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 Iraq vet says he won’t return



By THERESA HOGUE

Gazette-Times reporter

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


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

He had dropped out of school and was struggling. Discount flonase online

The military seemed like a good option.
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They operated a vehicle checkpoint in Fallujah for seven months.
 “It was a very long and stagnant tour, discount flonase 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, discount flonase online where he realized that teaching suited him.
 

“That was almost like being deployed. Discount flonase online It was 14-hour days. Discount flonase online

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

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

He planned eventually to work with peace organizations. Discount flonase online

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

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

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

Last month, discount flonase online Lewis went to Kansas City, discount flonase online Mo., discount flonase online for muster, discount flonase online or formal military inspection. Discount flonase online

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

Lewis is now waiting to hear the final word, discount flonase 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. Discount flonase online

He’s consulted attorneys about what might happen if he refuses. Discount flonase online

He said he’s prepared for jail time, discount flonase online if that is the result, discount flonase online but until that time, discount flonase 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, discount flonase online” he said, discount flonase online “once you’re there you realize not only are you not capable of doing it, discount flonase 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. Discount flonase online

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

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


 Later this month, discount flonase online Lewis plans to fly to Washington, discount flonase online D.C., discount flonase online to talk to activists there. Discount flonase online

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

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

He’s also awaiting his final orders, discount flonase 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