I am quickly reaching my limit with two groups of people…cowards, and the press that seeks them out and prints their pathetic stories. At the top of my list today is Army Sgt. Kevin Benderman with the 3rd Infantry at Ft. Stewart, Ga. The intrepid Sgt. Benderman failed to deploy with his unit because “you just don’t know how bad it is.”
My patience has run out on cowards who refuse to live up to their obligations, leaving others to do their work. Others to carry their load. Others to take their risks. Sgt. Benderman bravely declared, one week before his impending deployment, himself a Conscientious Objector. Right.
I have no issues with COs, other than I usually feel that it is obvious that the business of the average serviceman/woman is generally to use the lethal weapons that he/she is issued. So, I am a bit down on post enlistment COs, but slightly less so than the pre-deployment CO declarers. Sgt. Benderman, age 40, suddenly found himself blessed with the divine illumination of his new moral foundation miraculously just a week before the risks to his life were about to climb. He is a deserter. He needs to be prosecuted to the greatest extent possible.
Sgt. Benderman, I suggest you ask all of the Naval Aviators, crewmen, and carrier deckhands how bad it is. Ask the hundreds of aviators, crewmen and deckhands that risk their lives to a much higher degree everyday, than you can expect in your tour in Iraq. They have been living it, and dying in it, everyday since carrier operations became the heart of the naval operations. Ask LtJg. Martones who died on his very first night landing on the USS Midway in June of 1983 while in training. Ask John Hutalla, Capt. “Buddy” Holly, Pete Keenan, and the hundreds of others who died in training, each carrying a higher risk in training than you will see in Iraq.
Inflaming my ire to a higher level is the fact that after going UA, he ran to the press and told his sad story to a press all to eager to lap it up. The press loves this story…obviously each soldier who refuses to do his duty is not necessarily a coward, but a repudiator of the President and his policy in Iraq. Of course, this qualifies for immediate front-page coverage, written in a way to make Sgt. Benderman out to be a hapless soul who is being beaten down by the unfair Army, not the COWARD that he is. Where is the coverage of the Silver and Bronze Stars that are being awarded to servicemen who have earned them through courageous and valorous action? Nowhere. I have not seen the press cover one personal award locally, or nationally. That would of course be glorifying the President and his policies.
Caution to the Services here, have the courage to prosecute these cases to the max…if you don’t these cowards will begin to eat the heart of your organization. This harsh assessment applies to those who refuse specific missions as well.
Sgt. Benderman, talk to anyone who survived flying the Brewster Buffalo in WWII, any torpedo bomber in the Battle of Midway, or any sub commander firing torpedoes early in WWII…all of whom went into critical battles with clearly substandard equipment, but who heroically found the courage to do their duty, they will tell you how bad it is.