Sgt. Kevin Benderman / MilitaryProject.org – 2005-11-27 07:48:29
The Enemy Domestic
To: George W. Bush
From: SGT Kevin M. Benderman
November 20, 2004
When are you going to tell the truth to the people of the United States?
Why don’t you tell them why you want to be in Iraq so bad?
I was there for six months and I did not see the first weapon of mass destruction. I did receive orders from the company commander to shoot children if they threw small rocks at us and that was when I figured out that the entire thing was way over the line.
Over 1200 soldiers have died in Iraq so that you can have a couple billion more dollars, that should make you feel very good about yourself.
The soldiers that have died for this sham that you have put over on the American people are so much more deserving than that. You are not worth the dust off of their boots.
If you truly had respect for the military and the people that serve then you would not continue to kill them in your war.
I joined the Army to protect my country and not to be a mercenary for a political despot.
If you wish to put me in prison because of my views then you should make room for about 75% of the military.
And while you are at make some room for yourself and about half of your administration. You are responsible for what happened at Abu Gharaib and you are shirking your responsibility.
The commander in chief is not above the UCMJ, as you would like to believe.
I want to fulfill my contract that says I joined the Army to protect my country against all enemies foreign and domestic, and as far as I am concerned you are a domestic enemy of the United States.
You care nothing for this country; you just care about the profits that are to be made from the oil in Iraq. That much is evident to me from the way the contracts were passed out to Halliburton and KBR. It must be nice to have the deck stacked in your favor by the president of the USA.
Since your are raising the debt ceiling of America so that we can pay the bills that you have run up, why don’t you forgive the debts of every one in the armed forces since they are the ones that are making it possible for you to make billions from the oil from Iraq.
SGT Kevin M. Benderman
One Soldier’s Fight to Legalize Morality
Monica Benderman / www.BendermanDefense.org
HINESVILLE, GA (July 7, 2005) — On July 28, 2005, in a small non-descript courtroom on Ft. Stewart, Georgia, a Court Martial is scheduled to begin. Again. One Army NCO who decided that he had no choice but to make a conscious choice NOT to return to war is being put on trial for caring about humanity.
This soldier fulfilled his commitment, he kept his promise to his enlisted contract, and when ordered to deploy to Iraq at the start of the invasion, he went, not because he wanted to “kill Iraqis” or “destroy terrorist cells,” but because he wanted the soldiers he served with to come home safely.
He returned knowing that war is wrong, 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 – 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.
Sgt. Kevin Benderman, after serving one tour of duty in Iraq, filed for Conscientious Objector status, his Constitutional right. His commander refused to accept his application and one called him a coward. One chaplain was ashamed of his lack of moral fortitude, another, of higher rank, testified to the true sincerity of Sgt. Benderman’s beliefs, in writing.
A military intelligence officer decided that he knew matters of the soul better than a man of God, and recommended to deny the CO claim. Five commissioned officers who had never met Sgt. Benderman agreed with the “intelligent officer” and the claim was denied, twice.
More than two weeks after my husband was placed in the Rear Detachment unit here at Ft. Stewart, charges of Missing Movement and Desertion were filed against him, even though he has never missed a single day of duty in almost ten years. At the first Courts Martial proceedings, the investigative hearing was over turned.
According to the judge’s decision, the presiding officer had shown implied bias toward Sgt. Benderman, and a new hearing was ordered. As the session adjourned, the same command that brought the first charges were marching up the aisle in the courtroom to file a new charge, Larceny, against Sgt. Benderman.
The command that brought the charge, had erroneously ordered combat pay to be paid to Sgt. Benderman, along with 7 other soldiers in their unit. Rather than accept their responsibility for the error, these leaders chose to punish Sgt. Benderman for the mistake, and have yet to discipline any of the remaining soldiers for the officers’ gaffe.
The new investigating officer strongly recommended dismissing this larceny charge, but the convening authority, Ft. Stewart’s garrison commander, pressed on and filed the charges anyway, along with desertion and missing movement. The Courts Martial is scheduled to begin on July 28. The games began in January.
At the conclusion of the first hearing, I returned to the courtroom briefly for some things I had forgotten. The lights were dimmed, and no one was there. This small dark room, vintage WW II, had a reverent calm. Desks and chairs sat waiting, slightly turned, empty jurist panel, attorney’s podium – the stage had been set. I look back on it now, and the feeling is strangely surreal.
