"I feel that we have been lied to and betrayed by this Administration. A crime has been committed against the Constitution. It is the duty, the obligation of every soldier, and specifically the officers, to evaluate the legality, the truth behind every order — including the order to go to war. How could I order men to die for something I believe is wrong?"
A lieutenant from Hawaii stationed at Fort Lewis was the first officer to do it. He refused to go to Iraq, and when pressured to knuckle under, he made a public statement. The Army threatened him with jail time, and he said "OK." He accepted a 6-month sentence. The Army found that response unsatisfying, so it court-martialled him with full measures of wrath and bureaucratic mendacity, seeking to put him away for six years. Watada stood firm as a kangaroo court stooped to nonsense. Last Thursday, he won his case. I doubt the Army will pursue an appeal, and preferring to devote its energies to keeping the outcome quiet (if you've heard of this in the MSM, please let me know). Via Truthout:
On Thursday, November 8, Hon. Benjamin Settle, a federal court judge, issued a preliminary injunction halting any further court-martial proceedings of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada and effectively ruling against the Army on virtually every issue in the case. This injunction not only extends the stay until the conclusion of the habeas corpus proceedings, but also addresses the specific request for relief from further legal proceedings, stating, "the remedy sought by Petitioner, while rare, is appropriate."It takes one kind of bravery to storm a machine-gun nest to save what's left of your comrades. It takes another to storm a hostile establishment to save what's left of a nation. A few people have both kinds. Thank you, Lieutenant Watada.
Although the Army issued a press release claiming to "look forward to the opportunity to further explain to the District Court judge the full extent of the protections and safeguards that are afforded to a military accused," (Seattle Times, 11/9/07), anyone who glances at the court ruling will agree that the Army's only lingering hope is to appeal this ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Judge Settle wrote "for several reasons ... it is likely that [Lt. Watada] will succeed on the merits of his double jeopardy claim" (Order, p. 22; a copy of the order is attached). The court held that the military judge acted "irrationally, irresponsibly, precipitately" (Order, page 31) in failing to consider feasible alternatives to a mistrial, and there was no good reason to stop the proceedings.
This ruling came after the repeated refusal of the military appeals courts to free Lt. Watada of the burden of a second court-martial. Lt. Watada's attorneys have consistently argued that the military should not be allowed a "do-over." The military judge halted the first court-martial in the wake of admissions by prosecution witnesses regarding Lt. Watada's integrity and statements that Lt. Watada's decision not to deploy was an act of conscience.