[chinese blood, irish heart] - DEFUNCT: Introducing: Lt. Ehren Watada

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Introducing: Lt. Ehren Watada

In the middle of course is the famed 1st Lieutenant Ehren Watada who's public statement on refusing to deploy to Iraq because of its illegality has made him a symbol of anti-war.
Stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington he disobeyed orders to go to Iraq and is awaiting trial. In his words: "It is my duty as a commissioned officer of the United States Army to speak out against grave injustices. My moral and legal obligation is to the Constitution and not to those who would issue unlawful orders. I stand before you today, because it is my job to serve and protect America’s soldiers, its people and innocent Iraqis who have no voice. It is my conclusion, as an officer of the Armed Forces, that the war in Iraq is not only morally wrong, but a horrible breach of American law."
Is he being anti-patriotic then? Some of course may see that. Is he being a coward for refusing to go to blood soaked Iraq and abandoning his troops under him? Another plausible criticism.
But he aims to make other soldiers see the criminality and unjustice of the Iraq war and encourage others to stand up against their military establishment and government and remind all Americans of the freedom of speech and choice.
On July 5th, a court order read out three charges against him:
missing movement, contempt toward officials and conduct unbecoming an officer.
If convicted, he's faces a liable jail time of seven years and a dishonourable discharge
("can't spelt dishonourable without honourable" as Homer Simpson once said).
Without general support, Lt. Watada will certainly face jail time of some sort. Letting him off the hook will no doubt make the US military seem weak and the fear of encouraging other soldiers to follow suit.
Then again if he does get incarcerated, he'll become a martyr -
becoming a much stronger symbol of the anti-war movement.
I think he's very brave to do something like that, especially in the face of the American military complex. However did join up three years ago prior to the Iraq invasion because he, like many others, were dazzled by Powell's ridiculous doodles of Iraqi WMDs (remember the drawings with trucks carrying WMDs?) or got caught up in the wave of misplaced patriotism - you were the fool at first.
Well at least now he's trying to make up for it, so as an ex-soldier myself, I still salute ye.

His story hasn't been reported in Hong Kong, but I remember 2 weeks ago how the US is now going to follow the Geneva Convention when treating terrorists (related to Guantanamo),
maybe this was their way to earn sympathy and trust?