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Kevin Benderman Defense Committee



Letters from Fort Lewis
August 12 - October 31, 2005
by Kevin Benderman

October 31, 2005

An Ounce of Prevention

How can we begin to resolve the issues that arise between the peoples of the world?

I don't proclaim to have all of the answers, but I believe a good way to start would be by utilizing sound foreign policy and a good application of diplomatic skills tempered with common sense. This combination could go a long way toward preventing a situation from escalating into the brutal stupidity of war.

When it comes to the indiscriminate death and destruction that comes from war, I believe the axiom "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," is the only way to approach the looming possibility. This leads to the question, "How can we prevent war in an increasingly unstable world?" This is a complex question for which there are no simple answers.

I believe that this country can help foster that "ounce of prevention" by no longer providing arms for unstable leaders, a statement supported by facts from the history of the development of our current situation. During the 1980's, when Iran was at war with Iraq, our elected leaders decided to assist Iraq by providing them with arms and training in military tactics. The study of our recent history verifies this through the facts. It goes to show that we helped create the atmosphere that got us bogged down in this current situation.

Another interesting fact is that Ft. Leavenworth, KS, has a Command and General Staff College or CGSC. This college trains our officers in the tactics and techniques of war fighting. I was stationed at Ft. Leavenworth from 1987 through 1991, and while there I witnessed Iraqi Army Officers attending the CGSC in 1988. Imagine my surprise when we were going to war only two years later in 1990 in the Persian Gulf.

I suggest we stop arming and training the armies of governments that are not stable to begin with. Instead of military tactics and arms, I believe we should start exporting food production technology, medical technology, research and development on alternate fuel sources or any other development programs that would benefit the collective needs of humanity.

To sum up, I certainly hope we all start practicing the "ounce of prevention" when it comes to the consideration of war, not only for our sake but for that of our children and grandchildren as well.

October 24, 2005

While I have been confined, I am still able to stay in touch with what is happening in our world. It has come to my attention that various groups around the country are planning on holding vigils upon the death of the 2000th soldier in Iraq. I have also come to understand that there is almost a countdown to this event, as though this is something to look forward to - the death of a young man or woman to add clout to their cause. As a soldier, I can honestly say, I would not want to hear that organizations were sending emails and planning the day of my death so that it may be used to further a political agenda, under the guise of stopping the war, and giving their organization a more prominent platform.

Imagine what the young soldiers would think, or how they would feel, if they were to hear of such nonsense. I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that no one is lining up to receive that distinction, so that they can become the "poster child" for the next effort to end the war. I have to personally say that this idea does not seem well thought out, if it has been thought through at all with regard to the feelings of the soldiers hearing what is being planned.

I also understand that there are people speaking of tying themselves to the fence outside of the White House in protest until all of the soldiers are returned home. Grandstanding such as this is not the way to get our troops home. All such stunts do is to provide the proponents of this war fodder to prove that the anti-war crowd is just a bunch of half--baked ideologues with no sound solutions to the problem.

Instead of looking forward to the death of a service member, or to grandstanding publicity stunts, why aren't we using all of this energy to create a well organized approach to ending this war based on the facts surrounding the issues of the illegality of it? The Nuremberg Tribunal states that no country may take an aggressive military action against another unless it is an act of self-defense. The action taken against Iraq has now been shown clearly that it was not in self-defense, as stated by the findings of the 911 commission. Iraq in no way attacked this country, or was aligned with Afghanistan. This particular provision of the Nuremberg Tribunal was introduced at the insistence of our government, and was signed by our President and ratified by our Congress as being legally binding upon the United States FOREVER. It is this type of information that is going to have to be carefully interpreted, methodically developed and presented in order to bring this madness to a halt. Grandstanding, providing no viable alternatives to the situation we now have, and using the death of the 2000th American soldier to advertise a cause will not.

--Sgt. Kevin Benderman (Prisoner of Conscience to War)

October 22, 2005

"The Buck Stops Here."

A simple statement that lets us know that responsibility for actions will not be shirked, or sent down to subordinates for blame. This statement was on a plaque on Harry S. Truman's desk while he served as President of our nation, and he employed that ideal in the daily undertaking of his duties.

