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March 23, 2008
Phil Donahue
Co-Director & Executive Producer
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Info: Phil Donahue, discusses his new documentary called "Body of War." This documentary tells the story of a former Iraq war soldier, Tomas Young. The documentary follows his physical rehabilitation and his decision to actively protest the Iraq war. The program also shows the Senate debate on the resolution to go into Iraq, During Q&A, Mr. Donohue talks about how he got involved in this project as well as his own feelings about the Iraq War. Clips of the documentary are shown.

Uncorrected transcript provided by Morningside Partners.
C-SPAN uses its best efforts to provide accurate transcripts of its programs, but it can not be held liable for mistakes such as omitted words, punctuation, spelling, mistakes that change meaning, etc.

BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Phil Donahue, where did you get the title, ”Body of War,” for your documentary?

PHIL DONAHUE, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, ”BODY OF WAR”: Well, that was mine. It came to me after watching our own film on this young man.

He’s shirtless in one of the scenes. You can see the spot on his head where he wasn’t moved in transit. So, literally, the hair roots died, because he never was moved. There’s a little on the back. And you can see the laminectomy. He has a T4.

So, the bullet came through here, right between the shoulder blades, and he is paralyzed from the nipples down.

LAMB: Where did you find him? And who is he?

DONAHUE: Tomas Young is an honorably discharged 1st Cavalry United States Army Specialist. Signed up 9/13.

And he was at Fort Hood in basic when the light bulb went on for him. ”Why am I going to Iraq,” he said to himself. ”I wanted to go to Afghanistan.”

He saw the president on the pile, getting the evildoers, and he wanted to help him.

Anyway, it’s too late now. He goes. He’s there five days, and he gets whacked from above while he’s in the back of a truck no top going through Sadr City.

And our film shows him trying to rise from the ashes. A life-altering injury, alters not only him, but the lives of the whole family.

And Brian, I don’t have to tell you. This is the drama that is taking place behind the closed doors of thousands of homes across this country homes occupied by very brave, patriotic people who went to Iraq, who answered the call of their commander in chief, and have come home with Tomas has bowel and bladder. He’s sick every morning. He throws up. His pills have pills.

I mean, the closer you he can’t cough, because he can’t move his stomach muscles. He has erectile dysfunction 27 years old, the prime of life. I mean, what’s a sacrifice to you?

And the American people, by and large, do not see this. And this is just one story. There’s 30,000 of these 30,000.

LAMB: Besides Tomas Young, who else is there who are the main characters? The young lady that you well, not no, his mother.

DONAHUE: His mother.

LAMB: Who is his mother?

DONAHUE: His mother is Cathy Smith. And also, he has a wonderful stepfather, who, by the way, is a dittohead. Tomas’ stepfather listens to Rush Limbaugh.

We have a heartland family Kansas City split. We have a blue-and-red family. Tomas has a younger brother who is in Iraq. Imagine. And Tomas is a warrior turned anti-warrior.

The other star of the film is his mother, from this family. Cathy. She loomed over her son at Walter Reed. I mean, checking the temperature and how many blankets he had.

And she’s really been probably his most important emotional support.

LAMB: What about Brie? Who is Brie?

DONAHUE: Brie is Tomas’ wife. Brie I went to the wedding. We filmed the wedding, and the wedding is part of the documentary, ”Body of War.”

LAMB: And here it is on the screen.

What year did they get married?

DONAHUE: That would have been it’ll be three years ago later this year, if I remember. I think it was an August wedding.

We’ve been filming now we’ve been preparing this film now for three years. So, I’m saying this is about 2.5 years ago.

LAMB: Can you remember the first moment you thought you wanted to do this?

DONAHUE: Yes, indeed.

I went to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, having been invited to accompany Ralph Nader. I was talking with Ralph after the ’04 election. And he said, ”A mother at Walter Reed wants to see me. Do you want to go?”

Off we go.

And I stood next to this bed. I looked down at this kid. He was wall-to-wall morphine. He was just he was really out of it.

And he was thin, and you could see his cheekbones. And I learned of the gravity of his injury, that he was paralyzed from the chest down.

And I just, you know I thought, more people should see this. And I appointed myself to try and do that.

And here I am, three years later, talking to Brian Lamb on C-SPAN. It’s been quite a ride.

LAMB: What did it cost you?

DONAHUE: A lot of money. This is not for sissies. I don’t feel comfortable revealing what I’ve spent on the film.

LAMB: Could you give us a range? Less than a million?


LAMB: Less than $2 million?

DONAHUE: You know, the problem with that is, I don’t want to appear to be pandering to anybody. By the way, no profits will accrue to me. I don’t consider that a terribly virtuous thing. I mean, how could anybody make a dime on this young man’s life? I mean, he can’t walk.

LAMB: Did you pay for it yourself?

DONAHUE: I did, yes. I funded the film.

LAMB: Let’s watch some more of it. This is you’ve got Cindy Sheehan in this. Is she an important part of this?

DONAHUE: Well, Cindy was the spokesman for Cathy Smith, Tomas’ mother. Cindy lost her son. Cathy Smith’s son came home.

Imagine. Cathy Smith feels lucky. She’s got her son. And she admired Cindy, and she felt Cindy spoke for her.

LAMB: Let’s watch.


TOMAS YOUNG, WOUNDED IRAQ WAR VETERAN: I’ve got meetings, I guess. I’m a busy man.

