Rita J. King has a web site called Thursday, August 18, 2005 ">Ruminations on America and she's got links to her writing as well as the writings of others. I want to note a piece tonight.
"The Case of Sergeant Benderman" (Camilo E. Mejia)
The defense successfully showed how during that meeting Sgt. Benderman's chain of command, not knowing how to deal with his Conscientious Objector packet, released him to work on documents and to have dinner with his wife, just an hour prior to his unit's deployment, and how they made no effort to get him to the airfield, or to get him onboard a later flight. The defense showed how Sgt. Benderman, far from being absent without authority or having missed movement, continued to perform a sergeant's duties while and after his unit deployed to Iraq. The defense also showed the ambiguity in Sgt. Benderman's chain of command. For instance, one of the government's arguments in seeking both a conviction and a harsh punishment was that Sgt. Benderman's logistic duties were crucial for the unit in Iraq, yet the defense proved that his chain of command had planned to fire him from his job and to assign him to latrine duty. Another argument was the hazardous component of the unit's mission in Iraq, yet the 1st Sgt. insisted that Sgt. Benderman would be perfectly safe and in a position were he would see no combat at all. The defense successfully showed the humiliation Sgt. Benderman went through because of his Conscientious Objector beliefs, from the harassment of his wife by the Sgt. Major (who admitted to commenting on her physical figure) to his 1st Sgt. calling him a coward.
Why then, one wonders, was Sgt. Benderman convicted of Missing Movement by Design, and sentenced to 15 months of confinement, reduction to the lowest rank, and a dishonorable discharge? The defense strategy was sound and solid. The government's prejudice and Sgt. Benderman's chain of command's unmeasured persecution and incompetence were all made evident. Why the conviction and the harsh sentence then?
Perhaps because a legal strategy is no match for a political strategy. The Army had in its hands a blond, blue-eyed, six foot two, all American soldier, born and raised in the south, someone white America can look up to and identify with, someone who went to Iraq and came back with his humanity enhanced, most definitely a threat to a government on a mission to militarize its society and spread its empire. The government threw the book at Sgt. Benderman to ensure others like him don't follow behind. Therefore, his case should not have been boiled down to a forty-five minute meeting, because in doing so, the defense disconnected itself from the humanity of the action and from its message of resistance, and that is something America cannot afford at this time.
We really need to pay attention to Kevin Benderman's case. He is appealing but regardless of what happens with that, people do need to know the truth.
For more information you can visit the BendermanDefense.org.
I'm quoting one of his letters posted there:
August 17, 2005
On August 5, 2005, kind and brave people in Iraq held prayers for me in over 100 mosques throughout their country as a show of human kindness to me because of my decision to no longer take part in war. It amazes me that despite everything they're dealing with, they took the time to consider my actions and show human kindness and support to me. I am honored by this display of compassion.This is how the common citizens of any country can rid humanity of the scourge of wars, by laying down their weapons and extending their hand to their fellow brothers and sisters.
Politics cannot end wars but people can. So, why don't we combine our efforts worldwide to put an end to the senselessness of war?
--Sgt. Kevin Benderman - Conscientious Objector to War
Sherry and Eve both e-mailed about some of the mothers who have spoken out in favor of the war. They're allowed to. But they cross the line when they go beyond saying Cindy Sheehan doesn't speak for them. Up to the point, that's fine. But when they attack her, they've crossed the line. She didn't attack them, she spoke her thoughts on the Bully Boy and on the war.
Those who identify themselves as being part of Move America Foward are partisan, it's a partisan group put together by a P.R. firm as Source Watch has noted.
"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center)
In every child who is born, no matter what circumstances, and of no matter what parents, the potentiality of the human race is born again: and in him, too, once more, and of each of us, our terrific responsibility toward human life; toward the utmost idea of goodness, of the horror of terror, and of God.