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To Stop a War - Welcome SGT Kevin Benderman and his wife Monica to DU!!!

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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 02:41 PM
Original message
To Stop a War - Welcome SGT Kevin Benderman and his wife Monica to DU!!!
Edited on Sat May-21-05 02:58 PM by Tinoire
Goooood morning DemocraticUnderground!!!

For years we watched appalled as the neo-con machine overtook our country, aghast that we couldn't stop it, aghast that our politicians embarked on another leg of their insatiable thirst for oil and gun-boat imperialism to reshape the world in a more subservient manner.

We couldn't stop them despite our faxes, our phone calls and our protests. We couldn't stop the neo-chickenhawks from slaughtering innocent Iraqis and sacrificing young American men to do so.

The tide is turning! Foreign leaders are calling our political leadership thieves, liars and courageous soldiers are adamantly saying NO.

Without further ado, please, allow me to introduce to you Kevin Benderman and his awe-inspiring, kick-ass wife, Monica.



They have graciously agreed to answer any questions DUers may have and if they can't, they'll just tell us they can't answer.

I think they prefer to talk about soldiers more than anything because what they are doing is to help soldiers see that they do still have a voice, and that they should be using it, especially now.

Since Kevin's last hearing fiasco, many more soldiers have come forward in support of Kevin because they are starting to see that both Kevin and Monica are speaking for them. That is something they would like to address in this thread as well.

    "We tell the truth, and we tell everything we know. We do our best to give people the perspective of soldiers and family members. Kevin's case, and the mess going on with the Conscientious Objector application need to be talked about because there are about 2000 soldiers who have been denied CO status. We want to show them that they have options, and we want them to know that they shouldn't give up.


Let's not be shy - let's give them a WARM welcome, ask whatever questions we have and see how we can help stop this damn war.

On April 28, 2005, Representative Cynthia McKinney entered Kevin Benderman into the Congressional record as an American Hero.


Welcome Kevin and Monica!!!




==================


The Deserters: AWOL Crisis Hits the American Forces by Andrew Buncombe, The Independent, May 16, 2005.
New charge added as second investigative inquiry starts in Benderman's case by Kelly Cramer, Savannah Morning News, May 12, 2005.
New Hearing Ordered for Objecting Soldier by Russ Bynum Associated Press), The Guardian, Thursday May 12, 2005
Interview with Kevin and Monica Benderman by Dori Smith, WHUS Storrs, Radio for the People, May 4, 2005.
Conscientious Objector status for Army Sgt. Kevin Benderman Denied by Robert S. Finnegan, Online Journal.com, April 29, 2005.
Defense lawyer, investigator square off over Benderman's conscientious objector application by Mike Fabey, Savannah Morning News, March 28, 2005.
Two years after the war began, a growing number of US troops are refusing to return to Iraq by Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, March 19, 2005.
Opponents of War: Kevin Benderman, Alvin York and the Voice of Conscience by Joel T. Helfrich, Dissident Voice, March 17, 2005.
Kevin and Monica Benderman on Air America's "The Charles Goyette Show," Thursday, March 17, 2005 (Click here for Audio Link 1 Click here for Audio Link 2
Kevin Benderman interviewed by Amy Goodman on the "Democracy Now" radio program, Tuesday, March 15, 2005Click here for link to program audio and transcript
Court Martial Date Set: Soldier prepares rebuttal for recommendation to deny him conscientious objector status Savannah Morning News, March 8, 2005.
Soldier seeking conscientious objector status loses a roundSavannah Morning News, March 2, 2005.
Kevin Benderman interview on National Public Radio (NPR), Army Sergeant Refuses Return to Iraq; February 28, 2005.
Court-Martial Recommended for Soldier; New York Times, February 23, 2005.
Recommendation:Benderman Faces Court-Martial on Desertion Charge Savannah Morning News, February 22, 2005.
Some in Military Just Say No to Iraq Service; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 19, 2005.
One Man Has Stopped Killing; ZNet, February 18, 2005.
Sincerity questioned: Sergeant seeking conscientious objection status defends timing and conviction of request; Savannah Morning News, February 8, 2005.
"Breaking Ranks to Shun War," Los Angeles Times, Column One, Front Page, February 7, 2005; article currently only for purchase on the LA Times website, but available for free on the Common Dreams website[/I>].
Uncertain Desertion, " Savannah Morning News, February 7, 2005.

Other Recent Articles About Kevin



Soldier Charged for Refusing Return to Iraq; CNN, January 21, 2005.
Army Charges Soldier for Refusing Iraq Stint; MSNBC,January 20, 2005.
U.S. Army Sergeant Kevin Benderman Charged for Refusal to Return to Iraq; Axis of Logic, January 19, 2005.

Ain't Gonna Study War No More; Salon.com, January 17, 2005.
Soldier Explains Refusual to Return to Iraq; CNN, January 17, 2005.
Army Sergeant Refuses 2nd Iraq Deployment; CNN, January 13, 2005.
U.S. Army Sergeant May Refuse Re-Deployment to Iraq; Information Clearinghouse, January 5, 2005.

From: http://www.bendermandefense.org

On edit: :toast: :toast: :toast:
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 02:46 PM
Response to Original message
1. What Cynthia McKinney Told Congress about Kevin
SPEECH OF
HON. CYNTHIA McKINNEY
OF GEORGIA
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

THURSDAY, APRIL 28, 2005

Ms. McKINNEY. Mr. Speaker, I speak with you today about one of America's heroes, Sgt. Kevin Benderman. Sgt. Benderman is not a hero because he served a tour of duty in the Occupation of Iraq, though he did. He is not a hero because of the medals he was awarded, nor his ten years of honorable service in the U.S. Army.

No, Sgt. Kevin Benderman is a hero because when all around him are pressing forward to prosecute a violent war against the people of Iraq, Kevin Benderman had the courage to stand up and assert his heartfelt opposition to war.

Sgt. Benderman's opposition is not the theoretical if sincere opposition of a student peace activist. Kevin Benderman has seen things that none of God's children should have to endure. He was present when his superior ordered his unit to open fire on small children who were throwing rocks at the soldiers of his unit. He chased the hungry dogs from an open mass grave filled with the bodies of young children, old men and women. Kevin saw the burned child, crying in pain, while all around her ignored her injuries.

As he reflected on what he had experienced, he chose to not re-enlist, to not participate in a war and an institution that he could no longer square with his evolving yet sincerely held beliefs. But stretched by an immoral war, based on lies, beyond the limits of the resources afforded them, our military adopted a "stop loss order" policy to arbitrarily breech the contracts our nation made with those who serve in its military services.
So Kevin did what was necessary. He applied for Conscientious Objector status. His officers up the chain of command refused their duty to accept his application. His commander called him a coward. His unit chaplain refused to meet with him, writing by email that he was "ashamed" of Kevin. He was charged with "Desertion with Intent to Avoid Hazardous Duty" and "Missing Movement by Design". His preliminary hearings methodically violated every precept of substantive due process. He now faces a Court Martial on May 11 and the possibility of seven years in the stockade.

Every member of our Armed Forces raises their hands, as do we, and take an oath, as do we, to "defend the Constitution of the United States". That Constitution protects the "Right of Conscience", including the right to conscientiously object to war as an instrument of public policy. But given the climate we face right now, asserting such a right takes real courage. And it is the exercise of that courage which makes Sgt. Benderman a hero in my book.

It is a crime and a shame that while we are so busy working to expand freedom to other nations, we can't slow down to protect our precious freedoms among ourselves.

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getpage.cgi?dbn...
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knowbody0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 02:46 PM
Response to Original message
2. welcome kevin and monica
and thank you Tinoire for this post and all those excellent links
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 02:49 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. I don't want to detract from Kevin & Monica but posted those
for people who wanted to know everything! Kevin and Monica will be here shortly. I have so many questions I want to ask them! So many things I think we need to know about the soldiers over there, how they feel, how we can help those who are saying now...

Thank you for welcoming them~!!
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Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #3
9. Tinoire,
:hug: and :patriot:

Thank you so much for everything you do!!!! :bounce:
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 02:55 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. :blush: Had nothing to do with this - just introducing a modern hero
:hug:
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #13
27. Merci beaucoup Tenoire
:hug:
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:37 PM
Response to Reply #27
35. Mon plaisir
:hug:

The first time I read about this case it enraged me because the Stop Loss order is so immoral! How can you FORCE soldiers to remain in the military once their time is up?! If re-enlistment money won't convince them, that should be a HUGE hint that there's something seriously wrong over there!

To force someone to return once their contract is up makes me see RED because that's worse than a draft where you make everyone (well you know what I mean, those without big daddies and connections) serve. This is perpetual slavery to a war machine that has no intention of slowing down.

We simply MUST stop this!

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FreedomAngel82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 11:51 PM
Response to Reply #2
150. I think he's very brave
to go against the neocons. They have my luck! I'm glad McKinney is helping them. She kicks ass and is the best to go to. On a side note Mr. Bendermen kinda looks like an uncle of mine. :)
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blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 02:49 PM
Response to Original message
4. Welcome!
:)
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. HERE!
we're here...
THANKS for the introduction, Tinoire.
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Hi Monica and Kevin!
:hi:

Thank you for spending part of your Saturday afternoon with us! This is indeed an honor!

:toast:
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LibertyorDeath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:11 PM
Response to Reply #5
52. Welcome! & thank you both for your courage. Is this accurate
"Sgt. Benderman's opposition is not the theoretical if sincere opposition of a student peace activist. Kevin Benderman has seen things that none of God's children should have to endure. He was present when his superior ordered his unit to open fire on small children who were throwing rocks at the soldiers of his unit."

Is this SOP for American forces in Iraq, or is this an aberration.
We read all sorts of reports about the cruel mistreatment of Iraqi citizens how wide spread is it?

Thank you
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:20 PM
Response to Reply #52
56. I second that question if Kevin and Monica can answer that n/t
Edited on Sat May-21-05 04:22 PM by Tinoire
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 06:23 PM
Response to Reply #52
98. sop
Liberty,
At the time that I wrote the statement about my commander ordering us to shoot the kids on the wall I felt that it was an isolated incident. I felt that he was completely out of his _______ mind. You fill in the blank. Looking back I thought that he was just scared and over reacting to something that did not require that type of statement or action.

After seeing more of this type of thing on the news and from other reports that have come out I am now inclined to believe that this is the SOP that is to be implemented by commanders in the daily operations.

Kevin
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LibertyorDeath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 07:16 PM
Response to Reply #98
110. Damn.... I was afraid of that.
Thanks for taking the time to answer all these questions.
It's a great community here.
United we stand!

Cheers
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Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 08:23 PM
Response to Reply #98
123. *choke*
Edited on Sat May-21-05 08:25 PM by Just Me
:cry:

I am a parent,...can't help my reaction.
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wicket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 08:55 AM
Response to Reply #5
210. welcome to DU!
:hi:
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Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 02:51 PM
Response to Original message
6. Kevin & Monica, thank you for your courage!!!!
You have my complete support!!! :patriot:

I am proud that we are members of the same American community!!!
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DemocratSinceBirth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 02:52 PM
Response to Original message
7. Welcome to DU...
And may the line between legitimate self defense and illegitimate occupation never be blurred again....
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 02:54 PM
Response to Original message
10. My first question to/about Kevin (About your time in Iraq)
Edited on Sat May-21-05 03:03 PM by Tinoire
Kevin, how long were you in Iraq? When were you there, what area were you in and what were you doing there?

Were you Combat Arms or support?
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #10
34. location
Tinoire,
I was in Iraq from mid March 2003 until the end of August 2003 which makes it about six months and in that period of time we went to numerous locations and performed various missions while there. We started in Kuwait and loaded all of our equipment onto flat bed trucks to be taken to a site about 50 miles south of Baghdad to begin our movement north. From there we went to a few places for short periods of time but mostly we were set in a town named Khanaqin which is in the north-east section of the country.

I can't list everything that we did there but I was involved in Combat service support and my job is repairing and maintaining Bradley Fighting Vehicles. But there were times we all went on patrols in the town and did EPW round-ups. (enemy prisoner of war)

I cannot tell everything but I hope that this sheds some light on the situation and if you have more you want to ask feel free.

Kevin
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #34
41. That does shed light... Did you go to Iraq supporting the action?
Did you go to Iraq supporting the action? If so, at what point did you begin questioning our presence there? What was your evolution to conscientious objector?

How was/is the overall morale in your unit? Are there many more affected by this stop loss order?


If any of my questions, our questions are too much to ask especially in the middle of your court-martial, please don't answer.

You're the first active duty soldier we've had a chance to talk to live at DU.


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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 08:21 PM
Response to Reply #41
121. Second this question, and have one to add.
Edited on Sat May-21-05 08:22 PM by mzmolly
If you can shed some light Monica or Kevin ... why did the majority of the military support Bush in the past election?

Thank you in advance.
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #121
184. bush support
Sounds obscene doesn't it?

But to answer your question, I think it was because they feel that he was looking out for them better than the democrats would as the democratic party is looked on as not being very pro-military.

I can't understand why it isn't obvious to some that there are questionable tactics being employed in this action that is taking place. There are some on the fringe that are really not in touch with reality and will go where ever some one with more rank than them says to go.

You really cannot group everyone in this same little box because there are many different personalities in the military just as there are in the civilian sector of American society and that is where the people in the military come from after all.

As it turns out the truth has nothing to do with perceptions, does it?
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 02:20 PM
Response to Reply #184
225. Well of course the media said "The Military Overwhelmingly Supported Bush"
headline after headline ... I just had a hard time understanding, given Kerry actually served and Bush did not?

I am certain there are many opinions in the Military, it's just that overwhelming support of Bush is very hard to grasp?

Thanks for the answer.
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-24-05 03:05 PM
Response to Reply #225
227. don't believe everything you read...
I don't think as many in the military support our current administration as they would like the public to believe. There is the "duty to follow," which is bogus now too, but still, too many soldiers have been trained too hard to change without major effort.

Then.. there is the fear driven into them of the consequences. They even tried to threaten Kevin with that, for ME speaking out. But.. Kevin isn't a young private just finding his wings, either. It didn't work, and we both speak out now.

What is perceived.. is not what is. There are too many pretenses in the military... just for the sake of saving your life.

I think people have to remember... when a soldier goes against his command, he runs the risk of being in a life or death situation, and not being able to trust the people next to him. That makes someone think long and hard before they take a stand. And since we are in a combat situation now, there is all the more reason for soldiers to feel that they have to watch their own back.

Don't believe everything you read or hear.
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-24-05 03:46 PM
Response to Reply #227
229. Ahhhhhhhhhhh,
gotcha! Very sad situation all around.
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Cooley Hurd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 02:55 PM
Response to Original message
11. Welcome to the sane side of the internet, Kevin and Monica!
Edited on Sat May-21-05 02:55 PM by Cooley Hurd
:hi: and :toast:

The moral conundrum faced by so many in our armed forces is heartbreaking. It is the DUTY of their leaders to never put them in such a impossible position - to exercise every possible option besides armed conflict. Their leaders should be honor-bound to do so, but then again, we're talking neocon republicans, so, so much for that honor stuff...

Thank you both for your patriotism!!! :patriot:
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:10 PM
Response to Reply #11
20. we are americans
Thank you. We both firmly believe that we are Americans, and we are proud to say it. The people who now represent America, don't represent us. We have travelled to so many small towns, and quiet places in this country, and in each place we have seen REAL Americans.. living, taking care of business, caring about each other.. in spite of what government is now doing. We hope that we can represent these people in what we talk about and what we try to help people to understand. REAL Americans still do have a voice, and can make a difference. We believe in them, because we are part of them.
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im10ashus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #20
40. You are BOTH heroes!
Welcome to DU and thank you for speaking up. My nephew served nearly 18 months in Iraq and he will never be the same. He feels the same as the rest of us and wants our troops out of there. Thank you again for representing the truth.

:yourock:
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Eloriel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 09:51 PM
Response to Reply #40
137. As thoroughly as I know that about our troops
without anyone ever saying it, it is really sobering and heartbreaking to hear someone say it. My heart goes out to your nephew. And my thanks -- as well as my apologies for us not having been able to stop the madness before it began, before it hurt anyone.
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 09:57 PM
Response to Reply #137
139. You tried Eloriel. Goodness knows you, we, tried!
:hi: and I'm so glad you saw this thread!
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bear425 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 02:55 PM
Response to Original message
12. Kevin and Monica,
Edited on Sat May-21-05 03:01 PM by bear425
First, thank you for your bravery. The world needs to hear your story.

What do you suggest that the average American do to best support conscientious objectors?

Should we write our congress people, protest the war, what do you think? Thanks again for your service to our country and democracy.

edit: is there one more vote to get this on the greatest page? :)
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #12
17. support
As far as support.. if you can access our website, there are many different resources listed in our "links" topic. These are all great organizations that we feel are best equipped to help support CO's and those considering it as an option.

Mostly, people need to be there and be ready to listen. It is not easy for a soldier to step away from the other soldiers in his unit, and make a decision that goes against everything that has been impressed on him with regard to "duty" and "country."

CO's have to know that saying NO to war is another form of patriotism. They need to feel confident that they do not stop defending their country just because they don't want to kill someone to do it.

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bear425 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:17 PM
Response to Reply #17
24. Thank you. Will you please post your website address
here so that all can access it readily? I agree...dissent is the ultimate form of patriotism.

Our leaders have a responsibility to only send our troops into harm's way as a last resort. Unfortunately, that was not the case with regard to Iraq. Again, thank you very much.
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:28 PM
Response to Reply #24
31. It's www.bendermandefense.org
:hi:

http://www.bendermandefense.org

It's a helluva site! With lots of links to articles on some very progressive anti-neo sites such as http://www.oldamericancentury.org & http://www.dissidentvoice.org/
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mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #17
166. lots of people
feel this way

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Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:02 PM
Response to Original message
14. Question:
In your view, where should those who are finding themselves to be Conscientious Objectors turn? What specific organizations or groups are the best for information and support?
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:07 PM
Response to Reply #14
19. specific organizations
GI Rights Hotline is a great first place to go for potential CO applicants. The counselors there have a wealth of information. They are completely aware of every step of the process, and we have found them to be far more informative, and more well-versed, in the CO process than anyone in the military itself.
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:19 PM
Response to Reply #19
25. RE: GI Rights Hotline
Edited on Sat May-21-05 03:20 PM by Swamp Rat
Do you have an Internet link? I have a family member who may be forced to do yet another tour. He does not want to go back to "HELL!"

Again, Kevin and Monica, it was a pleasure meeting you here when you first registered, and I want to thank you with all my heart and welcome you again. :hug:

Kevin, you give me hope.
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:40 PM
Response to Reply #25
36. Links
The link for GI Rights Hotline is on our website under "links" at www.BendermanDefense.org .

