Tuesday, January 30, 2007

watada case: they are petrified of 'bad' precedents

* hallelujah. AP in full:
"The U.S. government agreed to drop two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer from its case against the Army lieutenant who called the Iraq war illegal and refused to deploy.

1st Lt. Ehren Watada, whose court-martial is scheduled Feb. 5, still faces a maximum of four years imprisonment if he is convicted of missing movement for his refusal to deploy last June and two remaining counts of conduct unbecoming an officer for comments made at a Veterans for Peace Convention in Seattle.

The two counts dropped Monday carry a maximum of two years in prison. They stem from comments he made to reporters in June explaining why he refused to go to Iraq and why he was challenging the Bush administration's reasons for going to war.

In exchange, Watada's attorney Eric Seitz agreed that two subpoenaed reporters will not have to testify. They are Honolulu Star-Bulletin's Gregg Kakesako and freelance reporter Sarah Olson.

"We will stipulate and agree to the testimony that the reporters would have otherwise provided and the accuracy to the statements that are attributed to my client," said Seitz, of Honolulu.

Seitz said Watada's action shields the journalists from the "heavy handedness of the government."

"While we don't think any charges should have been filed at all for simply exercising free speech, we are pleased with the government's willingness to reduce Lieutenant Watada's potential sentence by two years," he said.

Seitz is scheduled to leave for Fort Lewis, Washington on Tuesday to attend Watada's trial next week.

"This is not a justice proceeding but a disciplinary proceeding," he said. "Really, the only thing the Army is interested in here is what kind of punishment to mete, not whether Lieutenant Watada is guilty or innocent of the charges.

"They've already determined, basically, his guilt."

Military judge Lt. Col. John Head ruled Jan. 16 that the 28-year-old Hawaii-born soldier cannot base his defense on the war's legality.

Head also rejected lawyers' claims that Watada's First Amendment rights shielded him from charges stemming from his criticism of the war. Head said there are limits to the free-speech rights of military personnel.

Watada planned to argue that the war was illegal because it violated Army regulations that wars must be waged in accordance with the United Nations Charter.

Fort Lewis spokesman Joseph Piek said he had "no indication whatsoever" that any full settlement could be reached before trial.

"This is still a serious case of an officer who refused orders to deploy," he said. "For an officer to violate military law and refuse orders such as these is something the military takes very seriously."

Seitz said the Army wanted Watada to plead guilty to at least two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer and missing movement in return for a sentence that would included a dishonorable discharge and 18 months in prison.

"We did not feel that was appropriate and there have been no further discussions since the government made that position known to us," he said.

Seitz said he has offered three months of confinement and dishonorable discharge, but the Army did not indicated any willingness to go along with that.

Watada refused to go to Iraq last June with his unit, the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, after deciding the war was illegal. He has said he would be willing to serve in Afghanistan or elsewhere. "
i wish i had more time to devote to this - but basically the chickenshit USG has again pulled out of a legal argument that the thought they'd lose - they are petrified of 'bad' precedents.



Kax said...

Well Praise the Lord and pass the peace pipe, a win.

I disgree with Ehren's lawyer that he should agree to a lesser prison term and a dishonorable dischgarge.

The dishonorable person in this story is our Demander-In-Chief who is a liar and a coward, not to mention a domestic enemy of our Constitution.

steven andresen said...

Is it the position of the USG that no American citizen is subject to International laws, or is it just American soldiers carrying out the orders of their masters who are not so governed?

Can the USG pick and choose which international laws it chooses to abide by?

Does the position of the USG on the soldier place the USG itself in the position of being in violation of international law?

I would suppose mafia goons would take the position that the coppers could try them if they could catch them. Isn't this the position of the USG? We spend hundreds of billions of tax dollars so that the mafia dons running the place can avoid prosecution.

Kax said...

Mafia dons have far more honor than Dopey and Darth and the rest of the NeoNutzis. the whole world likes them better, too

Benzl1 said...

I don't understand if you miss a movement during war you get shot so when do they stick him up against the wall? They need to hand you clowns a gun and send you packing maybe then you will realize this isn't Nazi Germany after he VOLUNTEERED FOR IT

Anonymous said...

When he signed up he should have understood the responsibily he had.

It is no differnent then the Reservist who for years have taken the govenment's money without any question and now that they are required to actually serve duty time, they dont want to go!

An officer is required to follow orders not question them.

Anonymous said...

i'm sorry but he joind the military and knew the possibility was there and because he is a coward he chose the cowards way out. Did he think the military was there to serve him. whether you support this war or not he still has to follow the laws of the military

Anonymous said...

wouldn't it be nice if we could choose the wars we fight when we are in the military.Every male member of my family fought in WW2 and I fought in Viet Nam...we were all drafted to serve and we did...when you volunteer to go into the military you know there is always a chance you may go to war....He chose the military to get something out of it...in his case probably an education...the usual price you pay to become an officer is serving your country for a specified time, war or peace...four years in prison is not enough for him...he is and always will be a coward....as for the war protesters....voice your own opinion and not that of your liberal college professors or former draft dodgers

tadlem43 said...

during World War II there was an incident, sorrily forgotten, by a Private Eddie Slovik who was executed (Jan. 31, 1945) by firing squad for desertion. he approached his commanding officer and stated that he could not serve in a rifle company because he was "too scared" and requested to be assigned to a rear unit. before his court martial he was given the opportunity on several occassions to change his mind and to take a transfer to other units. he stated, "I've made up my mind. I'll take my court martial." he was charged and found guilty of disertion and was executed.
this guy is worse! he has not requested to be assigned to any other operation, he flattly refuses to serve his country! while Slovik was drafted, Wot enlisted!
treason is worse than desertion. his reward should be that as the coward he is. he is a spit in the face to the many fine women and men of our military that serve without personal question..members that follow the commands at the risk of their lives every moment. NOW is not the time for this guy to get a conscience. he should have thought of that before he signed the papers. i have little or no sympathy for him or the people that support his perspective!

