The trial of Ehren Watada, the first soldier to openly refuse to deploy to combat in Iraq, based on his oath to protect the Constitution & follow International law, has been postponed until October 9th. Watada's trial has been under way- jury selected, testimony given, when suddenly the military declared it a mistrial. The judge said it was because Watada misunderstood a paper he'd signed. The military thought the paper was an admission of guilt (for not deploying?), and Watada signed the statement agreeing he'd "said what he said". Watada had attended a regional Veterans for Peace Conference and (gasp) spoke of the truth. The speech was recorded, and the military lobbed more charges against him after his speech. Watada wisely agreed to sign off/verify that he did indeed. say what he said.
Watada is a squeaky clean, exemplary person, Eagle Scout. The military people who were called to testify, basically gave him glowing reviews- excellent record, one of their finest. So now it stands to be determined if the Watada trial is double jeopardy-- and has to be thrown out all together. Initially they had bargained a 4 year sentence, but the charge is back up to 6 years. Certainly in civil court, this would be thrown out as double jeopardy. You can't just throw out a case because it is not going in your favor. I suspect the military wants to make an example of Watada. And what an example he is..... Duty, Honor, Accountability, actually following the law. My hope is Watada is the man who goes down in history as the person who opened the floodgates for others in the military to *opt out*, Just say NO, actually adhere to the laws, rules, treaties, and militaries' own rules of conduct. If you swear to defend the Constitution (there is the Noble Cause), and you review the laws, then it would be your obligation to refuse to participate in this illegal occupation. The military has problems though....if they don't honor the double jeopardy legal rule, then they have to let the trial proceed. Watada brings the question of the legality of the war & his sworn duty to the forefront. In a perfect world, the big whigs- Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, and Bush would have to testify as to just how they botched the information that happened to mislead us into this 5 year illegal occupation.
In any case, Ehren Watada is a man of honor, and his courage and sane actions have reverberated across the planet. His supporters include Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Despond Tutu, Rose O'Donnell, Amnesty International, Prof. Howard Zinn, Susan Saran don, Martin Sheen, etc.
Here is the link to his web site:
Fran: Watada is an officer I'd be proud to serve under.
dada: This is an interesting & important case. We think the military shot themselves in the foot on this one. It is not in their interest to have the new trial move forward, because the reason for the war must go on trial. So far they seem to be stalling as much as possible. Watada walks the walk.... I just hope other soldiers of honor do the same. He is a 21st century hero & hundreds of people took to the streets at the gates of Ft. Lewis WA in a show of support when round one of the trial began. One of my favorite signs read:
The wrong man is on trial.
fran: Absolutely, Watada is the true patriot here and I love the sign!
One of my pet peeves is the obligatory need by everyone to preface a statement they're about to make outside popular opinion by saying something placing them inside public opinion. (???) Example might help.
Like with Sadam: when wanting to say something positive about him, like how Iraq was secular under him or how he was a check on Iran and a balance on the Mid East power dynamics, the person would state the obligatory, "We all know what a terrible tyrant of a leader Sadam was, but......," thus saving their ass from public lynching.
Stating support for the troops is requisite if one is to offer any criticism of them at all publicly. (Maybe that's why I chose here, this morning, on the back pages of a new blog to say this? ~grin)
I recently read of a Fla. Nat'l Guardsman about to be deployed for the 5th time to the M.E.! He's trying to get out of it. (I could support that, duh!) But then the article went on to say, he's not against the war and it isn't that he minds going, he just thinks he could be of better service to our nation's military objectives staying here, finishing his college while working for a military contractor.
Of course, he lost all of my empathy. At what frickin' point do we stop being young idealistic and honorable "heroes" and call ourselves what we really are? ENABLERS of insane men leading the world to the brink of annihilation?
(AFTER our 5th tour in Iraq? 6th? 10? - that'd be really beating the odds, wouldn't it?)
Wow, I can't believe I just said that w/o prefacing it "We all support the troops, but..."
p.s. Fran, sometimes when time runs short during my day after having written a comment somewhere, I will take the expedient way out of blogging (cutting and pasting from here to my own)...hope that's okay--IF I DO (I would link it to your blog).
But there's a 50-50 chance I won't because posting anything anti-our-troops might expedite my transition out of the country, right, and I don't know if I'm that brave (or foolish).
dada: I hear you. The other day I was driving behind an SUV with a bumper sticker that said: Support the President and our Troops. It really pissed me off-- Like it is a package deal- likethey are buddies, the president & the troops go hand in hand in a working relationship. AWOL puppet Bush uses the troops as his pawns in a middle east oil & land grab. Why put lipstick on the pig? Having an ample supply of body bags is not supporting the troops. Many who survive, and perhaps wish they had'nt, (the severely injured) will have to struggle and spar with the government to get decent healthcare and benefits, for the rest of their lives.
Support the troops- Impeach Bush is more like it.
No need to apologize or explain re what constitutes support of the troops. The government has suppressed the info about how many troops have refused redeployment- they don't want that in the headlines, giving anyone else ideas of deployment refusal. Maybe, in the end, that is what will put this illegal occupation to an end-- the troops themselves refusing to participate.
While Congress debates themselves back into the stone age "blah blah blah", the troops may just decide what they really need is a strong, JUST SAY NO campaign. Refuse to deploy, refuse to take up arms. Sure they can send in sharpshooter Cheney... but really, how long would he last?
I'm sure the troops have not failed to notice the *Mission Accomplished* publicity stunt decleration is woefully inaccurate. When soldiers get notice of repeat deployment orders, there must be a sick sense of dread. I myself would submit myself to be jailed as a conscientious objector, rather than endure the trauma of repeat exposure to the wars.
There is a local soldier who did just that. Enlisted as a gullible kid (promise of college money), during peacetime, and then the Iraq war began. they wanted to switch him from mechanic work, to handing him an automatic rifle, shooting at silhouettes of humans. He filed as a CO & then said "Sir no Sir" when they tried to hand him the automated rifle. You can imagine the jaws dropping & the dumbfounded domino effect up the chain of command. What good is a soldier if they refuse to take up arms? Probably even more troubling is what if this catches on & others do the same? It took months for his CO status to be processed & in the end he was granted CO status.
It is rumored that many or most Conscientious Objector filings these days are denied (although no one one has the actual statistics....), you still always maintain the right to refuse- regardless of approval or not. In my mind, conscientiousness is not something up for someone else to decide for you. Every soldier still has the right to refuse.
Clearly my individual mindedness and strong will would never mesh with the military compliant mindset, but the truth is they can't make you go to war. They don't want you there is you are not a cog in the gears of war.
So here's to throwing a wrench in the well oiled (pardon the pun/reference) military machine.
Back in the 60's there was classic film footage of an anti war protester putting a flower in the barrel of a Ntl. Guard rifle (I think it was on a college campus?).
Viva la Revolution!
Fran: Ditto! But that vague reference to some Sixties imagery of a flower down the barrel of a gun was, like, so way before my time! (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink!)
1st) congrats on your great new blog here! I've enjoyed your perspective at Dada's, but hadn't realized you were expecting.
2nd) I must have Dada beat in the time warp to that flower in the barrel for I distinctly recall it was Kent State. Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming!
3rd) yes, Viva la Revolucion -- Denuncia presidente arbusto!
Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now. Keep it up!
And according to this article, I totally agree with your opinion, but only this time! :)
Not bad article, but I really miss that you didn't express your opinion, but ok you just have different approach
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