Monday, June 26, 2006



June 23rd, 2006 12:53 am
War Objector Lt. Watada Refuses To Go To Iraq
Associated Press

FORT LEWIS - An Army lieutenant who has said he'd rather go to prison than Iraq did not deploy with his unit when it left Thursday for the Middle East, Army officials said.

1st Lt. Ehren Watada, 28, of Honolulu, who joined the Army in March 2003, has said he would be willing to serve in Afghanistan or elsewhere, but has concluded that the war in Iraq is illegal and immoral.

Watada stayed on base in his battalion's headquarters while members of his unit left Fort Lewis by bus at 6:45 a.m., en route to their flight from nearby McChord Air Force Base, the Army said.

About 4,000 soldiers of Fort Lewis' 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division were scheduled to be part of this deployment.

"1st Lt. Watada has been ordered to remain on duty at his unit, with some limitations on his pass privileges, pending further instructions from his chain of command," Fort Lewis officials said in a statement.

No charges had been filed against Watada as of Thursday. "None will be filed until the commander has had a chance to review all of the facts of the case and consult with the Staff Judge Advocate," the Army statement said.

Watada said in an interview earlier this month that he researched the reasons behind the U.S. involvement in Iraq and concluded that the government has violated American law.'

"We can't break laws in order to fight terrorism," he said.

Watada said he believes intelligence on whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was manipulated "to fit a policy that was already implemented prior to 9-11," and he cited "mistreatment of the Iraqi people," saying it was "a contradiction to the Army's own Law of Land Warfare."

He did not apply for conscientious objector status, defined by Army regulations as a "firm, fixed and sincere objection to participation in a war in any form or the bearing of arms, because of religious training and belief." He said he objected only to the war in Iraq.

His attorney, Eric Seitz, did not immediately return a phone call to his office in Honolulu because he is in Europe.

Human says - This brave man needs our support. He has put everything on the line. Visit "Thank You Lt. Ehren Watada" to see how you can help, even if it's just a comforting word. Human family just sent Andrew Jackson to help his legal defense fund.
To see and hear Lt. Watada's statement click here.


To Refuse To Serve
By Ret. Col. Ann Wright
Tuesday 27 June 2006
Today, is the National Day of Action in support of U.S. Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, who, on June 22, refused an order to deploy with his unit to Iraq.

Watada said he could not participate in an "illegal and immoral war against people who did nothing to deserve our aggression. My oath of office is to protect and defend America's laws and its people. By refusing unlawful orders for an illegal war, I fulfill that oath."

Watada's refusal to deploy to Iraq raises ethical, moral and legal questions, not only for him, but for other military personnel as well as for civilians. He believes the war on Iraq is a violation of international and domestic law and is therefore illegal. Watada says that as a military officer of honor and integrity he must refuse an order to participate in an illegal act.

Watada joins 10 other members of the U.S. military who - as a matter of conscience - have refused to either go to Iraq or to return there and have been court-martialed for their actions. Two are currently in prison for their stands. In addition, over 200 U.S. military personnel have gone to Canada to avoid being sent to Iraq, nine of whom have gone public with their war resistance. There are over 6,400 U.S. military are absent without leave (AWOL), while thousands who have returned from AWOL have been given administrative discharges instead of courts-martial. The military has not provided information on whether those who have turned themselves in were AWOL due to opposition to the war.

For Watada and those other military volunteers who have chosen to go public with their dissent from the war on Iraq, the path of conscience is not easy. By their actions, they challenge an administration whose policy of aggressive, pre-emptive war has placed those volunteers, the institution of the U.S. military and the nation itself in danger.

Refusing to obey an illegal order is a time-honored tradition in the U.S. military, but that refusal carries incredible risk. If the order is found by a military board of inquiry to be lawful, then the soldier is will be brought before a military court for trial.

Watada's public refusal to deploy to Iraq puts the military panel who will sit in judgment of his actions in a dilemma. The military has extraordinarily talented military lawyers who are well-versed in the laws of land warfare, the Geneva and Hague conventions and the Nuremberg principles. Indeed, military lawyers were the strongest opponents of the decision by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to throw out internationally agreed to protections for prisoners of war and instead create a new, illegal term called "enemy combatants." This legally meaningless phrase provides no protections for those detained on the battlefield and jeopardizes U.S. military personnel who end up in the hands of opponents. Now, these military lawyers must decide whether protection of an administration's illegal war of aggression is more important to the national security of the United States than recognition that, by the Nuremberg principles, military and civilians have a responsibility to stop their governments from committing illegal acts.

As a retired colonel with 29 years in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves, and as a U.S. diplomat for 16 years who resigned in March 2003 from the State Department in opposition to the war in Iraq, I strongly support Watada's decision to publicly challenge the illegality of the war.

I hope that on June 27, as part of this National Day of Action, Americans will find ways in their communities to "Stand Up with Lt. Watada." We should discuss the important moral and ethical issues that he and the other brave and courageous men and women have raised in their refusal to participate in the illegal war on Iraq. See for a list of communities and activities scheduled for June 27.

As civilians, we also have a moral responsibility when we see an administration committing illegal acts. We cannot be silent and let this illegal war continue. Stand up for Watada and our country.

Human says - (LAST PARAGRAPH I PUT IN BOLD) ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE It links to other important sites.
Col. Ann Wright served in the U.S. Army for 13 years and in the U.S. Army Reserves for 16 years. She also served for 16 years in the U.S. diplomatic corps, and in that capacity helped reopen the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan in December 2001. She received the State Department's Award for Heroism as the acting U.S. ambassador during the rebel takeover of Freetown, Sierra Leone in 1997.

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