I want to know what has happened to that philosophy of using integrity in the decisions made by our government, acting on them after careful thought to the consequences, and accepting responsibility when the actions are wrong, even harmful to our country.

Everywhere you look today, you see finger pointing, and people that we entrusted to hold offices in government with a certain level of integrity, acting like small children when they are up to mischief. This attitude has pervaded our highest levels of elected and appointed leadership positions.

This attitude of not taking responsibility for what has happened during their watch has reached appalling levels in this country. I believe that the reason for this condition is apathy, and the fact that it is so widespread throughout the citizenship of our nation. I don't know why we have become so apathetic as a people but if we don't start caring soon, then the ideals of the founding fathers of this country are going to erode to the point where our nation will no longer stand. Our constitution clearly gives the controlling power in this country to the American citizens. Unless the people of America wake up and take hold of the responsibility the constitution ensures is their right, we will continue to see the decline of this country into a state where no one will be able to speak their mind or even exercise their basic rights.

We must not allow fear to dictate our actions, but we also must take action only after a well-thought out plan is in place to be implemented to solve the problem. Roosevelt said that Fear is all we have to be afraid of. But we are currently being told to be afraid of everything, even our shadows, it seems. Americans, it is past time to stand up, shake off our fear and accept our responsibility.

"The Buck Stops Here."

--Sgt. Kevin Benderman - Conscientious Objector to War

October 22, 2005

Veterans of the various wars this country has engaged in are not always treated with the same amount of honor and integrity they displayed during their term of service.

I have to ask, "Why is someone who is willing to put his or her life on the line for an ideal supposedly encouraged by the people of this country, treated like less than a valuable member of society upon their return from combat?" We expect our veterans to perform honorably under some of the most inhumane conditions during a war, and yet we believe they are less than honorable when they display the emotional and physical distress that comes from carrying out acts that are required under those difficult conditions. This current war is no different from others in that respect.

At Ft. Stewart, Georgia, I was contacted by the mother of a young soldier who was destined to be released from the service due to a medical condition that caused neurological deafness. He held a medical report that labeled him as non-deployable, and was scheduled to face a hearing to be medically discharged. Rather than be placed in Rear Detachment to await this release, his First Sergeant and another soldier entered his barracks room in the night, and ordered him to report for deployment to Iraq with his unit, or face 11 years in prison for desertion. This young soldier, not knowing that he had another option, is now serving in Iraq - hearing impaired.

Another soldier's family notified me that their loved one had been scheduled to be released from the service due to a partial paralysis in both arms. He had bone spurs on his cervical vertebrae pressing on his spinal cord, that caused this condition which was aggravated when he put on his Kevlar helmet. Even though he stood in formation, unable to raise his arms, and with his equipment on unable to use his trigger finger due to the paralysis, this soldier's platoon sergeant threatened him with jail time for malingering, pretending injury to avoid serving his duty, and ordered him to deploy to Iraq.

Another young man from Ft. Stewart, this soldier from the unit that I was in, attempted suicide as a result of severe PTSD, coming from his service during Operation Iraqi Freedom. This young soldier ingested 32 percoset tablets in an attempted suicide, was admitted to the Liberty County Medical Center, and when our company commander and battalion commander found out, had him moved to the Army hospital at Ft. Stewart where, upon his arrival the company commander accused him of malingering, and said he would stay in a hospital gown until 5 days later, when he would be deployed in handcuffs. The commanding officer restrained the soldier's wife from visiting him in the psych unit of the Army hospital, and berated her for assisting her husband. This soldier was ultimately ordered to deploy, and receive his counseling treatment in a combat zone.

I ask you, "Is this the type of treatment soldiers deserve, especially from people who are in commanding positions in an organization for which they took an oath to protect their soldiers no matter what?"

I could list numerous other incidents such as these, that I have witnessed in my ten years of service, but I believe you can get the jist of what I would like you to know just by hearing these 3 stories.

Veterans deserve better than this, regardless of what war they have had to fight. Veterans from past wars are now in danger of losing benefits, of being given less than honorable treatment for their service, and are being left forgotten while taxpayers' hard-earned money is going to finance an equally difficult war, that is creating thousands of new veterans.

