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Ear to the Ground

Officer Faces Court-Martial for Refusing to Deploy to Iraq

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Posted on Jul 23, 2006
Ehren Watada
AP / Ted S. Warren

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada was applauded when he arrived to speak to the media and supporters, Wednesday, June 7, in Tacoma, Wash. Watada said he feels the Iraq war is illegal and immoral and is refusing to deploy when his Army brigade, stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash., leaves for Iraq later this month.

First Lt. Ehren K. Watada is one of only a handful of officers who have taken such a stand, and is apparently the first to face a court-martial for doing so. He wrote: “I am wholeheartedly opposed to the continued war in Iraq, the deception used to wage this war, and the lawlessness that has pervaded every aspect of our civilian leadership….”


N.Y. Times:

When First Lt. Ehren K. Watada of the Army shipped out for a tour of duty in South Korea two years ago, he was a promising young officer rated among the best by his superiors. Like many young men after Sept. 11, he had volunteered ?out of a desire to protect our country,? he said, even paying $800 for a medical test to prove he qualified despite childhood asthma.

Now Lieutenant Watada, 28, is working behind a desk at Fort Lewis just south of Seattle, one of only a handful of Army officers who have refused to serve in Iraq, an Army spokesman said, and apparently the first facing the prospect of a court-martial for doing so.

?I was still willing to go until I started reading,? Lieutenant Watada said in an interview one recent evening.

A long and deliberate buildup led to Lieutenant Watada?s decision to refuse deployment to Iraq. He reached out to antiwar groups, and they, in turn, embraced his cause, raising money

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By Sam N., January 31, 2007 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a Vet (US Army, enlisted 8yrs) I just have to say THANK YOU! You are truely an Officer and a Gentleman and have the ethics and integrity of Giants. I would have been Proud to serve with you.

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By Gary, July 25, 2006 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lt. Ehren K. Watada has demonstrated the highest level of ethics and is a credit to each of us.

To an earlier commenter who believes that putting on the uniform and swearing to serve “right or wrong” has got it quite terribly wrong…; read your history; specifically read about the last World War, the Nuremberg Trial findings, and any number of human rights laws to which the US is legally bound. “I was just following orders” didn’t wash in the 40s, it doesn’t wash now, and it won’t wash in the future.

Praise and great respect to Lt. Watada.

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By R. A. Earl, July 25, 2006 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hey there Jonathon… how about you cool the hysterical jingoism a minute.

Swearing an oath to serve, to me, means swearing an oath to serve my country when an INTELLIGENT, REASONABLE, FEASIBLE and MORAL request is made of me by an INTELLIGENT, REASONABLE and MORAL “authority.”

It DOES NOT mean I am to disconnect my BRAIN and follow orders no matter what like some stupid robot. And if you think it does, then YOU TOO are one of those STUPID ROBOTS. Please go to the front lines and get yourself killed in my place. I’ll help your surviving kin nail your Medal for Stupidity on your coffin.

Did it ever occur to you that if EVERYONE stopped using shit for brains and refused to go and stand where they could get shot, THERE WOULD BE NO MORE WAR?

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By Bryan, July 25, 2006 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

More officers and enlisted need to take a stand against W’s madness.  Clearly the Constitution is in need of defense from W, and Watada’s action does that.

And a note to Mr. Wright who wrote: “...when you joined the army you swore an oath to serve this country no matter what.  right or wrong in your eyes, it is whats best for your country…”

Obviously Mr. Wright never served this country or he’d know that you pledge to defend the Constitution.  You don’t pledge to serve “no matter what. right or wrong in your eyes…” Only the SS would follow such goosestepping, marching orders.

There are rules to how you fight a war.  Even Rommel knew this when he tore up Hitler’s order to slaughter prisoners.  Watada’s actions show that our American service men are a cut of cloth above the SS and can and should think for themselves.

So, good for Watada and too bad for Mr. Wright who can’t take the risk of thinking for himself.

Hopefully, the Army filters morons like Mr. Wright from service.  Otherwise, our armed forces will continue to fall to dishonor and disgrace Gitmo style.

(Thankfully, the submarine service wouldn’t let a nut like that on a nuke boat.)

Cheers,

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By Greg, July 25, 2006 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lt. Watada is a true American hero. He is upholding the right to think for yourself and not follow blindly, which is what most Americans do.

