Americans can stop the forward progress of this threatening direction. Americans MUST do this if we hope for America to remain the country our founding fathers envisioned. All Americans must take a stand to defend our Constitution – a defense that does not need to happen at the end of an M-16. To bring about these changes, Americans cannot desert when the orders given are questionable and the consequences of making them right are more difficult than we want to handle. Even the smallest action matters in correcting laws that violate our constitutional rights. Every person who takes a stand will add one more brick to the foundation of principle that needs to be rebuilt in order for our country to get back on track.
In December 2004, Sgt. Kevin Benderman filed his Conscientious Objection application as a demonstration of his moral opposition to a military action with ramifications that violated our Constitution and the Law of Land our government is legally bound to follow. He made a legal demonstration of principle supported by the Army Regulation 600-43, which allows soldiers to have a change of conscience and be released from duty because of it.
It was a proud moment for his family, but some neighbors weren’t as sympathetic. Their anger boiled over and made living in the neighborhood so uncomfortable they decided to move. Fortunately a local moving company was able to help them swiftly pack up and move to a nearby town. Likewise, his brother who ordered the janitorial supplies for a manufacturing company also felt the anger from some co workers because of Kevin Benderman’s stance. There were little acts of sabotage affecting the janitorial products he ordered such as when suddenly the company’s trash cans were stolen, or the order for the next month’s toilet paper and paper towels was “lost,” or the Monday morning where it was discovered that the women’s restrooms were trashed and he had to even order new sanitary napkin disposal dispensers, of all things! Fortunately, ordering online made the reordering easier. Kevin’s brother didn’t back down on his support of Kevin and just plowed through with a stubborn, yet proud attitude, even though others were making his janitorial supplies procurement job difficult. Benderman didn’t find out about the move or the uncomfortable position his brother was in at his work until much later. His family figured he had enough on his plate and didn’t need the extra distraction or a feeling of guilt.
Sgt. Benderman had seen war firsthand and became committed to taking a stand against any future participation in the use of violence to solve our differences with others.
Sgt. Benderman did not desert his unit; he did not run from his sworn duty. He stood his ground for what he believed, and expected nothing more than that the Army would follow its own regulations and afford him the rights allowed under the US Constitution which he had sworn to defend.
By the very act of taking a stand against war and the administration’s policies directing it, Sgt. Benderman continued to fulfill his duty as an American soldier in defending the Constitution and the right to Freedom of Choice it guarantees all citizens.
Sgt. Benderman volunteered to serve in the US Army, and did so without question for 10 years of honorable service. His service for those ten years, and his actions during his combat tour in Iraq demonstrate his commitment to duty and to the lawful orders given by commanders as they apply to the defense of our Constitution and our country.
When the orders given and the faulty leadership demonstrated by his command called into question his personal principles, Sgt. Benderman exercised his rights as a human being and citizen of this country. As someone who willingly took an oath to follow legal orders and to use his actions to correct any conditions deemed detrimental to the integrity of the service, Sgt. Benderman saw clearly the actions of this war to be detrimental to the honor of the soldiers who had volunteered to serve and filed his conscientious objection to it.