09 February 2007

Ehren Watada

"No longer can any American citizen or organization simply sit on the fence and say, Well, we don't take a position on the war, because the war in itself is unconstitutional in many forms, and we as Americans have to step up and say either we agree with what's going on or we disagree with what's going on.... If you disagree...then you are going to have to ask yourself what are you willing to sacrifice of yourself in order to correct the injustice and wrongs of this government in regard to the Iraq War."

"We all take part in it--if you pay your taxes, you're taking part in this war. We all have a responsibility, as they determined after Nuremberg, whether you're the lowest soldier or the highest ranking general, or just a regular civilian, we all have responsibility...to resist and refuse enabling and condoning this criminal behavior ..."
- Lieut. Ehren Watada

This challenge from Ehren Watada is pretty pointed. In a 4th of July post I held out Lt Watada's principled stance against the Iraq War as one basis for political hope. He is the first US military commissioned officer tried for refusing deployment to Iraq. He based his refusal on constitutional grounds, international law and the code of military conduct, basically insisting that it is his duty to refuse illegal orders and that given the lies of the Bush adinistration, the Iraq war is illegal. Hence his refusal. He offered to fight in Afghanistan but his Army superiors insisted that he go to Iraq. Well, as The Nation reports here the judge in his court martial has declared a mistrial; despite trying to keep the legal grounds for Watada's actions from being considered, he was unable to do so and the prosecution requested the mistrial. Read The New York Times report here.

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