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Kevin Benderman Defense Committee



Letters from Fort Lewis Brig
by Kevin Benderman

Editor's Note (August 31, 2006): Kevin Benderman has been released from confinement at Fort Lewis, and has returned home to his wife and family. For more of his writings, and other updates, see the Kevin Benderman Defense Committee homepage and Benderman Defense Trust.

July 20, 2006

There seems to be a large consensus among people who want to stop war that the best way to accomplish this is to urge soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen to just up and leave their post. This is an unrealistic and irresponsible viewpoint that is unattainable.

Turn the issue around. What would you do if a service member told you to quit your job, stop paying taxes and run to Canada or Mexico in order to take away finances and possible personnel used to fight the war? "Unrealistic," you may say, and you would be correct in that assessment. It is just as unrealistic for anyone to expect service members to just walk away from what they have invested so much of themselves in.

If you want to "support our troops" as much as you say, then stop putting all the responsibility on them with the unrealistic expectation for them to just quit. What we need to do as a group of well organized, concerned citizens is set down a clear plan for how we want to accomplish our goals and then implement that plan. Dragging out all the old, worn-out and ineffective methods used during the 60's to protest isn't going to work. It didn't work then and it isn't going to work now.

What will work is to get a copy of our Constitution, familiarize ourselves with it, and understand what its laws mean. What will work is for citizens of this country to learn their responsibility to this country and to honor it with more than words on signs.

We must realize that our efforts should be directed toward reaching a consensus among ourselves about how we want to accomplish our goals in order to provide for mortgage payments, truck and car payments, childcare, and all other living expenses our soldiers are responsible for before you boldly continue with public statements encouraging our young service members to simply walk or run away.

So put down your picket signs, go home, get familiar with the documents that govern our laws, organize your community groups of conscientious citizens willing to communicate with their elected representatives, and work with them to reach a positive solution to the adverse action now affecting all of us. It is your responsibility to be actively involved with our government officials to see that the laws of our nation ethically and morally represent the principles of our Constitution, and this will not be accomplished by yelling in the streets. It will be accomplished by people coming together, hearing all sides, and realizing that compromise is needed to achieve results that fairly represent the rights of all people in this country.

"Supporting the troops" is not flag-waving; it is not attaching yellow, purple, or red-white and blue plastic ribbons to our gas tanks, and it is not waving signs in the streets. There is no support for the troops when people encourage them to simply quit their post while those same people are refusing to take an active role in seeing that there is something positive in place for those "troops" to report to.

It is the responsibility of all United States citizens to see that our laws are protected from the abuse of unscrupulous individuals who seek power for their own gain, and this is accomplished through active participation, not cheerleading from the streets.

--Sgt. Kevin Benderman - Prisoner of Conscience, Conscientious Objector to War.

July 20, 2006

Israel has declared all out war against Lebanon and is currently in the process of attempting to bomb Beirut into oblivion.

Our current presidential administration seems to believe it is necessary to support this military action.

It is my firm opinion that we should not provide Israel with any military assistance or moral support as they continue to fight this unnecessary war.

As a matter of fact, Israel should realize the artificial creation of it as a state in 1948 is the root cause of their never-ending war since that time. Israel and NATO should have negotiated with the people that already had been long established in that region for the accommodation of the misplaced Holocaust survivors instead of bullying their way into an occupation.

The United States needs to stop aiding and abetting the long and extremely heinous cycle of war in this region and to begin to work with both sides to come up with a viable solution. If the two sides refuse to make no positive attempts to resolve this longstanding conflict then we should no longer support either side.

As an average taxpayer, I'm tired of my tax dollars being spent on programs that assist this situation to continue to create instability in this region. If the nation of Israel wants to continue this madness, then let them do it on their own.

This never-ending war started in 1948, then simmered until 1967, then again until 1973 and has been going strong ever since. There has been nothing positive accomplished by all of this fighting and for it to have continued this long is pure insanity.

For us to continue to support this madness through the sale of surplus military equipment and the training in the proper use of this equipment is a worthless waste of our time and resources. We have not benefited from this in any way.

