Sunday, September 17, 2006

Supporting Lt. Ehren Watada

from C&L, in full:
Supporting Lt. Ehren Watada

Lt. Watadehren-watadaa’s refusal to accept orders to deploy to Iraq has received little notice in the mainstream media among the trumpeting of "supporting the troops" and the rosy portrayals of how things are going in Iraq. In late August, it was recommended that he be considered for a court martial at Fort Lewis.

Watada’s father, Bob Watada has started a speaking tour to drum up support for his son, speaking at 26 locations in the Pacific Northwest.

"There’s a lot of people who don’t know what’s going on in Iraq," the father said in an interview. "There’s no doubt about it. It’s illegal. It violates the Constitution. … The president lied, outright lied to the people, and to Congress, about why we’re in Iraq.Lt. Watada argues he is obliged — under precedents established in the Nuremberg war-crimes trials — to refuse illegal orders, in this case to support what he sees as an illegal invasion. Watada, who could not be reached for comment, has said he would be willing to serve in Afghanistan.

He refused to depart with his unit, the 3rd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, when it left Fort Lewis on June 22. The Army charged him with "missing movement" for his refusal to go to Iraq and accused him of contempt toward officials and of conduct unbecoming an officer because of his public comments, such as allegedly criticizing the war as morally wrong and accusing President Bush of lying.

The Army also cited his alleged comment, "I was shocked and at the same time ashamed that Bush had planned to invade Iraq before the 9/11 attacks. How could I wear this horrible uniform now knowing we invaded a country for a lie?"

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that some of Watada’s most vocal critics are Japanese-Americans who feel that Watada’s actions somehow bring shame upon them and raise the spectre of how many Japanese-Americans had their loyalty questioned during WWII.

Family and friends of Lt. Watada are asking for the public’s support with the upcoming court martial. Read more here .


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