BRIE: We’re coming. We’re coming.

CINDY SHEEHAN, ANTI-WAR ACTIVIST: I also want to introduce Tomas Young. He was fighting in Sadr City and wounded the same day Casey was killed. And he was part of the 1st Cavalry, too.

TOMAS YOUNG: I also would like to demand a meeting with the president, because I feel he owes me some explanations as to why a soldier can volunteer to go over and fight for his country and lose his ability to walk, plus a lot of other important functions, and why I am not worth the funding for stem cell research.

We’re going to have to cut this short. I need to go find a table to lean on for support.

So, are we good here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Thanks a lot.

TOMAS YOUNG: Thank you.

CROWD SINGING: America, America, God shed his grace on thee. And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making.

REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, R-FLORIDA: Saddam Hussein’s regime trained al Qaeda operatives in bomb-making.

REP. STEVE ROTHMAN, D-NEW JERSEY: Saddam is now training al Qaeda in bomb-making.

PRESIDENT BUSH: We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade.

SEN. FRED THOMPSON, R-TENNESSEE: senior-level contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda going back a decade

SEN. BILL FRIST, R-TENNESSEE: The Iraqi regime has been in contact with al Qaeda for at least a decade

PRESIDENT BUSH: Saddam Hussein is harboring terrorists.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, D-NEW YORK: harbors these terrorists, aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists

PRESIDENT BUSH: We know that Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy the United States of America.


TOMAS YOUNG: I wonder if the Bushes and the people of FOX News, and people like that, had a big sigh of relief when the hurricane hit. ”I know it’s a horrible tragedy,” they must have said, ”but thank God we don’t have to talk about Cindy.”

My pillbox separates them out for the week.

This is carbon mazapin (ph). It is a nerve pain medication.


TOMAS YOUNG: This is a drug called Coumadin, and it’s a blood thinner.

TINSLEY: Mr. Craig, aye.

TOMAS YOUNG: This is Tizanidine. It’s an anti-spasm medication.

TINSLEY: Mr. Crapo, aye.

TOMAS YOUNG: This is gabapentin.

TINSLEY: Mr. Daschle

TOMAS YOUNG: It’s a nerve pain medication.


TOMAS YOUNG: This is brupropion.


TOMAS YOUNG: It’s an antidepressant.


TOMAS YOUNG: This is omeprizol.


TOMAS YOUNG: It’s for morning nausea.


TOMAS YOUNG: And this is morphine. It’s a narcotic. And in this situation the effect is not to get high, but to kill pain. And so, I have to take more and more of it to stop the pain.


LAMB: For a moment, let’s talk about technique. All through this documentary by the way, how long is it?

DONAHUE: Eighty-seven minutes. I wanted it to be 85, because that’s the length of the ”March of the Penguins.”

We knew we couldn’t be tedious. We knew we couldn’t do a rant. We knew we couldn’t lecture. So, please, Lord, let them out of the theater in time to go to dinner.

And that’s what we’ve done, 87 minutes.

LAMB: One of the techniques you use throughout the entire thing and we knew that you were doing this documentary, because you came to C-SPAN’s archives. You bought these clips to put into your documentary, like anybody else can do. We had nothing to say about the script or what your position was.

But you put you show the president throughout this, and other administration people, saying things. And then people on both sides of the fence, Democrats and Republicans, repeating the same words.

How did you know to do that?

DONAHUE: Well, I watched it live in October 2002. And I couldn’t believe what I was watching. This was a superficial, bumper sticker debate, in which significant numbers of members of both chambers accepted from the White House Iraq Group talking points. They just took them and read them.

”A smoking gun will become” you know. And by the way, three weeks before the election, November of ’02.

Now, you have to go back to ’02 to realize the emotional condition of this country. I mean, everybody wanted to bomb something. I mean, we were so mad we couldn’t spit.

And this president brought this debate up. And he used the politics of fear, and it worked. Saddam has this. Saddam has that. He’s outside your bedroom. He’s under your bed.

He took this nation by the ear and led it right into the sword. It’s amazing how easy it is to do that.

LAMB: How many hours did you search in order to get these clips? And how did you do it? Who did it for you? Did you do it yourself?

DONAHUE: No. Well, I did most of the review of the C-SPAN material. The Tomas this personal story that was so well filmed by Ellen Spiro, a cinematographer, who happens to teach at the University of Texas at Austin, she was I said, ”Look. Let’s not sanitize the war.”

My inspiration for this was that remember the naked child running from the napalm in Vietnam? Kim was her name. I’m told she now lives in Canada.

Screaming. Stark naked. Seven, eight years old. And you could see the black smoke behind her. That picture won a Pulitzer Prize, and it should have.

Don’t sanitize the war. See the pain.

If you’re going to send a nation to war, the least we owe those who have made the sacrifice less than 5 percent of us in this war, by the way deserve to be heard, to be at least we have the responsibility to know that they’re there.

How long this took, I don’t know. The preparation of the film took three years.

And we essentially had two editing rooms. One was where I was going through the C-SPAN stuff. A wonderful editor by the name of Phillip Schopper helped me establish these choruses, and Bernadine Colish edited the Tomas Young, Kansas City film material. And Bernadine Colish assembled the whole thing for us. I mean, I’ve never

LAMB: Both in New York?

DONAHUE: I’m sorry, but I’ve never been so respectful of the work of editors as I am now. I’ve learned a lot.

