Songs That Inspired an Iraq War VeteranWith the large amount of films (In the Valley of Elah, Stop Loss, The Kingdom) and documentaries (No End in Sight, Operation Homecoming) addressing the current war in Iraq, coupled with five years of news coverage,  it may seem like there is no way for politically minded people to get their point across to the masses. Tomas Young thinks differently. Wounded and paralyzed in Iraq, Young came home determined to get the message out about how drastically different the portrayal of the war is to the reality. Phil Donahue approached him wanting to write a book about his experiences, and ending up producing a documentary about him directed by Ellen Spiro.

From the trailer alone, and the moving single “No More” by Eddie Vedder with Ben Harper, it’s clear that this is an emotional film and, most likely, a high-quality soundtrack, but without further insight I can’t give you much more than that. But Young himself says it best in his open letter to artists requesting their music. Below are some excerpts:

“I’m Tomas Young.

I joined the U.S. military a couple of days after 9/11 as an emotional, patriotic response to fight those who were responsible for the attacks on 9/11 and the murder of more than 3,000 of our citizens. I was 22 years old.

During my two years of military training, I learned that our Commander-in-Chief and his colleagues were sending us to Iraq, not Afghanistan.

As the fact sank in that I was going to go fight a war in a country not involved in 9/11, for a cause I didn’t understand or believe in, I became extremely sad and angry.

I began to ask a lot of questions of my leaders at the time, like “Why are we going to fight in a country that didn’t have anything to do with the attacks? Why am I risking my life for a war I didn’t sign up to fight? What happened to getting those who were responsible for 9/11? Why the fuck are we training in the woods to fight in the desert?

The questions went unanswered.

…I would only be in Iraq for five days before I’d be shot and paralyzed. I came home to Missouri in a wheelchair, and after months of recovery, began learning how to live my life without the use of the lower half of my body.

As you can imagine, the questions that had gone unanswered before my deployment remained. It was impossible to get them out of my head. As I got stronger, I began to become more politically active, looking for some answers to questions that became increasingly more important to me.

…Right now, there are 160,000+ American men and women, and an untold number of innocent Iraqis, dealing with more physical and emotional stress than you can imagine. And by the time you read this letter, that number will have gronw larger.

…The proceeds from this record will go to the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), an organization I am a part of. You can find out more about them at www.ivaw.org

As you can imagine, a large number of musicians responded positively. The album goes on sale March 18th and the film comes out in varying times around the country. Artists included on the album include Eddie Vedder, Bruce Springsteen, Rage Against the Machine, Kimya Dawson, Tori Amos, Bright Eyes, John Lennon, Neil Young and Public Enemy.

For more information on Body of War (including release dates and the trailer), visit the film’s homepage

To purchase Body of War: Songs That Inspired an Iraq War Veteran, visit Amazon

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