I Refused A 2nd Deployment To Iraq
By Sgt. Kevin Benderman, Published
In Project For The Old American Century (POAC), 12 January 2005
more at Ft. Stewart refuse to deploy so far
a brief forward from POAC co-editor Jack Dalton. I received an email
a few moments ago from Kevins wife Monica. In it she has told me a
total of 22 people in Sgt Bendermans unit have refused to deploy to
17 have gone AWOL and 2 have attempted suicide. The status of the
remaining 3 is unknown at this time. We at the POAC fully support
the decision to refuse deployment to Iraq which has been made by Sgt
Benderman, and the others in his unit
am Sgt Kevin Benderman and:
These are the chronological events that led me to conclude that I had no
other choice than to refuse the deployment order to Iraq.
I was deployed to Iraq in March 2003 and returned in September 2003; while
I was there I was with the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 4th
Infantry Division. We staged our vehicles in Kuwait and then proceeded to
move out into Iraq.
We were carried on the back of heavy equipment transporters to about fifty
miles south of Baghdad and then we downloaded the vehicles. We were in the
vehicles while they were on the trucks, which I thought was a little odd
considering that in the garrison environment those types of actions are
considered unsafe and are therefore not allowed.
During the road march north through the country I saw the effects of what
war does to people, those effect are such; homes were bombed, people were
living in mud huts, people were obtaining their drinking water from mud
puddles along the side of the road and were catching rain in buckets when
it did rain, they begged us for food and water and we had enough, we would
share it with the people that were there, the kids looked especially
hungry and thirsty. The commander told us to stop giving the people food
because they would get food from other sources after the trucks started
bringing in relief supplies.
Somewhere along the route there was this one woman standing along side the
road with a young girl of about 8 or 9 years old and the little girls arm
was burned all the way up her shoulder and I dont mean just a little
blistered, I mean she had 3rd degree burns the entire length of her arm
and she crying in pain because of the burns. I asked the troop executive
officer if we could stop and help the family and I was told that the
medical supplies that we had were limited and that we may need them, I
informed him that I would donate my share to that girl but we did not stop
to help her.
When we were there, the command elements ordered the unit to perform all
types of actions that are considered unsafe to soldiers, such as, having
military vehicle maintenance personnel retrieve missiles that were present
in our area of operations using a M88 recovery vehicle and transport them
to sites to be destroyed by the explosive ordnance personnel.
They also ordered mortar personnel to enter into a compound that held
various types of munitions that the Iraqi army had left behind and to load
these munitions onto trucks. When these personnel were not working fast
enough for the 1SG he ordered them to throw the mortar rounds onto the
trucks whereupon one of rounds exploded and inflicted shrapnel wounds on
We were using an old custom building that was located in the middle of the
town that we were in for the troop HQ and naturally that attracted the
attention of the local populace. Small children would come up to the wall
that surrounded the place before we had a chance to apply concertina wire
along the top of the wall and they would toss small pebbles at us inside
We would tell the children to get down from the wall and leave the area,
one day the troop commander saw us telling the children top get down from
the wall and he told everyone there that if the children came back at any
time after that to shoot them if they were to climb back onto the wall.
I was in charge of a group of soldiers that were in their late teens
through their early twenties and I had to constantly tell them to keep
their heads down because they thought that the war was like the video
games that they played back at the barracks. War is not like that at all
and until you have the misfortune to engage in it for yourself you cannot
begin to understand how insane it all is.
There are no restart buttons on reality and that is why I cannot figure
out why now we are pursuing such a policy in this day and age. War should
be relegated to the shelves of history, as was human sacrifice. If you
stop to think about it you become aware that war is just human sacrifice.
There is no honor in killing as many as you can as quickly as you can.
We, in America refer to ourselves as civilized and people from other
countries still living the simple life are backwards and un-civilized, but
what is civil about the capability to create atomic weapons? What is civil
about being able to kill over 100,000 people with just one bomb?
We may be more technologically advanced but are we more civilized? I think
the answer is no. War has to be considered the absolute enemy of mankind.
Where we would be without it?
I would presume that we as a nation would be out of debt if we were to
apply as much energy to pursuing sound economics as we do pursuing war, we
would never get sick if we spent as much on preventive medicine as we do
on war, the elderly would get affordable prescription medication if we
were to use the resources that are spent on war to work for that purpose,
there would not be uneducated children if we were to buy new classrooms
and books for schools instead of new weapons systems, social security
would be a lot more secure with some of the money that war costs.
