|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….”
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