Army Lieutenant Refuses to Serve in Iraq

TacticalNuke

Administrator
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13190993/

MSN said:
TACOMA, Wash. - A U.S. Army officer said Wednesday that fighting in the war in Iraq would make him “party to war crimes” and he would not go. First Lt. Ehren Watada’s supporters — including clergy and a military family group — said he is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to serve in Iraq and risked being court-martialed.
The Pentagon said Watada was among a number of officers and enlisted personnel who have applied for conscientious objector status.
“The wholesale slaughter and mistreatment of the Iraqi people is not only a terrible moral injustice but a contradiction of the Army’s own law of land warfare. My participation would make me party to war crimes,” said Watada in a taped statement played at a Tacoma news conference.
His superiors at the nearby Fort Lewis military base would not let Watada leave the base to attend the press conference. Another news conference took place in Watada’s native Hawaii.
Watada, 28, had been scheduled to be deployed to Iraq for his first tour later this month. He joined the Army in 2003, and has served in Korea.
‘Unlawful orders’
Watada said his moral and legal obligations were to the U.S. Constitution, “not those who would issue unlawful orders.”
Nearly 2,500 U.S. soldiers and an estimated 40,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
In recent weeks, Marines have been accused of killing 24 Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha, raising concerns about abuse of force.
Paul Boyce, Army spokesman at the Pentagon, said Watada’s case was being reviewed, adding it “is not the first case, nor is his case particularly unique.”
Joe Colgan, whose son Benjamin was killed in Iraq, said sending sons and daughters to Iraq was “unpatriotic.”
“I ask that we all think about our moral conscience and what we have done in God’s name,” said Colgan.



http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,198566,00.html

FOX said:
An Army lieutenant who has refused to deploy to Iraq with his Fort Lewis Stryker brigade was barred by his commanders from attending a news conference Wednesday.
Instead, 1st Lt. Ehren Watada issued a videotaped statement, saying he had appealed to his commanders in his wish not to participate in the war.
"It is my duty as a commissioned officer of the United States Army to speak out against grave injustices. My moral and legal obligation is to the Constitution and not those who would issue unlawful orders," Watada said, wearing a dark suit and blue tie rather than his military uniform. An American flag served as a backdrop.
Watada is a member of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, the Army's first Stryker Brigade Combat Team. The unit is set to begin leaving later this month for a second mission in Iraq. This would be Watada's first deployment to Iraq.
Watada scheduled the news conference here, near Fort Lewis, but was barred from attending during his duty hours from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. PDT.
In his statement, Watada said "it is my conclusion as an officer of the armed forces that the war in Iraq is not only morally wrong but a horrible breach of American law.
"Although I have tried to resign out of protest, I will be forced to participate in a war that is manifestly illegal. As the order to take part in an illegal act is ultimately unlawful as well, I must as an officer of honor and integrity refuse that order."
He said the war violates the democratic system of checks and balances and usurps international treaties and conventions.
"The wholesale slaughter and mistreatment of the Iraqi people with only limited accountability is not only a terrible moral injustice but a contradiction to the Army's own Law of Land Warfare," Watada said.
In a letter to his command in January, Watada said he had reservations about the Iraq war and felt he could not participate, his lawyer, Eric A. Seitz, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Tuesday from his office in Honolulu.
A couple of months later, at the Army's suggestion, Watada resubmitted his request to resign, Seitz said. He was told last month that his request had been denied.
After his workday ended, Watada told reporters he will soon submit another request to resign but he added, "I feel it is inevitable ... I will be charged and I will be punished."
He added such punishment would be "no more and no less" than the sacrifices of the soldiers serving in Iraq.
The Army said Wednesday his request was denied because Watada's current unit is in a stop-loss category, and he has not fulfilled his service obligation.
Paul Boyce, a spokesman in the Army's national public affairs office, said Tuesday that Watada is "not the first officer, not the first enlisted, nor the first soldier" to refuse deployment to Iraq. An Army fact sheet dated Sept. 21, 2005, the most recent one available, said 87 conscientious objector applications had been approved and 101 denied since January 2003.
Watada, who is opposed only to the Iraq war, did not apply for conscientious objector status. He said Wednesday evening he wouldn't object to going to Afghanistan.
Army regulations define conscientious objection as a "firm, fixed and sincere objection to participation in war in any form or the bearing of arms, because of religious training and belief."
Watada's decision to publicly declare his intent to disobey orders "is a serious matter and could subject him to adverse action," Army officials said in a statement Wednesday. "No decision regarding personnel actions involving 1st Lieutenant Watada will be made until a thorough review by his commander occurs in accordance with military law."
Watada could be court-martialed if he refuses to serve as ordered, unless the Army allows him to resign his commission or assigns him to duties that are not directly connected to the war, Seitz said.
Watada enlisted in 2003 after graduation from Hawaii Pacific University. He reported for boot camp that June and began officer candidate school two months later.
His commission requires that he serve as an active-duty Army officer for three years ending this Dec. 3, Seitz said.
"He is willing to be court-martialed and go to prison because he believes the war is illegal," Marjorie Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, said after Wednesday's midday news conference.
Watada's case highlights the increasing resistance to the war in Iraq, Cohn said. She contends that the only way to stop the war is to pressure Congress to cease funding for the war.
"There are many here today who come from many different religious traditions, and we oppose this war in Iraq as an unjust war. We believe that the war is wrong and misguided," said Jim Davis, a United Methodist minister and chaplain of University of Puget Sound, who also attended the news conference. "As is now abundantly clear, Americans have been misled with distorted information to gain support for a pre-emptive strike against Iraq."
Watada's decision was criticized by Rebecca Davis, co-founder of Military Families Voice of Victory.
Davis, the mother of three sons, said in an e-mailed statement that she hopes Watada is prosecuted "to the fullest extent."
"He is a coward and a traitor. His actions will only serve to get his fellow soldiers killed so that he can save himself and become famous," Davis said.
 

