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Public Inaction Dismays Watada

Published on Saturday, January 13, 2007 by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Officer faces court-martial for refusing Iraq deployment
by Paul Nyhan

Less than a month before his court-martial begins, Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada turned to the public Friday, urging it to get involved in the discussion about the Iraq war.

Seven months ago, Watada made headlines when he refused to deploy to Iraq with a Fort Lewis-based Stryker Brigade, saying the war was illegal. His decision drew the attention of the anti-war movement, and eventually charges for conduct unbecoming an officer and missing a troop movement.

On Friday, Watada continued to talk, wondering about the lack of public outrage over the nearly four-year-old war.

"Could it be that ... many people don't care about the illegality of this war?" Watada asked students and others who packed a hall at Seattle Central Community College. "It is my belief that the American people have relinquished their responsibility."

He also blamed elected officials.

Watada, 28, said initial reasons offered to justify the Iraq war -- the presence of weapons of mass destruction and Iraq's purported ties to terrorists -- turned out to be unsubstantiated.

"We have all been deceived," Watada told the audience. The "American people have the power to end this war."

Officials at Fort Lewis were unavailable for comment Friday.

Watada compared the Iraqi engagement to the Vietnam War. "The arguments used against me are the same ones they used 30 years ago," Watada said. "Vietnam is now Iraq."

Watada's public stance and looming trial have spurred Seattle-area students and others to rally outside Fort Lewis and call for student walkouts Feb. 5, the day his court-martial is scheduled to begin.

Even though the Democratically controlled Congress is questioning the war and President Bush's plan to deploy more troops, Watada doesn't expect the shift to play a role in his case. Watada could face up to six years in prison if found guilty of one count of missing a troop movement and four counts of disobeying an order.

"No, I don't think it will have any bearing on my case," Watada said. "Knowing you will probably lose is no excuse not to take a course of action."

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I want Lt Watada to know that there are many people with him. It is taking some time for the voices to be heard. I am saddened that more people are not speaking out for what they know, in their heart, is right.
The Appeal For Redress, a petition signed by 1,000 active duty troops (including officers) and reservists will be delivered to congress on Tuesday 1/16. They will be holding their press conference on Monday, Jan 15 at 11 am at the Unitarian Church in Norfolk. They will be joining the Martin Luther King Holiday Solidarity march in Norfolk after the press conference. I'm not clear on the details of Tuesday, but I know of a couple of vans are filled up to attend this historic event. Lt Watada is right and our pres-not is so wrong.

Ehren, you need to wake up and realize that this nation is populated by scared, intimidated, gutless wonders with nary one set of testicles between very many pairs of male legs. matter of fact, the women in this country in Code Pink have more 'balls' figuratively, than the men in this country do.

it's pretty pathetic that is the case, but it is. the people in this country will consign every single 'other man's kid' to war without blinking an eye, and as long as it doesn't disrupt watching the garbage on the television screens, or prevent buying the latest toys in the stores on overly abused credit cards, most don't give a rat's dick about what is going on.

Ehren, you fail to realize most of America is sheep. the kind that will go down the chute to the slaughter just as long as they have an IPOD strapped to their head on the way down there to the nail gun.

that's a fact. a country without guts, balls, or for that matter, a goddamned conscience for the 650,000 murders committed by their murderer and thief in the Whore House...

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