Last week we learned that the United States Supreme Court allows itself to keep the Ten Commandments hanging on the walls of its chambers, as a testimony to another form of law. The guardian of the Constitution of our country, presiding over the human rights of our people, maintains that the Ten Commandments, religious context aside, represent a form of law that is powerful enough to occupy a place in its chambers.
In a small, quiet courtroom, on the Ft. Stewart military installation, the stage is set. One soldier who, after firsthand experience with the destructive force of war, decided to take the Ten Commandments at their word – “Thou Shall Not Kill” – and use the rights given to him to declare his conscious objection to war, to no longer be in a position to voluntarily have to kill another human being, is now on trial for not wanting to kill.
The Army has removed itself so completely from its moral responsibility, that its representatives are willing to openly demand, in a court of law, that they be allowed to regain “positive control over this soldier” by finding him guilty of crimes he did not commit, and put him in jail – a prisoner of conscience, for daring to obey a moral law.
It is “hard work” to face the truth, and it is scary when people who are not afraid to face it begin to speak out. Someone once said that my husband’s case is a question of morality over legality. I pray that this country has not gone so far over the edge that the two are so distinctly different that we can tell them apart.
A sixteen year old in New York, was charged with involuntary manslaughter yesterday for stabbing another teen in the chest twice, over a computer game. There is no question of why. He broke a law — a legal, MORAL law — “Thou Shall Not Kill.”
After seeing war firsthand, Sgt. Kevin Benderman chose to follow a legal, MORAL law – “Thou Shall Not Kill.” A form of law significant enough to be represented on the walls of our Supreme Court. The US Army cannot let him go. I have to ask – “WHY?”
“My Husband Will Not Be Silenced
For He Speaks The Truth,
And It Is Coming For You”
Dear Mr. Bush:
Over one year ago, my husband showed the integrity of a true leader by facing everything he had committed to for you, in the name of well, first there was national security, then it was freedom from tyranny for the Iraqis, then it was terrorism, then it was freedom for the American people, and what is it now????
Don’t worry we know. It hasn’t changed. First it was oil, then it was saving face for a president who has never faced responsibility for his actions EVER.
But now, you are a president who has nowhere left to hide you’ve seen for yourself, the doors are locked you cannot escape us.
You and your army of commanders could not allow my husband to have his voice you actually thought you could control him and the TRUTH he had to speak. You put him in prison, and thought you could take him away from me. You dared to believe we would go away quietly and leave you to your war.
Your army cannot control him, because the Truth will not hide. And the commitment my husband made to defend the constitution, to keep his soldiers safe and to defend his home and his family has a depth of integrity you will never understand.
Your doors are locking around you, Sir. And the jail cell that you put my husband in the prison that confines all of our soldiers this war and the horrific actions you have asked them to commit in our country’s name their doors are opening. I hope you feel every moment of this and, Sir, I hope you know it comes from Kevin and me.
For over a year, my husband, Sgt . Kevin Benderman took everything the military could pound him with, and walked tall, held his head high knowing the day would come when the “Truth would set him free.”
I walk every step with him, Sir not to hold him up when his drugged stupor wears off, no, Sir I walk proudly by my husband’s side, because I know the leader that he is, and I know the strength that he has.
It is an honor, Sir to stand by his side and help him build his case against you, and all of those who have dared to disrespect him.
What is it that you and the commanders who imprisoned him are so afraid of?
Why was it that they were so willing to commit crimes, to tell lies and to manipulate evidence in my husband’s case?
Because they have known from the beginning that he speaks the truth and my husband’s voice is a powerful voice. They should be afraid you should be afraid – very, very afraid.
You dared to use this country to give yourself a place in history. You dared to use my husband’s integrity, his honor and his commitment to duty, and thought that his dignity could somehow serve to make you great.
You were wrong, Sir.
One year ago, my husband told the world what he knew to be true. Attorneys -advisors told him it would be difficult to prove. Kevin and I knew better and I stood beside him knowing we would face what you and your commanders would try to do, together, and in time, YOU would prove what he already knew. That is what happens with the Truth. He knew this because he lives this a powerful man.
You, Sir wouldn’t know the truth if it looked you in the eye. AHHH… I’m wrong you know the truth and it terrifies you.
Those locked doors in Korea they are the end of your road there is no one to help you, and what you thought you had locked away is your worst nightmare now.
