I received the following from Monica Benderman earlier today: Hi Jack ...Kevin and I had a great conversation this morning... he says to let you know he really appreciates you. He wanted me to pass something of his along... and maybe you can see that others hear it...
But first I have a couple of things I want to say. Not the least of which is simply this: if you want someone of character; of high ethics and integrity; of high moral conscience and standards that you want as a role model you need look no further than Kevin Benderman. Kevin is all of that and more. To be called 'friend ' by him is an honor.
When Kevin 's unit was sent to Iraq the first time, Kevin saw the utter destruction caused by our invasion of Iraq. He saw how quick and easy it was for people to develop a complete disregard for human life in their struggle to just stay alive; he saw the slaughter of innocent people; he saw the total disregard and elevation of man 's inhumanity to man; he heard orders to "shoot to kill " even children.
He saw, heard and began to understand that what Americans were being told about what was happening in Iraq were lies; whose only purpose were to keep public approval for this U.S. war of aggression up --deliberate deception. Kevin began to realize, as have so many others that have been to war, that war is not the answer. And a war based on deliberate deceptions and lies, as is this Bush/Cheney & Co., Inc war of choice in Iraq, is definitely not an answer to anything.
Kevin returned from Iraq knowing that war is wrong; "that it is the most dehumanizing creation of humanity that exists. He saw war destroy civilians, innocent men, women and children. He saw war destroy homes, relationships and a country. He saw this not only in the country that was invaded, but he saw this happening to the invading country as well, here in the U.S. and he knew that the only way to save those soldiers was for people to no longer participate in war. Sgt. Kevin Benderman is a Conscientious Objector to war, and the Army is mad. " The Army 's response was to send Kevin to a military jail at Fort Lewis, Washington for the next 15 months.
Sending Kevin to Fort Lewis was the Army 's last jab-in-the-back at Kevin and Monica. Fort Lewis is 3,000 miles away from where Kevin was stationed --Ft Stewart, GA --and where the home they are buying is located. Now, not only is Kevin in a military jail, but one 3,000 miles away from the home Monica is now living alone in.
"Is this what we have allowed this nation to become? Lives that are not our own, but the states to do with as it will when it will? That 's not an all volunteer military, that 's called forced indenture --once it was called slavery. " (Monica Benderman)
See Kevin Benderman Defense Committee for further information and updates about Kevin and Monica Benderman and their fight for true justice. http://www.bendermandefense.org/
Kevin and I had a great conversation this morning... he says to let you know he really appreciates you. He wanted me to pass something of his along... and maybe you can see that others hear it...
"I have immense respect for all the veterans, and now, the Viet Nam veterans, the Gulf War veterans, and those returning from Iraq with me. These veterans that have put their lives on the line for their country deserve all the honor we can give them. One of the chief reasons for the stand that I am taking is to show that respect for these veterans, and to see that others who don't understand, also come to respect our sacrifice. Our soldiers and veterans are human beings first, I can attest to that with my own life, and we all deserve to be treated as human beings first, and then as soldiers who have given what we can to defend our country through our service. Agent Orange, Depleted Uranium, mistreated PTSD, disrupted families, and a country that will not make a concerted effort to work toward alternative solutions to war, are blatant signs of disrespect for our service. I stand to honor those who fought in wars to see that wars would end. I laid down my gun so that my life will represent my words honestly. I believe there is a better way than war, and I stand to honor those soldiers who have come to know that the last thing they want to have to do is go to war. Defense of our country should not get to the extreme of war. We should do all that we can to honor the service of our veterans to make changes in our policies that allow us to remain safe and protected from those who would want to disrupt our peace, so that we can avert our need for war, and teach our children a better way."
Sgt. Kevin Benderman - Conscientious Objector to War
And, In Case You Missed This:
Is Being a Conscientious Objector Now Criminal?
By: Monica Benderman