Also.. if your family member would like to, and feels comfortable doing so, please have them contact us directly. We can also put them in touch with Cynthia McKinney's office if need be. We do our best to respond to everyone who emails us, but we will ALWAYS respond to military personnel, or their family members. We will not tell them WHAT to decide.. .but we will help them by listening, and directing them to the right resources when they have made their decision.

THANK YOU.. for caring enough to want to support us, and for wanting to help others who would also like to make choices of conscience.

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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #36
42. Thank you n/t
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:02 PM
Response to Original message
15. Thank you
We are anxious to talk to people .. we have given several presentations in the past 3 months, all in different parts of the country, Ohio, Calif, Atlanta, and Chicago(by way of sending several essays to be read by others when Kevin's commander denied Kevin's leave request for that weekend.) We have enjoyed meeting people, activists and veterans who have shared their stories, and their concerns. We hope that, as these discussions progress, people will be more knowledgeable of just what a soldier sacrifices when volunteering to defend his/her country.. and how that affects their family and their spirit. We also hope that as people hear more about what defending our country really means, that more soldiers will come to feel comfortable speaking about their feelings as well.

WE would love to share what we feel, and what we have experienced. It's just one story.. but maybe it can give us all insight into how to start the healing process.
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Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. Welcome!
:patriot:
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Schema Thing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:06 PM
Response to Original message
16. Welcome to DU, you two.
You're story is inspirational, and your actions heroic.
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #16
22. :-)
We are just people. We don't know about heroic.. we just know, as we have said before - Kevin filing for CO status and speaking out against war, and my supporting him are, to us, simple things. They are just what we SHOULD do, the only right thing. We see it as defending out constitution, and defending our country.

We are grateful that so many people have given us such tremendous support. It amazes us... and gives us so much positive energy... we feel good about what we are doing, because we see that it gives others confidence, and gives others encouragement.

So many people worked so hard to lay the groundwork for us. If the information and the support hadn't been there, what Kevin has chosen to do would be so much more difficult.

Now, we just hope we can reach people.. we want to help others to see that there is good in this country, and there is something still worth believing in... and we can make a difference, for all the right reasons.
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Rowdyboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #22
64. Very glad to welcome you here...My partner was CO for Viet Nam in 1967
and his father stood with him. I'm very proud of both you guys for standing for what is right!
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:12 PM
Response to Original message
21. WOW. Hell of a post, Tinoire!
Good stuff, and welcome to the couple! I will ruminate before asking anything.

Kick!

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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:22 PM
Response to Reply #21
28. Yes, and let's recommend it so more will see it ASAP! n/t
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #28
38. Done!
Hope you're well, friend. :hi:

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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:59 PM
Response to Reply #21
46. Thanks Zhade
All the links are straight from Kevin and Monica's sites. Periodically, I'll do googles on them to keep DU informed of what's going on with Kevin's court-martial.

Thanks for all your support!
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AnnInLa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:16 PM
Response to Original message
23. Welcome! It's an honor.
On a more personal level, what do you think that the immediate and long-range future holds for the two of you and your cause?

May the force be with you,

Ann in Louisiana

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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 09:19 AM
Response to Reply #23
211. FUTURE - for soldiers
Hi Ann

Thank you for supporting us.

We have confidence in what we are doing. We look ahead knowing that we will end up in a good place, and we will be safe. As far as specifics, we don't know how we'll get there, we just know we'll get there.

As far as Kevin's case, we know the Truth. We will just wait and see what the military does, but we know that Kevin did not do any of what he is being accused of.

We intend to continue to speak out for Peace, and for the good that can come of it. We believe in dialog, we believe in non-violent resolutions because we have learned that they work. In our lives, we have made many mistakes, but we hope we have learned from them. We have put our ideas to the test in our personal lives, and we live by what we speak about. We hope that our actions will show others what we have come to know for ourselves. We also know that whatever we do in the future, it will be to benefit our military personnel as they struggle to reconcile their commitment with their conscience.

For now.. Kevin has two great attorneys. His military attorney is about the most awesome attorney we could have found. His civilian attorney is a perfect complement. We took a long time finding the civilian attorney. There are so many experienced and very good civilian military law attorneys. It was a difficult choice. The reason we chose the man we did is that he understood what we truly wanted to come from this effort. This attorney set his retainer agreement within reach... and with a maximum figure that is soon to be attained. We explained to him that we would like to be able to create a non-profit fund, with any money collected for Kevin's defense fund, that would then be made available to other soldiers who also had needs such as ours. This attorney understood, and is working with us. For that - we commend him, and thank him. He is there for soldiers, and he respects them when they stand for what they believe in. Very good man.

We hope that we can use our experiences to help soldiers and their family members know that talking, not keeping things inside will jump start the healing process. We hope that we can help them to know that the support is there - and it is with people who do understand.

We all make mistakes. We make mistakes our entire lives. The worst thing we can do, and what makes PTSD worse, is to keep those mistakes hidden and let them eat away at our conscience, and our heart. Humility is what's needed now. Kevin and I have made so many mistakes in our lives. But it is the mistakes that give us our strength now. We know we got through them, we know we turned in the right direction, and we know that by staying on course we will make fewer mistakes. We hope that we learn from our mistakes the first time. It's the repeat of the mistakes that takes time and causes problems.

Our military personnel are no different, and their families need to know that we are there for them. The mistakes made, if learned from, will only make all of us stronger.

Thanks... for letting us talk.

Monica

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PsychoDad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:20 PM
Response to Original message
26. Welcome Kevin and Monica

Welcome :pals:

The two of you are real American heros, and you are in our prayers.
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DemocratSinceBirth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:25 PM
Response to Original message
29. Two Questions Please
Edited on Sat May-21-05 03:40 PM by DemocratSinceBirth
what facts do you need to establish to receive co status?


and

when do you have a right to disobey an order you feel is immoral or illegal such as shooting at unarmed civilians..
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #29
39. answers
Democrat,
The regulation that governs C.O. has a very narrow definition of what constitutes legitimate conscious objections to war in all forms. But I think you can say that you have to be morally opposed to all war.

You have, not only the right but the obligation and duty to disobey illegal orders and then report them to the next higher link in the chain of command.

Kevin
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:28 PM
Response to Original message
30. Welcome Kevin and Monica!
I'm going to listen to other's questions, but I just want to say that we at DU are honored and flattered that folks that are at the hub of the movement consider us to be important enough to be brought in to the activity.

I wish you all the best in your endeavors and thank you for your service to our country for war and perhaps more importantly, PEACE!

--IMM
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:57 PM
Response to Reply #30
45. you deserve it
People, real people, are writing in the DU forums. From everything we have read in the last couple of weeks of searching through this site, this is exactly the kind of site we WANT to participate in, and hope to stay involved with.

Kevin and I made a decision shortly after his CO decision. Once the word of his choice was made "public" we started getting about 50 phone calls a day from the media. We even received calls from people wanting to represent us to the media. Our decision... we would stay with the indy-media news sources, and focus on reaching the real people who responded to them, found their news from them, and believed in them. We refused the assistance of the "press agents" who wanted to turn the entire process into a media circus/nightmare. We have 5 good journalists in the mainstream media venues (TV, newspapers, radio and A/P) that we trust to be fair, and to report Kevin's story honestly. They are all we need in the mainstream. We have given over 150 radio interviews on indy networks, and have, as you can see, many articles published throughout the world, by indy sources. Without the mainstream media push, we have received letters of support from 31 different countries, including Iraq, Greece, Bangladesh, Australia, Guatemala, Germany, France, Switzerland, England, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Canada, Brazil, Portugal.. and it goes on. We have also heard from every state in the union.

The significance of this AWES us. People, who have fought to keep their small business running, who struggle to get real news out, and who work on shoestring budgets, have combined resources, and have joined forces, in support of Kevin's action, and to spread the word to as many people as possible that PEACE is not only POSSIBLE, but inevitable.

We are proud of the work all these good people are doing. We hope to honor them, by continuing to speak out on their behalf as we also address the concerns we have for the soldiers, their families, and the civilians who have been caught up in this madness.

THANK YOU... for giving us the forum that you do. We couldn't have a voice if you were not willing to allow us to use it.
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:04 PM
Response to Reply #45
49. I hope more independent journalists see this and publicize it for you!
You made a really wise choice there and I'm glad you have Cynthia McKinney behind you. That woman does not mince words and has a lot of respect among real people.
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anarchy1999 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #45
66. Dear Kevin and Monica, thank you for joining in with us at DU!
Edited on Sat May-21-05 04:46 PM by anarchy1999
I respect the both of you so much and look forward to aiding you in support of our veterans and active military in any way I can.

Thank you Kevin for the courageous stand you have taken and thank you Monica for your support on Kevin's behalf, I'm certain it has been more difficult than any of us can even begin to imagine.

I hope that you all know about the Veterans for Peace National Conference being held the 1st week of August and that you all will be able to attend.

Sincerely,
the anarchy1999's (mr & mrs)
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 05:02 PM
Response to Reply #45
72. I will be sending your website and info to people in other countries
Monica, your story "American Denial" should be plastered on university billboards and cafes throughout our country. Do you guys have .pdf/printable versions of your stories or handouts you've designed?
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 05:13 PM
Response to Reply #72
76. THANK YOU
Many people have downloaded our articles and essays. I don't know if they're PDF.. but we could do something. I will talk to the man who creates and organizes our site for us. He is AWESOME.. and capable of anything.
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 05:23 PM
Response to Reply #76
80. Monica, I would be honored to do that for you! SwampRat
I'll e-mail you a pdf of any Benderman publication you need provided Kevin and Monica are ok with free distribution of them... I can easily do it from my MS Word/Adobe.
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 05:27 PM
Response to Reply #80
83. THANKS AGAIN
Thank you. We do not have a problem with anyone using any of our articles in the cause of peace and ending war.

Please feel free to do so. We would love to have a quick email if it is for something besides emailings. IE.. if there is a publication, or newsletter in which one of the articles will be posted, we would love to know. Not that we question misuse.. but that we like to know that we are actually reaching people. THAT matters to us.

Thanks again for everything!!!!!!!!
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 05:40 PM
Response to Reply #83
85. Promised!
:)
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #76
82. .pdf - portable document files can be opened and printed on any computer
that has the free program Adobe Acrobat. I suggest that your graphics person/webmaster make handouts that are black and white, mostly text oriented, without too many bold/black fields - a properly dithered black and white photo of you two would be best. This will reduce the printing costs and wear and tear on printers. Plus, it will be easier to get students to print them out if it can be cheaply done. :)
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #72
79. American Denial by Monica Benderman (A+)
So glad you read and mentioned that essay! Thank you for mentioning it!

American Denial
by Monica Benderman

"And a child shall lead them."

HINESVILLE, GEORGIA, February 23, 2005--In Japan, on August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb created in America was dropped over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. A small child of 2, Sadako Sasaki, and her family lived on the outskrts of Hiroshima at the time, none of them were hurt in that instant but the seed of hurt had been planted. In 1955, 10 years after the atomic bomb, Sadako had developed leukemia. People soon were calling this the A-bomb sickness because so many other children just like Sadako also contracted the disease.

While hospitalized and fighting this disease, the child decided to begin to fold 1,000 paper cranes. In Japan, it is believed that if a person folds 1,000 paper cranes they will have one wish granted. Sadako's wish was to live a long and honorable life. As Sadako became weaker, the process of folding the paper cranes became more difficult. At the time of her death, she had only completed 644 cranes. Her wish made to the last crane finished, "I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world."

To this day, children continue to fold paper cranes in the name of peace. And yet still peace has not come wars continue.

Almost 30 years later, a picture was created. A child, Vietnamese, running down a barren street destroyed by warfare, her child's body on fire from the pain of Napalm, an American weapon, another innocent life destroyed in the name of Freedom.

Still the peace cranes fly, and still no peace has come.


Cranes by Monica Benderman

Almost 30 years later, a new picture was created. My husband, in a convoy, part of the invading American force in Iraq, sees something that will haunt him for the rest of his life. A little girl standing near the edge of the road with her mother. Her arm burned black from hand to shoulder, crying and hoping for someone to care. But when my husband offered his share of the medical supplies to help this child, his convoy and his command could not stop. War called, and humanity was left standing by the side of the road.

We see the picture of the Iraqi child, arms outstretched, covered in her parents' blood. The victim of an erroneous shooting at a checkpoint near her village, an orphan now, she will never be the same again.


"And a child shall lead them."... doesn't anyone see?

Fear is what drives us now. Not the fear of terrorists striking, that is only a superficial excuse. The fear that drives us, is that we will wake up and realize what we have become. I reach for my country, as I would reach for a friend. But is my country there? Physically it is, just as it always has been, but its heart.. it beats so faintly, is it gone? I hope not forever. I hope it's only hiding, locked away.This country now, is not the country I told my dreams to, this country would not understand those dreams. This country does not understand the dreams of the children. I wish my country, America, could understand, but we are so afraid now, and running so fast that there is no way we can see.

The heart of America is closed now, it is not feeling, and this is breaking my heart. I can only feel pain when I think of my country and it is not pain for me. The pain that I feel is from what is hiding behind the lies that my country thinks are our truths. The fears that are leading my country now are making us so vulnerable that we will turn to any justification and the dangers are only pulling us closer to the edge. If America cannot turn and face the truth, we will run forever, and soon only be living lies.

We as a country are afraid of facing the weaknesses that others have pointed out in us. Rather than face these weaknesses, and fight to bring about positive change, we continue to attack those who show us our truths. For years of this country at war, the wrong choice has been "eradicate them all and we will never have to know what we hide from."

The right choice, face who we are, see reality, admit that we are to blame for what is being done to us now, and bring about the change needed to stop the cycle of violence. Become the great country we profess to be, but whose heart is now hidden so far away. Like the alcoholic who denies his drinking problem, the abused wife who refuses to admit the danger she is in, the mother who believes that by continuing to interfere in her children's lives she is actually helping them to grow, America is in denial, and we, the people, are enabling the denial to continue.

By not bringing about the changes we know must happen, by talking and politicking and placing blame everywhere except squarely on our own shoulders, the violence and the abuse of our country will continue. Violence is the response of the weak. Reaching inside, admitting our weaknesses and taking action to strengthen them is the response of the strong.

With each step into the face of our fears, we will draw closer to finding Peace. Take one more look at the child's picture we do not want to see, and soon we will see that the night is not as dark when you see it clearly, and the solution will show itself in the form of peace.

Words, they are lies. Pictures, and the actions that result from the truth of those pictures, they speak for eternity. To avoid those pictures, to fail to act is only to buy into empty promises that will destroy this country when they prove too weak to keep the truth hidden any longer.

My wish for my country.. that the people of this country respect themselves enough to want to take care of the life they have been given. That they have enough honor and integrity to stare fully at their darkest sides and know that the worst is over when they dare to admit that they have not done enough to defend the morality and values on which this country was founded.

My husband, Sgt. Kevin Benderman and those who stand with him now, Camillo Mejia, Jimmy Massey, Pablo Paredes, Trent Helmkamp, did not commit to defend the immoralities of this country. When they came to terms with this, they walked away. They fight now, for the Heart of this country, our country, and they do it with integrity, and in truth. They have faced the horrors that our country is afraid to see. They speak openly about it and they are no longer in denial.

I dare you all to the same. Do you have the heart to face the children who, in innocence, have tried to lead?

Can you stare into the face of the darkest reality, and see that Peace is the only answer, and that it has to begin with you?


http://www.bendermandefense.org /
http://www.topia.net/kbarticles.html
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #79
84. I'm gonna make a .pdf of this myself right now!
This has GOT to get out.

I'm going out for dinner, but I will check this thread when I return. We should keep this kicked until the next trial date, even if the Mods have to split the thread... this is where we can make a stand, right here right now, against the crimes of this administration. Kevin MUST be protected by his fellow Americans, NOW!
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #84
88. I totally agree! When I think of Kevin/Monica and see their courage
Edited on Sat May-21-05 05:47 PM by Tinoire
I think of thousands of young soldiers I knew and trained and get angry that their physical and mental well-being is being so greedily, so stupidly sacrificed.

I am fully in support of the Benderman's goal which is to give more soldiers to "COURAGE TO SAY NO!"

Heroes, like the Israeli Refusniks (that would be a totally different thread!)

It angers me to see people going about their mundane daily business still sporting Bush '04 stickers on their SUVs as they rush to the next football, baseball game. I am utterly baffled that life can go on so cavalierly while other people's lives are being broken.

And all in the name of what? What?!

On edit: peace to you my friend. Sorry for offering to make pdfs for you. I jumped the gun thinking "well maybe it's because it's not art" lol. :hug:
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 06:15 PM
Response to Reply #88
96. Check your email
The one you gave me in a PM. Tell me what you think... :)
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 06:37 PM
Response to Reply #96
100. Got it! Beautiful!
What do you think about putting a short snipped about Kevin's ordeal, the ordeal of all the other soldiers opposed to the war, but stuck in it, on the verso of page 3, aka page 4? With links of exactly where to go to help and what can be done to help all these soldiers?

And at the end either this:
or this:


It is so well written that I think with that extra bit of information, it could do wonders cleverly placed in bookstores, cafes, distributed at antiwar rallies...

Let me know what you think, then we can run it past Kevin and Monica for their opinion/input/suggestions.

Anarchy and wow the whole list of antiwar activists here from several states and countries would love getting the word out I know :bounce:
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #100
103. Let's do it
I'm a bit hesitant to do the work as I only have AppleWorks and a limited version of Photoshop on this loaner computer. If I had Indesign and the full Photoshop (Creative Suite by Adobe), I could do professional quality layouts. This merits the highest quality, in my opinion, but I would be glad to create a 4th page and insert whatever snippet you wish. :)

I haven't eaten yet today! My brain is sputtering... I need food. :9
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 07:17 PM
Response to Reply #103
111. Do you need Photoshop for Windows or for Mac?
I may, just may be able to make a miracle work for you. How much does it cost?

I know a Republican who's against this war and works with a software for Windows distributor. He OWES me for having voted for Bush despite every femine wile I used to get him not to. He knows he owes me too and that it is extremely difficult for me to forgive him. How much does it cost (because this needs to hurt) and is it for Windows? Interestingly enough, he's gone straight from Bush to Nader but I have no qualms about extracting software from him if it will help this cause.
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 12:10 AM
Response to Reply #111
154. I use a Mac exclusively
I need Indesign (page layout) more than Photoshop, but if he has the Creative Suite for Mac, that is best because it combines Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign. I am updating to Mac "Tiger" operating system (using Panther 10.3.9 right now).

