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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Lt. Ehren Watada

Lt. Ehren Watada

I would ask that people look at this situation with an open mind. It is a provocative issue, a polarizing issue in many ways. Neither side should be discounted out of hand, which is why I'm including his statement, encourage people to discuss it and will try to lay out my feelings on this as a liberal, a patriotic American and Marine (there is no such thing as former Marine).
It is a very brave thing he is doing. He must know how it will end. We are a country of laws but he must understand and should understand that when you sign up for duty in the US Armed Forces, you relinquish some of those rights.
He signed up for duty after we invaded Iraq. This is an all-volunteer force. So any sympathy I would have had had he been on active duty before we went to Iraq don't count in this situation. Be that as it may, once you sign up, your duty is to do your duty. You can be a participant in a so-called illegal war, do your duty and not commit war crimes, as he alleges he would be doing.
He should have chosen to be a conscientious objector as a civilian, not as an active duty member of the military. He can call it a breech of American law, but not while he's on duty, especially an officer, a leader of men.
Joining the military takes a lot of soul searching; and again, given that we were already involved in Iraq before he joined, he had plenty of information with which to search his soul. This kind of second guessing by officers is what gets those who are supposed to follow him innocently killed.
I felt very strongly before we went to Iraq that we shouldn't have gone to Iraq; that the reasons the American public were given for going were deceiptful at best. But I can tell you this: Had I still be on active duty at the time we went, I would have done my duty, followed those orders that were legal (which would've been 99.999999% of them); and honored my commitment and my country, and then came home and done a much better job and honorable job of objecting to this war.
That's as even handed as I can be about it.


Karen said...

Wow that is very interesting..I have to say that I agree with you. I dont see how one can sign up for the military during was time and refuse to go to war. I understood people not wanting to be drafted or not serving but signing up to enjoy the benefits of the military without expecting to follow orders is wrong....
Side note: How does one become an LT in only 3 yrs?

BuffettFan said...

If they follow the UCMJ Zeb, they will and should fry his a$$. Sorry, you sign, you go. My son is having probs because he has to go back to Iraq in October, I told him he knew that when he re-upped for that bonus he got back in February. You know as well as I Zebsta', when you sign, you give away your right to question authority, period. Buff

Brent Kremer said...

I agree. His a$$ should be found guilty according to the UCMJ and put in Ft. Leavenworth. When we are already in Iraq and you sign on the dotted line, what do expect to be doing? Sipping drinks at Ft. Lewis, WA?
Side note: If he already had a college degree and enrolled in the military, he could be nominated for OCS and graduate that in 2 years. One of the specialists in the unit I was in did that, and came out a 1LT.

Zebster said...

Sis, like Brent said, 1st LT is only one promotion.
Buff, as I said on Coach's blog, when I was in the legal field in the Corps we dealt with conscientious objectors; but it's a totally different set of circumstances. I'm wondering whether this guy had yet to be deployed but was getting ready to.
There are countless cases of folks who did their duty in this situation while they were very much against the war, and are now very vocal critics once they're civilians. And again, he can refuse an unlawful order even while in combat, which someone should've done in Haditha; but to turn a political ideology into a basis for not doing your duty is simply wrong.

David said...

You are right Zeb, many have gone and completed their tour in Iraq, only to come home and be a voice against the war after they have been discharged from service. There is nothing wrong with that.

What really bothers me in this, is not that he refuses to go, but how he chooses to accuse his own countrymen of war crimes. Watada has appointed himself judge and jury in those regards, and in doing so he is the one who has ursurped authority and rule of law.

I am convinced that this video and subsequent rhetoric are the product of a special interest group, and not fully Lt. Watada's own. The language he is using seems a bit too strong for one man's initiative, there must be others feeding him information.

Zebster said...

Possibly Coach. My thought was that his position was researched after he made it but before the "official statement" in that video, and that he and his family had lawyers go over it with a fine-tooth comb.

Ingrid said...

Wow, interesting. I had not closely followed the information re. the LT. but had in scanning seen people siding with him. I can understand the commenters' positions though. You sign up, you have to follow orders. That would be one reason I could have never joined (any) army (seeing that I did not grow up in this country). No matter where you live, if you sign up because you think of the benefits, you cannot cry foul if you're going to be called up for active duty that includes war. That's just plain logic no matter what your stance on any particular war is. It's a choice you make, it's a contract you sign.

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