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.


Larry said...

Lets hope the final outcome is as good. The sad thing is the saying "you can't fight city hall."

Bush Defense Secretary Robert Gates claims he has undeniable proof Iran is meddling in Iraq.

Doesn't the world have undeniable proof that Bush is meddling in Iraq?

World War III is sadly on it's way.

SadButTrue said...

On the opening day of the trial the judge, John Head (whose first and last names, BTW, both mean toilet) ruled that Watada could not examine the overall legality of the Iraq war in his defense. In effect the judge was unilaterally declaring the war to be legal; apparently without going through any process to make that determination. This would constitute grounds for appeal and near certain reversal if Watada had been convicted. As in the case of Jose Padilla, the administration will do anything to avoid a legal showdown over actions they know to be unsustainable under the Constitution.

It looks to me like the government deliberately threw this case. Took a dive.

It really says something for Lt. Watada's principles and bravery that he seems to have preferred to have the courts delve into the overall issue of the illegal war, even though that put him in jeopardy of a jail term.

Larry said...

One would think the government would use everything but the kitchen sink to win this.

If Lt. Watada wins this will encourage other soldiers oppose the war to go by their principles.

Anne said...

a bright spot for sure.
what a brave and true young man.
i really hope he sets the tone for more opposition by the participants.

SadButTrue said...

Here's a very good link to a Common Dreams article on this. I think it underscores what I said above as to the government's motives to just make this go away, which for them is a much more desirable outcome to actually winning, Larry.

Common Dreams: Watada Mistrial

Larry said...


Thanks for the link to the Common Dreams article and I must say I haven't looked at it that way before.

I think you are correct and it will dry on the vine.