It is not about politics, it is not about ideologies. This battle for peace, in which I am now engaged, is about people, and sadly, the men and women who have put the most on the line for the people of this country - are the ones being given the least respect by their fellow citizens now.

If Americans do not stand up and demand that they be represented with the integrity they deserve, it is not a country that will suffer - it is the people who make up this country that will lose.

Sgt. Kevin Benderman - Conscientious Objector to War

October 17, 2005

I would like to focus on the families of veterans of war, and what they have experienced as a result of loving someone who has to go to war. The wives, sons, daughters, and more recently, the husbands of war fighters, are just as adversely affected by the insanity of war as the soldiers themselves.

Spouses that are left behind are as emotionally traumatized as anyone, when their soldier leaves them and they have no idea if their loved one is going to die. That uncertainty is very draining on a person's state of mind, not knowing if there will be any communication from their loved one, or if they will ever hear from them alive again. Imagine your child wondering why Mommy or Daddy is not there to tuck them into bed or read them a story at night. Imagine your son or your daughter ready for graduation day, and you not there to be a part of that once in a lifetime moment.

So much as been taken from the people who have volunteered to fight wars, in the name of defending this country, and the loss of their families can never be replaced. Anniversaries are missed, weddings of family members are missed, graduations, baby's first steps, and countless other moments that most people who have never had to go to war take forgranted.

I have attended memorial services for fallen soldiers from Ft. Stewart, Georgia. I have seen and heard the grief of family members of the fallen soldiers and it is a sound that I never want to hear again. It is so very senseless to me, and I was greatly affected by it. Imagine what those family members were feeling. The depth of their loss is immense, and I know that I don't have the words to say what I felt, much less to describe what the family members were feeling.

The grief felt by a mother, father, uncle or aunt, sister or brother, wife or husband of someone whose life was taken by war, cannot be lessened by the playing of taps or receiving a folded flag. While they are customs offered out of respect, they are not a replacement for the life that has been taken so needlessly. So while we mourn our fallen comrades killed by the senseless violence that war is, let us not forget the families and the incredible loss and grief they have to suffer as well.

--Sgt. Kevin Benderman - Conscientious Objector to War

October 13, 2005

It has been said that you should never question what the heads of government tell you is right, but I say that by the very way that the constitution of this country is laid out there is an expectation of every citizen to do just that.

It is every citizen’s responsibility, as well as their inherent right, to question the motives of our elected leaders. Our form of government is unique in the world in that respect. Slowly we have allowed those that we have hired to serve us in our government to twist the intent of the founding fathers into what we now have. They now want us to believe that we are never supposed to question their actions or hold them accountable for the mistakes they make. And yet, in certain cases, there are actions that they take which are blatantly illegal.
I believe it is past time for the citizens of this country to stand up and tell the people we have hired to work for us that we expect them to perform to the higher standard we have set for them.

It is time to let our employees know that we will not tolerate condescension from them. If they break the laws of this country then they will be held accountable for what they are responsible for. They should not be able to pass the buck on their own insubordination to the American citizens for which they work.

Sgt. Kevin Benderman - Conscientious Objector to War

October 6, 2005

There are people who do not understand how someone can grow, develop and change their perspective about things that they have been a part of for years. That is why some people seem to be having such a hard time understanding why I, a soldier with ten years of honorable service, have now reached a new understanding about the futility and stupidity of war.

For many years I was influenced by, and taught to admire war through the knowledge of a family history of military service, the regional influence of living in the South, with Civil War memorials everywhere, and the basic teachings of our country's involvement of war throughout its history.

People who wanted to bring about change for the better through peaceful means were denigrated as un-American and unpatriotic. Which makes me ask, "Why do you have to love the indiscriminate and destructive force of war to be considered a patriot?"

I do understand that there are some people who are against anything that concerned people in this country try to do that is a step away from the way we have always done things, and that is their right. But, if they do not like what is happening, then no one is keeping them here against their will. Peaceful resolutions will work, and there is progress toward making them a reality. But we must not lose sight of this progress, and we should not back down from our principles when those who do not see reason in a new way try to discourage us through fear.

