What are you afraid of? That without your office you are nothing? That it is your elected office that makes you who you are, and if you lose it, you will be nothing more than a common citizen again? Perhaps that is what has to happen, for you to realize that even in office, you are a common citizen. You are failing us – time to go back to the beginning and start again.
My husband went to war because you ALL agreed that there was no other choice. Hundreds of thousands of our American soldiers were sent to war, sent to sacrifice for what you all agreed was a significant defense of this country, to die because you all agreed there was no other option.
But that was not the truth. It was an illusion presented, not because you felt the American people needed to believe war was needed to ensure the greatest defense of this country, but because you, almost to a letter, wanted to make sure the American people believed enough in you that they would re-elect you to another term. Without examining all the facts, without demanding precise verifiable evidence to show that war was necessary, you voted, en masse, to send our soldiers to war.
My husband sits in a military prison because he dared to speak the truth. This war did not need to happen. He didn’t care if he had the support of the American people. He risked everything to tell the truth, his health benefits, his children’s college education, his career, and everything he had worked for, including ten years of honorable service, and a combat tour in Iraq. The truth was more important to him, and he was sent to prison on trumped up charges because he was not afraid to stand alone and speak it. His command presented false testimony, manipulated evidence and lost witnesses and ultimately sent him to prison, to keep him from telling the truth. BUT he persisted – and today we persist together – the TRUTH matters – and in the end the TRUTH wins.
What are you doing to tell the truth? What are you willing to risk? Not one thing.
You sent our soldiers to war to protect your elected office. You banded together because you saw the polls and you knew it was what the American people wanted. Why did they want it? Because a president, vice president, secretary of defense, secretary of state and a myriad of tongue-wagging, drooling groupies all gathered together and told them this administration could be trusted. Somewhere in the mix, people forgot – POWER CORRUPTS – and most assuredly makes those who believe they have the power forget.
You forgot that the American people put their trust in you to lead them well, as one of us – with integrity, and honesty – with the TRUTH.
You forgot that our soldiers are human beings. They bleed and they die.
You forgot that our military commanders are human beings, common citizens. They may be leading “troops” but that doesn’t make them heroes, and it does not make them know how to command. They were not promoted because they were good leaders, they were promoted because they were good followers.
I can assure you – good leaders are not allowed to exist in the US military – and it is becoming more apparent by the day that good leaders are not allowed to exist in our US government either.
Good leaders are not afraid to stand alone. Good leaders don’t care if they are re-elected, they care if the choice they make is the wisest choice for the country they have been elected to serve.
Good leaders remember that volunteers, such as those in our military, demand greater respect than any person who has been elected to office. These volunteers dared to step out, to take a risk, to offer their lives for what they believed in. These volunteers are the leaders for it wasn’t money, nor public opinion that drove them, it was a commitment to defend the constitution on which this country was founded, a commitment which you, in your need to preserve your office, have betrayed.
You all have forgotten that. As elected officials, you must work harder to prove yourselves leaders. You have volunteered nothing. You have sacrificed nothing. You did vote yourself a pay raise – but in my book, raises are earned. Sorry – but you all are failing. You owe this country, and it’s time to pay. We’ve given you opportunities, we’ve waited for you to show your integrity and moral courage, to speak in defense of this country and the soldiers who sacrifice for it. You have not come through.
This war is over – it shouldn’t be about winning or losing. It should be about stopping the madness, and facing the truth. Winning is that no more people die at the hands of this administration, and in the name of the American people.
Winning is realizing that we know nothing about the Iraqi culture, and didn’t care about it to begin with. We didn’t go to war to save Iraq – we went to war to establish a presence in the Middle East, to overthrow a dictator we put in place, and could no longer control. We went to war because we knew that a weak but defiant dictator wouldn’t be around much longer, and it was better to replace him with a US friendly government than risk the alternative. Winning is knowing that trying to control that which is not ours to control fails every time.
Winning is that we do not allow members of this administration to use our soldiers to reconcile their own guilt for commitments left unfinished and promises broken. Winning is that we, as a country, do not allow “born-again Christians” to use our sons and daughters, our money and our lives, to save their souls before the judgment day.
Winning is that we put LIFE first – not political position, not government perks – fancy offices, high-priced tickets at exclusive Christmas presentations, scripted exits from chartered jets.
Winning is that the American people turn on C-Span and hear their elected officials leading the way with the truth, in speeches that criticize, that differ, that challenge, that are recognized as original because they are spoken from the heart, with wisdom and intelligent research providing the basis for the presentation – not concern for how many votes will be garnered in the next election. How can anyone believe an elected official who doesn’t speak his own words? Speech writers??? We are not voting for the speech writers.
Talk is cheap – and the rhetoric of today’s politicians isn’t worthy of being given away.
Soldiers are dying – Innocent civilians are dying. America is dying – because power corrupts.
Where are the leaders? I know where one is. He is sitting in a military prison because he is unafraid to give everything he has to tell the truth. So, Congress wants someone to follow, there’s a man to follow. What’s it going to take? You want greatness – you want to be remembered – you want another plaque to hang on your wall – “a true servant of the people”?
A true leader doesn’t respond to the will of the people. A true leader responds to wisdom, knowledge and the Highest good, knowing that at first he will stand alone, but with the courage and strength to lead others to what he knows.
Who among you has moral courage? Who among you will stand with my husband, Sgt. Kevin Benderman, and put the truth before your career?
Who among you is worthy of being called a leader?
Who among you is not afraid?
Sgt. Kevin Benderman is a Prisoner of Conscience, serving a 15 month sentence at Ft. Lewis, for filing as a Conscientious Objector to war. For more info please visit : www.BendermanDefense.org