Now Playing: Lietta Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Lt. Ehren Watada
Update; Military attempts to stop Lt. Watada from speaking against illegal war
An expected reaction by U.S. Army to Lt. Watada's public statement of his intent to refuse to deploy with his unit to Iraq.
The time to act in support of Lt Watada is now, as Stryker brigade our of Fort Lewis is scheduled to deploy to Iraq before the end of June 2006. This is not a time to languish, rather a time to give direct support to Lt Watada's act of courage as an Officer of the U.S. Army.
Lt Watada has said he expects and accepts there will be consequences to his public statement of illegal war / illegal orders and the Army is correct to act. What you can do right now will unlikely influence what Lt Watada will have to face, and he expects fully to face charges and resulting punishments.
But, you most assuredly can influence furthering authentic dialogue about what compels Lt Watada to take this action. Please help get Lt Watada's story widely distributed, sign the petition at his support website, and contact the influential people you know to alert them to unfolding developments. Washington can and should do everything it can to further the courageous actions of Lt. Watada. Please don't leave it to the usual peace and activist groups. This is a real opportunity, imo, that has potential to be more effective in engaging people to act on their own consciences much like Lt. Watada is doing.
Please don't let his act of an Officer's courage be his alone. Thank you.
more below the fold
Military attempts to stop Lt. Watada from speaking against illegal war
PRESS ADVISORY (June 9, 2006) - On Thursday, June 8, 2006 U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada's commanding officer moved to prosecute Lt. Watada for protected speech. An official investigation into his public speech in opposition to the illegal war in Iraq is underway. Lt. Watada was read his rights and declined to make a statement without a lawyer present.
In response, Lt. Watada confirmed, "I have a legal and ethical obligation to speak out against, and refuse to fight, this patently illegal war in Iraq. This has not changed."
Eric Seitz, lead attorney for Lt. Watada's legal team, declared "It is obvious that the military is simply trying to keep him from speaking out in opposition to the unlawful war."
On Wednesday, June 7th U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada became the first U.S. commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment to the unlawful Iraq war and occupation. Standing before the national media at a Tacoma, Washington press conference, Lt. Watada outlined his duty to refuse the illegal order to deploy in support of an illegal war. A showdown with military is imminent as Lt. Watada's Stryker brigade is scheduled to deploy from Fort Lewis, Washington for Iraq within days.
Steve Morse, director of the GI Rights Hotline, a non-governmental legal resource center for members of the military, explains "When soldiers join the military they swear to uphold our Constitution, they do not give up their basic right to freedom of speech." According Mr. Morse, "Members of the military clearly have the right to say what they think and feel about the military, and even participate in peaceful demonstrations, as long as they are off-duty, out of uniform, off-base, and within the United States. This is outlined in Department of Defense Directive 1325.6".
It is expected that the military is moving to stage a Commanding Officer's Non-Judicial Punishment hearing (Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice) in order to impose even further restrictions on Lt. Watada. The military will likely focus their investigation on vague UCMJ articles that bar "conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman" (Article 133) and "any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President (or any senior members of government)" (Article 88).
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Note: We are aware that the Fort Lewis military public affairs office may have not yet been informed of this new development.
Support website for Lt. Ehren Watada; follow updates there (and you can add your name to the petition there)
Thank you Lt Ehren Watada
Hear Lt Ehren Watada speak for himself. Video; Lt Watada answers media questions; June 7, 2006, Tacoma, 6 PM.
media conference, Lt Ehren Watada answers media questions
Daily Kos Lt Watada stories; see Daniel Kirkdorffer's DK diary
U.S. Soldier Publicly Protests Deployment
and Lietta Ruger's DK diary Military Families support Lt Watada at Tacoma press conference text
see Daniel's blog here at the Portal; he is blogging Lt Watada's story; On The Road To 2008
and see the stories on Lt Watada here at Washblog; Fort Lewis Army Lt. Set To Refuse Deployment To Iraq
Please add some part of the story or link referrals to your own blog, and please network Lt Watada's story widely. Whether your conscience supports his decision or it doesn't, his actions nonetheless depict courage and at the very least are deserving and befitting of authentic dialogue among the 'netroots', blogging community, media community, political community, military community, and among citizens of this country who have civilian responsibilities to our troops at a time when our nation is at war.Thank you -