LAMB: And it was all in New York, the editing?

DONAHUE: Yes, all of it.

LAMB: One last technique, and we’ve got to go back to clips.

The use of the dome of the Capitol and then the constant roll call. The voice of the clerk.

DONAHUE: Yes, that’s the clerk.

LAMB: In the Senate.

DONAHUE: In the Senate. And I am embarrassed, I can’t think of his name. ”Mrs. Clinton, aye. Mr. Akaka, no.”

What is his name? Oh, my.

LAMB: Have you ever met him?

DONAHUE: His family is going to be upset with me. Huh?

LAMB: Have you ever met him?

DONAHUE: Never have, no. He’s visible in our film, by the way. He’s the man who comes in and says, ”Mr. President, I have a message from the House. The House has passed Joint Resolution .” That’s him.

I want to say John Jay. That’s not it. But it’s something it’s a very I thought it was a one-syllable last name. I’m not sure though.

LAMB: The next clip, erectile dysfunction, and you can explain why you wanted to use this after we look at it.


COMPUTER AUDIO: Hold the head of the penis between the thumb and the forefinger.

TOMAS YOUNG: One of the more delightful side effects of my situation is erectile dysfunction, E.D. And there are several choices out there on the market, available to a young man with penis problems.

And we’ve tried two or three of them, and they haven’t really worked all that well for us.

One that we haven’t tried is a new thing called the Caverject system, which involves a shot directly into your penis of some kind of magic medicine that’ll give you an erection. But it still involves a needle into a very sensitive area.

Another way to try to awaken the monster is the pump. It’s kind of like a vacuum tube thing, and you can watch your penis get larger. But it’s not the most romantic thing in the world to bring this big hunk of plastic and rubber into bed.

BRIE, WIFE OF TOMAS YOUNG: The problem with the pump is that Tomas wears external catheters, which are basically like condoms. And these are it’s like a condom with a tube on the end of it. And this is what he pees out of, and it goes into a bag.

To keep the condom on so that he doesn’t have an accident and wet himself, there’s a lot of adhesive used, which sometimes irritates the skin of the penis.

Add to that the fact that he is on blood thinners, because of a blood clot. And when you use the pump, you’re forcing a lot of blood into the penis, which brings blood to the surface. And so, the skin on his penis bleeds, which freaks him out.


PRESIDENT BUSH: We cannot wait for the final proof the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS, R-ALABAMA: When there is a smoking gun or a mushroom cloud, we have waited too long.

REP. BOB SIMMONS, R-CONNECTICUT: We cannot wait for the smoking gun. A gun smokes only after it has been fired.

SEN. PETER FITZGERALD, R-ILLINOIS: The gun smokes only after it is fired.

SEN. JOHN KYL, R-ARIZONA: A gun smokes after it’s been fired.

REP. LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART, R-FLORIDA: That smoking gun would be a smoking city.

SEN. FITZGERALD: And the smoke of a nuclear blast would mean that we are too late.

TINSLEY: Mr. Domenici, aye.

Mr. Dorgan, aye.

Mr. Edwards, aye.

SEN. ROBERT BYRD, D-WEST VIRGINIA: And in the name of the people of this country, in the name of the young men and women whose lives may be put on the line

TINSLEY: Mr. Ensign, aye.

Mr. Enzi, aye.

SEN. BYRD: by the decision that this Senate will make is too weightening (ph), it is too far-reaching. And it’s only fair to the people of America who are going to be asked to give in some instances everything that they’ve got, everything they have if a war ensues.

And I tell you, my friends. I don’t want that on my conscience. Not I.



LAMB: Go back to the erectile dysfunction part. You know that there are people watching and saying, Phil Donahue is just appealing, you know, to the I don’t know how to characterize it. Why did you have to go there, is what they’re saying.

DONAHUE: Because I think, first of all, everybody who enlists in the Army thinks they might come home dead. Nobody thinks of coming home like this.

And I am sorry if people wince when they see that very personal scene. But I think more and more people ought to be wincing at the casualties from this war.

The people who aren’t wincing are the people who can’t see the coffins coming home draped in the American flag. They can’t see that, because the administration has prohibited the photographing of these coffins.

By the way, the administration says you can’t photograph this, and the entire mainstream establishment media in America said, OK. There’s been no pushback here.

I’m hardly the first person to make this point. I’m not claiming original arguments here, but this is the most sanitized.

I mean, we’re naming our invasion ”shock and awe?” This is the White House Iraq Group, WHIG. These are the advertising agency warriors who name our ”Rolling Thunder.” They were the ones who wrote these talking points, the ones we just saw.

And, I mean, you can’t believe how superficial these are. I mean, this was the debate by the way, an unconstitutional debate. This Congress did not vote up or down. Don’t bother them with Article 1, Section 8, as demanded by the Framers.

What they do is say, ”Here, Mr. President. If you think you have to, here’s permission.” Then if he goes and it doesn’t work, they’re able to say, ”Well, wait a minute.” CYA cover your butt. That’s what they’ve done.

LAMB: Do you think, though or I’ll ask you what you think. Most of the people responding after that on the floor were Republicans.

Do you think those people were insincere? Do you think they were lying? Do you think I mean, they’re characterized

DONAHUE: No, I think they were I think they were caught up in the heavy breathing. They were caught up in a belief that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, even though all they had to do was go to the Intelligence Committee, and they would have told them, ”Well, wait. We’re not sure. Let’s let the U.N. finish its job.”