My husband will not be silenced for he speaks the Truth, and it is coming for you.
Monica Benderman is the wife of Sgt. Kevin Benderman, Prisoner of Conscience, serving a 15 month sentence at Ft. Lewis Correctional Facility, for speaking out against war, and for daring to tell the Truth.
Please visit the websites at www.BendermanTimeline.com and www.BendermanDefense.org Monica and Kevin Benderman may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Most Decorated Green Beret Commander
Transfers Medal to Kevin Benderman
Award of the Soldier’s Medal to
Sgt. Kevin Benderman (Regular Army)
by Lt. Colonel James Bo Gritz, July 29, 2005
By Direction and Authority of We the People,
this highest award for valor not Involving deadly force, is transferred from the undersigned recipient to Sgt. Kevin Benderman this 29th Day of July 2005.
— Lt. Col. James Bo Gritz
Regular Army US Spl. Fcs, Ret.
Lt. Co. James Bo Gritz received the above award on 22 Feb. 1967 for heroism not involving actual conflict with an armed enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. He was serving as deputy commander of a mobile guerilla task force at the time.
Lt. Col. Gritz transferred this award to Sgt. Kevin Benderman, citing “Sgt. Benderman’s moral courage, above and beyond the call of duty, resulting in the severest of punishment for himself, are in keeping with the very highest humanitarian traditions and reflect great credit upon himself and the spirit of leadership and sacrifice within America’s Armed Forces.”
Lt. Col. Gritz has been called “THE” American Soldier, by Gen. William Westmoreland, and is the most decorated Green Beret Commander having been awarded 62 valor citations.
Sgt. Benderman receives this honor with pride, and with respect for what it represents.
• Amnesty International Issues Update on its Declaration of Kevin Benderman as a “Prisoner of Conscience,” Continues International Campaign of Support
• “Special Letter of Thanks to Amnesty International Members,” by Kevin and Monica Benderman, September 19, 2005.
• “Further Information on Prisoner of Conscience Kevin Benderman,” Amnesty International, September 5, 2005.
• Amnesty International Urgent Action: Prisoner of Conscience Kevin Benderman,” Amnesty International, August 9, 2005. (Note: On August 9, 2005, Amnesty International declared Kevin Benderman a “Prisoner of Conscience” and initiated an international campaign of support on his behalf.)
• Kevin Transferred to Ft. Lewis
Kevin was transferred on August 1 to Fort Lewis in Washington state.
• Kevin’s Supporters React to Court-Martial Verdict
• “War Objector Simply Put Conscience First,” by Stuart Cashin, Atlanta Journal Constitution, August 10, 2005.
• “Homegrown Resistance — Of Hoisting and Petards,” by Stan Goff, www.bringthemhomenow.org, August 9, 2005.
“Other Voices: Oath to Defend the Constitution,” by Benjamin Cuker, Hampton Roads Daily Press, August 8, 2005.
“Where Do I Live?” by Cindy Sheehan (co-founder, Gold Star Families for Peace), CommonDreams.org, August 3, 2005.
“Dishonorable Discharge,” by Karen Kwiatkowski, LewRockwell.com, August 3, 2005.
“The Conviction of Kevin Benderman,” by Debbie Clark, Anti-War.com, August 1, 2005.
“Free Kevin Benderman Now!” T-Shirt Design by Yasemin.
“In Praise of Kevin Benderman,” by Norman Solomon, Alternet, July 29, 2005.
“Oakland Rally for Iraq War Veteran, Objector Kevin Benderman” by Jeff Paterson, Indybay.org, July 29, 2005, (For more pictures of the event, see Jackie Thomason’s website, and for more information, see CouragetoResist.org).
“Words Against War,” Interview with activist and organizer David Solnet, Pacifica Radio, July 29, 2005.
“Support Kevin Benderman,” by Camilo Mejía, Iraq Veterans Against the War (See also: http://www.freecamilo.org/benderman.htm)
Court-Martial Verdict: Kevin Acquitted of Desertion, Guilty of Missing Deployment to Iraq, Sentenced to 15 Months in Prison, Taken Into Custody
“Soldier Gets 15 Months in Prison for Refusing Iraq Duty,” by Russ Bynum (AP), CNN, July 29, 2005.
“Sergeant Who Claimed Conscientious Objector Status Goes to Prison,” by Sean Harder, Savannah Morning News, July 28, 2005.