On Responsibility

A few months ago I wrote an article talking about human sacrifice and slavery and how human kind had moved away from those institutions when we had educated ourselves enough to realize that these were not honorable or sane things to do to one another.

The reason I write this today is to further explore the concept that war is slavery and human sacrifice all rolled up into one vile package.

The reason I say war is slavery is that we have trapped ourselves into believing that we cannot live in a world without war because it is and has always been with us. I believe the people who practiced those two aforementioned subjects said the same thing about them as well.

We have conditioned our minds into believing that we cannot live without war, but I say we can and we must. Look at how war keeps us from attaining the levels of humanity we could achieve if we did not spend so much talent and energy on ways to destroy each other.

The lies that we have been told to get us into this present war are another example of our accepting whatever anyone tells us and not using the mind we have been given to think on these matters for ourselves. That is enslavement of the mind and spirit and we have succumbed to it.

I refuse to accept the notion that war is some one else’s responsibility and not ours. We have some in the world who say that war is God’s fault or it is Satan’s fault, (substitute any deity’s name you want here) but it is not the fault of either of them. It is ours and ours alone. We thought it up, we created the weapons to go to war with and we carry it out on one another on a regular basis.

NO, I refuse to try and wiggle out of the blame that is mine for wanting to experience war and training for it for ten years of my life. That is my responsibility and mine alone. God did not come to me in a dream and say, “Son you must wage war on the people who are different than you”. I entered the military and I received the training that would allow me to physically destroy another human being. I entered the mindset of wanting to do this and accepted the training to do so of my own free will.

I say war is human sacrifice simply because that is what it is. We train our young people that it is honorable to kill be or be killed. I trained some of these young people myself on how to be effective in killing other human beings. I remember training the soldiers under my supervision on how to be effective with the .50 caliber Browning machine gun. I remember being trained on how to be effective with the “ma deuce” as it is known. I remember being trained on how to be effective with the hand grenade, the M16, the bayonet, and a host of other weapons in the U.S. arsenal. I also recall going in search of other methods of killing that are not taught to most regular soldiers.

I was trained and trained well to sacrifice myself to war and I was also training others to make the same sacrifice.

But what is it all for? Money for the power elite? A chance to prove my manhood? No, in the end all you get if you kill someone is a dead human being, or you are dead. That is all there is. There is no glory. There is no honor.

The hardest thing I have done in my life is go to a memorial for a fallen soldier and to see his family grieving his death. I had to watch his wife break down, I had to watch his children break down and I realized that I did not want to see another family have to go through this.

This human sacrifice has to stop.

We hear our so called leaders pay lip service to the sacrifice that is made; that they do not want to continue on with war, yet that is exactly what they do. I can give you a good example of the lip service that comes from the people who claim to be looking out for the welfare of the soldiers. When I was going through my courts-martial at Ft. Stewart, the garrison commander led one of the ceremonies for a fallen soldier. He laid it on pretty heavy about how he cared for the soldiers that have given the ultimate sacrifice and that he would continue to respect these people who serve. After all he had said about taking care of soldiers he did something that would have an adverse affect on them.

The community of Hinesville had a service for the soldiers of Ft. Stewart where they did not have to pay deposits to move into a rental property or pay one for the utilities. This deposit waiver program had been in place since about 1971 or so, give or take a few years. In 2005 the garrison commander told the people who were running the program that they could no longer offer this service to the soldiers of Ft. Stewart. This is the same commander who cried crocodile tears at a soldier’s memorial service. Is this what our soldiers sacrifice themselves for?

As someone who has seen what war is and what it does to people and to know how it made me some what different than before I went, I would like to challenge the people to stand up and accept their responsibility for war and to stop blaming it on Gods or Devils or who ever else we can try and lay the blame on.

We created it, we own it.

The question is; will we get smart enough to stop it?

Sgt. KEVIN BENDERMAN served a combat tour in Iraq and returned home to file a conscientious objector application as his legal refusal to participate further in an unjust, immoral action. He was court-martialed for his actions and served over a year in prison. Kevin and his wife Monica are now working on projects to integrate veterans and communities, and will be speaking about their experiences on a Truth Be Told tour beginning this summer.

Kevin and Monica may be reached at info@bendermansbridge.org