigorous WCAs to determine their level of disability and ability to work.[51][52] Atos received extensive allegations of severe distress and also widespread deaths amongst those assessed. MPs, the clergy and leading charities demanded the assessment be withdrawn.[53][54] Controversy arose from assessments that indicated that, among others, a man in a coma,[55] people with multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer, and serious mental illnesses,[56] and a brain-damaged amputee unable to walk and with difficulty speaking[57] were all fit to work and thus ineligible for disability benefits. According to the Financial Times, Atos staff received death threats as a result.[58]
On 21 February 2014, Atos confirmed that it was seeking an early exit from its £500 million WCA contract with the DWP.[50] Its departure was announced in March 2014 with a replacement contractor to be appointed in early 2015.[59] Facing questioning by the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, Atos senior vice president Lisa Coleman conceded an inability to make a sufficient profit was a factor in the firm's decision to withdraw from the contract, for which it has had to pay compensation.[60]
Atos was also awarded a contract in 2013 to carry out tests for the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for disabled people, with the aim of reducing the projected cost of the benefit by 20 per cent by 2015-16. PIP replaces the Disability Living Allowance and determines whether people are entitled to extra money to help cope with disability – such as cars, equipment or nursing. Atos's £400m PIP contracts over five years cover the southeast and north of the UK, accounting for about 75 per cent of disability living allowance claimants. Capita, a rival outsourcing company, has the remainder.[61] However, in response to a freedom of information request, in 2015 the DWP revealed that those claimants tested by Atos Healthcare were likely to face a five times longer delay in assessments than by Capita.[62]
In early 2014 Atos was awarded the contract for the General Practice Extraction Service (GPES) program run by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).[63][64]
Corporation Tax
It was disclosed in November 2013 through the National Audit Office that Atos paid no Corporation Tax at all in the UK in 2012.[65]The total value of contracts that had been awarded to Atos by June 2013 was approximately £1.6bn.[66]
 Below are just some of the failures of the Blair and Conservative governments Neo-liberial experiments, we in NZ are now going down the same failure path...

UK Welfare Reform Deaths ~ Updated List ~ October 21st 2014

Updated tragic list of welfare-related deaths of UK’s sick and/or disabled
people. This is the tip on the iceberg:

They shall be remembered forevermore.

Avenge the dead. Resuscitate the living. We must fight on for freedom from
Westminster’s murderous policies and support the struggle of all Britain’s
sick and/or disabled people simultaneously. Saor Alba.

Terry McGarvey, 48. Dangerously ill from polycytheamia, Terry asked for an
ambulance to be called during his Work Capability Assessment. He knew that
he wasn’t well enough to attend his WCA but feared that his benefits would
be stopped if he did not. He died the following day.

Elaine Lowe, 53. Suffering from COPD and fearful of losing her benefits. In
desperation, Elaine chose to commit suicide.

Mark Wood, 44. Found fit for work by Atos, against his Doctors advice and
assertions that he had complex mental health problems. Starved to death
after benefits stopped, weighing only 5st 8lb when he died.

Paul Reekie, 48, the Leith based Poet and Author. Suffered from severe
depression. Committed suicide after DWP stopped his benefits due to an Atos
‘fit for work’ decision.

Leanne Chambers, 30. Suffered depression for many years which took a turn
for the worst when she was called in for a WCA. Leanne committed suicide
soon after.

Karen Sherlock, 44. Multiple health issues. Found fit for work by Atos and
denied benefits. Fought a long battle to get placed into the support group
of ESA. Karen died the following month of a heart attack.

Carl Payne, 42.   Fears of losing his lifeline benefits due to welfare
reform led this Father of two to take his own life.

Tim Salter, 53. Blind and suffering from Agoraphobia. Tim hanged himself
after Atos found him fit for work and stopped his benefits.

Edward Jacques, 47 years old and suffering from HIV and Hepatitis C. Edward
had a history of severe depression and self-harm. He took a fatal overdose
after Atos found him fit for work and stopped his benefits.

Linda Wootton, 49 years old. A double heart and lung transplant patient.
Died just nine days after the government found her fit for work, their
refusal letter arriving as she lay desperately ill in her hospital bed.

Steven Cawthra, 55. His benefits stopped by the DWP and with rising debts,
he saw suicide as the only way out of a desperate situation.

Elenore Tatton, 39 years old. Died just weeks after the government found her
fit for work.

John Walker, 57, saddled with debt because of the bedroom tax, John took his
own life.

Brian McArdle, 57 years old. Suffered a fatal heart attack the day after his
disability benefits were stopped.

Stephen Hill, 53. Died of a heart attack one month after being found fit for
work, even though he was waiting for major heart surgery.

Jacqueline Harris, 53. A former Nurse who could hardly walk was found fit
for work by Atos and her benefits withdrawn. in desperation, she took her
own life.

