Facing the Truth - When War Crime is Tolerated and Acts of Conscience Punished by Monica Benderman
It’s about time Americans faced the truth.
Today a Marine not only convicted of conspiring to commit kidnapping, larceny, and making false statements; but the murder—MURDER—of an innocent Iraqi man, was given his sentence. He is to receive a reduction in rank and a bad conduct discharge.
THIS is what America has become.
It is now considered “bad conduct” to murder an unarmed man, knowingly return to the scene to fabricate the appearance of self-defense and hide the facts after the fact.
Murdering an innocent Iraqi is now considered “Bad Conduct.”
In 2004 my husband, a ten-year US Army veteran, made a conscious decision to no longer participate in war—he spoke openly of the bad conduct of his commanders in giving orders to soldiers in his unit which not only jeopardized the lives of innocent Iraqi civilians, including children, but also those of the soldiers he served with.
For his decision to no longer be part of the destruction, wanton killing, and unjust, immoral action this war has shown itself to be, my husband was accused of being a deserter, faced trumped up, fabricated charges of intentionally missing his unit’s movement, and when the first court-martial attempt failed, was handed additional trumped up charges of larceny for combat pay his command erroneously placed in his paycheck. During a second court-martial attempt he was found guilty of missing movement or not getting on a plane and was sentenced to 15 months in prison, loss of all pay, reduction in rank and a dishonorable discharge.
A veteran with ten years of honorable service, who took a stand to no longer participate in an action in which murdering innocents is acceptable is now considered “Dishonorable.”
How low do you intend to go, America?
How far are you going to let your values dip before you stop the slide?
We don’t need to see the documents “executive privilege” is denying us the right to see. Their content is evident in the actions of our military courts—Justice in America no longer has a conscience, and the travesty continues as Americans sleep through the reality of what it is they are about to lose.
The United States Congress spent an entire night—wasted an entire night—in a public display of ridiculous bantering over a war which has now caused the deaths of almost 4000 US military personnel and hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians—CHILDREN are dying every day in Iraq because of what this country has allowed to happen, and our Congress has the foresight to remember to place cots in the Senate chambers in case one of the illustrious elite might grow weary of their repetitious “pillow talk” and need a rest.
I am weary of the talk—the Iraqis are weary of the talk—and I know for a fact that American soldiers are weary of the talk.
There are some who, while wearing our nation’s uniform, have committed horrendous crimes in this war, and in a great many instances have received little more than a slap on the hand for their actions. Hundreds of thousands more soldiers have served honorably under the most horrendous conditions, fighting against their instincts for survival to maintain morality in their actions in the most difficult circumstances. They deserve better than to see those who cannot control themselves face so little consequence for their lack of character.
The administration that sent our military to war has become nothing more than a dictatorship in emperor’s clothing and our congress is clearly displaying how little backbone they have when it comes to defending the truth in the hallowed halls within which our Constitution is supposed to still matter.
The American people seem to live in a stupor as our soldiers continue to be sent to war—our congress can’t seem to find it in themselves to get up off their cots and realize that our military needs a rest too, as do the Iraqi citizens who have seen their country devastated beyond recognition by the maniacal whims of an administration that is lost in its love for self-aggrandizement and its need for public recognition regardless of whether its behavior is even remotely recognizable as human.
Where is America’s Conscience? This country has become such a nation of followers, addicted to letting someone, anyone else make their decisions for them as long as they can continue on in their hazy stupor, wrapped in the illusion of living a celebrated life, carefree and requiring no responsibility for their actions.
Why is this administration still allowed a shred of credibility?
Why are we still acknowledging any of the members of our congress as being capable of representing any truth in their actions?
The truth is that none of our government officials are willing to admit to a mistake. None of our government officials are willing to take a stand to acknowledge that their role in sending our soldiers to war was instrumental in the greatest mistake imaginable. Our government officials continue to hope that a “surge and a prayer” will bring victory to the glittery false promises they so boldly made as they sought to assure a fearful nation to put their trust in leaders who have yet to come to terms with the true meaning of responsibility; and the war drags on as more soldiers die and more families face their loss in the heart of a nation whose beat yields a very hollow sound. Our soldiers and their families deserve better and it is past time for American citizens to take a stand to defend the laws they have expected our soldiers to fight for in their name. Our government leadership stands with their hands over their hearts crying crocodile tears as they tell story after story of the “brave soldiers and families” who continue to sacrifice so greatly in this country’s name—doing so with all the feeling of the new robot baby introduced as the latest “must have toy” soon to be all the rage in every American household.
Our military families stand with their hands empty and their hearts heavy as they struggle to make it through a memorial service trying to find meaning in the cause for which their loved one died—grasping at believing the words of the politicians when they are told this sacrifice has been worth the loss, simply because they don’t want to believe they lost their loved one for nothing.
America doesn’t know their loss—America knows talk. America knows drama. America knows politics.
America hasn’t the first clue about loss, and so Americans continue to lose, and soldiers continue to die while the games of politicians are acted out on the nightly news in dramatic displays of understanding with the depth of a two-inch mud puddle.
Americans haven’t the first idea what it means to sacrifice—and Americans don’t care whether there was a reason for our soldiers to die or not, as long as they are not the ones who must look in the mirror and face what they have become—a nation without a conscience.
I watched soldiers board buses in the middle of the night, somber and teary eyed, even in their strength, as they left to invade a country in a war that even then made little sense. I watched them hold their heads high as families stood in the distance until the buses were no longer in view, and felt the emptiness of the darkness we were left with, wondering whether one of those men would be the first to die in a war whose cause has still not been defined.
I have walked across the sidewalks lined with almost 400 trees now, in the middle of Fort Stewart’s parade grounds; trees planted to remember lives lost. I’m sorry but I don’t see that to be an equal exchange and the memory of a lone soldier kneeling beside the base of one tree to leave a note for someone who had been so much more than a friend represents a loss this country can’t seem to comprehend.
Our soldiers deserve better than a congress that is willing to spend an entire night in a debate of futility.
Our soldiers deserve better than an administration that cares more about defending its right to hide its incompetence from us than it cares about even its own humanity, as it orders our soldiers to a war that has become nothing more than another act of covering the tracks of a leadership that has clearly demonstrated its inability to lead.
Our soldiers have been stranded in a country that is now decimated and in danger of becoming lawless because American citizens have sat idly by and allowed themselves to be led toward becoming a nation of lawlessness, and there is no end in sight unless American citizens step up and defend the laws which have given them their freedom for over two hundred years.
Where is your conscience, America?
Monica (Benderman) is the wife of Sgt. Kevin Benderman, a ten-year Army veteran who served a combat tour in Iraq and a year in prison for his public protest of war and the destruction it causes to civilians and to American military personnel. Please visit their website, www.BendermanDefense.org to learn more.