No, I don’t think they all had a meeting and say let’s, you know, let’s they wanted to Pete Stark says in our film, from the floor of the House, ”This president wants blood. He wants to go to war.”

And that’s the fact of it. We had he swaggered before the cameras. ”Bring it on.” Every time I see Tomas Young I think, ”Bring it on.”

You know, you see a young man in a wheelchair. You think, ”Oh, poor guy. He can’t walk.” He can’t do a lot of things. He can’t cough. I mean, it just the more you the closer you get to this, the more it blows you back.

And the next time a Congress decides to approve a war resolution, before they do that, before the next president swaggers before the camera, I want them to meet Tomas Young.

LAMB: Last question about that clip. You used Bob Byrd throughout your entire documentary. Why?

DONAHUE: Robert Byrd stood, almost alone not quite, but almost alone pleading with his colleagues, ”Don’t rush this through.”

He called attention to the fact this is three weeks before an election. How manipulative can we be? Asking a Congress to vote up or down, or to approve a war resolution three weeks before an election was a political master stroke by the people in the White House, who couldn’t wait to go to war and send somebody else’s kids to fight it.

LAMB: Where can people see this, besides the clips on this program?

DONAHUE: Our movie will be seen in Landmark Theatres

LAMB: Mark Cuban’s theaters.

DONAHUE: Yes. We’ll be we premier on April 2nd here in Washington. We’re invited to screen for the National Press Club on April 3rd. The film actually opens at the E Street theater in Washington the following week.

But we’re asking people to remember April 2nd for Washington, April 9th for New York. And then we go to Boston. And we’ll be in San Francisco, L.A., Chicago.

And then we’re hoping what we’re doing here really is we have to prove that we can put people in the seats. You know, theater owners have to be understood. And they’re a little wary, I have to say. You know, Iraq docs are playing to empty seats.

By the way, the American people no longer have Iraq as their number one concern. Imagine you’re in Iraq fighting, and you read where I mean, it’s just like we’ve forgotten these people. We’re no longer worried about it.

LAMB: Here’s more.


TOMAS YOUNG: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, this is Dennis. He’s a Vietnam vet.


TOMAS YOUNG: Nice to meet you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for speaking out. You know, I understand. It was the same for us. You can tell the truth, be branded a traitor, or you internalize it and self-destruct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, I’m glad you’re here, man. What happened to you?

TOMAS YOUNG: Shot underneath the collar bone. It severed my spinal cord. Paralyzed from the chest down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man. Sorry to hear that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you’re going to have a sore ass the rest of your life.

TOMAS YOUNG: Yeah. When I signed up, I was at Fort Hood, so I trained in the woods. There’s not woods and grass in Iraq.


CATHY SMITH, MOTHER OF YOUNG: I’m Cathy. I’m Tomas’ mom.


CATHY SMITH: Nice to meet you. Elizabeth. Do you guys have someone


CATHY SMITH: You were in Iraq. Oh, wow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bush will not be in heaven. Thou shalt not kill.

TOMAS YOUNG: If I could walk, I’d kick your ass.

Go yourselves! Go yourselves!

UNIDENTIFIED GOLD STAR MOM: I thank you so much.

TOMAS YOUNG: Ah, well, thank you. And I’m terribly sorry for your loss.

UNIDENTIFIED GOLD STAR MOM: Thank you. You know what? I’m glad you’re alive. I’m glad you’re alive. And I want to make sure you can (inaudible) with your feet.

TOMAS YOUNG: Thank you.

CATHY SMITH: I noticed in Washington, when we were there with the Gold Star Mothers for Peace and the MFSO, whose babies have not come home, whose husbands have not come home, I noticed them touching Tomas kissing him, hugging him, wanting to be near him. And I think there was a connection there, because he came home, and their family members didn’t.


DONAHUE: That’s the saddest I still have trouble with that one.

These people are experiencing a moment of vicarious closeness to their loved ones who didn’t the loved one who did not come home. Tomas did. And they can’t keep their eyes of him. And they can’t and they want to touch him.

You know, and the nation goes on here. I mean, I don’t see a whole lot of outrage or concern. The mortgage crisis has taken us over and very serious, to be sure. Real serious. But I mean, the war is not even at the top of our list of concerns now.

LAMB: Why has, or have the media backed off this story since the casualty rate went way down, the weekly deaths? It’s averaging something like a death a day, and it used to be three times a day.

DONAHUE: Right. By the way, civilians were killed just recently by a drone, an American drone I mean, civilians because of this high tech.

I’m not sure. I know that I had a very unhappy life at MSNBC. Being against the war is not good for business.

LAMB: How long were you there, by the way? And I know this has been talked about before, but did they

DONAHUE: I was there for like I’m going to guess I think around three months.

LAMB: Only three months?

DONAHUE: Well, maybe four.

LAMB: Nightly show.

DONAHUE: Yes. And I was drawing

LAMB: What time? Was it 8:00?

DONAHUE: Yes. And I was gone before the rollout, before the invasion. The invasion was March of ’03, and my show was cancelled before that.

LAMB: What’s the connection between your anti-war stance and being gone?

DONAHUE: Well, we have a memo that was leaked to the ”New York Times.” The ”New York Times” published the memo, which it was a consulting firm’s memo to NBC News, which essentially said that Donahue’s anti-war stance is really not going to be very it’s not going to work against the flag waving on the other stations.