TacticalNuke

Administrator
His "legal" basis for doing so is shaky at best. However, in this day and age he'll be praised as a hero, and lawyers will stampede each other to defend him.
 

Colbizzle

10-Year Member
Not to play the devils advocate, but isnt that what all the German people would have said to anyone who spoke out against Nazi atrocities?

Not at all to say that we in any way do ANYTHING like that, but it makes you wonder what he saw to make him do this?
 

TacticalNuke

Administrator
Colbizzle said:
Not to play the devils advocate, but isnt that what all the German people would have said to anyone who spoke out against Nazi atrocities?

Not at all to say that we in any way do ANYTHING like that, but it makes you wonder what he saw to make him do this?
Hey man this place is for discussion, so that's fine.

However, I wouldn't exactly compare it to the Nazi atrocities.

I, too, wonder what exactly he saw as a basis for this decision. Sure, we swear to defend the Constitution, but that argument more works when you're told to, say, gun down a kindergarten class.

I guess anyone can say anything is illegal, but in terms of the Constitution I don't see anything wrong, and that's the basis for this, along with of course the Law of Land Warfare linked.
 

raimius

10-Year Member
I don't see where he gets the idea that he was issued illegal orders. That, combined with the fact that he signed up in '03 makes me want to go against him. It seems he wants the benefits of the army, but not the risk of Iraq. I agree, Z.
 

Colbizzle

10-Year Member
raimius said:
I don't see where he gets the idea that he was issued illegal orders. That, combined with the fact that he signed up in '03 makes me want to go against him. It seems he wants the benefits of the army, but not the risk of Iraq. I agree, Z.

I think that may be the problem though, we arent privy to the information of WHOs orders he has a problem with, or WHAT orders, or WHY. Were missing a lot of pieces to a probably complex puzzle. Either that or you guys are right and hes just a piece of ****:mad:
 

TacticalNuke

Administrator
Colbizzle said:
I think that may be the problem though, we arent privy to the information of WHOs orders he has a problem with, or WHAT orders, or WHY. Were missing a lot of pieces to a probably complex puzzle. Either that or you guys are right and hes just a piece of ****:mad:
To quote another forum:

"Because we have no say in whether we go to war, we cannot be held responsible for the war itself. However, we can and do make decisions about how the war is fought, and we are in turn held responsible for those decisions. In the philosophy of war, these are called jus add bellum and jus in bello, which mean "rights to war" and "rights in war," respectively."

He should have gone to war, he should have done his part, and THEN once there, he would have a legal basis for refusal what he saw as illegal orders.
 

Fergsonfire

10-Year Member
Ship his unit and give him orders to go with it, then in 30 days when he is not there shoot him for being a deserter. Problem solved, remember this is a time of war and deserters can be shot.
 

jamzmom

10-Year Member
Founding Member
I can't grasp the concept. Think about it. Why be a dog catcher if you're not gonna catch dogs. Same concept to me. Don't even sign up for the military if you can't handle the large responsiblities. He is there to follow orders & took an oath to do so. Period. I know there will be some disagreement with what I think but I just don't get it. I watched my son take an oath. Its not a "maybe" kinda thing.
 

kp2001

10-Year Member
I agree with a previous poster about him signing up in 2003. If he had signed up prior to 2001 I would probably be more willing to give him a couple more seconds of my time. Signing up in 2003 meant he knew full well what the Army was doing, my bigger question is how in the world in today's deployment schedule was he not deployed prior to 2006???