As a matter of fact, our involvement in this situation has proven physically detrimental to our economy on at least one prior occasion and it is apparently doing so again. The 1973 OPEC Oil Embargo against us was put in place because of our assistance to Israel. Now oil prices are at close to $80 per barrel, which is having an extremely adverse effect on our economy.

For us to continue to throw good money after bad in this situation absolutely makes no sense. It is far past the time for Israel to wean itself from the American teats and to reach a sound compromise in the region, or get out.

Either way the United States should stop assisting this situation to continue and to start giving the resources we have wasted on this insanity to reduce our National Deficits and to resolve other problems we face here at home.

--Sgt. Kevin Benderman - Prisoner of Conscience, Conscientious Objector to War.

July 5, 2006

When I was a young man, we were told to live in fear of the Communists. Now that I am a grown man, we are told to fear the terrorists. What will we be told to fear when I am an old man?

I am beginning to detect a pattern for how fear is used to strip away our freedoms. I think we need to be on watch for all of these elements here in our very own country. Alarmists create the climate of fear whereby those in power are able to control your reactions to their manipulated stimulus. Absolute power does indeed corrupt absolutely.

I have reached a decision to no longer pay attention to all of the fearmongering from all of the chicken littles who have pervaded our government. I am going to put fear aside and look at the 21st century challenges we face much more rationally.

If our nation is confronted with an unavoidable situation then we should deal with it in a calm and rational manner in order to affect a well thought out and reasoned resolution.

In matters of national security, America does have every right to protect itself, but we should never endeavor to commit our military to defend against an imagined or blown out of proportion threat.

If anyone in government abuses the commitment of the young men and women who have dedicated their lives to the defense of our way of life, that person should be held accountable for their actions, and if found guilty of any wrong-doing prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Americans are going to have to commit themselves to being pro-active participants in our form of government. We all have the responsibility of ensuring that our government operates only within the guidelines and laws established by our Constitution. This is what Lincoln meant when he said that, "Government of the people, by the people and for the people should not perish from the earth."

We cannot expect our government to do everything for us as we sit back and reap the rewards of others' labors. Each one of us has to actively contribute to our country by effectively participating in our government process.

We also need to remove the imaginary barriers that now exist between average Americans, erected by those who benefit from the divisions between the common people. America has not performed to her potential, and unless we bridge the gap that keeps us divided, America will not reach her potential. Americans, let's unite ourselves in our commonality so that we may better ourselves and our future generations instead of letting those who would benefit from the rift created by emphasizing our slight differences continue to tear us down.

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream that we all would sit down at the table of true brotherhood. I believe it is far past the time to make this dream a reality. Americans, there is a place for us all - won't you have a seat at the table?

--Sgt. Kevin Benderman - Prisoner of Conscience, Conscientious Objector to War.

Click here for Letters from Fort Lewis, 11/3/05 - 12/30/05

Click here for Letters from Fort Lewis, 8/12/05 - 10/31/05



Kevin and Monica Benderman
Kevin and Monica Benderman
(Photo Credit: Lewis M. Levine, distributed by www.bendermandefense.org)

Three Direct Ways You Can Support
Kevin Benderman

1.  Express your support to Kevin and Monica. If you want your letter entered into the Congressional Record by Kevin and Monica's Congressional Representative, Cynthia McKinney, click here. If you just want to write Kevin and Monica privately, click here.

2. Email Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, asking what purpose is served by court-martialing Kevin Benderman (click here to go the Department of Defense Comments website and then click on the "Ask a Question / Make a Comment" tab).

3.  To make a donation to help cover Kevin's legal defense costs, click on the button below.

For those who want their donation to be tax-deductible, click here to go to the Kevin Benderman C.O. Defense Fund, established as an affiliated project of the the Traprock Peace Center in Deerfield, Massachusetts.

Donations by check should be made out to "Kevin Benderman Defense," and sent c/o Kevin and Monica Benderman, P.O. Box 2322, Hinesville, GA 31310.