It’s important to remember that, by the way, every major metropolitan newspaper in this country supported this war.

LAMB: Times? The ”New York Times”?

DONAHUE: The ”Times,” of course. The ”New York Times,” the ”Boston Globe” pick a paper ”Washington Post,” ”L.A. Times,” Chicago. ”Go, go, go! War!”

What happened to the First Amendment and the cacophony of voices that we’re supposed to have?

And we’re the ones being told that we’re not patriotic. We love America more than they do. We believe in the First Amendment. We believe in the we believe a woman’s home is her castle. You shouldn’t be unreasonably searching and seizing. And that’s what people in cages five years. No phone calls, no I mean, this is not the America that my parents raised me to pledge my allegiance to.

LAMB: I can’t do this very well, because it’s not our role. But if I’m sitting here and I was for this war, I would say to you things like this president has been very strong, he has never backed down, this is a worldwide war against terrorism. War is hell and you lose people, and people are wounded.

What makes you, Phil Donahue, think you have the answer to this? A lot you know.

Congress goes along with an expenditure of $12 to $14 billion a month. There must be something right going on.

Why are you so pure in this thing?

DONAHUE: Well, why is what is right? What right is going on R-I-G-H-T? Tell me what is the good effect of this war?

LAMB: Well, they would tell you that, fight them over there or you’re going to fight them here.

DONAHUE: We are fighting over there now, because old men in Washington want to save face. The life of a young American not one American’s life is worth an old man’s face.

This is a massive blunder that is going to rattle around this century for the rest of all of for the rest of the lives of all of us living.

LAMB: When did you start being against the war?

DONAHUE: And by the way, you know, righteous why am I righteous? That’s a very good point. There’s a lot of righteousness on either side.

You know, I read Richard Cohen, for example, in the op-ed ”Washington Post.” He instructs me. I think he’s a very good writer. And he’s clever and he’s interesting. But no less a pundit than Richard Cohen in ’06 called the anti-war people silly silly and commented upon how they seemed to be so obsessed with the rottenness of America. Anti-war protestors focused on the rottenness of America. That’s how they felt.

I opposed the war; therefore, I think America is rotten. This is what they have done to marginalize the so-called anti-war, dissenting voice. I mean, we have people in this country who literally think it’s unpatriotic to oppose a war.

If a president calls a war, you’ve got to you know, that’s not true. That’s the reason the Framers were right. I mean, we the more I think about it, the more visionary they become.

LAMB: This next clip, I warn the audience, is a tough one to watch. It’s very personal. And it’s rougher than the erectile dysfunction clip. And you know where I’m going with this.

DONAHUE: No. Which one? Is it the

LAMB: The changing of the catheter.


LAMB: Let’s show it. And this is his mother.

DONAHUE: This is his mother. This is just one of the challenges that besets a person who has been paralyzed.

LAMB: Before we watch this, does he not care that all of this is shown?

DONAHUE: Tomas wants other draft age men and women to see this. Tomas is Tomas did something very impetuous. He acknowledges that. He signed up. And he is telling through this movie, he is telling every draft age American, or enlisted age American, to think, to think, to take a look at this before you follow a commander in chief into war.

LAMB: By the way, when they how long did the camera crew follow him around? Was it a camera crew, or was it just one person?

DONAHUE: It was one person. It was Ellen Spiro.

LAMB: Shooting with a small camera?

DONAHUE: Yes. She does it without knocking over furniture. She certainly became very much a part of this family for a while. You know, here we were parachuting into their living room in Kansas City.

LAMB: How long?

DONAHUE: How long?

LAMB: How long was she around them?

DONAHUE: Well, we’ve been making the documentary for three years.

LAMB: I mean, is she still shooting Tomas?

DONAHUE: Well, no. The film is

LAMB: Done.

DONAHUE: You know, thank goodness. Finally we’ve concluded the film, and it’s ready for a theatrical release.

LAMB: And how did you find Ellen Spiro? I think I read somewhere you met somebody on a plane.

DONAHUE: I met a woman by the name of DeeDee Halleck on an airplane coming home from a Media Reform conference which, by the way, we should see more of on C-SPAN.

Media Reform is a grassroots organization headed by Robert McChesney, a professor at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Their banner is corporate media is ruining our democracy.

We need no more evidence of the fact they may be right, in that every newspaper in this country supported the war. I mean, what is wrong? Imagine, every paper. This is unbelievable.

And these young people are saying, you know, whether you get on the air depends on whether you can afford it. We seldom see you know, there are some exceptions but we don’t see people from the Iraq Veterans Against the War on television. We don’t see military families speak out. Peace Now Jews how often do they get on television?

The progressive voice is silenced in this country. There is no other way to put it. We just don’t like them. They’re scolds. They’re complaining all the time.

”They don’t see anything good about America.” This is what Richard Cohen is essentially saying. We see anything in other words, if you dissent, you don’t love America. And somehow, after $1 billion of expense on this, and beating the drum about this, you know, ”liberal” has become the political idea that dare not speak its name.

LAMB: But a quick question on Ellen Spiro. Had she done other work like this?

DONAHUE: Oh, yes. She’s done several documentaries.

But it still was a leap of faith, for her and you know, I called her cold. And I said, ”Hey, I’m Phil Donahue.”

Thank God she recognized me. And we met at the Kansas City airport and went over to see Tomas. And she just bought this with both hands. And her work has been fabulous.

