Ehren Watada (06/08/06)

The above graphic accompanied a news story by Brooks Baehr and Lisa Kubota, Soldier Refuses to Fight in Iraq,” which aired June 6 on  Honolulu CBS affiilate,  KGMB9.

First Lt. Ehren Watada, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, the Army’s first Stryker Brigade Combat Team, who turns 28 today, is the first officer to refuse deployment.  A  native of Honolulu, he’s the son of local coruption fighter Bob Watada, former Exeutive Director of Hawaii’s Campaign Spending Commission.  There’s a story by Malia Zimmerman,  “Bob Watada Honored for Herculean Effort to Clean Up Corruption in Government” posted November 4, 2005 on the Hawaii Reporter, an online news source about business and government. Watada received the  Unsung Hero award that date from The  Grassroots Institute of Hawaii, a conservative free market think tank (by its own statement friendly with Americans for Tax Reform and  The Heritage Foundation).   

 Ehren  joined the Army in March 2003 and found out he would be deployed to Iraq in 2005.  Based on his commander’s advice, that a soldier should  know “everything you can about war,” Watada began researching the reasons for U.S. involvement in Iraq and based on his study of papers by international and constitutional law experts, as well as documents from governmental and non-governmental agencies, he said he concluded that the war in Iraq is illegal and immoral.

According to the AP’s  Melanthia Mitchell article yesterday, “Fort Lewis officer says he’ll refuse to go to Iraq,” ,  Watada could face at least two years in prison.   In an interview Watada told Mitchell,

“I know that my case has brought a lot of attention and scrutiny on me by my superiors. Also, I’m probably very unpopular, if not the most unpopular person on Fort Lewis. But I know out there there are people who believe in what I’m saying….We have violated American law [and manipulated evidence] to fit a policy that was already implemented prior to 9-11 and prior to the invasion….We can’t break laws in order to fight terrorism….I certainly feel like I’m taking an enormous risk, sacrificing an enormous amount, and I have little to gain personally. But I’m doing what I feel is the right thing….It is a sacrifice I’m willing to make on behalf of the soldiers whom I was sworn to protect and serve.   [My]duty as a commissioned officer of the United States Army [is]to speak out against grave injustices. My moral and legal obligation is to the Constitution and not those who would issue unlawful orders…[t]he war in Iraq is not only morally wrong but a horrible breach of American law….Although I have tried to resign out of protest, I will be forced to participate in a war that is manifestly illegal. As the order to take part in an illegal act is ultimately unlawful as well, I must as an officer of honor and integrity refuse that order….The wholesale slaughter and mistreatment of the Iraqi people with only limited accountability is not only a terrible moral injustice but a contradiction to the Army’s own Law of Land Warfare.

According to his lawyer,  Eric A. Seitz, Watada wrote the army in January saying he could not serve.  A couple of months later, at the Army’s suggestion, Watada resubmitted his request to resign.  He was told last month that his request had been denied.

For more information, see his site.

 

 

What else I’ve been writing today

* For SourceWatch.org  (you’ll have to search for it on the site–for some reason direct  links blow up my page here:

  •  ” Future of Freedom Foundation”  article on the libertarian think tank
  •  “American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise

 What else I’ve been reading today

*  Jim Paris’s blog–in interesting discussion on Venezuela,  including today’s comment by a Venezuelan, Leo, who, on his own blog, writes in Spanish.

* The WhiteRoseSociety.org–Fighting the New Fascism–Liberal/Progressive Talk Radio Archives (named for the German resistance group.  Message board here.

Comforting the Afflicted and Afflicting the Comfortable since 2002

*Old American Century–an online daily news source that presents and distributes under-reported news items focusing on corporate and government corruption.  See especially their index to  the 14 points of fascism

*Resume of George Bush (Thanks, John)

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