Wednesday, February 09, 2005

In his own words: a conscientious objector

From The Bruderhof Communities comes this moving report entitled, "A Matter of Conscience"

Sgt. Kevin Benderman (40) is a U.S. Army mechanic with ten years of service under his belt, including a role in the assault on Baghdad. While there, his outfit was ordered to open fire on children who were throwing rocks at unit personnel. Troubled by this and other similar incidents, and facing a second tour of duty in Iraq, Benderman applied for conscientious objector status in December 2004. The U.S. Army has charged him with desertion. He has been called a coward by his commanding officer, and his chaplain has told him that he is ashamed of him. Born in Alabama, Sgt. Benderman currently lives in Hinesville, Georgia, with his wife, Monica, and stepson Ryan.

At one point Sgt. Benderman writes:

Can't we teach our children to leave war behind in history where it belongs? We realized that slavery and human sacrifice were obsolete institutions, and we left them behind us. When are going to have the same enlightened attitude about war?

I think that's a very good point. We did see that slavery and human sacrifice were simply unacceptable. But in a sense, sending people to war is the ultimate slavery, the ultimate human sacrifice. Will we ever, as a species, say "enough"?

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