Anonymous said...

i think what this man is doing is bullshit. i am a part of the united states army and think its an insult. all the media and anti war protestors see of iraq is what the media puts out there. i am an iraqi war veteran two times over and have seen the good and the bad both times. all we are trying to do over in country is keep things safe. i dont see anything illegal that we are doing over there at all. if you think capturing these guys who own weapons caches and those who build explosives, etc. is wrong or "illegal" then i say why dont you go over there and you tell me that you would just sit around and do nothing all the while watching innocent children and families being blown to peices just because you think its "illegal". you anti-war protestors can shove it straight up your asses......

Anonymous said...

First, I would like to commend those of you who are actual Americans and realize why this is the greatest country in the world, those who have stood up in opposition of Watada's resistance to do his job. These people are real Americans, not the liberal cowards who run from disputes, want to support those unwilling to work to support themselves and who are unwilling to be held responsible for their duties. All I keep hearing about is how much money is going to the military in Iraq but what about all the money given to men and women like Watada for their education who as repayment need only to serve their country and refuse, how about all the money in the welfare program that instead of going to those truly in need goes to those who are simply unwilling to work hard. No one gave handouts to those who built America and made this country what it is. We are hard working people and yes this is a land of opportunity but you have to seize the opportunity for yourself and not expect someone to simply give it to you. As far as I'm concerned, Watada should also be charged with the theft of the thousands of dollars worth of education he received via the USG since he did not hold up his side of the contract.



mT VET said...

What a chicken-sh*T. Live up to your commissioning oath! My son-in law is 22 years old and has been there in Iraq for 2 years. From a vet. courtmartial the bastard for treason and I will buy a ticket to attend the firing squad!! More reasonable rescide his citizenship and give him 30 days to get out! Citizenship in the US is tough! If you joined the military, live up to your obligations,,,,,you can't change your mind after the fact. As an officer you have a big impact on the young enlisted kids. I know that he knows he has killed some kids by not living up to his obligation! Hopefully we will meet face to face one of these day you god dam******coward!



Anonymous said...

What that article DID NOT point out and what is important to realize is that Watada has offered to serve in any other combat zone, including Afghanistan. He has no problem fighting that war. The Army turned his request down. He's not a coward or a peacenik; he has an opinion about the Iraq war and he's willing to go to jail for his convictions- that makes him courageous in my mind.

Too bad the 'firing squad' mentality on this blog doesn't recognize a true American ideal (the obligation to dissent) when they see it.

Anonymous said...

Oh and by the way, he offered to give up his commission and fight in Afghanistan as an enlisted soldier.

So.. that's a coward?

Anonymous said...

Lt. Watada should be punished and given the maximum sentence. He is a soldier. Sworn to protect and defend our great nation during war or peace time. Whether he agrees with the mission or not, he is a soldier not a politician. What if all the soldiers decided to do the same. We would be in trouble. The freedoms and the rights that we cherish and take for granted would be gone. Other countries would se us as weak. As an immigrant, civilian, and U.S. citizen, I am embarrassed by the actions of an ARMY officer. Although I do not beleive in the war, I SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!! Thanks guys!

Anonymous said...

As a former sailor in our great Navy I say that he is guilty and very wrong. As an officer you need to set the example for those under you and build moral not break it down. Moreover when in the military your beliefs are important but the safety and stability of the people you defend is what really matters. He should not put his own beliefs over the well being and will of the whole country.

Anonymous said...

I took the same oath that this person did. He knows he's wrong, and is hiding behind a self made wall of morality. Does no-one ask if what this is all about is wether we want the terrorist to win or us? Not if the war is just, or legal, or if Bush lied. These arguments are moot when placed against the simple fact that we ARE at war with the terror groups operating inside Iraq. Get them over there, or fight them in our own streets. There will be blood on our hands either way, but better their blood than that of our innocent citizens.

Anonymous said...

I'm 83 years old and I served proudly in the Army from 1942-1946. While waiting on Guam to invade Japan, Harry dropped the bomb, saving at least 60,000 of us. But this guy says the war on terror is "illegal"...?
Gee, I guess Hitler should have withdrawn his troops...

tadlem43 said...

pesonally, i don't care if he requested to change into diapers and fight with a baby bottle in ANY other sector. he is an officer in the United States military. he gives orders and expects them to be carried out without question based on his training and knowledge and the training and knowledge of those above him. and now he wants to whine about an order someone gave to him?? i don't think so!! he has an obligation, notwithstanding the educational monies. if we allow this guy to 'barter' his military orders, what's next?? this "true American ideal (the obligation to dissent)" came from what source???? the Constitution addresses this. might want to read it sometime. obligation?? his OBLIGATION is to his country, his fellow soldiers, his fellow citizens, his commanding officer!! this is an act of treason and should be treated that way! when you find out how to get those tickets to the firing squad, let me know!
oh..and by the way...don't woose out by using 'anonymous' when you have something like that to say. coward!