Monday, February 05, 2007


"It is my duty as a commissioned officer in the United States army to speak out against grave injustices. My moral and legal obligation is to the constitution. Not to those who issue unlawful orders. I stand before you today because it is my job to serve and protect American soldiers and innocent Iraqis who have no voice. It is my conclusion that the war in Iraq is not only morally wrong, but also a breach of American law," Ehren Watada, June 7, 2006.

Ehren Watada (born 1978) is a First Lieutenant in the United States Army, a member of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division Stryker Brigade Combat Team, who in June 2006 publicly refused to deploy to the war in Iraq saying that he believed the war to be illegal and that it would make him party to war crimes.

He was the first commissioned officer in the U.S. armed forces to publicly refuse deployment to Iraq, Watada will face a court-martial starting today.

Win or lose, Watada's lawyer said the soldier is at peace fighting for what he believes in.

"He's accomplished a great deal. He's really sparked a debate and whether people agree with him or disagree with him, many, many more people have looked at the issues that he's addressed," said Eric Seitz.

KGMB (Hawaii) report Watada's looming trial hasn't stopped him from speaking out against the war. Hundreds crowded into a church in Ft. Lewis, Washington on Saturday night to hear his controversial message.

"Let us not forget that it was a failure, not through its conduct, but through its unconstitutional and immoral policy," Watada said.

Attorney Seitz said jury selection will start on Monday and later both sides will present their cases. He believes the entire trial will finish by Thursday or Friday.

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The following report comes from KGW-TV in Portland, Oregon.

Portland groups rally for soldier who refused to go to Iraq
12:52 PM PST on Monday, February 5, 2007

Dozens of Portlanders voiced their support Monday for a soldier from Fort Lewis who refused to deploy to Iraq. The group of war protesters caravanned up to the military base in Washington Monday morning for the start of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada’s court martial.

The 28-year old refused an order to deploy to Iraq last June. He is charged with missing a troop movement and two counts unbecoming an officer for making public comments against the war.
Watada said the war is illegal and he has an obligation to refuse unlawful orders. A military judge has ruled Watada can’t base his defense on the war’s legality

“I think his action was totally justified. I mean, if your parent says to jump off a bridge, you’re not going to do that, or if your mom says to kill someone, you’re not going to do that,” said Anna Joy Gillis. She traveled to the support rally with her mother.

Members of the group said they support Watada for objecting to what they feel is an illegal war.
Several different Portland based anti-war groups organized the trip to the rally. It included college students, military veterans, and others opposed to the war in Iraq.

The Portland group joined other protesters outside Fort Lewis, including outspoken war critic, actor Sean Penn.

Lt. Watada faces four years in prison if convicted of the charges.

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