LAMB: Here’s this catheter clip.


TOMAS YOUNG: I can urinate. I can push out urine, but I don’t push it all out. A lot of still stays, and it’s stored in my bladder.

And so, the reason for the catheting (ph) is to insert a catheter into my penis to drain out that excess urine, because if it’s kept in there, it will crystallize and harden, and play a part in urinary track infections.

CATHY SMITH: OK. What do I need to do?

TOMAS YOUNG: All right. I’m going to lift up, and you’re going to sit down under me.




TOMAS YOUNG: Oh, this is it’s hard to do from this angle. You going to help me out here, mom?


TOMAS YOUNG: It must be hard to do. I’ve been meaning to change those.

OK, now, in this bag, you’re going to take this tube out. OK.

Instead of lubing up the end of that, you’re going to lube the head of the penis.


TOMAS YOUNG: You’re going to use less lube you’re just going to lube right over the hole.

CATHY SMITH: Like that?

TOMAS YOUNG: And now, you’re just going to insert the cath.

And I really kind of wanted you to put the glove on the hand that was going to touch the catheter, but OK. You seriously can push in a little quicker than that, Mom.

CATHY SMITH: No, I can’t.

TOMAS YOUNG: Are you nervous?



CATHY SMITH: I have never done this before.


CATHY SMITH: Is it coming out?

TOMAS YOUNG: Yes, it’s coming out.


TOMAS YOUNG: Hey, Mom. Mom! We generally tend to watch what goes on up there.

CATHY SMITH: I’m trying to move it so it doesn’t just go everywhere.

TOMAS YOUNG: Good plan.


I saw that that works swimmingly.

Look at that. You’ve got pee on your hand.


You know what? It’s not the first time I’ve had your pee on my hand.


LAMB: How much of that do you think goes on for, you know what are there, 30,000 wounded in Iraq Americans wounded in Iraq?

DONAHUE: Well, paraplegics cannot control body functions, you know, either from waist down. Tomas’ is the chest down. You know, this is the sacrifice that the American people don’t see.

And we still have people out there banging this drum. And while this administration is chipping away at the bedrock of this nation you know, free speech is kind of a quaint idea to these people. It’s not really practical at times of war. You have to shut up and sing.

The opposite is true. Thousands and thousands of Americans went to fight and die on foreign battlefields to protect our way of life. At the center of that way of life is free speech. And when we need it the most, when we’re running up to a war, we’re told to shut up and sing.

LAMB: Did you ever serve in the military?

DONAHUE: I never did. I became we became pregnant in my first child was born in ’59, in January of ’59. And that was around the time you had to register. And I registered, but draft age fathers were not being drafted at the time.

LAMB: How many children did you have?


LAMB: By your first wife. And what year did you marry Marlo Thomas?

DONAHUE: Marlo Thomas and I married in 1980. We are about to celebrate our 28th anniversary.

LAMB: No children.

DONAHUE: No children, no.

LAMB: And if there is a profit in this thing, it goes to the St. Jude’s Hospital?

DONAHUE: No. No, no. That’s Marlo jumps out of cakes all over America raising over a half-a-billion dollars a year, just to keep this hospital

LAMB: So, it doesn’t I mean, because

DONAHUE: Oh, no, no. The hospital

LAMB: one article had that in there.

DONAHUE: No. This is a very political film that Marlo Thomas’ husband has co-directed. And profits have already gone to the IVAW, Iraq Veterans Against the War.

By the way, that song you heard, ”No More,” I met Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. And I had been on the Nader bus with him in ’04 in 2000. I wasn’t in ’04. And I met him just by accident, a little over a year ago.

I said, ”Eddie, I’m doing an anti-Iraq War documentary.”

He says, ”You want a song?”

And I couldn’t believe it. I said he comes to my apartment in New York, watches a very loose assembly of our film, goes home to Seattle, calls Tomas, talks to him for more than an hour. And in four days I had the signature song for our film, ”No More,” part of which you saw during that demonstration in Washington. I mean, for free.

This I mean, this I’ve been so lucky, I tell you, Brian.

And Tomas has been asked by Sire Records and Eddie Vedder to put together an album of anti-war songs. And it’s out. It’s a double album called ”Body of War.” Tomas’ picture is on the cover of the CD. Bruce Springsteen, John Lennon I mean, the people. Eddie’s ”No More” is on there.

So, that’s a I mean, that’s a lucky break, because I’m in the music world now. We’ve been in ”Billboard.” Holy cow! And we’re going to need every bit of this to make this fly.

LAMB: What’s the DVD eventually going to sell for for the general public?

DONAHUE: I don’t how much is a DVD? Is it it may be $15.

LAMB: And do you have a Web site that you’ve set up around this?

DONAHUE: Bodyofwar.com. Bodyofwar.com.

Let’s make the case here that our film was produced by me and co-directed by Ellen Spiro and myself. The record comes out by way of Sire Records. And they are committing their profits to good causes and anti-war causes.

LAMB: The next clip uses a lot of our video, which you’ll see. And it’s about the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which we cover every year, plus all the other dinners in town. So, let’s watch and see how you do this.


PRESIDENT BUSH: Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere.


Nope. No weapons over there. Maybe under here.



LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I said to him the other day, ”George, if you really want to end tyranny in the world, you’re going to have to stay up later.”


Ladies and gentlemen, I am a desperate housewife.



