Now Playing: Lietta Ruger at Washblog
Topic: Lt. Ehren Watada
Army brings official charges today; Lt Ehren Watada refusal illegal orders
Three charges are being leveled at Lt. Ehren Watada today. Most all our local to Washington newspapers and tv media have published a brief account per the news release from Fort Lewis spokesperson; Tammy Reed who indicated he would be charged today but she did not know what the charges Lt Watada would face. All the first published stories have now been updated again to give more full account. Lt Watada will be charged with three counts; missing movement, contempt toward officials, and conduct unbecoming an officer. His attorney, Eric Seitz, reports that by calculations of military lawyers indicate Lt Watada could face up to eight years in prison.
Kudos to Washington media for their extensive coverage of Lt. Watada since he first announced on June 7, 2006 his intention to refuse what he has discerned to be an illegal order to deploy to Iraq. What seems to be missing is the lack of reporting by those more big gun media, ie, CNN, MSNBC, New York Times - you know - the national/international level 'it's an important and worthy story' kind of reporting.
Rather than cite specific links (there are far too many), you can easily google news entering Lt. Ehren Watada to read the accounts and see the huge number of local media across cities and towns in our nation, as well as some international localized media reporting on charges being brought today.
What is not absent is a groundswell of support for Lt. Watada who is exercising a different kind of courage and is, in fact, in my opinion, exercising conduct most becoming to an Officer with regard to this war/occupation in Iraq. This is not a military only story, friends, and while Lt. Watada is both aware of the severity of punishment and willing to accept the consequences of his decision, that courage is inherint in each and every one who questions the validity of the Iraq war/occupation.Now what to do with your own courage....
Act on it.
Support for Lt. Watada is not isolated to the act of supporting one Army Lieutenant, rather the symbology it represents. What makes Lt. Watada, as an Officer, refusing an order to deploy to Iraq is that while he is not the first Officer to refuse combat deployment orders since 911 attack, he is the first Officer to make a public staement on his reasons for refusing the order. Army officials at the Pentagon reports 10 officers have refused combat deployment orders since 911 attack. My understanding is that the situation for other officers refusing combat deployment have been individualized situational refusals citing extreme family concerns. Lt. Watada has cited his reasons as the illegality of the war/occupation in Iraq, therefore the need as an Officer to determine a legal from an illegal order.
How you can best help Lt. Watada is to help ensure his act of courage and speaking out becomes part of the public dialogue. Obviously, the Army has to do what it has to do, according to military discipline, and I am not writing a plea to rescue Lt. Watada. I am writing a plea to not let his act of courage become irrelevant. Thank you for listening.
see Friends of Lt Watada website
links to previous Lt. Watada accounts at Washblog:
2nd Lt Watada Press Conference in Seattle w/ Col Ann Wight
Military Families Support Lt Watada at Tacoma Press Conference
Fort Lewis Army Lt. Set To Refuse Deployment To Iraq