David Barr, 28. Suffering from severe mental difficulties. Threw himself
from a bridge after being found fit for work by Atos and failing his appeal.

David Groves, 56. Died of a heart attack the night before taking his work
capability assessment. His widow claimed that it was the stress that killed

Nicholas Peter Barker, 51. Shot himself after being told his benefits were
being stopped. He was unable to work after a brain haemorrhage left him
paralysed down one side.

Mark and Helen Mullins, 48 and 59 years old. Forced to live on £57.50 a week
and make 12 mile trips each week to get free vegetables to make soup. Mark
and Helen both committed suicide.

Richard Sanderson, 44. Unable to find a job and with his housing benefit cut
forcing him to move, but with nowhere to go. Richard committed suicide.

Martin Rust, 36 years old. A schizophrenic man who killed himself two months
after the government found him fit to work.

Craig Monk, 43. A vulnerable gentleman and a partial amputee who slipped so
far into poverty that he hanged himself.

Colin Traynor, 29, and suffering from epilepsy was stripped of his benefits.
He appealed. Five weeks after his death his family found he had won his

Elaine Christian, 57 years old. Worried about her work capability
assessment, she was subsequently found at Holderness drain, drowned and with
ten self inflicted wrist wounds.

Christelle and Kayjah Pardoe, 32 years and 5 month old. Pregnant, her
benefits stopped, Christelle, clutching her baby son jumped from a third
floor balcony.

Mark Scott, 46. His DLA and housing benefit stopped and sinking into deep
depression, Mark died six weeks later.

Cecilia Burns, 51. Found fit for work while undergoing treatment for breast
cancer. She died just a few weeks after she won her appeal against the Atos

Chris Cann, 57 years old. Found dead in his home just months after being
told he had to undergo a medical assessment to prove he could not work.

Peter Hodgson, 49. Called to JCP to see if he was suitable for volunteer
work. Peter had suffered a stroke, a brain haemorrhage and had a fused leg.
His appointment letter arrived a few days after he took his own life.

Paul Willcoxsin, 33 years old. Suffered with mental health problems and
worried about government cuts. Paul committed suicide by hanging himself.

Stephanie Bottrill, 53. After paying £80 a month for bedroom tax, Stephanie
could not afford heating in the winter, and lived on tinned custard. In
desperation, she chose to walk in front of a lorry.

Larry Newman suffered from a degenerative lung condition, his weight
dropping from 10 to 7 stone. Atos awarded him zero points, he died just
three months after submitting his appeal.

Paul Turner, 52 years old. After suffering a heart attack, he was ordered to
find a job in February. In April Paul died from ischaemic heart disease.

Christopher Charles Harkness, 39. After finding out that the funding for his
care home was being withdrawn, this man who suffered with mental health
issues, took his own life.

Sandra Louise Moon, 57. Suffering from a degenerative back condition,
depression and increasingly worried about losing her incapacity benefit.
Sandra committed suicide by taking an overdose.

Lee Robinson, 39 years old. Took his own life after his housing benefit and
council tax were taken away from him.

David Coupe, 57. A Cancer sufferer found fit for work by Atos in 2012. David
lost his sight, then his hearing, then his mobility, and then his life.

Michael McNicholas, 34. Severely depressed and a recovering alcoholic.
Michael committed suicide after being called in for a Work Capability
Assessment by Atos.

Victor Cuff, 59 and suffering from severe depression. Victor hanged himself
after the DWP stopped his benefits.

Charles Barden, 74. Charles committed suicide by hanging due to fears that
the Bedroom Tax would leave him destitute and unable to cope.

Ian Caress, 43. Suffered multiple health issues and deteriorating eyesight.
Ian was found fit for work by Atos, he died ten months later having lost so
much weight that his family said that he resembled a concentration camp

Iain Hodge, 30. Suffered from the life threatening illness, Hughes Syndrome.
Found fit for work by Atos and benefits stopped, Iain took his own life.

Wayne Grew, 37. Severely depressed due to government cuts and the fear of
losing his job, Wayne committed suicide by hanging.

Kevin Bennett, 40. Kevin a sufferer of schizophrenia and mental illness
became so depressed after his JSA was stopped that he became a virtual
recluse. Kevin was found dead in his flat several months later.

David Elwyn Hughs Harries, 48. A disabled man who could no longer cope after
his parents died, could find no help from the government via benefits. David
took an overdose as a way out of his solitude.

Denis Jones, 58. A disabled man crushed by the pressures of government cuts,
in particular the Bedroom Tax, and unable to survive by himself. Denis was
found dead in his flat.

Shaun Pilkington, 58. Unable to cope any more, Shaun shot himself dead after
receiving a letter from the DWP informing him that his ESA was being

Paul ?, 51. Died in a freezing cold flat after his ESA was stopped. Paul
appealed the decision and won on the day that he lost his battle to live.

