Army Lieutenant Refuses to Deploy to Iraq
I want to offer my congratulations and support to 1st Lt. Ehren K. Watada, the first commissioned officer in the U.S. military to refuse to deploy to Iraq. Watada is the 28 year old son of the state of Hawaii’s former campaign spending director. As stated in the Honolulu Advertiser, Watada has said
“I refuse to be silent any longer. I refuse to watch families torn apart,
while the President tells us to “stay the course.” . . . I refuse to be
party to an illegal and immoral war against people who did nothing to
deserve our aggression. I wanted to be there for my fellow troops. But the
best way was not to help drop artillery and cause more death and
destruction. It is to help oppose this war and end it so that all soldiers
can come home.”
Watada is not claiming to be a conscientious objector but is objecting to the war in Iraq on moral grounds. As a result of acting on his beliefs Watada faces court martial, discharge, and jail. The army has refused to decommission the young officer.
Traditional veterans groups are offering little support and some are even bringing up Watada’s ethnicity as an issue. In the words of one old timer, Watada ‘owes this country a lot.’ I would beg to differ.
As a veteran I would argue that this country owes Watada a lot for standing up in the face of strong opposition and stating his position. It is the right and privilege of all men and women to oppose unjust wars and laws, just as it is equally important to support just ones. By blindly agreeing to participate in a war that Watada objects to, he would be disgracing himself, his family, and his country. We should all support Watada and other brave individual like him. You can find more information on how to do that at http://tomjoad.org/supportlt.htm