Why do we want to train the young people in the world that the only way we
can settle our differences is to kill one another?
Why shouldnt we train them to become surgeons or homebuilders? Why
shouldnt we train to become anything but killers? I think that the world
would be better off if we were to do that instead.
I have talked to veterans from every war from WWII on and their opinion is
that the wars they fought were to be the last war ever fought. How many
more are we going to fight before we realize that the act of war is for
small minded people that are intent in only satisfying their own needs and
not the needs of the people in general?
I do not want to be killed because I am living in a place that has a ruler
that wants to go to war with any one.
The only way to bring peace to the world is to let the people of the world
decide for themselves what they want to spend their efforts on. I feel
that in this day and age governments start wars, and not people, and since
the governments want the wars then why dont we let the government fight
the war? All of the politicians that want to fight a war are free to trade
places with me at any time.
I will gladly go and learn war no more.
There are activities that I have been involved in that have led me to
these new and developed beliefs, and they are numerous but I can tell you
some of them.
When you walk in the woods and you see a deer stand and look at you, or
you are on the river in the morning and the mist rises off the water while
you hear the morning calls of the river birds, and the otters just lie
there as you glide past in your boat and dont even move, you know that
there is a better way.
When you can find solitude in the woods that are so filled with peace and
the wildlife that is all around you, you feel the better way all around. A
person must acknowledge the fact the we are a part of the universe and the
universe does not want to be out of sorts with itself, so why do we spend
so much effort on trying to be out of sorts with others of the human race?
have been to the war zone and I have seen the devastation it causes. Why
cant everyone agree that war is the most repugnant of all human endeavors?
Why is it considered noble to be able to look through the sights of a
rifle and kill another human being from 300 meters away? Why are you a
hero if you can throw a hand grenade farther than the next guy in the
young men and women that are in the army be throwing footballs or
baseballs or softballs instead? It would impress me a lot more to see
someone make the winning free throw at the basketball game or kick the
winning extra point at the football game, or knock in the winning run at
the World Series than to see them be able to shoot more humans from 300
I would rather
they spend their time at the golf course or the tennis courts or in
college, any where but in the war zone trying to survive and having to
kill to do it. It just doesnt make sense to me.
history of Sgt Kevin Benderman's military service
first entered the army on 27 Jan 1987 and received basic training at
Ft. Bliss, TX. I received advanced individual training at Ft. Sam
Houston, TX. My military occupational specialty was designated as
91R10 Veterinary Food Inspection Specialist which is basically the
equivalent to a U.S.D.A. Food Inspector.
duty assignment was Ft. Leavenworth, Ks. Where I worked in the
commissary and my duties included; inspecting poultry and dairy
products, fresh fruits and vegetables, canned goods, and the general
sanitation of the facility. My mission was to ensure the health of
the soldiers. Was a part if the United States Army Medical Dept.
Activity or USA MEDDAC.
an Army Achievement Medal while serving on the unit fund counsel,
which utilized funds, raised through various activities to help
provide for soldiers that were not able to get home during
Christmas. I received another AAM for assisting during an increased
workload due to personnel shortages during the Persian Gulf War. I
also received my first Good Conduct Medal during this enlistment.
an honorable discharge from the Army after the Persian Gulf War on
24 Apr 1991. I re-entered the Army 26 Jun 2000 and was awarded the
MOS of 63M10, which is a Bradley Fighting Vehicle mechanic. Re-took
basic training at Ft. Knox, KY and went the US Army Armor School at
Ft. Knox, KY
AAM for being honor graduate from the Class.
assignment after completion of training was Ft. Hood, TX. Unit was 1st
Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry
Division. Also known as the Buffalo Soldiers.
Iraq with the 4th I.D. in March 2003 returned to Ft. Hood
Sep 2003. Re-enlisted with choice of duty station of Ft. Stewart, GA.
awards received include two army commendation medals, 4 army
achievement medals, 3 good conduct medals, 2 national defense
service medals, and one global war on terrorism service medal.
Received numerous letters of commendation. Received combat lifesaver
certification, was chosen to be the student 1st sgt of
the primary leadership development course out of four hundred