Chris MaGuire, 61. Deeply depressed and incapable of work, Chris was
summonsed by Atos for a Work Capability Assessment and deemed fit for work.
On appeal, a judge overturned the Atos decision and ordered them to leave
him alone for at least a year, which they did not do. In desperation, Chris
took his own life, unable to cope anymore.

Peter Duut, a Dutch national with terminal cancer living in the UK for many
years found that he was not entitled to benefits unless he was active in the
labour market. Peter died leaving his wife destitute, and unable to pay for
his funeral.

George Scollen, age unknown. Took his own life after the government closed
the Remploy factory he had worked in for 40 years.

Julian Little, 47. Wheelchair bound and suffering from kidney failure,
Julian faced the harsh restrictions of the Bedroom Tax and the loss of his
essential dialysis room. He died shortly after being ordered to downgrade.

Miss DE, Early 50’s. Suffering from mental illness, this lady committed
suicide less than a month after an Atos assessor gave her zero points and
declared her fit for work.

Robert Barlow, 47. Suffering from a brain tumour, a heart defect and
awaiting a transplant, Robert was deemed fit for work by Atos and his
benefits were withdrawn. He died penniless less than two years later.

Carl Joseph Foster-Brown, 58. As a direct consequence of the wholly
unjustifiable actions of the Job centre and DWP, this man took his own life.

Martin Hadfield, 20 years old. Disillusioned with the lack of jobs available
in this country but too proud to claim benefits. Utterly demoralised, Martin
took his own life by hanging himself.

Annette Francis, 30. A mum-of-one suffering from severe mental illness,
found dead after her disability benefits were ceased.

Ian Jordan, 60. His benefits slashed after Atos and the DWP declared Ian, a
sufferer of Barratt’s Oesophagus, fit for work, caused him to run up massive
debts in order to survive. Ian was found dead in his flat after taking an

Janet McCall, 53. Terminally ill with pulmonary fibrosis and declared ‘Fit
for Work’ by Atos and the DWP, this lady died 5 months after her benefits
were stopped.

Stuart Holley, 23. A man driven to suicide by the DWP’s incessant pressure
and threat of sanctions for not being able to find a job.

Graham Shawcross, 63. A sufferer of the debilitating disease, Addison’s.
Died of a heart attack due to the stress of an Atos ‘Fit for Work’ decision.

David Clapson, 59 years old. A diabetic ex-soldier deprived of the means to
survive by the DWP and the governments harsh welfare reforms, David died all
but penniless, starving and alone, his electricity run out.

Chris Smith, 59. Declared ‘Fit for Work’ by Atos as he lay dying of Cancer
in his hospital bed.

Nathan Hartwell, 36, died of heart failure after an 18-month battle with the
­Department for Works and Pensions.

Michael Connolly, 60. A Father of One, increasingly worried about finances
after his benefits were cut. Committed suicide by taking 13 times the fatal
dose of prescription medicine on the 30th October – His Birthday.

Jan Mandeville, 52, A lady suffering from Fibromyalgia, driven to the point
of mental and physical breakdown by this governments welfare reforms. Jan
was found dead in her home after battling the DWP for ESA and DLA.

Trevor Drakard, 50 years old. A shy and reserved, severe epileptic who
suffered regular and terrifying fits almost his entire life, hounded to
suicide by the DWP who threatened to stop his life-line benefits.

Death of a severely disabled Dorset resident, unnamed, who took her own life
while battling the bedroom tax.

May their deaths be avenged.

See also: UK ‘is first country to face UN inquiry into disability rights
violations’ ~ Disability News Service

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

The stupidity of war...

To prove the stupidity of war and the invasion of Iraq read this, it will shock you

"I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq.

This from 'Daily Kos:

Letter from a US Veteran…

To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
From: Tomas Young

I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. 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 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.

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. 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 Iraq and 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 stole.

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 attacked. 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 Iraq’s 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 terror. 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 Veterans Administration. 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 any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t 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 will come. I hope 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.
—Tomas Young

 This is the most powerful letter written by a veteran concerning the Iraq war.
Read his every word.It was on Facebook, want to be sure all read this.
 “Nobody remembers them, you know ? Nobody. Nobody remembers why they died, why they didn't have a wife and children
and a sun lit room either, nobody, least of all people for whom they fought. There is no and there never will be some pathetic street
in one pathetic village of a shitty country that is named after any of them."
Miralles stopped talking, he took out his handkerchief, wiped the tears, blew his nose, he did so without shame, as if he was not ashamed of crying in public,
as Homers warriors of old did it, as any soldier of Salamis would do.”
― Javier Cercas, Soldados de Salamina"

7:41 PM PT: Tomas Young, the Army Vet who wrote this letter to Bush and Cheney, died on November 10, 2014.