May 13th, 2007 12:07 EST
Real American Hero
A second court martial is scheduled on July 16 for 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, the Army officer who gained publicity for refusing to fight in Iraq because he considers the Iraq war illegal and immoral.
His first trial ended in mis-trial because the judge believed Watada did not fully understand a deal he signed that would reduce his sentence from 6 to 4 years if found guilty.
The charges filed against him on both occasions are for “missing troop movement” and “conduct unbecoming an officer”, for rejecting his Iraq assignment and for publicly speaking out against Bush and this war. Watada readily admits to these actions, and is eager to explain his reasons in court to clear his name, but his attorney hopes to dismiss the charges made for the second trial as a case of double jeopardy.
Except for these charges, Ehren Watada reportedly has a perfect military record, was up for promotion and is respected by his fellow officers. He is currently still on active duty in an administrative capacity.
Watada wants it known that officers do not promise to follow the orders of the President or those appointed over them, but that their proper duty is to safeguard and serve the U.S. Constitution, and it is their legal right and obligation to oppose illegal and illegitimate orders.
While I admire and support his courage and integrity in this matter, I can’t help but wonder… where are the other officers that surely must exist who also object to this war? Why is Lt. Watada the only one among the lower ranks getting media attention for opposing the Iraq war?
Is he merely a token objector or icon?
For more information, a campaign is underway to support Watada and educate the public about his case:
Listen as Ehren publicly defends his position:
Read an insightful interview posted on Yahoo news: