Please click and read Thank You 1st Lt. Ehren Watada
Watada ArtIcle 32 Investigation Recommends Trial on All Charges
The full Article 32 report, recommendations, and transcript of hearing is available. The file is large - 4.7M download - so you need fast Internet
Attorney Eric Seitz, in response:
"We are not surprised by the hearing officer's report and recommendations because it was our assumption all along that
once the Army rejected all of our overtures and proposals and convened an Article 32 hearing that was tantamount to a decision
to put Lt. Watada on trial.
I am pleased that the hearing officer finds Lt. Watada to be sincere and recognizes the seriousness of the issues that
Lt. Watada raises in this case.
I am dismayed, but not surprised, that the hearing officer dismisses the undisputed testimony of our experts as to the
illegality of the war and ignores the well reasoned legal briefs that we submitted both on the war and the speech issues.
Hopefully in its review of the record the command at Fort Lewis and ultimately the military judge will read and consider the
arguments before they determine how and whether to proceed to trial.
In the meantime we are still open to a resolution of this case on mutually acceptable terms.
An open letter
from Lt. Watada's mother
Carolyn Ho, Lt. Watada's mom wrote this open letter
last night and asks
for friends to pass it on:
June 22, 2006
Dear Fellow Americans,
I am the mother of Lt. Ehren Watada, an officer stationed at Ft. Lewis.
He is part of a Stryker brigade unit that deployed today to Iraq.
Despite an unflinching commitment to his men and to democratic ideals, he chose not to accompany his men.
His decision came through much soul-searching and
and consultation with experts across disciplines, inside and outside of the military and the government.
After weighing the evidence, he came to the conclusion that he could
no longer be silent while atrocities were committed in the name of democracy.
He could no longer be a tool of an administration that used deception
and lies to make the case for pre-emptive war. As a member of the armed
forces, sworn to uphold the US Constitution, he refuses to blindly participate in a war of aggression, an illegal war that
undermines who we are as a nation and violates international law.
Implicit in his oath as an officer is the duty to disobey all unlawful
orders for; to carry out these orders
renders him an accomplice to a
Furthermore, to order his men to participate in a war of
aggression multiplies his guilt a thousand fold. His conscience
will not permit him to do so. He believes that he can best serve them by taking a stand against the war.
In so doing, he demonstrates that one does not
relinquish the freedom to choose what is right, even in the military,
and that the freedom to choose what is right transcends the allegiance to man and institutions.
As a mother, I have evolved from fearing for his safety and for his future
to the realization that there is a higher purpose to all that has
My son no longer stands at the crossroads. He has chosen
road less travelled.”
Come what may, he is committed to staying the
I invite you to affirm your support of Lt. Ehren Watada on June
National Day of Action. On this day, groups across the country will
participate in peaceful demonstrations,
prayer services, candle light
vigils, parades, leafleting, visitations to recruitment stations to
provide counsel to
prospective recruits, etc.
Please contact your local
organization for details.
For updates on news and actions regarding Lt. Watada, please check out:
www.thankyoult.org or www.couragetoresist.org.
My deepest thanks,
Editorial from Arthur Ruger
Originally published on my blog Willapa View Thursday, 8 June 2006
This Spartacus Moment is Important
Only the apologetic are willing to attempt one-line dismissals of a 28-year old military patriot demonstrating the highest
valor a soldier can offer his country.
Lt. Ehren Watada is proving America is more than a symbol of immoral politics.
The media has already found veterans who will deliver their one-liners - people who think a short dismissal defines the
Some will say: "He signed the bottom line. He needs to go to Iraq or go to jail."
These are the macho military apologists refusing to think about the implication of blind obedience in the face of common
sense and a powerful ethic.
These are the macho military apologists who aren't so brave that they are willing to discuss the ethics of America's aggression
against a nation and people innocent of the 9/11 attacks.
What Lt. Watada is doing is an outward expression of what many others in the military would do but cannot or dare not.
He's a voice for many more people than himself. He is doing what many would of us would do if we were in that situation.
His protest is not just individually his alone.
We don't need to be limited to applauding his courage about having the guts to speak his mind just for himself. Whether
we like it or not the civic implication is that the American soldier who fights and kills in Iraq is fighting and killing
on our behalf and in our name.
If Iraq had it coming, then we as American jingos can take pride in the moment.
"Good on that soldier for acting in my name" is what we can ideally declare during wartime because presumably the
soldier does for us what we can't do for ourselves - defend the nation by physical presence and action.
However we as citizens and the electorate are making our feelings known. The Bush aggression is an act that now a
majority of citizens polled in this country have repudiated. If one considers the Iraq aggression as immoral, untenable, unwinnable
and a needless drain of America's most precious blood then we can be constant in our love and loyalty to our soldiers and
still lament and object to what they are forced to do there.
If the courageous Lt. is doing what I would want to do if in a like circumstance, then he is acting for me and on my behalf.
I support and appreciate him doing this for us.
That's what acting morally in our roles as citizens should reflect. These wonderful miltary men and women are instruments
of our own patriotism. If we dare not own up to what is being done in our name, then simple dismissals of Lt. Watada are hypocrisy.
When actions like the Lt's are taken, those who do it initiate action that may or may not be agreed with
by others. But if agreed with by others - a significantly large number of others - a shift begins. It's a shift sustained
by a growing voice of dissent that can only be healthy for a democratic republic.
This Spartacus moment is important.
Sometimes it starts with just one person responding to another one person.
DAY 1 IN SUPPORT OF LT. WATADA AT FORT LEWIS
Today I started a vigil at Ft. Lewis in support of Lt. Ehren Watata which I hope will grow over time.
I drove down to Exit 119 at the Dupont-Steilacoom Road and parked my car. I then walked back along the railroad tracks
to the main gate at Exit 120. There between the Highway overpass and the entrance to the fort (outside the fence) I stood
along the road for about 45 minutes with my sign and flag in hand.
My sign said, "Lt. Watada: Upholding the Constitution and moral integrity in the U.S." on one side and "Refusing to fight
in an illegal war takes courage" on the other side. The second side had a picture of Watata attached.
I received some long, long looks, a few middle fingers, a few thumbs up, a few honks, but mainly just the long, long
looks. The traffic was non-stop there. After 45 minutes, the MPs came along and said I had to leave because I was on Ft. Lewis
My map indicated otherwise, and I said I was on Pierce County property. I moved over to an entry ramp to the highway.
That wasn't good enough for them. But I refused to leave.
I thought I was not on Ft. Lewis and they were interfering with my First Amendment Rights.
Eventually there were about 7 or 8 MPs and they confronted me. I started swearing at them. (Sometimes I can be a bit
rebellious and anti-authoritarian.) They dragged me down, put a choke hold on me (funny how frantic one can get when the air
supply is cut off for a while), and hand cuffed me. I was told by the staff sergeant in charge that they would drop me off
by my car.
Instead another MP took me the opposite direction to the Madigan exit. So I walked back along the railroad track to my
On the way back I noticed they had kept my wallet. So when I got back to my car, I drove back to the visitors' center
at the Exit 120 gate and told one of the cops there that the MPs still had my wallet.
They called the MPs, and they dropped it off after about 20 minutes.
At that point it was about 2:30 to 3:00 in the afternoon. I had been there about four hours, but all but 45 minutes was
spent walking or in other fun activities, rather than standing with my flag and sign. Nevertheless, I think it was a fairly
productive and enjoyable outing.
Tomorrow I will go to the Madigan exit, which I was told by the MPs is OK to stand at. I will try to get there at 10
AM tomorrow. It would be nice to have more people there with me.
But I won't hold my breath, unless, of course, they put me in another choke hold.
Returning to Ft. Lewis (the belly of the beast) where I had basic training and shipped out to Vietnam a mere 35 years
Tom is not a member of MFSO but the courage of his action on behalf of Lt. Watada and all of us is worth publishing
Military Families support Lt Watada at Tacoma press conference
Lietta Ruger's report published on Daily Kos and Washblog.
Reporting on press conference of Lt Ehren Watada, Tacoma, WA, June 7, 2006.
Yes, that is me in the photo, to the right of Lt Watada when he was first introduced
at the 6 PM media conference. I'm in the white Military Families Speak Out - (WA state chapter) T-shirt.
Supporters give him welcome applause.
I was there at the noon press conference, but Lt Watada was prohibited by his Fort
Lewis chain of command from attending the scheduled noon press conference. In his absence his statement was given in the prepared
video taped DVD. Announcement made that Lt Watada would be available at 6 PM to answer questions if media/press wanted to
return at that time.
Media/press did return, and I was there for both the noon and the 6PM press
Noon press conference, June 7, 2006.
When I arrived there was already considerable media with the satellite vans parked
around the building, along with cameras, camera people and microphones. I was pleased as it signalled to me that media viewed
this as an important story. Inside the lights, cameras and mics were set up and the plasma tv was in place.
Supporters were outside and inside, and there were four of us from Military Families
Speak Out in our T-shirts to show visible support of military families for Lt Watada decision to make public his intention
to refuse deployment orders to Iraq. We took our place alongside the veterans of Veterans for Peace who were there to show
left to right; Military Families Speak Out Jenny Keesey - Elma; Judy Linehan - Olympia;
Lietta Ruger - Bay Center. Member Stacy Bannerman was also at the press conference.
It was announced Lt Watada would not be able to attend so we knew the prepared DVD
statement would be used. There were to be 4 presenters prior to introducing Lt Watada. We went ahead with the presenters anyway
followed by the DVD of Lt Watada's prepared statement.
-- The Rev. Jim Davis, a United Methodist minister and chaplain of the University
of Puget Sound.
-- Majorie Cohn, a professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law and president
of the Natioinal Lawyers Guild
-- Joe Colgan, WA veteran and father of Lt Benjamin Colgan, killed in Iraq in 2003.
See dvd Gunner Palace in which Lt Benjamin's unit was being filmed when Lt Benjamin Colgan was killed
-- Judy Linehan, Military Families Speak Out, mother of son, returning Iraq veteran
who had deployed to Iraq with Stryker Brigade. (We elected Judy to speak for all four of us and it was emotional for her since
her own son has connection to Fort Lewis and Stryker brigade)
-- Lt Ehren Watada's prepared DVD statement. links; video of noon press conference
Northwest Cable News video of Lt Ehren Watada's prepared DVD statement.
KIRO 7 TV Announcement was then made that Lt Watada would be available
at 6PM to take questions from the media if media wanted to return. I decided to return for the 6 PM conference. Interestingly,
Jenny and I had arranged to meet and drive one car (save gas $$) and she had previous committments so could not stay in Tacoma
till 6PM. Same for Judy and Stacy.
Jenny drove us back to our neck of the woods out here in Grays Harbor and Pacific
County, and I got back into my own vehicle and immediately drove back to Tacoma. These are about 2 hour drives from where
we live in these outlying counties so not a few hours spent in driving on Wednesday.
I arrived back in Tacoma at 6PM straight up, and bustled through the cameras and
mics to get up front with the supporters. Veterans for Peace was already there, and made room for me with them and that is
how I wound up right next to the podium.
When Lt Watada was introduced, the warm and welcome applause was heart-warming and
that is the only photo I've seen that has me smiling. There are several other photos of Lt Watada and I show up in the photos
since I was standing right next to him, but I'm not smiling in any of the other photos. Well, it was a somber occasion.
As I listened to the young Lt Watada field the hardball and softball questions from
the media, I was much impressed with his poise. He behaved with the kind of humility, dignity and respect I would expect from
Obviously he has had time to reflect, prepare for this moment since he has been contemplating
his decision since Jan 06, and it is evident a lot of thought went into his decision, his prepared statement and he answered
the media questions put to him from his own convictions. Rather than report and repeat the media accounts you likely have
already read, refer to the video link for the 6 PM media conference and hear him for yourself in entirety.
He answered questions for 1/2 hour or longer and it is all in the video link. He
answered a question from a little boy, not more than say 7 yrs old who asked the Lt 'why do you think this war is bad'.
Lt Watada answered him patiently and did not talk down to him. I was impressed. It
was Lt Watada's 28th birthday the same day of the press conference, June 7. Some of you may know how I feel about the
importance of young people participating actively in this process of democracy and our nation's future.
I was personally moved as I stood there thinking 'he's so young, and he's having
the courage to do this' -- it was moving. Lt Watada had two lawyers standing behind him, and when they thought enough media
questions had been asked and answered, they wrapped it up and announced enough questions.
They then started to escort Lt Watada out of the room, and I said to one of the lawyers
'wait, I very much want to shake his hand'. The attorney smiled and was willing, but by then Lt Watada was already out the
door. The attorney shrugged, smiled and moved on.
I really wanted Lt Watada to know we are a military family with returning Iraq veterans
and I was there to support him.
Ahh, but wait, there on the podium was Lt Watada's cell phone he had set down and
I just knew he would need his cell phone. So I grabbed it, and made my way to the door and to the back room where they had
taken him for debriefing. I explained to the people monitoring in the hallway that I needed to give him his phone.
They let me pass, and of course, my T-shirt rather is recognizeable, so I guess I
was considered safe. I went into the room, where Lt Watada and the two attorneys were in conversation. I thanked Ehren, shook
his hand, explained I was a military family.
He asked if we had -- well he didn't have to finish the question -- I knew. Yes,
I told him - 2 returning Iraq veterans in our family. I gave him his phone and shook his hand agan and said 'thank you Sir,
for what you are doing'. Then I left the room.
It was over, and many of us milled about for a short while outside. There were some
either impromptu or planned private interviews by media with Lt Watada afterwards so we did not get to see him again that
That wraps up my account. My understanding is that Lt Watada will be presenting
over the weekend, and at this time the best information I have so far is; On Sunday, June 11 at 1 p.m. at the Traditions Fair
Trade, corner of 5th and Water, Olympia, WA, Lieutenant Ehren Watada will speak on his reasons for Refusing to obey the order
to deploy to Iraq
Amazing to see his story go so national/international in one day. He is very
impressive in his poise and dignity. I was so truly honored to stand in support and quite frankly, tearfully humbled
by the courage of this young Officer as I listened to him answer questions from the media.
I felt a pride as this is what I would expect from an Officer. He's
only 28 yrs, it was his birthday the day of the press conference.
I'm fairly impressed with the media coverage as once they had the actual Lt Ehren
Watada and his own words, it seemed most all the coverage kept the focus on Lt. Watada and seemed like substanative coverage
to me. I'm hopeful....