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By Vietnam Vet, July 25, 2006 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

RE:Comment #15136 by Jonathan Wright on 7/25 at 8:16 am

first of all when you joined the army you swore an oath to serve this country no matter what.  right or wrong in your eyes, it is whats best for your country.  but i guess you dont really care about that to much cuz your not even a fucking american so get the hell out of this country if you dont want to stand up and fight for her.
________________________________________________

The first things I start looking for from people who spew this type venom are:

Have you served?

If not, why not?

Have you ever been in combat if you served?

If you can’t respond to those type questions in the affirmative, then you have not right to judge someone who DID join to serve. Keep in mind that agreeing to serve, does not mean an agreement to slaughter innocent people. Lt Calley found that out the hard way! By the way, the enlistment oath does not say I agree to serve the country “not matter what…right or wrong.” A number of people at the Nurnberg trials also found that out the hard way.

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By TOM, July 25, 2006 at 10:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We should praise this guy for his courage to point out the lies of this administration.  Again, Iraq had nothing to do with 911… I know there are more of our military folks that feel this way, but few are willing to come out and express their feelings or act on it…

It’s easy for these politicians to call people (un-patriotic) or cowards, but keep in mind that most if not all these talking heads have never fought in a war or prior military.  Yes, he did take a oath…and i guess he should have never researched the war, and should have just blindly taken orders to kill innocent women and children, and a country that had nothing to do with 911.

Best of luck to him.

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By sanda, July 25, 2006 at 10:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

oh my god!!!  if everyone in every country would only do this we might have WORD wars instead.  imagine that!!

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By Steve, July 25, 2006 at 10:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Regarding Comment #15136 by Jonathan Wright:

Ehren Watada IS a U.S. citizen.  Unfortunately for you, you view a U.S. citizen as white anglo. 

I’d be interested in knowing, from the Lieutenant, how far back his family goes, with respect to U.S. citizenry.  Betcha a dollar, his family was put in camps, during WWII.

When I take an oath, or make an agreement, it is based on information that is provided to me.  As we have found out, what has been coming out of this Administration, is nothing but lies. 

I, as an American, as a U.S. citizen have no problem with his direction.

more power to you, Lt. Watada.

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By Jonathan Wright, July 25, 2006 at 8:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

first of all when you joined the army you swore an oath to serve this country no matter what.  right or wrong in your eyes, it is whats best for your country.  but i guess you dont really care about that to much cuz your not even a fucking american so get the hell out of this country if you dont want to stand up and fight for her.

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By C Quil, July 24, 2006 at 9:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A man with a conscience and ethics. Presidential material?

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By R. A. Earl, July 23, 2006 at 9:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

He, of course, deserves a medal. What he’s doing takes one helluva lot more courage and intelligence than it takes to ship out as ordered by those placed in authority over him.

What he’s going to get, however, is the shaft. Military mentalities like those in control of the USA are completely incapable of tolerating those who choose to think for themselves and act accordingly. Jeez just think what might happen to their power if everyone starts pointing out that the Emperor Has No Clothes and refuses to be led down the garden path of insanity! The “authorities” would rather put a bullet in his head than allow him the freedom to make his own choices in life.

And that, in a nutshell, is the fallacy and fantasy of freedom - American style. In the USA you are free to say only so much and free to do even less. It may be that many are less free elsewhere, but it’s a LIE that the USA is the Land of the Free.

Always remember, folks, YOU MAKE A FUNDAMENTAL ERROR WHEN YOU ASSUME THAT THOSE IN AUTHORITY OVER YOU KNOW WHAT THE HELL THEY ARE DOING. (And it follows in my mind that to risk my life following the orders of those who haven’t a clue what they’re doing is just plain STUPID.)

I wish Watada the best. If I were him I’d be making plans to live the rest of my life as far away from the USA as I could get, and he’d better make his break for REAL freedom now before they lock him up and throw away the key.

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By Mark, July 23, 2006 at 5:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

’ “I was still willing to go until I started reading,” Lieutenant Watada said…’

Too bad he did some reading and happens not to be stupid.

Otherwise, he might simply have gone off to die—in an illegal war serving Israel’s expansionist goals at US expense—having never suffered any misgivings about it.

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By Patrick, July 23, 2006 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Congratulations to Lt. Ehren K. Watada for his position against the illegal war by the States in Iraq.

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By G.Anderson, July 23, 2006 at 11:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It took a lot of guts to do this. I hope that his actions will encourage many more to stand up against those that have misled our country, and also encourge our military leadership to speak out against this administrations failed leadership, before our military is completely decimated by their incompetance.

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