These are the prices:

Adobe InDesign CS2 = $699.95
Adobe Photoshop CS2 = $599.95
Adobe Creative Suite 2 - Standard - $899.95
(this has Photoshop CS2, Illustrator CS2, InDesign CS2)
Adobe Creative Suite 2 - Premium = $1,199.95
(this has all the programs combined: Photoshop CS2, Illustrator CS2, InDesign CS2, GoLive CS2, and Acrobat 7.0 Professional-the latter is for making professional .pdfs)

Very expensive stuff. You can see why I borrow everything I have (except for the few musical instruments and books I own). Though I'd like to have this software very much, I believe we can get by with what we have for now (you saw what I can do with a simple program that outputs .pdf). I was saving for a new computer, but it looks like I need the money for tuition this Summer. At least I have a computer for a couple more months. I would rather you forgive your friend and help him continue his journey into the Light than bug him about software, but I will not say "no" if he offers something. :)

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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 09:25 AM
Response to Reply #154
164. Ouch -
Mac software he does not have only Windows. Darn! I really was looking forward to making it hurt lol
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Eloriel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 10:08 PM
Response to Reply #45
140. What an incredibly powerful statement:
PEACE is not only POSSIBLE, but inevitable

Sign me up!

And hearty welcome (again) to DU. So glad you've seen in it what so many of the rest of us do.
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Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 11:24 PM
Response to Reply #45
146. You are to be commended for your integrity...
...in refusing to allow the corporate media to distort your story as they are so inclined to do with practically everything.

Re >>We even received calls from people wanting to represent us to the media. Our decision... we would stay with the indy-media news sources, and focus on reaching the real people who responded to them, found their news from them, and believed in them. We refused the assistance of the "press agents" who wanted to turn the entire process into a media circus/nightmare.<<

and WELCOME to DU!!!

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Tigress DEM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 11:50 PM
Response to Reply #45
149. People who realize that these are not our enemies....





Are the real heros. IMHO


War is Hell and we must never go there except to bring the innocent ones back - to correct a grievous wrong that can be solved no other way - or if the war is waged against us to defend ourselves.

http://www.bushflash.com/swf/y2.swf
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 12:08 AM
Response to Reply #149
152. I love that picture! Thanks for posting it here n/t
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Tigress DEM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 12:35 AM
Response to Reply #152
157. WElCOME.... Welcome.... welcome... is there an echo in here?
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 12:08 AM
Response to Reply #149
153. I love that picture! Thanks for posting it here n/t
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La Coliniere Donating Member (581 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:30 PM
Response to Original message
32. Welcome to DU
I commend you on your honesty, valor, courage, and for doing the right thing.
You are patriots and I'm glad you're here today. Thank You!
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mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:31 PM
Response to Original message
33. welcome, and thank you for your amazing bravery
i think that the only thing that can save this country, indeed, this world, is for our soldiers to say 'hell no'
thank you for saying it, may it spread to every soldier, sailor and marine.
http://pinkobuttons.com/buttons.html?Sanity+24
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:43 PM
Response to Original message
37. The Court Martial of Kevin Benderman
The Court Martial of Kevin Benderman

by Kevin B. Zeese

This Wednesday, May 11, the court-martial of Sgt. Kevin Benderman begins. Sgt. Benderman, who has served in the military for eight years including one tour of duty in Iraq, filed for conscientious objector status after seeing the reality of war in Iraq. He has been denied and now faces court-martial on two counts, desertion with the intent to avoid hazardous duty and missing movement by design. He could spend five years incarcerated if found guilty of the first charge and up to two years for the second.

Kevin Benderman's opposition to war all war is based on his experience in Iraq. As Rep. Cynthia McKinney said on the floor of the House of Representatives on April 28:

    "Sgt. Benderman's opposition is not the theoretical if sincere opposition of a student peace activist. Kevin Benderman has seen things that none of God's children should have to endure. He was present when his superior ordered his unit to open fire on small children who were throwing rocks at the soldiers of his unit. He chased the hungry dogs from an open mass grave filled with the bodies of young children, old men, and women. Kevin saw the burned child, crying in pain, while all around her ignored her injuries."


Benderman, who is from Tennessee, comes from a family that has served in wars back to the American Revolution. He has heard the stories of his family's exploits and thus grew up in a culture that supported the military and did their duty by serving. But as a result of actually experiencing war and considering its implications in our modern world, Benderman has come to the conclusion that we must leave war behind. As he told Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:

    "But once you get right down to it, and you experience war firsthand, you realize that we should not be doing this in this day and age with all the knowledge advancements in knowledge that we have and technological advances that we have. We should be able to figure out how to live in this world with everyone without war. Because we can provide enough stuff for everyone on this planet with the knowledge that we have. We don't need war. It is just an outdated, obsolete institution. We need to leave it behind us."


(snip)

The military is having a hard time meeting its recruitment goals. Soldiers are fleeing to Canada and refusing to return to Iraq. The National Guard and active duty troops are stretched thin, some serving in Iraq longer than they should. The insurgency in Iraq seems to be gaining strength, and a U.S. exit from Iraq is not in sight nor even publicly discussed by the administration. North Korea is reportedly ready to test a nuclear weapon, and Iran seems unwilling to slow its nuclear development. Tensions between China and Taiwan continue at a slow boil. The slaughter in the Sudan continues unabated. The United States military is stretched thin and it is scared.

That's right: President Bush's overreaching has put the most powerful country in human history in fear fear that the U.S. will not be able to handle likely conflicts. As a result of that fear, the conscientious objection of soldiers is not something they want to hear. But, they will hear it. And, more importantly, more and more Americans will hear it. They will learn that our soldiers are being ordered to commit acts they find unconscionable. Our youth will hear that if they enlist, they can't get out, and recruitment will be made more difficult.

Morally, Sgt. Benderman has already won. The question now is, how will the U.S. military handle a man of conscience?

http://www.antiwar.com/orig/zeese.php?articleid=5893
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AmBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:50 PM
Response to Original message
43. I have two questions
First, thanks so much for coming here. I so appreciate your courage, sincerity and willingness to share. My questions:

Is it true that most soldiers are supportive of Bush?

Are those that do not support Bush and his policies ridiculed or treated badly? (or are they just not likely to admit it)
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:07 PM
Response to Reply #43
51. soldiers
Thank you for supporting us.

We will be posting an article in the next few days about the real lives of soldiers and their families. We want people to know just what a military installation is all about, how isolated soldiers and families can become, and also some of the basics of the training regimen soldiers go through to "lose their humanity" behind the facade of "trained killers."

We can't speak for all soldiers, but we can tell you that there are many more soldiers who are NOT supportive of government policies than you will most likely hear from. We don't know the politics of most soldiers, as we ourselves believe that we have to focus on stopping war and learning a better way to resolve our problems. This war, and the government's policies, helped us to formulate our ideas, but the thoughts are no different when any war is addressed. In every instance the policies of war created issues of crimes against humanity. Every war is destruction in terms of what the soldiers deal with for the rest of their lives, how it tears innocent families apart, how it destroys homes, countries, relationships. This won't change until we change the way we look at things.

Most soldiers don't talk openly about any of their feelings, because they are "ordered" not to. We see this as another reason PTSD is so strongly evident. If they are never given a chance to address their feelings and their real beliefs.. eventually, their emotional stability will suffer.

On Ft. Stewart, alone, in the year between the return of the soldiers from the first deployment, and the time they left to return to Iraq again, there were 191 CONFIRMED cases of child abuse. CONFIRMED cases.. on Ft. Stewart. This doesn't get talked about in public.. but it needs to be addressed. How does this stop? By giving the soldiers a much needed voice.

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AmBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 08:22 PM
Response to Reply #51
122. Thank you for your candor
I look forward to your article. It is hard for people who have never been in the military to comprehend what our soldiers and their families are subjected to. Thanks for your answers and Godspeed to both of you.
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AmBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 03:51 PM
Response to Original message
44. *self-delete* dupe
Edited on Sat May-21-05 03:54 PM by AmBlue
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mogster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:01 PM
Response to Original message
47. I like their looks - welcome! :-)
They look so dead honest.
God, it's so good to see real people involved!

Good post, Tinoire :toast:
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PuraVidaDreamin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:02 PM
Response to Original message
48. Welcome! Your courage is inspiring!
I've been debating with myself to go stand alone on a street corner with a few signs. Haven't done it, cuz I worry about what is going to happen to me if I do. Its time. I'm off next Friday/Sat, and I'm doing it. Whatever happens, it certaintly won't be anything near to what you and our other soldiers have experience, not to mention what all those innocent Iraqi's have had to endure from us.

I'm interested in where things stand for you both now. How long are the court martial procedings expected to last? How have other court martials regarding CO status turned out?

Take Care.
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:20 PM
Response to Reply #48
57. hearings
Thank you for your support.

The court martial proceedings are basically on hold. An Article 32 hearing is like a Grand Jury investigation, a hearing for discovery. The initial Article 32 hearing was thrown out because the prosecutor and the Investigating Officer showed biased against Kevin, by writing emails to the Convening Authority on post that she felt that Kevin was a deserter. These emails were not forwarded to defense counsel as they should have been. Because the first Article 32 was thrown out, the judge ordered a new one, with a new investigating officer, to determine if the charges filed were justified. The prosecution presented their portion of the evidence last week, but the defense will not be presenting their witnesses until the end of next week. At that point, the new investigating officer has two weeks to examine all evidence and determine a recommendation for whether the CM should proceed.

We are aware of two major CM's in the last year. Camillo Mejia, who did desert, and then returned to report after 5 months absence. He was charged with desertion and served 9 months at Ft. Sill. He has filed CO status, but nothing has been determined at this time.

Pablo Paredes openly refused to deploy on a Navy ship transporting Marines. He appeared at his duty station dressed in civilian clothes, and refused to an officer. After that he filed for CO status. His CO application is still pending, and he has been sentenced to 3 months hard labor, and 2 months confinement to post for having missed movement.

There are many CO applicants who have been turned down. Most who file, are merely denied, and they are then ordered to continue serving their mission. Very few CO applications are approved. We should find the figures before we quote them, but we estimate that only 91 total were approved last year.

We have witnessed many soldiers return to Ft. Stewart having been AWOL. Many should be considered deserters, having been AWOL for more than 29 consecutive days. Most of these soldiers are eventually discharged with a less than honorable discharge. Some are given Article 15's, a non-judiciary punishment which may mean confinement to barracks, or reduction in rank. Those who receive the Article 15's are then deployed to Iraq after being re-processed into the Army.

We can tell you of many stories of soldiers who should have been discharged for medical reasons, but who were deployed anyway. We can tell you a few horror stories of how soldiers were treated by command who only wanted to ensure that they deployed. It is scary.. .but something any potential recruit needs to hear.
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Paintedlady Donating Member (115 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:05 PM
Response to Original message
50. Kevin and Monica, Welcome to DU!
Living in Savannah, I have been following your story for quite a while.

What I would like to know is; do the average soldier fighting in Iraq have any idea that this war is based on nothing but lies? Does the info get to them when for example the recent memo leaked about bush and blair deciding to cook up evidence to make the war possible?
If the soldiers know that they are risking their lives and killing people, not for the protection of their country, but for a lie, how do they feel about it? And how are they able to continue?
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hootinholler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:12 PM
Response to Original message
53. Ok, one for the legal scholars amongst us: Is an order given in ..
Is an order given in an illegal war a lawful order?

This is asked by a vet of the cold war who thinks any order circumventing Geneva is unlawful because the convention has force of treaty. We need a test case.

Please remember we know that you swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, not the bible.

-Hoot
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alfredo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:15 PM
Response to Original message
54. From a Veteran
Army Security Agency 65-69

Do you believe there is a danger of mutiny in our ranks? If there is, is it from the grunts or from NCO's and field commanders?

Be brave. Stand tall.
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merh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:16 PM
Response to Original message
55. Thank you Tinoire
:toast: I never regret reading your posts.

Welcome, Monica & Kevin! :hug:

You are all much respected heros & patriots. :patriot:

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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:22 PM
Response to Reply #55
58. thank you
thank you for supporting us. we appreciate everything that everyone is doing to support our message, and to encourage peace. Even more, we appreciate what everyone is doing to encourage that Truth be heard.

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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:32 PM
Response to Reply #55
61. Thank you for being a committed activist!
Thank you for reaching out with your support to Kevin and Monica
... and a humble thank you for reading my posts. That's quite a compliment when I consider how many great posters there are here :blush:

:hi:
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laura888 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:23 PM
Response to Original message
59. question about mood of soldiers etc.
thank you Monica and Kevin, for standing up for your beliefs!

My question is about the mood of soldiers as you witnessed in Iraq. I know its been over a year since you were there last, but:

1) in general, how do the soldiers feel about the war?
2) are you still in contact with any that are in Iraq now?
3) how long do you believe American troops will be there?

sorry - I realize these sort of questions require long and complex answers. Just do the best you can.

I appreciate it!
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #59
65. questions from Laura
Laura,
I think that more and more soldiers are beginning to admit the way they have been abused is wrong and they are opening their eyes to that fact. It is hard for most to realize they have been used in a manner that is inconsistent with their beliefs and that is not to say that all people that are in uniform are saints but on the other hand they are not all evil either, I think the majority of the people that wear the uniform really want to do the right thing and defend this country but they do not want to be abused and to have their sense of duty to their home twisted around to what ever some people want to do with it.

But you have to understand that war is an extrordinary set of circumstances and you have a large number of 18 year people that just recently graduated from high school and left their parents home for the 1st time and they are put into the middle of this type of thing and they are overwhelmed.

I hear some things form time to time but not often from soldiers there in Iraq.

I honestly have no idea how long there will be a war.


In the interest of brevity I kept the last 2 answers short but I hope not rudely so.

Kevin
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laura888 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #65
69. thank you!
thank you for your candor!

I wish you luck!
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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:29 PM
Response to Original message
60. Thanks, Tinore for posting the
Benderman's Welcome thread!

I read the Ken Benderman story and tucked it away under something good that's happened in this awful bombing and pillaging done in the Orwellian name of "freedom". Something our msm pushes on the Americans daily.

Thank you, Ken Benderman, for standing up, under the awesome pressure, for what you believe in. And, thank you, Monica, also, for your courage and bravery under fire from the US military.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:36 PM
Response to Original message
62. kudos to Tinoire, Kevin and Monica
yikes, where to begin ... maybe with a bit of history ...

i strongly opposed the war in Vietnam ... and i strongly opposed those who refused to do whatever was necessary (draft dodging, CO status, AWOL) to avoid becoming a cog in the war machine ... i'm concerned that my attitudes (and outright disrespect for the troops at that time) have led to a situation where most in the military lean heavily towards the republican party ...

do you think there's a cause and effect there and how should those of us who see most wars being waged for totally corrupt purposes view people in the military? how can the anti-war movement make inroads with the military community without seeming disrespectful and without being portrayed as "soft on defense"? i sincerely hope that every single American troop returns unharmed from Iraq ... and i support whatever efforts are necessary to ensure their safety ... still, i question whether they have entered into a "devil's bargain" ... what is the "right view" to have of those who enlist for such potentially evil purposes?

the problem i have with people willingly joining the military is that, with the exception of a courageous few who stand up and say "No" to unjustified warfare, military personnel have signed away their right to make judgments over when it is right to kill and to make war and when it is not ... is it ever acceptable to take such an oath?

i have the greatest respect for those already "in the system" who choose to act on their conscience in spite of the potential penalties ... and i sincerely commend your efforts to give greater voice to those who now may see that our policies do not match with their values ...
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 05:10 PM
Response to Reply #62
75. people who wear the uniform
welsh terrier2
I cannot answer this in just a few sentences and I do not want to be short in response to this very good question as I want to make sure that I do not do a disservice to either side of the equation.

I need a small amount of time to think about the best way to answer.

Thanks for a thought provoking question that deserves a well thought out answer.

I will say though, the majority of people that wear the uniform are not on the evil side or the saintly side, I believe that most are somewhere in the middle of that. Although there are elements of both of those things in the military.

And as you say, the image of anti-war people is seen as a group of people that will not defend the country or are weak and scared. I believe that the majority of both groups are in the middle of the extreme.

But if you let me have a little time I will explain my opinion a little better.

Thank you. From Kevin.. But.. I, Monica, would like a chance to respond to this as well.. just please return for Kevin's response. IT WILL BE A GOOD ONE!!!!!!

Kevin and I were married about 3 months before he deployed. We were together about 2 years before that. I have always been against war. My career has been working with the elderly, many of them veterans. I worked at teaching many of my staff members how to resolve conflicts with passively aggressive tactics. The elderly that I cared for taught me that we need to use the wisdom of our aged, and find a better way. War will never solve problems, only create more. I love my husband, but I do not love war.

I can accept anyone for believing in themselves, and for working hard at what they believe. I also was confident that if Kevin were to see combat firsthand, on the basis of many conversations we had, and on what I knew about him, that he would no longer believe that defending his country meant using war as a tactic. I couldn't tell him what to think, but I could watch while he came to what he now believes.

When Kevin left for Iraq, I had a strong sense that he had to go. But I didn't feel that he went to kill, or because he supported killing. I felt, and now firmly believe, that Kevin went to Iraq because he believed, 100%, in his heart and soul, that if he were there he could do a better job of keeping the younger soldiers he supervised safe. Right before he left, he assured me that he was going to see that everyone he went with, that he could be responsible for, would come back home. Kevin worked hard and received Army Commendation medals for his service. On the commendations, he was credited with having learned the duties of all the maintenance crews so that he could help to maintain not only the Bradleys, his original MOS, but also the Abrams tanks, the humvees, and any other vehicles soldiers in his unit used to take to the frontlines. The commendation also stated that Kevin was the ONE MECHANIC ASKED FOR BY NAME BY MORE CREW MEMBERS when they needed assurances that their vehicles were safe. Kevin did what he promised, he kept everyone that he could be responsible for as safe as he could, and he helped to get them back to their families. Kevin will not tell you these stories.. I WILL.

I could not speak out for the war.. I would not. But I supported my husband. I sent him packages, letters.. was available for every phone call.. I listened after he returned. I heard his concern, I saw the conflict, and I knew that he was coming to realize that the best way for him to keep the soldiers he cared about safe was to see that they never went to war again. It was not to return and patch up vehicles that honestly don't have much more usable mileage on them.

Most soldiers that I talk to do not want to return to war. Most soldiers hate war more than anyone else. But we have to give them a chance, and the benefit of hearing what they believe and why. If we can get them talking, maybe we can understand better, and maybe we can then find a way to show them how another way may be better.

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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 05:40 PM
Response to Reply #75
86. "If we can get them talking"
thanks to both of you for your thoughtful answers ... i truly hope that you both remain here as active participants in the DU community ...

