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 Iraq vet says he won’t return



By THERESA HOGUE

Gazette-Times reporter

After two deployments, buy discount revia online Marine doesn’t want to go back, buy discount revia online could face jail


 When Benjamin Lewis was 17, buy discount revia online he joined the Marine Corps’ delayed entry program, buy discount revia online looking for a new direction in his life. Buy discount revia online

He had dropped out of school and was struggling. Buy discount revia online

The military seemed like a good option.
 

After two deployments to Iraq, buy discount revia online and an honorable discharge, buy discount revia online Lewis, buy discount revia online now 23, buy discount revia online recently learned that he might be involuntarily redeployed to the region. Buy discount revia online

He’s decided that he’s not going back, buy discount revia online even if it means facing imprisonment.
 

The road to that decision was a long one.
 Back in California, buy discount revia online Lewis’s recruiter talked him into going back to school to get his diploma before heading to boot camp in San Diego. Buy discount revia online

After three months of infantry training, buy discount revia online he joined the Third Battalion Fourth Marines in 29 Palms, buy discount revia online Calif. Buy discount revia online

They deployed in 2004, buy discount revia online where the battalion participated in the first assault against Fallujah, buy discount revia online supporting front-line infantry.
 After a crash course in Arabic, buy discount revia online Lewis became a translator for his platoon on patrols. Buy discount revia online

He spent a lot of time on foot patrols in Haditha, buy discount revia online living for months with local policemen there, buy discount revia online sometimes working long hours with almost no sleep.
 

“We were really just making a show of force, buy discount revia online marching around the streets and making a show of our presence.

”
 After returning to the United States following their first tour, buy discount revia online the battalion was redeployed to Iraq in 2005. Buy discount revia online

They operated a vehicle checkpoint in Fallujah for seven months.
 “It was a very long and stagnant tour, buy discount revia online” he said.
 



He spent the last year of his service as an urban combat instructor in California for the Marine’s Mojave Viper operation, buy discount revia online where he realized that teaching suited him.
 

“That was almost like being deployed. Buy discount revia online It was 14-hour days. Buy discount revia online

You’d get a couple days off every 20 days or so.”
 In 2007, buy discount revia online Lewis was honorably discharged from active duty. Buy discount revia online

He moved to Corvallis and enrolled at Linn-Benton Community College to pursue a dual degree in philosophy and English literature. Buy discount revia online

He planned eventually to work with peace organizations. Buy discount revia online

But two months ago, buy discount revia online Lewis learned he was being considered for involuntary reactivation under the military’s 2004 Individual Ready Reserves provision.
 

As a Marine, buy discount revia online Lewis had made an eight-year commitment to the Marines, buy discount revia online so although he was discharged, buy discount revia online he was still eligible for redeployment. Buy discount revia online

But in the year since Lewis had left the Marines, buy discount revia online he’d realized that he did not agree with the Marine Corps’ actions in Iraq, buy discount revia online or with the United States’ involvement in the region.
 

Last month, buy discount revia online Lewis went to Kansas City, buy discount revia online Mo., buy discount revia online for muster, buy discount revia online or formal military inspection. Buy discount revia online

At that time, buy discount revia online he and other Marines were told that they’d receive their formal orders within two months. Buy discount revia online

Lewis is now waiting to hear the final word, buy discount revia online but said he has long since decided to refuse to reactivate.
 

Lewis has contacted groups such as Courage to Resist and Iraq Veterans Against the War. Buy discount revia online

He’s consulted attorneys about what might happen if he refuses. Buy discount revia online

He said he’s prepared for jail time, buy discount revia online if that is the result, buy discount revia online but until that time, buy discount revia online he’s speaking out against the war.


 “After being in the Marine Corps and joining up with the intention of helping people and hoping to execute those romantic ideals you see in the advertisement, buy discount revia online” he said, buy discount revia online “once you’re there you realize not only are you not capable of doing it, buy discount revia online you’re in an organization that suppresses any individual will to do such things.

”
 Lewis started having these thoughts while training other Marines during his time with Mojave Viper. Buy discount revia online

He said that having some distance from Iraq, buy discount revia online and time to learn more about how the United States got into the war originally, buy discount revia online gave him a new perspective.
 “I was able to be more objective, buy discount revia online and I was watching these mentalities, buy discount revia online” he said. Buy discount revia online

“They started to scare me, buy discount revia online the convictions that people had over things that were complete fallacies.”


 Later this month, buy discount revia online Lewis plans to fly to Washington, buy discount revia online D.C., buy discount revia online to talk to activists there. Buy discount revia online

He is trying to start an Iraqi Veterans Against the War chapter in Portland with a satellite in Corvallis. Buy discount revia online

He’s been writing about his experiences and his convictions. Buy discount revia online He’s interested in talking to other Iraq war veterans who have served since Sept. Buy discount revia online 11, buy discount revia online 2001, buy discount revia online and he’s asking them to contact him at corvallisivaw@gmail.com.
 

He’s also awaiting his final orders, buy discount revia online and he’s dealing with the reality that his decisions could mean he’ll face jail time.
 “I made the resolve once I left 29 Palms that I would never go back into the Marine Corps.”

Original article can be found at:

http://www.gazettetimes.com/articles/2008/11/11/news/community/6aaa04_lewissnd.prt