Phil Donahue Documents Tomas Young’s ‘Body of War’

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Former TV show host Phil Donahue before the screening of his documentary, Body of War. (Long Island Press/Rashed Mian)Talk show icon Phil Donahue railed against the Iraq War and blasted the media during a screening in Manhattan last week of his documentary Body of War, an emotionally powerful film mixing politics with the tragedies of an illegitimate conflict.Produced by Donahue and Ellen Spiro, the documentary highlights the plight of Tomas Young, an American serviceman who was shot only five days into his first tour of Iraq in 2004. The gunshot left Young with a debilitating injury that has paralyzed him from the nipples down, and has drained him of life. Young, a paraplegic for the past nine years who is now in hospice care as a result of his worsening condition, recently announced he will refuse further medical treatment and give up the fight.The 33-year-old, therefore, will soon be dead.Donahue, always a fierce opponent the war, spoke of Young and Body of War with the passion and energy that made him one of America’s most popular TV personalities during his decorated nearly half-century-long career in broadcasting. He was forced out of the industry in 2003 by MSNBC after voicing disgust about the Iraq War on-air; the ousting came despite his show being the network’s highest-rated at the time.Donahue hasn’t lost his edge, nor his desire, to shed light on the devastating impacts of the war—nor the politicians who voted to give then-President George W. Bush the power to invade Iraq.“I do feel the media betrayed the country and most of media would agree with me,” Donahue said during an interview at the Culture Project, a theater on Bleecker Street, before the screening. “It’s awfully hard for a media to finesse this, every major metropolitan newspaper in this country supported the invasion of Iraq.”Donahue met Young for the first time in 2005 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Maryland, as Young was “lying there totally wacked out on morphine,” he said; Young’s injuries the result of an insurgent ambush in Sadr City.The documentary—and a scathing letter, dubbed “The Last Letter,” which Young wrote to Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney and was published on the website Truthdig—has recently put Young’s story back in the spotlight.Young blasted Bush and Cheney in the letter for their “cowardice and selfishness,” noting how they both found a way to escape the battlefield, yet condemn countless servicemen and women and innocent Iraqis to death. He also accused them of war crimes: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.The invasion of Iraq killed 4,486 Americans between 2003 and 2012, according to Countless other soldiers were seriously injured on the battlefield or still suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other life-changing injuries.Body of War chronicles Young’s journey, taking viewers inside the daily toils of a war veteran who struggles to even put on his pants or urinate on his own. Young relies on a cocktail of pills to keep him alive.“It turns the whole family upside-down,” said Donahue, “and what we see…is a drama playing itself out in thousands of homes in this country that Americans never see.”Young has “decided he’s had it,” added Donahue. “He really worked hard, he wanted to live, and he’s decided he’s going to die.”Donahue, like Young, believes the Bush Administration should be prosecuted for war crimes. But he’s not naive enough to think it will ever happen.“The presidency is too important to Americans to fail,” he said. “And the American people could not emotionally—in this moment in the history of our nation—the population would not emotionally tolerate a president in the dock for war crimes, so that’s a reality that I accept.“I’m also hesitant to call them liars [regarding the non-existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which was the main justification for the Iraqi invasion],” he added. “Honestly, I think they believe what they were doing, but I think the major motive was: They wanted to go to war.”Young, who enlisted in the Army two days after the Sept. 11 attacks, admits in the letter that had he suffered the same injury in Afghanistan he wouldn’t have spent the last nine years lashing out at the government: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.For more on Body of War and locations where you can see it, click here.last_img read more

Asset owners targeted investment costs during crisis, say data firms

first_imgDemand from pension funds and other asset owners for knowledge about asset management fees has intensified during the COVID-19 crisis, according to leaders of two data firms.Participants at the IPE Summer Pensions Congress 2020 heard from Chris Sier, chair of UK platform ClearGlass and Eric Veldpaus, founding partner of Institutional Benchmarking Institute in the Netherlands, that both firms had seen work volumes increase in the last four months.Sier said in the investment transparency forum session this morning: “In the pandemic where people have felt themselves almost helpless to deal with external factors that have governed the valuations that you have, you focus on the things you can manage.”One of those things that could be managed – because there was a number that could be arrived at – was costs, he told the online event. “So you may not be able to get to grips with the performance part, because it has an extraneous component, but cost is something you can monitor,” Sier said.“Although it may be because there is this burgeoning surge in demand for transparency in the UK, what we have noticed is our workload has gone up and we have been busier in taking on new clients throughout the past four months,” he said, adding that he could only attribute this extra activity to the pandemic.Veldpaus said the same dynamic had been seen in the Netherlands.However, Sier said that among the investor community, ESG work had seen even more of a fillip during the COVID-19 crisis than had activity around investment costs.“In the hierarchy of interests for pension funds, the other thing people have wanted to get to grips with over the past four months is the degree to which their fund is ESG compliant. So performance and costs, and ESG at the top,” he said.Looking for IPE’s latest magazine? Read the digital edition here.last_img read more

NFL Draft 2019: Jets open to trading No. 3 pick

first_imgSeveral teams have a need at quarterback including the Dolphins, who are planning to release Ryan Tannehill. Miami has the No. 13 pick. The Jets are open to trading the No. 3 pick in this year’s draft.”Right now, we feel good at No. 3, but I’d definitely say if there’s an opportunity to trade down, we would absolutely look at it,” general manager Mike Maccagnan told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday. John Elway worries about Kyler Murray’s ability to play under center Oakland is another team that could have interest and it has three first-round picks, which would be very appealing in a trade with New York.The team is also comfortable standing pat.”If we end up picking a player at three, we’ll feel really good,” Maccagnan said. “If there’s an opportunity for us to move back and acquire more picks, that’s something we’d definitely be potentially interested in. It would have to be the right kind of deal, but I definitely wouldn’t rule anything out at this point in time.” “If there’s an opportunity for us to move back and acquire more picks, that’s definitely something we’d be potentially interested in.” – GM Mike MaccagnanA history of trade hauls for a top-five pick ➡️— New York Jets (@nyjets) February 27, 2019New York took quarterback Sam Darnold with the No. 3 pick in last year’s draft, so it is unlikely the team will take a signal-caller once again.Taking that into account, a team looking to move up to get one of the two perceived premier QBs in the draft in Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins or Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray might love to grab the Jets’ pick. Related Newslast_img read more