Kevin, take all the time you need ... as Monica stated, "if we can get them talking, maybe we can understand better, and maybe we can then find a way to show them how another way may be better." ... who could provide any more wisdom than that !!

i really wonder what the primary motivation is for people to join the Armed Forces ... i'm sure the reasons vary greatly and i'm sure that, for many, it is more than just a single reason ... still, i wonder what role patriotism really plays in the mix ... i have to confess i have little or no contact with those in the military ... i worry that things like education, good pay, peer pressure or "what else can i do" play a large role in influencing young men, and a few young women, to enlist ... i worry that most have not focussed on the morality of war or on the way the US has used, and abused, its military ... i find a most powerful little spark of hope in what i would label as "your awakening" to the wrongfulness of war ...

i sincerely wish you the very best of luck in your struggles ... i did some draft counseling with the Quakers during the Vietnam War and my entire family was very active in the draft movement ... my brother, after several years of battling, was able to finally get his CO designation ... what kind of country do we have here when a man's (or woman's) deepest conviction tells him that war is wrong and we still seek to force him to function as a fighting machine? hardly the policies of a shining city on a hill ...

anyway, i look forward to further discussions with both of you ... it is critical, in my view, for the "left" to find a way to communicate with people in the military ... how can we explain that our government is corrupt if we have no communication? how can we let soldiers know that we don't believe it serves our national interest to send them into a war zone? how can we show them the soaring corporate profits that result from most military escapades? how can we tell them that we don't respect what they are doing but we do respect the belief they have that they are serving the country?

again, i wish you both all the best with your struggles and look forward to future discussions ...
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cry baby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:39 PM
Response to Original message
63. Thank you for your service for our country.
And a big welcome from me to DU! :hi:

Have fun!
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JohnyCanuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:46 PM
Response to Original message
67. Thank you Kevin and Monica
for reminding me that there are good, decent people in the US military. The reports of torture and abusive treatment of Afghanis and Iraqis by the US military personnel along with the flagrant disregard for the health of civilians and military personnel alike by the Pentagon as they continue the use of the poisonous Depleted Uranium tipped munitions tends to reinforce a belief that the US troops are all brainwashed, order following zombies incapable of thinking for themselves. However by courageously speaking up, taking a giant risk in your own personal life and taking a stand for what you believe in you are reminding the world that there are good people in the US military who need everyone's support and help if we are going to stop the madness.

Hat's off to you for your courage. Thank you again, and best wishes to you both. :yourock:
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Mutley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:46 PM
Response to Original message
68. Welcome Kevin and Monica!
You guys are true heroes! :patriot:
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intheflow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 04:55 PM
Response to Original message
70. Thanks for joining us, Kevin & Monica. My question is about
civilian contractors, from the US or elsewhere (i.e., Halliburton or private security firms). Are they and/or their work kept segregated from the soldiers? Are the armed forces supporting their work by being security? Did you have any interaction with them?

My fiance was in the first Gulf War, frontline on the oil fires, working munitions. He doesn't talk about it much.

This work you're both doing is so important. Thanks for serving your country, Monica and Kevin!
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 05:16 PM
Response to Reply #70
77. contractors..
Kevin can return and answer this one in more detail. The contractors are not segregated much from the soldiers here on the installations. In many instances, at least in the motor pools, much of the work is delegated to the contractors during the time when the soldiers and equipment are not deployed. This has always been a concern for Kevin because, with contractors doing much of the maintenance on the vehicles prior to deployment, it takes longer to get the soldiers up to speed when they finally are deployed. And, in Kevin's eyes, he doesn't trust any maintenance work done on equipment by people that he does not oversee. If he can't be certain that the soldiers he worked with had done the work, he doesn't trust the safety of the vehicles.

I'll save this question so that he can answer it in more detail.

Monica
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intheflow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 06:45 PM
Response to Reply #77
101. Thanks, Monica. I'll look forward to Kevin's response. n/t
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 05:12 PM
Response to Reply #70
178. contractors
The contractors that I worked with in Iraq were about fifty miles behind us as we did our daily missions and were protected by U.S. forces. We were "forward" and anyone that has been around the military will know what that means. I would have to deal with them from time to time when I was back in their location to pick up a part that was needed to repair the forward vehicles.

One of the guys that worked for United Defense was nearly killed by an I.E.D one day, it went off to soon to do that but it did throw a concrete block into the windshield of the hummwv he was. It did not go all the way through the window. He was very lucky to live
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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 05:01 PM
Response to Original message
71. A heartfelt Welcome to Kevin and Monica...
and thank you Dear Tinoire for this wonderful thread.

:hi:

peace,
lc
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 05:07 PM
Response to Original message
73. an Official Welcome! how nice!
Edited on Sat May-21-05 05:09 PM by G_j
we can do it!! :hi:

& thanks for a great post Tinoire.

No more killing. No more hatred, No more lies!!
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DemBeans Donating Member (669 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 05:09 PM
Response to Original message
74. Thank you for spending some time with us...
I'd just like to say that you're fighting for all of us. I have two sons in college and should the draft be reinstated, they both intend to either file for CO status or leave the country if that status is denied. They refuse to fight in an illegal and immoral war. They refuse to participate in or be witness to war crimes. The disposition of your case will be important to all of our children's futures.

God bless you, and I wish you success in your fight.

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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #74
78. draft.. recruiting VERY IMPORTANT
FYI.. If your sons are in college, they have already registered for Selective Service, we would imagine.

It is important that they prepare a CO application, and a letter and statement attesting to their CO beliefs, NOW... do not wait. This should be copied in triplicate, and placed with others besides themselves, in sealed envelopes, and dated.

If they do not do this, it will be very difficult for them to file for CO status once a draft in instituted, should it ever be.

WE CANNOT STRESS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS ENOUGH.

Please feel free to contact us and we can get them connected to the people who can help them. We can get them copies of the CO application, and the appropriate UCMJ articles relating to it.

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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #78
90. Ditto- can't stress that enough!
Edited on Sat May-21-05 05:58 PM by Tinoire
Thank you Monica for saying that! I can't stress it enough either!

Make sure conscientious objections are so well documented that NO DOUBT can be left in anyone's mind, that NO LOOP-HOLE can be left for them to exploit and say X is not really a CO but just saying that to get out of going to the war.

Document. Document.

Thank you for making that important point!!
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Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 06:22 PM
Response to Reply #78
97. Oh, I am so glad to have this information for my son!!!
Even those who have not yet but will be required to register with Selective Service MUST know this when that time comes. Every high school student should have this information!!!

We've had some real problems with recruiters, especially in rural areas.
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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 05:25 PM
Response to Original message
81. Welcome Monica and Kevin!
:hi: :patriot: :hi:

Great OP Tinoire. ;)
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 05:42 PM
Response to Original message
87. WOW!!! Monica and Kevin in da house!!!
:wow: :bounce: :party: :bounce: :party: :bounce: :wow:

WELCOME!!! THANK YOU BOTH FOR MAINTAINING THE COURAGE OF YOUR CONVICTIONS!!! :hug: :loveya: :hug: WELCOME!!! Oh, I'm SO DELIGHTED!!!

Ya'll have to 'scuse me a moment while I go do a little happy dance...

WOOOO-HOOOO Monica and Kevin in da HOOOUSE!!! :bounce:

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shance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 05:49 PM
Response to Original message
89. Thank you as always to Tinoire and a heartfelt welcome to Kevin and Monica
It's a pleasure to have the opportunity to hear your experiences and understand more fully the realities facing our troops and the realities facing those who have been unlucky enough to have been born at this time on Iraqi soil.

I'm so sorry both of you are having to go through this. I am grateful however to see two strong, focused and committed individuals. It helps more than you know for you to share your experiences with us who have been largely isolated from military life.

It helps us better fully understand and empathize with the overall military culture and system and how it effects Americans who enter military life when we hear such experiences. Its the primary reason I have become so active in stopping war profiteering and war in general.

We will get more of the word out and Americans will come together to stop this immoral act happening in our name.

Thank you much again for joining us at DU***

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alcibiades_mystery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 05:56 PM
Response to Original message
91. Welcome, and a question
Welcome to DU, and I can't say enough about your courage and endless service to this nation. i do have a question:

What are the top five reasons those within the military (and military families) give for supporting Bush, in your experience? I ask because I think once we understand the support, we are in a better position to counter those arguments not with vitriol, but with solid counterarguments based on facts and military values. Thanks for any response at all.
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Paula Sims Donating Member (327 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 06:03 PM
Response to Original message
92. Welcome Kevin and Monica
Thank you for your service and your courage. Although we at the DU know that there are faces behind this war, I for one appreciate your coming forward and helping me deal with all of this. The DU is an AMAZING family and have welcomed me and my husband with open arms. You too have been welcomed with great love. And thank you Tinoire for introducing them.

Paula

:bounce: :loveya: :bounce:
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MrScorpio Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 06:05 PM
Response to Original message
93. No questions, just support
There are many folks in uniform on DU that support your courageous stand, Sarge, both still on active duty and are no longer in uniform.

You're doing the right thing to bring attention to this debaucle that America is involved in.

Stay brave and strong.
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clem_c_rock Donating Member (989 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 06:10 PM
Response to Original message
94.  Welcome, thanks, and a question
I have a hard time believing the part of the insurgency that seems to be targeting only innocent Iraqis, (IE the bomb a few months ago that killed primarily children) does not have some form of connection w/ US forces. I am convinced through my research on th PNAC, the 14 US bases being built in Iraq (not to mention the other permanent bases popping up everywhere in the middle east), the immediate disbandment of the Iraqi army, and the heavy collective punishment in places like Falluja, that WE ARE INTENDING TO STAY PERMANENTLY.

With that in mind, I can see the biggest benefactors of manufactured chaos would be the US forces. Also, the filming of the looting of the Al Qaada arsenal which shows US forces standing around while the arsenal is being looted makes me very suspicious.

As in Vietnam, counterinsurgency operations often are stage to make it look like the opposing side is committing atrocities so it gives the invading forces the "Moral Grounds" to employ the heavy handed techniques that often the public would not support.

Am I way off on theorizing such tactics?
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #94
99. tactics
Clem,
First let me state that the soldiers on the ground are not the people responsible for the orders they are given. There are commanders that may know of the things that are being ordered from higher but the average "joe" on the ground does not have access to these orders.

I believe that the people that are driving the train are the ones that benefit from manufactured chaos and after seeing some of the things that I did and have had time to think over thoroughly I would not put it past them to do exactly something of that nature.

You must remember that in war the very first casualty is always truth.
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clem_c_rock Donating Member (989 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 07:37 PM
Response to Reply #99
115. I heard one of the things Giuliana Sgrena was working on reporting
Edited on Sat May-21-05 08:00 PM by clem_c_rock
Was the complicity of US forces w/ the folks behind the beheadings. I've seen about 90% of the behaeading videos, sick as they are, and you notice no struggle as the head is being sawed off and very little blood- the type of thing you would expect if you beheaded a corpse. Noone but the US forces benefitted from the beheadings. It perfectly demonized the enemy at times when they needed it most. If if was Iraqi resistance - they gained nothing from the beheadings except collective punishment.

Also, there are mercenaries and others like them that would do almost anything for the right price.

Another givaway is the incredibly heavy handed tactics the US are using. Even the British are shocked and calling for restraint from the Americans. This shows they are playing for keeps and not playing any part of the game for the Iraqi people.
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understandinglife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 06:13 PM
Response to Original message
95. Welcome Kevin and Monica.
Peace.

www.missionnotaccomplished.us - Be it MNA Day 4 or 8 or 15 or .... the day will come when 10s of millions of Americans and others stop their typical activities for 24 hours and urge 10 times that many to join should another MNA Day be required. On that glorious day what we once called "America" will emerge.

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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 06:55 PM
Response to Original message
102. The deserters: Awol crisis hits the US forces (heart-breaking)
The deserters: Awol crisis hits the US forces

As the death toll of troops mounts in Iraq and Afghanistan, America's military recruiting figures have plummeted to an all-time low. Thousands of US servicemen and women are now refusing to serve their country.

By Andrew Buncombe
The Independent
16 May 2005
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?...

Sergeant Kevin Benderman cannot shake the images from his head. There are bombed villages and desperate people. There are dogs eating corpses thrown into a mass grave. And most unremitting of all, there is the image of a young Iraqi girl, no more than eight or nine, one arm severely burnt and blistered, and the sound of her screams.

Last January, these memories became too much for this veteran of the war in Iraq. Informed his unit was about to return, he told his commanders he wanted out and applied to be considered a conscientious objector. The Army refused and charged him with desertion. Last week, his case - which carries a penalty of up to seven years' imprisonment - started before a military judge at Fort Stewart in Georgia.

    "If I am sincere in what I say and there's consequences because of my actions, I am prepared to stand up and take it," Sgt Benderman said. "If I have to go to prison because I don't want to kill anybody, so be it."


The case of Sgt Benderman and those of others like him has focused attention on the thousands of US troops who have gone AWOL (Absent Without Leave) since the start of President George Bush's so-called war on terror. The most recent Pentagon figures suggest there are 5,133 troops missing from duty. Of these 2,376 are sought by the Army, 1,410 by the Navy, 1,297 by the Marines and 50 by the Air Force. Some have been missing for decades.

But campaigners say the true figure could be far higher. Staff who run a volunteer hotline to help desperate soldiers and recruits who want to get out, say the number of calls has increased by 50 per cent since 9/11. Last year alone, the GI Rights Hotline took more than 30,000 calls. At present, the hotline gets 3,000 calls a month and the volunteers say that by the time a soldier or recruit dials the help-line they have almost always made up their mind to get out by one means or another.

(snip)

From southern Germany where he is on holiday before starting college in the autumn, Mr Adler told The Independent: "It was obviously a horrible experience but now I'm glad I went through it. I was expecting to meet a whole lot of different types of people; some had noble reasons. I also met a lot of people who wanted to kill Arabs." In one letter home to his family, Mr Adler wrote that when he arrived he was horrified by the things he heard other recruits talking about, things that in civilian life would result in someone being treated as an outcast. In another letter he said he could hear other recruits crying at night. "You can hear people trying to make sure no one hears them cry under their covers," he wrote.

(snip)

(( Jeremy Hinzman, 26, ))
But in March he was refused refugee status by the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board. Mr Hinzman, who is appealing the decision, told the hearing: "We were told that we would be going to Iraq to jack up some terrorists. We were told it was a new kind of war, that these were evil people and they had to be dealt with ... We were told to consider all Arabs as potential terrorists ... to foster an attitude of hatred that gets your blood boiling."

(snip)

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?...
http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/051905_world_...


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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 07:09 PM
Response to Reply #102
106. We can tell you stories..
and we will. We'll grab something to eat first.

There are many stories of soldiers who are deserters, and those who wish they could be, but were forced to participate in a second go-round of this war instead. We will write some individual stories, without names unless they have told us that we can be public with them. Most of the people we have heard from are here at Ft. Stewart, but there are a few in Germany, and stationed elsewhere.

People need to be aware of exactly what some of these soldiers have been put through. It will help civilians to understand why soldiers sometimes don't feel that they can say NO. That they are caught between a rock and a hard place. Usually, the reason is because they trusted what they were promised when they listened to their recruiter.

We have recruiting stories as well.

We are grateful for this forum, and we will answer questions as long as people want to ask them. We look forward to being involved here. Mostly - we thank you ALL for your support, and for your encouragement. We are in this together, and we WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Monica and Kevin
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 07:33 PM
Response to Reply #106
114. I, we, can't wait to hear your stories
People here have been keeping a very close eye on the happenings in Iraq (to the point that George Galloway congratulated the posters here for their "political acumen") but hearing stories from you would be a very fresh experience and put a very human touch on things.

We have rarely heard anything from the perspective of the soldiers which, as you know, has been deliberately muted.

There was some stuff at http://www.sftt.org/main.cfm, Colonel David Hackworth's site. I hope that site will still keep going despite his sad death.

Enjoy your dinner- we're extremely grateful, as you can tell, that you stopped by and you are in my prayers!
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bobthedrummer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 07:06 PM
Response to Original message
104. Welcome to DU, Kevin and Monica!
Edited on Sat May-21-05 07:06 PM by bobthedrummer
:patriot: :hi: :patriot:
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 07:08 PM
Response to Original message
105. American military personnel
are being subjected to APPALLING MISUSE AND ABUSE by the current *administration. The day a groundswell of members of the Armed Services, their loved ones and supporters make their voices heard in a LOUD collective "NO MORE" is the day we begin to wrest control from those to whom our lives mean nothing. Kudos to you, M&K. I, for one, have been waiting for you. You will surely find much support here.
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Chomp Donating Member (602 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 07:09 PM
Response to Original message
107. Hello from Ireland
I'd be very interested to hear your comments about the relationship between US forces and Iraqi civilians on the ground.

I can't help feeling that there is a massive and hugely damaging communication breakdown and lack of mutual empathy between the 2 groups in their day-to-day dealings - at roadblocks, during house raids/arrests, in public areas etc.

I guess this is really a question about that battle for "hearts and minds": how many hearts and minds are being won?







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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 07:13 PM
Response to Reply #107
109. Iraqi citizens.. and THANK YOU for EVERYTHING
Kevin made many friends among the Iraqi people in the community he was stationed near. We don't hear from them now, but we do hear from many good people in Iraq.

As a result of the first CO denial, Kevin refiled an entirely new CO application. In his second application, we are proud to say that out of 25 personal letters attesting to his sincerity, he included 4 from Iraqi citizens now in Iraq. They support him fully, and we communicate with about 20 people in Iraq now. Of the 4 who wrote for Kevin, there were two Sunnis, a Shia and a Kurd. How incredible is that? All that they are going through, and they still have time to give to us. AMAZING.. we speak for them as well. People helping people. THAT'S where the real power is!!!

Take care...we'll be back in a bit.. and we'll be here daily to check on posts and answer questions. Keep them coming.. there's much we want people to know.

Thanks for everything. Monica and Kevin
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Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 07:52 PM
Response to Reply #109
118. People helping people,...that's,...power!!!
:cry:

We are all really reaching for that kind of freedom, aren't we.

Your post touched me. Thank you!!!
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BeHereNow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 08:29 PM
Response to Reply #109
125. PLEASE share these messages with the Iraqi people.
We are so terribly frustrated as a group here at DU
about not being able to communicate with our
brothers and sisters in Iraq. It is SO important to so many of
us that they know that WE know the truth and do NOT
support what is being done in our names with our tax
dollars.
It is my sincere prayer that somehow, someway we WILL
form a unstoppable and indestructable chain of
humanity made up from a global network of
love between ordinary people that will bring a
screeching halt to the madness of King George and
his neocon-nazi corporate theocracy.
Love to you both,
BHN
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Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 08:45 PM
Response to Reply #125
128. But for my need to reach out to the people in Iraq, I would not be here!!!
You perfectly articulate my personal frustration which led to me connecting to DU!!!

