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 Iraq vet says he won’t return



By THERESA HOGUE

Gazette-Times reporter

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


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

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

The military seemed like a good option.
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lewis is now waiting to hear the final word, discount ribocree 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 ribocree online

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

He’s also awaiting his final orders, discount ribocree 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