Anyway, this is going to be a HUGE morale issue for the Army and particularly Ft. Lewis. If they do nothing to this guy there is going to be a huge letdown of morale; however, if they treat this as they should then I don't think it will be a big deal in the soldier's eyes. They need to prosecute him to the fullest and send him to jail followed by a discharge that is not honorable. The discharge will follow him for the rest of his life if it's not 'honorable'.
 

TacticalNuke

Administrator
kp2001 said:
Anyway, this is going to be a HUGE morale issue for the Army and particularly Ft. Lewis. If they do nothing to this guy there is going to be a huge letdown of morale; however, if they treat this as they should then I don't think it will be a big deal in the soldier's eyes. They need to prosecute him to the fullest and send him to jail followed by a discharge that is not honorable. The discharge will follow him for the rest of his life if it's not 'honorable'.
In fact, last I read, a dishonorable discharge (though I know the officer system is different in terms of nomenclature) precludes you from ANY federal service at ANY time in your life. You wouldn't be able to mop the floors of a school if you wanted to do so.
 

Colbizzle

10-Year Member
kp2001 said:
I agree with a previous poster about him signing up in 2003. If he had signed up prior to 2001 I would probably be more willing to give him a couple more seconds of my time. Signing up in 2003 meant he knew full well what the Army was doing, my bigger question is how in the world in today's deployment schedule was he not deployed prior to 2006???

Anyway, this is going to be a HUGE morale issue for the Army and particularly Ft. Lewis. If they do nothing to this guy there is going to be a huge letdown of morale; however, if they treat this as they should then I don't think it will be a big deal in the soldier's eyes. They need to prosecute him to the fullest and send him to jail followed by a discharge that is not honorable. The discharge will follow him for the rest of his life if it's not 'honorable'.

I dunno dude, as I said you dont know what he saw. He may have gone to war to **** up some arabs or something but maybe not to mow down 5 year olds with guns or something. Or maybe his Platoon Leader issued an order for him to mow down a crowd of civilians just for the hell of it!? As I said we dont know the real issues behind his refusal. ANd another thing is, if it wasnt serious why the hell would he be protesting? Another question we cant answer.

Im not saying anyone here is wrong but how can we so easily condemn this man for a situation we literally know NOTHING about? As Jamzmom said, we cant even grasp the concept of why he would protest because we know nothing about the circumstances. If hes protesting because of something like mowing down a kindergarten class then maybe we would think twice before condemning him.
 

kp2001

10-Year Member
Colbizzle said:
I dunno dude, as I said you dont know what he saw. He may have gone to war to **** up some arabs or something but maybe not to mow down 5 year olds with guns or something. Or maybe his Platoon Leader issued an order for him to mow down a crowd of civilians just for the hell of it!? As I said we dont know the real issues behind his refusal. ANd another thing is, if it wasnt serious why the hell would he be protesting? Another question we cant answer.

Im not saying anyone here is wrong but how can we so easily condemn this man for a situation we literally know NOTHING about? As Jamzmom said, we cant even grasp the concept of why he would protest because we know nothing about the circumstances. If hes protesting because of something like mowing down a kindergarten class then maybe we would think twice before condemning him.
The guy hasn't seen anything, he hasn't gone to Iraq yet, he's saying he won't go. The thing he is protesting is his deployment to Iraq. The deployment to Iraq is a lawful order, the reason he isn't in trouble yet is because he hasn't gotten the official order to go.

If he were given an order to mow down a bunch of civilians he could refuse that order as it is an unlawful order and he would be in the right.
 

Colbizzle

10-Year Member
Ahhh your right, i was under the impression that he had been over before because the arcticle said that his unit was abt to be deployed for a 2nd time, i mustve taken that to mean he had been the first time lol. Your right, hes a coward, 2003 he knew what was up.
 

Zaphod

10-Year Member
Founding Member
So let's see....

He HASN'T been to Iraq...
He signed up in 2003 when the Iraq War Drums were in full fury...

This guy is a yellow stinking COWARD. I can guarantee you that he did not receive an "illegal" order, because orders to deploy are not illegal. If he had been in-country and been ordered to mow down a group of people he KNEW were innocent, then maybe I'd listen, but that's not what he got.

"Standing up for principles" my big fat Cuban ***! You want to see someone who stood up for principles? Here, look at this: Desmond Doss, or this: Thomas W. Bennett.

These men were REAL Conscientious Objectors, with REAL moral reservation and with a REAL desire to serve THEIR country. I find these men to have more dignity in the fingernail they clipped off every now and then than the entire modern "Conscientious Objector" movement can muster on its best day. This Army clown who is refusing to deploy is unworthy to loosen these two men's jockstraps, and yet he's held up as a paragon of virtue, while these two men are all but unknown.

I hope his unti deploys and he goes AWOL and then deserter so he can be shot, as posted above. Serves the coward right.

Boy, I bet his men are going to be DYING to have HIM leading THEM into battle, even if he DOES go. :rolleyes:
 
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