CATHY SMITH: They are so insolated. They don’t want to know about people like Tomas and the 4 or 5 percent of the population that is actually sacrificing for this war.


REP. HEATHER WILSON, R-NEW MEXICO: There are risks of action, but there are also risks of inaction.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER, R-PENNSYLVANIA: The risk of inaction is worse than the risk of action.

REP. JOSEPH PITTS, R-PENNSYLVANIA: Inaction is more costly than action.

REP. DANA ROHRABACHER, R-CALIFORNIA: There will be no action that we could possibly take that’s going to get the support of people who always find an excuse for doing nothing, when it takes courage to step forward.

PRESIDENT BUSH: If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy or steal

TINSLEY: Mr. Nickles

PRESIDENT BUSH: an amount of highly enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball

TINSLEY: Mr. Reid of Nevada

PRESIDENT BUSH: it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year.

TINSLEY: Mr. Roberts

SEN. JOHN KERRY, D-MASSACHUSETTS: The estimates are publicly that it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year.

SEN. TIM HUTCHINSON, R-ARKANSAS: A nuclear weapon would take no longer than a few months to produce.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, R-MAINE: a matter of months.

TINSLEY: aye, aye, aye.

SEN. BYRD: I speak to the American people. Let your voice be heard!

TINSLEY: Mr. Rockefeller, aye.

Mr. Santorum, aye.

SEN. BYRD: You need to be heard. You have the right to be heard. You have questions that should be asked and answered.

TINSLEY: Mr. Schumer, aye.

Mr. Sessions, aye.

SEN. BYRD: Let the leadership of this Congress know that you don’t want this resolution rammed through this Congress before the election. The life of your son may depend upon it. The life of your daughter may depend upon it.

Get out there and let the leadership know.

TINSLEY: Mr. Shelby, aye.

Mr. Smith of New Hampshire, aye.

Mr. Smith of Oregon, aye.

Ms. Snowe, aye.

Mr. Specter, aye.

SEN. BYRD: Let the hills and the mountains and the valleys reverberate with the sound of your voices. It’s your country. Stand for it now.

People out there, speak out!



DONAHUE: And you know, he was I think he’s patronized, you know? Everybody respects him, but I don’t think they see it, really.

There’s a reason only Congress can declare war. And Byrd makes this case, along with James Madison. It’s too much of a temptation for one man. Don’t let you give a man the Army, Navy, Marines. You give him a if you give him a cruise missile, he’ll fire it.

LAMB: Go back to the beginning of this. Should the White House Correspondents’ Dinner happen in this town, and all the people that were attend and have dinner, and then laugh at the Oval Office routine?

DONAHUE: I think it would be a nice gesture for the Washington-based media establishment to suspend the live music and the formal dresses and the alcohol. You know? Suspend it as a matter of respect.

Nobody has to sleep on a hair shirt here. And we’re all involved all of us. We’re never by the way, we’re never going to feel safe, Americans, in my opinion, until we are brave enough to elect leaders who will reach out, rather than lash out.

And wouldn’t it be a nice gesture for the White House Correspondents’ Association to say, this year this year we’re not going to do it. Maybe we’ll visit the Wall, or maybe we’ll go to Arlington.

LAMB: Should the president have done the skit from the Oval Office? And is it fair to laugh at this search for weapons of mass destruction?

DONAHUE: Obviously, it was a huge blunder by the president.

First of all, remember this. We’ve got people in the White House, on the payroll, who are being paid by public money to write jokes. And this takes time. Some of this material is hugely funny.

LAMB: They might tell you at this point I don’t know for sure that they hire a consultant outside to write those jokes, and paid for by the Republican National Committee.


LAMB: Because that may appear

DONAHUE: I think that’s a distinction without a difference. But fine. Then I apologize for but are you suggesting that Michael Gerson, for example, who helped prepare those talking points, was not contributing to what’s funny?

I mean, that’s a huge thing. I mean, there are people in this town who make a full-time living just writing political humor that works inside the Beltway.

LAMB: The fellow’s name that you couldn’t remember is David Tinsley, the clerk

DONAHUE: Thank you. Thank you.

LAMB: in the Senate.

DONAHUE: Two-syllable last name. Sorry, Mr. Tinsley. What a voice you have. Wow.

LAMB: And then I want to ask you one other question about what we just saw.

Was the part where Tomas Young was watching the White House Correspondents’ Dinner reenacted?

DONAHUE: No. I flew to Kansas City for that, the night that you broadcast it.

And as you may remember, they visited former they visited previous White House to give you a sense of what the jokes were in the past. And I was behind the camera while it panned down to Tomas watching it. That was real.

LAMB: Here is Brie, his wife. And our audience has not seen a lot of Brie. As someone who watched your documentary, one of the things I thought of about her is, how did she do this? She never lost her temper. She never got upset.

And let’s watch a little bit where she talks about it, and get your reaction to it.


BRIE YOUNG: I do a lot of nursing care for Tomas. And I’ve heard a lot of people say that that can get in the way of your intimacy.

I’m cleaning out his puke pan. He gets nauseous a lot, especially in the mornings.

When we are fighting, he will sometimes get angry and say we’re basically roommates, and that I’m, you know, his housekeeper and his maid. I could count on my hand one hand how many times we’ve had sex.

And then, obviously, when you’re spending a lot of time in bed and you can’t easily get up and go get things, you have a lot of things at hand. You have your magazines and books and CDs.