How can we convey our concerns to our fellow human beings?
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 09:17 PM
Response to Reply #125
130. Ditto!
Hello BHN :hug:

I'm so glad you found this thread!
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BeHereNow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 09:34 PM
Response to Reply #130
133. Honey babe-
You are one of the first DU posters
I look for...how could I miss it?
LOVE to you.
BHN
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 09:47 PM
Response to Reply #133
136. Laughing
From the person who wrote that fantastic thread "Be Not Afraid", that is quite a compliment indeed! Check your PM

Love always :hi:
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lilymercury Donating Member (95 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 07:11 PM
Response to Original message
108. Welcome and bless you both for your courage!!
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faithnotgreed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 07:18 PM
Response to Original message
112. welcome! ... your depth, integrity, heart just leap off the page
as you write your greetings and responses
coming from such a spirit as you both are, these words speak very strongly to me

in gratitude and peace God bless the world!

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HeeBGBz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 07:27 PM
Response to Original message
113. A big DU welcome to Kevin and Monica
Thank you for visiting with us. You are an inspiration. Hang in there!
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 07:39 PM
Response to Original message
116. WELCOME!!!!!
:toast: We are so fortunate to have you here!
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #116
177. Good golly
I imagine that you have heard that more than once in your lifetime. We are the fortunate ones to have so many good people that are offering their support to us as we try to do the right thing.
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 11:42 PM
Response to Reply #177
194. Indeed I have.
Edited on Sun May-22-05 11:45 PM by mzmolly
But, it's fine to hear it again. :)

Again, thank you for sharing with us. We look forward to supporting you in any way YOU need.

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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 07:40 PM
Response to Original message
117. DUers, Kevin, Monica- check out WhatReallyHappened.com !

Item Number 1 on the main page and also in current events is:

Latest on SGT Benderman
Posted May 21, 2005 04:50 PM PST
Category: CURRENT EVENTS

Main page: http://www.whatreallyhappened.com /
Current Events: http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/archives/cat_current_...

and both link directly to this thread! Thank you Michael Rivero for your tireless effort to get the true news out to people and make a positive difference in this world. Thank you for supporting the Bendermans!!! :toast:

Woohoo! Do you know how many people from all over the world are now going to see this thread?

:toast:
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 07:57 PM
Response to Original message
119. Protests across U.S. support war resisters "Pablo and Kevin put the war
Protests across the U.S. support war resisters
"Pablo and Kevin put the war on trial"

Thursday 19th May 2005, by Eric Ruder , Jocelyn Blake


THE U.S. military put war resisters Pablo Paredes and Kevin Benderman on trial last week. But at the same time, across the U.S., activists put the Iraq war itself on trial.

Paredes, a Naval petty officer, and Benderman, an Army sergeant, both faced military trials for answering their consciences and not deploying to Iraq. Paredes was found guilty at his court-martial in San Diego, but he received a light sentence compared to the year behind bars in a military prison that he faced as a maximum punishment. Meanwhile, at Fort Stewart in Georgia, Bendermans defense team won a motion claiming that the militarys prosecutor wasnt impartial, sending his case back to square one.

While Paredes trial was going on, outside the Navy base in San Diego, activists set up their own court and put the war on trial.

Aidan Delgado, who received conscientious objector status after serving nine months in Iraq, told the mock court of the atrocities he witnessed while working in Abu Ghraib prisonand affirmed the International Red Cross estimate that 70 to 90 percent of the prisoners are there by mistake. At Abu Ghraib, we shot prisoners for protesting their conditions, said Delgado. Four were killed.

Two members of Iraq Veterans Against the WarTim Goodrich and Camilo Mejaalso spoke in Pablos defense. In reality, it isnt the only superpower in the world putting Pablo on trial, said Meja, who spent seven months in a military prison for refusing to return to Iraq for a second tour of duty. Its Pablo putting the only superpower in the world on trial.

Meanwhile, at the trial itself, the Navy judge, Lt. Cmdr. Robert Klant, delivered a stunning indictment of the war.

After law professor Marjorie Cohn explained on the witness stand why the U.S. invasion of Iraq was illegal under U.S. and international law, government prosecutors began hounding her about her prior statements that the U.S. wars on Afghanistan and Yugoslavia were also illegal. Cohn explained that both these warslike the invasion of Iraqwere neither defensive, nor sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council, and therefore were illegal.

At the end of the cross-examination, an exasperated Klant agreed with Cohn, declaring, I think that the government has successfully proved that any service member has reasonable cause to believe that the wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq were illegal.

In the end, Klant gave Pablo what amounts to a slap on the wristtwo months confinement to his base, three months hard labor and a reduction in rank. This is...a stunning blow to the prosecutors who asked for nine months in the brig, said Jeremy Warren, Pablos lawyer. Its a huge affirmation of every sailor and military personnels rights to speak out and follow their consciences.

Meanwhile, Kevin Benderman faces a new hearing in his case, where the military will decide again what charges to bring and how stiff a sentence to seek. Seemingly in retaliation for the defenses successful motion for a new hearing, the government added two charges of larceny because Kevin received combat pay since January, when his unit was deployed in Iraq without himeven though the Army initiated the payments and Kevin reported the extra pay.

I just know that I want the truth to continue to come out, Kevin told reporters after he received the new hearing. And I think thats what happened today. Some of the truth came out that they mishandled the Article 32 hearing.

The mock trial outside the San Diego Navy base where Paredes trial was held was just one of many solidarity actions organized in some 20 cities across the U.S. last week.

A day before his trial, Pablo addressed an audience of about 50 people in Oakland, Calif., by telephone. This fight is not over, said Pablo. This is the first battle, and we are winning it in the streets. Other speakers included Father Louis Vitale and Oakland City Council candidate Aimee Allison.

The day after Pablos court-martial, more than 100 people in New York set up their own mock court to put the war on trial at an event organized by Citizens for Pablo, Veterans for Peace, the local chapter of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), United for Peace and Justice, International Action Center, Not in Our Name, the International Socialist Organization and others. Speakers included military resister Carl Webb, Linda Sarsour of the National Council of Arab Americans, Tod Ensign of Citizen Soldier and Iraq Under Siege editor Anthony Arnove.

During closing arguments, Michael Letwin of New York City Labor Against War summed up the choice that soldiers like Pablo and Kevin face, along with everyone trying to stop the U.S. war machine: Resistance is not only a right, it is an obligation.

At Hunter College in New York, Mike Stoll of the Campus Antiwar Network prosecuted the case against the war, while Adam Farooqui of the College Republicans argued in its defense. Basing their testimony on real sources, students acted as witnesses, playing the parts of an Iraqi civilian, a Marine recruiter, a Halliburton CEO, a resisting U.S. soldier and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. In the end, a jury made up of audience members voted 10 to 3 to find the war guilty as charged.

In Burlington, Vt., 70 people picketed the federal building with chants of Theyre our brothers, theyre our sisters, we support war resisters.

The importance of what were doing today cant be overstated, Jim Ramey, one of the organizers of the event and a member of Vermont MFSO, told the crowd. The U.S. armed forces are attempting to make an example of Pablo and Kevin and so are we. By supporting them now, we can give confidence to the many soldiers who are questioning this war that they can speak out, and well have their backs.

In Springfield, Mass., about 20 people picketed for two hours in front of the federal building. American Friends Service Committee, Traprock Peace Center, the Antiwar Coalition at Holyoke Community College and the International Socialist Organization sponsored the event. During the picket, there was an almost unbroken sound of cars and trucks honking their horns in solidarity, and many drivers and passersby stopped to take fliers about the two cases.

In Providence, R.I., about 30 people rallied in front of the federal building. Passersby joined the rush-hour protest or signed petitions before boarding buses, and listened as speakers addressed the brutality of the U.S. occupationand the hypocrisy of threatening GI resisters with prison while alleged murderers of Iraqi civilians go free.

In New Haven, Conn., a small but spirited crowd gathered in front of the federal building downtown to show their support for Pablo and Kevin. The demonstration was called by the Southern Connecticut State University Antiwar Coalition and the Middle East Crisis Committee and was supported by several local groups. Though some military recruiters decided to stand across the street with their Army of One banner, horn blasts from drivers and thumbs-up from pedestrians showed overwhelming support for the antiwar message.

Together, these events showed that a new movement to defend those who resist the U.S. military machine from the inside is being created.

Resistance is the essence of democracy, said Pablo at a press conference the day before his trial began. We learn in our American history classes about a resistance to the empire outside. I have to be a part of the resistance to this empire. Everyone should join this resistanceand help build a movement to stand with people like Kevin and Pablo.

Frank Couget, Tom Dillon, Andrew Jagunich, Rebecca Lewis, John Osmand, Steve Ramey and Annie Zirin contributed to this report.


http://socialistworker.org/2005-1/544/544_12_WarOnTrial...
http://www.selvesandothers.org/article9618.html

Reprinted with standing permission from Socialist Worker

http://www.selvesandothers.org/article9618.html

Friends. We have your back!
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BeHereNow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 08:14 PM
Response to Original message
120. TRUE Patriots! WELCOME KEVIN AND MONICA!!!
Edited on Sat May-21-05 08:15 PM by BeHereNow
And thank you Tinoire, you are amazing.
A blessed peacemaker.

To Kevin and Monica,

My nephew and his wife, both Army, have recently
decided to stand together in refusing to return to
Iraq. She is now pregant, by design, and he told
me he will face prison time rather than continue
to be used as cannon fodder for the corporate elite
that have taken over our country.

This coming from two kids who were so very proud
to serve their country...until they figured out that they
were not serving their country at all.

I sent them your web link about ten days ago.

God bless you both,
BHN
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 09:27 PM
Response to Reply #120
131. Your nephew and his wife are both in my prayers
My goodness! I did not know this same situation was so close to you.

Aside from prayers, please don't hesitate to let us know what we can do to help them also.

I hope we can help Kevin and Monica make such a difference, that the government will soon pay is the lip service of re-examining its policy. Any true examination would lead to an end of this and future wars and that's what they're so deathly afraid of that they won't even allow any real political debate on this war :( I want real debate- true expression of horror and cutting through their lies and complicit acquiescence- the kind of debate you can have with a straight speaking truly antiwar person like George Galloway.

Peace to you and my prayers are with you. :hug:

Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream


Last night I had the strangest dream
I'd ever dreamed before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war

I dreamed I saw a mighty room
Filled with women and men
And the paper they were signing said
They'd never fight again

And when the paper was all signed
And a million copies made
They all joined hands and bowed their heads
And grateful pray'rs were prayed

And the people in the streets below
Were dancing 'round and 'round
While swords and guns and uniforms
Were scattered on the ground

Last night I had the strangest dream
I'd never dreamed before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war.


words and music by Ed McCurdy
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BeHereNow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 09:37 PM
Response to Reply #131
134. Thank you Tinoire-
I have a feeling the power of prayer is
pretty darned effective from your lips to
God's ears.
GREAT lyrics, thank you for that and the
myriad of other wonderfulnesses from you.
HUGS-
BHN
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Vincardog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 08:27 PM
Response to Original message
124. welcome Kevin and Monica
Keep up the good fight we have your back
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #124
176. we can do this together
Vincardog,
Thanks for the support but I believe that it is going to take us all to set this thing straight again.
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BeHereNow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 08:36 PM
Response to Original message
126. Notice how not ONE lurking freeper troll has had the nerve
to address Kevin and Monica?
Guess all the arm chair warrior cowards and bullies
have decided to actually "support our troops" and gone
down to their local enlisting centers?
NOT-

No, they are cowering behind their keyboards reading the
words of the TRUE patriots...

BHN
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Spazito Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 08:42 PM
Response to Original message
127. Welcome, Kevin and Monica!
Those of us north of the border are watching, with great sympathy, your situation as well as others. You are very courageous and are speaking 'truth to power'.
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 09:01 PM
Response to Original message
129. arriving late and leaving early...
...but I wanted to add my heartfelt admiration and welcome to you both, Monica and Kevin. Thank you for your courage and service!
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Berserker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 09:28 PM
Response to Reply #129
132. Again Welcome, Kevin and Monica!
A couple of weeks ago I posted in a thread here on DU about my military service. I went in the military in 69 and found out shortly after how I was lied too not only by the recruiter but also by my government.
My post was not received well by a few of the members here in DU none of which I see in this thread.
After a couple of court marshals, 30 days hard labor and a stint in the Brig I achieved my goal of getting out of the military. I was a co and did not know how or what to do about it other than talk to the chain of command and be called a coward by many people.
As I stated in that thread it takes lots of courage to stand up for what you believe in and to this day I am proud of what I did and I would do it again. I commend you for your courage and stand with you on your beliefs.
Standing up to your government
Means standing up for your country.
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 09:38 PM
Response to Reply #132
135. And you won't see them in this thread
No more than you saw any of the chickenshit chickenhawks in Iraq.

I am a bit surprised not to see any of the pro-war, pro-occupation soldiers here.
Ah well, as a retired soldier, I always knew they didn't really mean a word of that crap about supporting the troops since they use it as a convenient excuse for enabling this war and the coming occupation. But it's probably better this way. Thank you for what you did in '69. People like you paved the way by touching America's consciences. It was your fight of '69 that formed people like me as children and inspired us to grow up and realize the horrors of a little kid running down the streets, burned from NAPALM.

Thank you and peace
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Catrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 10:48 PM
Response to Reply #135
143. What a fantastic
thread, and opening post, Tinoire!! I've been lurking at DU for months (since the debates) and only joined a short time ago, really just in time to see the thread Tinoire started a few days ago about Kevin's case.

I am a moderator at what used to be the Alternet forums, and that is where I met Monica and Kevin.

Having watched this forum for so long and the incredible work people here are doing, I wished I could find a way to get Kevin's story to all of you, but did not know how.

So, thank you so much, Tinoire. Alternet closed its forums (a shock to us, especially since it was so close to the time of Kevin's first hearing) We did manage to get them temporarily hosted at Cafe Utne and were therefore able keep up with Kevin's case as it progressed.

I believe that Kevin represents the best of the military, and that he and others who make the decision he made, need all the support they can get, so I am truly happy they will now have the support of the great people of the DU which, I'm sure they will find out, is awesome! :-)

Berserker, your post really touched me, it brought tears actually, to think that to do the right thing (and you were so right) you had to go through so much! I am glad you are here and want to say a special thank you for having the courage to stand up when it was incredibily difficult to do so :patriot:

The posts here, all of them, are incredible ~ I can't help feeling so much better about Kevin's chances of prevailing with this kind of support.

Thanks again, Tinoire ~ :-)

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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 11:03 PM
Response to Reply #143
144. Hi Catrina
Just wanted to give you a special THANKS. Kevin and I know how hard you work, and we want to be sure you know how much we appreciate all that you do for us.

Can't say enough about the amazing people who help us. They know who they are.. they have to, there are too many for us to name individually.

It now continues here in this DU thread. There's hope - lots and lots of hope. THAT is a good thing.
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 12:03 AM
Response to Reply #143
151. Hi Catrina
:hi:

I can't thank you enough for all the work you've been doing and for having the thoughtfulness to ask Monica and Kevin to come talk with us. Thank you for getting them to us.

Kevin does indeed represent the best of the military! I'm happy to know there are many more like him and I hope they call come home safe and sound.

You get a hug! :hug:
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 09:56 PM
Response to Original message
138. We've read many reports about the sorry lack of proper equipment
for soldiers in Iraq and cheered the courageous young soldier who put Rumsfeld on the spot about it during one of his filmed photo op visits to Iraq.

Has that situation gotten better?

And how are the living quarters? How are our soldiers living over there? Eating? Bathing? We know the REMFs (rear echelon MFs) are well taken care of but the soldiers in the field?

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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 10:23 PM
Response to Reply #138
141. this will require many posts, but here's a start...
Edited on Sat May-21-05 10:28 PM by monicab
The situation of life for the soldiers involved in this conflict is wrong all the way around right now. On the installations here in the states, the preparation and the support is not what it should be for young men and women going to war. Remember... these are kids, many just out of High School. One of Kevin's greatest concerns was the lack of real preparation for what they face in a combat zone. HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS... should be spending their summer with their first real job, or preparing to go to college in the fall, having summer relationships, taking their first trip on their own, whole days at the beach burned to a crisp, hangovers from a few extra illicit beers.... you know.. "kid stuff."

HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS are dying. We'll reserve another post for the Iraqi's.. they deserve it, and we in no way belittle what they are going through. BUT.. our goal is to stop the madness. To do that, we have to face what all of this is doing to OUR country, and OUR citizens. Until we face what is being done to OUR OWN, the madness won't stop.. because not enough of our own have enough respect for people of other countries to make it stop.

When Kevin was in Iraq, he slept every night on a cement floor with a sleeping bag. They were in a bombed out customs building that they took over as their base camp. They were given two liters of water A DAY, and it was 123 degrees during the day, EVERY day. They basically ate MRE's.. pre-fab food, that looked more like paper than anything edible. They bathed in the Tigris River, washed their clothes there (if you could call it that - I washed sand out of his DCU's for three washings before they began to look salvagable when he returned. His feet took 3 months to heal. There were cuts and blisters and toenails missing... it was ridiculous.

I sent them a package every week.. average 35 pounds. They requested koolaid to make the water taste like anything except water.. canned fruit, vegetables... soups.. canned hams, canned turkey... and lots of sox.

Now we here that Taco Bell has just signed a contract to build the first of their franchises in Iraq. There are so many fastfood chains over there now... Kevin's unit, when preparing to deploy, was told that there would be A/C and separate barracks rooms, that they would have computer access to take college courses in their spare time.. there would be mini-malls and recreation facilities. We haven't heard about any of those from the soldiers we know. We have heard that in the first two months of Kevin's unit deploying, they lost 17 soldiers, and many more wounded. Doubt there was too much recreating going on.

Back on post.. again.. how do you prepare for war? Kevin will tell you about his experiences with young soldiers.

HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS ARE DYING. Don't forget that, please. Please pass that along.. and hope that it makes the impression intended. These kids are manning machine guns, and firing M-16's. These kids are being shot at.. FOR WHAT?

These kids have young 18 yr. old wives waiting for them.. here.. in our living room. They cry - they are so afraid. They know every ideosynchrasy of their husband - they worry if anyone in their husband's unit knows of them. They worry if their husband is taking his medicine, if he is soaking his feet - if he still loves them when they don't hear from him for two weeks. They wonder if their mail is getting through because they get a phone call, and just when they say HI they are cut off. We tell them it's a satellite phone, it happens all the time. They hesitate to believe us.. they worry. Maybe their husband was just struck by a stray bullet.. or maybe he hung up because he didn't love them anymore.