I have a problem with Americans who want to continue to solve our problems with violence. We pay lip to people like Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Jr, and various others, who have taught and continue to teach that our country would be better served through peaceful actions, all the while we are spending billions on developing more effective killing methods.

I have come to the conclusion that you can hate the violence and stupidity of war, yet love the country in which you were born and raised. War should not be a source of national identity and pride. To quote Norman H. Schwarzkopf, at the time a battalion commander in Viet Nam, "War is a profanity, it really is. It is terrifying. Nobody is more anti-war than an intelligent person who has been to war."

That about sums it up.

Sgt. Kevin Benderman - Conscientious Objector to War

September 29, 2005

Regional religious preferences have caused as much bloodshed as any of the other myriad justifications mankind has used to kill one another. One religious philosophy is persecuted by another, that is then persecuted by another and so on. All this persecution of one group by another needs to stop because it goes against the basic idea of the law, which is to "love your neighbor as you do yourself." 

So many people are caught up in the petty belief that the Creator recognizes only "them" as the chosen people. When are we going to realize that we are attempting the impossible by trying to fit the Creator of all life into an image that suits only us? 

Do you not think that the power that created the entire universe, and all that it holds, has the ability to reach each person in a way that he or she understands? 

That personal communication doesn't mean that we have exclusive rights to force others to adapt to our understanding. The Creator will interact with each people in a manner that works best for them to receive. It is not up to us to force anyone else to adopt what works for us.

Humanity should open its collective eyes and take a good hard look at the mistakes we have made and will continue to make unless we admit to the fact that everyone of us are alike and have the same basic needs. We speak a different language, we are peoples of many tongues. The Creator will come to us in the language and the books that each of understands, but the Creator comes to give us all the same things. 

There is not one group of people that is superior to another.  Humanity as a whole would be much better off if we could stop believing that one specific group is the "chosen one" and realize that we are all children of the Creator.  Our efforts would be better spent assisting each other instead of killing each other over differences in how we worship the Creator. 

It would benefit us all to put an end to all the meaningless reasons we conjure up in an attempt to justify our disruptive tendencies. How can we claim to have the Creator on our side in a war that was started by man's ideology, greed or just plain human meanness? In all of the different tenets of religion that I have read, I have found the same basic philosophy. 

"Thou Shall Not Kill." 

There are no qualifiers in that definitive statement. There are no disclaimers, excuses or legal authority giving any of us the license to kill. It is simple and direct. "You Shall Not Kill." The Creator wants all of humanity to live together peacefully. Isn't it time to start trying? OR - are we going to continue to lay the responsibility for our failures at the Creator's feet? 

--Sgt. Kevin Benderman - Conscientious Objector to War

September 21, 2005

Today, I would like to consider all the people who have died as a result of war.  I would like to consider all the people who have been physically scarred as a result of war. I would like to consider all the people who are suffering mental and emotional trauma as a result of the ravages of war. 

I want you to recall the pictures of the little girl running along the road way in Viet Nam, horribly burned from OUR use of Napalm in that war. 

And - I want to convey to you the image that I have of a young girl whose arm was burned terribly from OUR weapons, and who was left standing by the side of the road, to fend for herself,  because OUR fighting a war was more important than helping an injured child.  

I want you to think of lives disrupted because of war. I want you to understand not seeing a child take his or her first steps, and their mom or dad missing that moment because of war. I want you to think of graduations, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, births, and everything that makes up our lives, stolen from us as a result of being in a war. 

I want you to think of the great men and women who will be forever missing from someone's life because of the stupidity and inhumanity of war. No one should have to suffer the anguish of burying a child, a brother, a sister, a mom, a dad, an aunt, an uncle, a husband or wife because of war. 

I want you to understand my father's horror at the atrocities of war he faced in WW II,  and his struggle with incomprehension at my not grasping what he was trying to tell me about war. 

I want you to think about why a veteran can be homeless, and can lose benefits promised to him or her for having fought to defend this country in war.  

But most of all, I want you to think about why we are even pursuing such an outmoded and barbaric institution as war to express our civilized desireto better the world in which we live. 