But he puts everything right down the middle of the bed, and physically builds a wall between us.


LAMB: The reason why I mentioned that you see her all through this, and that’s the first time you ever hear anything negative, if that is negative, I mean, when she’s explaining what actually happened.

What can you tell us about her? Do you know her?

DONAHUE: She was well, I was a guest at the wedding. And I’ve obviously been she would drive me to the airport on my visits to Kansas City.

She loved Tomas.

LAMB: We’re going to show the last clip is well, you know what it’s going to be. I haven’t told you what it’s going to be, but it’s going to put the capper on all this.

DONAHUE: Well, you mean on this domestic situation.

LAMB: On yes, on the domestic situation.

DONAHUE: You know, I just she really she thought she could make this go. Tomas thought he could, as well. And

LAMB: Well, let’s watch that, and then we can wrap it up.

DONAHUE: All right.

LAMB: Here’s the last.

DONAHUE: Here it is.


BRIE YOUNG: Well, in my new apartment, my one-room studio small apartment. What he told me was that he wanted to end it before we started hating each other.

TOMAS YOUNG: We got to the point where we would start talking, and slowly the conversation would turn into a bicker. And it just we tried going to therapy together. That didn’t really work out that great.

BRIE YOUNG: We fought over everything I don’t know me going out with friends.

I mean, I was out of the house a lot more than he. I had a job, and would go out with friends after work sometimes.

TOMAS YOUNG: One of the big hurdles that kept me from asking for the separation sooner was because I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to function as well on my own.

I’m actually getting food for myself. Oh, my meatloaf’s still in there!

I’m not cooking yet. I’m still a nuclear chef. You want to film my frig? That’s a little on MTV Cribs now?

I don’t really understand why they give you an award for getting shot, but they do. And that’s what that is.

My wife liked to have these kind of things up on display, like this machine-autographed certificate of appreciation from our president.

I already know I got shot. I have an everyday reminder of it. I don’t need to come out here to my living room and see a flag and a purple heart to tell me what situation I’m in.

MUSIC LYRICS: Here’s what you get, an M-16 and a Kevlar vest. You might come home with one less leg, but this thing will surely keep a bullet at your chest. So, come on, come on. Sign up, come on. This one’s nothing like Vietnam, except for the bullet, except for the bomb. Except for the




TOMAS YOUNG: I was paralyzed in Iraq, and I came home to find Jim Talent opposed to the stem cell research that could help me walk again.

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, D-MISSOURI: I’m Claire McCaskill, and I approve this message.

TINSLEY: Mr. Torricelli, aye.

Mr. Voinovich, aye.

Mr. Warner, aye.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The ayes are 77, the nays are 23. The joint resolution is passed.


LAMB: We’re

DONAHUE: This is pardon me. Go ahead, Brian.

This is the point in the film where you hear Robert Byrd, as they carry Tomas up the steps of the Capitol, you hear Robert Byrd say, this will be a blotch on the Congress and the executive forever. To cast a political vote to send our young men and women to war, and to come home either dead or seriously wounded.

Wow. He just comes right at it. I have never seen an act of moral courage like we’ve seen not only from Robert Byrd, but from the 22 senators who supported him, including Lincoln Chafee, the only Republican to vote no. And he was not re-elected to the Senate.

LAMB: Five days that Tomas Young spent in Iraq before he was


LAMB: What is he doing now? How does he make money? How does he live?

DONAHUE: Tomas, first of all, speaks. He’s helping us, obviously. He comes to he came to the festivals.

LAMB: Did you pay him to do this?

DONAHUE: No. We paid for him. We paid his expenses.

He was in Toronto, where by the way, this has been very well received by all of the festivals where we have appeared.

And remember, we’re on the edge now of finding out whether we can make this a commercial venture, and we think we can. We think there’s a lot of wonderful Iraq docs out there, and we’re not saying better, but we are different.

And we want to call attention to the fact that we’re in Landmark Theatres in Washington first, then New York, Boston. April and May are ”Body of War” months for us, so we’re asking people to look for it in a theater near you.

LAMB: Are they divorced now?

DONAHUE: They are.

LAMB: Did either one of them remarry?

DONAHUE: Not to my knowledge, no. No, they haven’t.

LAMB: And Brie lives where?

DONAHUE: In Kansas City.

LAMB: At the end of all this, how do you how do you call it a success? What has to happen?

DONAHUE: You know, when people at the end of our movie, people sit there, and they’ve told us this. And it’s very we’re very pleased to hear this. They’re a little wobbly. And they look at those credits going, and they say, ”My God. I’ve got to do something.”

I think I’m Tomas wants to be a player in the anti-war movement, and so do I. We want this film to be a player. We want it to put wind at the back of all of those people who have been out there all these many, many months alone. And we’re saying, you know, we have a Web site, bodyofwar.com, which gives you 12 things you can do.

LAMB: What has what have your friends in the media said to you about this? Any of the big shows going to talk to you about this?

DONAHUE: Bill Moyers will feature us. And I’m hopeful of getting on the shout shows. I mean, we need every platform we can, because we don’t have a corporate budget. I mean, I can’t afford full-page ads in every city, you know, where this.

So, Tomas and I have to sort of tap dance and call people’s attention to the fact that we’re out there. So, people may be seeing more of me than they want to over the next several weeks.

LAMB: ”Body of War.” Thank you, Phil Donahue.

DONAHUE: Thank you, Brian Lamb.


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