It goes on.. it's just beginning.. it's crazy.. and it has to end.

THANK YOU for the forum. There are so many people who need what you offer. Don't give up, please. Kevin told soldiers, his friends, "I've got your back." He meant it. I have his.. but we know that we are definitely NOT ALONE. We can feel you all around us.. and we will tell the soldiers we know, their family members and the Iraqis we talk with.. there are many good Americans.. stand up and watch them work.

THIS IS AWESOME!! Thank you.
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 11:15 PM
Response to Reply #141
145. Thanks :) but I think there's a typo in your post

We'll reserve another post for the Iraqi's.. they deserve it,
====


Your post is beautiful (other than that part I think is a typo ;))

I agree with you that those kids are too young, that a battlefield is NO place to spend your youth. It makes many of us incredibly sad that this is the kind of young adulthood they're having.

Kevin's time in Iraq sounds horrid. What happened to all those lovely barracks Halliburton was supposed to be building for the troops? Those lovely meals they've been charging the taxpayers for? :mad:

    These kids have young 18 yr. old wives waiting for them.. here.. in our living room. They cry - they are so afraid. They know every ideosynchrasy of their husband - they worry if anyone in their husband's unit knows of them. They worry if their husband is taking his medicine, if he is soaking his feet - if he still loves them when they don't hear from him for two weeks. They wonder if their mail is getting through because they get a phone call, and just when they say HI they are cut off. We tell them it's a satellite phone, it happens all the time. They hesitate to believe us.. they worry. Maybe their husband was just struck by a stray bullet.. or maybe he hung up because he didn't love them anymore.
:(
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 07:12 AM
Response to Reply #145
160. typo
yep.. have to fix it.. sorry. it was late, and i was "angry"... things never work best angry.

thanks
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 07:15 AM
Response to Reply #145
161. here's the corrected post.. :-)
The situation of life for the soldiers involved in this conflict is wrong all the way around right now. On the installations here in the states, the preparation and the support is not what it should be for young men and women going to war. Remember... these are kids, many just out of High School. One of Kevin's greatest concerns was the lack of real preparation for what they face in a combat zone. HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS... should be spending their summer with their first real job, or preparing to go to college in the fall, having summer relationships, taking their first trip on their own, whole days at the beach burned to a crisp, hangovers from a few extra illicit beers.... you know.. "kid stuff."

HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS are dying. We'll reserve another post for the Iraqi's.. they deserve it, and we in no way belittle what they are going through. BUT.. our goal is to stop the madness. To do that, we have to face what all of this is doing to OUR country, and OUR citizens. Until we face what is being done to OUR OWN, the madness won't stop.. because not enough of our own have enough respect for people of other countries to make it stop.

When Kevin was in Iraq, he slept every night on a cement floor with a sleeping bag. They were in a bombed out customs building that they took over as their base camp. They were given two liters of water A DAY, and it was 123 degrees during the day, EVERY day. They basically ate MRE's.. pre-fab food, that looked more like paper than anything edible. They bathed in the Tigris River, washed their clothes there (if you could call it that - I washed sand out of his DCU's for three washings before they began to look salvageable when he returned. His feet took 3 months to heal. There were cuts and blisters and toenails missing... it was ridiculous.

I sent them a package every week.. average 35 pounds. They requested koolaid to make the water taste like anything except water.. canned fruit, vegetables... soups.. canned hams, canned turkey... and lots of sox.

Now we here that Taco Bell has just signed a contract to build the first of their franchises in Iraq. There are so many fastfood chains over there now... Kevin's unit, when preparing to deploy, was told that there would be A/C and separate barracks rooms, that they would have computer access to take college courses in their spare time.. there would be mini-malls and recreation facilities. We haven't heard about any of those from the soldiers we know. We have heard that in the first two months of Kevin's unit deploying, they lost 17 soldiers, and many more wounded. Doubt there was too much recreating going on.

Back on post.. again.. how do you prepare for war? Kevin will tell you about his experiences with young soldiers.

HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS ARE DYING. Don't forget that, please. Please pass that along.. and hope that it makes the impression intended. These kids are manning machine guns, and firing M-16's. These kids are being shot at.. FOR WHAT?

These kids have young 18 yr. old wives waiting for them.. here.. in our living room. They cry - they are so afraid. They know every idiosyncrasy of their husband - they worry if anyone in their husband's unit knows of them. They worry if their husband is taking his medicine, if he is soaking his feet - if he still loves them when they don't hear from him for two weeks. They wonder if their mail is getting through because they get a phone call, and just when they say HI they are cut off. We tell them it's a satellite phone, it happens all the time. They hesitate to believe us.. they worry. Maybe their husband was just struck by a stray bullet.. or maybe he hung up because he didn't love them anymore.

It goes on.. it's just beginning.. it's crazy.. and it has to end.

THANK YOU for the forum. There are so many people who need what you offer. Don't give up, please. Kevin told soldiers, his friends, "I've got your back." He meant it. I have his.. but we know that we are definitely NOT ALONE. We can feel you all around us.. and we will tell the soldiers we know, their family members and the Iraqis we talk with.. there are many good Americans.. stand up and watch them work.

THIS IS AWESOME!! Thank you.
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #138
180. equipment and living quarters
I can't say about the living quarters, I have heard they have gotten much better. I have been gone since the end of August 2003, I know when I was there I had to get wooden pallets to make a bed out of and before that I had to sleep either on my vehicle,(which by the way was a M113A3 armored personnel carrier.

The equipment on the other hand is another story, the bradley fighting vehicle is a joke that has gotten some soldiers killed because they failed in combat situations.

There is a movie called the "The Pentagon Wars" that tells about how the Bradley came into existence and if you get a copy and watch it you will see how big of a piece of crap it really is.

The equipment that is touted as the most advanced in the world does have a lot of advantages over some of the stuff that is out there in the world but it is not the " be all, end all" they claim it to be.
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 07:13 PM
Response to Reply #180
187. I really hope the living conditions have improved!
A little human comfort- is that too much to ask for? Especially after we've paid Halliburton multi-millions of the their $2.5 billion contract.

I hope there's a special place in hell for war profiteers.

Sorry to hear about the Bradley- I'll look for that movie. What a crying shame.
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Auntie Bush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 10:36 PM
Response to Original message
142. Kevin and Monica,
We are really HONORED to have you join our site.
Watch out! It's addictive!

I don't have any more questions at this point because others have already asked them and I'm looking forward to hearing your answerers.

Enjoy your dinner! And thanks for being here for us.
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DemonFighterLives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 11:46 PM
Response to Original message
147. Welcome Kevin and Monica and Caterina
Thanks for coming to DU. I only recently have read some of your writings and they are great. Your intelligence makes the administration look like a bunch of knuckleheads.
This war is wrong on so many levels and our helplessness here in the US only makes it worse. The reporters are dead, and the young kids are dying for greed.
We're not worthy! :hug:
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #147
181. welcome
Thanks for having us here and thank you for the complements.

And you have hit the nail on the head; kids are dying for nothing and they are being lied to in order to get them to die.

Not only the kids are dying but there a lot of innocent Iraqis dying as well that wanted nothing more than to live their life without fear just the way we do here in America.
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DemonFighterLives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #181
183. I feel terrible for them all
The Iraqi's and the troops did not deserve this. I don't know how this administration and their blind followers can have any sense of accomplishment. :hide:
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DesEtoiles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-21-05 11:49 PM
Response to Original message
148. I first heard about you from CODEPINK e-mails - you have my support
God bless you, strength to you and your family.
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halobeam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 12:31 AM
Response to Original message
155. A quote that's on my fridge....
"War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today".... John F. Kennedy


The truest words, knows no time.
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roguevalley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 12:33 AM
Response to Original message
156. Welcome both of you. You have no idea how many friends you
have for what you are doing. Welcome to DU.
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Crunchy Frog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 01:43 AM
Response to Original message
158. Welcome to DU!
Thank you for your courage in standing up for your convictions and against this regime.

I am very interested in learning more about what the soldiers are really experiencing over there, and what they really think of it all.

I'm very much looking forward to reading your posts here. :hi:
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 02:55 AM
Response to Original message
159. Kick
:dem:

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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 07:45 AM
Response to Original message
162. soldier stories
People wonder why more soldiers don't speak out readily. We believe a lot of it has to do with their age, and the fact that life on military installations encourages the type of isolationism that keeps soldiers and families from having enough interaction with the public for them to know that there is thought process other than the one repeated incessantly by commanders, platoon leaders, trainers.

Before you can destroy others, you have to destroy yourself. It's what basic training, and continued military life is all about. Uniformity, becoming part of the unit, family is your unit, your FAMILY takes second and third place, so that all feeling has to be shoved to a dark corner inside yourself, and if you do exhibit any feeling - in the wrong unit with the wrong commander you will be punished for it.

This is what our next article will do more than touch on.. but for now..

When soldiers returned from deployment, the screening process was simply to have them return for duty every day for a period of 3 weeks to a month before they were allowed to take family leave to reacquaint with their family. There was a 5 page questionnaire the soldier had to fill out answering questions about how he considered his mental and emotional condition. That was the extent of it. If a soldier asked for care, it was not typical for there to be a compassionate platoon leader to get them that care. It WAS typical for that platoon leader to believe that enough "in your face" orders, and duty assignments to keep the soldier busy would scare the stress right out of them. "Handle your problems like a man."

One of the soldiers in Kevin's unit had returned from Iraq with all the symptoms of PTSD. Many did.. this is just one story. He received no treatment. As the months went by and the possibility of a second deployment loomed, he become morose, and visibly, severely, depressed. His "compassionate" platoon sgt.(different platoon from Kevin's) had been telling them that "half of the platoon was not going to come home from Iraq. That they are pieces of _____ and that he shouldn't have to deal with sending their coffins back to their families in the states." (quoted from this soldier's wife.) The platoon sgt. thought that this soldier was "malingering" or pretending to be depressed to avoid duty. This platoon sgt. told his soldiers that "they are going to be put on guard duty with no flack vest, ammo or weapon," and that by acting depressed, this one soldier in particular had "just made the next 365 days of his life a living hell and he had better hope that he would return." (quoted from this soldier's wife.)

On the day leading up to the beginning of this unit's deployment - this soldier attempted to commit suicide. He did so because he felt that he would rather die here with his wife and step children, than die in Iraq with no one who cared about him. His wife found him in time. She took him to the local hospital. The commanders followed when they heard the news, and ordered him sent to the military psych unit on post. Once there, the commanders refused to allow this soldier's wife in the unit with him. His wife was told that she would not be allowed to know what was going on with her husband, but that he would be staying in the psych ward for the next 3 days, at which time he would be taken from the unit and placed on a plane to fly to Iraq. A day before he was scheduled to deploy, he had time out of the psych unit, and he and his family went AWOL. During that time, he was in contact with his Rear Detachment unit commander, who finally talked him into returning by assuring him that he would have the help that he needed. A month after he returned, he was on a plane deploying to Iraq. The mental health counselors determined that this soldier DID have PTSD and that they would see that he received treatment for it once he got to his assignment in IRAQ... at a Forward Operating Base, in the middle of a heavy combat area. He has been placed under a different command, and his wife says that he is doing as well as can be expected. His commander is much more compassionate than the first.

If our own soldiers are treated this way by their command.. how can we expect that they will know how to treat people from other countries?
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 09:37 AM
Response to Reply #162
165. "Before you can destroy others, you have to destroy yourself"
Very astute observation. That part I was expecting, this part however I was hurt to see in black and white. I know the care hasn't been there and that many soldiers are left to struggle with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) alone but it's still painful to see it in black and white:

    If a soldier asked for care, it was not typical for there to be a compassionate platoon leader to get them that care. It WAS typical for that platoon leader to believe that enough "in your face" orders, and duty assignments to keep the soldier busy would scare the stress right out of them. "Handle your problems like a man."


Wow. And the accusation of "malingering"- what a sad thing. I used to be glad I had retired before this war started but now I'm not so sure. Where has all the care gone?!

And your last story about the soldier being sent back to Iraq straight from the psych unit really infuriates me!
    The mental health counselors determined that this soldier DID have PTSD and that they would see that he received treatment for it once he got to his assignment in IRAQ... at a Forward Operating Base, in the middle of a heavy combat area.

    Horrified. For the lives being wasted, sacrificed to the Moloch God of oil.

    I am angry at many soldiers over there. Very angry at all the soldiers who call Arabs "desert niggers", "ragheads" and take their humanity away from them but too many of our soldiers are good, decent kids stuck in a nightmare. Your stories are heart-breaking. What's worse is that I know you have many more :( Worse ones even.

    Bring them home!
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B Calm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 07:59 AM
Response to Original message
163. Vietnam era veteran welcomes you to Democratic Underground
You both KICK ASS!!
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #163
170. thanks
We can do what we do because people like you did what you did.

Thank you for your service, and thank you for your support.

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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 10:59 AM
Response to Original message
167. Question from Underground Panther in the Sky
Underground Panther in the Sky asked me to get this to you:

Dear Monica and Sgt.Benderman,
I am so very touched by your courage in telling the truth..You both are a true heroes to me,like the soldiers who told the truth about Abu Gharib.I hope if I ever have to stand up against this monstrosity in power like you are doing,that I do it as well as you two do. May the lure of empire die unborn in the hearts of the elites as they get frogmarched to stand trial in front of the entire world for war crimes..


My questions/comments:


OK it's clear to me atrocities and gross human rights violations are happening in the Middle East and wherever else Americans are.... kids are being shot,and there torture and all sorts of other awful things being done in Afghanistan/Iraq to the people there.I think these "insurgents" are for the most part decent people defending their country and culture from invading robber baron colonists,posing as a military,so thoroughly this lie is that the grunts don't have a clue they are being exploited....

How long until this becomes blow back?


I wrote an article called Military Morals on Unknown News,
http://www.unknownnews.org/031126a-up.html

And It got some responses.
http://www.unknownnews.net/d1205up3.html


In one Response a soldier wrote and said the soldiers around him bragged about how loyal and obedient they were to their commanders.That they'd shoot their own sister if they were ordered to. This is scary. What percent in your observation of soldiers have that kind of blind loyalty? How many routinely don't ask questions of their superiors or their orders and fail think about what they do when they do wrong and KNOW it is wrong?
This cultivation of sociopaths in soldiers is what scares me not only about the military but for the American people.

How to we stop the authoritarian climate that fosters bullying and the very notion of a chain of command designed to absolve an individual soldier of feeling the weight off his own choices and conscience in combat situations when ordered to commit atrocities, while it excuses the order givers at the same time.

It's like the military is..at least for some soldiers ..almost like one big huge ongoing Stanford experiment.
http://www.prisonexp.org /

It also has features of Stockholm syndrome..
http://ask.yahoo.com/ask/20030324.html

And it has features of abuse and trauma..
http://mentalhealth.about.com/od/traumaptsd /

Traumatized citizens are useful to people in power.
http://www.psychohistory.com /

I fear alot of soldiers get traumatized ,and suffer and do it with silence until their conscience gets submerged.This is deliberate.
This Breaking down of a recruit and reprogramming him is what makes and efficient killing machine out of a human being.

For the American people I see a similar and milder/slower form of the same sorts of mind manipulations and threats etc going on, because it's clear to me this push for father figures,discipline,obedience and loyalty to symbolic authority still overrides citizen conscience, self interest and common sense for far too many citizens.

Any thoughts on this.

I fear the military owners want soldiers with no conscience,deliberately they want them to have no guilt and just obey.This is a VERY dangerous game,http://www.unknownnews.net/031208a-up.html

What is it about war and the display of power causes this trance that puts a recruits soul to sleep,until years later after combat it hits him what he has done so he crawls into a bottle to die? Can we take the dual edged tools of psy-ops and train non-authoritarian people to use them skillfully against the corrupt sociopath people in power that are manipulating people to keep America loyal to them when they deserve no such trust?

What do you think..

Any thoughts on this stuff would be deeply appreciated.

Thank you,

Underground Panther in the Sky
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 05:59 PM
Response to Reply #167
182. Good questions
That are going to require some time to answer in the proper manner as I cannot give a quick reply to these.

Thanks for asking these important questions
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 07:37 AM
Response to Reply #167
200. questions from panther
My questions/comments:


OK it's clear to me atrocities and gross human rights violations are happening in the Middle East and wherever else Americans are.... kids are being shot,and there torture and all sorts of other awful things being done in Afghanistan/Iraq to the people there.I think these "insurgents" are for the most part decent people defending their country and culture from invading robber baron colonists,posing as a military,so thoroughly this lie is that the grunts don't have a clue they are being exploited....

How long until this becomes blow back?

Answer: I feel there are a lot of soldiers that are becoming aware of just how they are being used, it may seem like it should be obvious and it is in a way but sometime people have a hard time realizing that someone that is supposed to be your friend and your support is not what they have been preaching. If you rely on someone that you felt was in your corner and you think that they would not put you in the position to commit illegal acts then it is hard to admit it to yourself, it's like your brother or some other family member doing something to you that you never in a million years thought they would do to you.
I feel that a lot of soldiers feel let down by the very people that are supposed to safeguard the ideals that led them to join the military in the first place. There are no angels in the military but on the other hand, for the most, the people that are serving are in the middle of the extreme. There are some that will do whatever they are told no matter what but they are not the majority. I think that it boils down to this; it is hard to admit that you have been duped and that is the case with more than just military. No one wants to admit that to themselves and I know that this situation is much more deadly than most but the people that are in the military are just that; people, and sometimes people make mistakes that are hard to admit and are hard to rectify. I don't want to seem like I am oversimplifying this, but I feel that sometimes, it seems that people that have not been in the military think that somehow the people that have are supposed to be some kind of super human that can do all the right things all the time, but when you cut through all of the hype, all you have are individuals that are in the most insane thing anyone can be involved in trying to do what is best and unfortunately what happens isn't always the best thing. That is why after seeing for myself what war really is without the Hollywood hype, I have now come the most sensible conclusion for myself, and that is to help people understand the truth about it.


QUESTION: In one Response a soldier wrote and said the soldiers around him bragged about how loyal and obedient they were to their commanders.That they'd shoot their own sister if they were ordered to. This is scary. What percent in your observation of soldiers have that kind of blind loyalty? How many routinely don't ask questions of their superiors or their orders and fail think about what they do when they do wrong and KNOW it is wrong?
This cultivation of sociopaths in soldiers is what scares me not only about the military but for the American people.

How to we stop the authoritarian climate that fosters bullying and the very notion of a chain of command designed to absolve an individual soldier of feeling the weight off his own choices and conscience in combat situations when ordered to commit atrocities, while it excuses the order givers at the same time.

