The mother of Lt Ehren Watada
, a US Military Officer refusing to go to Iraq has appealed for support for him on the day set for his Court Martial. I post the appeal and other info below.
Appeal for International Support from Carolyn Ho,
Mother of Lt Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer
of the US Army to refuse to go to Iraq
As the first commissioned officer in the US Army to refuse deployment to Iraq, Lt. Watada speaks for all men and women in uniform who oppose this illegal and immoral War. His courage and will to defend the US Constitution, uphold the rule of law, and stop the wanton loss of life poses a threat to the powers that be. They are intent on putting him behind prison walls hoping that people will forget his message and that the so-called “surge” in troops will continue unabated.
His court martial scheduled for Feb. 5, 2007 promises to be a mockery of justice. In disallowing the Nuremberg defence and declaring the movement order to deploy to Iraq legal, the judge has in effect found Lt. Watada guilty. In addition the judge’s refusal to dismiss the “conduct unbecoming…” charge signals the military’s intent to prosecute him despite his constitutional right to free speech. It is ironic that higher ranking officers, both retired and active duty, have spoken out but have not been charged. Yet, Lt. Watada, a junior officer farthest from the top, is being made an example to suppress dissent among other officers and the rank and file
Lt. Watada faces a maximum of six years in a military prison. Although officials claim that they do not care what the public thinks, they are certainly tuned in to the pulse of the national and international community. Public opinion is a critical part of the defence and the prosecution must know that the world is watching.
You can help to build international support for Lt. Watada by contacting people in your personal, professional, and religious networks. Please forward the attached email alert with a brief explanation. Ask people to go to: http://www.thankyoult.org/
to learn more about Lt. Watada's case. Under “Take Action”, supporters can click on SIGN THE PETITION & GET ACTION ALERTS by email. There are suggestions that can galvanize support and perhaps change the course of the court martial. Write, demonstrate, demand justice and no punishment for Lt. Watada. His voice of resistance to this heinous war cannot be silenced!
Carolyn Ho (Lt. Watada’s Mother)
About Lt. Watada
My moral and legal obligation is to the Constitution and not
to those who would issue unlawful orders.
Lt. Ehren Watada
U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment to Iraq. On June 22, 2006, Lt. Watada stated that he believes the war and occupation in Iraq are illegal, and thus participation in the war is also illegal. He now faces court-martial on Feb 5, 2007.
Lt. Watada was initially charged with missing movement, conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentlemen, and contempt toward officials, and on August 24, the Article 32 (of the Military Code) pre-trial hearing investigator recommended a general court martial on all charges.
For the first time since 1965, the military is prosecuting an objector for his opinions. On September 15, an additional charge of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman was added based on Lt. Watada’s speech to the Veterans for Peace convention in August. Following US elections which showed overwhelming rejection of the war in Iraq, the Army dropped the charge of contempt towards officials.
At a second pre-trial hearing on Jan 4, the military court refused to drop conduct unbecoming an officer charges and ruled that Lt Watada cannot present arguments relating to the legality of the Iraq War. If found guilty, Lt. Watada could be sentenced to up to six years in a military prison – four years for First Amendment speech alone.
A born leader, friends and family in Honolulu, Hawai’i were not surprised at his determination to pursue a military officer career after college graduation in a post-9/11 era. Lt. Watada also inherits his dedication to community service. His parents have been and are well-known public servants in Hawai’i and Ehren was an exemplary Eagle Scout at age 15. He graduated magna cum laude from Pacific University in Hawai’i with a degree in Finance.
Not one to jump to conclusions or act on whims, Lt. Watada researched how and why the Iraq War had begun. It was after a year of study and discernment and of a one-year tour of duty in Korea – where he served with distinction – that he came to the courageous decision to refuse deployment to Iraq.
By refusing to participate in the ongoing Iraq war and occupation, Lt. Watada joins a growing number of high ranking military officers, West Point graduates, and current and former members of the armed services who have expressed their opposition to the actions of the United States in Iraq. These brave men and women are standing with Lt. Watada.
Lt. Watada is also supported by families of service members killed in Iraq, faith-based organizations, peace groups and grassroots people across the country and around the world
Labels: Human Rights, International, International Left, Peace, Protest