More News of Lt. Ehren Watada

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Lt. Ehren Watada

Since the story of Ehren Watada began while I was at Camp Casey and people there were involved in it from the beginning, I want to report on new developments and remind myself what he did and why he is important to me personally.  In a report that Patrice sent in October of 2006 you can read this:

Lt. Watada served a year in Korea, and his next deployment was to be to Iraq. Back at Fort Lewis in Washington, in preparation for his next deployment, he was told to educate himself about the war in Iraq, so he could explain to soldiers why they were being asked to go to war, and possibly give their lives for their country.

Characteristically, he took seriously the order to learn, and read all he could about events that led to the war, among other things, and about the “weapons of mass destruction” that were supposed to be in Iraq. He learned a lot, and twice made formal attempts to leave his commission. He was refused, and then became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment to the Iraq War and occupation.

Lt. Watada stated: “I refuse to be silent any longer. I refuse to be party to an illegal and immoral war against people who did nothing to deserve our aggression. Help oppose this war and end it so that all soldiers can come home.”

Here is a link to an article in TruthOut, whose reporter Geoffrey Millard was in residence at Camp Casey when I was, and which has followed this story since it began.

The artilce quotes Jeff Patterson of an organization that supports military resisters, “Ehren Watada was instrumental in putting the issue of the legality of the Iraq war front and center for not only military resisters but for activists in general at a time when it wasn’t as widely discussed as it is today.”

Patterson continues, “Until a whole unit refuses to fight, I don’t think there is any individual case that’s going to resonate like Ehren’s,”

Shall we see a entire unit refuse to fight?  I know that Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace, organizations which have moral authority with military personnel that others might not, are working to bring about such things.  I support them.

I remember poignantly the comments of Iraq Veterans Against the War at Camp Casey, all enlisted men, who wished that their officers had had the courage of Lt. Watada and had spoken out.  These brave and principled veterans expressed a need I feel, too, and that is of leaders, persons with what Lt. Watada has: knowledge and expertise, principled courage, and unshakable resolution.

Lt. Watada is my teacher, has been since I went to Camp Casey and his journey began.  I remembered his words when I refused in April to pay all of my taxes while this country wages illegal wars and perpetrates war crimes and crimes against humanity.  I am not so brave and principled as Lt. Watada, but I continue to make a small stand.

And like Lt. Watada, I urge everyone to oppose these wars and to end them and bring all our personnel home and stop killing and destroying.

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