It's like the military is..at least for some soldiers ..almost like one big huge ongoing Stanford experiment.

ANSWER: I cannot speak for the entire military, I can speak about the soldiers that I have contact with and out of those I can say that only a small percentage have the type of attitude that you speak of.
The way to stop the climate of bullying tactics is to raise the awareness level of people around you and in your circle of friends and acquaintances, education is the key to this I believe, and to get the apathy out of the way people look at things wouild also be very helpful. My father used to tell me that at the town meeting discussing apathy only two people bothered to show up and one of them was sleeping during the meeting. I don't know if I have all the answers but I know that this is something that we need to address as an entire nation, apathy is something that more and more is letting this type of thing happen in the first place, whenever the general population doesn't pay attention to what their government is doing these are the results you wind up with.


QUESTION: I fear alot of soldiers get traumatized ,and suffer and do it with silence until their conscience gets submerged.This is deliberate.
This Breaking down of a recruit and reprogramming him is what makes and efficient killing machine out of a human being.

For the American people I see a similar and milder/slower form of the same sorts of mind manipulations and threats etc going on, because it's clear to me this push for father figures,discipline,obedience and loyalty to symbolic authority still overrides citizen conscience, self interest and common sense for far too many citizens.

Any thoughts on this.

ANSWER: We as a people have to have some type of law that guides us in our daily life or else we would break down to total anarchy. That is not good if we are to be a people with a common goal of peace and security to us and our children.

I think that the way the constitution is written gives us the ultimate authority to govern ourselves but the general population has abdictated their responsiblity to ensure the the government does not get out of control. I feel that too many of us look to the government for far too many things, we want to have the security that it provides so we look the other way when they do something we may not agree with and we only get upset when it does something that affects us directly.
I feel that we as citizens in this country and the way the constitution was written gives us the responsiblity as well as the rights to be citizens and we have to take it seriously and start holding up our end of the bargain and stop saying it is the big bad government's fault for things we let happen.

I know you had one more questions and I will answer them but now my dogs need attention as they are requesting a trip out doors and I will come back after this scheduled morning ritual.

Thanks for making me think, it is good brain exercise.

Kevin
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lateo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 12:57 PM
Response to Original message
168. Welcome to DU!
And good luck in your fight to become an objector.

/US Army Infantry 1985-1991
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #168
169. :-)
Thank you for your support. We appreciate the support of every person who says they understand what we are speaking out about. But it means a lot to Kevin to have the support of veterans like yourself.

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lateo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 09:17 PM
Response to Reply #169
190. You are welcome.
I'm glad you guys found our little website. :)

I was in a similar situation as your husband back in '91. I got the proverbial "got to war or go to jail" telegram in the mail. This was before I really understood what was going on in the ME and with the Bush family so I went. Too bad we didn't have the Internet back then.

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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 01:58 PM
Response to Original message
171. RECRUITING INFORMATION
It is important for parents to know that the No Child Left Behind Act allows for recruiters to visit schools and approach students about joining the military.

It is MORE IMPORTANT for parents to know that the No Child Left Behind Act also allows parents to place a letter in their child's student file specifying that they DO NOT WANT THEIR CHILD APPROACHED BY A RECRUITER. As long as this file is on record in the school, the recruiters will have to abide by it.

Our daughter was recruited for the delayed entry program, in the spring before the Iraq invasion. We did not know that she and her friends were being approached. The recruiters were at the school every day, all day. They brought donuts, drove kids to school who didn't have rides, or whose car was not working. They walked to class with the kids, and actually asked some of the girls to work on some of the "athletes" about joining the military because they thought the girls could influence the guys in some way. They held parties at the recruiting station, and invited kids to come after school. They bought them lunch, and gave them rides to wherever they needed to go. I thought it strange when we received calls from a recruiting office EVERY DAY.. and in a matter of days, my daughter approached me with a contract that I needed to sign before she could proceed to the next process, as she was under aged.

When she approached me, I refused to sign the contract. Instead, we drove to the recruiting office. She had told me that the recruiter had told her that she was guaranteed a $20,000 signing bonus, the right to choose any MOS she wanted as long as she scored high enough, and (THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL) she would have the opportunity to travel to Turkey and shop in the largest shopping mall in the world.

At the recruiting office, we sat and asked the recruiter, Dan, to tell us the truth. I suggested that he explain all of his answers to my daughter, honestly. We also asked the commander of the recruiting office to participate in the discussion. Dan was reluctant, but he actually thought that if he told the truth, I would sign the contract for my daughter... so he answered. The signing bonus was not something she would get immediately. As a matter of fact, she wouldn't see the first portion of it until she re-enlisted - for at least another 3 years. Over time, if she re-enlisted for the next 20 years, the bonus she COULD receive would accumulate to the amount of a potential $20,000. Basically, she could end up with none of it. As far as MOS, he still insisted that she had her pick. But then, her GT scores being just about as high as they could record, she could have the top choices... except that every communication specialty was not available, and every electronic specialty was not available, every medical specialty was not available.... and so on.

As for the world's largest shopping mall... that was the truth. My comment... "tell her what she would be doing to get to the world's largest shopping mall." His answer... because she was being recruited for the Navy - she would be part of a supply ship transporting equipment and ammunition for military operations in the Persian Gulf.

Thank goodness.. our daughter saw through the deception. After thinking through the meeting, she went back to the recruiter and tore up her contract before she was required to take the second oath. It took a while before the recruiters stopped calling the house, but they finally got the message.

We cannot tell people not to join the military. But we can ensure that those who are considering it as an option have all the honest answers to their questions. There are many options for education and job training besides what the military sells. It's just that the other options are not sold as ferociously, and with such rainbow colored promises. Getting an education, getting the right job training will not be easy. Recruiters will try to tell kids that their way is easy. It is NOT. Their way is like nothing most of these kids have ever known, and once in.. it's a harder road out.

Any way to success will take effort, there is NO EASY WAY. There is only the right way for each person. We hope we can help others see the choices that are available to them besides the military. That way, if they do choose the military, it will be with eyes wide open.
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #171
172. Amazing- "shop in the largest shopping mall in the world"
I love the humor with which you told this story! If it weren't so sad, I'd be rolling all over the floor laughing. What's distressing is how easily unscrupulous recruiters are able to fool so many kids and lure them to the killing fields.... shop in the largest shopping mall in the world indeed!

Also, did you see post 167? Underground Panther sent that to me via PM asking me to get it to you so I posted it in this thread.
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #172
173. yes, ma'am...
we're working on an answer.. like a couple of other questions posed in previous posts, there are no simple answers to his questions. we want to do it right.. we are happy that so many people do have questions, and are making us think as well.

Thanks again for everything. This thread excites us... and motivates us.
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #173
174. Thanks :) Same here! n/t
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salin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 04:39 PM
Response to Original message
175. This is an amazing thread... thank you so much.
I haven't gotten all the way through it, so am not going to ask any question at this point (as it may have already been discussed) - but had to take a break from reading - in order to comment on how interesting, informative and provocative this thread is.

Thanks Tinoire, Kevin and Monica!
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chlamor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 05:25 PM
Response to Original message
179. 5 Questions
1) Do you have precise knowledge of the weaponry being used by the US troops, and from what manner of vehicle(s) the weapons are being fired? e.g. Cluster Bombs, Mark 77 Firebombs, Various Dep. Uranium Weapons etc.

2) Could you talk a little about the day to day struggle of Iraqis to obtain food?

3) Do a large percentage of the US troops see this as a "War for Oil" and see the "Bringing Democracy to Iraq" as a fraudulent edifice for conquest?

4) Are there any sentiments of 'Holy War", "Crusades" amongst the US troops?

5) What are your thoughts on impeachment proceedings for Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, etc. and eventual Tribunal hearings at The Hague?

When the truth is silenced the silence becomes a lie. As you speak-Monica, Kevin- you break the wall of silence.





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Sparkly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 06:22 PM
Response to Original message
185. Welcome to DU, Kevin and Monica!
"Kevin's case, and the mess going on with the Conscientious Objector application need to be talked about because there are about 2000 soldiers who have been denied CO status. We want to show them that they have options, and we want them to know that they shouldn't give up."

No doubt it's confusing and frightening for many of them. It must take a lot of courage and presence of mind to go against all the group-think of military training.

Reading some of the links in the OP, I'm not sure what option there is for most soldiers. Denied CO status, wouldn't they face the same charges of desertion, and even face court-martial?

If they're looking to your case, Kevin, to see what happens before making a decision, what will happen if the government uses you as an "example" for others -- what is the worst you might face from them?

I hope something can be done to allow people like you to succeed in pursuing CO status. There's a reason it exists! And clearly, our soldiers didn't enlist to risk their lives and kill innocent people for BushCo's profits.

Thanks for being here, and taking the time to answer questions! :hi:
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 06:24 PM
Response to Original message
186. Good night all
I think that I am going say good night and I just want to thank everyone here for the great questions and all the support that you all have shown to us.

We will talk again soon


Kevin and Monica
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 07:33 PM
Response to Reply #186
188. Good-night Kevin and Monica! Hope to see you soon before they lock this
Threads are locked based on how long they've been inactive and in General Discussion, they move to the archives rather quickly.

If you don't have a chance to answer the remaining questions before they lock it, let me know and we'll start a new one or something. I'm not sure how many posts you need to have before you can start your own thread.

Peace to you, good-night and thank you SO MUCH for everything you have done to really defend America!

:patriot:
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 08:19 PM
Response to Reply #188
189. we're not going anywhere.. back in the morning.
we will be back on in the morning and answer more questions. we are not done.. and we will be around for as long as DU will have us, and as long as there are questions to be answered.

kevin just needed a break.. and we wanted to think through a couple of our answers.. they are long, and detailed.

we are most assuredly just getting started.

THANKS AGAIN..
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 11:50 PM
Response to Reply #189
197. Good... We'll see you in the morning then
:) I'll be at work so I won't be posting until pretty late at night.

Peace to you both, to all people of good will and thanks so much for sharing all of this with us!

:yourock:
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 09:48 PM
Response to Original message
191. THIS IS WHAT YOU DO FOR US... THANK YOU
In the next post, which will be as a reply to the one I now write, I am going to copy a letter we just received from the mother-in-law of another soldier stationed at Ft. Stewart. I have removed the names, but the story is real, and it is something that we felt was worth sharing in its entirety. I have already forwarded it to some people that we trust to be able to help this family, but we wanted to make sure that it was posted here.

What you are allowing us to do by keeping this thread alive, and by letting us speak out here, is to allow people like this mother to find us.

What you are doing is giving us a chance to reach out.. so that the people who need to hear us, and who need the resources we have, by the Grace of God, been allowed to gather, can find us.

We are just doing the work we have been asked to do. We are doing what should be done, but it is not something we can even begin to believe we do alone.

We could not do what we are able to do if it were not for all the good people, just like all of you in this thread, and the independent journalists who are making the link to this thread available to their readers.

Please believe in us when we tell you.. you are all very important, and you are all very much appreciated. If the work we do saves one life, gives one more soldier a voice, brings us all one step closer to the PEACE we all know is coming - then our work has meaning, and cannot stop until we've reached all the people we can.

THANK YOU... we can't tell you how much what you do means.

Monica and Kevin

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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 09:57 PM
Response to Reply #191
192. This is the letter referred to in the last post...
I am a law obiding citizen and pay 100,000 in taxes every year, and along with every American that pays taxes, pays your salary. My son-in-law filed for conscientious objection after serving in Irag and returning to realize the value of life and find peace within his religion he choose to follow.
When you meet my son in law, you realize quickly that he does not fit into the military, prior to war he was against any violence and still is against all violence. The typical recruiter talked a poor small town boy that got the promise of a college education from a recruiter to join the military. Like most recruiters, tell these young men and women anything they want to here. In any other sector of the business world when a CEO or accountant or professional does not tell the truth, they can be fined and imprisoned, yet the recruiters do this every day and no investigation. The reason he chose
to become a Bradley Driver in Ft Stewart was so he did not have take another life, when asked if he wanted to be gunnery he declined because of the strong conviction to every persons right to life. He is a good soldier, not a trouble maker, follows the rules soldier. So when he filed for conscientious objector status in August, 2004, then made to type in darker print 1 month later, his consciensious objection was approved by the chaplin, psychiatrist and the Commanding officer then it was lost.

Unlike Sgt Benderman, my son in law filed for consientious objector long before he was to depart. Since Sgt Benderman changed his view of war then we should have a system of taking these serious instead of treating these young men like criminals to ruin their lives. Court Martial? Dishonarable discharge? for veteran of War. What a Sad country we have become to put such a harsh punishment for ones beliefs.

The consiencious objector status in the code of the military needs to change so that during the investigation the soldier does not have to return to a War zone. This is against all of their beliefs and they should not be put in the situation of whether to go or stay. If one cannot and does not believe in carrying a weapon what is the point of putting them in harms way? We are to be a positive influence on young lives not destroy them by putting them in prison for their beliefs.

My son in law stood up for his rights and left the military. He was sent back to Ft Stewart and they were going to shackle his legs and force him on the plane to Irag. In the meantime while waiting his fate after returning to Ft Stewart he had to file again for consiencious objection, after 6 weeks, still no word. He was told he was going to be forced on the plane on April 15th, 2005. He left April 13th, 2005. After 2 weeks he decided to return to Ft Stewart, now awaits in trial in the S. Carolina brigg. His attorney advised him that the prosecution wants to try to settle for 5 years
in military prison because they are angry with him. 5 years for standing up for what you believe in seems harsh at the least. My nephew was murdered by another young man and he only received 15 years with 10 years in parole. My daughter was victim of rape and the prosecuting attorney would not prosecute, he is free. I ask you, does standing up for your rights compare to murder or rape?

There are cases at Ft Steward of men getting a Chapter 10, with no
court-martial after deserting 5 times or for taking drugs. Yet, when a young man goes about it the right way and follows the laws of the military and files for consientious objection, he is discrimated against and the military wants to give him a maximum sentuce. Especially being a war veteran.

I had 2 brothers that served in Viet-Nam and I wish they would have taken a different route because after serving in the ard it ruined their lives.

After much tragedy in my life and no justice served, I ask for your help to release my son in law from the military so he can be a contibutor to society.
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 10:12 PM
Response to Reply #192
193. As a summary...
Edited on Sun May-22-05 11:11 PM by monicab
This letter was written for Congresswoman McKinney and sent to us to see that it was forwarded to her office. It has been done.

In this letter, she refers to having to refile the CO application one month later, in darker ink.

This is not a joke. If the application is not completely to the specifications required, if it is not typed, if it is not dark enough, if the sub-titles to the questions being asked are not copied onto the application, the entire application is returned and must be refiled.

A CO application begins with a soldier filing one form, 4187, with his chain of command. This is done according to Military Code 600-43, in the Army Regs. Every branch of the military has their own form, but the procedures are basically the same.

The regulations require that the commander who receives the form 4187 forward it on to the Battalion Chaplain and initiate counseling sessions between the soldier and the Chaplain, and the Division Mental Health.

YES!!! A soldier must have a mental health evaluation when filing for a CO status. There is no such evaluation to enter the military.. to pick up a gun and go to war. There is a mental health evaluation required to determine a soldier's sanity.. BEFORE he can be considered for CO status. THE MILITARY QUESTIONS A PERSON'S SANITY FOR REFUSING TO PARTICIPATE IN WAR ANY LONGER.

The Chaplain is designated to determine the sincerity of the CO applicant, and to assist the applicant with the completion of his CO packet. The packet consists of 5 pages of questions - first the basics, who, what.. where do you live... parents' religious affiliation, etc. The remainder is broken down into essays addressing how a soldier's beliefs changed, when the soldier first noticed the change, how the belief changes are reflected in the soldier's lifestyle, and what the soldier's feelings are toward war and defense of one's family and home.

A soldier does not have to have a religious affiliation to file or prove Conscientious Objection. A soldier does have to be religiously, spiritually, morally and/or ethically opposed to ALL war.. but he could use the minimal amount of force necessary in defense of his home and his family when needed.

After the Chaplain determines that the soldier's beliefs are sincere, and the Mental Health office has found him to be SANE.. .the soldier must then submit to a hearing by an impartial hearing officer, a field grade officer who is not part of the soldier's direct chain of command, but who is knowledgeable of the CO process, and who can remain unbiased, and conduct a non-adversarial investigation into the beliefs of the soldier. This Investigating Officer asks questions relating to the soldier's CO Packet, and the soldier has the right to present any evidence or witnesses he chooses to help prove his sincerity. He also has the right to a rebuttal of any recommendations made that are not in his behalf by the IO, or any others on through the Chain of Command who review the packet.

After the IO has made his recommendation, the CO packet is then passed through the chain of command for additional comments, and then forwarded to the Dept. of the Army for review by a Conscientious Objector review board. We are told the entire process could take up to one year. In Kevin's case, the process took about a month. No bias there... ??!!!!! Amazing stuff.

If the CO app. is denied, the soldier has the option to appeal it, to file a writ of habeas corpus in a circuit court (to stop any proceedings while the CO appeal is considered), or to refile a new application, providing all the evidence used in the new application is new, and not a repeat of the last application.

The letter we posted tonight is just a sampling of the letters we receive almost daily. We forward them to the people we know can help, and we continue to respond with any of the people who contact us that need our support to continue in their efforts to resolve their circumstances with the military.

Thank you again... You are awesome, and we are hopeful.

Monica and Kevin
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 11:48 PM
Response to Reply #193
196. Thanks for explainining the process
THE MILITARY QUESTIONS A PERSON'S SANITY FOR REFUSING TO PARTICIPATE IN WAR ANY LONGER.

That says a lot right there.
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 11:51 PM
Response to Reply #193
198. Unbelievable. I wish the Mainstream media would tell your stories.
So very heartbreaking.

"YES!!! A soldier must have a mental health evaluation when filing for a CO status. There is no such evaluation to enter the military.. to pick up a gun and go to war. There is a mental health evaluation required to determine a soldier's sanity.. BEFORE he can be considered for CO status. THE MILITARY QUESTIONS A PERSON'S SANITY FOR REFUSING TO PARTICIPATE IN WAR ANY LONGER."

Isn't that beyond ironic?
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 11:45 PM
Response to Reply #192
195. "they were going to shackle his legs and force him on the plane to Irag"?!
after "losing" the paperwork. Mind boggling. Totally mind boggling!


What is a Chapter 10? I forget- it seems like so long ago...

My heart goes out to that poor young man in the S. Carolina brigg. I can't even imagine being in his position-being so alone like that, locked behind bars just because you refuse to kill people.

Monica and Kevin, this is all very interesting. This is the first time we've gotten to hear the soldiers' side without the rah rah, kill a commie for mommy hysteria. Thank you for presenting all this humanity to us.