--Sgt. Kevin Benderman - Conscientious Objector to War

September 19, 2005

I have made a decision to choose what I want to do with my life, and it seems to have created a large controversy among people that are thoroughly entrenched within their own state of mind. My decision was one of a personal nature, and has stirred up the proverbial hornet's nest on either side of the subject.

You see, my decision was to no longer participate in war after having experienced its insanity firsthand during Operation Iraqi Freedom. After growing up in a climate that glorifies war, being inundated with movies and other media that want to sanitize war, I went to the war in Iraq, and I realized that the entire business is so basically obscene and utterly inhuman, that I wanted nothing else to do with it. People reacted violently to my decision. I was labeled "coward" and even had my patriotism brought into question.

This led me to ask, "are we so entrenched in love of war in America, that we cannot begin to see how to start moving away from it as a source of national identity and pride?"

If I kill someone with a high-powered assault rifle, why does that make me a better citizen?

I believe we are long overdue for placing as much effort into developing more positive solutions to disagreements as we do on maintaining a force for destruction. As mature, intelligent people, we all have a choice, and I have made mine based on my personal experiences. Isn't that a fundamental right that we all have?

If so, why then was I placed in prison for making my choice? Don't get me wrong, I was prepared to face the consequences of my actions, and I still am. But isn't it odd that I was put in prison for exercising the right guaranteed me by the US Constitution?

My conscience will no longer allow me to kill another human being, in a war, nor will it allow me to assist anyone else to do so either. It is a sad day when that makes me less of an American as someone who chooses to participate in war. We must not condemn anyone that makes their own choice, but it is inherently unfair to those individuals, like myself, to withhold pertinent information that is needed for them to make the best possible choice.

When I saw for myself what I was not shown before I went to war, I made my choice. In America, we are all free to our choices. As an American soldier, that is what I stood for when I deployed to Iraq. As an American soldier, that is what I stand for now, having seen the horrors of war firsthand, I made my choice, and continue to defend our constitution in the process.

Last week, a woman was put to death in Texas because the courts said that she had killed her family.

I made the choice to no longer participate in war, the greatest open act of killing, and today I am in prison. Why?

--Sgt. Kevin Benderman - Conscientious Objector to War

September 16, 2005

"Am I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?"

It is an interesting question, and a thought-provoking one, from the Bible. It is one that, I believe, is the essence of why I am in jail. The truth I told grew from my experiences in the war in Iraq. I went there with the desire to avenge the people who died on September 11, 2001, and to keep the soldiers that I served with safe in the process.  I went as a soldier in the service of my country, never once thinking that my government would mislead me or lie to me not in order to advance the good of the country, but to fulfill a seemingly personal agenda of a few individuals. The truth that I had to tell came from meeting the people that I had been told were blood-thirsty religious fanatics who were intent on destroying my country and our way of life, and discovering that aside from a few zealots, the assertion was just not the truth.

Zealotry is a very prominent, driving force in the world, and all countries, peoples and religions have them. Yes, there are zealots even within our highly esteemed Christianity, as evidenced by Pat Robertson calling for our government to assassinate the elected president of Venezuela. My pointing out fanaticism from within our own government, and the lies told in order to start the slaughter of a nation that had nothing to do with the September 11 attack on our country, is why I was taken before a Kangaroo court and imprisoned as a result.  The garrison commander told the prosecutors that I was to do 18 months in prison before the investigation phase of the court martial even started. The company commander was trying to come up with everything he could think of to smear me before they concentrated their efforts to put me in jail.

I do not want to mislead anyone into thinking that I am a saint, because I have done many things in my life that are wrong and I am ashamed of doing them. But, I decided that I was not going to add to that list by taking any further part in this war against a people that have done absolutely nothing to us.

Tacitus, a Roman historian, said, "When monarchs through their bloodthirsty commanders lay waste a country, they dignify their atrocity by calling it 'making peace,'" or in this case, by calling it "spreading democracy."

Sgt. Kevin Benderman - conscientious objector to war

September 8, 2005

I am currently reading a book by a Vietnam veteran named William Broyles, Jr. and in it he describes his evolution from a person that fought in the war as a soldier to one that wanted to see the humanity of his adversaries, so that he would be able to reclaim this very humanity for himself. I believe he did that, and in the process was able to see that the people he fought against were just as human as he, and not the savage, backwards, sub-human creatures they were made out to be.

