Army Sergeant Kevin Benderman charged
19 January 2005, Robert S.
Finnegan, Southeast Asia News
The Army today charged Sergeant Kevin Benderman with two counts of
violating the Uniform Code of
Military Justice (UCMJ), for his refusal to re-deploy to Iraq in a case that has sparked a worldwide media
feeding-frenzy and elicited
condemnation of both the Bush administration and the U.S. Army.
Benderman, 40, charged with violating articles 85 and 87 after refusing to
re-deploy to Iraq appeared before his commanding officer today who
formally read the charges
filed against him. The
specification under article 85 charged Benderman with desertion and
intent to avoid hazardous duty in connection with Operation Iraqi
Freedom, and the
specification under Article 87 charged him with missing the units
movement, or deployment to Kuwait (the staging area for military
forces entering Iraq).
Benderman has filed for Conscientious Objector status with the Army. His
former commanding officer, now deployed, had recommended denial of
his CO application even
before it was acted upon according to military regulations.
Benderman says his new commanding officer is following Army
regulations to the letter and has been helpful in processing his request.
While realizing that his moral stand could result in a jail sentence,
Benderman described his feelings today as ambivalent.
am certainly not going to back down now, why would I do that? I am
continuing to go forward with what I believe in and am going to demand a
General Courts-Martial, he said.
This is the
right of any serviceman or woman who holds the rank of Non-Commissioned
Officer or above when faced with charges of this severity. The possible
penalties handed down by this court however are the maximum allowed under
the UCMJ, whereas other levels provide for less severe punishment upon
remains adamant about his views on war. War is a worthless endeavor, why
do we continue to pursue it? It is time for war to pass into the history
books, just as human slavery and sacrifice did, he said.
Now that the
Army has defined his case, Benderman plans to go on leave in order to
prepare his defense.
Affairs Officer Lt. Colonel Robert Whetstone stated when contacted for
comment that he was aware that Sgt. Benderman had been charged, but did
not know what he was charged with. Whetstone said he would be seeking that
information from the Staff Judge Advocate.
Asia News Managing Editor Robert S. Finnegan is an internationally
published investigative reporter and former Marine Corps Non-Commissioned
Officer. Working recently as a Senior Editor and lead investigator on the
Bali Bombings for The Jakarta Post, he may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.