I hope it will spur more of us to get involved in stopping this war and helping all the people whose lives have been broken for nothing.
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LibertyorDeath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 01:24 AM
Response to Original message
199. Kick
:kick: :kick: :kick:
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 08:20 AM
Response to Original message
201. Another Soldier
The post replying to this one will be another mother's letter. We received this letter in March. Her son was on medical report due to a neurological disfunction that caused deafness. He was listed on profile as being non-deployable, and was scheduled for a medical board hearing to receive a disability discharge. That did not happen. As far as we know, at this point, this soldier is still in Iraq.
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 08:21 AM
Response to Reply #201
202. Mother's letter
I RECIEVED A PHONE CALL FROM MY SON SAYING HE WAS BEING FORCED TO GO TO IRAQ OR GO TO JAIL FOR 11 YEARS. HIS SARGENT SHOWED UP AT HIS DORM WITH M.P.S' .HE HAD HIS PAPER WORK STATING HE WAS NON-DEPLOYABLE.HE WAS SUPPOSED TO MEET WITH THE M.E.B AT 9:00AM ON THE DAY HE WAS DEPLOYED AND WAS TOLD TO FORGET THE APPOINTMENT.
HIS SARGENT SAID"GET ON THE PLANE OR GO TO JAIL.YOU HAVE 20 MINUTES TO PACK."HE HAS SENSORINEURAL HEARING LOSS IN BOTH EARS.
I ALSO HAVE PAPER WORK FOR PRESEPARATION WHICH STATES EXPECTED SERPARATION DATE 7/19/05
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Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 08:37 AM
Response to Reply #202
203. WHAT A CROCK!!!!
EW! I feel badly for both,...being rendered completely powerless.

What can be done when the military is breaching its own regs? No doubt whatever action is taken often leads to some sort of retaliatory action.

This is just so,... :grr:
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 08:46 AM
Response to Reply #203
208. As I used to say, the military is like Vegas...
In that the house always wins, no matter what.

The only way such problems can be resolved is through a critical mass of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines refusing to participate with criminal orders and directives. It is only when the system itself starts to break down, as it did in Vietnam, that the military will finally be forced to back off.

A crack was shown in the armor with the recent verdict against Pablo Parades. The judge advocate sentenced him to only 3 months hard labor (more of an administrative punishment) instead of a year in prison, as the prosecutor was seeking. The judge even acknowledged that a service member could make the case that the Iraq War was illegal, along with Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Somalia, et. al.
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Doctor_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 08:41 AM
Response to Original message
204. Welcome, and thank you for doing your duty
the gig you originally signed up for (if not the one * sent you to do) is the noblest and most selfless job a person can volunteer for. We owe you and your brothers and sisters in arms more than we can repay in two lifetimes.

Welcome home, best of luck
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 08:42 AM
Response to Original message
205. Kevin and Monica, greetings from another military resister!
I can't tell you how much admiration I have for what you are doing. You are truly living the "Army values" that our government and command structures profess to promote but in fact violate on a daily basis.

I am also a CO myself. I was a junior officer in the Army Reserve prior to the invasion of Iraq, and knew that it was an immoral and unjustified action before it even started -- so I found myself staring at participating in an action that would make me unable to live with myself, or refusing and possibly facing the consequences. I chose to resist, and filed for CO in Dec 2002. I was discharged in Sept 2004, with my CO still unresolved, for turning down promotion to CPT.

Since that time, I've helped co-found the CO support network www.peace-out.com along with two other CO's, and am very active in Iraq Veterans Against the War.

I just wanted to express my extreme admiration for what you are doing. It is a sad statement on our society when people such as yourself, who have already given so much, are called upon to challenge the system with their conscience and face retribution as a result. Your bravery and integrity in the face of those consequences is a noble thing indeed -- proving you to be much more in line with those Army values -- Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage -- than either the company commander or chaplain who so shamelessly denounced you.

People tell me that I was brave for following my conscience. When I see what people like you, Abdullah Webster, Camilo Mejia and Pablo Parades are doing, the consequences you are facing for following your conscience, I feel quite insignificant in regards to my actions. You are a true hero, someone to be emulated in word and deed, something quite rare in our conformity-driven society. If just one other soldier, sailor, airman or marine follows your lead, you will have accomplished great things through your stance.

I salute you both! Peace!

On another note, if you get a chance send me a PM so we can talk a little further....
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 08:54 AM
Response to Reply #205
209. Thank you
Thank you.. and thanks for adding your wisdom to what we talk about.
The best part of all of this is the people we are working together with.

We are familiar with your organization. If you are who I think, we might have already been communicating with your wife??? Maybe I have the wrong person in mind.

If you send a link to our email, we will be happy to see that your website is linked on ours.

We're angry, can you tell? But the beauty of being a CO... you learn the power of passive-aggressive techniques - or is it that that awareness gives you the strength to speak out as a CO?!!!

We appreciate your encouragement, and your added insight. We'll send you a PM as well.

Monica and Kevin
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 08:42 AM
Response to Original message
206. From an Infantryman's Journal
Edited on Mon May-23-05 08:49 AM by monicab
The reply to this post will be an entry in a soldier's journal. He wrote this and forwarded it to us so that we could help him get his story out.

This soldier is AWOL. He was originally AWOL until March. We talked with him, and his mom, for a period of time while he tried to make a decision on the right course of action for himself. He was scared, and was considered a deserter because he was AWOL for more than 29 consecutive days. The post we offer is his explanation for one of the reasons that he was scared, and would not deploy to Iraq.

After spending weeks talking back and forth, this soldier finally called his Rear Detachment commander and began talking with him about the options he had. The commander, a Cpt., told him that if he were to report back for duty within 3 days of his phone call, that he would be in-processed back into the Army, and then they would begin the process of a Chapter 10, which is basically a bad-conduct discharge in which he would lose any benefits accrued. The soldier was fine with this, he just wanted out. He reported back, and was in-processed. He came and talked with us, (all we could do was listen, and provide emotional support, but at least he wasn't alone) and he told us that the Cpt. assured him that they would complete the process of the Chapter 10. At some point, about 2 weeks after he returned, he came back to us and said that the Cpt. had changed his story, and that he had 4 days to prepare, that this soldier was going to be on a plane bound for Iraq in that time. They were concerned that he was a flight risk, so they were going to send an NCO to his barracks room, confine him there and impound his car so that he could not leave. Before this could happen, the soldier went AWOL again. All of his property has now been impounded, he has a warrant for his arrest, and if he returns or is arrested he will have a Federal conviction on his record for the rest of his life (he is 23)... all because he did not want to go to war...

We do not agree with going AWOL. We can't counsel anyone to do that. We believe that it is important for these soldiers to know that they have the support if they stand up and face what is wrong. BUT... we also know that it's difficult for these soldiers to know of the support, and the way they are treated by many in command positions DOES SCARE THEM. They are young. If they were to do anything except enlist in the Army.. they would not be in a situation that was Life and Death, and they could take more time to grow into their positions. BUT... in the ARMY.. THEY ARE PUTTING THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE BEFORE THEY HAVE EVER HAD A CHANCE TO COME TO KNOW JUST HOW VALUABLE THEIR ONE LIFE REALLY IS.

It takes wisdom for people to appreciate the life they have. Wisdom comes with experience, and these young soldiers haven't had enough life experience, before they enlist, to fully comprehend the value of what they have been given. They can't be expected to have that understanding. They are still kids in so many ways.. But.. they are anything BUT kids when they return from these killing fields - IF THEY RETURN AT ALL.

Monica

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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 08:43 AM
Response to Reply #206
207. A 23 yr. old soldier -
"Trained or not trained"
I arrived at my unit during March when they were doing training in Korea. When they came back I was assigned an m16 rifle. When we went out training in the field for a few days or did marksmanship I had the m16. Then months later I was assigned the m249 squad automatic weapon (SAW). We went out to the field for a few days for a small training course with convoy live fires. This would be my first time using this weapon since the brief training I had with it way back in basic training. On this mission we were to learn to fire our weapons off the side of a moving and a stationery large moving tactical vehicle (LMTV). During the day fire on the stationery convoy, my weapon kept jamming. It was no surprise to me, the saw is known for how many times it jams up on the owner. The day fire was mostly learning about getting a casualty off the LMTV as quickly as possible, so there wasn't really too much firing going on. At the night run we had the Capton sitting behind us surveying our techniques. Once again my weapon jammed up over and over again. I knew how to do corrective measures but it didnt help. I did this until for some reason I could not fix the problem. The whole night mission I had the captain down my throat yelling every obscene gesture at me. He claimed I had no sufficient training on my weapon (not knowing that it was just assigned to me) and that because a round got stuck in the rear of the bolt of the weapon we were lucky that no one got hurt on that night run. The day mobile mission wasnt any better with the weapon. Half the time I was struggling with my weapon, the other half I was using someone elses m16. After this mission a few saws were taken from our unit to be repaired. Until then I was once again put on the m16. Being a lighter weapon and having more training on this weapon I was relieved. Months later my weapon was returned to me at the m249 saw volley fire range. I was relieved to get my weapon back and put some rounds down range, until I found out that it was only able to shoot one unlinked round at a time. This is supposed to be a machine gun but now it was more likely to be used as a large sniper rifle. I continued to use it to the best of my ability that day until a spring popped off the feeder tray while I was firing. The weapon was once again labeled as unusable. I came to that range not having my weapon and not leaving with it. So once again, I am put on the m16. By now most of our serious training is over. I had only the m16 on all the important missions or I didn't get a chance to train at all. So here we were two weeks prior to deploying with no missions to go on prior and I finally get a brand new saw. I had never fired this weapon, or used it in any kind of training pertaining to it. Not having the sufficient training with it but now I have to go to war with it.
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Andy_Stephenson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 09:51 AM
Response to Original message
212. Kick for a real American Patriot!
:kick:
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 10:39 AM
Response to Original message
213. KICK!
Too important to drop.

:kick:
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 11:24 AM
Response to Original message
214. Our reasons....
Thank you for supporting us. This was a response to one person's question, but many asked similar ones - so it's also a response for all.

We have confidence in what we are doing. We look ahead knowing that we will end up in a good place, and we will be safe. As far as specifics, we don't know how we'll get there, we just know we'll get there.

As far as Kevin's case, we know the Truth. We will just wait and see what the military does, but we know that Kevin did not do any of what he is being accused of.

We intend to continue to speak out for Peace, and for the good that can come of it. We believe in dialog, we believe in non-violent resolutions because we have learned that they work. In our lives, we have made many mistakes, but we hope we have learned from them. We have put our ideas to the test in our personal lives, and we live by what we speak about. We hope that our actions will show others what we have come to know for ourselves. We also know that whatever we do in the future, it will be to benefit our military personnel as they struggle to reconcile their commitment with their conscience.

For now.. Kevin has two great attorneys. His military attorney is about the most awesome attorney we could have found. His civilian attorney is a perfect complement. We took a long time finding the civilian attorney. There are so many experienced and very good civilian military law attorneys. It was a difficult choice. The reason we chose the man we did is that he understood what we truly wanted to come from this effort. This attorney set his retainer agreement within reach... and with a maximum figure that is soon to be attained. We explained to him that we would like to be able to create a non-profit fund, with any money collected for Kevin's defense fund, that would then be made available to other soldiers who also had needs such as ours. This attorney understood, and is working with us. For that - we commend him, and thank him. He is there for soldiers, and he respects them when they stand for what they believe in. Very good man.

We hope that we can use our experiences to help soldiers and their family members know that talking, not keeping things inside will jump start the healing process. We hope that we can help them to know that the support is there - and it is with people who do understand.

We all make mistakes. We make mistakes our entire lives. The worst thing we can do, and what makes PTSD worse, is to keep those mistakes hidden and let them eat away at our conscience, and our heart. Humility is what's needed now. Kevin and I have made so many mistakes in our lives. But it is the mistakes that give us our strength now. We know we got through them, we know we turned in the right direction, and we know that by staying on course we will make fewer mistakes. We hope that we learn from our mistakes the first time. It's the repeat of the mistakes that takes time and causes problems.

Our military personnel are no different, and their families need to know that we are there for them. The mistakes made, if learned from, will only make all of us stronger.

Thanks... for letting us talk.

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ozmike Donating Member (1 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 11:33 AM
Response to Original message
215. Go Kevin, Go !
Kevin,

Bravo! You are indeed a very courageous man. I salute you.

I've only lurked in this forum up til now but when I saw this thread I just had to signup and show my appreciation. You've got real guts!

I'm an Aussie living in S.E. Asia and I was bitterly opposed to my government's support of this illegal war.

But the encouraging thing is that I meet so many Americans who feel the same way. I was sitting in an internet cafe dicussing the Nov. election results with a friend, talking about the vote scam. Another guy, sitting across from us couldn't contain himself, stood up and said, "Excuse me, but which website is that? I'm an American and the reason I'm here is to get away from all this nonsense." So many other Americans I meet feel the same way. The problem is that the huge amount of dissent that exits never gets reported by the corporate media.

The world needs more men like you. Thank you Kevin.

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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 12:12 PM
Response to Original message
216. Hot.Button.Issue.
Edited on Mon May-23-05 12:35 PM by Karenina
MILITARY ABUSE.

I hope I can be coherent as it's so difficult to type through tears of RAGE. 35+ YEARS of RAGE. My most direct and current connection to the military is through my baby sister, who is "in charge" of keeping personnel alive when they present to a V.A. ER. (This is a kid who at 6 could keep lost Bobwhite chicks ALIVE and successfully return them to the wild).

Being ensconced outside U.S. border makes mine a "safe ear" in which to debrief. She describes conditions that have her flummoxed and freaked. Thanks to DU, I have been able to provide her with information, NOT FORTHCOMING from the system, yet VITAL to the survival of her patients.

Yeah, I was out there screaming my head off in the Sixties, taking over buildings and jumping over police lines, even though very few from our 'hood were cannon fodder, something about economics IIRC. Most of the guys who served I met after they got back, some FUBAR. Saturday they were dodging sniper fire and booby traps. Sunday they were DUMPED at a U.S. airport. Many old and strong souls and those with stable support systems have made it through, but TOO MANY are STILL OUT IN THE COLD ON THE DAMN MEAN STREETS!!!

Iraq is a quantum leap in DESTRUCTION. For the moment let me just deal with AMERICANS, lest I become overwhelmed. American military personnel are being exposed to DEADLY levels of physical, mental and
spiritual POISON. They are being ripped off economically, right, left and center, then being IGNORED by those who put them in harm's way. When they speak out they are PERSECUTED. GIBT'S FICKEN DOCH NICHT.

It IS my belief that American military personnel will "save" us all. And I do mean ALL of us around the world. THEY are the ones who KNOW up close and personal HOW IT DOESN'T WORK. Lookie here:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Thank you for indulging my rant.

K. logs off, shuts down, grabs her pot-bellied teddy bear and cries her eyes out until the tears simply refuse to flow anymore...





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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 12:18 PM
Response to Original message
217. Welcome, Sgt. and Mrs. Benderman!
I salute you both for your service to your country and to the cause of peace. Courage like both of yours is rare.

:toast:
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 12:19 PM
Response to Original message
218. This one is SPECIAL - from Iraq
The post that is a reply to this one is a letter we received from one of our friends in Iraq.

It is a very special relationship, one we treasure, and one we hope never to violate.

We won't share every exchange we have... but we wanted to share this one (no names) as we feel that it expresses what we hear from every Iraqi citizen who somehow finds a way to write to us.

We can't tell you how much their support and concern means to us.

Imagine... Iraqi people caring.. Oh, we never had a doubt that they cared. Sometimes we feel that they care more than many in our country do. They have been through trials we can only hope we never see, and yet it has only made them stronger, and given them a great appreciation for what they do have in their lives that is of value.

We learn much from our new found friends... and hope to continue learning. Their country, and their wisdom is very, very old, and very much respected by us.

In Peace,

Monica and Kevin
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #218
220. After all... we're all just people who want to live our lives in peace
""Thank you a lot for the kind words, don't be surprised to have Iraqis sympathize rather feels to be in the same position of yours.
Our colossal miseries makes us more sensitive to others, our brothers in humanity, misfortunes.

Believe me, no sane Iraqi, whether a fighter or, like me, unarmed fierce oppositionist to the SEIZE of my country, like to kill or even do any harm to a US soldier who, in turn, is a brother human being with dreams, family, friends... but as I told , may be, in my first letters, it's the rules of war. These criminal rules imposed on us both, by criminals hijacked our lives.

Thanks for God that most Iraqis don't know about your case, otherwise you would have been "carpet bombed" with emails and support.

Our fighting is exactly similar to that in the Roman Empire time, when two prisoners or slaves are put inside a closed circle, told they have only one chance to survive, that's TO KILL, while both
fighters could be even brothers.

What Mr. Benderman is doing, is the process of rejecting such evil contest which we, in turn, do reject too.

He's sacrificing all what he owns, he's a kind of a saint who sacrifice to purify others, save their souls and show them the right path.

Without people like the Bendermans, the world would be a black forest.

So, it's our obligation and not a choice to do what ever we can to stand by people like you.

I believe that. a time will come when as you said ** we sit across a table from each other, and talk, laugh.. and have good things around us together** and here in Iraq.""
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bobthedrummer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 12:20 PM
Response to Original message
219. I respectfully request that a new thread be started.
This one is getting filled up and challenging to follow at times.
Hi Kevin and Monica.
:hi:
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 12:34 PM
Response to Reply #219
221. :-)
Thanks for the smile.
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #221
222. Done. I started a new thread for people to use.
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #222
223. dupe
Edited on Mon May-23-05 01:13 PM by Tinoire
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 01:15 PM
Response to Original message
224. PT 2 - Please transition to NEW THREAD
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-05 04:08 PM
Response to Original message
226. Corrected link to thread 2
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UrbScotty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-24-05 03:40 PM
Response to Original message
228. Welcome!
:salute:

Thank you for all you do for your country.
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monicab Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-24-05 10:36 PM
Response to Reply #228
230. :-)
our country is worth the effort.
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UrbScotty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-25-05 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #230
231. Agreed (nt)
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-26-05 09:39 PM
Response to Original message
232. This is so outstanding. I think it's the best DU post I have ever seen.
Thank you to everyone who made it possible. I am awed.
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Tinoire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-05 06:44 PM
Response to Reply #232
233. Thank you
Edited on Fri May-27-05 06:45 PM by Tinoire
I am still awed that Kevin and Monica are sharing their message with us here and that together, we can all work to change our country.


This is the DU I know and love... The one I believe in that WILL make a difference. Thank you Nothing Without Hope. Your moniker is correct- there is nothing without hope! Rock on.

On edit: Make sure you see thread 2: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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