Lt. Ehren Watada was the soldier who announced he refused to deploy to Iraq, based on the Constitution he swore to protect.
Eugene Weekly reports:
First Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to the war in Iraq, has finally ended his long legal battle with the military. Watada
refused to deploy to Iraq in the summer of 2006 with his Stryker brigade because he believed the war was illegal, saying at the time, “I am wholeheartedly opposed to the continued war in Iraq, the deception used to wage this war, and the lawlessness that has pervaded every aspect of our civilian leadership.”
Watada offered to be deployed instead to Afghanistan or to resign, but the Army refused. His court martial for missing his unit’s deployment ended in a mistrial in February 2007, and a federal judge ruled a second court martial would be double jeopardy. The Army also threatened to court martial him for “conduct unbecoming an officer” for appearing at anti-war rallies and speaking out against the decision to invade Iraq. If he had been convicted on all counts, he could have served six years in prison and been given a dishonorable discharge.
Watada has been working a military desk job since the mistrial. He was supposed to have been discharged in December 2006, but his legal proceedings prevented that. The Army accepted Watada’s latest resignation on Sept. 16, 2009, and he was discharged the first week of October, under “other than honorable conditions.”
Watada’s attorney told reporters that he felt history would treat Watada "more favorably" than the Army had, calling him “a hero and a patriot."
Ehren Watada lived in limbo for almost 3 years past the end of his contract.
He lived off the base, but he was required to report "for duty", even though his clearances had been stripped, so there was not much for him to do. With the trial botched by the military, they basically held him "prisoner" in the military, unable to move on with his life-- until now.
On a personal note, his folks were at the Peace rally this weekend- commemorating the 8 year anniversary of the Afghanistan war..... they looked so happy that Ehren is now Free.
What Lt. Watada did was brave and very much so honorable.
I salute his courage to uphold the Constitution, and the oath he took.
Lt. Watada deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. He was willing to put his personal freedom, (faced 8 years of jail time),and entire military career on the line to "do the right thing", and follow his moral compass.
Free at Last, Thank You Lt. Watada. Free at Last