Rebuttal Statement by Travis Bishop, August 21, 2009

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.

Rebuttal Statement

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.

Thank you.

(signed)
PVT David T. Bishop
Bell County Law Enforcement Center

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5 Responses to “Rebuttal Statement by Travis Bishop, August 21, 2009”

  1. What denomination is this unspiritual chaplain ordained in?

  2. Travis,
    I am not sophisticated about the CO process, but I believe that you are doing a great service to CO’sin particular and soldiers in general. The military would have us believe applying for a CO is a simple process with no harassment or coercion and a high percentage of success. They hide the large numbers of GI’s who never file or abandon the process due to peer pressure, harassment from above, or contrived delays in handling of paperwork that force soldiers to either go to war unarmed or go AWOL.. Your public sharing of your struggle should shed some light on this abuse. (i don’t know how it will affect your personal, involuntary relationship with you captors.) Good luck and keep up the good work.

    Peace & Justice,
    Russell

  3. Travis,

    We are following your case and thinking about you. Wish I could do more for this injustice being pretreated against you. Please let me know if you need anything or just want to talk in whatever way you can in there.
    in solidarity.

    Bryan Reinholdt
    Interim Secretary
    Iraq Veterans Against the War
    National Board Of Directors

    Please donate now!
    http://www.ivaw.org/support

  4. Thanks so much for resisting this terrible war, as it continues i often think why isn’t everyone outraged by all this? And I know that many of us are, and i know that without the individuals such as yourself, that are actually in the military resisting, then all is lost, so thanks for not letting humanity be lost. keep up the good fight, it must be the hardest fight of your life, but well worth it not only to yourself but to all of us and our future.

  5. Larry Egly Says:

    Travis,

    You have been, and wiil continues to be in my prayers. People at my Menonite church are praying for for. Nancy, one of our pastors, will be outside the jail you are in along with me and others, to support you on Saturday, August 29.

    Peace in Christ,

    Larry Egly

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