on August 22, 2009 by James M. Branum
Travis received word today that his C.O. claim has been recommended for disapproval by the investigating officer. Travis has 10 days to rebut this finding (which I am assisting him on as we speak), however Travis has drafted a personal rebuttal statement, which he has asked me to share here. (once completed, we will also scan and post (1) the full C.O. packet, (2) the recommendation for approval by his psychologist, (3) the recommendations for disapproval by members of the command chain, Chaplain Lenninger (an absurdly ridiculous statement by a man who was proven in Travis’ court-martial to not understand the basics of the C.O. regs or the role of faith and conscience in any kind of meaningful way), (4) the final recommendation for disapproval by CPT Mein (the investigating officer). and (5) our full rebuttal.
21 Aug 09
To whom it may concern,
To say that my claim to be a conscientious objector is insincere and completely false is confessing blind ignorance to the words of my claim itself. My feelings and my ever-broadening belief structure are echoed through every paragraph and question on my C.O. Application. And continuing to ignore my words, (my words and mine alone), shows complete disregard to the C.O. Process itself. Those who continue to ignore my words are not doing justice to the C.O. Application process.
As to my videos: I am a war resister, and a conscientious objector. I do not have to choose. As to my cheerful demeanor, my decision was an incredibly difficult one, but once made, I still felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I am allowed to feel good about that.
The statement made by SGT Carter is 100% false. Carter was facing UCMJ charges for marijuana abuse and it is my firm belief that his statement was coerced, and that his statement would lessen my punishment. He was chaptered out of the Army as an E-4 for marijuana abuse. I think that is the lightest sentence for drug abuse I have ever heard of. I never told him that I intended not to deploy. He lied in his sworn statement, and I believe his “punishment” is a testimony to that.
My timing is regrettable, I know that. But to say my claim insincere based on timing is wrong. 100% wrong, and an insult to the C.O. Process. I have lost friends, good friends, alienated family members, And yet I press on. Someone who is insincere does not pay the prices I have paid, and yet I am here, writing this rebuttal.
I have been punished for my crimes. The UCMJ saw fit to put me in jail. And now I will be there the next year of my life, and nothing will change that. But it is still important to me to be classified as a C.O., even though it will not affect my sentence. And why is it so important to be recognized as a C.O.? Why do I still fight for this title? It’s simple.
Because I truly am a conscientious objector.
My statements are mine and mine alone. I am handwriting this statement in a jail cell, no lawyer to “coach” what I am saying. This is all me.
A lot of soldiers, I’m sure will see the C.O. Process as a way out; a loophole. But I do not. Regrettable timing or not, as soon as I realized what a C.O. was, and that my belief structure was the same as a C.O.s, I applied to be one. Do not listen to the indoctrinated words of the recommending authorities. Listen to mine. Or come to my prison. Look into my eyes. Grant me this status, for it is who I truly am.
PVT David T. Bishop
Bell County Law Enforcement Center