Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Sgt Kevin Benderman Goes on Trial Tomorrow

Kevin Benderman will face a General Courts Martial tomorrow for his refusal to deploy to Iraq a second time. It is the Army that should be on trial (as well as Bush & Co) and not Kevin! (the article By John Catalinotto follows my short comments)

Kevin Benderman is a man of the highest ethics, integrity and sense of honor; and one that I have had the good fortune to have met. We have had many, many conversations over the past year and I always come away from those conversations with increased admiration and respect for Kevin and his wife Monica. Kevin has raised the “bar” and has set an example that we would all do good to follow. It was Kevin’s willingness to go public with his decision not to re-deploy to Iraq that has got in the position he is in currently. It was after all his going public that got the Army’s shorts tied in a knot. It does not like or appreciate media or public attention and anything or anyone that puts a spotlight on the Army will, as has Kevin, suffer its full wrath.

But Kevin has not been intimidated by the Army—honorable men of ethics and integrity are not easily intimidated—but has stood tall with honor against the beast this nation’s military has been turned into thanks to the “perpetual war for perpetual peace” insanity of Bush & Co.

Here is the email response I sent to Kevin and Monica today behind the one I received from them, also today:

No Monica, it is not for me...it is for your children; it is for all the children you do not know but who will be affected by all of the efforts of you and Kevin. It is for the wives and children of those in the same position as you and Kevin; that's what you are fighting for and that is also what I fight for.

It is up to people like us to fight for those who for one reason or another cannot fight for themselves. And it is that which you and Kevin have fought so well for.

You are an amazing woman, Monica and one with a good heart as well as mind. You, like Kevin, have looked the "beast" dead in the eye and have fought it on its own terms. Regardless of how this turns out, you have raised the bar of open active resistance for others to see and follow--you have set the example for others to follow and nothing and no one can ever take that away from you.

I can only hope at this point in time that others in this country will recognize the extremely important example you have set for the rest of us. A living example of ethics, integrity, honor and a refusal to compromise any of that for any reason--That is something to be emulated by all.

My prayers are with you both and do so hope that the court tomorrow will see and understand that the right thing to do with Kevin is just to give him a discharge and send him home. Anyone who has served this nation with honor, as has Kevin over the past 11 years, does not deserve to be treated in the manner in which he is being treated. It is the Army that has committed an act of dishonor after all by even wanting to put him on trial.

Read this email sent to me by Kevin. Kevin sums it up rather nicely:

Jack: We are going to "slay the dragon" that is threatening our very existence as a country and we are going to do this together as a team. I could not do what you have helped me do if you had not been there to get this message out to others.

You have been fighting the beast far longer than I have and I am now trying to get up to speed on what I should have been doing all along.

Jack, I have never felt that your generation has gotten a fair shake from the powers that put you into that hellhole called southeast Asia but I never actively tried to force them to put things right, well all that is changing for me now and I will use my energy to try and set things right for you and everyone that has gotten the shitty end of the stick from these assholes. And I hope my efforts will prevent another generation from receiving the same treatment from the assholes that hide behind people like us. In peace, Kevin

Kevin Benderman truly is a man of courage and honor.--Jack

Kevin Benderman On Trial

Anti-war groups mobilize for July 28 court-martial

http://www.workers.org/2005/us/benderman-0804/

By John Catalinotto

Army Sgt. Kevin Benderman is scheduled to face general court-martial July 28 in Fort Stewart, Ga., for charges of desertion and missing movement. These charges stem from his principled refusal to return to Iraq and take part in the war and occupation there. His supporters are organizing to be present at his trial.

Benderman faces up to seven years in prison.Military Judge Col. Donna M. Wright threw out charges of larceny against Benderman on July 22. The Army had based the larceny charges against this war resister on an Army accounting error that resulted in Benderman receiving an extra $2,922 in combat pay.

Last May officers used the threat of an additional 10 years in prison to try to get Benderman to waive his right to a new investigation of the desertion charges.

Army mechanic Sgt. Benderman is a 10-year Army veteran. He and his spouse, Monica Benderman, have been equally active in speaking and writing against the war on Iraq. Their writings can be found at: www.bendermandefense.org.

Benderman has been among the most outspoken of the military resisters of conscience.Others who have refused Iraq duty include Marine Pvt. Steven Funk, Army Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia, Navy Petty Officer Third Class Pablo Paredes and National Guard Sgt. Carl Webb.

Army Pfc. Jeremy Hinzman and Pvt. Brandon Hughey have chosen to go to Canada rather than to Iraq.Support resisters!

These individuals deserve the support of the anti-war movement. They are a tiny conscious vanguard expressing a much more widespread discontent among U.S. rank-and-file troops about the war in Iraq.

An Army report released July 20 writes that a majority of troops in Iraq say "morale is low," especially among National Guard and Army Reserve troops."Low morale" means the troops don't want to fight in Iraq and want to get home as soon as possible. This may be a sign of growing political consciousness as well as war-weariness.

Since he finished his one-year prison sentence for refusing to go to Iraq, Camilo Mejia has become an activist with the Iraq Veterans against the War (IVAW). He has now written a letter asking anti-war forces to support Sgt. Benderman at his court-martial. "The best way to show your support," writes Mejia, "is by attending the trial and participating in any rallies and/or activities in support of the Bendermans. But also by announcing the trial and requesting support through your websites and publications."

…………………………………………………………………
Also see: A Man of Integrity: Sgt. Kevin Benderman
By: Jack Dalton

One can only imagine the struggle, the agonizing process Sgt Kevin Benderman has gone through which culminated in his decision to refuse orders for deployment to Iraq a little over a week ago—which would have been his second deployment. Having spoken with Kevin and his wife Monica multiple times, I have a real good idea of the internal struggle they went through over an extended period of time. What I came away with from some of our conversations is the simple fact Kevin’s decision was not a snap decision, but was very carefully though out—good, bad and everything in-between, all was weighed, carefully and deeply. (open the link for the full story)
http://www.oldamericancentury.org/dalt1043.htm

And see this also:
If you are presently serving in the military or in the Delayed Enlistment Program and beginning to rethink your participation, here are resources to help you. (open the link for the resources)
http://www.oldamericancentury.org/docs3.htm

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