In the book, he tells of a man named Norman Morrison, who, on November 9, 1965, went to the Pentagon with his daughter, Emily, to protest the madness that war is. His protest was much more than carrying a sign or writing letters to his congressman. Norman Morrison, a Quaker, was so disgusted at the stupidity of war that he doused himself with gasoline and burned himself to death.

I will close this with a quote from George Bernard Shaw - "The worst sin towards our fellow creatures, has not been to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity."

Sgt. Kevin Benderman - Conscientious Objector to War

September 2, 2005

"I will not compromise my integrity, nor my moral courage."

These words come directly from the NCO creed, which I swore to uphold as a member of the US Army. When I filed for Conscientious Objector status, it was after careful consideration of my duty to my wife, my step-children, my country and the soldiers I served with. But before I could consider all of this, I had to consider myself. I had to ensure that my actions did not compromise what I believed in and what I stood for. I had served in Iraq, and I had seen the destruction war brings. After careful thought, I knew that I did not believe in war as an answer, and I would not participate in it any longer. 

People told me that I abandoned soldiers. I did not. I chose to no longer fight in wars, because wars will never save lives, and they will never bring peace. I stand for soldiers that their lives and service be given the respect they deserve. People told me that I was a coward. They can believe that, but I know what it takes to stand on my principles against the tide, with the only certainty being that my wife stood with me. People told me that I was letting my country down. I disagree. I am standing to defend what our constitution was founded on - moral principles.

We are learning hard lessons this week. The devastation brought by Hurricane Katrina is teaching us something important. As a country, we cannot take care of others until we have taken care of ourselves. As a soldier, to continue to participate in war would have violated my own principles. I would have destroyed myself and others if I had not chosen to maintain MY integrity as my first consideration. To continue on the destructive path of war would have made me unable to help anyone to grow in positive ways, because I was not growing in positive ways. 

I believe that we, as a country, need to return to our constitution, the foundation of America. This country has compromised its integrity and lost its moral courage. We can't help others until we have fixed ourselves.

--Sgt. Kevin Benderman - Conscientious Objector to War

August 25, 2005

There comes a time in a person's life when they have to re-examine the course they have set for themselves to see if it best for them to continue. I was a US soldier for ten years of my life and after I had experienced war first hand, I came to a personal crossroad.

The decision for me was rather complex as there were many factors that had bearing on my course of action. One was the fact that there had been a member of the military in my family since the American Revolution. Also, the area where I was raised has a strong sense of the military as being one of the most honorable things you can do. Being a soldier in the service of your country is a proud tradition for many American families; it cannot be denied and it is most definitely not to be discouraged. 

But isn't it time we reconsidered war as a way to settle differences among nations? When are we going to realize that creating and using weapons that are capable of killing scores of people in a single blow is a rather barbaric and outmoded way in which to solve our differences? If as much effort were put into solving our differences with positive resolutions as the world has put into developing weapons that are able to wipe out entire countries at a time, war could have been eradicated decades ago, as were various other diseases that we have worked to eliminate. Make no mistake, war is a disease that threatens all of humanity. Isn't it time to dedicate energy, efforts and resources to eliminate this scourge of mankind? I believe it is.

I have laid down my weapons of war to pick them up never again. It is my sincere hope that more people will do the same so that our children and grandchildren will never have to experience what so many of us already have--the single most barbaric of human endeavors, otherwise known as war.

August 17, 2005

On August 5, 2005, kind and brave people in Iraq held prayers for me in over 100 mosques throughout their country as a show of human kindness to me because of my decision to no longer take part in war. It amazes me that despite everything they're dealing with, they took the time to consider my actions and show human kindness and support to me. I am honored by this display of compassion.

This is how the common citizens of any country can rid humanity of the scourge of wars, by laying down their weapons and extending their hand to their fellow brothers and sisters.

Politics cannot end wars but people can. So, why don't we combine our efforts worldwide to put an end to the senselessness of war?

--Sgt. Kevin Benderman - Conscientious Objector to War

August 12, 2005

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



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

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