Friday, February 09, 2007
Moral Victory: Lt. Ehren Watada!
Little by little, bit by bit...flashes of sunlight are appearing through the dark, oppressive clouds of the Bush Administration.
The court-martial of First Lieutenant Ehren Watada, who refused to deploy to Iraq because he believed that the Iraq war was illegal, had been charged with missing a troop movement and with two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer, based on his public statements criticizing the war and President Bush, has ended in a mistrial.
Because Watada neither caused nor agreed to the mistrial, it is possible that he may not be retried because of double jeopardy.
The Army, of course, plans to retry Watada in March. But in asking for a 'do-over', the prosecution may have made a fatal mistake. At issue was a pretrial stipulation in which Watada admitted to the fact of failing to deploy, but did not admit guilt for that fact because he felt justified by his belief that the Iraq conflict was illegal. "The judge was concerned that the stipulation amounted to a confession by Watada to an offense to which he intended to plead not guilty," said Fort Lewis spokesman Joseph Piek.
The implications of this trial may go far beyond that of Watada and into the realm of the debate on free speech in the military.
But regardless of the outcome of the trial, the moral victory already belongs to Lt. Watada and his refusal to commit war crimes. When we ask ourselves "Could another Holocaust happen here?", if the answer is "Hell, no!", it will be because of people like First Lieutenant Ehren Watada, a real American patriot.
Here's a great article by ElectronicIraq, with lots of links.
And of course, the website by Watada's supporters Thank You, Lt. Watada.