Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Watada Case Catches Reporters in Crosshairs

The US Army will call two journalists as witnesses to support charges filed against First Lt. Ehren Watada. The Army believes the journalists' testimony will prove that Watada made "contemptuous" comments about President Bush and therefore engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer.

Watada is the first commissioned US officer to publicly refuse to serve in Iraq having called the war and US occupation "illegal". He also said his participation would make him party to war crimes.

The charge sheet quotes Watada as saying in one interview: "As I read about the level of deception the Bush administration used to initiate and process this war, I was shocked. I became ashamed of wearing the uniform."

Seitz [the officer's lawyer] argues that such comments are within Watada's First Amendment rights to make, because he is stating a political position without inciting other people to acts of protest.

If found guilty on all charges, Watada faces up to seven years of confinement, dismissal and forfeiture of pay. It is bizarre that Watada faces such a heavy sentence for simply speaking his mind, while soldiers committing atrocities against Iraqi civilians get off scott free, and those few underlings who were charged with the Abu Ghraib crimes received relatively light punishment.

In the view of the present US administration, speaking out for one's beliefs is a crime while torturing and killing Iraqis is not.

Lt. Watada's case bears watching. Will his First Amendment rights be upheld or will this criminal administration throw them out the window? Whatever happens to Watada, he deserves the respect of all sane people for having the courage of his convictions. If more soldiers had his intrepidity, this insane, illegal, immoral, criminal war would end.

I wish Watada well, and hope that his case will be dealt with fairly, regardless of the fact that 'justice' is antithetical to the Bush administration.

Read full Truthout article here.

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2 comment(s):

let's hope more watada's emerge.

if imprisoned it may prove less painful then serving 'however many years' in iraq and participating in and viewing the horrors.

By Blogger Scout, at 12:43 PM  

I would think so too...

By Blogger Annamarie, at 11:50 PM  

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