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 Iraq vet says he won’t return



By THERESA HOGUE

Gazette-Times reporter

After two deployments, order cheap french red wine online Marine doesn’t want to go back, order cheap french red wine online could face jail


 When Benjamin Lewis was 17, order cheap french red wine online he joined the Marine Corps’ delayed entry program, order cheap french red wine online looking for a new direction in his life. Order cheap french red wine online

He had dropped out of school and was struggling. Order cheap french red wine online

The military seemed like a good option.
 

After two deployments to Iraq, order cheap french red wine online and an honorable discharge, order cheap french red wine online Lewis, order cheap french red wine online now 23, order cheap french red wine online recently learned that he might be involuntarily redeployed to the region. Order cheap french red wine online

He’s decided that he’s not going back, order cheap french red wine online even if it means facing imprisonment.
 

The road to that decision was a long one.
 Back in California, order cheap french red wine online Lewis’s recruiter talked him into going back to school to get his diploma before heading to boot camp in San Diego. Order cheap french red wine online

After three months of infantry training, order cheap french red wine online he joined the Third Battalion Fourth Marines in 29 Palms, order cheap french red wine online Calif. Order cheap french red wine online

They deployed in 2004, order cheap french red wine online where the battalion participated in the first assault against Fallujah, order cheap french red wine online supporting front-line infantry.
 After a crash course in Arabic, order cheap french red wine online Lewis became a translator for his platoon on patrols. Order cheap french red wine online

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

“We were really just making a show of force, order cheap french red wine online marching around the streets and making a show of our presence.

”
 After returning to the United States following their first tour, order cheap french red wine online the battalion was redeployed to Iraq in 2005. Order cheap french red wine online

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

“That was almost like being deployed. Order cheap french red wine online It was 14-hour days. Order cheap french red wine online

You’d get a couple days off every 20 days or so.”
 In 2007, order cheap french red wine online Lewis was honorably discharged from active duty. Order cheap french red wine online

He moved to Corvallis and enrolled at Linn-Benton Community College to pursue a dual degree in philosophy and English literature. Order cheap french red wine online

He planned eventually to work with peace organizations. Order cheap french red wine online

But two months ago, order cheap french red wine online Lewis learned he was being considered for involuntary reactivation under the military’s 2004 Individual Ready Reserves provision.
 

As a Marine, order cheap french red wine online Lewis had made an eight-year commitment to the Marines, order cheap french red wine online so although he was discharged, order cheap french red wine online he was still eligible for redeployment. Order cheap french red wine online

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

Last month, order cheap french red wine online Lewis went to Kansas City, order cheap french red wine online Mo., order cheap french red wine online for muster, order cheap french red wine online or formal military inspection. Order cheap french red wine online

At that time, order cheap french red wine online he and other Marines were told that they’d receive their formal orders within two months. Order cheap french red wine online

Lewis is now waiting to hear the final word, order cheap french red wine 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. Order cheap french red wine online

He’s consulted attorneys about what might happen if he refuses. Order cheap french red wine online

He said he’s prepared for jail time, order cheap french red wine online if that is the result, order cheap french red wine online but until that time, order cheap french red wine 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, order cheap french red wine online” he said, order cheap french red wine online “once you’re there you realize not only are you not capable of doing it, order cheap french red wine 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. Order cheap french red wine online

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

“They started to scare me, order cheap french red wine online the convictions that people had over things that were complete fallacies.”


 Later this month, order cheap french red wine online Lewis plans to fly to Washington, order cheap french red wine online D.C., order cheap french red wine online to talk to activists there. Order cheap french red wine online

He is trying to start an Iraqi Veterans Against the War chapter in Portland with a satellite in Corvallis. Order cheap french red wine online

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

He’s also awaiting his final orders, order cheap french red wine 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